9x19mm "W.R.A.CO.9m/m LUGER AUTO"

Why is it called “auto”? To indicate that this lead bullet can feed from a magazine? The whole thing is totally non magnetic.
DSCF4475 DSCF4479

is not a lead bullet but a tinned copper bullet with hollow point

but it the first time that i see “auto” on a 9mm luger

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Thanks. I suspected this, that’s why I turned that little bullet defect to the camera. So if it is not lead, why to say “auto”? A copper clad bullet will surely feed in a semi-auto pistol. Is it because a shooter may think it is lead by looking at the bullet appearance?

i hear that the truncated bullet like your’s is better for feeding BUT is “i hear”
i don’t know in the reality

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It is an early WRACo headstamp. Auto means auto loading pistol.
Look in Shuey for the times this headstamp was in use / production.
It’s actually a tinned gilding-metal jacketed bullet.
Look at the wear on the nose & the gouge in the jacket on the side you photographed to see the GM jacket surface color coming through.

ammogun If I may make a small point that saying it’s copper implies the bullet is solid copper and not a jacketed bullet, although Vlad did pick up on your meaning others may not?

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The headstamp “W.R.A.Co. 9M/M LUGER.AUTO.” is relatively common. Winchester used that headstamp from 1908, their initial production of this caliber, until 1928.

Regarding the truncated bullet, that was the first forum of bullet used in the 9 mm Luger cartridge, beginning with the first known headstamp, from Germany c.1902, of " * D.M. * K." and was offered by various ammunition companies, the truncated bullet that is, until fairly recent times, although the round-nose bullet became more popular as time went on.

The “W.R.A.Co.” headstamp is found both with and without a “W” on the primer. The headstamp that followed it, in 1929, was simply “W.R.A.Co. 9M/M LUGER.”

John Moss

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for petedecoux ,for “copper” i would indicate copper color not solid copper but i don’t know the exact term for bullet materials

Hi ammogun

both Vlad and I know you meant color. And I understand why you said what you did, the way you did.

If I could perhps try to explain better? When you say “copper bullet” it means the bullet is copper. If you say it has a “copper jacket” or better yet a “copper colored jacket” then it would be easier to understand that your are talking about the jacket not the whole bullet.

I know English is not your 1st language and your English is 1000 times better than any other language I speak. it is a small point and I was just trying to help you help others by being more accurate.

Here are some of the terms that have been accepted and understood by most cartridge collectors, for the description of bullets. They are not particular technical or scientific, but they do, for those that know and use them, “draw a picture” of the bullet being discussed:

GM - Gilding metal (a copper colored bullet)
GMCS - Gilding metal-clad steel
CN - Cupronickel (often used to describe any silver color, jacketed bullet, because of the difficulty of know whether is it polished plain steel, chromed, or nickeled).
CNCS - Cupronickel-clad steel
Lead - bullets that are obviously made of lead, unjacketed
Brass-CS - Brass-clad steel
Brass - jackets of brass coloration, as opposed to copper bullets


RN - Round Nose
FP - flat point
HP - hollow point
TRC - Truncated
SWC - Sem-wadcutter
WC - Wadcutter

The above bulet shapes, if called for, can be combined with other abbreviations. Example: FMJ FN CNCS (Full-metal jacket, flat nose, cupronickel-clad steel.

There are others. These are off the top of my head. Again, these are “made up” abbreviations used by many collectors, and even some factories on box labels. Some collectors prefer to go into more detail when they describe a bullet. That is a personal choice.

The system is not perfect, but it works to offer a relatively clear idea of the projectiles being described most of the time.

John Moss

thank for your response
i take a screenshot of the type of bullet material so in the futur i try to be more precise

GM:exemple ,5.56 LC non magnetic ?
GMCS:exemple 7.62x39 711 77 magnetic ?
brass jacket: exemple golden saber remington ?

Yes - your examples with question marks would be well understood by most collectors.

John Moss

Actually, the first 9mm Lugers to be tested outside of DWM were tested by Springfield arsenal, and commercial “Fat Barrel” 9mm American Eagle Lugers were in the US before the end of 1903. The first 9mm Luger pistol to be delivered to the German military pistol tests didn’t arrive until the early Spring of 1904. Until that point, the 9mm Luger pistol and cartridge were a purely American projects from the perspective of DWM. Previously, the German tests were apparently only interested in the 7.65mm Luger pistol. I have seen no evidence that Germany was interested in a larger caliber Luger pistol. If someone has such evidence I would be very interested. Both the British and Americans had turned down the 7.65mm Luger so the 9mm Luger was designed for and offered to the British & US markets in 1902 (the British turned down the 9mm Luger in the Fall of 1902) and it is likely that this is when it was offered to the US market but could have been offered earlier in 1902.

I have a Winchester 9mm Luger box with the print date on the label (the date when the label is released for printing of September 1906. I have the photo of another box with a load date of Jun 1907. These boxes have the headstamp illustrated above.

