Nice 9 x 21 mm box for STEEL CASED ammo


Made by Sellier & Bellot, boxer primed copper washed steel ammo. The box is smaller than 9 x 21 standard boxes and completely different than standard S&B boxes. Anyway the cases looks like brass plated rather than copper plated, and brighter than standard plain brass cases.Hard to find even in Italy right now


This started showing up in 9x19mm a few years ago in the US. The people at the factory in the Czech Republic had not heard of it. I strongly suspect that it is made in Russia. The S&B people had an arrangement with a Russian factory to make .22 ammo some years ago I’m told. There is no doubt that the 9x19mm headstamp bunters were made in the Czech Republic. The military headstamps on many of the 9x19mm make me suspect that the left over bunters were sent to Russia at the end of the year.

Does anyone know where this ammo is actually made in Russia, or perhaps one of the ex-Soviet Republics???




Pivi, how about images of the cartridges once you want to know?


I doubt very much it is made in Russia, especially given the Czech markings. Was the comment made by factory reps or actual workers inside the factory?


I carried some of the 9x19mm version of this round to the Czech meeting in both 2008 and 2009. The show is attended by both managers at the Vlasim factory and workers in both production and development. None of them had seen the cartridge, including two guys in their development shop. I know that the box says that it was made in the Czech Republic, but the S&B employees at the meeting were very interested in it and got their samples of the cartridge from me!!!

If the cases were made elsewhere and the ammo loaded at Vlasim, these guys would have seen it I believe.




Lew - It is hard to tell what and why factory people know or don’t know about items with their company’s name on it. When I acquired my first 9 x 23 round with “T 9x23” headstamp, it was a fired case. I had learned about it from a source in Spain who said some were picked up at a match there. Because of the caliber, and the country it was found in, everyone assumed it was Sapnish, for “Toledo.” When I got a look of a picture of it, I took one look at the headstamp bunting and it screamed “Swiss!” My first contacts by email with two different people at Thun (I think it was already RUAG as I recall) got a complete denial that they had ever made such an item. I was, basically, told “No way Jose!” Frank Neremberg then told me of a contact he had - a women in customer service - that was super knowledgeable. I was skeptical, but I contacted her, and she knew all about - how many lots were made, the fact that only empty, unprimed cases were supplied from the factory, and that there were not boxes for it - it was all supplied in “bulk” in bags of several hundred for Swiss Shooters. Basically, it was just a Swiss made 9 x 23 Winchester (9mm Comp by Starline’s terminology).

A friend of mine in Treyvaux, Switzerland, a shooter at a club, confirmed that the rounds showed up in Spain because a Swiss shooter had gone to one of the big matches there, and lost a lot of cases during the normal course of the match. In fact, all my cases, including the first one, came from my friend in Switzerland.

On the other hand, almost no one at Norma knew about the existence of the Black Diamond Match cartridges in pistol calibers, and they, of course, were all made in the USA by Black Hills ammunition, although I forget now where the cases were made. The headstamp on them looks like Norma stuff, but I am not sure if the cases were made there or not. One source at Norma told that Norma had never offered a +P marked 9 mm in their history.

So, there are both sides of the coin. Rounds made at a factory where few at the factory knew they ever made them, and rounds headstamped for one factory, but loaded elsewhere, that few people at the factory whose headstamp they bore knew about them.

There have been other examples I have come across, including even one that had to do with firearms, although I forget the particulars (of course there is the case of the Post War “German Made” Walther PP and PPK pistols, except that all of the Post-war PP and PPKs marked “Made in Germany” were made in France, except for the grips that were put on them before Walther exported them. None were ever made at Ulm - all made at Manurhin in reality.

John Moss


I have several fired cases samples of the ammo contained in that box.

They have exactly the same common hds as the standard plain brass cases " S&B ( bomb) 9 x 21" .They only look like brighter than standard brass.

