Austrian 9mmPs

Here is another question for the community. The following are three 9mm Paras with the headstamp normally found on 9mm Mauser ammunition. I have a round with this headstamp that was intercepted by Italian police as part of a shipment to the rebels in Algeria. It is a Mauser case, cut to 19mm with the bullet reseated and the powder looks like a mixture of about 3 different powders. I always view any 9x19mm cartridge with this headstamp as a probable fake. I have however seen some that look very good in some pretty well known collections.

The following are three I have kept around because they look pretty good. All have magnetic bullets, and none show any evidence of reloading or of bullets being pulled. The two with the red case mouth seal are well done and the seal has lightly colored the mouth of the cartridge case.

The cartridge with no casemouth seal shows where the base of the bullet is but no obvious buldging from seating a bullet into the thicker casewall lower in a 9mm Mauser case. I obtained it out of a collection in England in the 1970s. The CN bullet load with red cms was obtained in the mid-1980s in Europe and looks very nice. The round with the GM bullet was obtained from a collection in Europe in the early 1990. What to you think???

Oh! One other bit of information, the weight of the two loads with CN color bullets is about 194 & 192 gr indicating a 124 gr bullet. The GM bulled load weighs 165 gr indicating it is loaded with a steel core mE bullet.



I have the same round as the one with the GMCS bullet. I cannot claim that I know it is factory, but I will make a couple of observations for what it is worth.

Firstly, the weight of my cartridge is basically the same as Lew’s - it weighs 167.4 grains measured on a properly zeroed RCBS electronic scale. The bullet ogive is the same - more pointed than some RN FMJ bullets. There are no signs that the case has ever been fired. We have discussed those signs recently and they need not be repeated here. The neck seal, a nice shade of reddish purple is identical to the color of the neck seal on a Wollersdorf-headstamped 7.65 mm Browning (.32 Auto) cartridge I have with a 1922 headstamp, but which I consider to be loaded much later than that. I have an early specimen with CN bullet and no seals in the 32 with the same headstamp, and that one is probably more contemproary to the 1922 headstamp date than the one I am using here for comparison. The .32 is also with a GMCS bullet. By the way, on the 9mm the reddish-purple mouth seal, although it is hard to tell in Lew’s picture, on my specimen clearly overlaps the top of the case mouth, so it is not just a bullet with a neck seal pulled and put into another case. The seal was applied after the bullet was seated.

My cartridge was acquired from a box of many different 9mms at a show, at a modest price, not more than a dollar, as I recall. No motive there for faking. Further, because of the questions they raise, their value is probably not much higher than that of the original 9mm Mauser specimens.

Regarding the slight bulge in the case from seating the bullet, you see plenty of brand new factory ammo with such a bulge, sometimes very visible and almost all the way around the case. These bulges usually are like these Austrian 9mm Para with the 9 x 25 Mauser-style headstamp, only visible on one side of the case. The bulge, as everyone knows is from the combination of the bullet diameter and the inside diameter of the sized, ready-to-load case. Even with new ammo, sometimes the bullet is big enough to make such a bulge. It is not a sign of poor quality or anything wrong. I am not even sure how much thicker the case would be after shortening even a full 6mm from 9mm Mauser to 9mm Parabellum, as it still is no where near the web of the case, where it really starts to thicken. It may be thicker or it may not - I simply don’t know. These cases would need to be slightly small in the inside diameter since they show no stab, roll or taper crimp. The bullet is a friction fit, judging from my own specimen.

I consider the load I have to be factory - that is, at the least, an arsenal shortening of a 9mm Mauser case and loading as 9mm Para for whatever reason. Perhaps a surplus of cases for the 9 x 25 or a critical shortage of cases for the 9 x 19. Maybe even nothing more than a clean up of left over components at the factory after WWII. Again, I don’t know. This is one of those loads that could be a dingbat, but everything I know about ammo, as little as that is, points to this being a professional and quantity (not done in a tiny amount) conversion at the least, and perhaps even original 9mm Para cases with the same headstamp as the 9mm Mauser ones. The same basic headstamp, remember, was used on 8 x 56R rounds for the Steyr 95 rifle. (I didn’t say the same bunter, so please, no one read that into my statement). I have seen at least five, perhaps six of this identical round. However it was loaded, my gut feeling is that it is an “original” cartridge, perhaps loaded later than the headstamp date would indicate (maybe even after WWII), regardless of the original length of the case be it made in 19mm or shortened from 9 x 25mm.

I cannot comment on the ones with CN bullet - I have never seen them anywhere before.

John, Both of the casemouth seals look identical in color and both overlap the casemouth as you describe. Althought the bullets are different, they appear to be related loads.

Lew - is the one shown on the right, with no case mouth seal, longer in the case than the other two? Measuring off of my screen, the head of it is almost 1/4 inch below the heads of the other two, and yet the case mouth is only an eighth of an inch below the other two. It looks like it might be almost an eighth of an inch longer in case length than the other two. Also, the mouth of that one, in the photo, seems to have a little outward turned lip at the mouth - tiny but perceptible. The other two are like mine, with just the slightest chamfer of the outside edge of the mouth, like a finished off cut from a draw set might be, or professional quality workmanship in the cut, anyway. The one on the left looks to me like it is a cut-off case, and not done with the attention to detail of the others, which leads one to believe that the absence of the neck seal on it is not a product of production change, but an oversight on whoever cut it off. I could be wrong - hard to tell from the picture. Do you consider that one in the same light as the other two? From the picture alone, I wouldn’t. I might feel different looking at the rounds themselves, of course.

