6.5 x 54 Mannlicher-Schönauer by RWS, Steel Case, 1944

RWS box of 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher-Schönauer cartridges with steel case. Date code is October 8, 1944.



Back of another box without code (same contents):



Great Box Fede. For me, interested more in the history of ammunition than its technical aspects, it provides still another glimpse into the insanity of the Third Reich. With Germany in ruins and the War obviously lost to anyone with any degree of sense and sanity there, and with shortages of most war materiel, here they are making sporting rifle ammunition. It reminds me of a Walther P-38 type I had years ago. According to the books on P-38s, it was the third from last manufactured with the commercial markings and designation of Modell HP, and likely made not long before the suicide of Adolph Hitler. I don’t recall the order and it is not important enough here for me to look it up, but the two known higher numbers were a “single-action only” version of the P-38/HP and one in 7.65 mm Parabellum caliber. Again, with only weeks left for the Third Reich, that borders on absolute insanity.

Nice headstamp on that round, too. Thanks for posting it. Not in my field, but to me, a very important subject here.

John M.

Thanks for this Fede !

Made in Germany, ok. And for the private huntingmarket, yes. But what’s the meaning of the Swiss label? Was it repacked, relabelled at Thun? Was this kind of ammunition sold to Switzerland?

Duqjans - the other labels just mean that the Glaser company had these in stock and were advertising their company (I doubt that type of stamp was required by law in Switzerland) and that for one reason or another, the ammunition had either come out of, or ended up in, the Federal Munitions Depot at Thun. They evidently had a huge collection, from many sources, of foreign ammunition stored there. They must have sold off some from time to time, because you see a fair number of those boxes in other countries. I have several boxes of varying caliber and original maker with that same or similar label.

I don’t think the Thun depot label represents anything other than there one-time possession of the box, mean a special contract, or anything like that. At our store, when we had to stamp the Keep out of the reach of children warning on surplus military boxes that, of course, didn’t have it, our stamp included our store name and address, just as Glaser did, so people who saw it would know where they could get more than just current commercial ammuntion. Pure advertising. Nothing more.

John Moss

It is my understanding that the EIDGENÖSSISCHES MUNITION-DEPOT, THUN (Swiss Ammunitions-Depot, Thun) was the government organisation for ammunition distribution in Switzerland. It was the Federal Ammunition Monopoly through which all civilian sales (including imported ammunition) had to go through. It did this from at least cWW2 until sometime in the 1960’s. The “Munitions-Depot Thun” is not related to the M + FT factory at Thun. The sticker is proof that the box went through the official process, similar to a tax stamp and needed to be displayed for civilian sales during that period. This is why they are so widely seen.

That could be true, for sure. I wonder, though, how in practice, it is applied. I bought a box of Fiocchi 7.63 Mauser in Switzerland in 1972 (I had not seen it up to that time), and it did not have the EMDT label on it. Perhaps a Swiss member, if we still have one on the Forum, could chime in on this.

John M.

As I stated John, this process evidently finished in the 1960’s - I don’t have an exact date. Most of the info I provided came from Swiss sources…

WBD - thanks. Sorry I missed your mention of that date. I have heard of some of these over-labeled boxes coming as more or less singles right from the Depot. Have not confirmed that information. Of course, that could just be clean up of material no longer wanted or needed for reference. As I mentioned, “could be true FOR SURE,” I wasn’t doubting your explanation at all. You are a great source of information for all of us. I was just noting that sometimes things have more than one purpose. Don’t know if that was true for these stamps at all, just a guess based on the information that many ammunition items from foreign sources were kept at the Depot, I suppose for informational purposes. I think that is something I was told by one of the Swiss collectors, but simply don’t recall who. Of course, it could have been incorrect.

Thanks for drawing my attention to the approximate date. I should not have missed that in my first reading.


Not a problem John. To add a bit more info, it appears that the EIDGENÖSSISCHES MUNITION-DEPOT, THUN sticker was only needed on imported ammo. Locally produced civilian ammo (M+FA & M+FT) had the same info already built into the sticker. Here it is shown on the bottom of this 1943 M+FA label:


WBD - thanks for the pictures. I don’t collect rifle ammo, but I have had a couple of similar Swiss boxes to the one shown, not necessarily that caliber, and never related the printed Depot info with the added stamps. Thanks for that info.


So, German export. (Hard Swiss francs.)

They had to pay there bill’s.
Several Swiss companies sold parts and ammo to Germany during WW2
Some of them had there own German code like “guy”; Oerlikon Bührle & Co, Zürich.