Help need to identify some Dummy Cartridges


It is tough to get old and lose your memory—this began happening to me in my 20s so you can guess where I am today!!!

Anyway, below are five drill rounds I picked up over the past two years, and I have forgotten or never knew where they were made.

I believe I was told that the black one and the one with the orange paint in the grooves were made in New Zealand. I put a question in the New Zealand Journal but nobody had any info on any of them!

I have a vague memory that the Aluminum is French, but I may have it confused with an all steel drill that I picked up last year that is French.

The last two have rubber filled primer pockets.

Any help appreciated.




Lew - I can only confirm that the one with the two orange grooves is definitely from New Zealand. I can tell on the others. My brass one with the black rubber primer pocket came from South Africa, but someone told me it was actually of German commercial manufacture. I have no idea myself which is correct.

I have the black one with truncated “bullet” form and the grass one with two grooves listed as unknown in my own collection. I don’t know anything about the plain aluminum one.

I have a solid brass one similar to the one shown with a black "primer’ but mine has a milkly-white color plastic “primer” and the “bullet” ogive is much blunter, round nose. Any ideas about the country of origin of that one?


Lew - I THINK the aluminium one is a drill from South Africa, made by IMPALA BULLETS. IMPALA make monolithic brass bullets on a CNC machine but he also tried his had at drill cartridges, 5 calibers were made: 12g, 9mm P, 40 S&W, 38 Spl & 5.56x45.




I have wondered it this was by Kobus du Plessis who also makes the Impala bullets (I’m told). I have two confirmed dummies by Kobus (the two in the middle below) which have a different bullet ogive. The Kobus with the very small primer cavity is apparently a very early dummy and most production had the much bigger cavity. The unknown dummy (on the far right) has no cavity for a firing pin. More significant perhaps is that the unknown dummy has a significantly different bullet ogive from the two Kobus dummies. The groove dimensions and the treatment of the casemouth are also different.

On the far left is a red anodized aluminum South African dummy reportedly made by Thor Engineering. The unknown dummy seems to be closer in shape to the Thor dummy, but the extractor groove is still somewhat different.

Clearly the unknown could be by Kobus, but it is not obvious.

Will, I don’t have an address or even a town for either Thor Engineering or Kobus du Plessis. Do you know anything about either? All I have on thor Engineering, who also makes scope mounts and rings, is that they are “east of Pretoria. Contact Charmaine on 012 - 8020294” from a Forum. On Impala I found the European dealer for Impala bullets who offers them in 9mm Para among many other calibers.

[quote]53 9 mm Parabellum 90 grs 5,8 g KS 50 91,80

LS=Leicht Solid RN=Rundkopf,abgeflacht KS=Kegelstumpf-Drückjagdgesch.
Gesch. -Gewicht
Impala - Hochleistungspatronen
Impala Europa-Mag. Helmut Eller, An der Wehr 23, A-2440 REISENBERG, Austria
Tel.: +43(0)2234 809 32, Fax: +43(0)2234 809 324,

I could find the website for the South Africian company ( but no address.

Any info on where these two companies are located would be useful.

On another note!!!
Just got a note from a forum member on the center dummy. The truned brass dummy with the orange grooves came from “NZ Ammunition Co”. The owner is Craig Bamber and he is also the designer of these dummies. Apparently they were also made in 5.56/223.

Their web site is ( and they deal in commercial and Law Enforcement/Military products. There is no mention of this dummy round but it looks like something they may produce.




Lew, I think your question raises a very interesting point about dummy cartridges.
When doing some work at the old Sterling factory we manufactured our own 9mm dummy cartridges for function testing. While working on projects such as CAW we produced a number of dummy cartridges to determine final configuration and when we had chosen we produced a run for function testing. Many other projects were the same.
I presume the same will be the case in other factories and on other projects. As rounds such as these ‘leak’ from the factory they will appear on the collecting scene. It will be nearly impossible to identify them or as it easy to fake them, you would need factory records to prove origin.


You are exactly correct. Once many years ago when on an exchange tour with the RAF, I use to visit the Ordnance Board when I was down town for meetings with MOD(PE) - which shows how long ago it was. On one trip I was having coffee/tea with the Colonel who ran the OB and and he handed me an aluminum dummy cartridge in 5.56, but a much shortened case from the 45mm standard-probably 30mm or so. He asked if I knew what it was. This was when the NATO Weapon System of the 80s work was getting underway and this was one of the number of shortened case 5.56s that the US was considering entering. With the past baggage the US carried over the selection of the 7.62x51mm the US was of two minds about even having an entry, and in the end did not. Because of this sensitivity the US work was classified I think, but at least FOUO.

I told the Colonel that I knew what it was, but that he wasn’t suppose to have one. He then told me that they had picked up a really bad guy off the streets of Belfast (this was during the heigth of some of the IRA bombing in England and Ireland-and not long after the bombing of the Paras at Aldershot). The dummy had been in the pocket of this IRA guy. That was just another indication of how these "new caliber’ dummies can float around. I have never seen a loaded example of this cartridge or anything close from that period. It may have been dropped early in the concept stage.

I don’t have much of a problem with fakes because a 9x19mm is a 9x19mm and none of these unheadstamped dummies command much of a price. When you talk about these “experimental” calibers, you need to have a sound track record of the item before you pay more than a nominal price.

By the way, I have a number of unmarked 9x19mm dummies that reportedly came from Sterling. Perhaps I will post a pic and get your opinion!




Hi Lew

I have the addresses for you:
Impala bullets

P.O.BOX 1384



Thanks Will!!!