7mm Mauser Hirtenberger 1934

Can someone ID this for me? I know it’s a 7mm Hirtenberger but I think it could be a contract for a different country because of the stars on the headstamp. Also, what’s a good book for referencing pre-war cartridges?Thanks everyone!!

Thanks!! But I would like something broader than just 7mm only… I’m not a big 7mm guy, but I would like to have better books on pre-WW2 military ammo.

No idea what’s in the picture? I’m skeptical because I know there were Hirtenberger 1927 ammo cases used in 1973 by Chili… very tricky stuff.

The cartridge you show was made by Hirtenberger Patronen-, Zündhütchen- und Metallwarenfabrik A.-G., the factory name from 1895 - 1938, and then returned to the same name in 1958.

The caliber of 7 x 57 mm would indicate that this was likely part of a contract for a South American country. Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and others used this cartridge, so without a box label, or direct knowledge emanating from the country of use, it is hard to know exactly which country it would have been for. As you mention, it easily could have been for Chile.

John Moss

Ok John, thanks for confirming my suspicions…


I agree that this is likely to be one of those Hirtenberger overseas contracts in the 1920’s and 1930’s. However it is my understanding that these were actually produced by (its subsidiaries) Dordrecht and later Solothurn for HP - just like other examples from 1927, 1930, 1932, 1933 , etc - to avoid legal restrictions on it’s production after WW1?

So following info based on the others it is likely that this particular example was produced by Solothurn for Hirtenberger to be supplied to South America ? I don’t believe Hirtenberger actually produced its own ammunition in Austria with “HP” hs until after WW2 ? Up to then they used just the “H” hs but I would happily accept evidence to the contrary. As you say a box would be very useful.

There isn’t really any other book on military.

Ken also did one on Chinese, two volumes of Japanese plus a Turksh & Arabic book. These are useful as the the ammunition maker who made 7mm also made a number of other case types and you can use it for help with those.

Also Brad Dixon’s books are excellent for metric cartridges however he covers sporting variations. I see he has posted a reply.

I don’t know where you are located but It might be cheaper to get Ken’s books from Ken, who is in England.

Brad - The problem with the Dordrecht identification for a 1934-dated cartridge like the 7x57 mm shown, is that the year 1934 brought a big change in the Dordrecht connection. It is certainly not impossible that the cartridge in question was made there, but it could also have been made in Austria. For me, the only stickler is the use of “HP” on the headstamp by the Austrian factory. I simply don’t know, and can’t find, any mention of the “HP” headstamp not being used there until following WWII. Please note that I am NOT saying that it was. I simply don’t know or seem to have any documentation in my own library for the introduction of its use by Hirtenberger’s own factory.

And yes, I guess it could also have been made at the Solothurn works. I know very little about that particular factory and its production of small arms ammunition, in relation to ownership by Mandlor any other relationship to the Austrian factory.

Unfortunately, it is a confusing subject, even as outlined in some detail by the Anniversary Publication of 2010 on the history of Hirtenberger, “Hirtenberger AG - The First 150 Years.” On Page 48, it has this to say on the subject of Dordrecht:

“During the 1930s, the restrictions of the Peace Treaty were increasingly relaxed. Mandl, favouring his domestic plant in Hirtenberg, quit the partnership with the Dutch in 1934, which also heralded the end of the Dordrecht plant. Some of the machines were moved back to Hirtenberg, as they were eeded in increase the capacity there. A contract with the Dutch partners, very favourable to Mandl, guaranteed the Hirtenberger cartridge plant any remaining orders for Dordrecht.”

Regarding the relationship to Solothurn, the book has this to say, on page 50: Mandl and the Belgian arms and ammunition company FN also held shares in the Swiss Solothurn cartridge plant. Later, Mandl became the sole owner of that plant, which he sold after closing down the ammunition production departments, thus removing one of his competitors. The German Rheinmetall Company bought the Swiss plant and in 1929 established the arms company Solothurn AG. Mandl still had close connections with the Swiss plant and supplied most of the catridges for the firearms developed by Solothurn AG. In addition, Steyrr-Daimler-Puch AG had close connections with Solothurn and offered its know-how concerning the production of small arms. An Austro-Swiss “Steyr Solothurn Waffen A.G.” for the distribution of both companies’ products was established, and if the customer ordered ammunition with its wapons most of the time the ammunition came from Hirtenberg."

