British HN 9x19mm with chalk bullets

While I have my British drawer open, I have a few more questions.

Many years, about the mid-1960s I found the cartridge on the right in a very old US collection (Emory Orton)-the first collection 9mm I ever bought. the bullet appears made out of white chalk sealed with a clear varnish, The case has an ordinary Hirwaun 1943 Mk1 headstamp. In the mid 1990s Peter Labbett visited and spotted this cartridge and said he had the same round and had it for many years. Peter’s round is on the left. It has a 1942 Hiirwaun headstamp. The round in the middle subsequently came out of a very old US collection and also has a Hirwaun 1942 headstamp. As you can see, both of the1942 chalk bullets look very similar and quite different from the 1943. Both 1942 bullets also have a clear sealer. The two 1942 loads weigh 81grs and the 1943 is 87gr.

Has anyone else seen a similar load in 9mm or some other caliber???

Any ideas of the reason for a chalk bullet. My only guess is some kind of blank perhaps.


In Peters .45 ACP cases and packaging are brake test rounds that use a yellow chalk inside the red paper sabot. These were used as marking devices in the testing of stopping distance of cars.

Also known in .38 Special, if memory serves, but with a different style “bullet”

Perhaps the same with some easy to obtain Dover Cliff material?