Help Identifying SBP 6.35


#1

I recently came across a few rounds. They were just lying around, lost, for I don’t know how long. I don’t own a firearm that uses them and so I don’t remember how they came into my possession.

I need some help in identifying them. In particular I would like to find their country of origin and what model of firearms use them.

Thank you.


#2

These are standard commercial 6.35mm (.25 A.C.P.) cartridges made by Sellier and Bellot, Prague, of the Czech Republic. The small marks at the 9 O’Clock and 3 O’Clock positions, often mistaken as a representation of a “flaming bomb” actually represent an arrow pointing to a clean gun bore, Sellier & Bellot’s identification for their “Neroxin” non-corrosive primer. It marks the ammunition as being non-corrosive.

Older rounds are seen without these symbols. Newer ones reflect a change in the factory identification to simply “S & B” eliminating the “P” from the headstamp. Newer rounds can be found with both “Neroxin” marks as your headstamp shows, or with only one, found sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right of the primer. These symbols are also rotated to different angles in recent years, producing an in-factory date code.

This ammunition can be found in 25-round boxes for European sales, or in 50-round boxes more often found in America.

Your ammunition is probably about ten to fifteen years old, judging from the headstamp.


#3

Thank you very much John. That was a wonderful piece of information. I think, I can now place it, as to where I got them.

Thanks for your help once again. That was real quick!


#4

Sellier & Bellot were two Frenchmen who, having gained a Licence from the Emperor of Austria, set up a Musket percussion cap factory in Prague (Bohemia) in 1823, to supply both Military and Sporting caps to the newly introduced ignition system.

By the 1870s, the prague factory was making all sorts of Military and Sporting metallics, Percussion Caps and Primers, and related items.

After WW I, and the Independance of the Czechoslovak area of the Empire into its own republic, S&B expanded with a new plant at Vlasim, about 60km south of prague, in a heavily wooded area, ideal for an Amnmunition factory.

The Prague factory continued production for some time, even after Vlasim was well under way. The Prague factory concentrated on Pistol ammo during the latter years of its functional life.
S&B maintained its main (sales) offices in Prague ( where they are still nowadays,) whilst its main operations of research and manufacture are all at Vlasim.
The SBP headstamp derives from the times when S&B had several factories around Europe before and after WW I (Schoenebeck am Elbe, Riga, and Prague, as well as Vlasim); After WW II, only the Vlasim factory remained, Prague having been reduced to a mere sales office, and the other factories having been destoryed or taken over by new regimes.

S&B maintained the SBP mark on a lot of ammo(mostly Pistol) even though the ammo itself was all made in Vlasim, after WW II; maybe to maintain “Brand Loyalty” in pre-war markets, such as Latin America…Spanish and English are the two main foreign languages of the Sales staff and office receptionists at S&B’s Prague office, whilst German and Russian predominate amongst the Vlasim engineering staff ( and nowadays, English naturally.)
It was fun in 1993, arranging the details of an already-approved visit in Spanish, with some English thrown in,with the office staff; then discussing technicalities with Older Engineering staff at Vlasim in a mixture of German, English and the occasional Russian ordnance term thrown in… One of the senior engineers had started in 1944-45, under German Control, and was still there in 93, acting as a senior “elder” consultant in ammo manufacture, especially steel case technology…what a mine of info. (not only the cartridges, but the machines to make them as well…S&B makes a lot of its own machinery, or re-builds ZB and German equipment as well.).

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#5

John, it is my understanding that the “S&B” hs replaced the SBP hs in mid 1983. If someone can show that this was 1993 instead, I would be interested in the reference. Otherwise this would likely indicate that the ammunition was produced at least 25 years ago.


#6

Brad - I don’t know the exact date, but you are more likely than I to be correct. What seems like ten years or fifteen years to me could easily be twenty-five. Since retiring, now eight years which doesn’t even seem possible, time goesd by very quickly for me. I seldom know what day it is, and sometimes not even the month. Stupidly, that long ago, I was not recording the dates that new headstamps showed up as I cataloged them into my collection. Now, it has been two years since I even cataloged a new round - they all sit in my collection upside down, showing they are not cataloged, and by now, I have forgotten what half of them are.


#7

John,
I’d be interested in knowing how you were able to add to your collection when you were working at the store? I assume you didn’t have to buy a full box of cartridges in order to add a new headstamp to the collection. Did you have customers who ever questioned your explanation that the extra space in the box was for expansion?


#8

Guy - actually, if I wanted a new cartridge I did, basically, have to buy a box. However, I had a wonderful group of customers that new I collected pistol cartridges, and everytime they bought a box of anything thety would ask me if I needed one. One guy, always, if I said I needed one he asked for a bag, dumped all the rounds into the bag, and gave me the box with two rounds. One of the other clerks had told him that I liked to get boxes with two rounds - which was correct - so I have a box specimen, the box and one for my singles collection. I alswyas offered to pay them, but none would accept a dime. They also brought me stuff they got elsewhere.

when I am on the range, if I see someone using ammo that I don’t have yet, I offer one dollar for any cartridge (pistol) that I don’t have. Usually they won’t take the dollar, although it is sincerely offered. I know we all like the quarter and half-dollar boxes at shows, but the truth is, any cartridge needed for a collection, even if they are ten cents each in shooting quantity, is worth a dollar. It saves you having to buy a quantity to get one.

Many of my empty boxes come out of the range garbage cans, and I never walk over a live round on the range floor, dropped or ejected as a jam. Over the years, I have added a couple of dozen rounds to my collection from them, a couple of which I have never found another specimen. If I don’t need it, and it is a factory load, I keep it and put it in my duplicates. Every now then, I find a have brought home a reload thinking it was a new bullet type. If I need the headstamp and it is a relaod, I break it down to an empty, unprimed case, all that is significant to me as a collector. If I don’t, next time I got to range I just toss it back on the ground. I have no way on my own to “throw away” ammunition. The ranges do.

Unfortunately, in calibers 9mm and .45 (and 9 x 18 Makarov) I buy full boxes to get, basically, two rounds and the cardboard. I save a few in my dupes for my friends, and shoot the rest up. Every now and then I will do the same with .40 since I have a neighbor who is a good friend and has a .40, plus my son has a .40 of his own, as well as his .40 caliber issue pistol from the CHP. I don’t charge either of them, of course. So, they get 40 rounds of brand new ammo in a bag for free. The recent increases in amnmo costs have forced me to cut back on the practice, though.