Herters Headstamps-9x19mm

On a 303 Headstanp thread, I posted a comment that minor variations of headstamps were important and gave an example. I was requested to post the headstamps as a seperate thread so here it is.

Below are known Herter’s cases in 9x19mm

From Left to Right the Cases were made in Sweden Canada and Finland. They are identified by:
Sweden: Dots before & after “HERTER’S”,
Canada: No dots, 9M/M
Finland: No dots 9MM

The headstamps came from the boxes below. Note two of the boxes were full of unprimed empties and are clearly original to the boxes.

I have a total of five Herter’s boxes in the collection and all are for empty cases. Has anyone seen boxes or documention for Herters loaded 9x19mm. I know they sold some calibers as loaded rounds as well as cases, but I have seen no evidence that they sold loaded 9x19mm.

I’ll post all five boxes, both tops and sides on my website for those interested.

Lew - thanks for posting these. The only Herter’s box I have is the silver on for empty cases, as well. I have 7 loadings in Herter’s, covering all three of the headstamps, but in my opinion, while none appear to be reloads (that is, fired before and reloaded), only one of mine is a factory loading. I have a GM RN SN loading with green primer seal and neck seal in the Swedish case and they look very much like the seals from Svenska Metallverken ammunition, the company I believe made the Swedish cases.

I I have one other in the Swedish case with whaqt loks like a factory-quality red primer seal, and it may be a Herter’s loading as well, although I doubt it was loaded by SM in Sweden even though the case was made there.

The 9mm is hard to pin down for Herter’s. I, too, have found no hard evidence that they offered loaded 9mm - certainly they offered loaded ammo in many other calibers, including revolver rounds though, and they are listed in the only Herter’s catalog I have, Wholesale Catalog No. 81 dated 1971 (pag 537). However, even in this catalog there is circumstantial evidence that they had offered 9mm as loaded ammunition. In the picture of a few rounds that appears at the head of the list of calibers, there is a loaded 9mm cartridge shown, even though no auto pistol round is shown in the list.

They show there revolver rounds as being in virign brass, loaded with Herter’s own styles of bullets, indicating the loading may have been done other than in the factories that supplied the cases. Of course, the case suppliers may have made the “Herter’s” bullets as well, or Herter’s may have supplied the bullets to the case makers.

At any rate, my guess is that probably a very high percentage of the Herter’s 9mm cartridges in collections are not Herter’s-loaded cartridges, but rather handloads on new Herter’s brass done by whoever bought them.

All of the bullets in mine are non-magnetic, not necessarily the norm for European loads, except the one in a Finnish case, which has a GMCS soft-nose bullet. However, soft-nose bullets are not the norm for Finnish ammo of the time, either, although that could have been specified by Herter’s.

All said and done, there is still a lot to learn about Herter’s brand auto pistol cartridges. I hope someone with a good selection of Herter’s catalogs can take the time to sort through them and see what they can find out. My catalog has a good index, which makes it very fast to find the ammo pages.

John, Your Swedish Herter’s case with the green cms and pa is as close to a “factory” load as I’ve heard of, but all my SM loaded ammunition have magnetic bullets!

There are a number of rounds in my collection that “could be” factory including the following:
Swedish cases
– FMJ, red cms
– SP, blue cms
– FMJ dummy with small hole in case and primer

I can believe Herter’s hired loaders to produce loaded 9x19mm ammo for them, and I can believe Herter’s loaded some of their own. I will be convinced they sold loaded ammo in 9x19 when I see a box for loaded 9mmP or a listing for it in a catalog.

I think it is possible that some of the companies that made cases for Herter’s could have loaded some of their production overrun, or that loaders bought Herters brass, then loaded and sold it. Lots of possibilities on the loaded rounds we have all seen.

I agree with you. I hope someone with a vast Herter’s liberary digs through the ads and can tell us if Herter’s listed loaded 9x19mm for sale.

Lew - we’re pretty much in agreement. Did you check you blue seal “Swedish” soft nose round for a magnetic bullet, or are you going by your collection catalog? Intereste4, because my only blue-green seal one, which looks much like Svenska Metallwerken stuff, has a soft nose bullet, but is non-magnetic.

I suspect that if you check every collection of 9mms in the World, you would find a couple of dozen or more loading variations in Herters cases. If we can’t find any proof of loading, I may just break my six loaded rounds down to three NUPE cases, the only thing that seems to be really significant in these.

John, You have three empty cases on the way to you, two of them NUPEs. Also the red Swedish Box. Don’t breakdown anything.

My Swedish hst SP load has a green cms (not blue) and a green pa. The bullet is non-magnetic.

I have two Swedish hst loads with red pa, and one has a red cms.

Both of Finnish hst loads have magnetic bullets. One is a FMJ and the other a SP!!!

Maybe they are legit, but I sure want to see a box or a listing.