From this, it sounds like Hirtenberger made ammunition for Solothurn, and not the opposite.

The section on headstamps, page 146-148 are somewhat confusing. They show that for Domestic Military cartridges, the headstamps factory designator HP was used from 1956 to 2004. Regarding manufacturer’s marks on "civil cartridge and export ammunition, they shown "H.P. or “HP” used from the mid 1920s to 2004, “since 1955 always without the full stops” (which from the German-language portion, we see this meant “always without the periods.”

Somewhat confusing, especially since as a pistol-cartridge specialist, I full realize that Dordrecht made lots of the “HP” marked ammunition export all over the world. The problem is finding out which calibers and precisely when, since evidently, the Hirtenberg factory did as well, especially after whatever date in 1934 Dordrecht shut down.

John Moss

Pete - while I agree whole heartedly that if one is studying ammunition as a hobby, that money is actually better spent on books than even the cartridges themselves, and that books that specialize in narrow fields and single case-types are generally much more informative than wide studies, there ARE books simply on “Military Cartridges.” Four that I picked at random out of my own library are:

“Military Rifle and Machine Gun Cartridges,” English Edition, by Jean Huon, Ironside International Publishers, Inc., Alexandria, Va. 22313-0055.

“Military Small Arms Ammunition of the World, 1945-1980,” by Peter Labbett, Presidio Press, San Rafael, California.

“Panorama des Munitions,” by Bernard Meyer, Editions du Portail, a department of The SA Le Hussard, France, 1997. This is in French, but easy to read. Good photos and decent captions in French, but quite easy to read for the most part, even if one is almost totally without knowledge of the French language, as am I.

“Cartucce militari e per impieghi di polizia dal 1866 ad oggi” (Military Cartridges and for the use of Police, from 1866 until today), by Pierangelo Caiti, Giovanni De Vecchi Editore S.p.A., Milano, Italy 1983. Lots of usable information, but for best use, one should have some familiarity with the Italian Language, as it is totally in that language.

I don’t know if any of these are still in publication or not, but they, and likely other survey works on military ammunition, do exist.

I did not mention Cartridges of the World, which I suppose is of some use, although it is heavy on the commercial ammunition, and aimed more at the casual collector/shooter than to the serious cartridge collector.

John Moss

Thanks for all the great info guys, especially those books John. I have cartridges of the world, a couple volumes, nice but not what I need. I will look up some of those, thanks!!

Your right John about Huon & Labbett are both worthwhile books. I’m not familiar with the other two you noted, but I’ve no doubt if you recommend them they are worthwhile.
I just wasn’t thinking about the more general books but those with more detail that could cover a maker or bullet marking / construction details. Although those you mention do cover that too.

Pete - yes, a couple cover some details, but like you first stated, there really is no substitute for books that cover one subject in great detail. Wish I had more than I do, and counting manuals, hard cover books, soft-cover books and the like, I probably have close to 1800 works on guns and ammunition, and 99 file drawers full of information,such as catalogs, cut out articles, correspondence, Forum print outs, etc. Yet, every day, I come across questions both here and in my own mind and research for which I can’t find an answer in my library. My computer skills or lack thereof are almost laughable, but sometimes I can find a piece of information that should be easy to locate on the computer.

You can’t have too many sources - it is patently impossible.

You and all the others on the forum are my best and usually easiest to use sources of information!


John, Thanks for your detailed response.

Apart from having actual boxes, the other main factor in determining who produced those “HP” hs military cartridges between WW1-WW2 is what actually were the legal restrictions placed on Hirtenberger during that time period.

munition.org states (when referring to Hirtenberger 7mm production -translated) that
“the prohibition on the manufacture of war material was in force from 1920 to 1938”. I don’t know where that came from but as you say the publication “Hirtenberger AG - The First 150 Years.” is vague on this issue.

If municion.org is correct and that restriction was in effect for all that time then no military contracts would be allowed to be produced by Hirtenberger during that time and any “HP” military production would be from non-Austrian production.

