8mm French Lebel ID


This is an 8mm French Lebel with the Balle M bullet.

Was this cartridge made by Kynoch or does the “K” mean something else" Do the “stars” have any significance? When was it manufactured?

Thank you for any information.


That is a commercial Kynoch-made 8mm Lebel cartridge. I don’t know what the stars signify. Some insist that markings such as those always have significance - that is, a specific meaning. I disagree. Many headstamps have design features that as far as I can see, are simply to decorate the headstamp. Stars at the 3 and 9 O’Clock positions are common on many cartridges from amny factories, and I have never heard anyone that could identify what specific meaning they are supposed to have. Actually, with Kynoch, in at least one case, it is the absence of the stars that has a meaning. Kynoch 7.63 x 25mm rounds with stars are said to always be 7.63 Mauser, while those without them - simply “K” at 12 O’Clock and “B” at 6 O’Clock with no other markings, are 7.65mm Borchardt loadings.

If factories did nothing to stylize elements of their production, such as headstamps, than all commercial cartridge boxes would simply be plain cardboard with black lettering. There IS such a thing as commercial art to make a product more appealing. I believe that is the case with some of the figures found on various headstamps. (No, I did NOT say all headstamps).

If someone knows a specific meaning for the stars on Kynoch, Hirtenberger, D.M.K. or other headstamps, please report it. I have dozens and dozens of cartridges that could be affected by that information.

Hi heavyiron - I have the drawing for this cartridge and it’s dated April 1914 so suspect manufacture before ‘the balloon went up’ in August that year. No idea who for though.
As for the stars on Kynoch ammo - I think sometimes they were for decoration - as in this case - but usually it meant something e.g. a special loading such as the .303 Swift with 225 gr blt - ‘K C *’ or ‘KYNOCH * *’ on very lightweight .303 inch case. Also .30 Mauser cases with 5 or 6 or 8 petal stars in the headstamp - must I think have signified something - but no documented evidence. Regards JohnP-C.

Thank you very John Moss and JohnP-C! Very interesting information and I will log it into my record.