7 x 57 Mauser, J 1914 Headstamp

Hi, All…

Pardon me if this topic has already been discussed…it would require someone better versed in searching to find an old topic…I tried and no luck…

Who made it and for whom was it intended ???


To my limited knowledge these were made in Japan and delivered to Russia during WWI together with Arisaka rifles chambered in 7x57 which originally were ordered by Mexico.

Also existed headstamp JT 1913

Randy, according to authors like J. E. Smith and John Walter, the Mexican contract was placed with Japan in 1910 during the mandate of Porfirio Díaz, and consisted of 40,000 rifles -and a few carbines-, but because of the overthrow of his government in 1911, less than 5,000 were delivered and the rest went to Russia. However, at least some of this information seems to be incorrect.

First, these 38th year type rifles in 7x57 caliber are marked with the Mexican crest of the Republic of Mexico and a 1913 date.

Also, I have documentation of a specific contract for these Japanese cartridges and rifles that was placed by Mexico in 1913 during the presidential mandate of Victoriano Huerta (February 19, 1913-July 15, 1914), that consisted of:

-10,000 rifles
-10,000 carbines
-1,000,000 cartridges

The shipment was arranged with Mitsui & Co. and was to be delivered between December, 1913 and January, 1914. Due to the Mexican government of Huerta had only payed for 1/3 of this order and couldn’t afford to pay the rest, in case that Japan wouldn’t accept to send it, they asked if it would be possible to ship this order after the war was over, and also adding 10% to its final value as a compensation.

During 1913, Mexico also bought from Japan a complete set of machines to set up an ammunition factory. This shipment was delivered with the help of two Japanese battleships, because the US Government learned about this and had intentions to capture it in the Pacific.

I don’t have first hand information about the rest of the story, but it is evident that Japan didn’t accepted the Mexican proposal, which, in any case, held a long war that not ended until July 28, 1920. As mentioned above by EOD, sometime between 1914 and 1916, 34,400 of these rifles and carbines with their respective ammunition went to Russia.

Finally, either coming from Mexico or the Soviet Union -I don’t know for sure-, these cartridges went to the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). As far as I know, only the J 1914 headstamp has been found in Spanish battlefields.



Fede, is it known who in Japan actually made these cartridges?

Thanks, EOD…I was going to ask the same question…

Also, treshkin brings up a good point…is it only a J with an elongated top crossbar, OR, is it a JT or TJ monogram ??? Like, for Tokyo, Japan, or T----- Arsenal, Japan ???

And thanks to treshkin for showing us that a 1913 headstamp also exists…

And to Fede for all the good info…


Alex and Randy, I don’t know where these cartridges were made.

Dear EOD,
as far as I know, the only Facility in 1914 in Japan would have been the Ammunition annexe of Koishikawa Arsenal, (on outskirts of Tokyo). Elks may have further info about this.

The Japanese “export” business for Firearms and Ammunition was already well established by 1900, and in succeeding years made Type 45/46 Mauser Rifles for Siam, along with initial lots of Ammunition (8x50R Siamese); Both Second Hand ( Milsurp) and New Rifles were sold into Asia and South America, even before WW I, wherever there was a substantial Japanese Migrant Population.

The 7mm Arisaka contract for Mexico was one such order, probably because the German Factories were either too expensive, or did not want to engage business in an unstable Civil war situation.

They were right, of course, as Mexico defaulted on the complete Order, leaving Japan with a lot of ammo and a sizeable number of rifles; Luckily, WW I broke out, and the 7mm Arisakas found a ready market in Imperial Russia, whilst another large order of 6,5mm Rifles came from France…to be passed over to the British even before delivery…and by 1916, these had been sent to Russia as well. Britain also made 6,5 ammo ( Cal .256) for these rifles, which were temporarily used by the Royal Navy to replace Lee-Enfields taken into Army Service.

The “J” imprint is occasionally mistaken for Joyce, a British company making .303 during WW I…( 1915-1918), but this is not possible, as manufacture of 6,5mm T30/38 ammo did not commence in Britain until late 1915-Early 1916 ( LoC entry), and then it was by Kynoch and Gov’t Cartridge Factory #3(?)

The interpretation of the double serifed “J” as “JT” ( combined letters) is a new idea to me…the “J” with a long cross bar is a normal printing Font, to distinguish “J” from “I”…a problem in Gothic German (J & I)…Jnfanterie vs. Infanterie…
If it is “JT”, then Japan-Tokyo is a reasonable interpretation, as the Army Ammunition Plant of Koishikawa complex was later ( 1930s) named Tokyo Army Ammunition Factory.

It would be nice to find an original Packet of these cartridges (clipped, I presume, on Brass Arisaka-type Clips – same size for 7mm).

Doc AV

Doc, thanks for your round up of the situ as it was back then!

Yes, it would be great to see an original box and the clips that went with the cartridges.