7mm Kortneck (shortneck) Boer contract


Today at the place where I shoot trap, someone gave me a very old DM 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher case they found when clearing out their shed. The case length is actually a bit short, as 63.5mm. The headstamp is:


I know the maker, DM was the foreunner of DWM, but the FYA (Which I know is the abbreviation for “For rifles and machine guns” in Spanish) is a bit confusing. The Spanish site municion.org also says that this carridge was designed in 1899, but the date on mine is definitely 1896.

Was this a contract load for a Spanish-speaking country, if so, which one? And which country was using a 6.5 x 54 Machine gun (I didn’t know there was such thing) in 1896? This case also had some kind of fired round-nosed steel jacketed 6.5mm bullet pushed into the mouth to make an inert round when I got it, is this a correct bullet for this calibre at this time? This bullet is easily removable, and can be taken in and out by hand.

Last year, the same person also gave me a 7x57 Mauser with the same DM 1896 headstamp, same style of fired steel-jacketed bullet, and from the same shed.


I’ll go out on a bit of a limb here but I think you’ve got a 7.65mm x 57mm Mauser case shortened to 54mm and renecked to 7mm. This was a DWM contract during the Boer War as the 7mm Mauser was in short supply. The cartridge was referred to as the ‘7mm Kortneck’ (shortneck). These generally had a distinctive film of green wax around the shoulder/neck area. Hope I’ve got the right cartridge and hope this helps!


The bullet on this round does measure 7mm, not 6.5mm. I guess it must be the 7mm Kortneck. I suppose someone bought these back from the Boer war, and they somehow ended up in an Oxfordshire shed. There is certainly no green wax left, as these have been fired and hanging around for 111 years. Could the 7mm Kortneck be fired in any 7x57 Mauser chambered weapon?


The case length and the headstamp sound to me like the 7.65 x 54mm Argentine (Belgian) Mauser cartridge. Jim, did you mean “7.65 x 57,” or did you mean “7.65 x 54”? Did DM actually make a contract for the Boers using a Spanish-language abbreviation on the headstamp (F y A - Fusiles y Ametralladoras)?


Sorry John, yes I did mean 7.65 x 54mm. My understanding is that any available 7.65mm cases were ‘converted’ and exported to the Boers - regardless of headstamp. I have three different examples - two with the ‘F y A’ marking on DM cases and the third with a Belgian ‘FN’ headstamp. Jim.[/b][/u]


This round is definitely the 7mm Kortneck, and not the 7.65mm Belgian Mauser. Here is a photo:

Top: 7x57 Mauser: hstp “D.M. 1896 K.” Bottome: 7mm Kortneck, hstp: “D.M. 1896 F. y A.”


Ron - this thread could use a title change for future research.

Interesting that these really do have the Argentine-contract headstamp. I would bet that the Afrikaner soldiers were wondering what in heck the “F y A” stood for? Or were there cartridge collectors back then?


You can see that this rounds has a more curved shoulder, and a slight mark where it was reformed. Could one of these chamber and be fired in a 6.5 x 54 MS? The consequences of that would not be good.

P.S. I am sure the first cartridge collector appeared as soon as the first person discarded a fired cartridge case. The person who found that case also picked up another…and another… then his (I am 99.9% sure it was a he) friend saw them and also picked some up, and so the hobby began.


I would really like to know whether this reforming work was indeed carried out as initially thought by DWM or were these reformed in Africa? The fact that I have a round with an FN headstamp and that many of the rounds have this unusual green wax coating on them makes me think the latter is more likely.


John–Do you like that title better?? I like to wait for the dust to clear before I change a title, but I agree that it was time for this thread.


Kudos to Ron - that was quick. Yes, much more appropriate, since the old title was the name of a cartridge never related to anything on this topic.

I , like Jim, have wondered about any factory doing these rounds. It is the kind of thing that revolutionary movements do under the basic title of improvised munitions. But then, why would they have a surplus of brass for the 7.65mm Belgian (Argentine) Mauser in South Africa, especially with an Argentine headstamp? Of course, I could wonder why DWM had so much of it, too.I would think that taking all this scrap brass, sorting it, inspecting it for flaws, reforming and then loading it would be as expensive or more for a huge firm like DWM than simply making new ammunition of the correct dimensions. I could be totally wrong. Despite my study of ammunition, I don’t really have a whole lot of knowledge about the manufacturing of it, and what one thing costs over doing it another way. I guess like so many things in our hobby, it is hard to find out the whole story.