12.7x81SR Breda "Scopiante" marking

I recent bought a 12.7x81SR Breda ball round (CN FMJ, non magnetic) on a case headstamped “BPD 38 S”. I have read bofore that the “S” in the headstamp indaicated “Scopiante” (Explosive) and was used on HE rounds. I know that this round definitely has the original bullet as it is still crimped in. The round has been inerted by drilling a hole in the case. Were the cases with the S in the headstamp used for ball rounds if there were extra of these cases available?

At the beginning, the letter S was used only for cartidges with explosive bullets, but later on, during the war, other kind of projectiles were loaded on such cases, as a great number was available.


Many 12,7 mm breda cases were reloaded and is common to find a S marking ( scoppiante ) with a ball bullet for example.Reloads were headstamped with a star.
My 12,7 mm breda has 2 stars and the S marking,but it is loaded with a FMJ bullet

Thanks for the info Phillipe.

Pivi, I remember you emailed my a picture of your 12.7 Breda round with the star markings on the headstamp. My round was only loaded once, as it has no stars. I really like the 12.7 Breda rounds, but they are very hard to find. I bought mine on Friday from a German dealer at a militaria show in the UK for

The Breda 12,7 supplied to Japan by BPD ( mostly 37 and 39, and used by Japan in the Pacific,) was NOT marked with an “S”, either for the HE-I round (Fused projectile) or any other Loading/reloading). Japan adopted the 12,7 cartridge in the late 1930s, but only made the (Type 1) machine cannon from 1941 onwards ( a Modified Browning M1921 Aircraft version); ammo belts from crashed Japanese Aircraft usually contains a mixture of BPD and Japanese 1942-44 made 12,7 ammo ( from Japanese Fuse markings, cases are NOT headstamped) and the BPD cases are NOT Japanese reloads, as they have the typical Breda design HE-I projectile, different from the Japanese made HE-I projectile.

The Breda cartridge was used by the Italian Airforce as their major armament in many WW II fighter aircraft, less so in Bombers;(which used 7,7x56R–aka .303); The Army used some 12,7s in their Light tanks, but preferred the 13,2 Hotchkiss round, also fired from a Breda MG (in trays).

So the source of “spent” 12,7 cases would have been the Ground use of the cartridge, rather than from the major user, the Airforce, and then in any case, only from “training” firing. Combat use of all SAA does not consider “salvage” of brass as an option. (unless you are a down-at-heel Guerilla).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

some 12,7x81 SR Breda

the correct italian word for “S” is “Scoppiante”