8 x 56R Hungarian clip markings

I have 9 variations of maker’s marks on 8 x 56R Hungarian clips, plus an unmarked one, as shown in the picture. They include from the top left the Nazi eagle, double headed eagle, single headed eagle, upside down AH (or HA), AZF in an oval, GR in a circle (also found without the circle), MF in a circle, SB, W, and unmarked. Does anyone know who the makers were? I assume GR is Georg Roth, and SB might possibly be Sellier & Bellot.


The following has been gleaned from Josef M

Looks like you covered them all. Thank you for gathering all of that information.

I have included a picture of three of the box labels. It would appear the change to the German code P635 was made in 1938, as shown on the second label.


Nice boxes! Yes, Gustloff’s changeover to German codes certainly started in 1938, but it seems to have taken some time to be fully adopted. In fact I wonder if the cartridges and clips in your later packets may still carry the Nazi-eagle headstamp and clip mark

Found this clip in a box.
First I thought it was a circle H, could also be a circle B.


Interesting! Could be a slightly wonky Hirtenberger commercial clip pressed into service, but it certainly looks a bit more like a “B”.

If it is I don’t know this one – has anyone seen a definite “B” on an 8mm Mannlicher clip?

The marked clips and boxes labels shown above came from a large number of boxes of this ammunition that I purchased this past week. All of the boxes were open, and all of the cartridges are headstamped the same, with the eagle with swastica, 19 VIII 38, the same as the cartridges in Dutch’s ‘B’ marked clip. This is the only headstamp I have ever seen on this ammunition where the eagle with swastica was used. The mix of clips and labels would suggest that the clips and boxes were reused when the cartridges were packed at the factory, or (more likely) that the clips and boxes were filled at some later time from a bulk lot of loose ammunition with this headstamp.

Guy: Something that might suggest factory reuse of old clips is the fact these clips are generally seen with a blued finish whereas, I believe, the older ones were usually issued in the white. A friend gave me a stack of clips from some of this ammo and the clips represented just above every possible source and date and all were with blued finish. On the box labels, as an aside, the B and Rottw identify the Austrian powder factory at Blumau and the German facility at Rottweil (which I latterly discover has been partly mentioned on another recent thread). JG

The definitive answer to that would be provided if we knew whether the date on the boxes, which unlike the headstamps, vary by month, is a packing date or a loading date. Without that information, my answer and your answer are purely conjecture, of course. That is NOT to say that you may not be completely correct. I know that some think I am really hung up on documentation, but without it, it is all a guess and a gosh. By the way, as I implied with my answer, it is the only headstamp with the NAZI version of the Reichsadler on the headstamp that I have seen too, on this caliber.

The same situation occurs with the 9x25m/m Mauser cartridge, which is usually found with the same IX 1938 headstamp, but is often found in boxes dated in 1939.

Maybe I will give Josef M

Another curiosity about Austrian headstamp dates I noted in Moetz is that–in the earlier years, at least–often only two or three months in the year were represented in the headstamps. This suggests that they were off-and-on in case manufacture or didn’t want to buy a bunter for every month. JG

I would say much more likely that a few months production satisfied the needs for the year, rather than they not wanting to buy more bunters. It is not always necessary to produce the same caliber ammunition, even for national armies, every single day, week or even month in any give procurement year. It solely depends on the situation at the time and the size of the organizations for which it is made (or I should say the needed amounts of ammunition). In time of all-out war involving a large nation with a huge military establishment, it could be necessary to produce ammunition of the most used caliber seven days a week and 24 hours a day, of course. But we all know that one of America’s largest producers, Evansville Chrysler, stopped production of .45 ammo in 1944 because they had made enough for the projected needs through about 1948, had the war gone on that long. Just an example of what I mean, not to start a discussion on the .45 cartridge.

