RUAG .45 Auto "LIBERTY" headstamps

I noticed on the Outdoorlimited website today that they have a large quantity (127,000 rds!) of strange generic-looking boxes of what is labelled as simple RUAG made 230gr FMJ +P .45acp ammo. The very low price of $11.15 per 50rd box is one thing, but the interesting thing is the headstamp of “LIBERTY”, which I presume was intended for Liberty Ammunition in Florida. There has been some sort of ongoing component sourcing from RWS / RUAG in the past with Liberty as there have been two different RUAG headstamps in 9mm that have shown up with the Liberty “Halo Point” / “Civil Defense” fragmenting frangible hollow points. I did not know that Liberty was going to get into the standard lead-core ball ammo market, but I wonder if this is just a deal that fell through for cases, and RUAG wound up just loading 230gr ball into them to get rid of? I know that Liberty’s longtime owner sold the company this past year…

Another thing is the rarity of FMJ ball ammo being loaded to +P in .45acp. It’s not very common, although Speer’s Lawman line does it on & off. The next lowest price option for brass-cased .45acp +P ammo that I can find anywhere online is the Lawman stuff, but it is around 45% higher in price! I wonder if this ammo really is actually loaded to +P, or if RUAG just has +P on the label because that is what the headstamp says? Maybe these were loaded to be ballistically matched to the Liberty Civil Defense loads somehow for training, but then the deal fell through? Questions, questions…

The headstamp is difficult to read, but it is LIBERTY

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Matt, is that again ammo made by a third party (presumably cheaper) and marketed as a RUAG product?

I am not sure, but I am assuming that this was simply an order for .45 brass that Liberty Ammo had placed with RUAG whereas they had done business before on 9mm cases. But, the deal presumably was not closed, possibly because of the owner of Liberty having sold the company earlier this year, and so now these cases were left afloat. Loading them with the 230gr FMJ seems like the sure bet to get rid of all the cases quickly, which I am sure they will at the listed price. The price that RUAG sold the loaded ammo to the distributor(s) was likely very low, if any profit just to get rid of something which they could not otherwise properly brand & market. If RUAG USA in Florida actually loads any ammo, I am not sure, but if I wanted a bunch of excess cases loaded in a hurry to move the product, I would have an outfit like GBW cartridge do it (also in Florida).

I notice now that it would help if I read their listing, or maybe they just updated it?

It reads:

RUAG, the parent company of RWS and Geco produce the brass for Liberty Ammo. We arranged a special run of 45 Auto using a surplus of Liberty headstamped brass. This ammo is new manufacturer, non-corrosive and loaded in reloadable brass casings. It features a 230 Grain Full Metal Jacket projectile and it is loaded to +P.

So these can be Hungarian made?

When I receive the boxes in a few days I will check the rest of the box for labels. It may have a lot # inside the box, or if made in the E.U., then I suppose it might have warnings in different languages somewhere on the box. I am curious if these were just surplus cases (incidentally made by RUAG), which Outdoorlimited had loaded by a local small time manufacturer in Florida, and then labeled the boxes as being a “RUAG product” to better sell it off?

Here is a better image of the headstamp


I have noticed over the past couple weeks that there are some strange generic box labels coming out for what appears to be Geco manufactured ammo coming out of Florida at RUAG’s U.S. location in Tampa. I had thought that this was just a corporate office, and not a manufacturing location, and so it seems odd that RUAG would be having this stuff repacked here from bulk, or private-labeled here by a third party? The boxes are unusually generic, with some not even having a child-warning marking. As best I can tell, this seems to have something to do with Liberty Ammunition and the fact that they went bankrupt and auctioned everything off in Sep 2018 ( ), and also the relationship which Liberty had with RUAG, which had consisted of component purchasing in terms of brass. Liberty had, in the past, been using RWS cases for a time, and I think RUAG was producing their LIBERTY headstamped brass to some extent as well.
As of Janurary, 2019, there is something going on which is either: RUAG is getting rid of components which were left over from Liberty orders and which were not used
or: Whomever bought out the remaining stock of components from Liberty in the auction is manufacturing up some ammo with those components in cheap boxes, and is sometimes marketing it as “Ammotech” ammo.

Since trademark infringement against a firm like RUAG would be risky, I am thinking that these packages and left-over ammo are something to do with RUAG having bought out Liberty, or are at least using some southern-Florida manufacturer to load up all of the leftover components to get rid of them as cheaply as possible. These must be U.S. manufactured anyway since they do not have the little warning booklets attached to them like the red Geco boxes do.

The most interesting thing I have noticed is that Outdoorlimited appears to have secured all of the remaining “Civil Defense” frangible hollow point ammo in .40S&W, and is selling them off at incredibly low prices. They are offering this ammo at $0.20 per rd ($10.00 per 50rd box), which is the same sort of price you would usually find Tula steel-case ammo for. The normal industry price for this fragmenting frangible ammo in .40S&W is around $23.00 per 20rd box.

Here are some box photos of this stuff, there are probably others as well:

And this box, which is the same exact ammo as the red box stuff, but is for whatever reason repacked generically.

Very interesting boxes. Thanks for posting this! I have no theory on the “why” of them; yours make good sense though.

John Moss