British 9mm Standard cartridges

in the 3 volumes of bound drawings “Production Manual for Cartridges. SA 9mm Mk2z” there is a section in the 3rd volume on packaging, cartons, transit boxes and labels. One thing that stood out was this label for a bulk package of “standard” cartridges, something I couldn’t remember being mentioned in Labbett’s book on British 9mm production. It also stood out because of the most un-utilitarian use of graphics rather than the regular formulaic rubric found on these things.

Is the lacuna in Labbett’s text, despite there being an illustration of a 35 round box label on page 60, an oversight or are British “standard” cartridges something that didn’t exist ?


They most certainly do exist. A yellow primer annulus seal is the key. I have them in Cal. .30 (06), .303" & .50" Browning MG as per the Xerox below. Haven’t looked through my Pistol & Revolvers but I’m sure they exist as per the 9mm boxes noted


The normal British Ballistic Standard rounds in 9 mm Para
are identified by a yellow primer seal. I have posted the complete
cartridge weights for each one, in answer to an inquiry about them.

In my own collection,
I have:

K 9MM27 177.9 grains
RG 60 9MM 2Z 183.1 grains

There are other test ball rounds as well, and I don’t know for sure
if they would be classified as ballistic standard or "Reference Rounds"
as they are called in some countries, or not. that are identified in
various ways.

Purple bullet tip:

C-P 43 9 MM (183.1 grains)
K57 9MM 2Z (177.9 grains)
RG 66 9MM 2Z + (The “+” enclosed in a circle - NATO mark) (183.1 grains)

Extractor Groove colored purple:

H^N 45 9NN 2Z (small headstamp letters) (182.7 grains)
H^N 45 9 M M 2Z (larger headstamp letters and different spacing) (179.2 grains)

Extractor Groove colored Reddish Violet:

H^N 45 9MM 2Z (179.8 grains)

On all of the “HN” rounds, the “^” represents the broad arrow actually on the headstap.

Edited to include cartridge weights, all compatible with having 115 grain bullets.
John Moss


With respect to your rounds with coloured extractor groove, are these not ‘Heavy Ball’? see

Jim - none of them are heavy ball. Their complete cartridge weights,
measured against a Winchester 115 Grain FMJ loading from a
labeled Winchester box, (182.3 grains) are quite compatible
with 9mm 115 grain loadings. I have posted the weights of all
of the rounds I listed as an amendment to my previous posting,
just for continuity.

John Moss

The HN rounds with the colored extractor groove (Red, Purple & Green) were used to test the Sterling MP during it’s development. The colors signify different powder loads. One of them has a wad on top of the powder charge to keep the powder down at the primer. I suspect all known rounds came from a batch that came out of the old Sterling factory in the 1970s. These are not Heavy Ball loads. I know Tony E had them shown under this heading, but he knew they were normal 115gr bullets.

The purple tip means it it a limited production or special purpose cartridge-and perhaps experimentals. Quite a few of the subsonic rounds with the color codes on the head also have purple tips.

I have never seen a WWII era round with a pruple tip, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Does your CP round have a magnetic bullet???

I have a C-P 43 9 MM Standard load with a yellow pa. The box is a normal ball load box overstamped “STANDARD”. Also an H^N 44 9M/M IIZ with a yellow pa

There is also a standard round in another collection with a Kynoch headstamp and a brown tip bullet.

I also have RG Standard rounds dated 54

The yellow pa also shows up on a RG copper plated proof round from 55.

The British also used color strips on the base and sometimes on the primer.The London proof house used a half purple base on occasion.

Lots of colors on British 9x19mm.


Lew - Thanks for the clarification on the purple-tipped rounds.
No, my C-P 43 load does not have a magnetic bullet. Looking
at it, the tip color is very faint. There is a chance that it is simply
a ball cartridge with a discolored tip, after looking at it with a high-
quality jeweler’s loop just now. Am just not sure.

Am aware of purple-striped base proofs. I do not have one in 9 mm,
but I do in various other calibers, including .38 Auto (for which I
have the box), .32 Auto, .45 Auto, and .455 auto with both civilian
Kynoch headstamp and E.18 military headstamp from Eley. I am
told the latter is quite rare. I don’t have any round with this purple
strip that I know to be a ballistic standard, or anything else other
than a proof load.

Have never seen any pistol round with the half-purple base, so
cannot comment on them. The same for any British brown-tip
load, a color that I relate only to Argentine proof loads. So, again,
I would have no idea what loading “Brown” represents on a Kynoch

One of the problems with having a mediocre collection in one field.
I consider my British 9 mm collection in that category.