Even more interesting is the existence of a Winchester Salesman price catalog with an entry from late 1903 providing prices for 9mm Luger HP and FP ammunition. This means that Winchester was the second producer of 9mm Luger ammunition after DWM and probably before the DWM 480C round was introduced by DWM. The US military and market were undoubtedly provide the 480A and/or 480B cartridges. The first documentation of the 480C was in the DWM 1904 catalog which was likely finalized in late 1903.

I strongly suspect the 9mm Luger ammunition offered by Winchester in late 1903 had the headstamp shown above.

Lots of other pieces of this story!

Winchester offered their commercial 9mm Luger (both FMJ and HP) only in truncated bullets until the beginning of WWII.


PS: for ammunition dating into the 1920, FP can also mean Full Patch, later known as FMJ (Full Metal Jacket)

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Lew - it may be a stretch to say that Winchester was actually producing the 9 mm Luger cartridge in 1903 for one line in a salesman salesman’s price sheet. That would show a definite intention to produce the caliber, as would a label date of late 1906. However, the fact is that the caliber did not appear in the Winchester full-product catalog until the 1908 edition. The box label you mention with a loading date of June 1907 may push the date back from 1908 until then - that may well be the first actual Winchester 9 mm Box - as June 1907 would have been too late to make the 1907 catalog. It would be natural for the first listing to be in 1908, but I have no doubt at all that using that for the quoted beginning of production may be erroneous in light of a 1907 loading date on a box.

It is not unreasonable that the cartridge may have been shown in a 1903 dealer’s price list. It is possible that a lack of orders - there were very few Luger pistols of 9 mm caliber in the USA before the Model 1906 version - delayed the actual production until 1907.

The label date of late 1906 would square perfectly well with an expected production of the caliber for mid-1907, as well as for the introduction of the Model 1906 in America, whereas before that date, probably 90% or more of the Luger pistols here were in caliber 7.65 mm, and most of the 9 mm ones here for trials of one sort or another.

I think the Winchester experience is precisely what you said for the DWM loading - “The first documentation of the 480C was in the DWM 1904 Catalog which was likely finalized in late 1903” - just a little later.


John Moss


My experience with print dates and load dates is they are only a few months apart. The print date on the June 1907 load was October 1906, just a month after the HP label which was September 1906. Clearly there was an early 1906 or even late 1905 decision to produce the 9mm Luger cartridge. After all, 1906 was the year DWM introduced the second version of the American Luger. The first version (the fat barrel) only saw production of about 700 guns, but apparently almost all went to the US.

If Luger followed his practice in other places, these early versions, particularly in 1903, went to people who could influence the US Army decision to buy the Luger. These same people would also be interested in US ammunition.

With a brand new cartridge, Winchester would have been foolish, which I doubt they were. to offer it for sale through their salesmen, unless they had prototyped and tested the design and knew it would work in a 9mm Luger pistol. However, at this time, the only 9mm Luger pistols in existence (except perhaps in the DWM factory) were at Springfield Arsenal. The 50 9mm cartridge counter (Fat Barrel) pistols for field trials were due for delivery in the fall of 1903, although they were delayed until about March 1904. It makes sense that the US Army would want to include US made ammunition in these field trials and likely asked Winchester to produce some ammunition. Remember, in mid-1903, the only source Winchester would have had for a sample of this cartridge was Springfield and the only people with a pistol to fire it would have been Springfield. Any actions that could have led to the entry in the Salesman’s book had to involve Springfield.

The entry in the book was likely a decision, when some commercial pistols began arriving (Winchester couldn’t know in what numbers) to offer this military style cartridge to commercial buyers. When it turned out only about 700 of these pistols arrived in the US they put this project on hold until the M1906 9mm American Eagle Luger was announced. In my opinion, this is the source of the boxes with 1906 print dates, In 1907 Winchester decided that it was a viable product and it went into the 1908 catalog.

I have a hard time coming up with a significantly different logic without ignoring some of the facts. But I would be glad to hear other explanations! As many of you know, I have been wrong before, and new facts would be welcome.


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Lew - I am not sure I understand all of your reply, but in many cases, what you are saying seems to agree with what I said. For me, “production” from a commercial company means all out manufacture for any available sales, government or commercial (including foreign contracts).

To call a 1903 comment in a salesman’s price sheet (I assume that was what it was), “production” doesn’t follow with me. Your own comments would indicate that if Winchester was actually ;producing the cartridge as early as 1903, it would be, in the overall view of ammunition production, in miniscule amounts, probably only for internal use. I am not sure what relevance Springfield Armory would have to this, other than to provide a few sample German cartridges, in relation to full production by Winchester.

To me, the logical, relevant indication of full-scale production is the cartridge’s appearance in their actual catalogs, which did not occur with the 9 mm Luger cartridge until 1908. That certainly does NOT negate the possibility of production beginning in 1907, because the dates you mention would likely be after the 1907 catalog was already in publication, hence its first catalog inclusion would be the 1908 catalog. What happened between 1903 and the 1906/07 preparations for full production of the cartridge (box label designing, tooling up, etc.) I have no idea, but I will continue to seriously doubt that there was any serious production of the cartridge in that time-frame.

