Australian made .45 ACP

I’m trying to tidy up my records of .45 ACP made in Australia.

I need to know if anyone has a Ball round with a MF headstamp dated 1952 or 1953 or 1954, or a Drill round dated 1956.
The only Dummy/Drill round I know of is a remanufactured US round with the headstamp E C 42. I was of the opinion this was a wartime issue, but could be wrong. I do know a requirement for .45 Drill rounds was issued in 1956.

Dear John, as far as I have found over 40 years since seeing my first Packet of EC42 Steel cased .45 ammo here in Brisbane (I still have it) and several loose MF .45 43 dates, I have kept all the examples I have found, including a MF 56 (RAAF order)
I think production during WW II ceased at the end of 1944 (AFAIK) since there was sufficient US made Steel cased ammo in our neck of the woods, and the earlier “Commercial” .45 ammo supplied under Lend Lease since 1942. Since the needs of both the RAAF and the RAN were minimal after 1945 ( training, anti Piracy work in the waters to the North) and the need during the Korean War were supplied by the US, it took till 1956 for the RAAF to request New supplies of .45 ammo ( the wartime stuff was now past its “Use-by” date)…here where the request of .45 Drill rounds seems appropriate

I have not come across .45 Drill rounds of Aussie-make in WW II, but “solutions of necessity” done by Unit armourers with fired (lend lease) cases do exist. MF examples certainly do exist with 42,43 ands 44 dates, just that I haven’t seen any…

The final chapter of the Australian .45 story ends in April 1975, when all the TSMGs and ammunition still in store in Australia was gathered up, and flown by RAAF Hercules to the embattled Phnom Pen, where they were soon to fall into the Hands of the Khmer Rouge a couple of weeks later when they over-ran PP.
Some TSMGs had been deactivated and surplussed out to Collectors and Movie Gun hirers; they are the only legitimate “A^F” and “MA FTR” Marked Guns left…for movie use we made new firing pins where necessary, and closed up the 7/16th" hole in the Barrel in front of the chamber (threaded, and set-grub screw) BFA fitted, and Full profile .45ACP blanks re-surrected these warhorses for films such as Kokoda, Thin Red Line, Great Raid, etc.

Doc AV

John K. - I have the following Australian .45 Mark IZ and Mark I cartridges in my collection. All have brass cases with a knurled case cannelure, GM FMJ RN Bullets, copper primer cups with what appears to be a ring primer crimp, and purple primer seals, unless otherwise noted. These are the only .45 Automatic cartridges from Australia that I have seen or know about:

Ball - MG 43 IZ
Ball - MG 43 IZ (larger headstamps letters)
Ball - MG 43 .45 IZ
Ball - MG 44 .45 IZ
Ball - MG 44 .45 IZ (smooth case cannelure)
Ball - MF 56 .45 I (No case cannelure)
Dummy - MF 56 .45 I (empty, Berdan-type pocket primer, no case cannelure,
5 small holes in case, staggered High/Low, and an internal red-wood spacer to prevent bullet set-back apparent thru the case holes).
Dummy - E C 42 (steel case, no case cannelure, snapped original copper
primer cup, 4 small holes in case space equidistant around the case all at the same height),

Commercial ball round(?) - W-W 45 Auto (Brass case, FMJ or Monolithic projectile that is totally tin-plated, or otherwise plated to a silver color, RN with flat base - I have a separate projectile as well. No case cannelure,
nickle Boxer primer cup, no primer seals).

I assume Doc Av has made blanks also, but I don’t know of any in collections, at least in Europe or USA.

Doc Av - Do you have documentation for dummy rounds made at MG (you said “MF” but I assume you meant MG considering the dates mentioned) made in 42, 43, and 44? You say they “certainly do exist” but that you have not seen one. I have not seen one either, and know of no one else who has. You also mention MF 43 ball rounds. I am not aware of any production of .45 by MF until 1956. It has always appeared that MG was the only producer of this caliber during the War years. Of course, this leaves us back again, as with some other threads, faced with the bugaboo that you cannot prove (or disprove) a negative. Still, there must be some source for your information on WWII MG-made dummy rounds?

Sorry JM, I mis-wrote…I meant MG (Footscray Factory No.2) across the road from MF, for the WW II production of .45ACP.
BTW, after WWII, MG continued Normal Production until 1949, whence it became “MF”, by absorbing and relocating some of the Machinery of the Original MF factory. MG’s Machinery was “New” having been built Locally or acquired from the US (Waterbury-Farrel etc) during WW II, whilst MF’s Machinery dated back to the late 1800s and WW I, for the most part.

Factory Records of WW II production seem to have been Destroyed in 1995,( including the Reference Collection) when the MF/AFF/ADI Footscray Plant was demolished and the machinery mostly broken up & scrapped (UN protocol). Maybe there are the “orders” etc docs. in the Defence/Army Archives in Canberra?

Doc AV

Doc - interesting info. Thanks.

Hi DocAv,

Thanks for that info. The MG monogram is initially quite confusing if you are not aware of the circumstances. I have the original Footscray paperwork regarding the change from MG to MF in 1949. I’m not sure if it was a deliberate stuff up on the part of Footscray. Suffice to say they had headstamp tooling made up with the MF monogram. Could have been an error by the toolmakers or a try on by Footscray to go one up on the Army Inspection Service. The change apparently wasn’t noticed until the first batch was presented to the AIS for inspection. I find it difficult to believe production could have gone that far without it being noticed, still the upshot was they were officially allowed to change their monogram to MF.

