Unusual Western 9mm Box

Lew - My * / SB / * / P / round with small headstamp letters has a CNCS FMJ RN bullet and and a brass primer with black seal. Total cartridge weight is around 190 grains, which I suspect is a 124 grain bullet. My Large Letter version is, unfortunately, a fired case, with copper primer, so I can tell nothing about the projectile.

John Moss

John, I was looking back at this post and realized I had not answered your last post. I have two SB / * / P loads. the one with a CNCS bullet weighs 188gr so is probably a 124gr load. The other has a non-Mag GM bluuet and an overall weight of 176gr so it is apparently a 115gr bullet.

I have received info from Finland that Sako loaded Finnish bullets into Geco cases in 1934. This is apparently the Sako . 9m/m . ammunition, but I will try to confirm that.

In any case, this information indicates that the Finns were loading 115gr bullets at least as early as 1934. The Sako 101D bullet is referenced in the excellent book on Finnish ammunition and is identified as a 115gr (7.5g) bullet, but there is no date for it’s introduction except references to the 1930s. I have written a couple of emails to see if I can find something more definate.

Cheers,

Lew

Lew,

Your second box carries a product code of K9004T on the white overlabel.

In the 1935 Winchester Price List, the two 9 mm Para loads, both 125 grain, one FP and one HSP, carry the product numbers K9001T and K9002T.

In the 1954 Catalog (I don’t have 1955), the product code for 9mm Para 115 FMC, the only load offered, is W9Lp.

I rest my case for the box being from 1935, if the only choices are 1935 and 1955. With all the discussion, I don’t know why I didn’t make that simple check before. PARDON ME - I SEE THAT WE DID DISCUSS THE PRODUCT CODE NUMBERS. THAT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER. IT WOULD HAVE REALLY BE STUPID OF ME NOT TO HAVE DONE THAT.

Edited to add note about previous check of product codes

John, This is a long and confusing thread—sorry.

I agree with you that the white Western Box is 1935. It is a two piece box and I can’t imagine it being any later than 1935.

The Winchester Blue and Yellow box with the overlable is probably post-WWII. This is a style introduced in the late 1930s, but your comment

is convincing. The product code K9004T didn’t occur until post WWII. Who knows when the ammo was made but the box was packed post WWII using the new product code for 115gr bullets.

Thanks John,

Lew

Lew, Yes, the code K9004T does not show up until the January 2, 1947 Winchester Ammunition Price List. The previous list, from July 1946, only shows the K9001T.

Another indication of 1935 manufacture is the absence of the term non-mercuric with the “Non-Corrosive Priming” description. Western was still using at least some mercuric, non-corrosive primers through January 1942 but was producing non-mercuric, non-corrosive primers by Sep 1939. In a 1 November 1944 Western letter, one of a number in the possession of Pete DeCoux, Western 7mm Mauser lot numbers 2KN81 (18 Dec 1935) and M8SK01 (10 Sep 1941) were described as having “mercuric, non-corr. primers when they left the plant.” 6mm Mann. Scho. lot number 47TA42 (24 Jan 1942) was also described as having mercuric, non-corrosive primers.

Pete also has a box of Western non-mercuric, non-corrosive primers lot number 84PK6 (6 Sep 1939), and I have boxes of presumably Western primers lot number 90RE22 (22 May 1940) with WINCHESTER STAYNLESS labels of the 1939-style (Division of Western Cartridge Company).

What I find most interesting about these letters, however, is that they contain the statement “Since the end of May, 1942 we have not been permitted to manufacture any sporting ammunition or components due to the War production board.” Yet some of the lot numbers discussed ARE commercial production after May, 1942: such as 270 Winchester lots D8UK4 (4 Sep 1943), and 37VE21P and 47VE91D (12 and 19 May 1944). All post-Jan 1942 lot numbers discussed had non-mercuric, non-corrosive primers.

Great info, thanks!

Where there is a buck to be made, rules will be bent. I’m not at all surprised that Winchester was making ammo for commercial sales during the war. DWM was making 9x19mm for the Dutch in 1917 and 1918. Geco was making 9x19mm for Romania in 1942 and 1944. It appears that PS in Slovakia was making ammo for Sweden and others during WWII. Probably lots of other examples out there from lots of countries.

Cheers,

Lew

Lew, I don’t know anything like as much as you guys do about 9mm but is it not possible this was an experimental making just for internal evaluation purposes? It seems likely to me that 115 grn with the added MV would be something they might consider as a good idea, even then?

How about some contract work for the Dutch East-Indies Army and the Dutch West-Indies Army?

We know that the Dutch KNIL in the East-Indies (present day Indonesia) needed an alternative source of 9mm ammo after the home country was invaded by Germany in may, 1940. It is not improbable that they were already looking for alternative (read:cheaper) suppliers in the 1930s.

The Dutch West-Indies have largely been unstudied, in fact only this year we were finally able to identify an example of a Dutch West Indies contract luger. The Dutch West Indies were the colonies in South-Americal (Suriname) and the islands of Curacao, St. Maarten, Aruba, etc…

In the almost 7 years since this thread ended, I know a lot more about this box. I now have a copy of a Winchester internal document on their use of the 115gr bullet. It was first loaded in 1935 for an unnamed country in South America. The date suggests that it was made for one of the participants in the Chaco war ( Bolivia and Paraguay) which is probably why they didn’t name the country who bought the ammo. It was likely for the Suomi MP since it was the only weapon designed for the 115gr bullet. The second was the Italian M38, at least as far as I know.