I have a Swedish one with just a red PA also. Your SN sounds like mine - non-magnetic bullet. Mine has a green PA. The CMS is blue to the eye, but it looks like the round made about three turns (or the applicator did, depending on how those sea;-applying machines work) on this round and the end result is a deep blue. I have seen this on Metallwerken rounds before. It may be that the thicker the lacquer coating gets, the bluer it is, or they may have just used both colors from time to time.

One of my Swedish (dot) headstmped rounds has a Brass FMJ bullet and a brass primer. Very much not American at the time these cartridges were loaded. A brass jacket was a sure sign of foreign manufacture then. Non-magnetic, like most brass jackets. (Not BWS). I would have expected that combination in the Finnish case more than the Swedish, I don’t know why exactly. My only Canadian headstamped round is a very modern-looking HP, even though I had had the round for years. It is reminiscent of some of the Smith and Wesson HP bullets, which might make it Canadian, since some of S&Ws ammo was made by CIL. However, the primer seating on that round is not the best. Seated properly, but scratched crossways, with a dip (not a firing pin mark) in one side of the face of the cup - like a very dirty primer seating plug was used. That makes me think it is not a Canadian factory load. The lord giveth and then the lord taketh away!

Some guys go by the old Missouri slogan of show me so I guess I will try to do so. I forgot to image the cartridge however, as noted on the stamping on the top and both ends it is a 125 gr round nose lead bullet. The box is marked contents made in Canada.

By the way I do not have a Herter’s without the / between the MMs.
Sure glad you got me to start saving the boxes several years back. I think I am near a 1000 of 9mm boxes now. Besides being well stocked in shooting ammo, I occasionally learn something or can prove a point to you and John, which is the most satisfying.

The problem here is that while I welcome seeing this box, it doesn’t prove Herter’s sold the cases loaded. How do we know who stamp the “125 grain” marking on that strip at the bottom? The box is for empty cases, according to the original label. It could be a reloading company who bought the cases from Herter’s that stamped the bullet type in there, simply using the Herter’s boxes for their loads.

Of course, Herter’s could have stamped it too. The problem is, we don’t know that, unless there is something else on the box that would prove that.

Just playing Devil’s advocate.

I wanted to look at the one Herter’s box I had in my entire auto pistol box collection, and unfortunately, it vanished. I’ll probably find it here someday, but a half hour search didn’t turn it up. Like everything else, my box collection has outgrown the facility, and it is sometimes, not often, a problem to find things.

What we really need are catalog entries, Herter’s price sheets, or a box that started out life as a loaded ammunition box.

Am not a 9 mm expert as John Moss knows but have always marveled at Herters fascination with the wording “Guaranteed the worlds finest” he applied to everything they sold. Friend had a loading tool the broke the top off sizing a case. Frame had a huge blow hole in the casting! Has anybody seen faults in any of their ammo?


Gary, The box is great! It fills in an important part of the story for me.

A NUPE case without the “/” is in your box and will travel to SLICS. I hope the box you pictured is full because I sure would like one of the cartridges to go with the photo of the box.

My opinion/guess/theory is that this ammo was loaded by or for Herter’s. John is right, it could have been loaded and sold by somebody else, but in that case I would have expected a sticker or stamp on the box somewhere identifying the loader. This box is also a very strong indication that the ammo was not loaded by the case manufacturer in Canada. I’m now about 95% sure that, in this case, that Herter’s bought the cases from Canada and then had someone load them. Had they been loaded in Canada, I’d expect the box label itself to indicate loaded ammunition, not cases. Again, no way to be positive of this. The loading could have been by 10 highschool kids in a backroom at Herters using the presses like the one gamgjm mentioned that the top broke off or by some third party loader. John and I both have loads that have neck seals and primer seals and other characteristics that indicate they were probably professionally loaded, not just loaded by a shooter.

My feeble memory seems to recall that Herter’s offered a 125gr RN bullet (as opposed to the more common 124gr). That could indicate that your cartridges were loaded with Herter’s bullets.

Does anyone have Herter’s bullet boxes??? If so, do they indicate the country where the bullets were made???

There are still some Herter’s cartridges out there that look to me as if they were made by SM in Sweden and others that look like they were made by VPT in Finland. I could be wrong, but if not, I would expect boxes boxes that indicated live ammunition, not cartridge cases. All three case suppliers were overseas and the cost of shipping live ammunition as compared to components was pretty high, even back then. Herters would not have ordered loaded ammo from overseas in small quanitities.

Gary, this is a great box for another reason. I have the silver box from both Sweden and Finland, but here it is from Canada. That indicates to me that Herters was buying cases from all three in about the same time-frame!

A great item. Many thanks!!!

Does anyone else have a Herter’s box marked to indicate it contains (or contained) loaded ammunition???

Does anyone have the old Herter’s catalogs and is willing to check them for the listings on 9mmP (including what types of bullets Herters offered in 9mm)???

Does anyone have old Herters bullet boxes in any caliber to see if they indicate the country of manufacturer???

This Forum is great----Thanks for all the info.


PS: Gary, can I post your box photo on my website-with credits of course?

