7.65x38 Swiss


Interesting. Cartridges of unknown origin

Berdan primed brass case 126 gr. Projectile is 154 grains CNCS and 7.88mm in diameter. Rim is 11.10mm. Base is 11.07mm. Neck is 8.51mm. Shoulder is 10.29mm.



As far as I know, this is a Swiss experimental for an experimental submachine gun, pre- WW II. Unknown to many (Fede?). But these cartridges are supposed to be very rare and seldom seen as original case and bullet together.


Thanks for the info.
I found it in this little clear packet. I had to open the packet on the end to get them out and photograph them properly. It was mixed in with a couple thousand rounds of mixed 7,62x39 Soviet I bought.



Congratulations to finding these rare cartridges in a batch of totally unrelated ammunition.
And thanks a lot for sharing the measurements, particularly bullet diameter, mass and length, which I did not know before.


These were NEVER loaded, if found as such, some one just couldn’t abide an empty hole.

Now that said here is a UN-fired pressure test case, deep groove cut into the rim, head, almost web, and mid-case hole. Real factory work or not I can’t say but this example missed 90º by as a guess /eyeball ; perhaps 5º

As to rare, I’m not so sure rare is the right word, we sold one in sale #3 & it made all of $17.50. Quit offering them after that.


Surprising case, because the drill hole normally is exactly opposite (180 degrees) of the notch in the base.


Is there any documentation that these were never loaded, or is it alleged, from the railroad wagons story? The few others I have seen, all look like the one on municion.org, and mine. (CNCS)



I keep one unloaded and one assembled in my collection…just in case. I have never heard of the “pressure test” loading, or anything else other than ball.


I cant say if there is any documentation that none of these 7.65 mm
Swiss Assault rifle cartridges were ever loaded, but I can provide same
to show that at least the bulk of them were NOT.

Oregon Ammunition Service, owned by Jack Brickell of Portland, Oregon,
offered them for sale over a span of a number of years. I only have three of
Jack’s catalogs - I was not saving them much when I first went to work for
the S.F. Gun Exchange. However, these are offered as "7.65 mm Burp Gun
experimental, Swiss-made for Foreign Govt. Original Case and Bullet only,"
at the whopping, outrageous price of 75 cents apiece. :-)

They appear in the following Oregon Ammunition Service catalogs that I have,
on the pages shown:
Catalog Number 12, Sept. 1960, page 27
Catalog Number 14, March 1964, page 21
Catalog Number 15, July 1966, page 25

Jack was a very nice man, with good stuff and even for the time, very, very
fair prices. Note that he had these in stock for at least a period of six years,
and perhaps more. We bought a small lot, I don’t know how many because
some were probably sold before I started at the store. He had some small discounts
for dealers who purchased in some sort of bulk, and I believe we asked about $1.25
apiece for them. They were not a fast seller. As his catalog suggested, they were
"case and bullet" only. No loaded round. I purchased a few of them just to have
for trades, and I think when he visited out store, which he did once in awhile, he
said that he had originally purchased a pretty large supply of them. I can’t, some
50 years later, recall if a quantity or source were mentioned. I know that he got
a lot of stuff out of Great Britain. We bought .600 Nitros, .500 Rewa rounds, and
the like for him for years. I wish I could have visited his place in Oregon, but in
those days, that was a long trip for me.

How would you like to purchase 5 mm Bergmann rounds for 2.00 each, and the
rimless, grooveless version for 4.00 each? That is where I got my first specimens
of each. Just examples of a better time in cartridge collecting. There has been a
lot of monetary inflation since then, but in many cases, no where near an amount
that accounts for the high prices today.

One got thing about Jack - he fully understood the relative value of collectors cartridges,
meaning cartridges that were rare, extra interesting, etc. were priced higher than more
common or less interesting stuff (yes, I know that “interest” is a subjective thing, but I
think most, especially the “old guys” will know what I mean).

Back to the subject at hand, I would make an educated guess that the bulk of cartridges
of this 7.65 caliber that are in “the New World” came from Jack Brickell originally. I
would be suspicious of any that were fully loaded rounds, especially since as I recall,
the empty cases were new primed empties. I am not saying there could not be any at
all, only that the vast majority of them that became available to collectors were originally
only case and bullet, with the latter loose, not placed in the case.

