.303 headstamp?


#1

One of our staff found a cartridge broken in half that seems to be , from measurements, a .303
I personally have never seen a headstamp of this type

anyone has information for recognition?
thanks
Giovanni


#2

Dutch case, Made at either Hembrug or Dordrecht?. Roth style priming. 1935.

Now the difficult part…is it a .303 (7,7mm) for Aircraft MG (Lewis/Vickers/Browning) or is it a Patroon Scherpe N.23 7,9x57R for Schwarzelose? Cases almost identical except for Calibre.

Priming system is Roth Patent Single Flash Hole thru anvil Berdan. ( used on all Dutch-made cartridges, having inherited the design from original 6,5x53R M95 cartridges made by G.Roth, Vienna when M95 rifles/Carbines ordered from Steyr.

Doc AV

PS

Giovanni, you mentioned “found in Northern Italy”…only reason it was found there was probably (1) German-captured stocks of Dutch Aircraft .303 passed over to Regia Aeronautica during WW II
(2) Captured ammo used by German Second line units in RSI using Dutch ( aircraft) MGs adapted to Ground use (3) Somebody’s (German) wartime souvenir from Netherlands, and lost in Nth.Italy???

Loss of Primer and fragmentation of case could indicate Burning of the ammo…say a Burnt-out aircraft? Any Crashed ( Italian RA) Aircraft sites near where case relic found?

il Mistero s’infittisce…
Ciao,
Doc AV


#3

Ciao Doc AV
I had also thought it was Dutch, because the headstamp is the same as the 6.5 but I never found the single letter "B"
I had also thought about the Patroon Scherpe Ranked # 23 7,9x57R Schwarzelose but except for the hypothesis of the wartime souvenir , it does not appear to me never utilized in Italy
No plane crashed to the ground in the vicinity
It would be interesting if some colleague Dutch knew at least tell us which of the two calibers appear to have been built with that headstamp
Thanks for your interesting analysis
Giovanni


#4

Military pre WW2 cartridge marking. Cases made in England under contract and loaded by Artillerie
Inrichtingen (AI), Hembrug, Netherlands… “B” on the headstamp is for “Birmingham” who supplied the metal to make these .303 cases.


#5

Assuming the cartridge case is in sufficiently good condition to permit this measurement, a point of distinction between the Dutch 7.9 m/m rimmed cartridge and the 6.5 m/m rimmed and the .303 is that the former has a head diameter of .466 in., while the latter pair run about .450 in. Jack


#6

In the sample is 0.448819 but the case is heavily worn


#7

Giovanni, as far as I know this headstamp is reported to exist in 6.5x53R cartridges only, and the powder lot number could be also 91 or 92. The metal provider identified with a letter “B” was used in this headstamp style at least in 1935 and 1937, but it doesn’t correspond to a Birmingham company but to Carl Berg AG in Werdohl, Germany. In this timeframe it was fusioned with Basse & Selve and Carl Heckmann (Berg-Heckmann-Selve AG).

Regards,

Fede


Help with .303 headstamp identification
#8

Again, if it was a “6,5 Rimmed” what was it doing in Italy? even Northern Italy…after WW II, the Italian Gov’t severely enforced the “NO War Calibres” ( “Arma da Guerra”) prohibition, which extended back to 1890 ( just prior to the M1891 6,5 calibre)…so it is unlikely that a foreign cartridge such as the 6,5 Dutch would have found its way to Italy as "Military surplus " (Ex-Ordinanza), a status that only existed since the early 2000s or so when the “Arma da Guerra” rule was upgraded to only include 5,56, 7,62Nato, and 9mmPara, and only FMJ ammunition. (and some others, IIR) All the former Bolt action and Semi-Auto “Military” calibres were “civilianised” (Arma Comune) as was their ammo. Even Semi-auto versions of Later “Selective fire” Rifles were also called “Arma Comune” ( with Magazine capacity restrictions and no GL fitments. ( ie, Austrian StG58, M4 (SA), German G1 (FAL) etc.)

