7 x 49 Venzuelan aka 7mm Liviano

This cartridge was adopted by Venzuela around 1952, the only country to do so, and then dropped by them in favor of the 7.61 x 52 around 1955. What happened to the millions of rounds of 7 x 49 ammunition that was made by Belgium for Venzuela? These occasionally show up, but not in the numbers that might be expected. The only headstamp I am aware of is FN 55. Huon (Military Rifle & Machine Gun Cartridges) points out that it was still listed in the FN catalog as late as 1973 - would this have been the 1955 dated ammunition that had been intended for Venzuela?

Hi Guy,

I also have FN 53, FN 55 (with 2 types of primer crimps and with CNCS and GM jackets), and FN 56 (CNCS and exposed core AP rounds). While certainly ‘common’ as a quasi-experimental military case type, I don’t know the answer to your question…perhaps sent to sent to scrap. I have a few extra of these boxes if anyone is interested.

Most of the ammo was busted up into components.I saw the bullets offered up for sale in a Shotgun News ad some time in the '80s.The brass I have no idea where it went-probably scrap.The powder went to Thunderbird Cartridge and was sold as T-Ven in the '80s.I know about the powder because we loaded a large number of 7.62 NATO cartridges with it.Will

Is anything known on the background of this cartridge in terms of who developed it and how it came that a country like Venezuela adopted a pretty modern cartridge comparetively early after WWII when most large countries were still fiddling with much larger cartridges?
Had Venezuela advisors from abroad or was the whole thing an offer by FN?

Has anybody a hs checklist or images of all known cartridges?

Wasn’t the round essentially FN marketing developments of the various .280/30 projects?

So does that make everything dated before 1952 a 7mm 2nd Optimum
and everything from 52 onwards a Liviano?

Some extracts from Assault Rifle: the Development of the Modern Military Rifle and its Ammunition

"Next in the field came the British, who in 1945 set up the Small Arms Calibre Panel in order to determine the optimum cartridge for a lightweight rifle. After many calculations and experiments mainly involving rounds of between .25 to .27 inch calibre (6.35-6.8 mm), they reported in 1947 in favour of further development of two alternative designs. One was a .27 inch (6.8 x 46) firing a steel-cored 100 grain bullet at 2,750-2,800 fps (6.5 g at 840-850 m/s), which still retained 81 ft lbs (109 j) of energy at 2,000 yards (1,830 m), a significant figure as the estimated energy required to inflict an injury to an unprotected man is around 60 ft lbs (80 j). The other was a .276 (7 x 43: later redesignated .280 to avoid confusion with earlier cartridges) which was tested with bullets weighing between 8.4 and 9 grams (130-140 grains) at between 747-710 m/s (2,450-2,330 fps). The 130 grain/2,450 fps loading had a retained energy of 100 ft lbs at 2,000 yards (135 joules at 1,830 m). Eventually a loading of a Belgian-designed 9 g bullet at 736 m/s (140 grains at 2,415 fps) was decided on. The .280 calibre (actually 7 mm, with a .276 inch bore and .284 bullet) was a little larger than was thought ideal but it was selected for further development, reportedly in order to try to meet American preferences for good long-range performance. For the same reason, the original case rim diameter was increased slightly to match that of the American .30-06 to enable them to rebarrel existing guns more easily, leading to a change in designation to .280/30.

In conjunction with the .280 two new rifles were developed, the EM-1 and EM-2 bullpups, described in more detail in the section on the UK. It is important to note that, unlike the FCARs described above, the .280 was intended to replace entirely both the 9 mm SMG and the .303 inch rifle / MG rounds. It was envisaged that the rifle would normally be used in semi-automatic mode at ranges in excess of about 150 metres, with fully-automatic fire being used in short bursts at shorter ranges. The .280/30 cartridge was formally adopted in August 1951 as the ‘7 mm Mk 1Z’, at the same time as the EM-2 was adopted as the ‘Rifle, No.9 Mk 1’. But fate was about to disturb these careful plans."

[info on US development of their .30 cal Light Rifle cartridge which evolved into the 7.62x51 NATO, plus the competitive trials in the USA]

"Clearly, the British designers had achieved all that they had aimed for, but the Trials Board recommendation to focus development on the .280 cartridge was rejected by the Chief of Staff of the US Army. This was due to the clear preference of the Ordnance Department and the American senior military, political and industrial establishment in favour of a full-power .30 calibre rifle of US origin.