In the early 70s I was sent a listing from the Army Inspection Service of most calibres and loadings, and dates they were manufactured in all the SAA factories beginning with CAC. The .450 Ball were listed as being manufactured at No. 2 factory from 1943 to 1958. Unfortunately, AIS inspection dates don’t necessarily correspond with headstamp dates, so it can be confusing. We know there was a break from 1944 to 1955 in the production of the .450, so this information I have needs to be verified with specimens.

The list also says a batch of .450 Drill was manufactured in 1956. This would be correct and relate to the round I did have, and the one in John Moss’s collection which are identical.

The only “official” wartime .450 Drill was the reworked E C 42 round, although as you say, there are instances of Dummy/Drill rounds in many calibres made by armourers etc.



John Moss,

Thanks for the listing of your collection.
The MG 43 1Z was new to me, all rounds I’ve seen have the calibre in the headstamp, but now you stirred me up, David Mayne shows an example in his book. He also noted the wartime specimens had a cannelure, where the 1955/56 versions had plain cases
I have sighted both 1955 and 1956 versions in Ball loadings, and as I said to DocAv, also the 1956 Drill as per your example. The EC 42 Dummy I’ve recorded has the headstamp and annulus painted bright red. I was advised by Footscray the reworking was done there.

It’s very possible the last submission to AIS was headstamped 56, and not presented until 1958. Not an unusual occurrence, mainly done to cause confusion with researchers and collectors!!!

I’m trying to update my records calibre by calibre and loading by loading with dates of manufacture. I want to end up with as complete a database as possible, all, or most of which has been verified by official records and specimens.


John - Thanks for the added information. I have never seen the MF 55 .450 as you chaps from Oz call the .45 M1911 round. I’ll have to be on the lookout for one. I don’t usually save dates, but I cheat a little with .45s if I deem them important.

John Moss,

The reason for us calling it the .450 is because we usually follow the British nomenclature. Virtually all Australian war materials were manufactured from British drawings in order to ensure compatibility in the field. It was only on rare occasions when we couldn’t get the drawings fast enough for urgent requirements that we did our own thing to a degree. Thus sometimes we find the description to include (Aust), like the .450. The other way we differ from the Brits is when we do our own thing and use the F series of names. Such as the F8 7.62mm Tracer.

The proper name for our .45 Model 11 is, Cartridge, S.A., Ball, .450 Inch., Mark 1Z (Aust). I haven’t explored this fully, but guess we didn’t have any British drawings.
Production ceased in July 1944 and recommenced for a short period in 1955/56.

I have a file about 1 1/4 inches thick of the cables and correspondence regarding British supply of drawings from October 1939 to August 1941. The secret documents from the war years emphasise the importance of obtaining necessary drawings. For example, 16,947 drawings were required to manufacture a Bren Gun. For a small country with a population of around 7 million, with 10% on active service we did pretty well. In 1939 all we could manufacture were SMLEs and .303s. By 1941/42, we were locally manufacturing all our requirements, and became an exporter of munitions. I’d hate to think how we would cope now if the same situation arose, with the virtual destruction of our manufacturing bases. Enough of that before I start ranting about Government.



John - Thanks once again for the added information. I will say this - the USA could not duplicate the WWII effort today regardless of the seriousness of the threat. It is a different generation, a different country and a different world.

I love my Lithgow No. I Mark III* made in WWII, which I chose to keep out of about six or seven different No. i Mark IIIs I had all at once years ago. I also kept my Lithgow .22 Verson, Rifle No. 2 Mark IV? I should look on the buttstock where the proper and complete designation is, as I have forgotten it.
I would love to have a Lithgow-made Bren but aside from everything else such as rarity, import laws, etc., contrary to United States Law, we cannot own any auto weapon in California, even if registered under Federal Law. There is a permit in this state that allows it, but they give it to no one!

But then, aside from the snakes and gun laws, what’s not to like about Bazzaland?

Thanks John K. Interesting stuff. I envy your files on Ozzie SA and SAA.


I’ve been pretty lucky with obtaining information. Guess it is some part of the harder you work, the luckier you get. It was fortunate that I started when I did, when there were still guys around who lived the experience. I followed up every lead I could find, and that is the backbone of my work.
DocAv was correct about Footscray destroying most of their records when they closed, however I managed to get a pile about a foot high, some of which is useful, such as the change to MF from MG. I considered that pretty vital to have. Most of it is general information, so not a lot of use for my research but still interesting.
I’m back to trying to track details again, when my wife lets me stay home instead of travelling all over the place. She has this yen to see as much as possible while we are still able to do so. Does get in the way of my research.

I’ll try to get more specific dates and quantities of manufacture of the .450 for you if I can. Then I’m continuing on to do likewise with the 9mm Parabellum, if that will interest you.



Another snippet for John Moss,

The .450 cartridge was first manufactured at MG (no. 2 Footscray factory) in 1943. Production space was allocated to manufacture 52,000,000 rounds. This amount obviously carried over into 1944. I don’t know the actual quantity produced against this allocation.

The .450 Drill cartridge was manufactured to an Australian drawing and was designated "Cartridge, S.A., Drill, .450inch,(Aust.).

Found my records of deliveries. First submission to Army Inspection Service was in February 1943 and the last submission was in July 1944.
I don’t think I have the dates for the 1955/56 deliveries. From my notes I doubt there will be any headstamp later then 56.

I’m trying to get all my notes in order, but it will take months, provided I get some time at home.!!!



John - Again, thank you. This is a great thread for the .45 collector. I learned a lot. And, YES, I am interested in 9 mm and also very interested if you have any notes on the “MF” .32 Auto production. I would suggest separate threads for each caliber, though, if and as information becomes available.