Pre WWII RWS bullets on 9mm Para


I’m probably just slow, but I just realized that RWS used both CN plated steel jackets and Ni plated steel jackets. I’m confident John Moss caught this long ago, but wanted to post this to let others know of this variation.

The bullet on the right is Nickel plated (hst: RWS 9m/m) and the one on the left is CN plated (hst: .RWS. .9m/m.) as I see them. Both came in identical boxes and are in good condition.

Does anyone have any idea why the two different style bullets?





Your confidence in me is not well placed. I didn’t spot this at all, and not sure I have both types. When I have time, I will check my collection. Often, these “silver bullets” are hard to tell, even sometimes when the bullet jacket is bare, unplated steel. Depends on how well polished the jackets were and the over-all condition of the rounds they are in. I agree 100% that the two you show are different plating. Not sure what the difference is between nickel plating and cupro-nickel plating. Assume it is the amount of copper involved, if any. Some bullets were chrome-plated I think, but don’t know about these two. Never was too good at the differences in metal makeup, as my major interest in cartridges has always been headstamps and history, as in company history or contractual histories. I simply “ain’t” much of a scientist, and readily admit it. When I first started collecting, you may recall since you knew me early on from my “Gun Report” question on material codes, bullets were “brass, copper or silver” to me. All I went by was the color! It was you and Bill Woodin that taught me about GM, GMCS, CN, CNCS, plain steel, etc., etc.

I do know from guns that nickel gleams with a yellow tint, and chrome is dead “white” (and on guns, ugly as sin, where nickel-plating is quite nice looking on some handguns).


Lew - I checked my collection. I don’t have the one that you describe as “Nickel plated” in my collection. All of my commercial-style RWS headstamped rounds are CN jackets. I didn’t check them for magnetic quality looking at them right now - could be CNCS I guess. None that have the chrome look. However, I do have one round with the bullet in question, or I am pretty sure it is that bullet - has the glint of Czech chrome-plated jackets. It is headstamped " 19 R.W.S. 39 • " and has the red seals and Sinoxid “O” Primer. May help to date the use of that particular jacket plating.


Since RWS and GeCo are the same outfit, I would expect to find these differences in GeCo labeled rounds from the same era as well?


Just for the record, I don’t have any Geco-headstamped 9 mm rounds with that shiney “chrome-looking” bullet in it in my collection. Certainly doesn’t mean it can’t exist.


I went through my RWS/Geco loads and have the following with the chromed bullet: P405 * 3 39, 9m/m (only), RWS 1 . 39, RWS Б 9mm Б, and of course the RWS 9m/m pictured.



Gentlemen, sorry that I’m little off topic, but are you sure that the left bullet is Cu-Ni (or Cu-Ni plated steel)? As far as I know at that time frame Germans had made use of Cu-Zn alloy (tombak, gilding metal)? What is the difference in color between Cu-Ni and Cu-Zn alloys used in bullet jackets?




Iv4o, Most German military loads during 1930s did have GM coated steel jacket bullets and they appear to have been the military standard, but the vast majority of the commercial bullets have the slightly dull silver color that I associate with a CN jacket (in the German case CN plated steel). Few 9mm P loads from this period, with commercial headstamps, have GM color bullets. A quick look through my collection (and I could have overlooked some loads) showed a few (5) Geco loads with commercial headstamps and GM color bullets (and three of these were on copper washed steel cases). I think all my RWS and post-WWI DWM commercial headstamps have CN bullets. I did find a number of military headstamps with CN or chromed bullets.

The difference between military and commercial loads is striking enough that it may be that the commercial loads used CN color bullets to differentiate them from military ammunition. I am not suggesting this is true, but it is one possibility to explain the striking difference between military and commercial headstamped German 9mm P cartridges.




Thanx for the info, Lew!

So, from what I had been told and I can see the Cu-Ni alloy may vary in color from dull silver to almost the color of GM in dependence of Copper content (I suppose)? Or perhaps it’s just seems to me that the left bullet is with the color of GM (or little lighter)? The pictures sometimes not telling the thruth with regard to the camera and the PC monitor.

It is interesting to me why there should be a difference between commercial and military loads at given time frame in Germany - was there a law that prohibits the use of military ammo in commercial guns or something?

Again, excuse me for off topic!

Take care and have fun!




The posted colors on my moniter are very close to the actual loads. The GM color jackets are a true copper color, significantly more red in hue than the brass cases shown in the first posting of this thread. Unless badly stained/discolored, there is no mistaking a German GM color bullet from the CN color bullet.