John: I agree with you about the practicality of making cases only as required, but the Austrian practice of only two or three months being represented in headstamp dates differs from the American practice in the late 19th cent., wherein (typically, but not invariably) each month can usually be found in headstamps. And production at Frankford Arsenal in that period was at a pretty modest level. JG

Gill - not sure I understand the point. No two factories in the world do things the same way. How does Austrian production of this caliber relate to 19th Century American production?

Military ammunition does not differ from commercial ammunition in the sense that if none is needed by the various buyers, it is not manufactured. Some commercially offered calibers are run only once every two or three years, because one lot satisfies all needs for that caliber within that time frame. Sometimes, when ammunition is run is even influenced by fiscal matters, such as budget, the starting and ending dates of fiscal or procurement periods, etc. Each country has different practices and each factory has different abilities to produce in quantity. Some factories need more time to fill a contract than a larger factory would.

Denmark, from 1930 to 1945, as far as we can tell, only ran the 9mm Bergmann-Bayard (9mm M1910/21) cases three times - 1934, 1938 and 1942 (under German occupation) even though that was the caliber of their service pistol. However, these cases were made in quantities that allowed loading them in successive years as well. Of course, the needs for a country the size of Denmark for 9mm BB, in quantity, aren’t the same as the needs of Russia for 7.62 x 39m/m.

To know why a country produces ammunition, or any single component thereof, for a full year, or for only a few months of the year, you would have to have complete knowledge of the contract terms, their fiscal years, their production cycles (what else they might have been making for the same buyers or procuring agencies during a given year), the number of rounds required for a year, and their daily ammunition output abilities.

The problem oif the mix and match 8x56R ammo, and clips is that (a) all the ammo in circulation nowadays came out of Bulgarian strategic reserve stocks in the early 1990s, where it had been stored since WW II
(b) A Lot of this was “repacks” from MG belts etc
© Bulgaria recycled clips from all eras, including M88 and M88/90 clips, as well as all the M90/93 (8x50R) clips from its own as well as foreign suppliers;
(d) The only way to ascertain whether a packet is “original” or repack is to check the seal…a sealed packet is Austrian (Nazi) assembly, an open packet could be Austrian re-pack before delivery to Bulgaria (1938) or simply Bulgarian repack, either for storage or more likely, for surplussing.

Large quantities of “1938” dated ammo…in 1938, with the transfer of virtually the entire Austrian inventory of M95/30 rifles and carbines and ammo to Bulgaria by the new Nazi overlords, P635 was contracted to manufacture humongous quantities of 8x56R ammo in late 1938 to fill this transfer. (Along with all the earlier ammo taken from stores).
In normal ammo use practice, the Bulgarians “used” all the older ammo first.
Large quantities of brand new “VIII-1938” ammo remained at war’s end, which the Bulgarians then stored away, as they had changed to 7,62x54R under Soviet control. Bulgaria, although a german ally, did not participate greatly in the major battlefronts of the war, untill after the Soviet inspried “roll-over” when they joined the Soviets in their Push up the Danube to Hungary and Austria. hence the large remaining stocks of ammo at 1945.

Change over of markings: HP ( P635) continued to make 8x56R ammo well into 1939 with the current ( Austrian) headstamp ( I have January and March), and even manufactured it after the code change to “am” in the War years. They also overlapped packet labels, sometimes with overstamps, during this period (nothing was wasted). Whilst some of the 39 ammo has been found in Bulgarian ammo, most of the “am” lots were for gendarmerie purposes within Ostmark ( the Austrian segment of the Reich)—being an “Official Reich use” it carried a Reich Military headstamp…the earlier “Bulgarian aid” was a Foreign use, and hence the older headstamp.

All my collectible 8x56R (dates from 1931 Wollersdorf to 1944 Lion VF) have come out of Bulgarian surplus Mixed lot ammo. (as have nearly all my clip collection).

