I bought this cartridge from John Munnery at our recent Bisley meeting. John had packets of them and, although I didn’t take a lot of notice of the packaging, it looked to me to be standard German military labelling. I did however ask John about the case colouring and whether it could be brass-washed. He explained that it was just a normal lacquered steel case but that as an end-of-war economy measure the lacquering was either very thin or left off all together. Now somebody over on the BOCN with the same cartridge is also suggesting that it could be brass-washed and possibly assembled post-war in Czechoslovakia rather than under German occupation.
Did you check it with a magnet? It certainly does look like either brass or brass washed. Maybe a brass case with a misprint head stamp as steel? Either way (brass or brass washed), it is a nice round. Congrats. -Ger
Geremy, I can confirm the case material is magnetic…as is the bullet.
Some ancillary info form a previous thread on Czech - German post WW2 9 x 19mm: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14205
The magnetic CNCS bullet certainly fits in with possibly being Czech. In addition " ak " was the German military code assigned to Sellier & Bellot, Prague.
So the possibility exists for Czech post war production using left over cases made under occupation in 1945.
Thanks for that link Brian, you really are the master at finding relevant archived posts!
Just to correct a point made in my original post…I have spoken with John Munnery who states that these rounds were recovered loose in Bulgaria and were not in Germany military boxes as I had suggested.
This post hasn’t really generated the response I had been hoping for - can I conclude that this brass-washed cartridge is known and actually not that unusual? Is it thought likely that this cartridge would have been contained in the packets as shown in the link provided by Brian?
Best answer is and will probably remain tentative. Firstly, the case was made in Czechoslovakia by Munitions Fabriken vormals Sellier & Bellot, Prag, Fabrik in Vlasim, according to official German Documents (Fertigungskennzeichen). It was made probably just before the end of the War. I say probably, because it might have been made just after the Germans were driven out. It is hard to say.
The brass-washed finish, if that is what it is and it is NOT as John Munnery, quite expert in his own right, told you - that is, a normal lackquered steel case with what I will simply call case-finish anomolies -. A brass-washed steel case from this maker at that time would be quite unusual. I have never seen one nor do I know of other collectors who have.
Because of various factors - lack of a primer seal, the finish of the case, be it brass-washed or just a normal case-finish for the time and place simply poorly executed, and the bullet would be a fair indication that the loaded cartridge is an early post-war vintage done by S&B in a cleanup of existing components.
Finally, yes, it is possible that it could show up in a large repacking of various loose rounds at hand, liekly under the supervision of the Russians, and could end up in Bulgaria as part of the Soviet post-war sphere of influence. In fact, Bulgaria was one of their closest allies, a country that in later years would often work as a Soviet-surrogate in covert actions that the Russians did not want their “stamp” on.
Most of this was said, in different form, in the answers above. Sorry you were disappointed by the response, but there is only so much to be said about a cartridge like this, since little or no documentation exists for post-war distribution of what some people like to call “battlefield scrounge” ammunition and left overs from the few factories that remained intact after the war. Without documentation, everything is a guess, including what I have said, be it educated or not.
John, your summary and best-guess are exactly what I was hoping for - thank you!
I just spoke to John Munnery and asked him about this round. He said it is not brass washed, but rather the lacquer is just a very thin color giving it the brass appearance in the photo. This would not surprise me because S&B continued to load and pack 9mm P08 ammunition after the war and I have found it often in German style boxes, but in Czech.
German rounds made during the war had cases with lacquer in all shades of gray from very light to very dark, as well as brownish cases and some that are dead black. I even have an experimental eej round with a very distinctive reddish case lacquer. This round is another variation, but one I have not seen before.
Regardless, it is an interesting variation. Thanks for posting it.
Lew, thank you for your thoughts on this cartridge and for pursuing it further with John Munnery. I have to say that I am still very doubtful that this is just a thin lacquer coating - the more I look at this cartridge the more convinced I’m becoming that the finish is a brass wash. John says that he found these rounds loose and not in packaging so I do not know what exactly lead him to conclude that these are thinly lacquered but it obviously wasn’t information from package labelling. Looking closely at the cartridge under a good magnifying glass I can see that the finish is very uniformly applied and it doesn’t have the slight ‘thickening’ in the headstamp characters that you would expect to see with a lacquered finish. Another unusual feature is that the primer appears to have the same finish as if the round was primed before the finish was applied.
I’m wondering whether john might be prepared to sacrifice one of his cartridges by applying paint remover to the finish and see what effect it has…my theory being that it should remove lacquer but leave an electro-plated finish untouched. Just an idea!
Jim, you could well be right. I have not seen one myself so have no opinion on the subject. I was talking to John on another subject and mentioned this round as Brass Washed and he corrected me!
All of us have been wrong before. In my case, multiple times and with great regularity.
Merry Christmas to all!