On a current thread dealing with German sintered iron bullets for the 9mm Parabellum caliber, mention was made of “Oilite” bullets. J. Gill mentioned .45 ammunition loaded in WWII American military cases with these bullets, and thought they might have been for Defense Plant Guards.
These cartridges were loaded by the Dairt Co., Inc., a short-lived New York City Company. The only year for which I can substantiate their existence is 1943, when they were listed in the New York City Phone Book at 591 Broadway in NYC. I would assume that the Broadway adress was that of their offices, rather than any plant or warehouse. I do not know New York City, but my impression is that Browdway is not an industrial street.
The only products for which they are known are .45 A.C.P. and .30-06 reloads. I have no expertise in the .30-06, and will not discuss that caliber here, preferring to recommend Chirs Punnett’s fine book on that caliber instead. The Dairt Co. used Oilite Bullets made for them by the Amplex Oilite Products Co, a part of the Evansville Chrysler Corporation. Oilite is a sintered, porous, copper alloy impregnated with lubricant. Evidently, similar copper alloys were used for bearings in various types of machinery. The bullets are one solid piece, having no separate core or jacket (there is reference to the fact that some Oilite bullets for caliber .30-06 did have a steel core, but again, it is off topic for me, although discussion of the Dairt .30-06 is not off-topic here and any information added to this thread about their production of that caliber would be welcome, of course).
It is interesting that during WWII, Dairt, a small private company, was able to obtains a large quantity of bullets made primarily of copper, a stratigic material, as well as obtain millions of empty U.S. Military cases. This may have led to an investigation cited below.
Dairt was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Army regarding a contract to South America, most likely Brazil, for reloaded ammunition. The cases used were fired U.S. Military brass, of various manufacturers and headstamps. The headstamp “R A 41” is an example and is very often found with the Dairt Oilite bullet and loading. The cases have a very yellow look, similar to that produced when cases are cleaned with the commercial product “Case Brite” and were probably cleaned with a similar chemical. The F.B.I. and Army Ordnance personnel visited the warehouse in Long Island City, New York where reloads were stored awiaitng shipment. This occured in September 1943. Samples were taken, but I have no knowledge of the eventual outcome of this investigation or of any further history of the Dairt Company. In passing, we should note that it is possible that the Long Island warehouse was also the loading plant, although we have no confirmed information supporting that theory.
Only one box design has been noted for the .45 ammunition. We have, in our collection, an original box, as well as the data card from the former H. P. White Laboratory Collection which has elements of the identical box affixed to it. The box label bears the advice “These cartridges are specifically adapted for the .45 caliber Harrington & Richardson Reising Sub-machine gun.” That may well support Gill’s comment that the rounds were possibly for Defense Industry Plant Guard services, many of which had Reising SMGs. The Brazil connection may well be valid as well, since Brazil had already been a long-time user of that caliber ammunition. Our original box of ammunition was, at the time we acquired it, filled complete with rounds loaded on the “R A 41” cases, but other headstamps have been reported, as well as the fact that headstamps are often mixed in the same box.
We should mention that in our collection, we have a long, round piece (like a dowel) of the Oilite material, as well as a finished “Oilite” 9mm bullet of rather conventional 9mm Para ogive. We do not know of any loading of 9mm by Dairt, and consider this bullet to have been a preproduction esperiment.
We will be posting a picture of the box, and perhaps the H.P. White Card as well. I will leave that up to our friend and colleague, Joe, to sort out once I scan them.
References: Company History - George Kass; “The Dope Bag,” American Rifleman Magazine, April 1964 issue, page 61; Box label and H.P. White Data Card No. 3036, collection of John Moss; Hackley, Scranton & Woodin, "U.S. Military Ammunition, Volume II.