Colt 9mm SSB loads


#1

I finally took time to sort through some 9mm SSB loads which came from the collection of a collector who had good connections at Colt. It is clear that Colt did a lot of testing with various bullets and various types of plastic jackets and other variations. The at the end of the day, my 9mm SSB collection numbered 33 different cartridges, plus quite a few unloaded bullet variations. I have updated my web page on SSB loads at

gigconceptsinc.com/Colt-SSB.html

Some of these are relatively minor variations and may reflect the variation in the test articles but most are clearly intended to be different loads/bullets.

If you have any variations not pictured on the web page, please post them here and I will add them to the page and credit you.

Cheers,

Lew


#2

Lew,
Very interesting page, as with all these programs it is a problem to identify the stages in the development unless the paper work comes along. . What sort of quantity did Israel have manufactured or manufactured? Are there any more test results on this program (particularly of the Israeli use)as the bits you show are very interesting?
Sandy


#3

We collectors tend to forget how many variations are tested in one of these development programs, and usually there is no identification except perhaps a hand written note on a box. When the development has reached the stage where the design is firm enough and there are a few thousand rounds loaded for engineering testing than the rounds may be identified somehow. When there are only a few hundred made there will seldom be any identification and the differences between loads are often invisable.

I don’t know anyone who would have any insight into these SSB loads from Colt. Does anyone have an idea of where there may have been some documentation?

Lew


#4

Lew et al - I have never been able to find any really comprehensive reports on the entire SSB project. There is some information on one loading in “Colt’s Model 1971 Double Action Pistol,” a Colt Industries document of 17 pages, unknown publishing date but probably c.1971. There is also an addendum dated 11/17/67 to the “Salvo -Squeezebore System - Critique” of simply three pages, but it applies only to the .50/.30 project as far as I can see. Another Colt Industries Document, dated January 19, 1972, “Trip Report DC Week, January 10,” has some results on testing from H. p. White Lab (negative). It is scant, however. A thesis by John-Paul Shebalin, probably never published, titled “Tapered Bore Guns and Ammunition,” has some more information, but since it covers other taper-bore subjects, it is not comprehensive by any means, although over-all, a well-researched paper and well done. There is also a two-page paper by Russell Robinson. Bill Woodin must have known him (perhaps still does - don’t know if Mr. Robinson is still with us or not) as he lived in Tucson, and invented the SSB in 1948. The paper is undated and there is no indication of the publication, if any, that it it taken from.

I sent a lot of this material to Frank Hackley, so there will be some coverage of the program in HWS III when it is finished.

To make a long story short, it is doubtful, just as Lew says, that we will ever find real testing information or even in-house identification desginations for all of the various SSB loads in 9mm, or in the other calibers, for that matter.

I have found nothing on the matter of the SSB 9 mm rounds for Israel and thier program with the Uzi and SSB, although I have two variations of the cartridge. It seems the hardware is easier, in this case, to come by than is comprehensive information on the project. I suspect Colt would have kept good records. Their reports on various in-house development programs that I have seen have been quite thorough. However, the chance of getting that infromation, I think, is from zero to none.

John Moss


#5

When in doubt, it always helps to research your notes. I found a note from the early '70s that I had filed away with a lot of information on the individual rounds to include the production quantities. I have updated the webpage with all the information I could put my hands on.

John, I only have a Colt report on the project dated January 1971 and an undated document with much of the same information but which talks about the 9mm Model 1971 pistol, probably the same one you have. Then I have Russ’ patent and the hand written note from the guy connected with Colt who gave me most of these loads. I would be appreciative of any other information on the SSB that would contribute to what is on the webside.

Russ Robinson has been dead a few years now. He was an Aussie who designed propellers for the Brits during WWII. I spent about 5 days with him in England when he was visiting Herb Woodend once. We did a lot of driving around and listening to stories, but most were things like finding the old school where British nurses were billetted during the War that Russ use to visit. A wonderful old man. He spent his last decade or so living in Tucson not far from Bill and knew some of Bill’s family.

I will send a note to Frank Hackley and see if he has anything to add.

Thanks for getting me up and searching.

Cheers,

Lew


#6

Lew - nice article. I don’t have any documentation about the Canadian loaded SSB rounds, but here are pictures of the items I have. Do you know if the projectiles were actually manufactured in Canada or is it more likely they were imported?

Paul

The ‘SSB’ headstamp is the most common (with and without the primer seal). This IVI headstamped one is the only one I have. Likewise with factory dummy.

Some projectile variations:


#7

Paul, Apparently all the nylon jacket bullets were made by Colt at their CT factory. On the webpage I illustrate some loads with solid GM projectiles and a molded on and then machined clear epoxy looking bullet. I have no idea if it is actually epoxy.

The IVI production used Colt bullets from the NY factory though on the website I illustrate an In IVI made Colt headstamped cartridge with the molded & machined bullet from the NY factory.

I also have a dummy with the (+) IVI 71 headstamp and a blind primer pocket that is not pictured on the website. The top bullet has a distinct button on top like the bullet on the far right of the photo of the top of 4 complete loads in your third photo.

Thanks also for the photos of the bullets. the bullet with the large exposed tip is a style I have not documented. The individual bullet with the small button on the top is one I have not documented. This is just one indication of the range of variations in these Colt loads. It makes me wonder if they ever found a load they were really satisfied with.

I also wonder if the IVI headstamped cases and some of the COLT headstamp cases didn’t wind up at Colt and the unusual loads weren’t actually loaded there. I have a hard time imagining experimental loads being made in Canada when the technical expertese was all at the Colt plant in CT.

Mind if I put add some of your photos to the website???

Cheers,

Lew


#8

Lew - thanks again for the information. Please use the pictures as you wish. I can re-take them/send you higher res images if you need.
Paul