Date of manufacture on W.R.A. 9 M-M (WR01F)?


#1

Does anyone have an approximate date of manufacture on “W.R.A. 9 M-M” head stamped SMG ammo? Lewis Curtis’s list types it as WR01F. Weapons collectors think this was developed for testing captured MP38s & 40s during the later years of WW2. But w/o a head stamp date, they may be simply guessing.

                                            Thanks,
                                             Carey


#2

I don’t know anything about this ammunition being developed for “testing MP38s and MP40s.” I have found most weapons collectors to be very ignorant on ammunition in general, unless they also collect it, and with lots of fancy stories about the history of cartridges. Most of this ammunition was contract during WWII for various countries, including the United Kingdom and China. The 64-round box in our collection is dated “30 June 1942 Lot 176.” It was designated “Ball M1” after April 2, 1942, and certainly was not made just for testing captured SMGs, if that was an intention in its development at all. This ammunition was made in far more than weapons-testing quantities and supplied for combat use to various countries. “History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Voume II: 1940-1945,” by Hackley, Woodin and Scranton, mentions nothing about this ammo being made for testing German SMGs. It does help us with dating it, as it mentions it was initially supplied to England before the entry of the U.S. into WWII, so it could have been made as early as 1939. However, I would think that since the Sten gun was developed after Dunkirk, due to the huge loss of small arms there, that 1940 is probably a more logical starting date for this headstamp and cartridge.

I have white contract boxes in 50-round English Label, 50-round Chinese label, 64 round English label, and a 50-round box for definitive proof loads, which have the W.R.A. 9M-M headstamp, but have a tinned case.

Cases with this headstamp and the same nickel primer with blue seal are also found loaded with commercial-style truncated FMJ GM and truncated FMJ-HP GM bullets, packed in commercial boxes, probably for sale during WWII. One box is what Giles and Shuey in “One Hundred Years of Winchester Cartridge Boxes, 1856-1956” call a “1932 box style” and the other is a “1939 box style.” Of course, depending on caliber the 1932 style was used later than the 1939 style, and the 1939 style was used at least until 1945, and perhaps after that, again depending on caliber.

I think, though, that we can pin this headstamp down to the WWII years - probably from about 1940 until 1945 or 1946. I am not sure of those dates, but from the box styles it is found in, I would think they are close at either end, earliest and latest dates, perhaps within a year or so either way.

I cannot do it now, but later I will have Joe post pictures of all of these boxes. The proof box has been pictured before as has, I believe, the Chinese label, but I will repeat them in favor of continuity on this thread.

John Moss


#3

John,
I appreciate your reply & am glad you think this ammunition is at least period correct for WW2. That in itself makes it interesting.

                                     Thanks,
                                     Carey

#4

I am not trying to be arrogant or a “smart Aleck,” but rather just insure that the record is totally straight on the Forum regarding this round. I do not “think” the round is from the WWII era - I know it is. The evidence of much research and even a dated box proves that beyond any question or doubt. I simply am not sure how long after WWII, if at all, this headstamp continued to exist. I do not believe it was for long, if at all.

Just as a matter of interest, we also have a .30 Carbine round with the W.R.A. 9M-M headstamp in the collection. For some reason, even though this use of that headstamp is well known among collectors and appears in several collections of which I am aware, this headstamp is not mentioned in Volume II of the superlative books by Hackley, Woodin and Scranton on U.S. Ammunition, or at least not that I could find. Volume one, of course, doesn’t cover the .30 Carbine round at all, since it post-dates the era that falls within the scope of that volume. We don’t know if this is one of the pre-adoption rounds, before they finalized the requirements for the headstamp bunters, or is simply a wartime factory error - installing the wrong bunter on a machine. It certainly is not a clandestine headstamp - I doubt that they would use their own factory designator on a clandestine headstamp along with a caliber designation obviously in error. That would not fool any other military intelligence service. The letters on the head of the .30 Carbine round run slightly off the edge, indicating to me that the bunter was made specifically for the larger head of the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. That, of course, doesn’t preclude purposeful use of the bunter for some reason or another.

I have made the promised scan of the boxes I have for this headstamp and forwarded them to Joe for posting at his convenience.


#5

John,
I do appreciate your efforts. With the undated box & head stamp, it is pleasantly surprising that the weapons collectors even got the period correct.

                                      Carey

#6

Various Winchester military and commercial boxes that contained cartridges headstamped “W.R.A. 9M-M” and all made during the period of about 1940 until 1945 or 1946. Shown with them are the three major variants of cartridges, either on or next to the boxes from which them came. Cartridges for the other boxes would appear identical in a photo, so were not included. Cartridges shown are with FMJ RN GM bullet (GMCS FMJ RN bullets were also loaded), FMJ RN GM bullet and tinned case (Proof Load), and FMJ Truncated GM bullet (the blue box shown contained rounds with a FMJ truncated HP GM bullet, but it would photograph the same. The box describes it as a “Hollow Soft Point” bullet, but we would not describe the bullet as such, since there is no lead apparent at the tip of the bullet, but only by looking down into the cavity. The jacket rolls over the tip. We would not describe this as a “soft nose” bullet, but rather as a “FMJ HP xpanding” bullet.

