Sellier & Bellot "TOP" Headstamp


#1

Does anyone know the significance of why this headstamp uses the word [color=#0000BF]TOP[/color] instead of S&B or what [color=#0000BF]TOP [/color]refers to?


#2

I have this round and the box for it. The box is sterile as to information on actual manufacturer and country of origin. The rounds with this headstamp I know about, including mine, and my box, originated in South Africa. It may well be that the “TOP” has no actual meaning. It has certainly resisted ten years or so of trying to find any meaning it might have. The box label is completely in the German language. However, although the Neroxin trade marks at the 3 O’Clock and 9 O’Clock positions on the headstamp could be pirated, the fact is, the headstamp lettering (shape of the “7” and the use of a comma instead of a period (dot) after the “7” in the caliber, as well as the Neroxin trade marks, leads to Sellier & Bellot manufacture.

I would suggest that this was a commercial contract for someone in South Africa, and designed to conceal the origin since the era it seems to have been made in was during the world-wide embargo against arms and ammunition shipments to RSA. There are two other such .32 auto headstamps, “MP” and “GeO” both appearing to be Hirtenberg manufacture, not to mention the many with Musgrave headstamp or anonymous headstamps using a letter/number date code and the caliber only.

If anyone has documentation for the meaning of not only TOP, if any, or the MP and the GeO (obviously meant to look like “Geco” at first glance) headstamps, please post it here. They have been on the unknown list for a long time, as to meaning of headstamps, even though we are reasonably certain who made them all.

John Moss


#3

Surely S&B wouldn’t have been supplying any ammo to commercial customers in RSA at that time. Czechoslovakia was aligned with the side of the Soviet Union which means they would have been on the side of the Soviet Backed SWAPO insurgents.


#4

Falcon - I can only answer that in one way - Money talks. Further, it could have been ordered with that headstamp and with the box art and wording required by some other supplier, who then sent it on to South Africa.

In Peru at one time you had a communist President using and ultra-right wing, anti-communist Army, advixed by Russian Advisors and using many Russian and North Korean weapons, to hunt down and kill members of Sendero Luminoso, a Maoist-communist insurgency group. It is a strange and mixed up world we live in.

John Moss


#5

Falcon, During the Soviet time in Afganistan, and before the wall came down, there was some special ammo with US made bullets, and Chinese Communist made cases loaded in Eastern Europe and shipped to Pakistan for use by the Afgans against the Soviets. As John says, “money talks” and things are often a lot more complicated than they seem. The story recently came out of a Soviet jet fighter that was “misplaced” as it was being shipped from the Soviet Union to an East European country. It was eventually located and delivered. Turns out that while it was lost it happened to get diverted to the US where it was assembled, flight tested, disassembled and returned!

I’m sure there are lots of stories like that on all sides of conflicts. Lots of things happen at levels the “decision makers” at the top never know about. There was no love lost between the Soviets and many of their Eastern European allies so I can easily believe this cartridge was Czech made and exported by S&B.

Cheers,

Lew

PS: Wish this headstamp turned up in 9x19mm. There sure are some great 7.65mm headstamps out there!


#6

Lew - .32 Auto is an interesting round. Lots of headstamp variations and while not as much as in 9mm, lots of loading and bullet types too. Speaking of which, and since this is a bona fide .32 Auto (7.65 mm Browning) thread, a few days ago I had mentioned to you that I had an Argentine .32 Auto with Truncated bullet (CNCS Jacket). I found I also have a Sellier & Bellot round, probably made within the last ten years, with a brass-jacketed truncated bullet of close to the German 9mm shape, and a Geco round from 1970 with what may be a solid brass truncated bullet. The cylindrical part of the bullet (full diameter) extends higher above the case, proportionately, than does a German 9mm Truncated bullet, and tapers to a smaller diameter flat at the nose. I also have an Anerican one, probably from the 1980s, the GM bulletand a tiny HP. The hole bullet may be copper as this is one from PPS in Philadelphia, that made a lot of do-nothing fancy bulleted rounds touted as just short of the Atom Bomb in effectiveness. This one has more the shape of an arcane round, with little of the cylindrical portion of the bullet showing above the case mouth. I, myself, would not count it as a “truncated” bullet for the purpose of see what other calibers besides 9mm have them. I am not even sure the Geco 1970 round should be counted. The Argentine and Czech rounds most certainly should be.

Of course, a truncated bullet is the norm in 9 x 18 mm Police.

John Moss


#7

[quote=“Lew”]Falcon, During the Soviet time in Afganistan, and before the wall came down, there was some special ammo with US made bullets, and Chinese Communist made cases loaded in Eastern Europe and shipped to Pakistan for use by the Afgans against the Soviets. As John says, “money talks” and things are often a lot more complicated than they seem. The story recently came out of a Soviet jet fighter that was “misplaced” as it was being shipped from the Soviet Union to an East European country. It was eventually located and delivered. Turns out that while it was lost it happened to get diverted to the US where it was assembled, flight tested, disassembled and returned!

I’m sure there are lots of stories like that on all sides of conflicts. Lots of things happen at levels the “decision makers” at the top never know about. There was no love lost between the Soviets and many of their Eastern European allies so I can easily believe this cartridge was Czech made and exported by S&B.

Cheers,

Lew

PS: Wish this headstamp turned up in 9x19mm. There sure are some great 7.65mm headstamps out there![/quote]
This reminds me of a story that I heard about a whole train load of 35mm Oerlikon ammo during the Falklands war. It had been manufactured by BMARCO in Grantham, Lincolnshire and was detained at the dockside just before it could be loaded onto a ship destined for Argentina.


#8

This ammo was sold many many years ago in Germany from catalogue wholesellers, as “Quelle” and “Neckermann”, and maybe for the reason, not to disturb the Frankonia/Interimport wholesellers, which held and still hold the distributor-rights from SBP for Germany, got the mimic-name “TOP”, maybe implying TOP-quality.
There are no paperwork left in this companies about their involvment in Gun-and ammosales, as in 1973 the catalogue sales of this (till than, free sales of Rifles and “free”-ammo) came to an end, as legislation changed and there was no longer the right, to buy a Rifle, or any ammo, without a license. Before, everybody could buy rifles (except warmaterial or lookalikes) and all kind of ammo (except warmaterial, like tracers, AP a.s.o.) without anything, except proofing that they where 18years old…
Pistols where already restricted in buying, only for holders of a license…but at that time, even a hunting license qualified for pistol-buying (without any restrictions in how many…) good old days and gone forever. This european folks are already again working on a more strict and stringent gun-law for the EU…

Forensic

[quote=“cartridgecorner”]Does anyone know the significance of why this headstamp uses the word [color=#0000BF]TOP[/color] instead of S&B or what [color=#0000BF]TOP [/color]refers to?
[/quote]


#9

[quote=“JohnMoss”] the fact is, the headstamp lettering (shape of the “7” and the use of a comma instead of a period (dot) after the “7” in the caliber, as well as the Neroxin trade marks, leads to Sellier & Bellot manufacture.

John Moss[/quote]
And the characteristic messy red lacquer