7.92x33, 7.92x57, 8x50R, 8x56R German headstamps


HEADSTAMP IS 59 70 who made it.

Also clarification
The German code P635 is shown as Munitionsfabrik Wolersdorf ,Wien Austria
in some reference works, the most notable being Appendix 2 , Small arms ammunition manufacturers marks, in ,German Pistols and Revolvers 1871 - 1945 by Ian V Hogg [1971 ]
The IAA shows P635 as Gustloff Werke, Otto Eberhardt Patronenfabrik, Hirtenberg, Niederdonau.
There are anomalies in some of the older publications that I have, Perhaps research since has shown the latter understanding of P635 to be correct.


I think your “70” is actually an East German “04”. Look very closely.


The Munitionsfabrik Wollersdorf was the original Imperial-Royal AustroHungarian Ammunition factory, up to the end of WW I.
The Plant was taken over in the 1920s by Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik as part of the “Demilitarization” of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after it dissolved into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc…
The Wollersdorf facility continued making ammunition for the new Austrian Republic armed forces, with the Eagle headstamp, but single headed Austrian eagle in the early 1920s.

By the time of the Anschluss, the Nazis finally took over both Hirtenberger and the Wollersdorf facilites, and combined them as part of the “Gustloff Werke” combine. With the use of “P” numbers, some confusion exists as to who it was assigned to, whether the company or the individual facilities.
If it was assigned to “Hirtenberger(Gustloff)” then that would mean that the same Code covered two factories ( an unlikely event in the normal strict German way of doing things).
In any case, No 8x56R ammo has been seen with “P635” codes headstamped, only the packets are so labelled, the cartridges carry either the Austrian Eagle (Pre-March 1938) or the two varieties of Nazi Eagle ( March 1938 to about 1940), when this (8x56R) production ceased and 7,9 Patrone bearing “P635” and the later (1941) letter codes appear.

It could be that the Wollersdorf facility was considered a subfactory of the NiederDonau Hirtenberger Plant, and as such did not merit a separate “P” Coding. Only a careful study of the relevant archives will show up the true situation, between 1938 and 1940.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


By research in a archive in Freiburg, Germany, a person names Prof. Dr. J. Preuss found a lost list with the codes used by the German state between 1925 and 1940.

This list was named;

Kennziffern f


Dutch - any plans to reproduce the 1925-1940 list as they did the later one? What a great thing for all of us that would be! I would buy a copy straight away.


Hi John,

I will by my pleasure giving you one at the St. Louis show,



Well, thanks to Dutch, we now have a definite archive reference to Hirtenberger patronenFabrik being the “owner” of code “P635”.

There is still the question as to whether “P635” applies to the Wollersdorf Facility, it being run (and assumed) owned By Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik up to the Anschluss, afterwhich all the Hirtenberger assets were taken over by the GustloffWerke organisation.

An interesting question, which leads one into the way Hirtenberger ran its two Plants, and whether the “P635” marked 8x56R “S” packets, were simply assembled at Hirtenberger with Wollersdorf-made ammo, or Hirtenberger sourced the cases at Wollersdorf Plant, and filled them at NiederDonau,
or some other solution.
The Fact that the 8x56R ammo was headstamped with a Nazi Eagle rather than a German code, is significant; Other manufacturers of “captured” ammo (Dutch, Italian, French) used the German letter code system, at least after about 1940-41; Maybe because Austria was “part” of the Reich, they simply used the Nazi Eagle to denote Reich production, but since the Austrian Army Component was changing over to the 7,9mm Kar98k and relevant ammo, it was felt not necessary to give the 8x56R ammo a “German” code headstamp (it may have been confusing as well, at a logistical level.).

Anyway, the reason may be further buried in the Archives in freiburg or Koblenz, or elsewhere in germany…Hope there are some “Ammo-Aware” researchers out ther who can sift through the tons of papers…The Americans in thirty years of holding the ammassed archives from 1945-75 never managed to assess even 1% of the total… and there were more important Diplomatic and Political archives to look at, without researching the production of ammunition in Austria…or elsewhere for that matter.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.




You are correct, the stab crimp for the primer has distorted the 4 to look like a 7 . It is 59 04 and therefore East German.


