6.5x50 Jap charger markings

I got a bag of these, as always no markings anywhere. Then I noticed an almost triangular symbol (in the upper left corner of the scan). Is it just a defect or it actually means something?

Now there’s a question!

I’ve never been able to find what this little ‘mu’ mark might mean. You see it on both brass and steel chargers of all types and of the hundreds of Arisaka clips I’ve had through my hands it’s been on a bit less than half of them.

Are there any notions out there of what it might be?

Happy collecting.


Peter is absolutely right about the strange “nearly a triangle” mark on Japanese chargers, and his photo shows an excellent selection of known types. It occurs on chargers for both the 6.5/7.7 Arisaka rifles and also on the wider, lugless ones for the 7.7x58SR MG, in both brass and steel, and on both square-edge and rounded-edge types.

However I haven’t seen it on any of those Arisaka chargers with sidewalls over 5mm in height, which are almost certainly early ones (WW1 and just after? – the WW1 Kynoch copies have similar high walls). Note that sidewall height is not critical in Arisaka chargers as only the sidewall lugs engage in the guides, the body of the charger lying unconfined between the receiver walls. Presumably the Japanese eventually realised they could save themselves quite a few tons of brass by lowering the height of the sidewalls!

The mark is also sometimes seen on specimens of the brass 7.9x57 charger with the single wide reinforcing groove in the base instead of the usual two lateral ones (the upper charger in Peter’s photo is of one of these). This type is of typical Chinese design, and I strongly suspect that they continued to be made by the Mukden Arsenal after the Japanese annexation of Manchukuo during the 1930s. The 7.9x57 “Mukden Mauser” almost certainly continued to be used by locally raised forces under Japanese control. Doc AV can most probably add useful comments on this.

Other 7.9x57 chargers, most probably made in Japan, resemble typical brass Arisaka chargers slimmed down to normal 7.9 Mauser size, and I haven’t so far seen the “triangle” mark on any of these. But they are scarce and I have only examined a few specimens.

John E


this “mu” marking is also observed on 30-round rigid feed strips both for 6,5x50R Type 3 and 7,7x58SR type 92.
For 7,7mm strips, this marking is observed on both brass and steel strips.

Unfortunately no idea on the meaning of that marking :-(



John: Could you expand your remarks upon Chinese-made Mauser [M98?] chargers? I don’t recall ever having seen a picture of one (other than the partial one above) or any sort of description at all. I’ve seen a number of 7.9 m/m Chinese cartridges from various facilities but never the accompanying charger/clip. Jack

Nearly all Japanese ordnance items have an “Inspection” mark somewhere…the only exceptions are ammo smaller than 12,7mm;

The “mu” kana is typical of Clips, whilst the fuzes on 12,7 HE and 13,2 HE have a different ( “t” or “7” type kana) marking, as do the bases of the shell cases in these ( and other higher) calibres.

Maybe Fred Honeycutt of "MROJ " fame can give a better explanation of these inspection marks. (Try Gunboards, as he regularly posts there.).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

These Chinese chargers exist on a scale between excellent and crude in the extreme. This one is typical of the sort most often seen and it’s without any type of marking.

Generally they have a brass body with a steel or brass spring although there are also scarcer ones to be found with a steel body.

Happy collecting, Peter

Jack – Here are a few Chinese 7.9mm Mauser clips that I already have scanned.

Peter and Phil: Thanks much for the interesting examples. It’s quickly obvious I don’t have one hiding among my “unknowns”! Jack

Phil –

The late Ken Crane had one of those brass chargers you illustrate with the pair of Chinese ideograms, and said it came in a packet loaded with 7.9x57 rounds with polished nickel plated spitzer bullets and bearing the same Chinese marking on their headstamp. This led him to believe that both cartridges and charger were probably imported from Czechoslovakia. Have you come across these rounds?

John E

John – I haven’t been able to find me one of the cartridges yet. According to the info I have they are from the Guang Xi Arsenal which became part of the 40th Arsenal.


Phil –

So far as I can now recall, the polished nickel-plated bullet was Ken Crane’s only reason for thinking it was Czech. And I now see that Jorion & Regenstreif show this hstp with the annotation “Fabrication européenne pour la Chine en 1938. (Peut-être allemande/G.Genschow)”, so he wasn’t alone in suspecting a European connection.

But Ken himself would have admitted that (like me) he was no expert on 7.92 cartridges, and he didn’t seem to have any information about the packet it came from. And excellent though J&R is, as in all reference works mistakes can be found. On balance, it would probably be safer to trust Bill Woodin’s opinion for now!

John E

I have a closet collection of Chinese cartridges and clips, pre-1950, and have a couple of the 7.9 cartridges with the Guang Xi Arsenal headstamp illustrated by pbutler. I also have Chinese 7.9s from three other arsenals that have bullets that were probably nickel plated. I’m confident that there are all Chinese production. China is a BIG country and in the 1920s and 1930s the transportation system was not very sophisticated. Most of the arsenals were inland, or being moved inland in 1938 which complicated the problem. There is no question in my mind that these cartridges were produced in the Guang Xi Arsenal, including the bullets. If they look like Czech or German bullets, the reason is probably that the Chinese bought the equipment from those countries. They had German advisors in their military and in at least some arsenals in the late 1930s. and could also have had Czech advisors where they had bought Czech equipment. I have not seen any references to Czech involvement in China. Most of the equipment, and technical training for the Chinese involved was done in Japan, the US, Germany, the UK in that order with some from France and Austria. I suspect all these countries supplied tooling and equipment to the Chinese arms industry. A Pratt & Whitney book published in 1930 (Accuracy for Seventy Years) on page 68 illustrates a Chinese designed semiauto 7.9mm rifle. The tooling was made at P&W who also produced some of the rifles (some exist today in US collections). Apparently none of these rifles were produced in China, and reportedly the tooling was destroyed in a fire after it arrived in China.

All my Chinese clips are brass and unmarked. One is 6.5 Jap and was probably made at Nanking since it contained paper bullet blanks, most unheadstamped, but one had a Nanking headstamp. I also have two 7.63mm Mauser 10 shot clips and a brass 8mm Mannlicher clip.

Great thread. Thanks to all.



Phil: Is it an optical illusion or does your last clip not exhibit some American influences? The spring looks to me like it’s one of the trough-shaped Ashworth type seen on post-1918 '03 Springfield clips and the clip body is flat rather than slightly curved as are most Mauser clips. Jack

Jack - it’s no illusion: that’s the way they are.

Phil: Thanks. It’s always a little startling to find cross-pollination occurring where you didn’t expect it! Jack

This is the mark on a MUKDEN arsenal 6.5 MG strip.




My brass 7,7mm Hotchkiss strip has the ubiquitous little ‘mu’ mark … once I’d thought to look for it.

Happy collecting, Peter

It means “小石川兵工厂”,which is a jap ammo factory during ww2.

Very interesting, thank you.

Do you have a translation for the name, or a location for the factory ?

Also, does that mean that the unmarked Arisaka clips are pre-1940 ?