British 9 mm proofs are a strange lot to me, and I often wonder if
they are all legitimate rounds; not that they are not proofs, since
they are so-headstamped, but due to added color markings. Here’s
what I have, all of which have copper plated cases:

RG 55 9MM QMK1Z - Yellow primer seal. (The “K” in “MK” is smaller than the other
letters, and is underlined)
RG 55 9MM Q1Z - Honey-colored primer seal
RG 56 9MM Q,1Z - Yellow primer seal
RG 56 9MM Q,1Z - Orange primer seal (perhaps honey-colored, but darker than my other)
RG 56 9MM Q,1Z - Entire base colored red
K 9 mm - Entire base purple (lower case “mm” in caliber marking)
H^N 44 9 M M Q1 - Doesn’t appear to have any primer seal; if there is one, it is yellow.

Nice to have a better handle on what those Sterling test rounds are, though. Thanks
again. Good info.

John Moss

It may be of interest to know we also made some 9mm Standard in Australia.
I hope to, in the not too far distant future, document the Australian 9mm history for the Journal. In the meantime an extract.

. Two lots of 9mm Standard were manufactured, the first for 10,000 rounds in 1965 and the second lot of 20,000 rounds in 1970. The only identification feature used to distinguish it from normal Ball ammunition, was to seal the cap annulus with yellow lacquer.
John Kindred

1 Like

John - Great info. Thank you. I was totally unaware of any Australian
Standard loads. I would think the very small quantities made in those
two years would translate today as impossible to find.

I do have a couple of Australian 9 mm proof loads. One is a standard
CWS-case Q1 loading. The other looks like a standard ball with just
a red bullet tip covering basically only the tip of the bullet. An acquaintance
of mine that had a private Museum at Ballerat got both of them for me from
Footscray. I still have, I believe, the “O.H.M.A.S.” envelope from Footscray
that they put them in.

Thanks again for the info!

John Moss

I don’t recall ever seeing a 9mm Standards, but being totally dependent upon annulus colour they would be very easy to overlook. I’ll have to take a closer look at any ball loads with the two dates, if I get a chance. My details came from John Martin, who as you know worked his whole life at Footscray and was a very valuable resource for me in the 1970s.

The second proof load you have is a “Barrel Proof” load. Not too much information is available, but there are a few in collections.

Also of interest you you would be a 9mm pressure test load. I only know of one and hope to have a photo in the next few weeks.
John Kindred



Thanks for the added info. I would love to see the pressure test round photos. These
are not so easy to come by from any country. I have only a few in my collection,
and none that I can recall from any of the present or former Commonwealth countries.

My best to you.

To all that are involved with this post!!!
By coincidence I came across a 9mm British Parabellum in Datigs Vol 4 page 46 top.It gives the head stamp
as B pointed arrow upward E 42 9mm wich indicates manufacture by the British Royal Ordenance factory at
Blackpool in 1942 it states that the bullet was cupro nickel and pointed sharply and was intended for Sten Guns
but was un successes full.Now I need info I have the same round with a stamp B but the crow foot of the
Royal laboratory like this ( B ^ E 42 9mm) the annulus is lilac but the bullet is only normally copper washed
with no special sharp point or being cupro nickel.What do I have here??

I’ll let others answer you “what do I have here”?

But I’d like you to know the “crows foot” is actually a Broad Arrow. That symbol notes government ownership, so it’s common with the all the arsenals and lots of other issue, government made of purchased items, not only ammunition.

Sometimes this arrow is poorly stamped.

Hi sherryl,
I may be wrong but; believe that BE is ROF Blackpole, rather than Blackpool:

BE or BE – Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackpole, Worcester, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was part of the 1939 – 1945 war emergency expansion plan and was situated at Blackpole on the site of the earlier Government Cartridge Factory No 3 of 1916. Initially ICI Ltd were to have operated this plant but they were advised in 1940 of the change in plans and the factory was run as a Royal Ordnance Factory by the Ministry of Supply.


Thanks for the note sorry I did not know that there is a Blackpole and a Blackpoole but in this case I took
the spelling out of the book with 2 OO but thank you for your advise.


Here’s Tony Edwards page on British 9x19mm ammunition, pre-1945:

Note these comments by Edwards concerning pointed bullet experiments-

"In January 1942 trials started to improve the performance of the Ball Mark Iz round. One type tested in both ball and tracer had the pointed bullet found on some Italian ammunition and known in Britain as the “Beretta” type, but neither was adopted.

Another had a similar pointed bullet but with only the forward portion of the lead core covered by a gilding metal envelope. Again this was not adopted."