S&w-f .38spl


A round from a S-W 38 Special box indicating Smith & Wesson, Fiocchi Inc, Alton, Ill. as a manufacturer. May someone tell me the reason for this union between S$W and Fiocchi and the reason for subsequent divorce?



Scroll down several threads to “Smith & Wesson”. Ron Merchant gives a good answer to a similar question from another member.



Thanks, Ray. Ron Merchant wrote in another topic: “S&W-Fiocchi were started in 1969 using the S&W-F headstamp. Bangor-Punta, the owners of Smith & Wesson guns bought out the Fiocchi interest in 1972. The headstamp was changed to just S&W after that”. That answers the “divorce” part of my question, simple buyout, 100% ownership. Why did they need help from an Italian company, I reckon American military suppliers were bathing in cash with WWII profits and Cold War-Vietnam era bonanza in the 60’s.


Vlad–I can not answer why S&W teamed up with Fiocchi, nor do I know who approached who to start the joint venture. I do know that the two companies each had 50% ownership. The two of them bought the defunk Alcan Company, Inc. of Alton, Ill. in 1969 which had been started in 1948 by Homer Clark, owner of Alton Can Company, from which the new company derived it’s name. Alcan specialized in shotshell reloading supplies such as wads, etc., but also made some loaded shotshells. They also did a lot of experimenting with plastic blanks and shot loads in .45 Colt and .38 S&W Spl. I suspect that S&W approached Fiocchi first because they needed a company with metallic cartridge making experience. Most likely no American company was interested as they all had thriving U.S. production lines and distribution channels. Smith & Wesson had the distribution channels through their gun sales that Fiocchi did not possess in the U.S.


Vlad–I think the initual reason S&W and Fiocchi were interested in purchasing Alcan was to get the production machines and facilities to make shotshells. I can not say for positive that shotshells were the first loads released by the S&W-Fiocchi, but I can say that bright blue plastic 12 ga. shotshells with silver heads were the first products that I personally saw. It was severial months later before I saw my first metallic cartridge with the S&W-F headstamp, a 158 gr. round nose lead .38 Spl.


The reason S&W teamed with Fiocchi in the Alcan takeover was that Alcan used Fiocchi components for all its products. If one goes back to the 1960s “Handloader’s Digests” and “Gun Bibles”, there are ample examples of ALCAN advertising for Shotsells (metallic), Berdan primers, Powders, and Shotshell wads etc, all of Fiocchi/Italian production. Some of the Plastic shotshell loading machines were probably also from Fiocchi (or other Italian makers) as well.

The partnership was probably more for Fiocchi’s benefit ( having a US outlet) than for S&W, although at the time, S&W was having ammo with the S&W headstamp made by various makers (both rifle and pistol).

In anycase, in the last few years, Fiocchi have set up their own manufacturing plant in the USA, to supply most of the US/Western hemisphere market, including the Pacific basin. Products include 9mm Para, 5,56 military ammo and Blanks, and of course, all the shotshells.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics