TW Clandestine WWII Prod?

A gentleman on another site has posted and confirmed that he has seen WWII TW production of 8x57 ammunition, with T W 4 4 headstamps, and that Twin Cities produced .303, 7.7x58, and 6.5x50SR during the war, without headstamps, using unidentifiable primers, for clandestine issue and distribution. His source for all this info was a neighbor described thusly: “He started work at TW in 1943 when he graduated trade school as a millwright. Deferred from draft for vital defense industry work. After the war, he worked for Honeywell for awhile, then Federal Cartridge the remainder of his career, working his way to managing the metallic cartridge division. Retired in the mid '80’s.”

I think it is 110% bunk, but before I get involved any more I would like to hear if there is even the barest shred of anything valid here.


It’s always good (or bad) to have a source that is very old since there is no way to verify or dispute the provenance.

Having said that, HWS II does say that OSS obtained commercial 7.92mm ball rounds (and other types?) without a headstamp, in unmarked boxes, apparantly during 1942.

So there may be some truth to the story, with a few memories of an old man mixed in.


He probably saw TW 44 .30-06 cases refromed into 7,9 Mauser…

Why would clandestine production have a period US headstamp?


Yeah, that’s what I figured on the TW 8mms.

How about the .303 and Japanese ammo? Any thoughts on these?


HWS doesn’t say what the “various types” of ammo was. It did say that they procured a total of 789 million rounds for our allies under Lend-Lease and similar programs.


I would assume that “7.92mm ball rounds (and other types?)” meant various types of 7.92 ammunition. Of course, that assumption could be wrong.

But, would they have manufactured 789 million rounds of 7.92mm ?? That’s a bunch.

That 1-paragraph entry in HWS creates as many new questions as it answers.

I agree with Jonny’s first assesment of this story, just for the record.

Just in case any of you want to weigh in: … 6&t=127596

You might have to log-in to the site to participate.

“Clandestine” is very sexy sounding, but the truth may be much less glamorous. We shipped a lot of ammo on lend lease to allies, many of whom had .303 or 8mm weapons as well as weapons we may have provided.

And, we did lots of testing with captured weapons including the MG (34 or 42, I forget exactly which one) which was considered for manufacture.

The source probably had pretty good info on details late in his career at Federal, but intended use of stuff at TW during the war was probably more conjecture and rumor than fact.

But, yes, whatever HWS says is about as well documented and accurate as will likely be found anywhere. And, there are probably exceptions and undocumented events that were different. To separate the fact from the fiction, and the probably from the impossible is tough.

To my limited knowledge the MG42 as the 34 was no technological novelty nor had unusual performance.

There was some interest by the Army during WWII in making a clone of the MG42 in .30-'06 but it never got beyond the prototype stage (it didn’t work out). Read about it here: … SE=objects,

The Allies shipped 7.9 ammo to Asia to fight the Japanese. Manufacture of ammo to feed captured Japanese arms doesn’t seem a big stretch. There would seem little need to sanitize this material, the Japanese would certainly know where it came from when they found any.

jThe majority of the 7.9 ammunition sent to “Asia” (China) was for Mauser rifles of that caliber that were as standard as anything (if anything could be called “standard” in the Chinese Army of the time) used by them. It was primarily made by WCC. China also made 7.9 ammunition, as did the Japanese by the way.

I have never seen any evidence of any kind (cartridges, packaging, contract copies or other paper work) that any clandestine ammunition, or ammunition of calibers non-standard in the U.S. Forces, was made at T.W. during WWII. It was part of the wartime chain of industry producing ammunition primarily (perhaps exclusively) for the Armed Forces of the United States. It is not impossible that some of that ammunition could have ended up in the hands of U.S. allies. That is not always controlled by the manufacturer through contract or any other way. It can be simply a military decision to ship quantities of ammunition to allies that have asked for it. In that case, it would be of standard U.S,. caliber and markings. Unlike some of the plants in the WWII system, TW did survive after WWII.

Again, in my opinion, Jonny’s initial opinion of these stories was correct. Everything offered here to the contrary has been conjecture, which sometimes is helpful as it can point the way to further research. The U.S. Ammunition companies of WWII have been research the “whole nine yards,” and while some things still remain to be discovered, of course, there has never been a clue that I know of, or even a guess, before this thread, that TW was involved in any such business as alleged in the opening of this thread.


Thanks, John. I have tried to temper my initial skepticism, and wanted to ask here in case there was a kernel of truth behind the guy’s statements. If nothing else, my doubts have remained.

Recommend someone ask Bill Woodin and Frank Hackley what they meant! A number of you know them and they can at least tell you what they meant in their book!


I have been reading the posts on this topic and would like to clear up some of the facts. I currently am finishing a publication for Federal and ATK, regarding the Twin Cities Arsenal. I have reviewed
most of the records from the Arsenal that were located at (1) the Federal Plant, (2) Minnesota historical society, and (3) Rock Island Arsenal archives. I have gone through all surviving ammo specimens
remaining from the TW Arsenal that were transferred to Federal Cartridge. I have a complete collection of the Arsenal FirePower news bulletins from WW2. There is no mention or evidence of any clandestine ammo production during WW2. Before posting this, I also talked with several retired long time Arsenal employees whose ages are in the 80s and 90s. They were involved in the closing down of the arsenal and review and distibution of all machinery, historical documents, and ammo specimens. Again they denied with some certainty that any evidence existed to suggest production of the clandestine ammo mentioned in this post. I think one can conclude that no clandestine ammo was made at the TW Arsenal during WW2.

Docdave, would you mind if I re-post your posting on the other website in question?
PM me if you want to discuss it.

please let us know when the publication on Twin Cities becomes available. I for one am very much interested and really hope Federal and ATK will not shelve it.

My short book on the TW Arsenal is in the final stages and I plan to have it reviewed by Frank H., Ron Fuchs, and a couple of knowledgable retirees from the Arsenal before publishing it. Yes, I will make it available in printed form or Ebook to anyone interested. I might even consider talking with Ron M. about making it a online pub available to ICCA members. Johnny C – I’d rather you don’t post, as I do not want to get embroiled with any one from the other web-site.