Sellier & Billiot 9mmP NOT made in Mexico

I just received my current copy of the bulletin from the Czech Cartridge Association and was delighted to see an article on a 9mmP cartridge I have wondered about for a few decades! The cartridge has an SBP headstamp illustrated below and has a nickel-plated case which was unusual for S&B ammo back in the early 1970s when I acquired the cartridge. The headstamp is:

and the letter style differs substantially from S&B headstamps from the same period in both headstamp layout and in the size and style of the characters. I have never documented an S&B headstamp similar to that on this nickel-plated case.

The article is in Czech, but includes a photo of the typical S&B yellow & blue/black label from the period, but on the back it is marked “LOADED IN MEXICO”. The box code illustrated is “4768 ?” with the last character unreadable (by me) but the text seems to indicate the box dates from 1968. The cartridges illustrated are identical to my nickel-plated round illustrated above, down to the black primer annulus. If someone can translate the Czech (about three short paragraphs) please let me know and I will send you a copy. I will see if I can get permission to post the photos.

The Czechs do a very interesting, high quality bulletin in full color and 36 pages long. My only regret is that it is not electronic so I can get rough translations on Bing.


The nickel-case SBP 9 mm Luger round, with black PA, which I also have in my own collection, falls right into line with a .38 AUTO round also made for S&B in México. It too has a nickel case, nickel boxer primer and a black primer seal. The bullet is GMCS FMJ RN. However, in the instance of the .38 AUTO, the total headstamp is that caliber marking at the bottom of the cartridge head. It is anonymous as to the case maker on the cartridge itself. There is simply no entry other than the caliber.

To help put these cartridges into a time frame, I acquired my .38 AUTO version in April 1972, on my first trip to Europe. I saw it in the collection of Manfred Beutter, during a visit to his house in a town very near to Obendorf and the Mauser factory, which we visited that morning. I had gushed a bit over the cartridge, and before we left the house, Manfred told me that the caliber was of little interest to him and he gave me the cartridge. Our friendship, by the way, lasted for over 40 years, ending only with his passing a year or so ago. One of the best aspects of our hobby, of course, is the lifetime friendships made through participation in it.

Manfred seemed to imply he had had the cartridge for at least a couple of years, putting it in line with Lew’s comments on his 9 mm Para round.

There is another interesting .38 AUTO round. The caliber markings are nearly identical to those of the known Mexican-made round for S&B, but it also has the DOMINION brand name at the top of the head of the cartridge. The case is nickel and the primer seal is black, the latter feature being very unusual for Dominion commercial ammo, even of the 1970s.

The big difference between the two .38 AUTO rounds mentioned is that the one known to be made in México for S&B has a GMCS bullet, while the similar DOMINION round has simply a GM bullet. The 9 mm Para round covered here by Lew has a GMCS bullet too. In my entire collection of auto pistol rounds, I cannot think of a single Mexican-headstamped cartridge of any caliber that I have that has a magnetic bullet. I checked my catalog in calibers 9 mm, .38 AUTO, and .45 AUTO, and that proved true, regardless of the date of manufacture. That leads me to believe that those two rounds were perhaps loaded by S&B. If the black PA DOMINION .38 AUTO case was made in México it could have been sent to Canada as loaded ammunition, or since Canadian commercial rounds are virtually always with GM non-magnetic bullets, loaded in Canada. That is, if there is a Mexico-Canadian connection at all, since we have no documentation of the Canadian round with characteristics similar to the Mexican-made S&B rounds. Only headstamp and and primer features.
It is only fair to state that the rim thickness, and shape and sizes of the extractor groove and extractor-groove bevel vary quite a bit between the DOMINION-Marked round and the cartridge for S&B. Perhaps one of our Canadian friends has a box for the nickel-case DOMINION .38 AUTO rounds and can check it for nationality markings?

(NOTE: There is also a nickel-case 9 mm Para round from Dominion, but all of the characteristics of that cartridge, including its red PA, seem to be correct for Canadian manufacture.)