Good eye John — You get the Gold Star!!!,

In fact, most 9x19 of the period have caselengths that measure 0.745"-0.751" but the round with no case mouth seal 0.767", about .02" longer than the kind of average. Current brass cases seem to measure 0.749"-0.754" but still a lot shorter than the round in question.

Under a 40x glass, all confirmed legit rounds, on the casemouth, show circumferintial marks, but the round in question shows very faint but distinct scratch marks from one side of the case to the other, and on one of the two sides where the marks are radial (the vary from radial at 12 & 6 to tangantial at 3 & 9) is where the lip is indicating that a file of some sort was moved in this direction.

The other two casemouths are identical with each other. It is not possible to see if there are scratch marks or circumferintial marks because most of the casemouth is covered with lacquer, but both casemouths have been trimmed into a very slight bevel on the outside to remove any lip or other irregularity. The bevel has radial marks all the way around which may be tool chatter as the tool is spun, or the bevel could have been done with a fine file as the case is turned.

I think it is pretty clear that the round without a cms was made from a 9mm Mauser case. In fact, this is the cartridge that was “remanufactured” in Italy, reportedly for the rebels in Algeria in the 70s that I mentioned in the original post. It originated with an Italian policeman.

I have not made up my mind on the other two - maybe they are originally 9x19mm cases and maybe not!!!

Anyone else with have any information??? Has anyone ever seen a box of These rounds.

Just because a case has been cut off does not exclude it from my collection. About 20 years ago a LOT of pre-WW2 Geco 9mm Steyr ammunition came into the US and was being sold cheap. A reloader in Tennessee bought a large batch of it, trimmed the cases to 19mm and resold it in the original boxes with an overstamp. I found out about these rounds when some began turning up at crime scenes! I obtained one of these rounds-couldn’t get the box-and it is in the US section of my collection!!! Others may pass on this round, but it all depends on what you collect.

I am glad to hear that I was right in my perception of the case mouths and lengths in the photograph. I didn’t think it was an illusion caused by the photo.

My criteria for keeping cut-off case rounds, or any suspect cartridge in my own collection is who did it and why. If I don’t know, I tend not to keep them. Of course, there are not many 9mms in cut-off cases, as generally, there is no reason make this case from something else. It has to be from a longer case of the same basic dimensions, and that usually means from a caliber that is somewhat scarcer than the 9 x 19. The instance you cite about the 9 mm Steyr cases from RWS is a good example, though. It was done commercially, to attempt to sell ammunition that was not selling well in its original form, due to too great a supply for the demand. That is a purpose-driven alteration, not an alteration to deceive, and I would collect it also - in fact, I have the same round in my own collection, found on our local range among a lot of fired cases of the same, some years ago. I consider it a legitimate 9mm Para “conversion” and like you, a U.S. cartridge. I should have kept a few of the fired cases to give out, but didn’t since I found a loaded round and considered it of only moderate interest, and probably of no interest to a purist collector.

I probably wouldn’t keep the one from Italy. If the others of the same headstamp are cut-off or not, they are done in a very professional manner and I believe them to be at the minimum, a factory conversion. That doesn’t necessarily mean the factory that originally made them, although the mouth seal looks Austrian to me, judged from my “WW” Woellersdorf .32 auto round. The other appears to be quite badly done in comparison, and to me, wouldn’t really add anything of significance to my collection. Each to his own method of collecting. I have a space problem since I collect all auto pistols rounds, so I am somewhat more selective in the instance of rounds like these - I have to be.

John, I kept the cutoff 9mm Mauser because it was converted in large quantity in Italy and reloaded for sale to the Algerian rebals. It was part of a shipment siezed in transit by the Italian police. To me that is as legit as the Geco 9M/M St since it was a “production” item and not converted to deceive. Different convertor and different customer. This round originally came from Alessio Grimaldi to a British collector, and I communicated with Alessio on it. Had I found it in a junk box, like the Geco 9M/M St, I probably wouldn’t have kept it!

Were I a 9mm Para-only Specialist, I would keep it also, based on Grimaldi’s testimony. It is just that with the space problem I have, it is enough for me to file that information. which I will with the rest of this thread (yes, I print out almost every thread on this forum for my files). Even if I had one of the cartridges, I probably wouldn’t keep it because I have already one of the same headstamp that I like better. I do keep minor factory variations (in the case of your round, a lack of a case-mouth seal would be the only variation on it that would bring any interest to me). Factory-produced rounds could be supplied on contracts for ten different clients using the identical headstamp and identical components and loading, but even if all were identified to me I would only keep one specimen of the round, and only keep the information about the other nine. I couldn’t give the space to ten identical rounds because they went to ten different clients In the case in question, because of the poor workmanship of the conversion, I don’t think just the absence of a case-mouth seal would be sufficient variation for me to keep it. Too much like a home workshop round. I would keep the one with CNCS bullet and a case-mouth seal though. A major variation from mine with GMCS bullet, and perhaps done at the same location. Each to his own in collecting.