Portuguese Factories and Headstamps

In the Portuguese APCM site (www.apcm.home.sapo.pt), I wrote one article about the history of major Portuguese ammunition factories, unfortunately for you it


Thanks! This is great! Hope you will come into this Forum often! I am very pleased, but not surprised, about how much of the information supplied by the guys on the original thread that delved into this, was accurate. You ended any doubts - I wasn’t sure on the F.A. meaning - and filled in some spots.

I’ve said it before, what a good Forum we have, and what terrific people are giving us all the benefit of their knowledge. I couldn’t possibly relate how much I have learned about ammunition since coming on here, not only in fields other than may own, but in my own field as well. Thanks guys.

John Moss

Dear Telmo, Bom Dia! e Obrigado.
Thanks very much for your translations of Portuguese Arsenal Histories, and the exact dates of General production.

One point I didn’t mention, many years ago, I bought several Hundred Packets of “Cartuchoes 8mm M/99 com bala simulada” (Wood bullet Blanks)
and these came in a standard Portuguese Crate, but with paper as Packing inside…the paper, when opened up, was found to be pages from an Arsenal Letter-Ledger (Copia-Lettere) covering the period 1808-1812 (Napoleonic Wars) and mentions (in French, handwritten) such items as Flints (in kegs) prepared cartridges (Paper, powder & Ball) Muskets, articles of accoutrements (Cartridge boxes, belts, and tools) and so on. There were also pages from the Wages Ledgers, denoting payments given to arsenal workers, such as Lock makers, Filers, Stock cutters, etc.etc

Sadly, the owner of the gunshop, on being told the contents of the papers, kept them…not even a substantial cash offer would move him.

Welcome to the Forum.
We now have a connection to get further clarification regarding several periods of Portuguese Cartridge History.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics,
Brisbane, Australia

Thanks for the history of Portugese ammunition Telmo, it is a field that there is little information on. What is the full address of the Fabrica de Armas factory?



Thanks Rob, would this have been the correct location in 1905 when my 8x55R Kropatshek round was made?


You must read

What part of Lisbon was Fabrica de Armas in?

Do you know Lisbon?
It’s next the S. Vicente Church and Pante

I do not know Lisbon, I have been there, but I was 6 years old. What I wanted to know is the district of Lisbon the factory was located in. As it will be listed in my records as: “Fabrica de Armas, [District], Lisbon, Portugal”. Like I could say I live in London, but I could also say more precisely the part of London. Lisbon Must be dividep up into smaller areas, each with their own name, which one of these was Fabrica de Armas in? It is not clear from the maps.

Ok Falcon
You can record "Campo de Santa Clara - S

Thanks Telmo, that is what I was looking for.


Many (20+) years ago, a Spanish collector told me that there was a Shotshell factory in Portugal named:

Sociadade Portuguesa de Cartucheria, and he sent me a Xerox of the cover of a shotshell catalog from the 1920s I think.

This collector claimed that the “SPC” headstamp found on 9mm Para was actually assembled by this factory. The S.P.C. 9mm headstamped loads from the Spanish Civil War are clearly DWM made cases, bullet and powder, but the primer is copper. Some of the boxes of these SPC loads have been found with DWM K 480C K headstamped cartridges, but with the copper color primer, not found on any other DWM production of 9mmP. Reportedly this shotshell company in Portugal was set up by DWM to load 9mmP ammunition from German made components, but they produced and used their own primers. There is also an unheadstamped version of this load which has been found in these boxes. DWM made unheadstamped cases during the pre-WW2 period and I have some in an original DWM box.

Rarely these SPC loads show up with a typical German brass primer, and these could have been initial German production or initial production with German primers.

I have misplaced the catalog cover sometime in the many subsequent household moves, and I have never seen any other independent verification of this story.

There is another SPC headstamped load: S.P.C. * 9M/M * which is a very crudely made headstamp and with the hallmark copper primer.

Both of these cartridges have shown up in considerable quantities (original boxes-no indication of maker) in some old Spanish ammunition storage areas.

Do you or any of the other Portuguese collectors have any information on this story???