John Moss


For what it’s worth, Pete: the collection of Manfred H. Beutter describes one loaded original. Allow me to say I’m maybe to humble (or unexperienced).


Dugjans - in my view, the source makes that worth a lot!
If one is found loaded, it would be logical that it be found in Europe.
Manfred was a highly knowledgeable collector. Also a friend. He was the
first European collector whose home, outside of Oberndorf a/N, that I ever
visited, in 1972. If he thought it was original, I would just about consider
that as documentation. It is in the US that it would be unlikely to find, in
most collections, a legitimate loaded round, since so many "case & bullet"
specimens could be found, at one time, for relatively cheap prices, as Pete
DeCoux experienced.

John Moss


The example I have is/was loaded and interestingly has that same faint dark line around the bullet that can be seen in the second to last photo in Joe’s first post.



I got mine (and many more) from Hoffmann&Reinhardt, Zürich, Switzerland, many many years ago in the 60thies.
He had huge boxes of them (as he said from out of the Factory at Solothurn). None of them where loaded, only cases and bullets. There was no paperwork with them, nor boxes, nor Labels a.s.o…
So, I be very cautious about “loaded” rounds…maybe someone couldnt resists to have only unloaded cases :-(
In the collection I have as samples a case and bullet and also one with bullet put into the case (but no powder)…and I marked this on the case …


I have one that arrived to me loaded. No clue to it’s provenance.


That some are found loaded as Peter also notes the vast majority of these are not loaded, We all know some people will put a bullet in a case & throw in some powder or sand or whatever. They just can’t stand to have an empty case & bullet without putting them together.
I too have seen these ‘loaded’ however I’ve never seen one with other than a friction fitted bullet, not a segmented or taper crimped.
That these were for a machine pistol? Seems to me the crimp would be a secure one.

Manfred was without doubt a world class collector / historian. That he listed a loaded example in his collection? catalogs? only means he thought it was so, unless he has a recorded proof or provenance? Can we say without doubt he didn’t make a mistake. It is something we all do & I’m prepared to admit I could well be doing the same when I say “never”.

I’m not from Missouri but “show me”

And just to be plain, in case I wasn’t in my initial description above I seriously doubt the legitimacy of the “pressure test” case I have.

I have seen valid pressure test cases with the hole at 90º it all depends on where the pick-up is installed on the barrel. But to have such a wide, deep groove in the head instead of a thin line on the base to guide alignment …


Peter - it is quite possible that Jack Brickell got the ones he had from
H & R of Zurich, as well. Since a Swiss dealer had them, and we know
they were made in Switzerland, it sound almost like they were salvage
from a partially-finished and failed contract.

Sounds to me like maybe one Person got some and loaded them up
to pass on to collectors.

All Just conjecture on my part, of course. Unless someone at R & H Zurich,
if they are still in business, can answer the question, we can probably
never be certain about these cartridges and bullets.


Manfred Beutter_20170221_0001.pdf (2.4 MB)
This is my source, Pete. Kind of a pity we can’t ask it anymore to mr. Beutter himself. But as he was a well respected collector, I suppose he had his arguments concerning the cartridge


John: There is no indication in the Oregon Ammunition Service 1960 catalog that anything other than a complete round was being offered at $.75. The '62 catalog, however, speaks of a case and a bullet at that price. My own specimen came from Brickell’s 1960 catalog, I believe, and appears a complete assembled round. Jack


Howdy Dujans
Well, I guess I can eat my hat, eat crow, or just say I agree that he had a loaded round. It has crimps & he said it is factory. So works for me!
And your 100% correct it’s too bad we can’t ask him.
THANKS learn something new every day!



As already pointed out, there is no documentation about this cartridge, only anecdotal evidence that has been put in paper along the years. Here is a chronological compilation of the most relevant sources:

Cartridges for Collectors, Volume I, Fred A. Datig, 1956, p. 41: “No definite information on this cartridge which originated in Switzerland. It is rumored that they were produced on the special order of a foreign power but that, due to international complications, the order was carried out but never delivered”. Illustration shows a loaded cartridge.

