6.5x53.5R Romanian Mannlicher 1892 & 1893

Hello there,

I decided to start a new topic regarding the Romanian 6.5x53.5R cartridge since there is quite some info on this forum but it is spread into several topics so it is hard to follow.
I have a modest collection of M93 casings and cartridges since the Mannlicher 1893 is my main interest field and i will be happy to answer any questions regarding the weapon or the ammo it used.
The first issue i would like to discuss is the headstamp markings.

Romanian M92 and M93 contract casings all have a fragmented marking in the following fashion:
-at 9 o clock is always M , standing for Model
-at 3 o clock is always 93, the last numbers from 1893
-at 6 o clock is usually the maker`s mark (with some exceptions that have it at 12 o clock)
-at 12 o clock is the production year (with some exceptions that have it at 6 o clock)

Below, i will list all the known markings and their production years.

GR 1892
K&C 1892

Romanian contracts

DWM 1912 1913 - Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabrike A.G., Karlsruhe
GR 1893 1894 1896 1903 1914 - George Roth , Wien
H. 1912 - Hirtenberger Patronen, Zundhütchen und Metallwarenfabrik,Hirtenberg
K 1924 1925 - Kynoch Co.
K&C 1893 1898 1899 1903 1905 - Patronenfabrik Keller & Co. ,Wien
KN 1916 1917 - King Norton , Englang
N 1902 - Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff, A.-G. Nuremberg
S.F.M. 1915 1916 1917 - Société Française des Munitions, Paris
SMI 1915 - Societa Metallurgica Italiana, Livorno
U.S.C.Co. 1917 -
W 1911 1912 1913 - Manfred Weiss Patronenfabrik, Budapest

Romanian self-made

PA 1898
PAA 1909
P.A.A. 1914
PAB 1903 1904 1905 1906 1607 1908 1909
P.A.B. 1903 1908 1914
PAC 1895(?) 1898
P.A.C. 1900
PAF 1916
P.A.F. 1916
PAH 1914
P.A.H. 1903 1913 1914
P.A.I. 1915
P.A.L. 1914
PAM 1909 1910 1911 1912(?) 1913(?)
P.A.M. 1912 1913
P.A.R. 1913 1914
PT 1898 1899

All the codes from above, with the exception of PT, are PA-codes + the last letter is the provider of the brass. The only identified producer is:

PAC - Metal from Companie Francaise de Munitions

I am also suspecting the following others, but they are not confirmed:

PAH and P.A.H. - Metal from Hirtenberger
P.A.R - Metal from Georg Roth
PAB and P.A.B. - Metal from Basse & Stelve
There is also information about casing elements being bought from Societa Metalurgica Italiana from Livorno (50.000 pieces) somewhere in 1914-1915 and i am suspecting these to be marked P.A.I. , P.A.L. or both.

PT stands for Pirotehnia Armatei, made from transformed roundels intended for M79 casings.

More in a following post. :)

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Thank you and look forward to your future posts!


Indeed well done!

You really did your homework on this job!!! Great!!! Tom from MN

I have some in other years from what you mentioned as well, are you interested in the years or just the maker? Example I have a P.A.A M 93 with 1914 date.

PAH no dots in 1914. P.A.I. in 1915 year. Also yes to confirm I have a P.A.M with 1913 date as well.

edited to ads photos

There then is no known production of the 6.5 m/m cartridge in Romania after 1918? I have been very interested in the Mannlicher rifles of the 1893 and 1895 models and their ammunition for a great while. In recent years I have come to feel that with the defeat of Romania in 1917 the Central Powers likely destroyed the bulk of the Romanian 1893 rifles they captured. Do you have thoughts on this possibility? Thanks for the really useful information you have posted here! Jack

Many thanks for your replies. If anyone has anything to add to this list i`d be more than happy to know. Thanks, Curtis!

Jack, i think that is very improbable. Austro-Hungary had already introduced the Romanian M93 in their own service by 1916 (sequestering Romanian guns and pressing them into service, after re-chambering them to 8x50R Mannlicher.). I think that captured guns had the same fate.

The Mannlicher M93 remained in Romanian service both during the 1919-1921 campaign in Hungary and also during WW2 in small numbers, so obviously ammunition for them must have existed too but i don’t know of Romanian-produced ammo after 1915. There were two big ammo lots from Kynoch in 1924 and 1925 but that`s as far as it goes.

Irod: Thanks for your detailed and helpful response. Concerning the M93 rifles in 8 m/m used by the Austro Hungarian forces these are not merely rechambered 6.5 m/m rifles, as the distinctive trapezoidal clip used with the 8m/m rimmed cartridge required a new magazine box assembly distinct from the original one used in 6.5 m/m. Jack

On your list of Romanian contracts you list U.S.C.Co. 1917 - .
Please confirm the 1917. We have seen U.S.C. Co. 17 but not 1917.
Thanks for the listing.