Is there any record of a company Sociadade Portuguesa de Cartucheria???



Some years ago I got one small box (no maker identification) in Spain with 25 of those cartridges, among them two with different primers, copper-nickel or brass. I make some exchanges with other collectors, and actually I only have the box and a few cartridges.
In that epoch the Spanish guy told me that they were produced in Portugal between 1936-1940, secretly, for General Franco

Lew and Telmo - well, it looks like we are back to listing the “SPC” headstamps, both styles, as unknowns like they were for years. I have read nothing scholarly that ties these cartridges to any Portuguese factory, but have read some things, if true, which would tie them to DWM in one way or another. I have never seen anyone spell that “ghost factory” name in Portuguese. Everytime I have seen it in print, it has been in either straight Spanish, or a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese. I have even corrected, in past years, a couple of sources, usually to no avail.

I have a more or less square, anonymous 56-round box for the “S.P.C. 9mm” headstamped ammunition, which has an entire label of nothing more than “56 PARABELLUM M/M” and is unlike, in shape and construction, any DWM box I have ever seen. Of course, it could be a repacking of this ammunition.

I have never seen any of either of the SPC headstamped rounds with a brass primer. Interesting. another variation I have to try and find!

Lew, my friend, you made a completely erroneous statement when you said
"…have been found with K DWM K 480C headstamped cartridges, but with copper-color primer, not found on any other DWM production of 9mmP." I have in my collection, with copper primer cups:

B DWM B 480C Black primer seal
2 DWM 40 B Black primer seal
K DWM K 480C Red primer seal
K DWM K 480C Blackened case and black primer seal
No headstamp - characteristics identical to K DWM K 480C Red primer seal

These rounds are all from the late 1930s on. If the SPC rounds are truly for the Spanish Civil War, than the brass primer cups are more surprising than the copper cups, in my opinion, because that is the era when a lot of DWM produced 9mmP rounds have copper cups.

John, You are of course right! My DWM K and DWM B cartridges from this period are about 50-50 brass and copper primers, and my DWM B 2 40 headstamp occurs in both primers.

Having said that, the copper primer on the SPC “loaded” rounds is very distinctive and can’t be confused witht he DWM primers. For one thing, the metal on the DWM primers is much smoother and have a less intense copper color. The SPC loads, even those with the DWM headstamps do not use the DWM copper primer.

Telmo, Thanks for your information. It makes sense. It seems to me that there is considerable evidence that these rounds were produced in Portugal. They were clearly not all DWM production as a quick look at the SPC * 9M/M * headstamp would reveal. I agree that the factory name I was given was probably fake, but manufacture at FCPQ makes sense. I think that an identification of Portuguese, unknown maker, reportedly…etc. is probably the best we can do.

I have some excellent photos of the box for the SPC * 9M/M * cartridges that I reporduce in my headstamp guide. It was a 132 round box marked
"132 PARABELUM 9M/M" (note the misspelling)
The cardboard on the box had an impressed stamp “M & S 1937”. I assume that is the company that made the box, but it pretty well establishes the date of this ammunition. It may be that this was the original production which was subsequently cleaned up by DWM provided components. Again, only speculation but it ties in with the dates the Spanish guy gave you. I wonder if we could run down this Spanish guy and find out the source of his information.

Cheers and thanks for the help.


Lew - the primer on my round headstamped “S.P.C. 9mm” appears identical to my rounds from Karlsruhe and Berlin-Borsigwalde DWM production, except for the absence of any primer seal. So, I don’t agree with your assessment there. I examined them with my 8X Agfa negative magnifier. The primer on the headstamp " * S.P.C. * 9M/M " is quite different, domed for one thing and seated in such a way that it raised a little ridge around the the circumfrence of the primer just a tiny way in from its edge. It also appears to be a larger diameter than that on “S.P.C. 9mm” but my caliper is downstairs and I don’t feel like making another trip up and down the stairs to get it.

John M.

Where was the Arsenal do Ex

Falcon - the factory was located at Chelas, in the Lisbon Industrial Zone. In the 1920’s, the name was simply "F

Thanks John, that’s exactly what I was looking for.