We should note here, since we did not in our original reply, that there are various types of factory dummies with this headstamp. We have one all the characteristics of a ball round, but with inert primer cup (unsnapped on our specimen) and two tiny holes in the case, revealing an uncolored wood-rod spacer inside; one similar but with a blackened case and a hole in the nickel primer cup, also having a wood spacer; and one with blackened case without holes, but with an empty, blind (no flash hole) primer pocket. We also have an ersatz dummy, probably made up in England, with 6 deep stab neck crimps to hold the bullet, 2 larger holes in the case, a wood spacer inside, and a snapped nickel primer cup. It may have been blackened. We are not sure if it was blackened originally, or it has just taken on a dark patina over the years. It is NOT in mint condition. Unfortunately, there is no box label for any of these rounds in our collection.

John Moss


Winchester 9x19 box - any info?
#7

John & Joe,
Thank you for the photo and documentation. The boxes I have are stamped on the side. The inverted blue numbers on the lower left appear to be a price written on the box somewhere along the way.

                                  Carey


#8

First may I endorse everything John says about these rounds.They are without doubt WW2.

The earliest British contract for US made 9mm that I can find is dated 4 July 1940 and is for 210 million ball rounds and 40,000 Proof rounds. The contract specifically mentions these are for Smith & Wesson machine carbines. The odd 10 million of ball were shown as for the Admiralty. As you know, S & W were contracted to supply their rather odd 9mm carbine but the order was eventually cancelled.

The next US contract I have found is DDS/21739 dated 26 March 1941 for 20 million ball rounds, this time shown “for Schmeisser Gun”. This was an early name for the Lanchester carbine for the Royal Navy.

I have not found any order for the blackened dummy rounds, but have different versions in my collection.

There also exist .45 ACP rounds supplied to Britain by Winchester about the same time. Like the 9mm these have a commercial headstamp of “WRA.Co. 45AC”.

I will try to post a picture of the box but am having trouble uploading the picture to Photobucket. It says uploaded but does not appear in the album!.

The box is a square white cardboard prnted with the Winchester name and
"42 - Cartridges S.A. Ball .45"
for use in Sub-Machine guns.

I will have another attempt to post the picture later.

BTW John, I have found the British order for 30 million rounds of 9mm ball from Bolivia in 1941. These are the G B headstamped rounds which were possibly ex Spanish Civil War.

Regards
TonyE


#9

Tony,
Thank you for the additional info. I was not aware that the Lanchester carbine had the same “Schmeisser” misnomer as the MP38/40. That is interesting.
I notice a similarity between the LOT number on these boxes and the DDS number on the 2nd US contract for ball rounds you mentioned. Would WRA’s LOT number and the DDS number be the same? Or is it just coincidence that the 2 numbers are similar?

                                            Carey

#10

The Lanchester Mark I was referred to as the Schmeisser in all the early documentation because it was an anglicised copy of the German MP28. It was issued mainly to the Royal Navy with some going to the Royal Air Force.

I suspect any similarity between Winchester lot numbers and the contract number is purely coincidental.

Regards
TonyE


#11

Here is a link to the .45ACP Winchester packet.

tonyedwards.fotopic.net/p44379972.html

Regards
TonyE


#12

Tony,
Thanks again for additional information.

                                    Carey

#13

Tony & Carey - Some more things I either forgot, or you guys have prompted by expanding this thread to the .45 auto cartridge as well, which I am not criticizing as the two, in this case, go hand in hand.

I have the 42-round box from Winchester as well. Some think from pictures that it is simply one of the Canadian-style 64-round 9mm boxes printed and used to hold 42 rounds of .45, but it is not the same box. It is somewhat deeper to accomodate the longer OAL of the .45 round. Mine is Lot 54, dated 30 Aug with the year illegible. Interestingly, I have two 50 round boxes that have different designations on the top label, one saying “FOR AUTOMATIC COLT AND OTHER AUTOMATIC ARMS” and the other “FOR THOMPSON SUB-MACHINE GUNS,” yet both boxes are from Lot 23, dated 19 April 1941. The headstamp on the ammo from all three of those boxes is “W.R.A. CO. .45 A.C,.” (yes, the “O” in “CO.” is the same size as the rest of the letters). The cartridges are brass-cased with one case cannelure, GM FMJ RN 230 grain bullet, nickeled primer cup with purple-color primer seal.

Something I didn’t mention about the “W.R.A. 9M-M”-headstamped 9mm round is that a small lot was made with a steel cartridge case. I have it in my collection. It is quite a bit rarer than the steel-cased rounds from Western headstamped “WCC.” I also have a .45 in steel case, made later in the war, headstamped “W.R.A. .45 A.C.” They seem scarce but not rare.

