Winchester made 9mm P box for China


The following box came out of Winchester where it was used for an export contract to China in the WW II or immediate post WW II time frame. I think the 45 on the label stands for 1945.

Has anyone seen this box before? Does anyone know the headstamp and load of the ammo in the box???



Hello Lew - I have the identical box in my own collection, right down to the LOT 1-1 with the second one overstamped with a purple “2”. Headstamp:

W.R.A. 9 M-M

GM RN FMJ bullet, brass case, nickel primer, purple PA and a four-stab primer crimp, with the “stabs” being curved-top rectangles, not round.

Enough info?

Thought you knew I had this box. Have had it for years. You’ve had it in your hand at my house.



I wish I could remember everything I’ve had in my hand, or maybe not!!! I had a vague memory of seeing this box before but couldn’t remember where! It wasn’t in my database so I was lost. Anyway, here is a translation of the label for those who care!

Note that Chinese year 45 is 1956.

Thanks for the info!!!


Whilst the cartridges are typical WW II WRA export 9mm Para, the packet is a repack made by (most probably) the ROC (Taiwan) ordnance service if the “45” date is taken as a Chinese year date (1956).

The use of the tewrm “M1” is not a US or WRA terminology for the export 9mm ammo, and the rest of the information is typical ROC nomenclature.

BTW, maiunl;and (PRC) used the Gregorian dating system from 1949

Australia also received millions of these 9mm WRA ammo dur8ing WW II, and the Boxes were typical White with Black WRA Logo and printing in English.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics


Can you explain the methodology for determining 45 = 1956? Thanks!


The Chinese Sun-Yat-Sen Revolution was in 1911. The Chinese Nationalists instituted a new calendar beginning with that revolution. They continued the practice after fleeing to Formosa/Taiwan in 1949 (our 1949). Therefore, you must add 11 to their Year 45, and you get 1956.


I didn’t think this day would ever come, but Doc Av, I don’t think you’re correct. Firstly, the box construction and color of the Chinese Language box from Winchester is identical to that of the ammo packed in 50-round boxes for Export (Yes, there were also 64 round boxes). Further, I have a box from Western Arms, almost the same, but slightly different construction details, made for a purpose I don’t know (perhaps also export to England), labeled “50 Cartridges, Ball 9m/m M1, Ammunition Lot W.C.Co. 6058, Western Cartridge Company, East Alton, Illinois, U.S.A.” “M1” absolutely was a U.S. designation for these 9mm Ball cartridges. “On April 2, 1942, the Ordnance Department adopted the 9mm Ball pistol and submachine gun cartridge,… The round was designated Cartridge, Ball, 9mm, M1. It was shown on Dwg. B257589, dated April 20, 1942. this round was procured by the Ordnance Department primarily for the Office of Startegic Services, who used this caliber ammunition in a conversion for the M3 Submachine gun. …These firms either used a typical commercial headstamp without date such as W.R.A. 9M-M, or included a date in the head marking, for example WCC 43…” (History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Voume II: 1940-1945, by Hackley, Woodin and Scranton, pages 228-229). Ball M1 9mm Ammo was supplied to many countries by the U.S. during WWII. There is no question in my mind what-so-ever that Winchester made the box in question, and that the repack date of this American box and ammunition is 1945, as indicated by “45” and has little to do with the chinese Calander. If sent to China with the war almost ended in 1945 (late in the year) I would simply make the supposition that it was requested by them. There was no secret that open warfare was not going to end in China with the defeat of Japan and the end of WWII. It was common knowledge that the Communist Revolution would take up again after the need for the uneasy truce to fight the Japanese was ended. Also, it is not surprising that the terminology in Chinese characters would be correct for the R.O.C. After all, it was a contract for them.


John, I agree that the box was original to Winchester. The previous owner said that he received the box “from a Winchester employee (Ed Romenick) and it was for WWII Winchester manufactured 9mmP exported to the Chinese on Lend-Lease.”

I do find the last line in the headstamp interesting. I don’t think it is an indication that the ammo was cleaned and repacked, but rather it directs a unit or a function to repack and clean the ammo. A 1945 date doesn’t sound logical to me if this ammo was made during WW II as indicated. I suspect the ammo was made in 1944 when there were major effort to arm and deploy Chinese divisions in India to open the Burma road. These units were extensively armed with Sten guns. Prior to that time the Chinese military used no 9mmP caliber weapons that I can find or seen reference to, Even their machine pistols (like the MP28-2 copies) were chambered for 7.63 M and I collect Chinese pistols from the period. I confident the ammo was made no earlier than late 1943, and a requirement to clean and repack in 1945 is very unlikely. In addition, Nationalist ammunition continued to use 1911 as year 0 continued long after 1949 and that is reflected on their weapons also, so it is unlikely that a western date would be used on this ammo box giving direction to Chinese who would read year 45 as 1956. The communists used the western calendar from the 1930, and Mauser C-96 copies made in their North West Arsenal were marked 1940. In the 1940s, the use of the western date would strongly imply that the item was produced for the communists----very bad political move!!! I’ll stick with the 1956 date for aclean/repack requirement.

