In the 1960s a good bit of FN-made 7.63m/m Mauser ammunition was sold in the US in 25 round boxes sealed by a wrap-around pink paper label. The label was unmarked except for three lines of text within a black frame on the top. The text read: 25 / Cartouches / MAUSER 7,63. It finally occurred to me that this packaging probably wasn’t FN’s but the work of others. Assuming this is true, who were the others? What is the date of manufacture of the ammunition? The headstamp is FN [5-pointed star]; the letters FN are with serifs. Jack
I don’t think there is any reason to believe that these cartridges were made by anyone but FN. The boxes are typical FN boxes, even to the pink label. The fact that the box you are describing has no maker’s name on it could have simply been something that the buyer requested, or something FN did with that lot for reasons of their own. The cartridges from those boxes show all FN characteristics appropriate to the headstamp.
There is an identical box with pink label also that is not anonymous. It is labeled, on five lines of print as shown by separation with commas here, “25, MAUSER PISTOL, Cartridges 7,63, WITHOUT clips, F.N.” Two sides of the box label are also marked with the standard FN address line at Herstal-Légé.
Both of the boxes in my collection came from the same American source, Vick’s for Guns, of Galveston, Texas, and have their “Keep out of the reach of children” warning stamped on the box bottoms. This would probably indicate that both boxes were imported from the same customer-source when the ammunition was surplused out.
It is hard to date this ammunition, but the Serif Letters would probably indicated manufacture before the 1930s. I have no clue how to date it any closer than that. I am not sure it could be without documentation for the specific contract. It is interesting to note that while the anonymous label is in French, the company-marked label is in English.
John: Thanks for the information. There wasn’t any question in my mind that the ammo was FN’s, but the packaging seemed doubtful, both from the lack of text and the fact it looked as though it had been set in type for a small hand press. The stuff I’ve seen most likely came from Vic’s but there was no child warning on any of the boxes. Jack
Jack–The lack of the Child Warning means it was sold before Nov. 1963, when that warning became mandatory. Of course, this does not in any way date the cartridges themselves.
I cannot judge printing as to what type of machinery was used, as I know nothing about the subject. However, I will say I have an identical box, but with blue paper label, for the 9mm Steyr Cartridge, also with the “F N *” headstamp with serif letters, as well as a 9mm Luger box of slightly different design, one-piece with a tuck-in tab top lid, but the same style of printing on a buff label, also with the samestyle of printing. The Steyr label is in French and the Luger label is in Spanish. The Luger rounds also have the serif-lettered “F N *” headstamp. I also have a two-piece box exactly like the FN boxes for Anciens Etablissements Pieper, of Belgium, with a red label. The box, and other sources, tell me that that ammunition was probably made by FN for AEP.
In truth, right up until fairly recently, most of the pistol caliber box labels from FN military ammo have the same “look” to the printing of the earlier boxes, even though the box construction is different. I would guess that many manufacturers farmed out their boxes and labels to carton makers and lithographers for printing, but perhaps FN had their own setup, and used smaller machinery due to the number of different labels, in all different languages, they had to produce.
I simply don’t know.
I also am not really sure when FN stopped using Serif Letters. I know it was before 1936, because I have FN rounds with that date on pistol cartridges, headstamped with plain, serif-letters. I also don’t know if they stopped using them simultaneously on all calibers. FN ammunition of 7.9 x 57 mm had Serif Letters until 1931, but the problem is, in my collection anyway, there is a gap from 1931 to 1935. The 1935 cartridge have plain letters. So, I would guess that the Serif-headstamped FN rounds date from the introduction of the specific calibers until approximately 1933 or 1934. i
John: Thanks for the additional information. I have a 1933 date FN-made 7.9 with the Chinese “gearwheel” at 12 o’clock that I’ll check for lettering style later. Jack
John: The FN 1933 7.9m/m cartridge for China features lettering with serifs. The bullet appears to have an sS ogive; the jacket is GMCS. Jack
Not really my field but I hope this is useful. It seems to be a regular 7,92x57 drill round headstamped ‘FN 34’
Does anyone have any idea who this might have been made for?
Happy collecting, Peter
Thanks pardners. Looks like the shift to plain letters at FN was about 1935.