9mm japanese Revolver cartridge MIDWAY


like to know, how old this box is

thanks gyrojet

headstamp MIGWAY 9mmJAP.REV.


gyrojet–This box dates from about 1985.


Midway Arm’s first entry into the field of “hard to get” ammo came 17 May 1978, with the first announcement that “within the next few months we will have available … 8 mm Japanese Nabu pistol ammunition.” The offering was made under the name of Ely Arms, of Columbia, Missouri, with ownership by Larry and Jerry Potterfield, and Incorporated in 1977. The last correspondence we have with this comany name on it is dated from 10 May 1979. Delivery was long delayed to the point that on 1 August 1979, Brass Extrusion Laboratories Ltd. (BELL Brass) send a letter to Potterfield’s customers explaining the delay in shipment of brass to Ely. The earliest price list we have showning the ammunition actually available, and nor marked "Midway Arms, Inc., is dated March 1980.

Potterfield actually was made acquainted with the 8 mm Nambu through George Spence, a commercial reloader in the same area of the country who made the Nambu round from .38 Special cases. While they shot o.k. (We used to shoot them ourselves), almost every case split, making the ammunition expensive since there was no brass salvage.

Very quickly, Eley’s of England lodged a protest with them over the name “Ely” and while the first 8 mm Nambu boxes were marked “Ely Arms Inc.” the company named was changed to Midway Arms, a company that through the Potterfield’s leadership has grown into one of the giants in the American Firearms Sports business. All of the 8 mm Nambu cartridges were headstamped “MIDWAY,” to our knowledge.

A letter from Midway to dealers dated 12 January 1982 offers 7.62 x 39 mm brass, with the “hope” that they would soon be offering live ammunition. In the letter, future projects were discussed, including 7.62 Russian Nagant, 8mm French Lebel Revolver, 7.65 French Long, and 7 mm Nambu Pistol, along with some obsolte Winchester calibers. To our knowledge, not one of these calibers was actually made under the Midway Name.

The first reference we have for any of the other calibers is from Midway’s catalog number 83-1. It is not dated, but would be from early 1983. It was in this catalog that all of the other calibers offered in this series, I believe, including 9 mm Japanese Revolver, 7.63 mm Mauser, 9 mm Steyr, 9 mm Bergmann Bayard, 9 mm Browning Long, 7.35 mm Italian Carcano and 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher Schoenauer, were offered, probably for the first time, although we cannot be sure of that.

The 9 mm Japanese Revolver box would, therefore, date from 1983 until the early 1990s at the latest.

Unfortunately, we do not have the date that they stopped making these calibers, as our Midway catalogs gap between 1983 and about 1994. The 1983 catalog is the last one we have that shows them, although Midway continued to come out with ammunition with Midway headstamps, as well as some other specialty headstamps, but in conventional calibers.

It might be good to note that the first MIDWAY headstamp was actually on .357 Magnum Brass made by Starline, and it was the sales of this and other brass for reloaders that really started Midway on its road to huge success.


Regarding long-arm ammunition, Midway definetly retailed 6.5x54 MS and 7.35x52 Carcano (as well as 7.62x39) with “MIDWAY” hs in the 1980’s.

I have read that cases were made for Midway by Starline Brass Co, Qual-Cart and also by BELL.


An inquiry to MidwayUSA’s customer service resulted in a response that this box of ammo was made “in the early 1980’s”. It is not surprising that John’s information is probably more informative than someone who likely didn’t know, until now, that their own company even made ammunition.

Once again I bow to your expertise Mr. Moss! Well done!



No expert here, Shotmeister, but thank you anyway. All of that information is taken from Ely Arms/Midway Arms correspondence. Our store was one of the first to buy the 8 mm Nambu ammo from them, and so I have price lists, etc. that were sent during the long and frustrating (more to the Potterfields, I am sure, than to us) road to completion of that caliber.

That ammunition was issued no over 30 years ago, when I believe the Midway organization was still very small. Now it is one of the titans in the Shooting Sports Industries, a well-deserved success for very nice folks. It is not surprising that some of their employees now might be off just a few years on the timing of this ammo. I am not one to withhold criticism of factories for the poor information they often offer about their own product history, but in this case, I would call “the early 1980s” a good call for an employee who might have been a little child when the ammo was actually made. They were actually right on for the 9 mm Japanese Revolver ammo and box.


To follow-up on John’s excellent info, the production of this ammunition by Midway Arms ended in 1986, according to the CEO of Midway USA, Larry Potterfield. The brass was made by BELL and the boxes by Midland. Other uncommon pistol calibers made by them were the 8mm Nambu, 9mm Japanese, 30 Mauser, 9mm Steyr, 9mm Bergmann and 9mm Browning.

At the MidwayUSA website is a link to a company history, AboutUs and it would be an interesting read for anyone wanting to know more about Midway Arms and their brief run in manufacturing ammunition.