Early Western 9x19mm box I almost owned!

Tonight I got distracted by my visiting granddaughters and didn’t watch the close on an auction on GB. Just as well probably. The box was in terrible condition, but it looked like it may have had an interesting date code on the back.

Western’s initial production of 9x19mm ammo was a contract to supply 9mm Glisenti ammunition to the Italian Army. These rounds were headstamped both 1917 and 1918. The Western 1917 price list does not list 9mm Luger. The next document I have is the Jan 1921 catalog which lists both an “M.P” load and a “Hollow. S.P” or Hollow Point load. It is unclear when Western began manufacturing 9mm Luger.

The headstamp on the Glisenti Loads is “WESTERN 1917” or 1918. The post war commercial ammunition is headstamped “WESTERN 9m/mLUGER” However there are a number of different bullet styles including an HP load that show up with a 1918 headstamp. It is assumed that Western was using up leftover Glisenti cases for their initial commercial 9mm Luger ammunition.

The box that I missed was a white box for HP loads but filled with Western 1918 headstamped cases. The only interesting thing about it was what appeared to be a date code on the back which was perhaps “P???” The “P” would make this a 1921 box which fits nicely with the 1921 catalog and the initial offering of 9mm Luger by Western.

The possible date code on the back is:

If anyone sees this box, please take a close look at the back and see if you can make out the date code.

For comparison below is an April 1924 HP box
WCC-1b The lack of the LUBALOY stamp indicates the box that sold on GB was made before 1924 as does the Glisenti headstamp.


Here are two WESTERN 9 mm Luger boxes I forgot I had, as due to space considerations, and my poor selection of Western 9 mm boxes, I had them in a Winchester drawer in one of my cabinets.

Note that box of the box labels appear to be pre-1924, as they do not contain the Lubaloy marking, either printed originally as part of the label, or rubber-stamped, as on Lew’s box.
The question is, does the green box signify FMJ loading and the Buff box HP Loading, or are the colors simply a matter of when the box labels were printed? Both boxes have the code WT-20, a box label code which I think indicates the label was designed or perhaps also printed (not sure of that) in 1920, on both the top label and on the side labels I have shown. The side label WT-20 markings are on the bottom half of the box in both cases, with both boxes being of the “lift-lid” type…

Note that other than various uses of color, the two top labels are basically identical in content, while the side labels I have chosen to show are quite different in many ways.

The green box came to me empty. The Buff box is full and the cartridges all have the following characteristics: GM Truncated Hollow Point bullet, brass case with no case cannelure, relatively flat nickel-cup primer, no visible case mouth or primer seals.

The date codes stamped on the back of both boxes are basically illegible and probably were when stamped, as while not in the best shape, neither of the boxes show serious fading due to age. On the green box, only the last two entries of the code can be read and that is “2K” On the buff box, I can read “T4E” but don’t know if anything precedes that or not.

Here is the other side of the “red print” box. I had the box turned the wrong way and showed the other side by mistake. This picture below shows that the two side labels of the green and buff boxes on the sides with the WT-20 marking are identical. It was the other side that were not the same. Also, I just noticed that in my original picture of the side labels, the red-print label has the box top on backwards. The bottom red-print label is shown correctly, and the side label of the green box was correct in the original photo.

Edited to correct information concerning the side-label pictures.

Don’t know if any of this is any help or not.

John Moss

1 Like

Thanks for the detail reply! I agree that “WT-20” probably indicates the design was released for printing in 1920. That is about the right date for the introduction of the 9mm Luger by Western. I have seen other codes including WT-19, -21, -23, & -26 on 30-40K;, WT-24 on 30 Luger, and . The “WT” code does not appear on Target boxes so i don’t have any evidence of what it may mean. What WT code appears on other calibers that may have been around before 1920.

The code on the buff box, T4e is 4 May 1925, and the green box is missing the year but 2K is 2 Nov ??? but the lack of a Lubaloy means it was from 1920 (if WT-20 is the print date)-1922 so the code would be o, P or Q.


It is interesting to note that the buff box is from 1925, but does not have the Lubaloy marking in any form on the box, which Lew indicated began in 1924. Anyone know why? Not a quiz - I have no idea and would like to know.

John Moss

I can’t answer since I have three 1924 boxes with this stamp!!! Maybe the stamping guy was having a bad day!