There is a .45 dummy with the “W.R.A. .45 A.C.” headstamp made for the UK. It has a blackened-brass case with a very wide, reduced-diameter band around the middle, knurled in a pattern of straight vertical lines all the way around. The primer pocket is empty and with no flash hole.

For continuity of this thread, I will have Joe post a scan I will make of the three .45 boxes, and the rounds in question - 9mm steel case, .45 brass case ball, .45 steel case ball and 9mm steel case.


#14

Winchester WWII .45 A.C.P. boxes for the United Kingdom, as described
earlier in the thread. shown above the boxes, left to right, are the
.45 Dummy round described earlier, and the .45 and 9mm W.R.A. rounds
with steel cases.

John Moss


#15

Thanks John

I have the .45 ACP drill round and also one of the 50 round boxes, but I cannot remember what the tag line is as the box is not to hand. I think it is the one for Colt and other automatic arms.

When I started shooting back around 1960 there was a lot of both the 9mm and .45 around as surplus.

I do need one of the steel cased Winchester 9mm rounds though. Grab one if you have the chance and we can trade at SLICS, either direct or through Bill.

Regards
TonyE


#16

Tony,

The steel-cased 9mm round with W.R.A. 9M-M headstamp that I have is the only one I have ever seen for sale or trade and the only one, in 40 plus years of collecting 9mm, that I was ever offered. I know that there is one (maybe with variants - who knows?) at the Lab in Tucson, and that Lew Curtis and other advanced auto-pistol cartridge or 9mm collectors have it, but it is very, very scarce, to say the least. I wish it wasn’t - I would love to find one for you!

Do you have the WCC steel-cased 9mm? That is seen much more often. I think I have had 6 or 7 rounds of it over the years.


#17

How are these Winchester 9mms primer crimped?


#18

CSAEOD - I answered about the crimps on the thread dealing with Israeli 9mm production at Rehovot.

To others, I forgot a couple of things about the “W.R.A. 9M-M” -headstamped rounds that I might as well add here now, to fill in the story of them. Firstly, this headstamp was used on rounds loaded with CN Truncated FMJ bullets made for the Dutch East Indies, for use in the Vickers Dutch-contract Luger pistols. There was also a contract with the Chinese using the same headstamp, and those rounds seem to be the only ones that had a four-stab primer crimp, rather than a ring primer crimp. The Dutch East Indies rounds have no primer crimp. I believe we have shown the Chinese box on some earlier thread. I do not have one of the Dutch boxes.

Further, there were two different headstamp bunters for this headstamp, identical in content but differing in letter size. I simply call them the small and large letter variations.

Now, probably to the relief of all, I can’t think of any more to say about 9mm rounds with this particular Winchester headstamp.


#19

Unfortunately John, I have other things to ask!

First, I did not realise how scarce the steel case WRA rounds are, as I have seen a couple in collections here in the UK although I have never managed to pick one up for myself. If you (or anyone else) can find me a WCC steel case I would be very grateful.

Second, I have a loaded round with the blackened case (like the dummy rounds) but with a red annulus rather than the normal blue/purple colour. Do you think this is a proof? I have the normal tinned case proof.

Thoughts anyone?

Regards
TonyE


#20

Tony - probably more of the steel-cased ammo went to England than here.
I had heard originally that the W.R.A. load in steel case was a tiny lot made for experimental purposes. If you have seen a couple in British collections also, that is probably not true, unless the experiments were contracted for by England and it all went there. It is a very, very rare round here.

Regarding your blackened case round with red primer seal, that was a surprise to me, or at least I thought it was. I knew that I hade one with a reddish primer seal instead of blue-purple, but wrote that off to a commercial load, since Winchester transitioned from purple to red seals somewhere around the time in question. In actuality, the primer seal of my round is reddish-purple, as opposed to the more blue-purple of the others. I had not thought about this round. It is strange in many ways. If you look at yours, I think you will find the headstamp factory designator is not punctuated - that is, its says “W R A,” not “W.R.A.” I llooked at mine and had no trouble picking it out of the row of cartridges it was in after your comment about a blackened case. My round is “dark” but not what I would call blackened. For one thing, the head is not blackened at all. I had written the dark tone of mine off to a reaction with the cardboard of whatever box it was in - I have seen that before, although seldom so uniform as mine, or to just “age patina”. Regardless, it is very thin on mine, thin enough that I just considered it a patina.

The big question about your round is whether or not the head of yours is blackend as well, and if the primer seal is a true red, or a reddish purple. If the head is blackened as well, and the color is a true red, then it is not the same as my round, although it seems more than coiincidental that I would have a round, with a primer seal leaning more to red than others with this headstamp, and a case that is “dark.” It would be odd if it is something different from yours.

Regardless of everything, I don’t know anything more about this particular variant. I had assumed mine was just a ball round with a continuation of the use of the basic headstamp used on the WWII ammo, but a new bunter. The letters are somewhat smaller than most, also, but in previous comments on this thread, I had forgotten about its like of punctuation.