Chinese .45 ACP headstamps


#1

As mentioned on the thread concerning a feature found on the headstamps of some Chinese 7.9 x 57mm rounds, I am opening a new thread regarding Chinese .45 rounds. My friend Joe will be posting some pictures to go with this when he has time, and the captions will pretty much tell the story as I know it.

I did not elaborate, in the captions, on variations of the cartridges with the two main headstamps, alluded to previously as “divided circle with a smaller circle in each half”, which since I can’t reproduce the symbol here will be shown as “Headstamp One” and “square in circle” which will be represented as “Headstamp Two.”

Cartridge Variations:

Headstamp One:

10 36 .45 - GMCS RN bullet, brass primer with green PA.

11 .45 36 - Different headstamp information order. Arsenal symbol missing. Mottled spot indicates a broken bunter is likely. Same cartridge characteristics as above.

1 .45 37 - Back to headstamp order of “11 36”, Same characteristics as others, except that the primer is entirely coated with green lacquer.

2 45 37 - No visible dot before “45”, same characteristics as above except that there is no primer seal of any kind.

6 .45 37 - CNCS RN bullet, brass primer with a gold-colored PA which may be darken clear lacquer.

7 .45 37 - GM RN bullet (non-magnetic). copper primer with no visible seal.

7 .45 37 – GM RN bullet, variant with a black neck seal. Copper primer with no visible seal.

Headstamp Two:

37 .45 11 - GMCS RN bullet, copper primer with black PA

3 .45 38 - Headstamp information in different order. GMCS RN bullet, copper primer with no visible seal.

38 .45 6 - Return to headstamp order of first listed, GMCS RN bullet,
copper primer with purplish primer seal.

Note that I am reading all of the above headstamps clockwise, beginning with the Arsenal Symbol.

There are many variations of unheadstamp .45 that we know to be Chinese from their source or characteristics. They are outside of realm of what we are trying to accompish here.

I hope that this, coupled with the pictures and caption-information to come, are of some interest.


#2

John, great! I can’t wait to see the images.


#3

I can make one addition to the headstamp 2 (square in circle) list:

38 .45 4 - GM RN bullet (magnetic), copper primer with no visible seal.


#4

Guy et al - while it was not my intention to show headstap dates - that is, every date - if anyone wants to add them as guy did it is o.k. I was just showing physical differences. I probably have other dates in my own duplicates, although I already have used most of my duplicates. At one time, I had most months known in both major headstamps, but I didn’t retain anything that wasn’t physically different, since I don’t collect dates in anything by 7.9 x 57 Mauser and 9 x 18mm Makarov.

More information on anything never hurts.

Not sure when the pictures will be posted. Probably soon, unless Joe is away on vacation. Thanks to him for every picture from me ever posted. Without him, there would have been no pictures from me. I am simply to stupid to learn how to do it. Habve tried a couple of times, with zero success. I guess since a computer has more than two moving parts in it, it is beyond my technical capabilities.


#5

Four Chinese headstamps on .45 Auto cartridges. The circle in square symbol at the top of each headstamp represents the Chinese 120th Arsenal, established in 1938 with resources from Chungking and Nanking ammunition factories. The dates are probably in the Chinese manner, in which case the “37” date is 1948 (1911+37) and the “38” date is 1949.

Note that the order of the information on the headstamp is somewhat different on each of the two cartridges. There are many variations of
.45 from this factory. The two cartridges on the right, with a headstamp arsenal symbol depicting a divided circle with a smaller circle inside of each half, represents Mukden Arsenal, after World War II being known as the 90th Arsenal. This factory was captured by the Communists in 1948, at which time the symbol was changed to a stick-figure 5-pointed star in a circle. Again, we have two variant headstamps shown, with information in a different order. The dates “36” and “37” equal 1947 and 1948 respectively.

Six Chinese headstamps on .45 Auto rounds. The first two are from the same factory, but have different dates and the first figure on the top left of each is rendered slightly differently. they are products of Si Chuan (also known as Szuen, Szechuan or Ch’eng-tu) and were made before 1945. The figures at top are the date in Chinese, and probably represent 30 and 1931 by the Julian Calender. The next two may have been made in the U.S.A. for China. I am not sure. The sole headstamp on the one at the left is the tiny white mark at the top. It is not a scar, but really is a stamped character. I do not know its meaning.

The next two were both made on Taiwan, at Arsenal 60A. The dates are probably based on the Julian calender this case, although it is not impossible that they are in the Chinese calender-fashion.

Although the headstamps may be impossible to read on the screen, they are quite clear when printed out and looked at with a magnifying glass. At any rate, we chose to reproduce them in the other pictures so they would be easier to read. Each box is shown with the headstamp that came in it above the box itself.

Top: “Square in Circle” headstamp, dated “1 38”

Middle: "Divided circle with two smaller circles above dividing line "headstamp, dated “1 37”

Bottom: Taiwanese box with headstamp of only “45” at the 12 O’Clock position and “70” at the 6 O’Clock position. We forgot to include this headstamp style in the other pictures, unfortunately.

