More info on .32 ACP & 7.65mm Ammo

Many thanks to the members of the Forum who have provided so much good info on this subject. I now have SFM drawings from 1899 and 1900 which are great references. I also have current CIP (European) and SAMMI (US) drawings to show the 'Standard" cartridges. It is interesting that the US standard allows bullet diameters both larger and smaller than the European (7.93mm -0.152 for US and 7.85, +.03 for Europe). Also Gordon Bruce’s book on the Webley pistol was pointed out to me. He discusses the fact that when the .32 Webley Automatic was introduced in 1906, the 32 ACP and 7.65mm Browning were considered different cartridges and the early pistols were marked for one or the other. The Metropolitan Police ran a test between the two cartridges and selected the 7.65mm Browning for their pistols. The decision to make a pistol that could use either cartridge was implemented with pistols in the 4000-4500 SN range!

Now we have hard evidence that the two were different cartridges in the very early 1900’s, probably because they were developed by two different organizations.

What I am missing are the very early drawings of US 32 ACP cartridges and related information. I need your help locating drawings and information on US 32 ACP cartridges from any date up through 1920 is critical and anything up through the 1980s or so would be useful just to show how dimensions change over time. Winchester drawings are particularly important, but UMC, Remington, USCCo, etc are all important.

I also am partricularly looking for Belgian drawings and information on these cartridges. Very early FN drawings could answer a lot of questions.

I have the information in the DWM case and bullet drawing books which date from 1906-1908 also make a distinction between the 479/479A case which is marked Browning and the 479C case with slightly different dimensions which is marked Winchester. The DWM bullets also make this distinction. Bullet 221A is marked as the original Browning bullet (diameter 7.85mm -0.03) and the 221C is marked as the Winchester bullet (diameter 7.93mm -0.03). Later the Winchester bullet is lined out and the number 221C is reassigned to what is called the "Match Munition “Standart” with the nominal diameter of the Browning bullet (7.85mm-0.01) intended to be loaded in the Browning (479A) case. The date of these changes is not noted in the listings.

It is increasingly obvious that the 7.65mm Browning and the 32 ACP were two seperately developed cartridges though both had their origins with John Browning. Although the gun references I have checked credit Winchester with the development of the cartridge, it is not credible that they would have developed two cartridges so close to each other as two seperate designs. The only practical conclusion is that FN developed the 7.65mm Browning cartridge and Winchester developed the 32 ACP which appeared 3 years later. John Browning was obviously involved in both efforts, but if he was involved in the detail design of both, it is not likely they would have been introduced as two different cartridges.

Eventually over time they have evolved into a single cartridge (probably around the end of WWI) but it is interesting that the European and US standards for the cartridges still differ!

Any help will be greatly appreciated. First priority are drawings and other information on these cartridges from before 1920 but ALL information will be greatly appreciated.

Finally, Agustus Francotte in his history of FN shows the FN M1900 pistol but indicates it was chambered for a 7.65x15.5mm cartridge. This is in fact the metric dimensions of the cartridge that the Browning prototype pistol was undoubtedly chambered for so he likely had some bit of source date that mentioned this cartridge. Is there anyone who can suggest how I could get in touch with Agustus Francotte or his estate? Lying in his notes may be the document that we need to put this all together! HELP-HELP-HELP!!!

Again, many thanks to those who have contributed.



[quote=“Lew”]. I also have current CIP (European) and SAMMI (US) drawings to show the 'Standard" cartridges. It is interesting that the US standard allows bullet diameters both larger and smaller than the European (7.93mm -0.152 for US and 7.85, +.03 for Europe).
Eventually over time they have evolved into a single cartridge (probably around the end of WWI) but it is interesting that the European and US standards for the cartridges still differ!

As I told you before you will find the same thing about the 25 ACP (6.35 Brg)

It is not surprising, even the shotshells dimensions nowadays are different in CIP and in Saami.
(THe saami dimensions follow the old british standard, even if now the british shells are at the CIP standard)


Here’s a picture of a cartridge that I believe is a UMC .32 Browning or early .32 ACP. It is unheadstamped, and has a U marked primer. Dimensions are:
bullet - .306"
neck - .336"
base - .338"
rim - .356"
case length - .686"
overall length - .982"
rim thickness - .043"
These dimension agree with the .32 Browning, except the case is a bit longer that those for which I have seen measurements. Can anyone positivly identify this cartridge.

