7,92 marks on headstamps

I have the four cartridges in my collection, What do the marks on the headstamp mean?
Many thanks…paul.

On 12 o’clock is manufacturers code, on 3 code of used metal, on 6 batch numer, on 9 year of production.

S* - brass, 67% copper.

P - Polte, Werk Magdeburg
P163 - Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen G.m.b.H., Werk Selterhof
P186 - Metallwerk Wolfenbüttel G.m.b.H., Halchterstr. 2l

I was thinking that the OP meant the colored stripe markings.

Morning guys, it was late at night when I uploaded … yes it’s the stripe mark,

It has nothing to do with a factory marking, these are made individual.
The cartridges are all SmK loaded (hard core) and must have a red annulus.

They normally look like these.

@anemon, S* means 72% copper.


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Dutch Thank you, They all do have S.m.K.H. bullets.

P163 S* 1 35 wt= 178.2gr
P S* 150 34 wt= 178.1gr
P186 S* 7 35 wt= 177.6gr
P S* 17 28 wt= 177.2gr
so there is no meaning to the stripe…paul.

Not SmK-H. This round have a tungsten core

Only SmK, a hardened steel core

Stripe has no meaning

Thanks Dutch… Jim told me of my mistake they are indeed SmK rounds. What is the wt of an SmKH bullet?

Made a correction.

Unfortunately I am not so familiar with the weight of a bullet.

A loaded cartridge is over 410 grains


Dutch… I was looking for the weight of a SmKH bullet.

Dutch understood you, but did not have the bullet weight available.
Nominal SmKH bullet weight is 12.6 g (194 gr), of which the tungsten carbide core is nominally 8.25 g (127 gr). At the time, it was not possible to produce the cores with close weight tolerances. So expect tolerances of 0.1 g (1.5 gr) or more.
The cores were sorted into weight classes before loading.

Peelen, as usual, is spot on with the bullet weight of the SmKH projectile. I did a study of 7.9s (unpublished) identifying each type known to me (German only) and weighed bullets of each type that were not too rare to pull. The SmkH projectile weighed 192.8 grains (12.4 grams), well within the tolerances for the weight Peelen mentioned. The bullet length is 1.110 inches (approx. 28 mm). There were three types of SmkH - GMCS bullet, CNCS bullet, and finally an all-blackened bullet. The bullet taper of the SmkH is slightly more straight-sided than the normal SmK projectile, and helps, in the case of the black-bullet version, to avoid confusion with the blackened-bullet incendiary rounds.

John Moss

JPeelen…thank you for that, my error came because I used Geremy M Chubbuck’s book 7.9x57 Mauser Ammunition for the Collector. in it it states on under Specifications for S.m.K.H that the bullet weight is 178gr . That just happens to be the same weight as he states for S.m.K. I will need to go back to my collection and re-evaluate some of the bullets, because I have some from different makers for the year 1939 and 40 with a weight of 191 and 192gr …paul

Hi Paul - my apologies. I must have made a typo on the SmKH weight. I’ve noted it for correction in future editions if one is released. Thanks for pointing this error out. -Ger


I don’t know if this is the right place. But I recently came back from a school trip to the battlefields in belgium and while we were there we visited the Hooge Crater museum near Ypres. While we were there I bought this bullet and thought it would be cool to get it engraved with the date of the trip but before I do that I wanted to find out a bit about it, is anyone able to help me out and if the bullet is significant in any way. Thank You :)

Martin, welcome to the Forum.

This is a nice example from P186 Metallwerk Wolfenbüttel G.m.b.H.
A part from of Polte from the first year they made ammunition.
The case has a green annulus colour; this means the cartridge was an sS (heavy ball) round.
P186, see top, S* brass case made with 72% copper, lot# 10 and the year of manufacturing 1934.


Oh wow, thank you. So does the P186 mean the bullet was manufactured in wolfenbüttel? So are there different annulus colours for different types of bullets. Also since the bullet was made in 1934 would that mean it was used in WWII by the nazis? And what kind of gun would have used this bullet? (Sorry for all the questions, I didn’t know you could find out so much from bullets so this is really cool for me :) )

Here’s a side view of it aswell, again thank you Dutch for the explanation :)

Hello Martin and welcome to this Forum. Caliber of the cartridge is 7,92 x 57 and that was the standard rifle and machine-gun caliber of the German army in WWII. 57 is the length of the case in mm. No doubt it’s a very nice souvenir of your school-excursion but I would think case and bullet do not belong to each other in an original way. Yes, I think they were put together for souvenir purposes. Therefore I think there’s no powder in it and as the primer is used it’s seemingly an inert round. Even then, possession might still be prohibited in the UK as there are very strict gun laws.


Unfortunately, since components for ammunition in Germany, as in most countries during War Time, are not always made by the company that makes the cartridge case, all the headstamp that Dutch so perfectly described can tell you is the who, what and when of the cartridge case itself. To identify the makers of the bullet, primer and powder, and even to positively know who loaded all those separate components into the case to create a loaded cartridge, you would have to have the original box label for that specific cartridge. Without it, only educated guesses, based on box labels from similarly marked cases, can be made.

This caliber of ammunition was used in the various rifles and machineguns both of German types, and those captured from the occupied countries, used by the German Armed Forces during beginning in 1888 with the Gewehr (Rifle) Model 1888, thru the end of WWII, and actually somewhat beyond, as there was some use of those rifles, primarily for border police and the like, when Germany was allowed to rearm c.1954. The primary weapons from the period of your cartridge (1934 until the cessation of hostilities in the first half of 1945) were Mauser-type rifles such as the K98k, The G43 semi-automatic rifle (and other designs from 1941 produced in small quantities by Walther and Mauser), and the famous MG 34 and MG 42 machineguns. There were many other weapons in this caliber used within the German military and police establishments, but those were the ones most familiar to people today who while interested in WWII, are not necessarily dedicated students of small arms.

And yes, it does mean it was used by “NAZI” forces, since the German National Socialist Labor Party took power in 1933 and held it until Germany was defeated in 1945.

I am posting this even though I see our friend “duqjans” gave a very credible answer while I was typing this. I agree with him, by the way, that your cartridge has been, in the least, deactivated, and possibly the case was simply “loaded” with a bullet that is not at all original to it.

Edited to correct one misspelled word only.

John Moss

John has written an excellent overview for the beginner. My only addition is that from its adoption in 1888 to the end in 1945 this caliber was called 7.9 mm in Germany. The popular “7.92” mm is of Czechoslovak origin, when the German cartridge was adopted there after WW1 and as such a misnomer for German ammunition.