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here are 3 headstamps you did not list

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Many thanks ! The SMI one must be rare as hen`s teeth as it’s the first time I see one.
The Kynoch-made 1924 and 1925 have not been included in the list although i was aware of them. Will add them too.

Gary: The headstamp is inteed “17” not 1917 but for the sake of better understanding i published it in the list as 1917.

Jack: They are indeed not a simple rechambering but you`d be surprised; The magazine box assembly is externally identical to the original Mannicher 1893 one but is heavily modified on the inside to accomodate the Austrian clip and ammo. I have a friend that has one of those rechambered rifles, maybe one day i can take some pics. Interesting enough, some of these “reissued” rifles have been captured by Romanian troops in 1916 and reissued, so it would be a re-re-issued gun, haha!

Irod: There must be at least two different forms of magazine box for the 8 m/m Austrian M93 rifle. The one I have seen photographs of is about 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch (15 m/m or so) longer back to front than the standard 6.5 m/m magazine. The trigger, instead of being at the rear of the trigger guard loop is located at about its midpoint. This trigger guard assembly also has a raised reinforcing rib at the top similar to the one seen along the bottom edge of the mag box in the regular 6.5 m/m. Jack

The “Re-Issue of the Re-Issue” ( M93 converted to 8x50R) by Romania seems to have been quite Large, as in the 1920s, this Modified Rifle was Listed in Romanian Manuals as the “Pushka 8mm”( M93) ( Rifle 8mm). The Romanians also had large numbers of Captured/abandoned M95 Mannlichers as well in the 1920s, as well as 7,62 Mosins given by the Czar.

Another strange thing, when I noticed the SMI (Soc. Met. Italiana) 1915 ammo: Romania had also ordered a series of Steam Locomotives from ALCO (USA), which, due to the Austro-German Invasion of 1916-7, were diverted to Italy; they became Class 635 ( a .4-6-0 axle type), and were designed as a High speed Passenger Engine: They were instantly baptised “Le Rumene” ( Romanian Ladies) by the appreciative Italian Loco Drivers, given the ease of Operation compared with Native Italian types of Locos. They lasted in Italian service till the 1950s, when, depleted by WW II damage, and the increased electrification, they were retired and scrapped.

Their ALCO design also gave birth to the Class 640, one of the 1920s Best Designed Italian Medium size Locos for Passenger Use on Medium Length and Traffic Lines.
Maybe Italy took the Locos as a Payment for the Aid given to Romania during WW I? Given that Romania was in dire straights financially in WW I.

As to the 1917 US CCo Contract, Tillinghast’s Cartridge Auction had, back in the 1990s, a Full Set of Gauges (Boxed) for the production of 6,5x53R on sale. I don’t know who got it, or for how much, but a valuable set of tools/memorabilia from WW I.

Doc AV…there I go again, too much information.

[quote=“DocAV49, post:14, topic:23054, full:true”]
The “Re-Issue of the Re-Issue” ( M93 converted to 8x50R) by Romania seems to have been quite Large, as in the 1920s, this Modified Rifle was Listed in Romanian Manuals as the “Pushka 8mm”( M93) ( Rifle 8mm). The Romanians also had large numbers of Captured/abandoned M95 Mannlichers as well in the 1920s, as well as 7,62 Mosins given by the Czar.[/quote]

I don’t know exact numbers of this conversion but they are very rare, probably as rare as the 1892 rifle.
The correct term is Pușca , not Pushka. (sounds like: Pooshkah) What manual are you referring to? Do you have it or have scans of it?

Also, since you started the topic, during ww1 Romania had a shitload of different rifles in service:
At the beginning of the campaign, in August 1916, Romanian troops had Mannlicher 1893, Mannlicher 1888-90, some Mannlicher 1895, very few Berthier mle.1907/15 and for rear troops the Henry-Martini M1879. In 1917 a few Mosin`s were supplied here and there .

Pretty sure that was not the case.
You see, during the period of neutrality (1914-1916) Romania desperately tried to improve its army strength and searched aid in all possible countries, unfortunately it was put off by main allies like France and Britain which were desperately trying to keep up with their own needs. Several other diplomates sent to Spain, Denmark, Italy, the USA, Japan and some others i can’t remember now managed to find some help, but another problem arose: how to ship everything to Romania, considering the Turks held the Dardanelles straight and ships could not pass from the Mediteranean to the Black Sea?
The only possible supply route was through the Arctic Sea, shipping everything to the Russian ports of Arhangelsk and Vladivostok and then shipping everything by rail to Romania… needless to say this was a very ineffective idea and shipments came at a rate of less then 7 trains per month… too little to actually make a difference. Also, an interesting fact is the sinking of a Romanian vessel by a German submarine in the waters of the Arctic ocean while shipping one of the cargos that was supposed to reach Romania. I`m pretty sure the U.S.C.Co. contract from 1916 was on that ship…

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Irod: For the metal supplier indicated by the B in the PAB marking I would suggest you look into the German firm of Basse und Selve. Jack

Jack, Basse und Selve was founded in 1908, whereas PAB marked casings exist as early as 1903.

