A P Headstamp on 357 Mag


I have a 357 Mag. with headstamp “A P 357 MAGNUM”. It has a nickel case and primer with a 158 gr. SWC. Anyone know who “A P” is?

Also just got a G.F. L. Frangible .38 Special. What is G.F.L.'s trade name for their frangible load?


Hi Ron:
This would be Armsor Precision out of Manila, Phillipines.


Curtis–Thanks for the ID. Is your spelling a typo or is it spelled correctly?


I am not sure that name is totally right. Their catalog (same one given at SHOT 2008, 2009, 2010) shows the official name as Arms Corporation of the Philippines, located in Marikina City, P.I. They have long gone by Armscor of the Philippines though, on other printed material. The headstamp “AP” is usually attributed to “Armscor Philippines”. It became that name in the mid-1960s, changing from “Squires Bingham Co., Inc.” For a time, it did use the name, for its United States office (company), Armscor Precision (API) so it is not impossible that the headstamp stands for “Armscor Precision,” but that headstamp went all over, not just in America where it was called that. It could be, also, that it can be used for both names, depending on where the ammo is sold. Going by the latest catalog, they appear to be using mostly just “ARMSCOR” as their name now, although again, on their catalog, in the Philippines their official name remains “Arms Corporation of the Philippines.”

John Moss


John–It was Cartridgecorners spelling of “Armsor” without the “C” that I was questioning. I thought it was most likely “Armscor”. Thanks. For the time being I think I will record it as “Armscor Precision”. Seems to be a lot like the various names for PMC.


Ron - I know you were only questioning the spelling. It was I that was half-heartedly questioning the identification. My reservations about the meaning of the headstamp come from the fact the Armscor Precision of Pahrump, Nevada, doesn’t manufacture anything. They are simply the U.S. Office (sales Agency) for Arms Corporation of the Philippines products. I just feel that “AP” on a headstamp of ammunition sold internationally, (again, API is only the USA sales agency - others in other countries have different names) probably represented the name of the Company that actually made the ammunition, Arms Corporation (Armscor) of the Philippines.

On their website, that is, the website of the Philippine company, there is no mention of API at all, not even in their capsule history. The U.S. Catalog, which mentions which mentions also their trading partner Rock Island Armory, shows the API name in the general history of the whole Squires Bingham/Armscor of the Philippines company. The Philippine catalog does not.

There is another wrinkle in that headstamp use, and it probably only muddies the waters further. There is no question that the prvious headstamp of “ACP” meant “Arms Corporation of the Philippines.” Since about the turn of this century, they have been using the AP headstamp. I was told their was too much confusion over the “ACP” headstamp because for years, and on soe headstamps still is, “ACP” was part of the caliber ddesignation for calibers originally made in the USA for Colt (Automatic Colt Pistol), and that they chaged to AP to remove that confusion. In that case, it would still most likely stand for “Armscor of the Philippines.” However, on the other hand, the timing of the appearance of the AP headstamp is not so long after the forming of the Armscor Precision sales office in Pahrump NV, so that leaves open the question of whether it could stand for Armscor Precision. Since their full name is Armscor Precision Internation (API) one could wonder why they didn’t, in that case, make the headstamp “API” (but I suppose there are people who would then think it stood for “armor-piercing incendiary”!!).

I could be totally wrong. I often am. I will take steps to find out though.

John Moss


John–More good, well thought out arguments, for the possible meanings. I think perhaps the ACP confusion with Automatic Colt Pistol may be right on. I would appreciate anything you dig up confirming just what it does stand for.


Yes I left the C Out. But definitely Armscor. They manufacture ammo for many countries around the world. They have a mailing address and a factory address like many companies, so one will find different locations for them. Here is their web link, www.armscor.com.ph


The only recent Fiocchi frangible loads I’ve seen were sold/labeled with the ‘Sinterfire’ moniker. Sinterfire is the maker of the bullet (same situation with the Hornady XTPs loaded in their ‘Extrema’ line).

I’ve only seen 9mmP in Fiocchi frangibles so far…I’d actually like to get some .38 frangible practice stuff since Winchester’s .38sp frangible is getting difficult to find.


Fiocchi frangibles have been sold in the U.S. so far at least in 9mm Para, .40 S&W and .45 Auto. All the current ones use the Sinterfire Bullets. I have samples of all three in my collection. I don’t do revolver rounds, so don’t know if they have been around or not.

In the past, Fiocchi has loaded frangibles in at least 9mm with two other bullets, quite different from each other. They also loaded a .380 frangible with the most unusual bullet style (one of the two other 9mm types) but I have never been able to get one. Odd, since I am told they are not rare in Europe, but when the Europeans come to the shows here, they never seem to bring any. Guess they feel no one collects .380 much. I do!

John Moss


Well, maybe my “G.F.L. .38 SPECIAL” headstamped round isn’t a Frangible. I thought it was, but since no one seems to know of one, maybe it isn’t. It is quite lightweight and the bullet is a short roundnose. It is a light gray-brown color in a brass case.


Ron - If it is very light, the bullet that is, and that color, it is probably a frangible. It may not be loaded by Fiocchi, as they do not show any frangible load in .357 Magnum (or other revolver cartridges) in their last few catalogs (I don’t have a 2010 catalog regretably). That may reflect the fact that very, very few police agencies in the USA still use revolvers, and less overseas do.
I have at least one frangible 9mm that was loaded in Canada on Fiocchi brass.

One question is how light is the bullet? On rounds I don’t want to pull, but want an approximation of the bullet weight, I simply take a round of the same caliber and known bullet weight and weigh it against the unknown cartridge. I then subtract or add, as appropriate, the difference in the two cartridge weights to the bullet weight of the known round. While not 100 percent accurate due to probably differences in powder charge, it will give a fairly close approximation of the bullet weight of the unknown one.

The fact that the three or four respondents to any given forum don’t know of a round’s existence is fairly meaningless, considering the number of collectors that are really out there, and the amount of short-run or experimental ammunition that is made and never seen by most collectors.

John Moss