Guns, September 1956, cover, p. 16-19, and 70-72: "The dimensions of the Russian all-purpose load correspond within normal manufacturing tolerances with a hitherto-unidentified cartridge known to collectors as the “7.65 x 38 Swiss Machine pistol” type. Jack Brickell of Portland, Oregon, has sold hundreds of these Swiss cartridges to collectors. Enigmatically headstamped “7.65” with no maker’s mark, they were turned out in the German-controlled Swiss Solothurn factory for an unidentified machine pistol, and intended to be used by one side or the other in the Spanish Civil War. The Swiss government officially denies any knowledge of these cartridges, although the new Swiss machine carbine load is also a 38mm case length. However, their base diameter and bullet are like the regular, longer Swiss 7.5mm rifle round. But these pre-war Solothurn Swiss cases are close enough to the Russian to be a twin.

The Swiss round was loaded with a steel jacketed 154 grain bullet with a bulky ogive and lead core. Charge was 22.5 grains of a flake powder."

ICCC Bulletin 267-268, March-April 1978, p. 24-25 (comment by Bill Woodin): "This item has been called the 7.65x38 Swiss, for want of a better name; it is an interesting example of something that has turned up in considerable quantities but which, to my knowledge, remains totally unidentified to this day, One theory is that it was for a Solothurn-designed automatic weapon dating from the Spanish Civil War period; however no such weapon has been seen and this appears to be still only a theory,

One of the most frustrating things about this situation, however, is not the identification problem - it’s a people problem! So far as I know, a legitimate 7.65x38 cartridge has never turned up! The correct overall length is not known, nor is the powder charge, The items exist only as primed cases and bullets. They were first imported into this country from Switzerland in 1952 by a well-known dealer, who scrupulously sold them as components only. Then the fellows who can’t stand the sight of empty cases got into the act, and now there are complete rounds all over the place, with varying overall lengths and even with powder! (My feelings about doing this sort of thing are not printable; suffice to say it is not exactly helpful to the serious collector and researcher).

The cases themselves were packed in numbers of 100 per each plain cardboard carton, and these in turn were stacked in wood boxes bearing shipping stickers from Lausen, Switzerland. The bullets were packed loose in separate wood boxes, me trail ends there, another mystery among many in the world of the cartridge."

Assault Rifle Ammunition 5.6mm to 11mm Calibre, P. Labbett, 2000 p. 48-49: “A cartridge (referred to above as the “7.65mm x 38 Unknown”) was apparently manufactured in Switzerland before the 1939- 45 war, probably not by the Swiss State Ammunition Factories but privately. This 7.65mm x 38 round, concerning which much mystery exists, was discovered in quantity in Switzerland in the form of separate primed cases and bullets in a wooden packing box bearing railway despatch markings showing that the despatch point was in the Canton of Basel. It seems reasonable to suppose that the manufacturer was Swiss, even if the actual manufacturer’s identity was deliberately obscured. The cardboard packages within the wooden box each held 100 cartridge cases and were stamped “100” in red and the cardboard was impressed with a stamp [P C F inside triangle]. No loaded rounds are known to exist and the supposition is that these components were intended for a foreign (and discreet) customer, delivery to whom was prevented by the outbreak ofwar in Europe in 1939.”

NZCCC Bulletin 352, January-February 2005, p. 2: “A brass case with cryptic “7 .65” headstamp, brass primer, and C/N clad flat base steel jacket bullet, that even in its abundance, continues to confound research. Cartridges are packed in boxes labelled with a triangle surrounding the letters P o ver C and F.”

“Although no firearm is known chambered for it and no factory documentation has surfaced, a few details are
known. At some time after WWll a single lot of approx. 10,000 cases and bullets were made. The entire remaining inventory was reportedly purchased from the Solothurn weapons factory by Glasser Co. [W. Glaser] - a gun-shop in Zurich, and from this it can be speculated that they were made at Solothurn, but for who and why remains unknown. The Swiss have experimented extensively with assault rifle cartridges of this type and a number of similar but identified variations are recorded.”

Note: This last information was also handwritten by Dimitri Goulas in the cards accompanying his unloaded examples of this cartridge.