The Incestuous Ammunition Business


#1

Remmeber the days when you were fiercely loyal to one brand of ammunition or another, convinced that it was the best? Winchester was Winchester, not sometimes Sellier & Bellot ( a compnay that is really owned by CBC of Brazil). You didn’t have to count the dots to know who made the cases, and you knew from the headstamp who made the ammo. Boy, are those days gone.

Some recent “box lot” purchases" for my collection:

Herter"s Brand .380 Auto - packaged as “Herter’s”, sold by Cabela’s who owns the Herters name, but with their name no where in evidence, and distributed by USSG, Rockledge, Florida, whoever in hell they are. One box showing ammunition made in Indonesia, and headstamp “TP PIN” for the Pindad Arsenal, and another box of a different lot, same box, same caliber, same load, marked made in Russia and headstamped with the standard Ulyanovsk headstamp.

RWS Brand. Many boxes of different calibers and loads purchased. All boxed as the RWS Brand (a well known German company, Rheinisch Westfälische Sprengstoff). All boxes except .45 FMJ shown “Made in U.S.A.” Shown on the side as offered by RUAG Ammotec USA, the American branch of a Swiss Firm. The .45 with Frangible bullet is so marked; the .45 FMJ is shown as made in Hungary, but with the identical “RWS” headstamp (including letter size, style, etc) and with a little MFS trademark. Two different boxes for 9mm Parabellum 50 Grain Frangible bullet. Both “Made in USA.” One box called sport line has a “P-A” headstamp (Precision Ammunition) but still with the Ruag USA appellation on the box. The other is the Non-Toxix line, with RWS headstamp, again sold by Ruag-USA. By the way, the web address on the box for RUAG USA is www.rws-usa.com ??? Hmmmm! By the way, both the Sport and the Non-Toxis line show the load as the “Copper-Matrix NTF.”

A nice box of Precision Cartridge Inc. .38 AUTO ammunition. O.K., right? Headstamp is “GRAF 38 AUTO.” Are we confused yet?

Today, a nice box of 9mm Luger 115 grain FMJ I haven’t seen before. Black box with silver print and a brown line across the top showing “50 cartridges” printed in the line. Where is the Matrafem Sirouk name? Who knows. Shown as imported by RUAG Ammotec USA, this time with no website, but with a Tampa, Florida Address. That information is right next to “Made in Russia” Yes, I said Russia, not Hungary. Headstamp is the new Barnaul with the Cyrillic version of the initials BPZ (Barnal Patronniy Zavod - Barnaul Cartridge Factory). Unlike Barnaul’s own offering with this headstamp, though, the cases are zinc-plated instead of Lacquered. Arghhhhhh!

Oh heck, why not. I see that we can’t produce enough 5.56 ammo anymore at Winchester and LC - Winchester has to have at least some components made in Israel, the Czech Republic, and somewhere else that slips my mind from the last thread. Thanks to our Government - bellicose but still willing to shut down the arsenal system to the point we can’t supply troops with enough ammunition “Made in the USA.”

Instead of a catalog, maybe all the ammo makers selling ammo in the U.S. ought to have a program showing what company REALLY made the ammo. Sure can’t tell by a quick glance at the boxes anymore.

O.K. Enough of my rant.

John Moss


#2

I was equally baffled several months ago when I opened a box of Centurion (made in Italy but is actually just a branch of Aguila of Mexico) 12ga 2" shells and the headstamp was Cheddite (of France) from some boxes, and typical * 12 * on others.


#3

Cheddite seems to be increasingly becoming the supplier of shotgun (unloaded) cases to a growing number of European ammo companies. Obviously economies of scale in their manufacturing process means its cheaper to buy from them than to make their own.


#4

To DKConfiguration and Vince Green:

Cheddite was a small company founded in the 1880s-90s in Chedde, a small village on the Swiss-High Savoy Border (France) for the manufacture of Explosives for the Mining and Tunnelling Industries. In 1901, the company set up a Sporting cartridge and Powder Factory in Livorno (“Leghorn”) Tuscany, Italy, and this company ( Italian) has been making shotshells, primer, and Shotshell Powders since then for the European ( and now international) markets

Cheddite (France) and Cheddite(USA) are merely marketing entities, NOT manufacturers.

AS to who makes Shotshells, despite what one sees stamped in to the headstamp (brass or nowadays steel heads)…the majority of shotshells of the Medium to smaller “makers”( actually case fillers) are supplied by half a dozen makers across Europe…Fiocchi, Cheddite, Rio (UEE Spain), S&B.

