10.4 X 38R Swiss Vetterli cartridge

  • If somebody has in his collection the original Swiss 10.4X38R cartridge made in the 19th century, I would like to see some pictures of it. This type of round was adopted in 1869 for the 10.4mm (0.41-inch) Vetterli rifles and carbines used by the Swiss military in 1870s and 1880s. I understand that the official military 10.4X38R cartridge was rimfire. => The Vetterli rifle has a tube magazine under the barrel and it was the first magazine-fed rifle to be adopted for military service in Europe. Thanks in advance for any help, Liviu 06/12/09


Here you are, the headstamp is a cross within a circle.

  • @ Armourer: Nice 10.4X38R Vetterli cartridge, thanks! Is it any way to know the approx. year of manufacture??? Liviu 06/12/09


I think that the paper patch bullet was introduced in 1878, so this round must be around then. There are 4 “dots” in the headstamp which may mean someone with more knowledge can date it more accurately. I have seen photos of headstamps with no “dots” and 2 or 3 “dots”.


The dots only indicated the loading line. They range from 0 to 5 dots.

Liviu–If you have not found it yet, check your email for a 11 page article I wrote back in 1985 detailing all the different 10.4x38 Vettrerli. If anyone else wants this article, email me. It is too long to post here.

Black powder rimfire casing help

Ron, what is a loading line?


A production line to make the cartridge, usually with machinery. A large facility
like Thun or St. Louis might have several production lines all running at the same time making the same cartridge.

  • @ Ron Merchant: Yes, I got the material you had e-mailed me, thanks! I also sent you my reply. Liviu 06/12/09


Vetterli Cartridge …

old packed from 1891 of 10 vetterli cartridge’s



Had they always been made with paper patched bullets?
I have an identical round without the paper


1 GP1867, Kal. 10,5 mm Rand
2 GP1871, Kal. 10,4 mm Rand
3 GP1878, Kal. 10,4 mm Rand
4 GP1890, Kal. 10,4 mm Rand PC 89
5 GP Kart


WOW , super info and super website

  • @ gyrojet: Thanks (bedankt) for your pictures and the excellent Web-site you posted above. => The reason I’m interested in the originally military 10.4X38R rimfire cartridge [.41" Swiss] is because I recently got a Swiss made Vetterli M1871 socket bayonet which is for the 10.4mm Mod.1869/71 rifle and the 10.4mm Mod.1871 short rifle [both these weapons fire the same 10.4X38R round]. The Swiss Vetterli M1871 socket bayonet and the 10.4mm Vetterli rifles can be seen here at swissrifles.com/vetterli/detail/index.html I only have the Swiss Vetterli M1871 socket bayonet (I collect socket bayonets too), I don’t have any 10.4mm Vetterli rifle. => NOTE: I would be interested to get an original Swiss 10.4X38R rimfire fired shell case if possible. Liviu 06/14/09


Liviu your welcome!!
I will look for a 10.4x38R fired case for you.

best regards