Like I said, the Mystery deepens…

I doubt that any German Unit would have brought 6,5 M95s with them to Italy ( although several Units and Branches of both the Wehrmacht and SS were armed with them in the early 1940s – Hospital Train Guards, etc.) But these were restricted to the “Atlantic Wall” area, in the Low Countries, where stores of ammo and replenishment was closely available ( steel cased 6,5 M95 was made in Western Germany 1942-43).
Maybe a Hospital Train unit re-routed to handle German casualties from the Italian Campaign brought their Kar M95 (n) rifles with them ( M95s Rifles converted to Side sling-slotted and barrel shortened to Kar types)???

If one finds more of them, maybe some more plausible answer may be arrived at.

Doc AV


#9

Could this have a Partisans connection? All sorts of odd captured or obsolete weapons have been redirected over the years to Partisans or rebels covertly by friendly governments or whoever. Sometimes just to recycle them and sometimes to maintain deniability.

Its still happening today.

That central flash hole in a Berdan case should be a good pointer I would have thought. It would not be that common would it?


#10

Good morning to everyone
In the meantime I received another photo


#11

[quote=“DocAV”]Again, if it was a “6,5 Rimmed” what was it doing in Italy? even Northern Italy…after WW II, the Italian Gov’t severely enforced the “NO War Calibres” ( “Arma da Guerra”) prohibition, which extended back to 1890 ( just prior to the M1891 6,5 calibre)…so it is unlikely that a foreign cartridge such as the 6,5 Dutch would have found its way to Italy as "Military surplus " (Ex-Ordinanza), a status that only existed since the early 2000s or so when the “Arma da Guerra” rule was upgraded to only include 5,56, 7,62Nato, and 9mmPara, and only FMJ ammunition. (and some others, IIR) All the former Bolt action and Semi-Auto “Military” calibres were “civilianised” (Arma Comune) as was their ammo. Even Semi-auto versions of Later “Selective fire” Rifles were also called “Arma Comune” ( with Magazine capacity restrictions and no GL fitments. ( ie, Austrian StG58, M4 (SA), German G1 (FAL) etc.)

[/quote]

Things are a bit more complicated… for example now 9 Para ammo with any type of bullet is legal in Italy ( AP, API, and T bullets are still illegal, anyway) , but only rifles in this caliber are legal for private citizens. The few 9 Para revolvers still around can’t be imported, sold by a seller or bought from a gunshop (they can be sold through private citizens, anyway, since the law prohibits the “vendita” but not the “cessione”, that, in legal terms, are different things). Anyway, if you find a relic 9 para pistol in you barn you can have it, if you persuade police that it is perfectly legal

More mess: 9 Para pistols are “arma comune vietata ai privati”, but not “arma da guerra”

Remember that we also have the “arma tipo guerra” concept. A lot of semiauto and bolt action rifles were denied by the italian proof house because they were “too powerful for a civilian purpose” so considered “arma da guerra” or “tipo guerra”. For example Barrett rifles in .50 BMG are still illegal in Italy and so 460 steyr rifles with detachable magazine… only one-shot 460 rilfes are legal nowadays.


#12

To Vince G. The primer is a sign of either Austrian, Portuguese, Czech or Dutch Manufacture up to WW II;It can’t be German, as German (military)Factories only used the Roth system up to mid WW I, and only on special Contracts. The Identification of “B” as a German Case Maker is most probably correct…Holland Bought in cases from Germany (and Austria) from the early 1900s onwards, and loaded them as required, both in Holland and in the East Indies. The Headstamp Layout Is definitely Dutch, which makes it Highly unlikely that it should show up in Northern Italy.

Also, your indication of “partisanship” is way off course, and actually a Red Herring…The Dutch were over-run by the Wehrmacht in 1940, hardly any Dutch rifles got away to Britain (unless on Dutch Naval units)…in any case, any Dutch rifles in Britain would have been rapidly sent to the Dutch Antilles (West Indies) or the KNIL (East Indies)…Dutch unit troops formed in UK were re-armed with SMLEs. etc.
Partisans in Northern Italy were sent Bren Guns, Sten Guns, and the Occasional German Rifle ( from captured Stock)…they had plenty of Italian 6,5mm rifles and MAB38A SMGs etc from the Dissolution of the Italian Army in 1943. They neither asked for, nor needed a “strange calibre, uncommon rifle” such as the M95 Dutch Mannlicher. And there was no “friendly nation” with loads of Dutch rifles to drop to them… The Partisans even had French 8mm Berthiers taken in Eastern France by the Italian Army in 1940, and then stored in NorthWestern Italy…scene of most of the (Communist) Partisan activity.

