Unknown steel case Autopistol ctg-hst: G * * *

Bill Woodin obtained this cartridge quite a few years ago. It stumped me and pretty well stumped him.
It looks like it was originally a lacquered steel case round headstamped with a unusual “G” (with a pointed bottom) and three stars. The bullet looks like a 9mm P08 which has been fired. Excuse the poor photos. They were taken in a dark area with my I phone.

Bill has taken the measurements on this round (top on the list below) and on the three most likely original candidates for the case. It looks most likely that it was originally a 9mm Browning Long case (bottom on the list below).

The trouble is that Bill doesn’t recall of a steel case Browning Long round with any headstamp. Nor does he, or I, recall a lacquered steel case with this headstamp in any pistol round of about 9mm!

The headstamp and particularly the strange “G” are vaguely familiar to me, but I don’t recall where I have seen one.

If anyone has any thoughts on this they would be greatly appreciated.


Lew, this G is the commercial logo of the Gustloff-Werke and here in relation to ammo it was the Hirtenberger plant named “Gustloff-Werke Hirtenberg”, Hirtenberger was named so since 1939 under leadership of the German Gustloff-Werke Suhl which itself was formerly known as “Simson Werke Suhl” and was well into small arms manufacture.


The case length puts it more in the 9x17 Kurz/9x18 Ultra range. I don’t have any measurements close to had, but it might be worth a check. The Germans did make steel-cased Kurz rounds, but I don’t off-hand know if Gustloff made any.

Jonny, The case length is close to the 9x17 (Bill lists it on his little table as the “9mm Br Short”, but the head diameter and rim diameter are both a little large. I don’t know the standard chamber head and rim diameters for the 9x17 chamber to know if it would chamber.

I don’t recall this style “G” on any ammunition, but it may have shown up on commercial rifle calibers. It is not impossible that it is a WWII vintage steel case rifle round cut down by someone to try to make a 9x17mm round. One of the rifle cartridge experts could likely answer that question. Still, it is a bit long to be a 9x17mm.


This Gustloff mark does show up on 7.9 x 57 steel cases, but is, I believe, very uncommon. Jack


The Gustloff Work headstamp G * * * is found on both the 7.65 x 17 mm Browning and the 9 x 17 mm Kurz cartridges. I have the 7.65 mm with a GM bullet jacket, and the 9 mm Kurz with both GM and CN bullets. None of the three bullets in these rounds are magnetic. The bullets are of normal range in weight and of normal ogive for their respective calibers. All three rounds are in brass cartridge cases with brass primer cups. The headstamps are the same format as that shown on the steel-case cartridge pictured, including six-point stars, but the bullet is nothing like that of either the 7.65 mm or the 9 mm Kurz brass-case cartridges.

This headstamp is not particularly common on 7.65 Browning and 9 mm Kurz cartridges, but is not rare either.

John Moss

The proj, on this case also does not look like a 9x17.

Did anybody dare to ask Josef Mötz?

Here the 7.9x57, image from the web (I guess from one of the usual and regular suspects here):


1 Like

Well!! Great headstamps. I have never seen them on a 9mm Luger or among the scattering of 7.65 or 9mmK I have laying around. If the headstamp known to occur on 7.65mm Para?

The letters on Bill’s cartridge are smaller than any shown here.

It occurs to me that the case could have been a 9mm Steyr cut down. The dimensions on the 9mm Steyr that correspond to those on Bill’s chart (from Brant 139) are:

Head: .376"-.383"

Rim: .378"-.383"

Case Length: .893"-.913"

These match Bill’s steel case G *** round very well. I suspect it may have originated as a 9mm Steyr case, BUT has anyone seen a 9mm Steyr with this headstamp, either brass or steel???

I think we are narrowing down on what the case was originally although none of these two calibers (9mm BL & 9mm Steyr)were made with this headstamp based on the info above or on a steel case as far as I now. I have not heard of a steel case 9mm Steyr, though there is a lot I don’t know about the cartridge.

The second question is; “What caliber was the cut down cartridge intended to be??” A cut down 9mmK seems the most likely, though it would be a bit long. Is there any chance that there was another weapon for a cartridge with this case length???

The cartridge was found in the Czech Republic, when it was still Czechoslovakia.

EODs 7.9x57 headstamps indicate Bill’s case was likely made in the late 30s, or since it is steel, the very early 40s.

Curtis, What is the caliber for the two headstamps you posted?

Many thanks for the information above.


Lew, as per a German regulation these headstamps can be later too since exported ammunition had to bear the commercial or any other logo other than the Wehrmacht codes. Means the hs here should be commercial and back in war times this was most likely export since the (civilian) commercial market hardly was served.

