Radway Green 9x19-Military Hsts-Soft Point Bullets

Great input!

This seems like a pretty high percent of SP bullets. If these are quality escapes as implied by your experience, why is this problem apparently pretty well limited to Radway Green ammunition???

JPeelen’s experience with Geco 9x19mm from the old RWS facility at Stadeln is the only other report of these “accidental” SP bullets and that problem apparently disappeared when production moved to Hungary.

Lew

When Geco moved from Stadein to Hungary, did they use new or different machinery?

I would hazard a guess that the machinery used at Radway Green was at least WWII vintage, if not earlier (having been transferred from another ROF). Well past its best before date and evidently of a design that allowed inversion. It should be noted from at least 1971, we were buying in 9mm from countries such as France and Portugal, which seems odd when we had the apparent manufacturing capacity.

Tim,
You make some good points! This condition could conceivably been the result of the bullet machine design. I just don’t see how it could have occurred by accident based on the draw sets I have which all indicate that the bullet jacket is shaped to the final ogive before the lead core is inserted. If the jacket with the core inserted were then put upside down in the machine designed to seat the core firmly into the jacket and crimp the base of the bullet into the lead base it is not clear to me how this would result in a hollow point. I suspect it would result in markings on the base of the bullet from the crimping tooling. I probably should pull one of mine and see if these marks exist.

I don’t think the UK had tooling for the 9x19mm production before 1941, except for Kynoch which was specifically excluded from 9x19mm production during WWII. I have no idea where RG got their tooling for 9x19mm. The earliest RG production of 9x19mm I know of is 1952.

Cheers,
Lew

Not odd at all. Two factors are involved, politics and price. Government owned facilities will usually be more expensive.

Personally I fail to come to grips with the inverted bullet manufacture. Surely, if it was at all feasible, RG should have picked up the problem and not let it go on for years. I’m of the opinion the production was deliberate.

I decided to pull down one of my SP rounds since it was so grotty anyway. For comparison is a 115gr bullet from an HN load.
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The base of the FMJ load (at right) has a slight crimp line around the tail of the jacket just adjacent to the lead. This line does not appear on the RG SP base.

So, I pulled down an RG 1956 round (at left) and—no crimp line.
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Below are the later stages in bullet manufacture from a Polte board from about 1934. It looks like the tail of the jacket is turned into hold the lead core in place in one stage and the next stage (different tooling) finishes the base of the bullet. In this case it appears this last step is done in two stages.

image

I have checked draw sets from four other countries and they all form bullets basically the same way. Unfortunately, none of these sets are RG or even British.

It appears that if the fourth or third stage from the right were turned upside down it would take a considerable increase in pressure to reshape the entire bullet, compared to what appears to being done in these last three stages. In addition, it appears that if the fourth or third stage were inserted upside down in the feed line they would not fit down more than about halfway into the next stage die and more likely cause the machinery to jam rather than totally reshape the bullet.

No data for a firm conclusion, but I am still having great difficulty figuring how these bullets could be made by mistake.

One possibility is that the SP bullets were made intentionally for Special Operators, but when RG switched from SP to FMJ, they didn’t always clear the bullet machines and as a result a few of the resulting SP loads got mixed into the normal FMJ production. This could also explain the Geco SP loads mixed with FMJ ammo. Again, just speculation.

A couple of hours work, and no better insights. I’m going to go upstairs and have a wee drop of Whisky from a land where they talk funny…

Goodnight,
Lew

Lew, a totally weird question: did you compare the weights?

No, but the bullets were all the same length and all had a base cavity of about the same size.

Lew

EOD,
I weighed the three SPs and compared them to WWII HN rounds from a full box. The weights are identical at 1183gr so all are 115gr bulletets.

The British collector mentioned above sent a photo of his RG softpoints (below). He has not encountered similar SP bullets on Military hsts on Kynoch or other British military cases.

Do any other collectors have examples of these RG softpoints, or SP bullets in military headstamp cases from anywhere?

Cheers,
Lew

I have a similar item picked out of a box many years ago - clearly this was an accidental loading. I also have one in .38" Enfield MkII. Folklore states that there were some deliberate SP loadings for special use made by inverting the jacket - but I have no documentary evidence. Mispacking did happen - my one and only 9mm MkII Daily Proof of Work (green primer annulus) came out of a box of regular ball ammo………

Were both of these (9mm & 38) both Radway Green manufacture??

Very interesting insight.

Cheers,
Lew

Will check in a couple of weeks’ time and revert.

I have checked with a couple of people with considerable experience in ammunition production. One initially was sure it must be a production error, but after seeing the rounds and thinking about it was not sure what kind of problem it could be, Since the FMJ cup is formed before the lead core is inserted he thought that it may be completed FMJ bullets accidently got into the line of cups point down and were reformed into a SP. When he saw the images of the rounds he was less sure. He reckoned that the only way to see it it could happen is to feed different combinations into a bullet machine and see what came out. A second guy reckoned it seemed very unlikely that a machine set up for FMJ bullets could produce SPs, but he would check with some engineers and get back with me. Neither of these guys, with decades in the business had ever seen SP bullets come out of a FMJ machine. The first guy expressed some surprise that the FMJ machine would produce SP bullets with slightly different ogives.

Digging through my collection, I realized that i also had another RG SP load dated 1957. Below is a closeup of all four rounds in my collection. The dirty round on the right is the one I pulled down to check the bullet base. I initially tried a 30 cal bullet puller by accident and you can see the result. I also didn’t fully seat the bullet.

What is interesting to me is the different base widths and heights of the lead tips. Banging around could account for the differences in heights I guess, gut the width of the lead where it meets the jacket should be the same if this was intentional production, The variation surprised me and may imply accidental manufacture. Bottom line-still confused.

Cheers,
Lew

9POW
Herewith the pic of the 9mm Proof of Work

A few years ago (10-15?) RG marketed some 95 grain SP 9x19. It would be interesting to compare the “intended” vs “accidental” production. If need be, I’m pretty sure NatoDave still has some in his shooting stash.

Jon, for comparison, on left the allegedly ‘accidental’ RG 115grn SP, and on right, the production RG 95grn JSP, two very different animals, Pete.
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For what it’s worth, here are a few details relating to the production of 9mm bullets at Royal Ordnance, I’ll have to leave interpretation to those with a clearer understanding of process … my apologies for the non-orthographic illustrations but I’m currently without a scanner and the best I could do was to photograph the pages with my ‘phone.

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By contrast, here’s a page from the BIOS report No295 on German Small Arms Factories, this relates to Gustav Genschow at Durlach … it makes the ROF process, twenty years into the future and without the ongoing catastrophe of war, seem a bit homespun and bijou.

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Which makes the observation “not very impressive” just a bit cheeky.

Peter

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Peter,
Thanks for that very interesting information.

Peter,
Great work. I will send this to some people who use to make bullets and see what they think!!!

This may be the key to this whole topic. Many Thanks!

Cheers,
Lew

Lew,

What stands out for me is the phrase “patrol inspection” where presumably a bloke wanders around checking things as he goes … so he might miss the production of an outrage like a soft-point bullet because he was somewhere else all the time it went through the various processes from production to packaging.

Would you drive a motorcar or trust an aeroplane engine that had been “patrol inspected” ?

Peter

380sp
As promised, a pic of the .380 Mk2 soft point - passed to me as a manufacturing defect. Headstamp (RG 62 380 2Z).

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