As I mentioned above, there are extant (on GunBoards) photos of Wehrmacht Sanitaeter (Medics) with Converted M95 rifles (shortened and fitted with side sling slots in stock) in cal 6,5 as part of the Security details of German Military Hospital trains, from 1940 onwards. Most Photos indicate a “WestWall” (Atlantic-North Sea Coast) location, but it is Possible that such Hospital trains, being under the Control of the Reichsbahn, went wherever were needed. ( ie, from France to Russia, from Norway to Southern Italy. ( this latter for transhipment of North Africa wounded.).

Question to Giovanni, is the Location of the find of the cartridge case near a Railway line ( Torino-Genoa, Torino-Savona, Torino-Milano? etc. or other Nth.Italian Line?

The degree of corrosion indicates quite a long time in the ground, and the ground of an acid nature ( alkaline soils tend to preserve cases intact, acid soils attack the case in the thinnest and most stressed areas (shoulder and mouth). )

Doc AV


#13

I don’t collect them, so am just curious. Doc Av mentions 6.5 Dutch steel-case ammunition made in “Western Germany” in 1942 and 1943. Does anyone know the headstamps on them; that is, what factory made the cases (and perhaps the entire cartridges). The only such rounds I have seen have all been with the “am” factory-designator code on the headstamp, made at Hirtenberg in Austria (at that time designated as “Gustloff-Werke, Otto Eberhardt-Patronenfabrik, Hirtenberg Niederdonau”).


#14

There is a " ch St 1 43 " headstamped steel case known to me. (the only date I know of). Mostly found with a purple wood bullet, but also known with a ball bullet as I understand it, however that version is quite rare. The “ch” factory blank is uncommon.


#15

Dear JM, a Packet Label was shown either here (or more likely, GB, IIRC) which indicated a small factory in the border region of Germany with Holland (ie, Western Germany). It seems only a couple of lots were made by this firm. I know “am” (Gustloff, as it was then) had the capacity and tooling to make a lot of “fremden Patrone” ( foreign cartridges)…Due to their large Export capacity pre-war, and their involvement with the Dordrect (NL) Factory in the 1920s and 30s.

It is some years back (maybe more than 10) since I saw those Pics of the Steel Dutch ammo packets and cartridges. There had been some floating around the USA, and a shooter was enquiring about their “suitability” for use. (WE instantly dissuaded him, saying the Collectibility factor far outweighed any “shooting” enjoyment.)

Doc AV

Of course we all recognise “ch” as FN Herstal, Belgium. Evidently Atlantic Wall supplies…


#16

I have got one steel cased 6.5mm Dutch round with a GMCS bullet and the headstamp; am St 14 43. The Germans designated this cartridge as 6.5mm Patrone 152(h),

gravelbelly


#17

To the list of makers of Berdan cartridge cases with a single central flash-hole may be added Belgium and Norway. On the matter of material supplier codes on Dutch cartridge cases can we then assume (on the basis B=Berg) that BS is Basse & Selve?

And, in closing, what I hope is a reasonable related query: did 7.9 m/m rimmed and .303 cartridges produced for the Netherlands armed forces use the 5 m/m primer of the 6.5 m/m or the more typical 5.5 m/m? Jack


#18

Jack, yes, similar cases marked “BS” and dated 1939-40 were made with metal provided by Basse & Selve in Altena, Westphalia, which by this date was already a branch of Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke AG.


#19

The two 7.9 mm rimmed (Scherpe No. 23) cases I have show a primer pocket diameter of 5.3 mm (Roth flash hole).


#20

Fede: thanks for the information. The BS-marked cartridge is actually dated, I believe, 14. Will check that out.

JPeelen: I had thought that perhaps the two cartridges mentioned might have used the 5.5 m/m primer because my specimen of the rimmed 7.9 m/m seems to have a larger primer than the 6.5 m/m (tho a heavy lacquer seal makes that a bit of a guess). The 5.5 m/m was much the most common primer for military rifle calibers in the Berdan-using countries during the first half of the twentieth century. Even the Kynoch-made 7.92 m/m cases have primers seemingly interchangeable with that size. I appreciate your information. Jack