Doc AV, You wrote;

Maybe because Austria was “part” of the Reich, they simply used the Nazi Eagle to denote Reich production, but since the Austrian Army Component was changing over to the 7,9mm Kar98k and relevant ammo, it was felt not necessary to give the 8x56R ammo a “German” code headstamp (it may have been confusing as well, at a logistical level.).


Thankyou , Dutch, for showing those "Coded "examples of 8x50R and 8x56R cartridges. None of them have shown up in any of the ammo on the market in either USA or Australia in the last 10-15 years (Maybe because all the 8x56R is from Bulgarian Surplus, whether repacked “Austrian” or Bulgartian made…By “Austrian” I refer to the 1939 and before manufacture, with the Austrian Eagle or the Reich Eagle. The Reich shipped large quantities of Austrian-made ammo to Bulgaria in 1938-39, immediately after the Anschluss, to accompany the hundreds of thousands of M95/30 rifles and carbines which they also sent (Bulgarian “Pushka mannlichera M938 & M939”)

Further to that, I was of the impression that Wollersdorf did not make any ammo of these two calibres after 1940, but maybe the NiederDonau facility (Hirtenberger proper,) did, as exemplified by your examples…are there any known with 1942 or later dates??? (*Hungary continued making this ammo till 1945, and Bulgaria at least till 1944 when they surrendered to the Soviets.)

Anyway, your contributions have caused me to rethink the entire 8x56R Production History.
Viele Dank
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


The 8 x 56R Austrian rounds with the headstamp in four segments of VIII 19 38 and the Waffenamt (Nazi Eagle) (sorry I can’t post a scan of the case head) show up quite alot in the UK as inert ammo. I have one. These are made from unfired rounds with unfired primers. As there are quite a few around, someone must have inerted quite a large batch.


Falcon - please don’t think I am nit-picking. Just want to help you learn the right terminology. The Eagle on the cartridge you are discussing is not actually a Waffenamt mark. The markings of the Heeres Waffenamt normally include a number underneath the eagle, and the eagle is very often (but not always) highly stylized - more a stick-figure than anything, without even the circle and swastika. I suppose in German the eagle on that headstamp would be the “Reichsadler” a word that by itself really hasn’t just Nazi connotation. Of course, in conjunction with the eagle on the headstamp, it does. I stayed at a Hotel “Reichsadler” in Bayreuth, Germany, once. Interesting place. It was attacked by British Mosquito bombers once during the war, when they thought Hermann G


I agree with John>
The ReichsAdler (Imperial Eagle) was a German symbol going back to Frederick the Great of Prussia, and had its origins in the Black Eagle (Wings folded) of the Holy Roman Empire, from the 14-15th. centuries. This Black Eagle was not only the symbol of the Germanic Holy Roman Emperor, but also showed up in the heraldic devices of many Knights and Nobles who owed fealty to the Holy Roman Emperor, through-out medieval Europe, and remain today in now defunct crests of once-Noble families.

In the III Reich context, the Eagle (with or without Swastika) simply meant Reich Property ( Just as the “Broad Arrow” meant British Gov’t property --and by Extension, British Empire or Commonwealth Gov’t property.)

The “WaffenAmt” mark ( Western " interpretation" of the Eagle mark used by the Heeres Waffen Amt (Army Arms Bureau) to signify compliance with Army Specifications,) was, as mentioned, a spread-wing Eagle (after 1938) or a folded-wing eagle (Before 1938, the so-called “Weimar WaA”) with the Inspection squad’s ID Number (usually alloted to the CO ( a Leutnant, or Hauptmann) of the Squad of Inspectors at any particular Plant) underneath it and also (but not always) the letters “WaA”.

The presence of the Eagle on “Austrian” (8x56R) ammo made after March 1938 (Anschluss) simply indicates the “change of management” of the Wollersdorf/Hirtenberger Ammunition factories, having been taken over by the Hermann Goering related “Gustloff Werke” Arms combine. As the Gustloff Werke was effectively a “Reich” corporation, it was natural that its products would bear the “Reich Property” indication.
It was also a convenient means of indicating the “new Regime” of the ammo, which previously had carried the BundesAdler (the Federal Austrian Republic Eagle) which replaced the Imperial Hapsburg Eagle of the WW I and before period.

Small details with Big propaganda implications.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics