7,92x57 Headstamp, Civilian or Military?

I suspect this would be a Civilian headstamp, but looking for other opinions. I feel it ID’s as Rheinische Metallwarenfabrik of Soemmerda. Magnetic FMJRN projectile.


Joe - I would consider that a sporting round that just happens to have a full patch bullet, or a “solid” by what our British friends call them. FMJ bullets are not all that unusual in European sporting rounds. In tha bsence of a box label, I will stock by my belief it is a sporting cartridge from Rheinisch Metalwerken Soemmerda, rather than a contract military load of an M88 cartridge.

Ok, thanks John. I will stick it with the commercial German rounds.

Not Necessarily “Commercial” or “Civilian Sporting”…Could be (Military) Export for a M88 user country ( ie, Equador, China, etc) pre-WW I;

The “Military” German ammo would have a standard Military headstamp ( Factory, Year, etc); Export ammo would not necessarily have either Year, or other “Gov’t” Connotations. Especially if sold through one of the German “Outfitters” which handled smaller Lots etc.

As to the use of "Solids’ ( as the British called them,) in Germany, that was quite Taboo for Civilians, although what they did in Colonial Africa was another matter. That was part of the story about “7,9mm” (Military, German) and “8mm” ( Civilian, soft point, sporting) denominations.

Without a Packet Label ( or an RM catalogue) to settle the matter, the Cartridge is one of several Possibilities of classification.

Doc AV

Doc, thanks for your input. Interesting.


I can’t argue with the possibility of a military contract. However, you DO find sporting rounds from Germany in the inbetween-wars period, and a lot of German ammo was used before and after WWI in Africa.

A collector has to “pick his own poison” on how he wants to classify a round like this. The one I had in my collection I classified as a sporting cartridge, along with probably two dozen others of various makes and headstamps with similar bullets (not all the same weight bullets, by the way). Each to his own idea of why it was made in absence of provenance. Without provenance, there is no “correct answer” to hardly any question like this. Only opinion.

Well the aforementioned round weighed in at 425 grains. I have two additional rounds pictured below that weigh in at 434 and 433 grains respectively. They have no visible headstamps. What say thee? Are they possibly commercial, or of the earliest military trials??


There are a few minor scratches in the head but just that. Nothing the maker impressed or otherwise.

Regarding the RM * S * headstamp, this is found in many different sporting rifle cartridges and also handguns cartridges, all coming from commercial style boxes. I know, everything is possible, but I can’t think of any evidence that substantiates the possibility of a pre-WWI military contract.

Also, I don’t know which is the source for this “solid was taboo for civilians” statement, as you can find full metal jacket bullets for almost any cartridge in commercial catalogs of this era, including those made for the M88 cartridge.

Fede, Actually, that style RM S headstamp occurs on 9mm Luger rounds made specifically for the 9mm Dreyse pistol which were initially made for the Prussian Landgendarmerie. A box of RM S headstamped ammunition clearly marked Dreyse with a truncated bullet is known. This version of the RMS headstamped 9mmP load is also known in a plated dummy implying military usage. It appears probable to me that the box, and the RM S headstamped ammunition was intended for the Prussian Landgendarmerie, and not commercial sale.

I can also argue that they could have conceivable been these could be commercial since the 1914 Geco catalog offers this pistol for commercial sale, but it is likely these were part of the 600 guns bought by the Prussian Landgendarmerie and soon replaced with other weapons. I think the face that no early (truncated bullet) RM S rounds are documented with military style dated headstamps except for an April 1917 load with a hole drilled in it which is likely a fired case with an earlier bullet inserted.

RN bullets for the Dreyse were produced after the war with the “commercial” style RM S headstamps, and a box of these is known with an overlabel identifying a US company which sold the Dreyse pistols in the US after WWI.

In original tests, the Dreyse pistol had some problems with DWM ammunition and it is documented in Geoff Sturgess’ book that RMS was introducing their own 9x19mm cartridge to resolve these problems. There is no indication what changes were made between the DWM and RM S rounds in this 1910 (roughly) period.

I would agree with you that RM * S * is primarily a commercial headstamp, but I think it was also used on at least one non-commercial order, and probably on many. The dated headstamps seem to be German Army orders. Has anyone seen a RM S military export contract cartridge with the RM S headstamp that is dated???


Lew - Why does a plated dummy round “imply military usage.”? For example, Walther regularly packaged their commercial PP and PPK pistols with three nickel-case dummy rounds before WWII. Probably other companies did as well. There are many German commercially-headstamped dummy rounds in virtually every pistol caliber made by them. There is always a need for instructional dummy rounds for the civilian market, or companies wouldn’t make them today.

Small police contracts like the Dreyse contract for the Prussian Gendarmerie having straight commercial headstamps doesn’t surprise me in the least. While the * R.M. * S headstamp may appear on ammunition made specifically for the Dreyse, that doesn’t guarantee that all 9 mm Para ammo made by them was specifically for the Dreyse. That pistol is very rare today because it was made in very small quantities, and yet there are two very different-appearing * R.M. * S headstamps on 9 mm with RN bullets. I have mot seen the round with truncated bullet.

Again, unprovable without provenance, but I suspect RMS made 9 mm ammo for general commercial sales, possibly export (I don’t know when that caliber became prohibited for German civilians).

I have one practise with this headstamp. Bullet is only FMJ without lead core.


Regards. Ave

Ave, it looks like it might be difficult to measure, but is that round possibly 7x57?


Ok, thanks.