Thanks for the comments and insights, and John, thanks for the info on the early classification and use of the M1 designation!!! Great research.


Lew and Jon - Thanks for the explanation of the Chinese dating system.

Regarding when the ammo was made, I agree that it was made before 1945. Believing the box said “Repack” I made the dangerous assumption that if China ordered the ammo that late, Winchester may have repacked ammo on hand into Chinese-language boxes in 1945, hence, a repack. From Lew’s explanation, the label doesn’t indicate they were repacked, but rather it is an advisory to do so in the Western year 1956. Have never seen such an advisory on any other box label of any caliber of ammunition, although I have seen "use before " such and such a date admonitions on labels. Interesting! The box is pure WWII manufacture, typical of Winchester in all ways except that the inner box ends are stapled to form the box instead of glued like other, English- language military boxes I have from this time-frame from Winchester.

Now, the whole label seems to have been translated except the 3 characters in the bottom right corner of the top of the box. What do they mean???


[quote=“JohnMoss”]Hello Lew - I have the identical box in my own collection, right down to the LOT 1-1 with the second one overstamped with a purple “2”. Headstamp:

W.R.A. 9 M-M

GM RN FMJ bullet, brass case, nickel primer, purple PA and a four-stab primer crimp, with the “stabs” being curved-top rectangles, not round.

Enough info?

Thought you knew I had this box. Have had it for years. You’ve had it in your hand at my house.[/quote]


There were lots of similar 9mm’s supplied to Britain during WW2. I have seen several 64 round boxes dated in 1942, and still have a couple lying around, with the cartridges headstamped WRA 9MM but these have no primer crimp. Is this basically the same load but with the addition of a primer crimp later? The 64 rounds were to fill two Sten gun mags I believe.



Gravelbelly - Yes, I have both 50 round and 64 round boxes from Wincherster. One is overstamped Denmark. They probably got the rounds after the war from England, and stamped them many years later before they were surplused out on the US commercial market. I do not think the crimps were added later. They probably were simply specified for the Chinese contract. I have 15 or more variations of 9mm with that headstamp, all probably made during the WWII years or shortly thereafter. Interesting, for sales to England, they used boxes with all of the same dimensions as the 64-round 9mm boxes, except deeper, for .45 Auto ammunition, headstamped W.R.A.CO. .45 A.C., but it held 42 rounds of the larger caliber. Boxes were marked “42 - CARTRIDGES S. A. BALL .45” For Use in Sub-Machine Guns." Defense Industries of Canada did the same thing, 42 rounds of .45 in a 64-round capacity 9mm-style box, except deeper as with the Win. box), labeled simply “42 CARTRIDGES S.A. BALL .45” A.C." with cartridges headstamped DI 42 45 AC. One would think that since they made a new box (deeper, as I mentioned) that they would have made one to hold either 40 rounds (two TSMG 20-round magazines full) or 50 rounds (1 TSMG 50 round drum). Of course, they may have been using a standard case size for packing multiple of boxes, and a standard pallet to hold a set number of cases.


O me miserum!
I thank John Moss for setting me on the correct path to righteousness.

I had misinterpreted the idea that WRA had delivered 9mm in “Chinese” packets ( I had seen Chinese stamped 7,92 Contract packs from WCC before). but anyway, the “repacking” idea as an instruction to do, rather than a fact carried out seems strange to me, unless it was done by Winchester from old stocks of “Commercial pack”( English printed) WRA 9mm, no longer required by the British Commonwealth, and re-directed to China (ROC) forces preparing to do real battle with Mao’s Red Army , in the rush to occupy Japanese held areas in the latter part of 1945…The USAAF actually airlifted Nationalist troops into Manchuria to occupy this industrial area when the Soviets pulled out in 1946 or so (Looting and Pillaging the Industrial heartland as they withdrew).

As to the Chinese Use of 9mmP ammo, Canada had supplied the famous
Chinese Contract Browning (HP35)Pistols, and also a large quantity of Long Branch-made 9mm Sten Guns. This was sufficient reason for 9mm Pistol ammo to be supplied to the ROC. Canada also supplied 64-round packed ammo to the ROC (DI manufacture).
The US also supplied the ROC in 1945-48 with a lot of captured German equipment (Rifles in 7,9, and Pistols and SMGs in 9mm)…another reason for 9mm ammo to be supplied.

