Lacquer used on steel cases?

Does anyone know what lacquer is used most commonly on steel cases? I have used solvents to determine it is not nitrocellulose, acrylic or shellac. It could be polyurethane, but I have some old cases that I doubt are poly given the era.

Found this. Hope it helps.

Thanx, but that seems to refer to painting gun, machines, etc.

There’s this from a 1954 patent. There are other year ranges. Just do the Google Patent thing. Ton of stuff in there. … on+coating

And “Download PDF”.

Hello CanAm,

What cases, country and era of cartridges are you looking at. Let me know, if I have some I may be able to ID it for you.

(the mad chemist)

Any of the combloc cases will do. I have tested several and they seem to all be much the same.

I was hoping someone might have a Russian book and the subject.

I’ll see what I can do. I won’t be able to do much until next week and then I can’t give you any guarantees but I’ll give it a try.


Thanx Rimfire

Possibly a Phenolic varnish:

The first really successful lacquered steel cases were from WW II Germany. They used a Bakelite based lacquer from Zella-Werke, in Wiesbaden, known as Type 31. Finition was made by baking the dried cases in ovens, at 180 to 200

Excellent thank you. Bakelite is a phenolformaldehyde.

Also, regarding the Chinese use of phenolic resin, where do you get your information?

  • @ philippe regenstreif: Do you know exactly the year when the Germans started to use lacquered steel cases and the type of cartridge used ??? If I’m not wrong [I cannot be 100% sure], the first German 7.92X57 rimless rounds having lacquered steel cartridge cases were manufactured in 1940. What about the German made 9X19 and 20X138B ammo, when the first lacquered steel cartridge cases were introduced ??? Did Germans manufacture during WW2 7.92X33 Kurz ammo with brass shell cases or all the 7.92X33 Kurz shell cases were made of lacquered steel ??? Thanks in advance for any reply, Liviu 06/26/09

@ Liviu

The lacquered steel 7,9 Mauser case was introduced in 1939. There are blanks 33 and sS rounds known from this year.

Some testing was made with brass cases. The intention was to produce the 8 x 33 only with a lacquered steel case.

There are some brass cases known from the end of WW2. Some of them were made with a steel case head stamp.
You can say, the 8x33 was also made with a brass case.


Hi! Liviu,

My info came from Dan Kent, when he made his second volume about 7,92 mm German ammo.
I think that he told me it had been obtained from translated documents by the late Jim Stonley, who was, as everybody knows, very autoritative on these subjects.
I got confirmation later on, around 1986, from French documents found in Army’s Archives, Chatellerault, but they were more interested by the parkerisation processes of the 7,92 cases.

Anyway, many countries tried and used the lackered cases, from before WWII, like Czechoslovakia, Poland, probably USSR, and of course, France.

As far as I know, Italians choose to buy the rights from Germany, during the war.




I randomly picked out a few lacquer coated steel case cartridges for analysis. A small flake of the coating was removed from the area in the extractor groove (this appeared to be the thickest coated area). Infrared analysis was then performed on the coating. Results for what it’s worth are as follows:

7.62x39 Dummy 05 68 Coating: "Lacquer"
7.62x39 bxn 72 Coating: Modified Phenolic
7.62x39 04 88 Coating: Epoxy
7.62x39 61 67 Coating: polyvinyl butyral
7.62x39 05 80 Caoting: “Lacquer”

7.62x45 bxn 54 Coating: Alkyd ester/melamine

9mm Makarov 38 71 Coating: Polyvinyl butyral

9x19 dnh St+ 5 43 Coating: Polyester/phenolic(?)

5.45x39 70 78 Coating: Phenolic

It appears many different coating have been used!!



I very much appreciate your work, thank you.