What I am saying is that we need to be wary when saying that the WW1-WW2 “HP” hs *“was made by Hirtenberger Patronen-, Zündhütchen- und Metallwarenfabrik A.-G” but rather was either made “by or for” Hirtenberger until we can be sure about the production location of specific examples.

WBD - I can go along with that. One thing that Hirtenberger was not vague on was the gradual ignoring of the legal restrictions on Austrian military production. Hitler basically threw out all of the provisions of the Treaty detrimental to Germany, and my feeling is that his action doomed compliance by other countries so effected. I suspect that by 1934, the treaty basically meant nothing to most of them, even though in eyes of those on the other side, the provisions were "still in force).

The problem is always “who actually made it.” Dordrecht was evidently out of the picture by 1934, and it appears that Solothurn was buying more ammunition than it was making, at least in the small arms calibers. Of course, for years, we thought that Geco and RWS were each making the commercial ammunition even though some of us felt that perhaps one or the other was making the cases for both companies due to the identical headstamp fonts. It was many years before we learned as collectors, at least in this country, of the 1927 agreement between the two companies when it came to the production of commercial rifle and pistol ammunition. There are many other cases just as confusing. Of course today, with so many companies using other headstamp brands of cases to load their ammunition, you can’t tell the players without a program!

The “either of by” rule you mention, however, is very sensible when dealing with much ammunition, not just the ones from the rather stupid WWI restrictions, which probably produced no important effect other than perhaps helping along the economic depression in Europe which culminated in the crash of 1929 in the USA. I will try to remember to use that. It is not a bad rule at all.

Thanks for you reply.


I can’t think of any example of a cartridge with a dated “HP” headstamp that was made by any other than the Nederl. Patronen-Fabriek at Dordrecht. Dates range between 1926 and 1934, inclusive, and during the latter year the headstamp was changed to “P”, at least in 7.65x54 (e.g., 19 FYA 34 P).

Dordrecht manufactured ammunition until October 1936 -not 1934-, but I haven’t seen any “HP” headstamp dated 1935 or 1936. It seems that their latest production consisted in contracts of 7x57 and 7.9x57 with “discreet” headstamps send to Spain during the war.

There is a later 19 FYA 38 HP headstamp that I assume it was made by Staatsfabrik, Hirtenberg or Gustloff-Werke in Austria.

The “HP” headstamped cartridges found at Solothurn are identical to those made at Dordrecht, so I don’t think they manufactured any of them.



That’s interesting info - Thanks Fede

Some of you are bound to have read this article but I just found it today. It seems relevant to the above discussions as it explains some history of the “Patronenfabrik Solothurn AG”, it’s relationship to Hirtenberger (HP) and even mentions Dordrecht. From this article it appears clear that Patronenfabrik Solothurn would not have produced any ammunition for HP and gives other useful information re German Cartridge manufacturers.

Swiss Connection: Rheinmetall and Steyr in Switzerland

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Made for Argentina by Hirtenberger Loaded in Dordrecht .

I note that all of these are pre-1934.

John Moss

WBD - thanks for the link to the “Swiss Connection” article.

The article on the “Swiss Connection” is very interesting, and seems to pretty much confirm the information contained in the Hirtenberger factory history referenced by me earlier in this thread. I found especially interesting the subtitled-section “The Crises and the End,” on page 2 of the article: “During the 1920s, the ever-increasing competitive acticities put the Patronenfabrik slowly but surely under pressure. Many Austrian companies, such as Steyr, Böhler or Hirtenberger broke out of the restrictions of the Treaty of St. Germain and resumed the production of weapon parts and ammunition.”

This was even earlier than I had thought.

Regarding the nice picture by Gyrojet, it also proves that the restrictions were being ignored at least as early as 1926 by Hirtenberger thru the factory at Dordrecht, and in the absence, so far, of any such headstamp after 1934, seems to indicate that Dordrecht was out of the picture by that year, rather than 1936. I say “seems to indicate” because there is conflicting documentation on this point. If anyone has a known Dordrecht cartridge made for export to another country, dated after 1934, could you please post a picture of it. Factories histories, especially ones as well done as the Hirtenberger study, are wonderful sources of information, but some are known to contain errors.

John Moss

John Moss