"Three Puzzling .45 ACP 42-Round Boxes" IAA Article

Mel Carpenter submitted a very interesting article to the new issue of the IAA Journal (#489) on some odd .45 ACP boxes. I have seen these boxes before as they are essentially Soviet-made 7.62x25 cartons, which fits with the origin of the boxes, sealed Soviet tins. The fact that the boxes contain 42 rounds is, I believe, a matter of convenience and fit, and not an attempt to match any particular magazine loading. I’m pretty sure I have also seen Chinese example of the same practice. My only point of confusion is why the boxes are labeled in English. I would guess that the ammo was taken out of storage sometime in the 1990s and repackaged and labelled for export sale.


I have not received my copy of the Journal yet so have not seen the article. The only 42 round boxes I can think of were originally made by Winchester for the British WW2 contract, see my article in Journal 485 and my talk at SLIcS last year.

I think they were as you say, a matter of convenience and were based on the 64 round WRA British contract 9mm boxes.

Pictures of both attached.


Interesting. Can you show the tops and sides of that box? The one pictured by Mel does appear to be typical Soviet construction, and sized right for 70 7.62x25 rounds.

Sorry, Jonny, but I only have the tops of the boxes.


Jon, I have one of these boxes. They are identical size to the 64-round 9 mm box generally associated with Canada but also used by Winchester for some British contracts, as you look down on the label. However, the box for the .45 is somewhat deeper to accomodate the longer .45 Auto cartridge. Construction of the box is the same as that of the Canadian boxes.

John, please confirm that you are describing the construction of the boxes Tony posted, and not the ones described in Mel’s article.

Jon - I am confirming the design and construction of the Winchester, white, 42-round .45 box as shown by
Tony, not the ones in Mel’s interesting article.

Mel kindly sent me a copy of his article to read, pending the arrival of my Journal.

I cannot comment much on the rounds themselves, whether they are genuine US production or not, as I do not know enough about the minutae of US made .45ACP. However, if they are genuine US rounds supplied to Russia in WW2 my first thought is that these are post war Russian re-packs for supply to Communist insurrectionist groups whereever. That would explain not only the poor quality of the packaging (which jonnyc says is identical to Tokarev packaging) but also the spurious English labelling. This would muddy the waters about the origin of the ammunition and at first glance point away from their Russian source.

Just a thought…


Many of this packets were found(as for 9 mm Parabellum similar ones), in the containers dropped by air during the German occupation to the French Resistance movements, from 1943-44 onwards.

They could have been dropped otherwere, too. Labelling was always in english. About a Russian origin… any possibility is to be considered: ammo sent in the Balkans to Grece, Yugoslavia…who knows… The boxes contained absolutely ordinary rounds.

It must be also remembered that the French Milice, fighting the Resistance alongside with Germans, used a good amount of Thompson SMG, either captured, or coming from stocks seized on the former Vichy Army (who was equipped with many weapons from French 1939-40 contracts). When they retreated in Germany in summer 1944, they took their weapons with them, to be used against the Russians, in the last months of war, as their units (circa 3000 people) had been theoretically merged with some SS divisions, including the French 33th SS"Charlemagne"…so what’s left could have been captured by the Russians. in 1945, and later refit in Russian tins…for stockpiling (a common fact) then later on resale to communist insurrectional movements anywhere…

But all this is, of course, just a guess.