John Moss Collection


#6

[quote=“Jones”][img]

Although the headstamps may be impossible to read on the screen, they are quite clear when printed out and looked at with a magnifying glass. At any rate, we chose to reproduce them in the other pictures so they would be easier to read.

[/quote]

Jones, higher resolution images would make them easy readable even on the screen. Something you may try to check?


#7

EOD - Joe didn’t make these pictures - he just posts them for me because I am too dumb to figure it out for myself. I made the pictures. Printed out and with a magnifying glass, they are sharp as a tack. It is just the size that makes them impossible to read. That’s why I made the other headstamp drawings, which repeat the basic headstamps of all the cartridges shown with boxes, making the headstamps in the box drawing totally unimportant. I took the box scan first, and then decided to expand on it with the other photos. The are all at 300 and whatever the three letters thatbasically mean resolution stand for.
the normal setting is 200. I am told that much higher than that the pictures get to “big” and its not needed anyway. I completely concur after looking at the headstamps in the box photo on paper and with a magnifying glass.

Hope this was the information you wanted when you asked for pictures, and then some.


#8

Guys:
All you need to do is to double click the image and you can get it much larger, the resolution is good enough to enlarge the pictures so they are easy to read… Vic


#9

[quote=“JohnMoss”]EOD - Joe didn’t make these pictures - he just posts them for me because I am too dumb to figure it out for myself. I made the pictures. Printed out and with a magnifying glass, they are sharp as a tack. It is just the size that makes them impossible to read. That’s why I made the other headstamp drawings, which repeat the basic headstamps of all the cartridges shown with boxes, making the headstamps in the box drawing totally unimportant. I took the box scan first, and then decided to expand on it with the other photos. The are all at 300 and whatever the three letters thatbasically mean resolution stand for.
the normal setting is 200. I am told that much higher than that the pictures get to “big” and its not needed anyway. I completely concur after looking at the headstamps in the box photo on paper and with a magnifying glass.

Hope this was the information you wanted when you asked for pictures, and then some.[/quote]

John, thanks a lot for the images.


#10

EOID - happy to do it for you. By the way, in my last entry, I refer to “drawings” of the headstamps and boxes. They, of course, are scans, not drawings. It is only the last few years I have even learned how to scan anything into a computer. Before that, I drew the headstamps in every article I did, and made xerox copies of box labels. I guess the word “drawing” was simply in my subconscience from years of doing it that way.


#11

John, no problem, I think we all understood it correct from the beginning.


#12

From a picture of a headstamp from Pete DeCoux, sent directly to me, I think that I made an error in my posting with the pictures of the various headstamps.

The two .45s at the left of the picture with six headstamps, from Si Chuan Arsenal, have the Chinese dates that I now interprest as, from left to right, 21st year and 20th year. Pete sent me a picture of one that says 19th year.

19th year = 1930
20th year = 1931
21st year = 1932

To clarify which is which, the one with four characters at the left says 21st year, while the one to the right of it with three characters at the top says 20th year. The characters at the bottom mean “Si Chuan made.”

I am sorry for this error. It was my intention to correct the posting, and make a new posting, as this one, pointing out that i had edited the original. However, I forgot that Joe posted this for me, so I cannot edit it.
This addition will have to represent that edit.


#13

John,

Concerning the dates on the Taiwan headstamps (60A and the symbol shown on the bottom box in your scan). I would think that they represent the Republic of China year.
When I was working in Taiwan in the early 1970


#14

Phil - you could be right. I simply don’t know if the Nationalist Government modernized their procedures regarding ammunition after establishing a “new” Republic on Taiwan, or not. some have told me they juse the Julian calender now, and have for some years, and others say they still use the chinese calender based on 1911. I simply don’t know which is right. I am glad you brought it up though. I will try to find out. Lew Curtis will know, I am sure. The modern dates are difficult, since there is only, basically, and eleven year spread, making either form of the date plausible and possible.

Even Islamic countries have gone away from the Muslim calender(s) regarding dates on ammunition, at least for the most part. I don’t know in the case of ecvery country, of course.

I suspect you are right, though. I should have spent more time studying foreign calender systems than I have. They really ARE important in cartridge collecting, and I have gotten into trouble before misinterpreting a date.


#15

A friend of mine is a (U.S. Marine) Korean War veteran. He has often mentioned how .45 ACP ammunition was redily available from the bodies of Chinese soldiers. He first served in China during the post WWII era when the US supplied aid in the form of arms and ammunition. Apparently a lot of Thompson SMG’s and ammunition found their way to China in this time period. During the Korean War, these same arms and ammunition ended up on the Communist side. I will have to ask him if all of the ammo he saw was US in origin, of if any of it was Chinese.

