7.92x57mm Mauser - Unusually Dark Primer Color


I was putting this cartridge into my inventory and I noticed the primer was an unusually dark color. It is almost a brown to black color and I was wondering if it was indicative of anything about the cartridge itself. There are no other color markings on this cartridge.

Thank you in advance for any information.



Seems to be a normal sS round
Weight about 404 grains.



Acording to Dan Kent in his book on German 7.9mm (and I quote)
Introduced July 25, 1940. Usually found loaded in blank and practice ammunition, including selected lots of s,S. ball. This composition was modified to alleviate the pierced primer and sensitivity conditions that existed with the Type 30 primer. The majority of the rounds with blackened primers are found dated 1940 to 1942.
This was also done (it looks like )with galvanized steel cup too.


The round does not look like a blank. It appears to be an s.S.ball round. The all-black primers are very distinctive, and this doesn’t look like one at all. The primer on this round looks perfectly normal for “old” ammunition, meaning this cartridge, from the scars and all on the base, has been “around the block.” My take is that it is a perfectly normal brass-cup primer that has just been tarnished by conditions.

John Moss


When did the germans change the s.S. ball annulus color from black to green?


To my knowledge, they never changed the color seal for s.S. ball. The black seal was for Type S ball, never for type s.S. It was also used on all the incendiary rounds like B-Patrone, PmK, etc. Even the few s.S. Ball rounds made in WWI have green primer seals.

John Moss


Is it true that the s.S. bullet was intended originally for machine gun, but was soon adopted for rifle too and the S bullet was dropped? The Sellier & Bellot cartridges that came to the spanish civil war came in the two flavors (black and green seal), and they were of recent manufacture (1935-36).


I am ashamed to say that I am not sure if the type s.S. ball was originally intended primarily as a machinegun cartridge, or whether from the start it was for Rifles and MGs. Are you there Dutch or Phil, to help us out on this?

The “S” ball was not totally discontinued in Germany with the adoption of the type s.S. ball as standard. The last lot I know of for the Type S ball was from 1940 and made by Polte, Werk Magdeburg.

Yes, the Czehs, as well as Poland, Belgium on some contract ammo at least, and perhaps others (can’t think of them right now) used the German-style Type S and Type s.S. bullets, and used the German color codes of black and green, respectively, for them.

John Moss


The sS cartridge was original developed as a machinegun cartridge .
The first found sS is from month 7 -1914 with a black seal.
In 1914 came also the SmK round so the sS round had no use anymore as a special round.
Until now there is no sS cartridge found from 1915 - 1916 - 1917.
Until month 3 from 1918 the color seal was black after that the color changes to green.



451 - I stand corrected. Thanks for the information. It shows you the vastness of the study of the 7.9 cartridge. With about 1,000 speciments of 7.9 x 57 from 1888 until 1918, I never ran across this before. It is possible that I had one or more sS ball with black seal and misidentified them as being Type S ball, though, admittedly. In the “glory days” of my collecting of that caliber, so times I would add 100 cartridges at a time, and frankly, didn’t always weigh every one or pay very, very close to bullet shape, as I should have. Well, some else’s problem now, but I still enjoy reading about and getting information on the 7.9, just as with all othe rammunition.

Thank you.

John Moss


All the German WWII era cartridges with blackened primers that I have seen are the Zdh. 30 type with non-magnetic cups. Most are in training ammunition (Platzpatronen 33. lS and lS L’Spur). I have never seen the Zdh. 30/40 type with a black finish. They come in a variety of finishes but I have never seen a black one. For a time in 1943 the Zdh. 30/40 cups were painted the same color as the load identifying annulus (green = sS, blue = S.m.E., red = S.m.K and S.m.K. L’spur) and the majority of the case dates are 1943.