A lot of the 9mm calibre weapons were evenutally converted to 7,62x25 in the post 1950 era ( I have seen a Long Branch Sten with modifications to 7,62, as well as rebuilt Colt 45s and Browning HP35s as well.-- samples were acquired back in the `1980s in Aust. by a longtime specialist collector with contacts in Hong Kong (and from there to the PRC).

A Note on the “42 round” 45ACP ammo packets…Australia bought a lot of .45ACP from WRA during the war, and all the surviving examples of full packets I have seen on this side of the globe have been the 50-round Commercial pack (I have several with 1941 dates) By 1943, Australia was gradually shifting from the Thompson to the Owen, and the lesser demand for .45 ammo was covered by Footscray (MG and ?MF plants) making .45ACP ammo locally.(Dates 1943-45) The Thompsons were relegated to Naval Shipboard and Shore Patrol, and RAAF Airfield Defence, well into the 1960s. A repeat delivery of .45ACP ammo was made in 1956.( “MF 56 I .45”)
Footscray used a smaller packet (20 rounds, I think, I have a 43 dated packet & will have to check). The TSMGs used in Australia were either 20 round or 50 round magazines for the most part, the 30 round mag had very little use(if at all).

Again, mea culpa…speaking out on matters of which I have only a little knowledge (“A little knowledge can be dangerous!”).

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


John Moss,
the bottom line, on the right side reads: (Space) (Month) (Cleaned) (Repack/Arrange). The space is for the inspector to write in the month of 1956 when the ammo was inspected. Apparently this is what the Chinese wanted on the box label. This info if from Bin Shih who is from Taiwan and was in the military. He now runs a large Chinese language website on Chinese arms and ammunition and uniforms and related subjects through about 1950 I think. He is the guy who co-authored with me the article on Chinese headstamps from before 1950 that was in the IAA Journal a few years back.

This ammo seems to be produced especially for China and is distinguished by the primer crimp. This WRA 9M-M headstamped ammo was first produced on a contract with the Finns, according to Winchester records, and the British initially came in and took the undelivered portion of the Finnish order. Then placed their own orders. There are lots of variations of loads with this headstamp as John mentioned. In fact it was produced for the Dutch government-in-exile around 1940 with a CN truncated bullet. The cartridges are in the Blue Winchester commercial box with the cartridge drawing and the Red “WINCHESTER” on the front. On the back of the box is a second label
50 Patronan scharpe nr. 5
Merk A1-40
and the whole thing is sealed in dark wax, apparently for the Dutch Military in the East Indies since the boxes turned up in Australia.

There is a companion commercial DWM box filled with 9mmP ammo headstamped DWM K 480C K and the Dutch label reads
50 Patronan scherpe nr.7
Merk A2-40

I was interested in your mention of Canadian arms and ammunition. I just posted on my website a US letter dated June 1945 listing the arms and ammunition Canada supplied China. The list includes the HP35s and Stens, and 12.8M rounds of 9mmP ammo, but this isn’t the stuff headstamped 9 MM 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45. Thie 9 MM 4x stuff was made by DI for the CIA starting no earlier than the late 1940s and the cover story is that it was made for China. This was a long thread on the old Journal! I would love to know what the headstamps were on this 12.8M rounds mentioned in the letter!


Lew - I don’t think it takes too much guessing to figure out that the headstamps on those millions of rounds sent to China were DI 4X 9MM with date appropriate to when sent - 42 thru 44. What other headstamp was Canada using at the time? The “DC” headstamp was only used on the first runs in 1942, and the anonymous headstamps weren’t made yet! My opinion, but I will stand by it forever until someone shows me absolute unquestionalble documentation to the contrary. No anecdotal evidence!. Canada produced no other headstamps during the WWII period, unless they were offering 9mm Commercially, under the D.C.Co. headstamp. I don’t know when they started that - don’t have enough catalogs from Dominion/CIL/IVI to do much dating, unfortunately. We do know that the pilot lot of 9mm ammo made in Canada was the DC 42 headstamp.


Lew, could you post the link for us?


The link is

A tough site for me to get around on, of course it wasn’t designed for me!!!

Some good photos on the site but I have a hard time finding them from the home page.

I have posted the Dutch box labels I mentioned on my web site so you can take a look at them if you are interested. I hope some Dutch collector will run across them and provide further info!

Cheers, Lew


Thanks for the link, I had a hard time finding things there. I guees my Chinese is not good enough.