9x19mm Winchester-Western production post-WWII


#1

Just received information on Olin (WRA & WCC) 9mmP commercial production post WWII. The data runs from 1948-1960. All Olin production during this period was 115gr bullets and peaked at over 6.5M in 1948, dropping to just less than 2M in 1949 and then about 1.5M slowly dropping down just less than 1M in 1960. There was also some Government production from 1956-1959.

Overall, Centerfire pistol ammunition sales averaged about 28M rds per year from 1936-1940, and stopped entirely from 1941 through 1945 then up to over 50M in 1946, over 40M in 1947 and peaked at about 60M in 1948.

The first post-WWII Olin production of 9mmP I have documented was from February 1947 by WRA using a pre-WWII WRA box and WRACo cases with 115gr bullets. I have not documented any Western production in Western boxes post WWII through 1965 when the two totally merged. However The East Alton plant produced a large portion of the commercial 9mmP ammo for WRA beginning at least as early as January 1948 (identified by WRA boxes with an “A” prefix on the load code on the inside of the box end tabs.

Cheers,
Lew


#2

While Lew’s information about REAL production during WWII and after is likely correct, I thought I would peruse my Western catalogs a bit. The last Wartime catalog I have is dated January 2, 1942, and still shows a full commercial line, with the 9 mm offered in two loadings, both 125 grain, metal case and hollow-point soft nose. Does this mean they were still delivering the ammo, along with the rest of the line? Not in my judgment. I would not rule out some shipments, but it is unlikely that in 1942, with America’s real involvement in the war just getting off to a rocky start, that they would be relegating much production to commercial sales. Concerning bullet weight, my earliest Western catalog from the 1920s shows the weight as 124 grains, but somewhere along the line it changed to 125 grains. The weight change is absolutely insignificant except to those puzzled by weights shown on the packaging for this caliber. It is an academic question at best.

The March 7th, 1946 catalog, my next date, shows only one 9 mm load, the 125 grain Full Patch, and is the first of my catalogs to indicate that this caliber was only available in the Winchester line.The July 9th, 1946 catalog shows the same information. (By the way, I should stop saying “catalogs” as most of these are dealer price lists published by the factory). The January 2, 1947 price list shows the single load of 9 mm Luger as available only in the Winchester brand, as do all my succeeding price list up to my last from January 2, 1976. but the bullet weight had been dropped to 115 grains.

By the 1976 price sheet, all centerfire pistol ammunition, including blanks, were shown as Winchester brand only, even though the Price Sheet is a Western sheet, not Winchester-Western. There was one exception, and one can’t help to wonder if it isn’t a printing error. The .44 Magnum Revolver round with (Index 44MHSP) with with 240 hollow-point soft-nose bullet, is not marked as “Winchester only” even though the .44 Magnum with 240 grain Lead Gas-Check bullet IS shown as Winchester only.

The Winchester-Western brands have always been a bit confusing to sort out.
I hope this helps a little, especially in light of the actual production details Lew posted. I think that most of us know that appearance on price lists is not a guarantee of availability contemporary to that list.


#3

So the WCC (over) 9mm LUGER-headstamped cases are all pre-war?!? Well, that would explain why I only rarely see them.


#4

d’Artagnan - No, the headstamp “WCC 9 mm LUGER” is post war. Probably from the 1980s or so. I think it was a commercial headstamp for either a police contract or just for commercial sales, but for export. I have no documentation that is was for export. I base that only on its scarcity in the US and the fact that my own specimen came out of Germany. I know that is no guarantee that it was not acquired by the German collector in the US first. I don’t recall if I had any conversation at all about where he got it. I usually don’t ask that question, because many collectors are very protective of their sources. I base the “contract” idea only on the fact that it showed up in one short time-frame only.

There is also “WCC 9 mm” which is found with a red primer seal and is probably a “commercial sales” export, and with a blue primer seal, which was a German Police Contract.

The pre-war WESTERN commercial 9 mm cartridges had various small variations but all with “WESTERN” as the maker on the headstamp, not “WCC.”

There is also a “W C C 7 3” headstamp that is found more in signal cartridges than it is in ball rounds, but contrary to some belief, they were loaded in ordinary ball as well. I have one in my own collection in ball, and a couple of different color signal cartridges. I believe the headstamp is only known from the year 1983.

The point is that post-war WCC headstamps are legion. There are many more that are much more common than the three above, including the long-used WCC+P+ 73 (the date given is just for headstamp illustrations - it is found with dates from almost every year up thru at least about 2005 and maybe still used, and has been made in several variations). Also the famous 9 MM R&D WCC 82 headstamp, in several variations, from the Eglin AFB Tests, as well as a long series of German contracts with headstamps like WCC N6 9mm and WCC B81 9x19. Then, all the silencer loads that were made with WCC headstamps, as well as ordinary pre-NATO and NATO ball rounds of various dates.

I am sure you know most of this already. This is for the non-9mm collector’s as well, who might not be aware of it, and was prompted by your conclusion that the WCC 9 mm LUGER headstamp was pre-War.


#5

Regarding recent WCC+P+, I have nickel-plated cases from years 05, 06, 07, 09, and 10; and brass cases 06 and 10.


#6

I just ran across this post, The summer of 2014 was an interesting time and apparently I missed a lot of posts.

John,Thanks for the great information on catalog information. I am sure the January 1942 catalog was completed and probably printed before Pearl Harbor. I doubt this 9mm ammo was ever sold commercially.

Since my original post, I have found that Olin did continue to manufacture some “Commercial” calibers during the war like the 270 rifle. These were not offered for normal commercial sales but were available to police forces, game wardens, etc, and to farmers and similar civilians for pest control and the like. It was more normal commercial sales that were terminated for the war. Probably some of their prewar stock of 9mm Luger was sold during the war, but I suspect most of it stayed in storage and that is the 125gr ammunition offered in the March 1946 price list. Winchester (WRACO) 9mm in 1946 was still truncated cone 125gr bullets in he prewar style Blue & Yellow boxes, either prewar stock or prewar components loaded post war. In 1947 and 1948 Winchester was still loading WARCO cases but with 115gr bullets. In fact, from the box dates I have, Western was manufacturing 9mm Luger with the new WRA headstamps in January 1948 (and perhaps before that) while Winchester in New Haven was still using the WRACO headstamped cases as late as Nov 1948, although they apparently were also loading the WRA hst cases in Oct 1948.

Based on the boxes I have documented, I think Western actually make most of the Winchester marked 9mm Luger after WWII and before they became W-W.

Cheers,
Lew

Cheers,
Lew

By early 1947 Both Western and Winchester were producing 9mm Luger, but both were using the WRA headstamps.