7.92x57mm for MG - S/91/10


This is my first post so I would like to say hello to everybody.

A few months ago I came across an interesting 7.92x57mm case (the caliber being my main area of interest).

It’s a Spandau case from October 1891 and as you can see, it’s a special purpose variant – for the Maxim machinegun.
What’s interesting is that as far as I know, the earliest known cases of this kind are from March 1893 (I base my knowledge on this list: home.scarlet.be/p.colmant/index_3.html and the book “Von der Patrone 88 zur Patrone S”).

Is it then the earliest known prototype?

Best regards


If the best lists show nothing this early, then this cartridge case you show represents the currently earliest noted date. IMHO, you cannot make the jump to “prototype” without considerably more documentation. It is my opinion, and I do not mean this in any mean-spirited way since I have been guilty of it myself, the words “experimental” and “prototype” are perhaps the most overused words in the ammunition lexicon. It is simply a conclusion I have come to after 50+ years of cartridge collecting.

It is a very nice headstamp, regardless, and I would have treasured it had it been in my own 7.9 collection when I was still collecting that caliber. Thanks for sharing it with us. This Forum has proved that the 7.9 x 57 mm round is certainly a “major interest” case type.

We hope that you will share any more information of nice rounds and headstamps that you might have, and come across.

Thank you and welcome to the IAA Forum.


Well, this is a great head stamp.
This is also the earliest MG Spandau head stamp I have ever seen.
Thank you for showing it.

Btw. Welcome here at the forum.





I was hoping you both would reply to this post, because if YOU don’t know something, probably it doesn’t exist :)

John Moss - as for my using the word “prototype” I didn’t really mean it literally. What I meant was “one of the earliest specimens”. I stand corrected anyway.

Dutch - what did the single word post “sorry” mean?



Otto Morawietz describes the events as follows, which makes the existence of MG ammunition from 1891 quite plausible:

Two Maxim machine guns were bought, firing the M1871 black powder cartridge.

In December, Gardner (manually driven) and said Maxim machine guns were tested. Maxim came out as superior. It was decided to modify both for firing the new smokeless 7.9 mm Patrone 88.

Trials of the Gardner were terminated, because it could not be made to work with Patrone 88.
But also the Maxim, as modified by Maxim himself and later in Germany (by Gewehr-Prüfungskommission) created an endless stream of ruptured cases even with special ammunition. The need of a special ammunition different from rifle ammunition was considered a serious drawback.

In March it was decided to terminate all trials with machine guns, because no solution seemed possible.
After that, for two and a half years there was no testing activity by the army.

During this hiatus, Ludwig Loewe (to become DWM) obtained a license for Maxim guns and sold some to the German navy. GPK managed to develop a special machine gun cartridge.

After British Admiral Commerrell had successfully demonstrated the Maxim “light” machine gun to Kaiser Wilhelm (during his annual summer trip to Norway), the latter ordered the army to resume work on machine guns.


Thank you for this information.
Does it come from “Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preußisch-deutschen Heeres 1640-1945”?

In the book I use as a reference (“Von der Patrone 88 zur Patrone S”) it’s written that trials to construct a special case for MG began in 1891 and succeeded by 1893.

According to Willem van Eijk’s and Karl Menze’s lists of known lot numbers the first case of this type is from March 1893 (home.scarlet.be/p.colmant/s-muni … pandau.xls).
However the only picture that I have (it’s in the abovementioned book) is of a case from March 1894.

Can anyone prove the existence of a March 1893 case?
If not, I would be tempted to assume it just doesn’t exist, which would solve the puzzle altogether…



Dutch - what did the single word post “sorry” mean?



I send two times the same post.
Removed one, and wrote Sorry. :)



Yes, it is from “Die Handwaffen…” 2nd edition 1973, page 268ff


Can anyone prove the existence of a March 1893 case?


Yes, I can. -:)


Thank you for that Dutch.
Well, this means that the information below:

In March it was decided to terminate all trials with machine guns, because no solution seemed possible.
After that, for two and a half years there was no testing activity by the army. [/quote]
refers only to major trials, maybe involving large scale field tests.

Apparently some work on developing a satisfactory cartridge had been going on all that time or was resumed before March 1893.



My view of the time line according to Morawietz is:
While the army did not do any work on machine guns, the navy bought some Maxims and needed ammunition that worked in them. Because the navy did not have its own small arms ammunition factory, I think Spandau -then the leading technology center in Germany in this field- was the obvious place to develop ammunition that was useable in navy Maxims. For this reason, I am not surprised that headstamps from 1893 exist, assuming they were made to get the navy machine guns going.

My admiration goes to Dutch, who -again- is able to produce an actual specimen from his collection even for the remotest of variations.


Perhaps it is of interest to see the cases from the inside.