I know that handloaders want to put apart steel cases from brass ones. The only sure way for putting them apart from a bag full of other S&B cases is by using a magnet


I know that it is sometimes hard to get a straight answer on what is being produced from people in a company, particularly is they aren’t directly involved with production. S&B isn’t that big of a production facility and only produce on a single shift. The fact that not just one or two but none of these people who work there in production and the technical side had seen or heard of any steel case pistol ammo, or had ever seen the boxes is pretty convincing to me. In fact, these guys claim that they only produce brass case 9mm, and have for a very long time. Had S&B at Vliasm introduced steel case ammo, and tested it for commercial sale the quality and production guys as well as the senior lab guys would have known.

The fact is S&B has done very small quantities of steel case 9mm quite some time ago. A test lot was done with a dark gray steel case, and another was a proof load with a nickel plated steel case. They also did a brass plated steel case about 15 or more years ago, but all of these were just test ammo. These cartridges were known to the guys at the Czech meeting but the Range Safety loads which must have been/are being made by the millions were not known when I brought them to the Czech meeting.

Still the question, if not made in the Czech Republic, then where???



Has anyone seen one of these boxes with the insert to tell if at least they were packed in the Czech Reublic. Lew’s argument for them not being Czech is very persuasive, but it would be interesting to know if the boxes were, and the insert might tell the story. Just a thought.

Regarding the rounds themselves, I am inclined, on what has been said, to agree with Lew and think that they are not made by Sellier & Bellot, or at least at their main plant. I don’t know if they have other factories or not.

Good info on the earlier steel-cased rounds. I have the lacquered steel round with normal commercial headstamp, but I had not heard of the steel-case proof load before.

John Moss


John,some time ago the Armi e Tiro magazine tested the two versions of the 9 x 21 cartridges made by Sellier & Bellot. There were pictures of the rounds and of the boxes as well, so the insert ( do you mean the plastic container inside?) has been pictured in the article.
Just let me solve my PC troubles and I will look for the pictures


The inserts in my boxes are definately Czech. Russian and Czech inserts are close but I’m convinced the black inserts in the Range Safe box are Czech. I found the same shape inserts, but in different colors (white and gray) in two older S&B boxes and an identical black insert in a PS box. I think the box itself was made in the Czech Republic based on the construction and style of printing but there are similar Wolf boxes. Most interesting were the box codes inside the endflap of the box (here I am again, back to box codes!!!).

The box codes in the S&B boxes, across a wide range of dates all are large letters with serifs. There are two or three different formats. The Range Safe boxes I have have a code that appears to be in the same format as some of the S&B codes but the letters are smaller and do not have serifs!!!

I’d appreciate others looking at their S&B boxes to see what the format is the letters are in the box code (not the Range Safe boxes).

My guess based on the style of the box code letters is that the boxes (and inserts) were made in the Czech Republic (does this qualify for the Made in Czech Republic marking???) but the loading was not done in the Vlasim facility because of the lack of Serif letters.




The Range Safe 9mmP ammo has been on the market for several years now, at least 3-4, as I bought a case of it when it first came out here in the U.S. And after all these years I have yet to see it on S&B’s website nor in their printed catalog (my most recent catalog was obtained late last year).

This leads me to believe that Lew is on the right track that the Range Safe ammo is not made in whole by S&B. Could it be that S&B has allowed a Russian manufacture to produce the ammo in whole and then have it shipped to the Czech Republic to be boxed, packaged and distributed from there?

As a side note, I believe that JSC Barnaul is the manufacturer of the Brown, Silver and Golden Bear brand name ammo. I have yet to get a sample of the Golden Bear 9mmP ammo, which uses a brass plated steel case. Does anyone have samples of the Golden Bear and the Range Safe that they can compare side by side for the quality of the brass plating on the cases? I don’t know of any other Russian manufacturer making brass plated steel cased 9mmP ammo other than Barnaul.


I’d like to bring back EOD’s suggestion to share case/ctg pictures, including the headstamp view which will tell half the story.

Thank you, Hans


Here is the photo of the 9x19mm with both headstamps. The ammo comes in both 124gr and 115gr loads.


Both look damn S&B-ish to me.



They do to me too! And I’m sure they are. They just are not made at the S&B factory at Vlasim as far as I can tell. I sure would like to know where they were made!