And Please stop using the "8x56R Hungarian " moniker… That is an importer description invented back in the 1960s (Interarms) when they purchased some Hungarian-made 8x56R along with “H” marked 31M carbines…they had no idea about the Austrian and Bulgarian use of this calibre…and precedence in naming it.
Call it the 8x56R M30 “S” Austrian, which is what it is. ( and the name on the packets as well ( without the “Austrian” bit.)

Doc AV
AV Ballistics

NB, the above is a redux of a Post which was “lost” because a login failed after it was composed and ready to go…I am getting a lot of these failures lately…one Logs in, composes an article, (usually longer than normal) and when you punch “Submit” it gets lost under a "Please Log in "request…and most times, even if you do re-log in, the article is lost. Board organisers, get the system running properly.

regards, again,
Doc AV

The least destructive way to determine if the Austrian packed 8m/m M31 ammo was loaded in recycled clips would be if someone on this forum has broken sealed boxes open & can describe what was found. I have only one box, sealed, and would rather keep it that way. I haven’t called the 8m/m M30 and 31M “Hungarian,” but that identification goes back a long way in the U.S., well before 1960. Here the Hungarian rifles and bits of their ammo were in circulation years before anyone knew of the Austrian origin of the round. It’s wrong, of course, but it has a long and honorable-enough origin as vernacular. JH

I have opened lots of these boxes. We used to sell this ammunition when it was widely available. I was always hoping to find something strange, but as Doc Av says, all the ammo was the same - ball - and with the same headstamp. However, clips were mixed.

I don’t know why that should surprise. Clips are recycled commonly. I have opened “new” bandoleers of .303 ammunition from Australia, England and Iraq (probably others that I don’t recall) and while the Commwealth clips, as I recall, were all the Mark IV, every clip was a different maker. The Iraqi ammunition, although all the same headstamp, had clips mixed not only by maker by by mark as well. I found to Mark I clips among that stuff.

I have also opened many, many boxes of 7.9 x 57 (I don’t keep full sealed boxes. I always open them and save one single and one box specimen, unless it is a “mixed lot” box, in which case I keep one of each lot number only) and the clips are seldom all the same. I have opened boxes where there might be two brass clips and one steel one in the box.

The same with .30-06 in M1 chargers. Of course with Springfield, since the vase miajority of clips are the same type and unmarked, I can’t tell. I will admit that with springfield bandoleers, I have never seen a mixture of brass and steel clips - always one or the other. Nor have I seen old steel clips with tabs mixed with the newer tabless clips. I am not claiming it can’t be - just that I have never observed that.

John: Thanks for the info on the M30 ball packaging. While I can see your point on the intermittent production of ctg cases–hence scattered months within the year in headstamps–with at least some of the Austrian ammo I feel bunters were not produced for every actual month of production. Per Moetz, v.1 in 1916 Woellersdorf, Berndorfer, Hirtenberger, and Roth produced the 8m/m M93 cases with only a single month indicated on the headstamp (each facility a different month) and it seems to me unlikely this accurately reflects production of M93 cases at the height of the Great War. Perhaps Moetz addresses this in the text somewhere, but I can’t find it.
About the American use of “8m/m Hungarian Mannlicher” for the M30/31M: this goes back at least to the 1947 edition of Phil Sharpe’s The Rifle in America. He gives a pretty good thumbnail sketch of the 35M rifle and the Hungarian M95 arms altered to the 31M cartridge, as well as a quick description of the round, but there’s not so much as a syllable about the Austrian connection. It seems the first mention of this cartridge as the Austrian M30 is in the editions of Small Arms of the World as edited by Joseph E. Smith from W.H.B. Smith’s original text. The Joseph E. Smith editions date from the late 1950s to no later than 1962. In this early period only the Hungarian arms in this caliber were at all well known in the US and the ammo (then only Hungarian) was a distinct collector’s item. JG

The recycling of clips is indeed a marvellous opportunity for us. I owe my interest in clips to the variety found in bandoliered 0,303" made by HXP in Greece. I bought all of this that I could get my hands on and as well as giving me some excellent ammunition it gave me the nucleus of my current collection.