Guy - in the case of UMC, you can call the cartridge .32 Browning, .32 AP or .32 Colt - it simply doesn’t matter. Lots of little changes were made, but the fact is, the factory log entries for the .32 Colt Auto, beginning April 1903, starts with the comment "These cartridges are the same as Browning."
That is absolutely definitive.

Some important steps in this cartridge by UMC:

December 1899. "Commenced making these."
June 1901: "Beveled rim…"
March 1902: "…changed rim to .045 to .050 from .040 to .045…"
April 1903: Not a direct quote. Began to headstamp rounds “AP” (Note - it does not say that it was the date they started headstamping the rounds at all, although it may have been) "so as to use same shells for Colt Cartridge. Approved by Colt People."
August 1903: Begin to make bullet with crimping groove.
May 1905: “Brought bullet up to size just above crimping groove. Approved by Colt People.” (Unfortunately, they don’t say the size).

Most of the entries from April 1903 are identical for the Browning or the Colt pages.

The very first rounds had a lead bullet, and going by the later entries, it would not have had a crimping groove. Also by the later entries, the head of the cartridge case would have been absolutely flat, with no rim bevel. I have never seen one of these cartridges. I don’t have the soft nose round you picture - mine is FMJ.

I don’t know what the criteria was for the unheadstamped rounds with “U” primer. Certainly, it had nothing to do with Browning or Colt. I have the same instance with .25 Auto, .380 Auto, 7.65 Parabellum, 7.63 Mauser/7.65mm Borchardt (despite old entries in articles and books, the lack of a headstamp does NOT identify the round as Borchardt, nor does the presence of the “.30 CAL” headstamp necessarily identify a round as Mauser or Borchardt. You cannot tell these two calibers apart in UMC ammo without the box label), and perhaps others. Don’t recall off hand. I do not have such a round in 9mm Para, that is for sure, nor in .45 Auto. One would think that would meaqn the rounds with no headstamp were made before about 1905. Still, the .45 Auto round was made by UMC earlier than the .380.

UMC production of above calibers:

.25 Auto: Began June 1904
7.63 Mauser/7.65 Borchardt: Began April 1899
7.65 Luger: Began October 1901
.380 Auto: Began Jan 26, 1907

From those dates, hard to see why the first rounds seem to have lacked a headstamp. Certainly, there was a reason for it. Unfortunately, they paid scant attention to headstamps of anything in the factory log. Would have answered a lot of questions if they had a real clerk taking care of that log!

So… from the summary of changes you provide, the thin rim of my cartridge would put production after March of 1902, and the lack of a headstamp should indicate it was made sometime before perhaps April of 1903, when the headstamp was modified to include ‘AP’. Incidently, if it is not evident in the picture, there is a slight bevel to the rim, and the bullet has no evidence of a groove that I can see. Thanks for the information.

Guy - That’s right. It perhaps helps to date it, but some things are hard to see on the cartridge, and also a bit confusing in the log. One thing is not confusing, as far as UMC production went, the .32 Browning and the .32 Colt auto are the same case. That is not necessarily true at all for Winchester, and it appears there were several pre-production cases before either the FN version or the Colt version were finalized. Lew knows more about that than do I. I have only one of the pre-turn of the century Winchester/Browning experimental .32s, and that is a primed case with “W.R.A.Co. .32 S&W” headstamp. I should know more about the first ones than I do, but then I have over 1000 .32s to worry about and learn about, not just a few. I also have not had the opportunity to visit the Browning museum, and have never collected the FN pistols in this caliber, so have not looked into the FN involvement as much as I should have, I suppose, although they don’t seem to have many records left from those days.

