Australian made .32 auto and .32 S & W Short


#1

John Moss:

I have very little information on the .32 auto made by MF.
Manufacture commenced during the depression years in 1931 and continued through until 1941. I cannot find any quantities of production.
The Ball loading (the only one made to my knowledge) was produced to a local pattern i.e. drawing.
It was produced for the Services, and various Commonwealth and State departments as well as some was supplied to banks.

Only three headstamps known. MF .32 auto, M.F. .32 Auto and the really rare one MF1 .32 auto. at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock configuration. When I found the latter I thought it was a dirty mark, but it was a definite 1 with a slightly different configuration. I got it in the good old days, and was given it with a few other nice items by Footscray.
Official designation was Cartridge, S.A. Ball, .32 Auto Pistol.
Brass case with a copper primer and a round nosed cupro nickel projectile, with one cannelure and raised MF on the exposed lead projectile base; Case mouth crimped onto projectile cannelure.
They were packed head to tail in boxes of 50 rounds.

I was told the MF1 monogram indicated a separate annexe at MF, for it’s production, but suspect that to be incorrect. After MG was built, for a very short time MF used MF1 and MG used MF2 as their identifying monograms. Both these headstamps are found (again very rarely) on .303 Ball rounds.

Footscray also produced a small quantity of .32 S & W Short cartridges, between July 1929 and June 1931. Other than a few specimens, I have little other knowledge at this point.
Again, a plain brass case with a copper primer and a lead projectile. The headstamp being M.F .32 at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock configuration.
Official designation was Cartridge, S.A. Ball, Revolver, .32 In. to the best of my knowledge.

Sorry I can’t add more on the latter, but will let you know if my trawling through records yields any results.

9mm will take a little longer, and I’m going to be away for a couple of weeks.

Cheers

John


#2

Dear JK, I think that the short use of “MF1” and MF2" was due to the fact that expansion of ammunition facilities began in 1940, with Footscray expanding to meet the needs of War. The Other Factories were planned, but delays in acquiring Machinery from the US (after Pearl Harbour) and the impossibility of any machinery arriving from the UK, and having to rely on The two Manufacturers of such machinery in Australia, Goerz in Melbourne, and John Heine inj Sydney, ( both of German Immigrant Origin) saw the other factories set up in mid-1942. The use of the Telegraphic addresses (MF, MG, MJ,MH, MQ, and MW) resulted from a natural expansion of the “M series” of Munitions Factory Telegraphic addresses…it was a natural progression to make Footscray #2 ,“MG” and the South Australian Factories at Hendon (No3 and 4, MJ and MH).
With the establishment of Rocklea, the “K” & “R” letters were already in use, so they used “Q” (Queensland)…same for Western Australia (Welchpoole) “MW”.
Salisbury Annex ( tracer ammo) was given the “lower case” letter “Ms” initially, & the capital “MS” for the infamous Lot of GII ammo which was condemned.

As to the .32 ammo, Pre-war supply was mostly for State Police, Commonwealth Police, Customs, and Treasury, and the Banks (Commercial and Gov’t Owned)

In 1939-40, the .32ACP was adopted for use by Senior Officers, and the RAAF…hence the Ball Ammuniton production.

Info on Munitions production in “The Role of Science and Industry” ( Australia’s History of WW II Series, and one other volume as well IIR.)

Doc AV