7.9m/m JS sporting cartridges by FN and Povazska Bystrica

Recently I was given an interesting group of 7.9m/m J and JS sporting cartridges made between about 1935 and 1942 by various European firms. Unfortunately several specimens had had their bullets pulled & matching cases to bullets is not an exact science. As it happened I had as many bullets as cases and I think my matches are likely correct but would like to seek other opinions.
There was a single case from Povazska Bystrica, headstamped Z at 12 , two stars at 9 and 3, and 8x57S at 6 o’clock. Brass case and uncrimped brass primer with green annulus. The likely correct bullet is CNCS with a large round lead nose, slight case mouth crimp, and a shallow hemispherical hollow at the base. Diameter is .3225 in. and weight 204.5 gr. That weight seems uncommon and maybe will help match it with the case.
The other case is by FN, headstamped FN at top and 8x57JS at the bottom; case and primer brass, annulus black. Its apparent bullet is CNCS with a large flat lead nose and a shallow crimp at the case mouth. The bullet, which is also .3225 in., weighs 226.5 gr. and has a deep hemispherical hollow at the base. This bullet weight is very typical for many early sporting 7.9m/m cartridges of either J or JS type. Do these case-bullet matches seem OK? I could supply a total weight for bullet plus case for each, but the propellant is long gone I’m afraid. Thanks, JG

The “Z” hs is from “Zbrojovka Brno, AS, zavod II Povazska Bystrica” at Bystrica in Slovakia who operated from 1934-1939. Here is some company history:

********************************Zbrojovka Brno
Prior to WW2 the Czech Government controlled all arms and ammunition manufacture under the title Zbrojovka Brno (Brno Arms Factory). Upon the government take-over of the ex J.Roth Bratislava factory in 1928 (see: “J.Roth”), the company became known as the “Ceskoslovenke Munici a kovodelne zavody Bratislava, AS”. This produced both military and sporting ammunition using a hs monogram consisting of an “M in a circle” which was used from 1928-1934.

In June 1934, the Bratislava factory was closed for political reasons (too close to the border) and a new factory was set up by Brno, “Zbrojovka Brno, AS, zavod II Povazska Bystrica” at Bystrica in Slovakia. This factory produced both military and sporting ammunition using a “Z” hs.

Just before WW2 a new factory “Zbrojovka Brno, AS, zavod III Vsetin” was established at Vsetin but this produced only heavy calibre shells and 9mm Parabellum from 1943.

From 1940-1945 most of Czechoslovakia was under German occupation but not Slovakia. However in 1940 the German Trust “Reichswerke Herman Goring A.G.” purchased Zbrojovka Brno shares and after 1942, Zbrojovka Brno AS became "Waffen Union Skoda Brunn G.M.b.H. Berlin. At this time all Czech ammunition factories were used for German wartime production. Only military ammunition retained the “Z” hs after WW2.

After WW2 this factory was nationalised and became Povaske Strojarne (PS - which see) but Zbrojovka Brno itself continues to operate in 2002.

Note that both a Z in circle and a M in circle primers were used. The typical 1934-39 “Z” hs had stars but some hs without stars also exist.


JR from c1923-1928
M from 1928-1934
Z from 1934-1939

Here is an excerpt from a c1938 Zbrojovka Brno catalog showing the bullets used with the 8x57. Sorry the image is not so good but best I have.

This is better - These should have the “Z * 8x57S” hs.

WBD: Thanks so much for the firm history and the pics. My bullet seems a very good match for the 8.2m/m number 84. JG

PS and FN made definitive sporter ammo in the 1950s and 60s, but one must be careful connecting “Z” marked ammo with “sporter” production as such. Millions of rounds of “Z” marked 39 and 40 years ammo was converted after WW II ( 1950s) By or for Interarms, from ammo acquired throughout northern and eastern Europe. The Germans supplied “Z” marked ammo to Sweden in 1939-40 with the M39 and M40 Kar98k rifles, and it was also supplied to various clients of the Reich (Romania) at the beginning of the war…the use of “Z” as a code died out about 1942, as did the separate headstamp supply of ammo to clients…from about 1943, all 7,9 came out of Normal Coded supplies.

The reworked Interarms cartridges usually show up in packets for English gunshops or distributors, amongst other “private brands”. Cases are brass, and retain their original primer, colour lacquer, etc, but with a replaced projectile. The projectiles vary from simply a soft point spitzer, to round nose soft points.
It is thought that both Lapua and Norma did these conversions for Interarms. (Lapua also did a lot of .303 Mark VII to soft points, and marketed them in their own red packets.).

Large quantities of “Z” and “SB” marked 7,9 ammo with 37-40 dates has also shown up in Ukraine (FMJ), showing that this ammo was used by Non-Wehrmacht Forces in Russia ( SS, SD, etc), as they had “separate supply lines” up till 1942…
PS is recognised as both a Military and Commercial supplier of cartridges post war (from about 1948 onwards) and had a very large range of European
cartridge designs, and some US types as well.