The second order for 115gr ammunition was from Mexico in 1939. I recently visited the Woodin Laboratory and was surprised to see another example of this box. I photographed it, including the code, and when I got home I found that this box was dated 1939 and was clearly for the Mexican contract. Both boxes have the “A” prefix on the date code, so both were made by Winchester in New Haven CT.

Cheers,
Lew

Lew - what was the headstamp on the ammunition with the box that Bill W.
has? Also, do you mean the odd WESTERN box or the over-labeled box? I am
assuming you were talking about the former, not the latter.

I ask about the headstamp, because when I had that box, Bill got one of the
cartridges from me, and as I recall, like everyone else I gave one, remarked
he had never seen a WESTERN 9M-M headstamp before. I hadn’t either, and have
not seen one in all the years since I acquired that box that could not be traced back
to it.

Rereading that long, long thread reminded me how bad I was typing when that went
on - scads of really silly typo errors and word-form misuse by me. Ugh!

John Moss

John,
It is the 1935 box and the ammunition is headstamped WESTERN 9M-M.

This is the ammo you turned up. Bill W has the same box but dated 1939!

Cheers,
Lew

Hi, all. I am a researcher working on a book about a 1948 murder and the trials that followed. As part of the research, I was looking into 9mm rounds manufactured by Western and stumbled upon this interesting thread. Would anyone care to lend their expertise?
The scenario is interesting. The alleged murder weapon is a .38 special S&W, but the alleged round is a 9mm. The state claimed the cartridge case was filed down in order to chamber in the revolver. Under questioning, the identification expert for the state said the round was a Western 9mm.
The crime took place in rural west Georgia. The gun had belonged to a former police officer and cab driver who claimed it was stolen shortly before the murder. The officer-turned-cabbie was a WWII vet, if that means anything. Another man was charged with the crime, but the crime remains officially unsolved.

It would seem rare in the U.S. at the time for someone to bother squishing out the rim of a 9mm case in order to chamber it in a .38S&W revolver since .38S&W ammo was relatively common back then, and probably at least as common as 9mm in any gun or hardware store stock on the shelf. Maybe 9mm was less expensive in some cases, and this was why? It does work though, albeit with pressure and accuracy fluctuations. There certainly was a practice of doing this however in the late 40’s, but it was mostly in Europe where old .38S&W revolvers were around some but hard to find ammo for. A solution sometimes was the practice of making 9mm “”Schwetz”” (sp?) loads for a short while since they had volumes of leftover German wartime 9mm ammo everywhere. Maybe the officer you mention was stationed in Germany after the war and got this revolver there in 1946?

These work ok in revolvers, but it’s sort of like modifying .45 auto-rim by clipping part of the rim so it will chamber in certain .45 Colt revolvers which the rim is otherwise too big for - why bother… People like to tinker dangerously though.

Somebody correct me on the details of the modified German 9mm cases for .38S&W revolvers though, there’s more detail to that story. I have one of the modified rds from a Swiss collector.

That’s fascinating and makes some sense about there being a lot of 9mm ammo after the war. Is the practice of modifying 9mm rounds to chamber in a .38S&W recorded somewhere? Some book or article I could cite or is this something you know from your experience as a collector?
The state prosecutor claimed the accused, who had never left the county as far as I know, filed the bullet to fit. But why? It makes more sense that someone with a knowledge of doing this in post-war Europe might have done it.

.38 S&W cases are about .380 at the head: 9mm Para are .390": some filing is required to make a 9mm case fit a 38 chamber ( either .38 S&W or .38 Special, which is smaller at .378").
No need to “squish” the rim…there is sufficient interference fit between case and chamber to fit the case and be supported to fire.
The jacketed 9mm is .354" and will go easily into a .358" Grooved barrel…

No forensic problems at all.
Done it myself for a forensic examination.

Doc AV.
Retd. Firearms Examiner.
Down under.

Thanks, Doc. I think it’s likely the 9mm round was, in fact, filed to fit the .38. I’m interested in what I can learn from the fact that the bullet fired in a 1948 murder in Georgia was manufactured by Western. It would seem like a Western 9mm was a less common round, especially in that caliber. (But I’m absolutely no expert in this.)

Hi Chris

This kind of modification has been done along the years in several different countries and seem to be popular in the criminal world.

Below you can see six different modifications found in 9 mm Parabellum cartridges meant to be fired in .38 cal. revolvers:

19

Regards,

Fede

2 Likes

The ones that I was thinking of (which I have one of) in immediate post-war Germany were like #1 in Fede’s diagram. When you say that the state prosecutor said “some filing of the bullet”, it’s important to remember that people who are not well versed in ammo will often refer to the entire cartridge as a “bullet”, where only the projectile is the bullet. Like DocAV said, it would be the case having the filing done to it, not the bullet. There were both brass and steel case 9mm in wartime Germany, but steel was much more common. Did the murder case files mention if the rds were steel or brass cases? If they were steel then they would basically have to be German wartime used on the crime.

I have a wholel bunch of the “Quetsch-rand” (pounded/squeezed out rim) on .45 Auto, altered to shoot in .455 revolvers. Most of mine came out of Southern Africa. Typical improvised munitions.