8mm Kropatechek?

I have several cartridges that I thought were the 8x60r Kropatechek. However the case length is about 56mm. Dates include 1905 wood blank, 1919 Ball, 1920 Ball, and 1928 Ball. Any Ideas?


I believe there is the 8x56R Guedes and the 8x60R Kropatchek, although I might have that backwards.

Cartridges of the world has the Guedes listed as 8x60r also, that’s when the confusion set in…


This is nothing I should state on since others do know much better but I have seen several case lengths of the Kropatschek coming out of one and the same paper bundle.

Guedes and kropatchek 8x60R and 8x56R and CONFUSION>>>>

IN 1885, The Portuguese ordered a single shot, lever-drop block rifle designed by Guedes (Portuguese) based on the Martini Henry action, from OEWG Steyr.
Steyr at the time was experimenting with a 8mm cartridge based on the french 11mm Gras-Kropatschek Loading, used in the Gras-Kropatschek naval Rifle ( Tube loading repeater).
The 8mm was part of a “small calibre” improvement of Black Powder cartridges.

The final Guedes cartridge case was a necked down 11x59Gras case, which worked out at 8x60R in its final form.
The Portugese, When the Guedes rifles were finished and ready to deliver, changed their minds, and adopted the 1886 Kropatschek repeating rifle ( basically an Improved French G-K M1884 Repeater, but in the 8mm cartridge.

SO the cartridge became known as the 8x60R Kropatschek…until Smokelss Powder came of the scene. The Portuguese, sniffing the air, converted their BP ammo to smokeless in 1899…and found that a 60mm long chamber/cartridge was no longer necessary, so shortened the case to 56mm

The rifles, however, retained their 60mm long chambers, because all the length reduction was in the case neck…
So that’s why we have the two designations ( Cartuchoes M886, 60mm long, Cartuchoes M899, 56 mm long.)

The Now “discarded” Guedes rifles remained in Steyr warehouses, until sold to the Boer Republics in 1898-9 along with ammo (? M1899 smokeless or M1885/6 BP?). Most Guedes rifles found still today ( Via Australia, South Africa and Britain) are ex-Boer Rifles. NO one else adpoted either rifle or (Guedes) Calibre…or for that matter, the Kropatschek either.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics Technical Services.

Thanks Doc! That cleared that up. What other h/s dates are found on the 8x56?

Steve, I was just wondering whether you have tried using the ‘Search’ facility at the top of this page? The 8mm Kropatschek has been discussed many times and at considerable length over the years - every headstamp will have been covered. There is a wealth of information available but you will have to dig a bit to find it.

French documentation (Ecole Nationale de Tir - 1891) and a cartridge (George Roth 1885).


Thanks for the orginal French documentation of the tests of the Guedes Cartridge ( Most probably used in the eventual development of the M1886 Balle “M” for the Lebel Rifle).

Note that the Bullet still follows “Black Powder” principles…ie, Patched lead projectile; But the Patch is NOT Paper (as in the 11mm type cartridges, but copper/brass, and wound in the same manner as Paper.

BY 1886, Rubin and Hebler’s (Swiss) Drawn Metal Jacket Patch had been fully developed ( Firstly a Open Top, Soft Point design, then a round nosed, open base design, to eliminate “Patch shedding” in the Barrel…not a problem with Paper Patches, but a serious obstruction with a Metal Patch.

BTW, the headstamp is similar (?identical?) with GR-made 11mm Gras cartridges of 1885, so probably the Guedes ( and subsequent Kropatschek ) Cartridges were initially drawn on the same Production Line…only with the added “Necking down” from 11mm to 8mm.

I have 1900 GR cases (8x56R) which are identical in HS layout, and the Portuguese followed the four sector layout when making their own cases
( “FA” and “AE” headstamps…they also copied the G.Roth Patent Berdan Pocket ( flashhole thru anvil) right up till 1937, when new RWS/DWM supplied Machinery for 7,9 cartridges saw the change over of all Berdan Pockets in Portuguese service ( 6,5x58P., .303Br., 8x56R-K? etc. over to the two drilled lateral flash holes of the “Standard” Berdan design.

Sadly, these days, any research into Portuguese ammo and records is very difficult, as in the early 2000s, Portugal closed its FNM Plant, destroyed the Machinery and all the records going back into the early 1800s ( under a UN sponsored “deal” to reduce armaments)
Any info today has to be found by secondary sources (Old books, information recorded by non Factory sources, other countries’ trials etc.) and examining surviving ammo and crates from Portugal’s old colonies in Africa and Asia.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

While trying to find something in my garage today, I ran across my stash of fired 8mm Kropatschek military cases. I have an 8mm Kropatschek rifle, and used to reload fired military cases for it, but haven’t done so for 7 or 8 years. Anyway, the cases I have are headstamped 1919 and 1920, with what looks like an intertwined FA or EA, and a star, plus the date. I do not know the meaning. The case length of those I have varies from 2.219" to 2.225", say 56.4mm, so mine are apparently 8X56R. As reloading discussion is apparently verboten here, if anyone wants to know how I modified these cases to allow primitive reloading, PM me. I remember measuring the OD of the original military bullets as being 0.323" above the case mouth, same as for the 8X57mm JS Mauser, and I always used regular 8mm jacketed bullets in it, with no problems. However, I have seen the bullet diameter given as 0.329". Which is correct?

By the way, I had always understood the Kropatschek rifle was Steyr’s modification of the Gewehr 71/84, and indeed that is what it looks like to me, as I had a 71/84 quite a few years ago. I don’t know what the French G-K M1884 Repeater looks like, maybe it is similar in appearance to the Gewehr 71/84.

Actually, the other way around. Kropatschek’s tube loader and Spoon elevator
were part of his 1878 design for the French Navy ( Gras-Kropatschek M78 and M84)…Mauser simply adapted it with some improvements to the M71 action to make the 71/84…

As to “reloading” the 8mm Kropatschek with the .250 Berdan primer Roth system ( Flash hole thru anvil) please contact me direct on info@avballistics.com.au.

FA: Fabrica de Armas: original name of the Main Portuguese Military factory, around 1905. Separate letters. FA dates from before Napoleonic times.

AE: Arsenal do Esercito: Army Arsenal Name change in 1910-period. Letters intertwined. Remained HS until at least 1937 or later.
Became FCPQ…Fabrica de Cartucheos e Polvoras Quimicas (Factory of Cartridges and Chemical Powders) in 1940s,
and then
FNM in 1949 (Fabrica Nacional de Municoes) which HS it maintained until closed down and destroyed in early 2003-4. ( UN-EEC “deal”).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.