Gary - I pretty much agree with Lew’s assessment There is as much chance that Herter’s had these cartridges loaded as there is that someone loaded them for their own commercial purposes.

Can you post a picture of a cartridge from this box? Profile and headstamp?

I turned up the following photo. Clearly Herter’s did have boxes marked for loaded ammunition, but the fact that the caliber and load were stamped in implies to me that they were loaded by or for Herter’s here in the US rather than in the factory that made the cases.

The stampings on these cases is very similar to that on Gary Ms box further supporting the theory that it was sold by Herter’s—99% in my estimate.

O.K. I agree that the 9mm box from gary was loaded by/for Herter’s and they just used the empty-case boxes that the brass was originally in. The pictures posted by Lew are the corroborating evidence. Without them, it was a guess only. The format of the loading marking is the same style of print, etc. Would still like to see catalog pages as well. This is all what is called “documentation.” With some documentation, we can make good guesses. With corroborating documents (boxes are, after all, documents when it comes to cartridge identification - that’s the only reason I collect them) we can turn those guesses into fact.

Thanks Gary and Lew for teaming up to give us an answer. Wish I could find my silver Herter’s box. I don’t recall what it said, if anything.

I went back and looked at my cartridge case boxes I posted on my website (gigconceptsinc.com/US-9x19mm.html). Four of the five boxes have 9mm or 9mm Luger printed in the yellow ovel on the label. The gray Canadian box has stamped there in the same manner as Gary’s box and the .401 Herter’s boxes.

This, and the fact that almost identical boxes have shown up marked with different companies, makes me suspect that Herter’s bought bulk cases overseas (yes, in a recent thread Jon C taught me that includes Canada) and had the boxes printed in the US. Some were printed with the caliber, but some had the yellow oval left blank so they could be used as Herters saw fit.

Good discussion!

Still hope the info from the Herter’s catalogs shows up.

The box I have is gray as you deduced from the box style, not silver. The box is full if I count the one in my collection and I will make sure I bring one to SLICs, two if John is going. My camera battery just failed so will have to wait to take a pix of the round. The headstamp matches the middle image you mention from Canada.

Among the 10 or so loadings in my collection of Herter’s 9mms, I also have one with a red primer and case mouth seal with fmj bullet. One that seems we haven’t discussed is a NPE case with brass primer using the dotted headstamp. Did Herter’s sell primed brass? I know a couple of Herter’s collectors but neither uses modern communications.

Gary, Thanks on the round. John will be at SLICS!

I have never heard of Herter’s primed cases. If your box is gray, not silver then it is like the one I illustrated on my webpage.

I just found a 1971 catalog. They only offer 9x19mm cases which are described as “Exceed United States Army And Canadian Army Tolerances And Specifications” Maybe this is when they were buying from Canada. No loaded 9x19mm offered. I wonder what the earlier catalogs say.

I have a 1962 Herters Catalog (No. 72). They list only empty cases and state “All cases made in Sweden for standard Ameriican primers.” The pistol calibers they list are 38 Special, 357 Mag and 9mm Luger.


Saw a Box of 50 Herter’s unprimed brass 9x19 for sale on auction arms if anyone interested


it cost me $20 for two Herter’s catalogs here in Missouri at the Hunting/Fishing Sporting Collectibles show. But I also got to look through a stack of others. No 9mm loaded in either 70 or 71 catalogs. In the August 71-72 catalog the loaded list includes 9mm 125 gr RN (round nose) as SC2C44 for $4.90 a box. The August 72-73 and the August 73-74 catalogs list the 125 gr RN and also a 115 grain FJHP (full jacketed hollow point) as SD2C12 for $5.29 box. I did not find any loaded 9mms in the 1975 or later catalogs.

So it appears that the 9mm 125 RN was sold in three years and the 115 gr FJHP for two years.

Hope this answers the question.

The catalog data is interesting. Based on GaryM and rimfire’s postings it looks like the following:

1962(catalog 72): Cases were procured from Sweden

1970 (assume catalog 80): Cases only

1971(Catalog 81): Cases were procured from Canada (implied by comment that cases meet Canadian Army standards)

1971-1973 (catalogs 82, 83 & 84 I assume): Both cases and loaded 9x19mm cartridges were sold, some and probably all, in gray Canadian boxes and cases.


Finland probably produced 9mm cases for Herters between 1962 and 1971 sometime.

Red boxes were the early Swedish production

Silver boxes were the later Swedish production (Silver boxes were also used for Finnish production)

Gray Canadian box may have been the next production since it is similar in appearance to the silver boxes

Final production was probably the yellow Canadian boxes.

Would appreciate anymore available data, and any information that will support or refute the suppositions above.

Does anyone have Herter’s catalogs that will fill in the gap between 1962 and 1970???

Anything earlier than 1962??

Apparently George Herter converted his business from mailorder to retail in 1978. I have no idea when he got out of the ammo/ammo components business.

Thanks for all the help.