John, The Czech articles mentions 7.65mm Browning also but I can’t translate it enough to know that they are saying there was also a nickle plated 7.65B, but that is what it looks like to me!


Lew - right you are. I have nickel-case rounds with black PA and nickel-cup primers in 6.35 mm, 7.65 mm and 9 mm Browning Short, I find. I had not really related them to the Mexican 38 AUTO, the only one I was sure of as being either partially or completely Mexican made, because the headstamps of those three “pocket auto” calibers are all very Czech looking, with the little trademarks of an arrow pointing at a clean bore, often mistaken by collectors to be a “flaming bomb,” on the headstamp. The lettering is more like S&B than that of the 9 mm Para round. Tomorrow, I will czech other calibers like 7.63 Mauser and 7.65 mm Para. I know I don’t have a .45 like that, but don’t know if one exists or not. All of the three calibers above have GMCS FMJ RN bullets which, again, I can’t picture as being Mexican, or at least not from Industrias Tecnos, formerly Cartuchos Deportivos de México (Aguila Brand under both factory names). As mentioned, I don’t have a single pistol cartridge I know to actually have been made in México that has a magnetic bullet. Not even those from FNM.

Thanks for the hint. I had forgotten all about those nickel-case SBP rounds.
I also had one each nickel-case DOMINION round in .32 Auto and .380 Auto, but they have red primer seals. Only the 9 mm from DOMINION has a similar look to the Mexican S&B.

The Czech association has been kind enough to allow me to use their photos, and a friend in Slovakia provided a translation.

The first thing I learned is that I didn’t understand the article correctly. The cartridges WERE NOT MADE IN MEXICO. My friend corrected me!

Clearly I need to learn the meaning of “loaded”, and should have since I regularly see “Made in…” box labels that are not correct.

Here is the information.


[quote]Cartridges produced by Sellier & Bellot for Mexico.
Some time ago we published an article 44-2013 in bulletin 2/2013 – cartridge box 7,65 mm Browning by Sellier&Bellot marked as LOADED IN MEXICO.
In that case, it was a classic 25 rounds box produced in 1950s where afterwards reprinted LOADED IN MEXICO. These were standard cartridges.
By the end of 1960 and the first half of 1970 a great deal of cartridges were exported for a Mexican customer, great in numbers but as well as in calibers ranging from handguns (pistol, revolver) as well as few rifle calibers. Boxes were packed by 50 cartr. (except of rifle cartridges), yellow – black with info regarding bullet info and ballistics on the back site. Cases were out of nickel as well as primer, with black lack around the primer.
Attached are picture of boxes from Karel Jass collection, measuring 100x52x30mm for 50 cases of 9mm Luger. Loaded with Berdan primer 4,5mm. The bullet is FMC weighting 7,5g with steel tombak plated mantle and lead core. Vo – 403m/s.
This box was produced in 1968, see enlarged ID number stamped on the inside of box.[/quote]

PS: John, I have this round with GM magnetic bullet, CN magnetic bullet and GM non-magnetic. I can’t explain all the bullet variations, but all are in “like new” condition and otherwise identical. None look like reloads.

Lew - please ask your friend about what he knows of the 38 AUTO and 32 AUTO rounds with similar characteristics to the 9mm - nickel case, boxer nickel-cup primer, black primer seal.

I am surprised to hear that the cases were made in the Czech Republic. That is very, very early for use of the Boxer primer system by Sellier & Bellot. Does anyone know of any other instances of Boxer-primed cases being used on S&B Pistol cartridges in the early 1970s or late 1960s?

That box is beautiful. Wonder why the print is all in English when it was a contract for México. Certainly it was never sold in the USA, or some of those boxes would have been “collectred.” I have never even seen an image of the box until today, on this thread. Strange enough that we don’t see much stuff from México, although with the exception of products of Industrias Tecnos made in the last 30 years, that has been the norm. Mexican ammunition specimens have never been very common in the USA.