There are actually three entries in the UMC log for this basic cartridge. The one of least interest to me, though still interesting is

32 Cal Savage Auto Pistol
May 1912 Commenced making May 7, 1912

Will discontinue furnishing Savage cartridges but will increase the size of Colt to .312 max as per Mr. Buff’s letter 8-7-12

This shows that UMC was activly working to evolve a common cartridge in .32 Auto and changing the specs for the cartridge to achieve this.

The more important entries:

32 Cal. Browning

Dec 1899 Commenced to make these for South American market. Shell extreme solid head-primed with #6 .016 primer. 2 1/2 grans Waluode Shot Gun powder Gray. Plain head lead bullet 1-6 antimony. Mouth of shell turned in on the bullet a little so as to feed in pistol small flash hole in shell

June 1901 Changed to a metal cased bullet (copper) weighing 71 Grains. Sent sample to Mexico.

June 1901 Will make these soft point

June 1901 Changed charge of powder to 3 Grs instead of 2 1/2 in old cartridges.

March 1902 Changed thickness of rim to .040 to .045 instead of .045 to .050. This was advised by Mr Groover so that cartridges will work in Browning & Colt Pistols anbd to be the same as standard furnished by Winchester who designed the cartridge

Dec 1902 Changed back to 2 1/2 Grs of powder

Dec 1902 Commenced raising center of pocket

April 1903 Heads will be staqmped AP so as to use the same shells for the colt cartridge approved by Colts people

Aug 1903 Will adopt crimping groove for these cartridges

June 1905 Changed to 2.3 Grs Bullseye powder

Mar 1907 For export, these cartridgew will be packed 20 in a box and labelled 7.65m/m

32 Auytomatic Colt MC & SP

April 1903 These cartridges are the same as Browning #6 .016 only heads stamped A.P. so as to have shells suttible for both cartridges. Approved by Colts, who requested not to put up softpoint cartridges for present.

July 23 1903 Mr Bruff’s letter of this date orders up to put this curtradge out with soft point also.

Aug 1903 Will adopt crimping groove for these cartridges

Aug 1903 Changed powder charg to 4.2 Grs Watorode Green shot gun powder.

Sept 29-03 Changed to Bullseye powder, this burns cleaner than Walsrode. Approved by Mr Groover at Hartford.

May 1905 Brought the bullets up to size just above the cripting groove. Reported O.K. by Colt people. Bullet made with flat heel & this incre3ased wt. about 4 Grs.

Jan 1906 About Jan 1st 1906 we will discontinue supplying trhese cartridges with soft point bullets

Jan 26 1906 To allow the cartridges to slide by each other better in the magazine, will make the head with a bevel

Sept 16 190 to overcome Bullet jackets separating at the groove, allowing the rear part to remain in the barrel, we will in future leave the groove off the bullet and groove shells so as to hold bullet in position. See report Sept 16 190.

June 21 1910 We made 1M of these cartriedges for S&W using a metal point bullet. Order # 739431/2 C.

Oct 1910 S&W ordered 5M more on order #20500C Oct.7-10

Dec 1910 Will again make these soft point bullets

Mar 1911 The case of the soft point bullets changed to 80 parts lead-1 part antimony.

June 13 1911 S&W order for 5M cartridges (#9558C) like last metal point only perfectly headless and not crimped)

Aug 1912 size of bullet to .311-.312


Well that took a lot of typing, but shows that both the Browning and Colt cartridges were updated seperately from 1903 to 1905. In fact, it is pretty clear that the two loads had different powder loads. The 32 Colt adopted Bullseye powder in Sep 1903, but the 32 Browning didn’t adopt Bullseye until June 1905. It also looks like the powder load in the 32 Colt was greater than that in the 32 Browning which is consistent witht he London Metro Police results contained in the Webley book by Bruce.

My reading of the UMC log is that the two were seperate and distinct loads for some period of time, at least up to 1905.

The entries under 32 Cal Browning through 1901 were unique to the Browning cartridge because there was no Colt cartirdge at that time. My reading of the Mar 1902 case is that Colt or Winchester (which did Mr Groover work for???) wanted the case to be common. By this time the 32 Colt cartridge would have been designed. I believe the phrase “…the same as standard furnished by Winchester who designed the cartridge” referres to the 32 Colt cartridge which clearly Winchester designed. There is no indication in this that Winchester designed the 32 Browning cartridge since they didn’t produce any cases until early 1898 when the FN M1900 pistol was already ready for production (see my earlier posting on this subject).

