CCI non-reloadable headstamp used on brass cases

A year or so ago I found 11 brass 9mm Luger cases that had been headstamped with CCI’s non-reloadable 9mm Luger headstamp used for its aluminum cases. When I realized what I had, I immediately tore back to the range to look for the associated box and tray. All I found were 8 more cases. When I E-mailed the CCI expert, she replied their best guess was that the bunter had not been replaced when they switched from aluminum to brass cases, and that all CCI brass-cased ammo was reloadable. The weight is interesting, too heavy to be Federal-made, too light to be Speer/CCI- or Starline-made. Perhaps I should say "out of their normal ranges."
I mention Federal because Federal made brass 9mm cases headstamped with Speer, CCI, Blazer, and I (Independence). Starline made 9mm cases for Speer. I have examples of all.
Has anyone heard of this before, with CCI or other similar mis-headstamped cases?

Great info! Thanks.

I have one of the CCI NR prototype cases in 9mmP that is brass, and unfinished, but that is the closest thing I have seen.

My brass case with a non recoverable headstamp is:

Note the lack of flash-holes. The groove has not been cut, but the caselength is correct.



I may be talking out of the seat of my pants, I often do! However, the differences in ductility between brass and aluminium would have suggested to me that the dies etc used to make the cases from the two different metals would have to be significantly different. My thought is they would have needed more stages in the aluminium process.

I guess what I am trying to say is I don’t think they could have “just” forgotten to switch the bunter. I would have thought that was an over simplification.

Also, if my memory serves me correctly the N/R Al. cases were much thinner walled. (?)

However, its a great find. Well spotted.

Vince - I quick check with a friend of mine who is a retired engineer from CCI/Speer, netted the comments following:

"I made such shell cases myself in the development of brass shell cases by the impact extrusion process. None of mine ever left the plant. Others could have done the same thing.

"A big clue would to the original intention would be the flash hole(s). Are the shell cases built with an inegral anvil and dual flash holes for Berdan primers or do they have a central flash hole for Boxer primers? (John Moss note: I was not clear to my friend with the circumstances of their discovery by d’Artagnan. Also, some of the last CCI Aluminum cases are actually Boxer primed).

"A production mistake could involve the wrong tooling, but never the wrong material.

“The dies for making shell cases for brass, aluminum or steel shell cases are the same. The punches used to create the interior shape were usually different. Most of the Blazer aluminum shell cases have a “set-back” shoulder about 1/4 inch back from the shell casemouth to limit the possibility of the bullets setting back into the shell case during gun functioning.”

Reading between the lines here, I suspect the sole malfunction here was just as d’Artagnan supposed - failure to change the headstamp bunter. I have asked my friend for a clarification on that possibility.

Because I keep them in a tray with CCI boxer-primed aluminum 9mm cases, checking the differences was easy. The brass cases, too, are boxer-primed and have no set back like the aluminum ones.

d’Artagnan - interesting stuff. My friend ex-CCI/Speer doesn’t think it is likely that this was a headstamp bunter error, on re-questioning him about it. He indicated that other functions occur in case forming simultaneous to headstamp bunting. Again, he says that it is impossible for it to be a material error - that is, a bunch of brass cups being formed along with aluminum rounds, and the fact you mention that they do not have the internal shoulder, or “shelf” would confirm what he said.

I wonder how this happened?

The fact is, that bunter errors have happened in the manufacture of ammunition. I have a couple of examples of that. A Savage headstamped .32 auto with .380 headstamp, as I recall, and a .25 auto with R-P 32 S&WL headstamp. So, it seems that with some setups forgetting to change a bunter can happen with no other interruption of the correct case forming process, as long as it is the only part that did not get changed.

I will query him again, telling him that they are Boxer-primed and are without the anti-bullet set back shoulder in the case.

d’Artagnan et al - Now that I properly explained all the circumstances of the cases you found to my friend, he says it IS likely that the aluminum-case headstamp found on brass cases was an instance of forgetting to change the headstamp bunter. He said the only other reason would be some in-house experiment and that such a thing didn’t square with the circumstances I presented to him. CCI has purposefully used bunters of other calibers, etc., to identify pilot lots. The first lots of aluminum Blazer 9 x 18 m/m Makarov ammo had a 9mm Para military-style headstamp and some trial aluminum 7.62 x 51m/m cases had a .45 auto bunter, simply because they were the right size and convenient to use for in-house experimental lots, prior to the manufacture of a correct bunter.

In the present situation of the brass cases found on a public range, those circumstances would not seem to be relevant.

Sorry about hijacking this thread, but why did CCI switch to boxer primers in recent production .45 ACP and .40 S&W aluminum cased “Blazer” cartridges?

I thought that the use of berdan primers in the aluminum cases was to discourage reloading the fired cases…


AKMS - my friend is a retired engineer from CCI/Speer, and was instrumental in the development of the aluminum case ammunition as well as many other projects. I have not asked him why they switched, but he was gone from CCI already when they did, and thinks it is going to come back and bite them in the butt one day. He was pretty much incensed when he found out about it. By the way, it is not just .40 and .45 - I have a 9mm that is boxer primed as well. I didn’t know they had done it until another friend, and occasional contributor to this Forum, Leon G. told me about it.

I would bet that it was nothing more than a cost-cutting move. There really couldn’t be any other reason for it, since the Berdan primers were successful for years with this ammunition.

Needless to say, it is NOT recommended that the Boxer-primed aluminum cases be reloaded. Very dangerous, in fact.