Sometimes cartridges being considered for full production just don’t happen. I m sure there are many cases of this, but as an auto-pistol cartridge guy, one instance comes immediately to mind. A box add in a commercial publication carried the announcement of the .330 Core Bon cartridge. However, it never happened. For reasons I don’t know, they never came out with that cartridge. The same thing could easily happen for one reason or another, but with production simply delayed, not even totally cancelled.

That is my opinion, and it has not changed. Perhaps what we each define as “production” is different. I don’t consider prototype cartridges made in small batches to be “production”, but rather “experimentation,” and that does not always lead to the full manufacture of a cartridge.

In this case, with the caveat of “missing” the 1907 catalog because of when production started in that year, I will go with Dan Shuey’s date, which he shows as 1908 because, I am sure, that was the first catalog year for Winchester’s production of the 9 mm Luger round. Again, for me, that still allows production to have begun in earnest in 1907.

Barring factory PRODUCTION records being found to prove or disprove any given dates of production, for me, the matter is at rest.


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John, it is unlikely we will agree on this

First, I am not sure what a good definition is of 'Full Production" or "all out manufacture " I can propose quite a few definitions, all valid and all different depending on the context. Do these terms imply 24/7 production??? No sane commercial company produces more of anything than it anticipates selling in some reasonable time. I know of companies that shut down equipment and move the people to other tasks when they have reached their production targets.

Production for a specific contract is production, for example for the military, of the cartridges you mean to deliver on that contract and doesn’t really have any relation to rate since it only has to meet the quantity and delivery date in the contract.

Production for commercial is similar in that it is production of cartridges that meet your (and perhaps legal) standards for sale to a commercial customer. Winchester has offered for commercial sale 9mm Luger ammunition loaded with bullets that were reportedly rejected by a military customer but deemed suitable for commercial sale.

The key to both definitions is that the cartridges were intended for sale to organizations and/or individuals outside the company. That means the design was complete, tested and deemed as suitable for the intended weapon(s).

This is pretty straight-forward stuff.

I do not understand the reference to “internal use”. The first 9mm Luger pistols, except, for the three at Springfield, were just entering the country for commercial sale when the addition was made to the sales book. The only possible “internal use” would be if Winchester bought one of these pistols, which is of course possible, but in that case, why would they send a message to their salesmen directing them to add this cartridge to their sales books for commercial sales??? I have never heard of a major ammunition company offering “prototype” cartridges for commercial sale that I can recall. Prototype ammunition has been produced and sold to developers of weapons, but that is not the people the commercial salesman deals with, and I know of no such developers in 1903 in the US with an interest in the 9mm Luger cartridge…

Remember, DWM was to deliver 50 pistols and 25k rounds of ammunition for operational testing in late 1903.

Based on my experience, an officer who advocated operational testing of a pistol using ONLY foreign produced ammunition that had not apparently been delivered to anyone in the home country would be deemed incompetent.

I believe that Winchester did produce prototype ammunition and delivered what they thought was serviceable ammunition to Springfield. I further believe Springfield tested some of this ammunition before they ever recommend field operational trials of the Luger. Anything else would have been blatant incompetence. I further believe that the Army ordered a quantity, perhaps another 25,000 9mm Luger cartridges for use in the field trials. This ammunition would have been scheduled for delivery by late 1903 to be available when the pistols arrived.

About the time the ammunition would have been required, the commercial pistols were apparently arriving and it makes sense that Winchester would offer ammunition for this pistol that could become the new US service pistol. Winchester likely produced another few thousand rounds of the ammunition and told their sales staff to offer it. Sounds to me like production for both military and commercial sale.

As far as I know, there is no documentation of the field trials, nor any relevant Winchester production information from this period, so I have no written proof that Winchester sold ammunition to the Army for use in these trials. However, I can’t conceive of even a moderately incompetent officer recommending further testing and possible adoption (implied by the further testing) of the Luger when it had NEVER FIRED a US made cartridge.

You quote Dan Shuey, but much of this information comes from Dan.


PS: it is interesting that the 7.65mm Luger pistols for US Cavalry testing were delivered in October 1901, and the UMC Ledger indicates that they “Commenced making.” this caliber on Oct.1.1901. I believe that by this time, only a few thousand pistols had been made world-wide and most of these for the Swiss military. It seems very unlikely that there could have been a significant commercial market but the U.S. Board of Ordnance purchased 1,000 Model 1900 Parabellum pistols for testing offered a significant military market if the military wanted to confirm the pistols operated well with US ammunition. Seems to me that this UMC production, or some of it must have been for the Army testing. Of course, there are no of Winchester production records of this caliber this caliber in 1901/1902. The 7.65mm Luger cartridge appears in the Winchester 1903 catalog but I don’t have access to 1902 or 1901 catalogs. If someone does, I would appreciate them checking when this cartridge was first offered by Winchester.

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“Internal use” means for use only in the factory, as for instance, prototypes of cartridges they are thinking of making, or going to make. Don’t know any other way to say it in a couple of words, rather than a long explanation like this. In short, not production to fill an outside contract or for commercial sales.

The 7.65 mm Parabellum cartridge first appears in the 1903 catalog. It is not in the 1901 or 1902.

Edited - I believed I was sending a personal message, not a forum entry.

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