7.9x57 M88 Nil headstamp

I have a clip of five 7.9x57 M88 cartridges with no Headstamp.
Can anyone suggest what their origin might be ?


There were some DWM unheadstamped clandestine contract made M88s in 1914 for the UFV, these could well be some of these


I’m not quite sure what the UFV is. Having a guess at Ulster Freedom Volunteers.
Please correct me.

UVF…Ulster Volunteer Force.

Do you have any proof DWM made these rounds?
The primer don’t looks German made to me.
Also the known boxes.


These look identical to the M.88 cartridges that were supplied to the UVF in 1914 and were manufactured by Spandau. Although no headstamp, the UVF contract cartridges all have the gothic style ‘M’ on the base of the bullet, and two million were supplied.

Sorry I’m not able to link it as I don’t know how to, but I put quite a bit of info into a post in September 2017 about the cartridges on the forum, the original topic of which was around .303 Mk6 style bullets in Mk7 cases, as these were seized 7.9 UVF contract bullets that had been resized & ‘recycled’ into .303 cases.

Which M88 cartridges with this appearance just WITH headstamp are known?

Do these maybe have a Belgian look?

Thanks Jim! Pete.

A couple of years ago fellow collector provide me with these pictures.




It don’t looks German to me.

Dutch, that’s great to see the box in colour, that appears to be the same label that is in the above link that Bill Woodin sent me a black & white photocopy of, I can confirm that the UVF contract 7.9 cartridges with the Munitionsfabrik Spandau marked bullets bought in Hamburg look identical to the ones in your image, including the brass domed primers and brown shellacked / varnished clips. Pete.

I could be right out out of line here this label on that box is torn with the cal designation is there a possibility
these cartridges are 7,65 Belgien Mauser and not 7.9=57mm the reason I state this is the fact that the
cartridge clip is not German but I think french? Lebel. i would be wise to do some measuring.

Comparison to other similar cartridges is a great method of helping Identify the cartridge in question.
Pictured is the clip in question alongside two other M88 clips to verify that they are 7.9x57.

I have compared and double checked, case length is 57mm projectile diameter is 8.11mm or .318"

Also I bit the bullet no pun intended and pulled the projectile from two of the cartridges with no Headstamp revealing a raised M in the base lead core and a weight of 226 Grains.

As a comparison i did the same with another cartridge that is headstamped S 1 03 E

The comparison projectile was quite corroded on the base but a light clean revealed the same M as is on the cartridge with no headstamp.

After light cleaning to remove corrosion

The powder within the No headstamped cartridge is of a much larger flake than the usual 2mm x 2mm x .45mm German powder of the comparison cartridge.

The clip itself has a Capital L stamped into the base. I do realise the clip is possibly not the original but of-course it may well be the original.

I think that that the projectiles are of definite German origin as the comparison shows.

Apologies for the photo quality.

I’d certainly appreciate any thoughts further to this clip of five cartridges with no Headstamp.

1 Like

Only from the information that came with the example I have and from a well known collectors web site.
The information given to me at the time was that they were manufactured by Deutsche Metallpatronenfabrik and supplied to the UVF (sorry about the UFV in my earlier post,it was early!) via Bruno Spiro,Hamburg.

just a thought, perhaps they were meant not to look like German as Germany and Britain were at war at the time and these rounds were supplied to Northern Ireland who Britain wasn’t ‘getting on with very well’ at this same time also.
Maybe this is the whole idea of them being a clandestine contract?..I do agree the primers look more Begian to me.