The first sentence of the April 1903 entry for 32 Colt is not worded clearly, but I read it as meaning that the “shells” are common between the 32 Colt and the 32 Browning, not the entire cartridge. I think the Mar 1902 entry under the 32 Browning supports this.

Does anyone have copies of the very early UMC (or REM-UMC) catalogs from 1898/1899 through say 1913???
I know the UMC 1905 catalog that I have only lists the 32 Colt cartridge showing the 32 ACP headstamp. It says it is expressly for the Colt Automatic, and makes no mention of Browning.

The REM-UMC 1911-1912 catalog shows them seperately and shows different headstamps (though I can’t read them on the copy I copied off the forum).

Any other catalog entries would be greatly appreciated. Given the entries in the UMC log, the 32 Browning may have only appeared in lists/catalogs for South America!

All help appreciated.



I have the following catalogs:

UMC 1901–NO listing for .32 ACP or 7.65 Browning

UMC-1904–This is a Price list and has no illustrations.
It lists “.32 Automatic Colt Pistol” with both Metal Cased and Soft Point bullets with NO weight given. #6 Primer.

UMC-1905–Retail list showing “.32 Automatic Colt Pistol” with both Metal Cased and Soft Point bullets with 71 gr. weight given. #6 Primer with a U. Headststamp on both is “U.M.C. .32 A.C.P.”. Says “Adopted to Colt’s Automatic Pistol”

UMC-1906–Price List. Under the List of Changes for 1906 it says “By request of the Colt P.F.A. Co., we have discontinued the .32 and .38 Automatic Colt Pistol Cartridges with Soft Point Bullets, supplying these cartridges with Full Metal Cased Bullets only.” Lists only “.32 Automatic Colt Pistol” with Metal Cased bullets with 71 gr. weight given. #6 Primer

UMC-1909–Price List. Lists only “.32 Auto. Colt Pistol” with Metal Cased bullets with no weight given. #6 Primer

REM-UMC-1911-12 Retail List

List of changes lists .32 Auto with Soft Point bullet as NEW (Having been last listed in 1905). It shows “.32 Automatic Colt Pistol” with both Metal Cased and Soft Point bullets with 71 gr. weight given. #6 Primer with a U. Headststamp is still “U.M.C. .32 A.C.P.” but the illustration says on its side “Remington-UMC .32 Automatic Colt Pistol”. Says “Adopted to Colt, Savage, Browning and other Automatic Pistols”.

“7.65 M-M Browning (.32 Calibre)”. Lists both Metal Cased and Soft Point bullets with 71 gr. weight given. #6 Primer with a U. Headststamp is “U.M.C. .32 A.P.” but the illustration says on its side “Remington-UMC 7.65 M/M Browning Metal Cased”". Says “Adopted to Browning, Colt, and other Automatic Pistols”.

REM-UMC-1913-14 Retail List is identical to the 1911-12 entry.

REM-UMC 1917 Price List–No Illustrations. Still lists “.32 Automatic Colt Pistol” and “7.65m-m Browning (.32 Cal.)” as seperate loads in both 71 gr. Metal Cased and Soft Point bullets.

REM-UMC 1923 Retail List–It is now listed as “.32 (7.65 M/M) Automatic Pistol, Oilproof. Same bullets. Says"Adopted to Remington Model 51, Colt, Savage, Mauser, Browning and other automatic pistols”

Hope all of this helps. Do you want me to go beyond 1923. My next catalog is 1929. From there I have ALL the catalogs through 2008.

Ron, Thanks! The early UMC production of the 32 Browning appears to have been for South America based on the log book. Apparently they were not offered in the US which would explain why they don’t show up in the US catalog.

Does anyone know if UMC had a Spanish language catalog or an export catalog?

Lew–I have not seen any Spanish or Export lists from UMC. The first Export Price List I am aware of is Remington-UMC in the mid-1930’s.