The British felt that the Aberdeen trials should have settled the matter so didn’t give up easily. They set about meeting the American objections by producing more powerful versions of their cartridge, with the support of Belgium and Canada. The first change was to upload the 43 mm case to 2,550 fps (777 m/s) with the 140 grain (9 g) bullet, to meet the criticism of the trajectory and also to address complaints that the low temperatures of Arctic conditions reduced the performance to an unacceptable level. This raised the energy remaining at 2,000 yards to 126 ft lbs (170 joules). However, the British cause was severely damaged by a change of government, which led early in 1952 (reportedly followed a meeting between the US President Truman and Winston Churchill, the new Prime Minister) to a decision to rescind the adoption of the EM-2 and its 7 mm cartridge before any had been issued.

Despite this setback, Britain, Belgium and Canada combined (in the ‘BBC Committee’) to make one last attempt to develop a new 7 mm round which would be acceptable to NATO. Various lengthened cartridges with such designations as ‘Optimum’, ‘High Velocity’, ‘Compromise’ and ‘Second Optimum’ were developed, mostly with 49 mm cases although the final attempt was simply the 7.62 x 51 necked-down to 7 mm. Muzzle velocities were in the range 2,750-2,800 fps with the 140 grain bullet (9 g at 840-850 m/s). However, the Americans would not be convinced. In any case, the recoil had by this time increased significantly and the balance of the original EM-2 concept had been lost. At the end of 1953, the BBC Committee reluctantly bowed to American pressure and the 7.62 x 51 was formally adopted as the new NATO cartridge.

The only result of all of this effort was a 7 x 49 cartridge, known as the 7 mm Medium, which saw service in an FN FAL selective-fire rifle which was sold to Venezuela."



I have a box identical to the one pictured in the thread. The average measurements of the three chargers in the box are as follows:


Is there a source for these in the US that anyone is aware of. I don’t recall ever seeing any for sale other than one example (FN 55) that was part of a small collection I bought a few years ago. Obviously there are boxes to be found in Canada.


I got my box from Thunderbird Cartridge Company of Phoenix, AZ in 1991. The owner told me that most of the primers were dead so he was breaking them down (or had broke them down, I don’t remember which) for the components. I never checked that out since I didn

Between everyone breaking them down, looks like they did a pretty thorough job. The Gun Report collector cartridge price guide lists these at $1 each. I suspect that’s a bit low. I’d gladly pay $1 each for a handful of these.


I bought one of these, inerted unfortunately, several years ago from a dealer here in the UK. I’ve always thought it one of the more good looking cartridges especially because of the symmetry of the headstamp and the primer crimps. A very tidy piece of work.

There is something rather satisfying in the circular nature of the development process that sees this 50 plus year old design being reincarnated in various forms. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.


Ive got 7x43s by FN, 7x49s by FN, 7x49.5s by Radway Green, and 7x51s by Radway Green and Dominion Arsenal Canada.
Are there any other manufacturers to look out for?

Have these tripper clips for the 7x49mm special markings or are these just normal .30-06 stripper clips?

@Paul, what is the marking on the stripper clip on your photo?



[quote=“craigt”]Ive got 7x43s by FN, 7x49s by FN, 7x49.5s by Radway Green, and 7x51s by Radway Green and Dominion Arsenal Canada.
Are there any other manufacturers to look out for?[/quote]

Manufacturers of the .270/.280/7mm series were:

.270 RG and Kynoch
.280 and .280/30 RG, Kynoch and FN
7 x 49mm HV RG only
7 x 49.5mm 2nd Opt. RG, FN and DAC
7 x 51mm Comp RG, FN, DAC and FA


When I first started collecting cartridges about 25 years ago, this was a common item. The gun shop I first bought collector ammunition at had boxes of this stuff for $1.00 per round. I used to see these regularly at gun shows and such. It’s still $1.00 cartridge to me, knowing how much of it is still “out there” somwhere. I must admit though that it is one of the most astheticly pleasing cartridges I can think of. If a cartridge could be “pretty”, this one would be it…



The 3 clips in the box plus the 1 extra clip of 5-rounds I have are unmarked. For the size of the clips see my earlier post in this thread.

JJE: As far as I can tell by close examination and by use they are interchangeable with the usual M93 Mauser clip. They will also work in an '03 Springfield far more often than not. As far as date of availability of the clipped ammo is concerned, a friend recalls it being advertised in 1964 by, he thinks, Century Arms. JG