Canadian 8.5x30 Blank

I’m looking for information on the 8.5x30 blank cartridge made by Tom Bongalis in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He had a massive collection and supplied guns for several films from 1960 up to 1991. What gun was it made for?

No promises here, but I have a note from 2015 about a “8.5x30mm Hrafn”, (I am not sure if the spelling is correct or even close), with “FG42-type/clone?”, and “Movies? Cosply? War Gamer?”, with instructions to look for it.
There is nothing noted that says I actually found anything.
Not much [any?] help, I am afraid, but maybe it will toggle someones memory.

It took me a couple of days to find it among all the clutter in my house, but I have a 50 round box of them.
Tom B had a gun store in N Van many years ago called Castle Armory.
I visited a few times but wasn’t a regular there.
After he closed down, there was a huge auction of much of his stuff, both the store and the movie props stuff.
I got the box of 8.5x30 blanks among other blanks, mostly 7.62x51 IIRC.

The h/s is FNM 83-8.
I have no idea what it was fired from.

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How about a side view of the round?

Good idea.

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Jack and Dean, thanks for the help. Tom died in June 1993, more or less at about the same time the auction took place. Some labels of this blank indicate it was manufactured as late as 1991. Finding an auction catalog may answer the question.



Looks like a cutdown 5,56x45 case, for use in Modified 9mm Para Chambers…
We make a SMG full profile blank from 5,56 cases, and also from 9mmWinMag cases ( both 29mm oal cases); but in both types the Shoulder is at 19mm( 9x19) to properly headspace the cartridge, and the bullet profile is around 8mm size, for regular feeding.

It seems that the “8,5×30” relies on a “squash fit” of the crimp into the case mouth ridge in the chamber for headspacing…this has been used with .45ACP as well ( rounded crimp, dome-shaped, Kynoch for British Film Industry (Bapty??)
We just use long profile blanks ( pistol and rifle) with a buy long sharp crimp, to facilitate feeding in all types of guns. The Pistol blanks either have a proper shoulder ( bottleneck calibers, Tokarev) or a
Shoulder at Case lenght, with reduced diameter Bullet Profile/crimp.
Only in Revolver cases, we bottle-neck the cases, then crimp; this ensures easy extraction in all types of revolver cylinders ( straight crimped blanks tend to stick to chamber walls once fired.)

Thanks to above Posts for historical Info on this rare type of Blank.

AVBFilmGuns / AVBTechServices
Brisbane. Australia

Cool, thanks.

My first thought was ?.38 Auto/.38 Super?" The .38 Auto/Super is 22.8~32.5mm {+/-?} overall nength loaded… close.
What other 9mm diameter cartridges fill that size range?

It would be helpful to have complete proper dimensions for this cartridge in trying to ID it.
Head, base, diameter of case just below the rounded crimp, length of case up to the bottom of the case, overall cartridge length, etc.

Visually, it looks very much like a .35 Grenaille. cartridge, although the few variations of that round I have seen simply have a very heavy roll crimp at the mouth, showing an over-powder wad 3.77 mm below the case mouth, on the one specimen I measured.

The down side is that the cartridge pictured has, due to the type of crimp forming a mock bullet, a greater overall length than any .35 Grenaille round I have seen. That’s why the measurements mentioned would be of some help. If nothing else, it might eliminate the .35 Grenaille from the question.

John Moss

I vaguely remembered a conversation long ago from someone that once worked at Castle Armoury. (Yes, spelled with a “u”).
I got hold of him and this is our email exchange:

Hi Kelly,
How are you doing these days?
I have a question.
Did you used to work for Castle Armoury?
There is a thread on an Ammo collectors forum that mentions him.

Do you recall the 8.5x30mm movie blank?

8.5 x 30 is made by using 9 mm magnum.cases . I used to still have the dies for making it.
Yes I worked at Castle :slight_smile:
All our uzis were 9mm converted to 8.5x30 and pinned barrels.

Omg that’s some old wrappers on the ammo packs. I can tell you the whole history sometime if you like.
I will look to see if I have stuff still about.
Should be a few rounds in the collections.

Thanks for the quick reply!
Can I copy/paste your reply to the IAA forum?

Sure no problem. We used to order the brass from the USA in bulk.

I bought 6 boxes in an auction lot of various blank ammo years ago.
Completely forgot about it until I saw the thread.
The few I looked at so far are headstamped FNM 83-8. That seems like a military h/s.
Would 9mm Magnum be in military service anywhere?
Could these be shortened and reformed 5.56x45 cases?

The fnm 83-8 refer to military brass production date produced by FN if I remember correctly




Fede, how did you learn of Tom B. and Castle? And of these blanks?

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Spelled quite correctly!
Yes, I am an American, born and bread, but I read many Elizabethan and Edwardian period book when I was young, and that spelling stuck with me,enough so that I had to fight for every grade in English Class, (it was not called “American Language Class”, yea?), for all my uears in school.

I dug a bit deeper in my shooting ammo stash and found that I have 6 boxes.
4 are sealed, 2 are opened and missing 2 or 3 each.
Notice that one box pictured has greenish material on the mouth.
At first I thought a sealant, now I suspect corrosion.

Oh, and the red boxes are from Winchester.

Take two, make one full box, trade/sell off a few of the not-full box to needy collectors? :slight_smile:

You are an honourable man, BadgerJack!

And yes, I would like to trade most of this away if others are interested.

I will need to become a full member first, before posting it for sale or trade, though.

But what about shipping across international borders?
I know the rules within Canada.
How do I ship ammo to the USA?

There I have no working knowledge.
Perhaps FedEx which does not have the restrictions that the Post Office has?
At least when I shipped collectable ammo, the FedEx guy asked me if it was antique ammunition, which he said did not have the same restrictions as modern ammunition, and took it without ORM-D or other associated lables.

Dean, excellent information, much appreciated! I learn about this cartridge after I saw 50 round plastic bags having the same label as your box inside. Then I did some research on the rest of his story.

Regarding the “Castle Armoury” name, Bongalis in fact wanted to built a real castle in North Vancouver -like Bannerman did-, but his plans were rejected by the district council because it was an unorthodox design incongrous to the neighborhood.

Another question, are all your cartridges headstamped the same?



Fede, I am pleased to be able to contribute knowledge back to the group after asking many questions!

I haven’t opened the 4 sealed boxes, but the 2 opened boxes are mostly FNM 83-3, and a few FNM 83-1 mixed in.

Looks like a 5.56 that has been cut down and crimped