These major makers can supply the cases as “Generic” ( such as "* 12 * " types, or headstamped with the Loader’s Logo. Sometimes they actually Load the cases as well, and the "trade mark “Maker” is effectively simply a Marketing Entity, contracting out its brand name.

In Australia, several local “makers” actually get either their cases (primed) from Italy, then fill them using locally made shot, and ADI Powders, or as well, get them “contract made” by one of the big Italian makers. Lately, there has also been an influx of Russian made shotshell hulls, and these are obviously made on Italian machinery, as they are(except for HS) indistinguishable from Fiocchi cases.

FIocchi has also made for Winchester Australia, several years of Reiffenhauser shells ( two piece ribbed Tubular) with the WIN h/s, at the time Winchester stopped making AA One piece extruded shells in Aust. They now have re-commenced manufacture of the One-piece shell, due to Customer demand. (Plastic in the shell has changed, it is now a much more “slippery” ABS type Plastic.).

SO, in the Plastic Shotshell industry, there is much more production and " filling" carried on; the volume of shotshells produced for both Target ( Clay and Skeet) and Hunting uses in Europe is enormous…given that in most European countries, a 12-gauge shotgun is readily possessed for either Purpose, with a minimum of Licensing ( if at all); Hand/Reloading of shotshells is a very small portion of the total usage, unless it is done by individual Gunshops or Gunclubs ( Gunshop loads were very common in the Paper shotshell era, but
not so common nowadays…it is easier to get them “custom made/labelled” by one of the big or medium sized “case stuffers”…even with your own HS, if the volume justifies it.

A research of Web pages referring to “Cheddite” indicates that “Centurion” Brand are made in Livorno, at the main Cheddite plant.

Cheddite also Markets (note the Term) a range of Pistol, Revolver and some Rifle cartridges (Mostly American calibres)…the Webpage does not specifically says they are “manufactured by Cheddite” but that they have “adopted” them…a cute manner of saying they are made for them by some other factory, with their (Cheddite) label on them. it is suspected Aquila may be involved, but again, some may be by Fiocchi ( the Pistol calibres) and someone else for the Rifle calibres ( .222Rem, .223, .308 and .30/06)— for these calibres could be any of the US makers, or even some of the European makers.

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia.


#5

[quote=“DocAV”]
Cheddite also Markets (note the Term) a range of Pistol, Revolver and some Rifle cartridges (Mostly American calibres)…the Webpage does not specifically says they are “manufactured by Cheddite” but that they have “adopted” them…a cute manner of saying they are made for them by some other factory, with their (Cheddite) label on them. it is suspected Aquila may be involved, but again, some may be by Fiocchi ( the Pistol calibres) and someone else for the Rifle calibres ( .222Rem, .223, .308 and .30/06)— for these calibres could be any of the US makers, or even some of the European makers.

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia.[/quote]

Keep an eye on Privi Partisan. Rumours abound concerning their involvement with some of the big European names. One in particular
All unconfirmed but very plausable. Mostly in the smaller running calibres but people have been doing side by side comparisons with some of their rifle cases and those from a major name.

Of course this would be very damaging to the major name who’s key selling feature is quality. It would be like finding out that Rolls Royce are now fitting Ford truck engines in their cars.


#6

PPU made at least 7.92x33 with FNM hs.


#7

That wasn’t the ammunition maker that I had in mind. the problem for all of them is this. There is a vast range of European and US calibres for which the demand is very small.
A serious and regular deer hunter might still only have an ammo consumption of around 3-5 rounds a year. Buying a box of ammo every five years or so he is not going to keep their production lines buzzing but the ammo makers have to keep their range of calibres up to maintain their credibility.

Many calibres fall into the “nearly but not quite obsolete” catagory but for which there is still a demand but are not commercially viable for the manufacturers.

Years ago the manufacturers would have a yearly run for these calibres and store the stock against future orders. The accountants that run every company these days would not allow a years inventory on the shelf and so the only alternative is to outsource.


