Fiocchi "Headstamp" -- most unlikely location


#1

For some time now, I have been using cigar boxes to sort out ammo. Well, today I made an unexpected discovery – a “FIOCCHI ITALY” “headstamp"
on the clasp of the cigar box that I acquired to stock some ammo in!
On the backside of a snap-type clasp, which itself looks for the most part just like an unprimed cartridge case, was “FIOCCHI * ITALY*” except that the stars were five pointed. Does Fiocchi have a division that makes these things – or is this another Fiocchi? The box is a wooden 'Diamond Crown” brand made by Arturo Fuente in the Dominican Republic, and though I do not smoke cigars, know these to be pretty expensive ones.

Eat your hearts out headstamp collectors – betcha you haven’t got one of these! – Mark


#2

Well, when you think about it, not much different making brass snaps than brass cartridge cases. I don’t know how old your item is, or if Fiocchi still makes other brass and metal objects other than cartridges, but in the late 1960s, we had a royal visitor at our store. The daughter of Haile Selassi of Ethiopia visited our gun shop with a small entourage - three or four other people. I don’t remember who they were, I think one was her husband and the other bodyguards, but I was talking with one of the men and he was not only suprised that I knew of Selassi, but also that I knew about a speech he made in the early 1930s in which he basically predicted all the events that would lead to WWII, and was quite accurate about them. They gave me a nice little crocodile leather case marked inside “Empire of Ethiopia”. Have never really figured out what it is for - no key rings inside, but a little plastic envelope/flap that might hold postage stamps and another pocket that would hold small business cards.

At any rate, the female part of the snap is marked around the circumference “FIOCCHI LECCO.” When I pointed it out to the fellow who gave it to me, and mentioned they made cartrides also, and that they were an Italian firm providing snaps for a Souvenir of Ethiopia, he found that very funny since the Italians invaded his country prior to the opening of WWII in Europe.

I still have it to this day, of course.

At any rate, the fact that mine says “Lecco,” the city in Italy where the Fiocchi ammunition factory is, would tell me that these snaps are made by the Fiocchi company we all know and love!


#3

John, used to be very common for gentleman to carry and exchange calling cards. If that case is business card size, it was probably and old-school calling card case. Very neat item. Why was she visiting a gun shop???


#4

Jon - It has been over 40 years since that vixsit, I think, and I don’t recall why they were in the shop. I think that one of the men bought a shotgun from us. In those days, they could easily buy long arms - it was no violation of the law since they undoubtedly had State Department and Embassy papers allowing it. Diplomatic immunity and all that business.

We had a lot of celebraties go through our store. Clint Eastwood was there a few times - in one of the Dirty Harry movies (I don’t see many movies, so forget the title) where they drove a car into a liquor store, that “liquor store” was right across the alley from us. As he swings the car around, you can briefly see the sign on the front of our store. He spent some time in our lunch room to escape all the groupies, since we could control who was allowed back there. One of the shotguns that was used in a movie of his (a crook dressed as a nun pulls it out from under her habit) was a folding stock, tricked out gun that belonged to one of our employees. He was showing it to Eastwood and he liked it. The “liquor store” by the way, was an empty store that the fixed up into a liquor store for the movie. They needed another Model 29 S&W at a time when they were really hard to get, and couldn’t find one. I showed their prop man a Model 57 .41 Magnum and said on film, you would never know the difference. He told the guy in charge that he could make blanks for it, so they bought it. I can’t say it ever appeared in a picture, but if it did, one of the famous Dirty Harry .44s was really a .41!

We used to fix the guns for the TV Show “Streets of San Francisco.” they also filmed a couple of sequences in our store. We had a deal that they would never use anything shot in our show in an anti-gun matter. They violated that “hand-shake agreement” and the next time one of those dumb actors dropped and broke his 2" Model 10 S&W and they brought it in for repair, we refused to handle it. My boss was very big on people keeping their word!

