British 9mm Para Aluminum Case


#1

A friend and I were exchanging emails on this subject and I decided to put the pics I sent him on the forum.

There is evidence that testing, using Radway Green made cases was done as early as mid-1948, and the red RG case pictured below is dated “56” so the project continued for some time. Below are the British Aluminum cases in my collection. I’d be very interested in hearing about any others that are around, and photos if possible.


The yellow case load with purple on the head and the yellow case have the same headstamp, the “K” is just difficult to see under the purple paint. The two Kynoch headstamps are different. One has a period behind the 9mm.P and the other doesn’t. Also, one has a darkened finish and the other doesn’t.

Cheers,

Lew


#2

Very nice Lew! I seem to remember that you got the drill round on the left from me many years ago!

I cannot add any further information, but I am very surprised by the 1956 RG case. The light alloy program was cancelled in 1948 and I was unaware of any later developments. The program had actually started in late 1944 for the 20mm Hispano (which was what kicked the idea off) and then it spread to other calibres.

I am just finishing an article for the Journal on the whole British light alloy program including 9mm so the existence of a later dated case is of great interest.

Regards
TonyE


#3

Tony,

I am pretty far along with an article on the Aluminum case loads I was going to send the Journal also. I have seen and documented orange RG loads dated 52 and 55. I have MOD documentation that trials continued into 1949 and that Woolwich did testing on the BSA machine carbine with ammo that was three years old before DG of A directed the acquisition of 20,000 cases (orders were split between ICI and RG) It looks like DG of A finally directed the cancelled the 9mm project in what must have been 1953 or 1954, but subsequently the OB conducted a trial using both the RG and ICI cases and I think this must be where the 1955 & 1956 case came from. I have never seen a document cancelling this project except for an undated (in the part I have) after action report on British Aluminum case ammunition. There is reference in the material I have to RG having two annealing process, the “1949 treatment” and the “1952 treatment” which is how I can guess at the date of the order for 20,000 cases. In truth there is no evidence that 20,000 cases were delivered. The “1949 treatment” RG cases were used in the BSA machine carbine test, or so the documentation implies.

I have the early trial reports, but that file ends in 1948. I have some guesses on where some of the rounds pictured in this thread fit into the story.

Cheers,

Lew

PS: Good eyes and memory for a man your age!!! It is indeed the drill round you were kind enought to pass along. I have cleaned it up a bit and my drool marks I left when you first showed it to me are now almost invisible.


#4

Thanks Lew, that is good info. I had not started on the post 1950 documentation and that which I have says cancelled in 1948. That however may be specific to the cannon program.

I knew of your impending article (from Peter) but I don’t think there is any clash. I am covering all the calibres with more emphasis on the 20 and 30mm stuff and only basic details of the 9mm types. I will e-mail you off Forum and send you a draft when it is finished.

Did you get my other e-mail yesterday with the drawing?

John - yes, I did receive it, many thanks, I did not get round to responding last night.

Cheers
TonyE


#5

Just a little comment, almost an “aside” really. I am absolutely sure that none of this stuff ever escaped into what you might call the mainstream in the UK.
I have never heard abouts it, seen it or found any. So for you guys to have amassed such a collection is quite remarkable.

I would be interested to hear why the project was dropped. What were the deciding issues/ constraints etc


#6

Very little of these are in collector’s hands, I would say. I have three items - a fired case, a fired case with the top fourth of the case broken off, and an unheadstamped, unfinished piece of a Kynoch draw set, and I am probably darned luck to have that.

Lew may have the best collection of them in the world.

He will have a short but excellent article appearing in a future IAA Journal on this subject.


#7

Vince, Basically aluminum cases increased the cost of the 9mm ammunition by about 20% and reduced the weight of the loaded round by 22%. I suspect weight saving wasn’t worth the cost.

Cheers,

Lew


#8

Lew, we may keep in mind that drawing aluminum cases is less expensive than brass and in particular steel. Means less tools (draw stages) and less wear and as a result a faster production.

Otherwise I would have no explanation for the large scale production of Swiss 9x19 cased cartridges (and 7.65 Para) and last but not least the CCI range of aluminum cased cartridges we see for decades now.

Anyone familiar with production cost of aluminum cases?


#9

EOD, Numbers were from a British report on Aluminum case production sometime shortly after 1956. The increased cost of an aluminum case over a brass case for a 9x19mm case was given at 60%.

I was of the opinion that the Swiss went to Aluminum cases during WWII to save critical material, and not for cost or ease of manufacture. Had aluminum cases been either cheaper or easier to made, then I’d wonder why they went back to brass cases at the end of the war?

Since WWII the cost of brass has increased much faster than the cost of either steel or aluminum so now it makes sense to look for alternatives to brass, when those same cost factors didn’t apply in the 1940s & 1950s, or so I suppose.

Cheers,

Lew