If anyone has evidence they are made at Vlasim, please let me know and I will go back to the people I know at the plant there and present it to them!




I’m pretty sure that those 2 rds at least were finished in S&B Vlasim. I can tell from my company, we set up a second production line for a product group in the US, mostly identical to our own set-up. They use the same raw materials, process them in the same way, but the products look slightly different.



Can you explain why the people in production and managementg and quality at Vlasim including some senior people had never seen the steel case ammunition???

This is a serious question. My belief that the ammunition is produced elsewhere is based on some very credible people who claim never to have seen the steel case cartridges. I will be there again in the fall and will ask again.

What year was the equipment delivered???




This is my serious answer:
We agreed that the images you shared with us show duplication down into detail, like the dried lacquer drops on the primer, rim cut, etc.
I can only try to explain why the people in production and management and quality at Vlasim say they never saw or made the steel case ammunition. I can only observe in our company there is a strict rule to never talk about any production details to outsiders. Not about materials used, not about installed machines, not about parameters, not about suppliers, not about the coming to be of a product. This may be true for the guys working in Vlasim, of course maybe not! Not everybody has a loose lip as I do.
I do not want to say that it is impossible to duplicate a product down into details in a second production line outside fully own control, it will boost cost, but can be done.

Another option comes into my mind, and that might give reason for the strong similarity: there were technology ties between E. German, Polish, Czechoslovak and Hungarian plants before the wall came down. Has anybody ever compared the items in question with what MFS makes today?


From the experience of a Visti to S&B Vlasim, in 1993, I can say that “discretion” is the byword for all staff at the Vlasim Plant.

But shrewd and careful observation (by me) told me much more that what the Chief consultant Engineer or his assitants answered of my questions.

The complete lines of Soviet made 7,62x39 Drawing machinery, set up in a "continuos production " method arrangement (converyors, elevators etc to shift shellcase draws from one machine to the next), showed a lot about the “modernity” of the Plant (Brass manufacture was still the same as in German occupation times…separate machines, maybe in banks of several, and all product transfer done by Wooden crates, BY hand/Trolley.

Even the lacquering of primers etc done by hand ( in blocks of 25 or 50, for Pistol ammo)

Yet the Lacquering of 7,62x39 (Lacquer over grey steel cases) was done by a very large machine, in a continuos operation…

And the machinery “plates” showed origins including Germany (DWM, Fritz Werner, etc; Soviet Russia (in Cyrillic), and of course Local ( ZB and also “in House” at Vlasim. I was told that “Primers” were not made at this plant, but some distance away, and would require separate Authorisation to visit;

I was even shown experimentation at using Brass Wire (“rod”) for making 9mm cases by the “crop and head” method, in a machine similar to a Bolt header used in the Nail and Bolt industry, for pre-forming the Cups which are then drawn in the usual method for making 9mm cases…they were obviously having a lot of trouble because there was a LOT of waste(out of spec) material about… The Crop and Head method is used to cut down on the waste created by using the “Punch and Cup” method from Sheet Brass…With the Wire, there theoretically, is no Waste. But the cropping has to be exact (90 degrees) and the centering of the slug in the heading die also has to be exact, for the draw to be concentric and uniform.

Any requests for information as to production quantities, headstamp codes, etc were politely deviated to other subjects…a matter I did not delve into further ( for Politeness, as a guest)…Pictures tell thousand words (Labels on Boxes, crates, etc. of Ammo on the despatch dock)…It was the time of ongoing Fracas in Former Yugoslavia ( August 1993)…and the ammo was “going across the Danube”…was the cryptic answer I got.

SO , all in all, Discretion is the byword in Vlasim…as it is in most Ammunition factories ( it took several months of “pre-arranging” and then a full morning in Prague for my documents to be examined by the Czech Security( Military) Services, before we set off for Vlasim at about 11AM (I had been at the office since 8 AM) —a 60 km drive thru some of the best Forest deer country I have seen in Europe… And a very good Czech Lunch in the Castle Museum of Vlasim ( Sporting arms, and the manufacturing Museum of S&B).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.