Hi Irod,

you are mixing something.
Basse & Selve is much older. Your date corresponds with the founding of the Basse& Selve automobilwork, but B&S as a foundry exists since 1861.
"Nachdem er 1861 in das von seinem Vater geführte Unternehmen eingetreten war, wurde Gustav Selve 1883 Alleininhaber der Gießerei Basse & Selve. 1869 wurde der Firmensitz von Lüdenscheid nach Altena verlegt. 1888 wurde Gustav Selve zum Kommerzienrat ernannt."
Means his father has already founded the foundery and he joined in 1861 the Company and was since 1883 the single owner…
Ammo cases M71 and M71/84 where made by them B&S and also other Military goods…
Here some info in german: http://www.rottenplaces.de/main/giesserei-basse-selve-bs-16098/

and some more about Mr. Selve itself:

Yes, you are right, i did not do my research properly. I am adding it on the Suspected list .

** Types of ammo in service with the M93, projects and experimental ammo **

Here i am with another post regarding the 6.5x53.5R ammo, this time showing the different variants this ammo came in.

  1. Regular ball ammo, a.k.a. Cartuș de război (war cartridge)

This is the regular ammo with the regular casing.
The bullet is a cupro-nickel clad steel jacketed lead core.The bullet weighs between 10.25…10.4 grams.On the bottom of the bullet , the initial of the producer is stamped . For Romanian bullets it is either P or PA. The casing is the regular one used in all the ammo variants. The charge varies according to the type of smokeless powder used, and varies between 2.26…2.4 grams,so as to achieve a muzzle velocity of 700 m/sec.

Interesting to note is that the ammunition used for the Romanian Maxim m.1910 required a progressive burning powder in order to provide sufficient power for the mechanism to cycle , and ammunition “for machine gun use” was charged with 2.63 grams of progressive burning Rottweil 1319 powder. Of course, this would work in the rifles and carbines too, but they would increase the pressure in the barrel.

2. Wooden bullet ammo, a.k.a. Cartuș de manevră (maneuver cartridge).

These were the equivalent of the blanks we use today. They consist of a wooden bullet made of basswood with a hollow base and center . It had the same dimensions as the regular ball. The idea was that upon exiting the barrel, under the action of the high pressure gasses the thin-walled projectile would shatter in small pieces and would travel less than 20m from the muzzle.
The charge was 1 gram of Güttler powder for rifle and carbine use and 1.1 grams of R.N.P Rottweil powder for machine gun use. For firing maneuver cartridges in the Maxim m1910, a different muzzle brake had to be used.

3. Drill round, a.k.a. Cartuș de exercițiu (exercise cartridge).

This round has an identical case to the regular ammunition, but with a blind primer (no fulminate charge).
The projectile is a solid piece of brass that is simmilar to the regular one, but a bit longer and with a crimping groove for a better seal. Inside the casing there would be a wooden cylinder made of oak wood with a small bit of lead inside, to get the cartridge to the same weight as that of the regular cartridge.

4.1. Training cartridge (old model), with adaptor, a.k.a. Cartuș redus cu adaptor (reduced cartridge with adapter).

This “model” of training cartridge was the initial variant, that uses a 6.5x20R cartridge with a special adaptor made out of brass that was inserted in the chamber. It had an unjacketed lead ball and a straight drawn brass case.
This has a special topic here.

Obviously this idea was based on the British Morris tubes, but failed to be innovative since after firing , the 6.5x20R spent casings had to be manually extracted from the adaptor and reloaded by hand.

4.2 Training cartridge (new model) a.k.a. Cartuș cu tragere redusă (reduced charge cartridge).

This was an improvement to the adaptor cartridge. It was first proposed by an artillery officer in 1897, 4 years after the rifle was introduced into service. The reduced charge cartridge consisted of a regular case with a regular primer, a charge of 0.29 grams of smokeless powder and an unjacketed lead bullet. The drawing below is from the officer`s proposal in 1897, in an 1906 the bullet is described as being spherical, it might or might not have changed in design, i am not sure.

5. Experimental “Spitzer” ammunition.

In 1897 the same col.Baronescu that invented the reduced charge cartridge described at 4.2 describes his project of an ogival shaped projectile and his experiment results, but as this never made it in production i`m just gonna mention it and not get into detail, as that text would be a pain in the ass to translate :) .