I think I owe you a bit of an apology what bothered me on this whole thing were those clips i once owned
a large gun collection and dealt with a lot of those but as time goes on one forgets that clip looked much
like a Libel clip but I new the moment I sent the post that I was wrong the Libel clip looks similar but tapered
along the sides and the hole not as big.Now those clips are German very early issue to the first generation
of COMMISSION RIFLES before these guns later were rebuild and reissued to the troops after a tremendous
scandal in German society surrounding the construction and issuing of contracts involving the jews blew the
lid of everything.Now these guns were later reissued as Mod 88 1905 S bore and had on the very end of the
action on top of the receiver 2 I will call them cheeks welded to be able to receive the new stripper clips
already issued to the new Mod long 1898.So the box you have is early enjoy it I am in possession of one too
only mine is a bit later by RWS all full and original I will try to post it but do not know if I will succede in this
endeavour Sherryl

there indeed was an anti-semitic campaign against Ludwig Loewe & Co, but it did not lead to any changes in the rifle design, which originated in the state arsenals. The technical issues of Germanys first smokeless propellant weapon (hi-tech as we say today) were numerous and resulted in a lot of changes to ammunition and rifle over the years. Increasing bore dimensions was -not- among them.
I know that everyone believes that G 88 had a tighter bore than the later G 98. But even a story that is repeated again and again is not always true. From the beginning, the bore diameter was 7.9 mm and remained unchanged. (OK, the groove depth was increased from 0.1 mm to 0.15 mm in 1896 to reduce wear.) The official drawings (Maßtafeln) of G88 and G98, kept in the Bavarian Army Museum at Ingolstadt, document this fact clearly. Mauser G 98 originally fired Patrone 88 of its predecessor and consequently kept the same bore and chamber dimensions as G88.

The S-bullet adopted in 1903 had an increased bullet diameter (following French example). The neck area of the chambers of all G88 and G98 in the hands of troops and in depots were reamed out for the larger case neck. Bore dimensions remained unchanged.
Using larger bullet diameters, but leaving the bore dimensions as they were, was also done in France and Russia when going from the round-nose to a pointed bullet. UK and US, on the other hand, kept the previous bullet diameter.

By far not all G88 were changed to G88/14 and G88/05 for the use of stripper clips (Ladestreifen) in place of the original Mannlicher clip (Laderahmen). Patronen 88 in Laderahmen were produced even in World War I.

Thanks for the reply. Certainly no apology necessary, I appreciate your opinions on the cartridges.

The box pictured is from Dutch, and a very desirable box it is too.

I started the original post with only a photograph of a clip of five cartridges.

I have added some more photographs since starting the post in the hope it may give some further indication of the cartridges origins.

What does the Gothic styled M on the base of the projectile indicate ? I know it is of German origin and would indicate loading at a German facility.

So far, As TonyL and Muskey suggests I believe the Cartridges without a headstamp were likely intended for the Irish, UVF in 1914.

The M means Munitionsfabrik, identifying the ammunition factory at Spandau.
What has to be considered is the system of distributed manufacture of components. For example, Rheinmetall came into being to manufacture several million Geschoss 88 bullets, identifed by letter H, because the contract was initially granted to Hörder Hütten- und Bergwerksverein.
So, from the M on the bullets one cannot conclude that the cartridges were made at Spandau.

I find it hard to understand that all sorts of cleverness are attributed to the makers of the cartridges to hide the real origin (starting to produce totally un-German primers and boxes for an irrelevant amount of cartridges at that), but at the same it is taken for granted that the makers were dumb enough to leave the M on the bullets, although it could have easily been removed. In my oprinion the presence of the M is strong indication that the real producer of the cartridges wanted to mislead analysts regarding origin. Of course, this is only my opinion in this matter.

Interesting thoughts JPeelen.
Thanks for explaining the M Munitionsfabrik relation to the Spandau factory.
There is no real way of knowing then who the maker of the cases was. Although I am sure there are other collectors that have similar cartridges lacking Headstamps that know of their origin by inspecting components closely.
As you quite rightly say, the projectiles could have been sourced by the ammunition manufacturer to falsely indicate a German loading. Similar to how a modern reloader using new brass might buy a packet of Sierra or Speer projectiles, the finished product would look very similar to factory produced cartridges.
The size of the powder flake in the M88 cartridges could indicate other evidence also.

Having said that, one can only make the decisions with the information one has at the time.