The President of Venezuela was in our shop once also (before Chavez!). He wanted to see our cutom knives as I recall. Nice chap. The Secret Service (ours) wanted us to close the shop and send all our regular customers away before he came in and my boss said he couldn’t do that. The Venezuelan president came in anyway, and acted like just a regular guy. The next day, a lot of the Venezuelan Secret Service guys came into the store to buy some things - holsters and other things for themsleves. One guy took his Browning GP pistol out to try a holster. I asked if I could see one of his cartridges and it had the “VEN” headstamp. He offered me one when I told him I just wanted to see it because I collected 9mm cartridges. The cool thing was that when he went out front to their car, he collected one each from the other agents and gave them to me. I got about three or four variations out of the deal.

I got my first 9 x 18mm Makarov with “539” headstamp from some members of the Moscow Police Quick Response Team. I probably still have their business cards. they trained for a week with SFPD. They bought a whole bunch of holsters from us - we carried the Alessi holsters for the Makarov. Their holsters were thin leather little things - pretty poor. Now the Russians make some good leather for that gun. They also bought every round of hollow point Hornady ammo we had, since at that time, they had no access to HP 9 x 18mm Ammo in their own country.

I have to say, that beyond the ability to work in my hobby, managing a major gun shop in the downtown of a popular tourist city made the job interesting. I guess that’s what kept me there 36 years or so. I could probably write a book on all the experiences in there - some not so pleasant. Sorry to bore you with them here.


#5

Very interesting stuff John!
Thanks “again” for "boring us!"
sam


#6

John, in a story chock-full of really interesting stuff, this is what hit me the most:
"They needed another Model 29 S&W at a time when they were really hard to get, and couldn’t find one. I showed their prop man a Model 57 .41 Magnum and said on film, you would never know the difference. He told the guy in charge that he could make blanks for it, so they bought it. I can’t say it ever appeared in a picture, but if it did, one of the famous Dirty Harry .44s was really a .41! "
That is a super piece of movie lore.


#7

Cool stories, John…Any time you feel like reminicsing here, please do so !!..Randy


#8

Like a lot of brass working companies, Fiocchi has almost always since its inception, made “non cartridge” brass stampings, like Eyelets, Snap buttons, hinges, clasps etc, in order to “make ends meet” when cartridge sales slow down, or when their metal working machinery is required to increase production (as in Wartime)…Just as in the US and british Empire, “Carr-Fast” is a recognised brand of snap closure for Jackets, pockets, Webbiong, etc, Fioccchi is common on both male and female wear in Italy and the rest of Europe.
Another product produced by most cartridge makers who do Shotshells is Screw or Bayonet Lamp Bulb Bases, and in the old days, Electronic Valave bases (All Drawn from thin sheet, just like shotshell brass bases.).

And of course, Lipstick cases in the 1930s were almost all brass. (Plastic was unheard of, for this use then)

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#9

You are right.
In France SFM did a lot of brass based things (lamp bulk bases and so on).
Cartoucherie Francaise manufactured pens (see picture).
And Gaupillat , despite the ctges shown in the catalogue, stopped to manufacture them in the thirties (SFM was making them) and made extruded brass objects which had nothing to see with ctges till 1960.
jp


#10

John,

Did you ever think about writing a book? At the least a copy of your experiences at the Gun Shop?

Would make great reading!

Jones


#11

No, the only book I have been trying to start for five years, but keep getting more and more information, is one on Makarovs. I doubt I will ever finish even that.

A book on the “Life and Times” of John Moss would sell at least one copy; two if my son bothered to buy one!

Thanks, though, for the thought Joe.

John


#12

When I visited and spent a day at the Fiocchi factory a number of years ago I was advised that the Fiocchi Corporation had 2 divisions. The ammunition division and the fastener division. I think this answers the question. This was made by the fastener division.

Forammo


#13

Well, I have also a jacket whose buttons are headstamped “Fiocchi Italy”

Pivi