#8

[quote=“DocAV”]

  1. Cheddite was a small company founded in the 1880s-90s in Chedde, a small village on the Swiss-High Savoy Border (France) for the manufacture of Explosives for the Mining and Tunnelling Industries. In 1901, the company set up a Sporting cartridge and Powder Factory in Livorno (“Leghorn”) Tuscany, Italy, and this company ( Italian) has been making shotshells, primer, and Shotshell Powders since then for the European ( and now international) markets

  2. Cheddite (France) and Cheddite(USA) are merely marketing entities, NOT manufacturers.

regards,
Doc AV

Hi,

  1. Cheddite (france) is the old MGM company (part of SFM). They still manufacture a lot of shells in the French factory

  2. Despite what is wriiten on the Cheddite Italian website “manufacturing shotshells, primers and powder” since 1901, I am not sure at all they ever made shotshells before WWII. Powder yes, primers I have to check, but shotshells I doubt because I never found a single catalogue, sample or reference about it.

JP


#9

Late last year I picked up a box of ATI brand 12GA “Copper Dot” slugs, the box is marked “Made in Turkiye” and is headstamped CHEDDITE too.

dealer.americantactical.us/products?product=1235


#10

This post reminds me of an old book, Merchants of death; a study of the international armament industry by H. C. Engelbrecht, Frank Cleary Hanighen, 1934.

And now the arms industry is even more incestuous than ever.

I wonder what part the Chinese have in all of this?


#11

The Cheddite-ATI-Made in Turkey link is one of several possibilities…Cheddite does make Empty primed cases for other “Fillers”, and that would answer the “made in Turkey” label on the Packet…Assembled (“filled”) in Turkey on imported and local components ( Turkey does have local suppliers of (Shotshells, primers, and Powder etc.)components).

They could be made for Cheddite by a Turkish maker, and then “Badged” ATI;

MY take is that ATI contracted the Turks to make the ammo, and the Turks used Cheddite components…Normal manufacturing practice.
Confusion reigns due to the Horse & Buggy Labelling Laws of the USA as to “origin” of a manufactured product.

Regards,
Doc AVB
AV Ballistics.


#12

I’ve been reading these posts, not because I have any special interest in the subject, but rather to try and see how the word incestuous applies to cartridge manufacturing. I still do not get it.

Ray


#13

Ray:

I’d go with #3.

[i][b][color=#0000BF]in·ces·tu·ous /ɪnˈsɛstʃuəs/ Show Spelled[in-ses-choo-uhs] Show IPA
–adjective

  1. involving incest.
  2. guilty of incest.
  3. being so close or intimate as to prevent proper functioning: an incestuous relationship between organized crime and government.
    Use incestuous in a Sentence
    See images of incestuous
    Search incestuous on the Web

Origin:
1525–35; < LL incestuōsus, equiv. to L incestu- s. of incestus incest + -ōsus -ous[/color][/b][/i]


#14

Rick

Aha! I need to get a bigger Webster’s. The definitions in mine were all dirty. But it’s the “school” edition and maybe that’s why.

Ray


#15

Rick’s got it right. In this case, if you want to apply the “dirty” meaning, you could also say I was inferring that so many cartridge companies are in bed with each other today, you can’t tell the players without a program. The name on the box label doesn’t mean a thing anymore.

John Moss


#16

When I started collecting seriously & hanging out with John Scott, one of the things he said was; “Everybody, made every thing, for everybody else”. Even more true and now totally scrambled today. As noted by John Moss


#17

From what I see elsewhere there is a trend for:

A) two kinds of “Producers”

  1. those who specialise in very large production volumes, which they run for everybody with everybody’s brand on it. They would not even think of making an 8x33 or 7,5 MAS. They may produce the same product for weeks, maybe just changing headstamp bunters and box label layout for other brands, which makes production very cost efficient. A name here might be Winchester or RUAG.
  2. those who are set up extremely flexible and specialize in niche products, like Fiocci and PPU. They may run 3 different products in a day and get their higher cost covered from the need for niche products.
    I don’t mean to exclude that both made large productions today, obviously their basic cost still is low enough. But we can see PPU’s niche product portfolio expanding virtually every day.

B) “Big names”, they will have no own production, or just something for reference and to show competence. Most of their portfolio will come from “Producers” and they take in any order without the immediate intent to make the stuff in-house or having an established plan where to have that made at the moment of contract signature. Their competence is to run a lavish sales organization which exactly knows where the bread basket is and at what sales price.

I may be wrong with the above, especially the names. It is just that I tried to project into our field of interest what I note elsewhere.

Hans


#18

Hans, thats a very good post and I agree with everything you say. Everything is driven by costs.Its simply not ecomomic to produce anything in the EU or US any more when there are cheaper production facilities just beyond the borders. And very good ones too.