7.9x57mm headstamp

Does anyone have any information on the background of this 7.9x57mm headstamp? I have it listed as Italian manufacture but I

The unusual font style on your cartridge is very similar to this 7.9mm M.1936 manufactured by Seville, Spain.

My guess is that your round is Spanish.

I have the same headstamp (very small & distinctive “38”) loaded with a CN bullet with a red tip. I bought this and a specimen of the CNCS sS loading years ago from Martin Retting and I believe his ID was Italian for both. The CN jacketed round with the red tip seems italianate to me. JG


Alas, no photo. I’ll check out its weight and whether the bullet crimp looks correct or not in case that seems helpful here. JG

The cartridge headstamped “38” weighs 373 gr. and the bullet crimp looks correct to me. The bullet itself has a S-type ogive (not the sharper sS type seen above) and faint traces of a red tip; the jacket material is CN, very unusual in the 8x57. From the foregoing it looks as tho the ID as tracer might be wrong and it’s only an S ball loading. Short of pulling the bullet the matter is up in the air unless someone can provide a definite ID. I do feel the bullet is original to the case. JG

This cartridge has always been identified as being of Italian manufacture, but admittedly, I have seen no documentation to prove manufacture by any specific country or company.

The ball round has a heavily magnetic bullet, while the “tracer” with red tip has a non-magnetic bullet. In the case of the ball round, the one in my collection does not take a weak magnet at the very tip of the bullet, some indication that the jacket may be CN like that of the “tracer” and not CNCS, but rather with some steel in the core.

I do not think that one can say that a CN jacket is “very unusual” in the 8 x 57 cartridge, by the way. I have many examples of 8 x 57mm ammunition with CN jackets, as well as CNCS. Most Italian bullets in this caliber do draw to a magnet, though. My other Italian round, SMI 930, with a jacket of CN material takes a magnet, but like the “38” headstamped round, it does not draw to a weak magnet place right at the tip, again indicating that the magnetic material may be in the core and not the jacket. I don’t know this for sure. Interestingly, even though the SMI round has a green primer seal, the bullet shape is closer in ogive to the German type “S” than it is to type “sS” ball.

Unfortunately, I no longer have my specimen with red tip, due to our state’s laws, but I do recall it having an “S” type ogive. I didn’t record the OA ctg. weight in my notes. However, the bullet weight given by Gill does not preclude it from being a tracer. German tracers, for example, usually fall within a weight of about 357 grains to around 372 grains (Verbesserte loads with green stripe on bullet have slightly heavier powder charges and so are slightly heavier overall - around 377 grains). Type “S” ball falls within this range of total cartridge weight, unusally about 361 grains in brass case loads for German ammunition. All this said, while I record the red-tipped specimen I had as a tracer, I never have had a dupe that I can recall, so have never pulled or cut into a bullet from one, and therefore cannot say definitively that they are tracers.

Interesting information. I checked my sS round with a weak magnet and it attracts the magnet at the tip. Maybe my

I have some 1938 and 1939 BPD 12,7x81SR HE-I which came out of the Pacific along with Japanese-made cartridges of the same calibre(Fuze-dated 42)…and the Type Font is the same as the mystery “38” 7,9mm cartridge.

In the 1937-39 period, Italy was involved with “Volunteers” in the Spanish Civil War, and supplied Franco’s Nationalist Forces with a Lot of Ammunition, as well as Men and Guns. Some of the later (1940s) ALFA Guns were derived from Breda designs.
It could be that this 7,9mm ammo is part of a BPD Clandestine supply (as did the Germans in the same time period, with their “Letter-coded” factory IDs (AI, etc) for Franco. Except for the beseiged Arsenal de Toledo,(El Alcazar) held by the Cadets of the Military School there against the Communists until relieved by the Nationalists, Franco had little in the way of ammunition manufacture in Spain until towards the end of the SCW.

As Spanish manufacture took off in liberated areas, it was probbably with a lot of technical aid from both Germany and Italy, and even headstamp bunters would reflect this. That is why there could be some reflection of Font style in later (1940s) production.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

A very interesting round. It also looks like Sevilla production to me, but I always thought that Sevilla started production of 7,92 in 1947 (headstamps PS 1947 to PS 1956, when it changed to S 7,9 57 until S 7,9 65).

The 7 x 57 Sevilla production overlapped with that of 7,92 during some years, but they used the (PS 1950) style from 1916 to 1950.

I mean, I haven’t seen a Sevilla headstamp with only the two last digits of the year until 1957.

Also I thought that spanish production of 7,92 ammo started in Palencia in 1938 (headstamp * FNP * 1938). It seems that they used imported bullets because several bullet types can be found with that hstp: pointed flat based CN; pointed flat base CNCS; pointed flat base, GM; pointe flat base, long, GM.