AKMS


#16

John

Here is a quote from the Taipei Times Nespaper

“Taiwan may drop idiosyncratic Republican calendar
By Jimmy Chuang
STAFF REPORTER
Saturday, Feb 25, 2006, Page 1
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday told lawmakers that the government will consider dropping the nation’s Republican (minguo, 民國) calendar and make the Gregorian calendar the only official time system.
“I agree with the proposal and I think it’s a practical idea,” Su said in the legislature yesterday in response to questions from lawmakers.
He added that he would do his best to promote a changeover to the Gregorian system.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺), who proposed the change, said that using both the Republican and Gregorian calendars could be confusing, especially to foreigners.
If the proposal is adopted, the government would carefully plan how to implement the Gregorian calendar and amend laws and regulations, Su told Lin.
The Republic of China’s Republican calendar was introduced in 1912, when the provisional legislature authorized a proposal to use the Republican and Gregorian calendars in tandem.
The Republican calendar has been blamed for creating confusion, especially in the case of expiry dates printed on perishable exports.
Su said that updating calendar and national language conventions are important aspects of internationalization. This was why the official right-to-left writing system was changed to left-to-right, he said.”


#17

Good stuff. Obvious that they have used the Chinese calender based on 1911 up until very recently, if not still using it today.

My only question is always on ammo and other military things, because the militaries of some countries, including Taiwan, work so closely both technoligically and militarily with the U.S. and other Western countries, that sometimes what is used in the military and the ammunition industry is different from the norm for that country.

Still, as I said, I think you are correct on this. The dating of the .45 ammo with my earliest Arsenal 60A .45 auto round dated “50,” only a year or so after the reestablishment of the Republic on Taiwan if the date is the Western calender, doesn’t make as much sense as if that date is actually 1961 by our calender.

Thanks for all the information you have provided. Its a wonder how far afield the study of ammunition can take us into the realms of other types of knowledge. That is, of course, a good thing! I learn a huge amount from all the people on this forum about history, dating systems, etc. It is great! Personally, I learn as much from other collectors about many things than I ever did in school. I wish I had half the general knowledge that most of the guys on this Forum have!


#18

A review of the subject with Bin Shih confirms that Phil, as usual, was correct. At the time of the .45 headstamps from Taiwan’s Arsenal 60A, the Chinese calender was in use, and probably still is today. I have, in my own collection, Taiwanese headstamps on .45 dated on the headstamp 50, 57, 59, 70 and 75. These in actuality represent the years 1961, 1968, 1970, 1981 and 9185 respectively.

“The 60th Arsenal was the arsenal rebuilt at the location of the Jinglin Arsenal in Nanjing. The original Jinglin Arsenal mover to Chungking right before the fall of Nanjing and was later renamed to the 21st Arsenal. The Japanese military used that location during the War. After the War, and arsenal was established and named the 60th. It moved to Taiwan in 1949. The location was Kaoshiung. In the 70s, it was renamed 205th. It is the most important arsenal in Taiwan. It mainly produced small arms and ammo. The arsenal mark is a 6 rotated six times in a circle, resembling a camera shutter.” Bin Shih.

Edited only to correct spelling in one word


#19

John Moss wrote:

“The 60th Arsenal was the arsenal rebuilt at the location of the Jinglin Arsenal in Nanjing. The original Jinglin Arsenal mover to Chungking right before the fall of Nanjing and was later renamed to the 21st Arsenal. The Japanese military used that location during the War. After the War, and arsenal was established and named the 60th. It moved to Taiwan in 1949. The location was Kaoshiung. In the 70s, it was renamed 205th. It is the most important arsenal in Taiwan. It mainly produced samll arms and ammo. The arsenal mark is a 6 rotated six times in a circle, resembling a camera shutter.”

John, I never thought of the arsenal mark in that way before, I assumed (dangerous thing to do) that it depicted the view looking through a rifled barrel.

gravelbelly


#20

Gravelbelly - I never had either. I just assumed it was a design of some significance to the Chinese for some reason - sort of like the Chrysanthemum blossum is to the Japanese, although not quite so sacred.

I will take it a step farther than did Bin Shih. If you look at it, you can see that it is, indeed, six renditions of the numeral 6, but the I wonder if the fact that the center of the design forms a zero that it is significant to the symbol represent the 60th Arsenal? I don’t know that, just a question.

Phil Butler pointed out, correctly again, in a PM to me that the Forum has opened up for cartridge collectors a fabulous wealth of information that only increases as those that contribute find expert voices among their friends and acquaintances, such as that of bin Shih, who are friendly to our study of arms and ammunition and provide us all with a volume of information that any single one of us could not hope to accumulate in three lifetimes. In the last three weeks, due to questions I have asked elsewhere on things pertaining to Makarovs, and what I have asked to put on this forum, as well as the answers of others to these threads, I have learned more about Chinese arms and ammunition production than I had picked up previously in a life-long study of firearms. I am grateful for that.