Herter's Products.

After I created a webpage about the mail order catalogue firm Herters back in 2011, I was rather surprised by the amount of interest that persists for this old firm and their goods. The webpage on Herters become one of the most heavily trafficked on this site and the one that I receive the most email about.

I thought it would be useful to create a page to catalogue information about some Herters products.

Please note that This page does not discuss the Herter's Branded products that are currently sold by Cabelas

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Herter's Rifles

According to Frank de Haas, Herters started importing the J9 rifles and actions from Yugoslavia in the late 1960's.(Haas, 184) The U9 rifles made by BSA and J9 rifles were listed together in the 1972 Herters Catalog.(Herters,186-191). Both the U9 and the J9 were derived from the Mauser 98 design and both appear to have been sold during the same time period.

U9 Bolt Action Rifle

Manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms in England.

J9 Bolt Action Rifle

Made in the former Yugoslavia by Zavodi Crvena Zastava

Model Plinker Rifle in 22 Hornet

Herters Model Plinker
Overall Length (inches)
Weight (lbs) 4.3
Action Type Bolt Action turn bolt
Barrel Length (inches) 21.0
Cartridge 22 Hornet
Magazine Capacity Single shot

Manufactured in Germany. The word "Lux" will be stamped on the receiver

Frank de Haas in his book, "Bolt Action Rifles describes how he ordered a Plinker Rifle from the 1970 Herters Catalog in order to evaluate and review the gun. His review is quite harsh. In it, he points out that the action which uses the bolt handle as the sole locking lug is really more appropriate for a 22 rimfire cartridge rather than a high velocity centerfire rifle cartridge like the 22 hornet or the 222 Remington.

I have not been able to find any mention of the Plinker rifle or any other Herter brand rifle chambered for 22 Hornet in their 1972 catalog. It would appear that the Herter Plinker was sold by the company only for a few years at most.

Herters Reloading Equipment

Top of 1960's era Herters rifle die box

Herters carried a line of house branded reloading tools that achieved a certain degree of popularity due to their good quality and reasonably low pricing.

The earliest reference that I could find of Herters branded reloading equipment was a Herters advertisement in the September 1955 issue of Guns Magazine. On page four is a small display ad touting the Model 3 Super single stage press, the Model 81 and Herters reloading dies.

While this early 1960s era rifle die box pictured here declares Herters Inc to be the "Worlds Largest Manufactuers of Quality Reloading Tools", all Herters tools were in fact made under contract for Herters by other companies. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Herters lost market share as competing tools and dies came onto the market.

Model 3 Super Single Stage Press

The Model 3 Super reloading press was designed to be a do-all machine that could be used to reload shotgun, rifle and pistol cases when equipped with the appropriate dies.

Made from cast steel, this heavy single stage C frame press weighed 23 pounds. It was threaded for Herters Model Perfect 1 1/4- 18 shotshell dies. The press came with your choice of a 7/8 - 14 thread per inch adapter for standard reloading dies or a 5/8-30 adapter for lyman ideal dies. Herter shotshell dies were made for 12, 16, or 20 gauge.

A massive and sturdy tool, it was built to outlive its owner several times over. However the design is not perfect, the general consensus is that the Model 3 lacks the leverage of more modern designs so that a greater physical effort is required to full length resize high power rifle cartridge cases.

The Model 3 press is designed to use special shell holders however RCBS still makes an adapter which will allow the use of standard shell holders in it.

A Press by Any Other Name

Look in the back pages of just about any issue of the American Rifleman1 from the 1960's and you will see 2 or 3 advertisements from different companies that feature this press or one that looks identical to it.

Besides Herters, this press appeared to be sold by R.F. Wells Inc, Krup-American, Luger-American, Ruhr-American and Minnesota Shooters Supply.

Other merchandise sold by these firms bore a striking resemblance to Herters products as well.

As best as I can tell, R.F. Wells may have been employed by Herters and he may have had a hand in the design of Herter's line of reloading tools. It is also quite possible that the production of these tools was first contracted out to a young Minnesota based screw machine firm called Bystrom Bros Inc2.

It appears that a new company, R.F. Wells Inc. grew out of a partnership between R.F. Wells with the Bystrom Brothers perhaps around 1960. R.F. Wells authored a reloading handbook on behalf of the new company in 1960 and the R.F. Wells Inc. branded equipment was featured in the first edition of the Handloaders Digest, copyright 1961. The Wells "C"type Heavy Duty Press pictured on page 33 of the Handloaders Digest appears to be identical to the Herters Super M3 press pictured on page 15, except that it is threaded for use with 7/8-14 dies rather than for the 1 1/4-18 shotshell dies. Later this firm would change the tradename from R.F. Wells to the Minnesota Shooters Supply.

Ruhr American, Luger American and Krup American were trade names3 used by a company controlled by Herters that sold many of the same products as Herters but were branded differently. The purpose or business rationale for this effort is unknown.

In the sixth edition of the Handloaders Digest the Herter's Super M3 Press is described on page 194 with a list price of $18.97, on page 198, the same tool is pictured as the Ruhr-American Model 6 Press with a list price of $18.97

Herters Dies

Primer pocket swaging die for 7.62 NATO or 30-06 military brass (Herters Catalog 134).

Herters Smokeless Powders

Model Perfect Rifle Powders

Fast burning extruded rifle powder said to be slightly slower than IMR 4198. The Herter's Catalog No. 82 suggests that IMR 4198 data may be used for starting charges for this powder (Herters Catalog 160)
Medium fast rifle powder. The Herter's Catalog No. 82 suggests that IMR 3031 data may be used for this powder (Herters Catalog 160)
Extruded rifle powder said to be identical to IMR 4320. The Herter's Catalog No. 82 suggests that IMR 4320 data may be used for Herters 101 (Herters Catalog 161)
Slow burning extruded rifle powder for use with heavy bullets and large capacity cases. Slightly faster than IMR 4350 (Herters Catalog 161)

Model Perfect Shotgun Powders

Fast burning double base flake shotshell powder for light target loads in 12 and 16 gauge.(Herters Catalog 159)
Double base flake shotshell powder for skeet, trap and upland hunting loads.(Herters Catalog 159)
Slow double base flake shotshell powder for Magnum loads (Herters Catalog 159)

Herters Plastic

Herters sold a number of useful reloading items made of high density polyethylene in the 1970s, many of these items still remain in very servicable condition today.

Herters plastic box for 20 gauge shotgun shells and loading block

Pictured here is a Herters red plastic shell box for 20 gauge shotgun shells and a Herters plastic loading block. I am particularly fond of the loading block, stock number SW4G. (Herters Catalog 139) It can hold 60 rifle cases, the holes are sized to comfortably fit the rim of 303 british or 410 gauge cases.

1.Display Ads in the American Rifleman Jan 1966 p 85, 90, 95

2. Bystrom Bros Inc., Screw machine company started in 1950. "Family Business Council assists it members with a variety of problems" The Ledger Lakeland, FL Jan 27,1980 p.12D

3. Display Ad for Herters Ruhr American Corp Catalog Field & Stream Feb. 1971 p.148

Amber, John T., Ed.   "Reloading Tools" Gun Digest 12th Edition 1957 p. 292

Amber, John T., Ed.   "Handloader's Digest 1st Edition" 1961

Amber, John T., Ed.   "Handloader's Digest 6th Edition" 1972

de Haas, Frank "Bolt Action Rifles" DBI Books Inc 1984 p. 184-185, 295-296

Herters Display Ad Guns Magazine Sep. 1955 p. 4

Herters "Herter's Catalog No. 82" Herter's Inc. 1971

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