Weird sunken circles inside 9mm

Recently I’ve got a bunch of used 9mm cases and accidentally found that there was an unusual 9mm which has two weird sunken circles inside it. I have never seen anything like this before, I don’t know what they are used to do. Could anyone help me to identify them?

It is probably meant for a “bullet stop shoulder” (a very non-tech term I just made up) meaning it keeps the bullet from being pushed back further into the case. Of course it would also have the function, perhaps the primary one, of strengthening the base of the case,as well as slightly reducing the powder chamber, which could perhaps improve ignition, etc., with very fast powders that in pistol rounds use very small charges.

Below is a very poor picture, a scan, of a cutaway case from Turkey, headstamped “AMMOLOAD 9 MM LUGER.” The cutaway case is made of brass.

9 mm Cutaway Turk inside shoulder case

A similar reinforcement is found in brass-washed steel cases headstamped “AMMOLOAD 9 mm” and “USA 9mm LUGER”. However, the are much deeper in the case, so may indicate that this feature is not meant as a bullet-stop shoulder, but simply a reinforcement. There are other steel cases that have the “ledge” so low, near the inside-head of the cartridge, as to being certainly NOT for preventing bullets from being pushed to far into the case.

In the picture, the should for most of the case is seen as simply a dark “shadow line”, but you can clearly see the square shoulder of the reduction in thickness at the edges of the case. Sorry the picture is so poor. The best my scanner will do.

There may be other examples of this should in Turkish cases. These are the only ones that I got empty, and had one cutaway by my friend Frank Nerenberg, who is quite expert at the procedure.

It is my opinion that this case was made in Turkey, in whose 9 mm cases, I believe, we first saw this feature “en masse” on 9 mm cases. I am not sure if anyone else does it.

Other opinions would be very welcome welcome. We all know I am not the most “high tech” guy in the hobby. Perhaps the least!

John Moss

you can find these “rings” inside recent 9mm PAK rounds
i think for the same purpose but for the plastic obturator instead of bullet

ammogun - are the “PAK” cases made in Turkey? Just wondered.

Also, I would not describe what you find in the cases in question. They are not truly rings, but rather an internal case shoulder.

John Moss

I understand that these stepped cases are actually an artifact of the Turkish designed and made case manufacturing equipment. This equipment was used extensively by Ammo-Load and probably other US case manufacturers. I was given this information by an individual in the business but have no documentation

The Turkish made brass-coated steel cases headstamped GROM and sold under the Venom label have a similar stepped case but the step is much lower and not as thick. The Freedom Munitions made “American Steel” brand ammo which also has brass-coated steel cases has the identical step as the GROM cases. Freedom Munitions was owned by Howell which also owned AmmoLoad and a number of other companies. I understand they went bankrupt some years ago and are now under another name.

The MAX Tech tinned??? steel case rounds have the high shoulder like the brass case rounds and the USA headstamp case shown above. Appafrently they also bought Turkish machines!

A complex story and I don’t pretend to understand it all!

Even if the shoulder is an artifact of the manufacture of the case they could have selected the heigth of the shoulder to allow correct bullet seating.


Interesting stuff. I have not heard much discussion of these inside-shoulder cases, regarding the reason for it. I have not given a thought to the design of the manufacturing equipment having anything to with it, as opposed to the equipment being made to replicate the design of case-design engineering. I think Lew’s explanation is more likely than mine. I have not seen the Grom cases so I had no idea where they were made, or on what country’s equipment they were made on. I forgot to look at the little bit of Freedom Arms information and specimens I have. I will ave to revisit these questions.

Thanks for the thoughts Lew. I think you are on a much straighter path with this than was I.

I asked if anyone had seen other cases with this, thinking in terms of 9 mm. My question now is has anyone seen any other calibers of new empty cases with this internal shoulder?

John Moss

forJohnMoss ,yes i think they are made in turkey
one of these is MAX Tech

Are these cases made from strip punched discs and cupped, or from coil wire cut off “slugs” which are put through a heading machine much like Bolts, and then drawn down to case blanks ( I saw the machines and process at Sellier &
Bellot Vlasim in August 1993.They were still experimenting with the process. I don’t know if the case draws had an internal step…)

I would tend to think the thicker base would be for Strength considerations, but depending on dimensions, it could be also for positive depth bullet seating.
But without any Turkish Technical explanations, we are still in the area of supposition.

Doc AV

About 3 years back I spoke to MaxTech folks at the IWA gunshow (+ exchanged some e-mails later) and asked about all this.

  • They said they are making the cases themselfes (I was particularily interested in the steel cases as they were “new” back then).
  • The step inside the case was explained with technological requirements - so no real info for us.

EOD, My understanding is that the Turkish machines, which they sell, create this step. It seems likely to me that Max Tech acquired some of these machines.

Doc, over the past 10 years I have had a good deal of interaction with people from S&B, and quite a few empty cases and items I have taken apart. I have not noticed a stepped case.

It would be very interesting to know the answer to your question of slugs vs cups! Does anyone know the somebody technical from the old AmmoLoad who could answer this question??? I use to know a couple of people there, but when I asked what had been their relationship with USA, for an article I was trying to write, they vehemently denied any relationship and stopped returning calls or answering emails! Another story I have never gotten to the bottom of! If someone knows the story please tell us about it in a new Topic.


Lew, yes, this is what makes it so difficult to tell apart true Turkish made cases from cases made elsewhere on Turkish machinery.