BTW, “Circle M” was still being used in 1935 ( Contract 8x50R for Bulgaria) and “Z” only came into common use for export cartridges from 1936 onwards. ( 7mm, 7,65mm, 7,9, etc) ( from examples seen).
Probably just a delay in changing the headstamp in line with Corporative realities.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Doc: Your point about re-bulleting of military cartridges is well taken, but the rounds I asked about both had commercial style headstamps stating the caliber and without mention of dates. The cases and bullets were separated, but they had been pulled within the last few weeks by a non-collector hoping to use them for reloading. A friend discovered this dubious project and succeeded in saving more rounds from destruction, including a considerable number of RWS 8x57J and 8x57JS sporting cartridges in copper washed and lacquered steel cases. Had he been a bit later the bullet puller would have disassembled the entire lot with the possible exception of the steel cased rounds where many of the bullets had rusted in place. JG

Dear J.Gill,
sorry, I misunderstood…I thought there were both Military HS AND “Commercial” HS Rounds involved… Should have read more thoroughly the detail and the photos.

Question for out there…How much production of “Sporter” ammo was there before WW II in Czechoslovakia…we know S&B had been making sporting ammo since before WW I, but the other maker/s??? (Not just 7,9mm).

Thanks for the correction,
Best regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics

Doc: I looked through my 1960 catalog of the Oregon Ammunition Service to see what kind of listings could be found for the Z maker’s mark–Jack Brickell probably had the best representation of older European makers among the firms which offered collectors’ cartridges in the U.S. in those years. Didn’t turn up much at all, a couple of handgun cartridges (Rast-Gasser and Roth-Steyr M.07) and a hunting version of the 8x50R Mannlicher. By contast he had a dozen or more different PS-marked sporting rifle calibers. JG

Here is a listing of CZECH Sporting Rifle Cartridge Production which may help:

5.6x35R Vierling : JR? , M? , Z , PS , S&B
5.6x49 Ultra Rapid : , , , , S&B
5.6x50R Magnum : , , , , S&B
5.6x52R (22 SAV) : , , , PS , S&B
6.5x41R (25-20 SS) : PS , S&B
6.5x51 Jap : M , Z , PS
6.5x52R (25-35) : , , , PS , S&B
6.5x54 MS : JR , M , M , PS , S&B
6.5x57 Mauser : , , Z , PS , S&B
6.5x57R Mauser : , , Z , PS , S&B
6.5x58R Sauer : JR? , M? , Z , PS , S&B
6.5x70R Sauer : , M , Z , PS? , S&B
6.8x28R Schulhof : JR , M , Z , PS? ,
7x57 Mauser : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
7x57R Mauser : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
7x64 Brenneke : , , Z , PS , S&B
7x65R Brenneke : , , , PS , S&B
7x72R Brenneke : , M , Z , PS? , S&B
8x56 MS : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x57R/360 : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x57J Mauser : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x57JS Mauser : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x57JR Mauser : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x57JRS Mauser : , , , , S&B
8x58R Sauer : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8x60 Mauser : JR , M , Z , ,
8x60S Mauser : , , Z , PS , S&B
8x60R Mauser : JR , M , Z , ? , S&B
8x60RS Mauser : , , , PS , S&B
8x64S Brenneke : , , , Z , PS , S&B
8x71 Peterlongo : JR , M , Z? , ,
8x72R/360 Brenneke : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8.15x46R Normal : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
8.2x72R Express : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
9x56 MS : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
9x57 Mauser : , , , PS ,
9x57R Mauser : , , , PS ,
9.1x40R G Tesching : JR , M , Z , PS ,
9.3x57R/360 Express : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
9.3x62 Mauser : , , , PS , S&B
9.3x72R/360 Normal : , M , , PS , S&B
9.3x82R/360 Nimrod : JR , M , Z , PS ,
9.3x74R Mauser : , , , Z , PS , S&B
9.4x60 Peterlongo : JR , M? , Z? , ,
9.5x57 MS : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
10x60R (400) Express : JR , M , Z? , ,
10.75x52R Springer : , , , , S&B (no hs)
10.75x68 Mauser : , , , PS , S&B
11.15x36R Werndl : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
11.2x51R Krop-Heissig : JR , M , Z , PS ,
11.6x60R (450) Express : JR? , M , Z , PS , S&B
11.6x65R (450) Express : JR? , M , Z? , ,
11.6x82R (450) Express : , , , , S&B
12.7x60R (500) Express : JR , M , Z , PS , S&B
12.7x76R (500) Express : , , , , S&B
(Note : ? means likely but not confirmed)

I haven’t updated this list for awhile so there may be a few extras now known. All JR, M, Z and much of the S&B are pre-WW2

WBD: It’s a truly amazing list. Thanks much. JG