Lew - 9 mm Steyr makes some sense, since, after all, the cartridge in question was made in Austria (yes, probably Gross Deutschland is more technically correct, harking back to earlier discussions about “Polish” ammunition) and 9 mm Steyr caliber weapons were still very much in use there during the WWII era.

I have made a pretty extensive study of the 9 x 23 mm Steyr cartridge, and I, too, have never seen one with a steel case from any maker or country. But then I was collecting auto pistol cartridges for 35 or 40 years before the 9 x 25 mm Mauser steel-case cartridges from DWM Berlin-Borsigwalde were discovered. The point is that we do not know about more than a fraction of the experimental cartridges, case types, case materials, etc. used over the years. It is possible that the Gustloff Werk cartridge in question was made originally as a 9 mm Steyr round - that would square with the bullet shape - and that in the weapons of that caliber available, did not function properly causing the experiment to be terminated and, perhaps, even the destruction of remaining stocks of the cartridge. Without documentation, this is all speculation of course, but I advance it here as simply one possible and plausible cause for the rarity of this particular cartridge. I have not many thoughts on why it is no longer a 23 mm case-length cartridge, although that could have been a failed effort to turn it into something that could be used. Steel-case .380 cartridges were made and issued, manufactured by “dou.” and 7.65 mm Browning rounds with steel cases, from several makers, were successful.

It might be useful with this cartridge to pull the bullet to get a precise weight of it, although most Steyr cartridges are loaded with projectiles weighing about 7.5 grams (115 grains), so due to the weight of 9 mm Para bullets at the time, with many being of the same weight, perhaps that would not prove to be especially useful unless its weight was very different from that. Again, just a thought in what may be the impossible task of properly classifying this cartridge.

John Moss

John, what about the 9x25 laquered steel cases without hs, unplated soft iron jacket and small copper primer?

EOD - I only mentioned the DWM steel-case 9 x 25 mm as an example of a cartridge that was unknown to anyone the first forty years or so that I was collecting. The unheadstamped Hungarian steel-case 9 x 25 mm has been fairly well-known since I began collecting. In fact, it was one of the very first 9 x 25s that I acquired when I began collecting c.1961 or thereabouts, that wasn’t “plain vanilla” (brass case, common headstamp, etc.). I covered it in my IAA article on the 9 x 25 mm Mauser round of some years ago. I am sure that there are many, many, many cartridges out there yet to be discovered. The increase in collectors over the years, and the sophistication of the hobby as well, will probably find some of them.

That brings up a point that has been a source of amusement for me over the years. Many people scorn collectors. Yet, probably 90% of the scholarly research on ammunition (and likely about any other field of collecting one can imagine) that has been published has come from collectors. Without them, we would know about 1/10 about the history of ammunition, and in many cases even the technology (NOT my strong point but there are plenty in our hobby who astound an amateur like me with their technical knowledge of all things that relate to ammo). It is hobbyist collectors, not “ordnance experts,” like those who participate in this Forum and in the various CC associations, that have left a mountain of information behind for posterity. Once in awhile, all of us can stop for a minute and think about, among the thousands of books, articles, etc., about ammunition, how much of it would exist if not for collectors. Once in awhile, we can pat ourselves on the back and whisper in our own minds “a job well done!”

A personal “Thanks!” to all our colleagues in this hobby! Happy Holidays.

John M.

John, thanks for the info! I was not even sure if it is Hungarian at all.

The top headstamp was given to me via picture only so I have no idea on the caliber. The Bottom headstamp is on a 9mm browning long cartridge.

When talking home made 9mm shorts which look questionable, it brings to mind the black market sort of junk put together to be fired in the dangerously modified 9mm knall blank guns with bored-out replacement barrels. They are usually set up for .380acp. That would be an odd case to turn up in such a styling though.

Curtis - 9 mm Browning Long is another caliber I research very heavily, again for an article for IAA. I am quite surprised to see your photo of the “G” Gustloff-Werke Hirtenberg headstamp on this caliber. That is one I have never seen before. In the three labeled boxes I have examined, complete with their cartridges, one an anonymous Spanish-language, 50-round box, a second of the same box but with a German-language over-label bearing the Gustloff-Werke Hirtenberg label, and a 25-round box also marked Gustloff-Werke Hirtenberg, all had the headstamp of 4 stars spaced evenly (9, 12, 3 and 6 o’clock on the head) and with four dividing lines between the stars, pretty much the same as the “G” headstamp you show except a fourth star replacing the “G.” The “G l * l * l * l” headstamp must have been very short-lived on this caliber of ammunition.

I would love to hear from anyone else having one of these “G” rounds in 9 mm Browning Long in their collections.

John Moss

Hi John
I got this one about 25 years ago from a collector in the Netherlands. No box, just the cartridge.

Just posted by balkslakk in another thread: