8mm Lebel Transylvanian

Here’s a very interesting novelty sort of re-worked cartridge which I found pictured on page 6 of the May 1986 issue (#75) of the Belgian gun & ammo magazine AMI:

The translation of the caption is roughly this:

Analysis; it appears that the “8mm Lebel Transylvanian” presented in our previous issue (April) had been photographed in reverse. We therefore publish this document that illustrates the cartridge with the ball properly installed. Inquiry; it is actually a mini-crucifix, “trench art” (per AMI #52), which, at rest, the socket is empty to protect the delicate branches. We are confident that the farmers have pyrothecophiles-fully underestimate the rarity of this cartridge, worthy of the “Fabulous Cartouches” Yves Troinuge, indispensible book published in 1979 under the auspices of the very serious AFERHM…

The translation is somewhat lacking in a few words that I don’t quite gather, but apparently in the previous issue (#74) from April they had an article on this 8mm Lebel crucifix-carved “Transylvanian” cartridge (anti-vampire?) and this is just a follow-up correction of sorts. Is this actually trench art? Did I miss something in the brief translation? It seems more like this would be a novelty cartridge souvenir sort of thing sold locally by a small-time artist? Or is the implied meaning of the term “trench-art” in this article simply referring to anything that is of WWI vintage which is reworked in a contemporary artistic fashion similar to original trench-art?

I am quite enjoyed by the fact that more than 20 years after this post, there are still some connoisseurs (?) taking seriously this kind of pure 1st of april joke!!!

You will find often such phoony announcements in many french (or other european) languages reviews or newspapers for the date of 1st of april…

And this wonderful rarity is, of course, absolutely not Trench artwork or anything else, thanks God!

When I was collaborating with the now-defunct (alas!) AMI belgian weapons and ammo review, some friends of mine (and myself!) used to pass phooney articles in such occasions…I am afraid that some guys, maybe not fully aware of this kind of european “humour” took them for actual info!!!

I had written some stupidities about a supposed “preacher cartridge” (sic!), with a bullet carved in cross and dipped in holy water (!!!), supposed to have been used during WWI to give the last sacraments to the wounded lying in the no man’s land!!!
I must admit that it was not very funny, indeed, but…, I obtained a fast answer from a reader on a so-called "Transylvanian Lebel "'stuff, and my friend the Editor-in-Chief find funny enough to publish it in the following issue of the magazine!

Now, about more serious facts, if you go in the Patent register (French)you will find ithat a German fellow posted a Patent for the invention of a special Mauser bullet, “containing morphine, in order to avoid the wounded too much pain before passing away” !!! This is not a joke, the patent was actually applied for around 1905…Of course, nothing similar was ever built…but just think about the projectiles used to-day by veterinarian to take care of wild animals…It seems that the idea had a somehow comparable origin?

By the way, the Gestapo, NKVD, KGB and other charming organisations tried along the years (and sometimes used) “toxic bullets” bullets containing aconitin or potassium cyanide…
So, as you may see, the border between practical jokes and gruesome facts, is not always clear…
To end with all this, do not loook too much a

Very funny! Clearly my translation skills did not detect the satirical subtext. Great to hear about holy water and poison cartridges. Sounds like the kinds of things that the comic book hero “Hellboy” loads into his revolver to shoot monsters with.

Philippe, mon ami. What does a poor chap like I, that hates garlic, do about the vampires? Will a MacDonalds hamburger worn around my neck do as well? Or how about a piece of my famous American “plastic” cheese?

Happy New Year to you and all our French and Belgian friends, even the ones that trick us with these April Fool’s day articles!

Will answer your last email tomorrow.

April’s fool? Isn’t it a bit early for that? I don’t know what kind of calendar you have but it’s January in here :-D

This cartridge definetely is in the same category as this one:

Thijs, Thanks for your post. When I saw this thread I went looking for the photo of this cartridge that I took at Woodin Labs when we were working on Otto Witt’s 38 Special book. It isn’t a headstamp variation so didn’t make the book, but I did write the company to see if they had, or had made this in 9x19. No answer so a bad or old address. Too bad since it would be fun to have one.

What is the date on the ad you posted? Is there an address associated with the ad??? My memory is that both the case and the bullet were silver plated!

Cheers, Lew

Hi Lew,

The article was published in the magazine “Guns & Ammo” edition April 1998. I’ve sent you a PM with scans of the article since publishing them all on this forum, would violate copyright laws. If anyone wants the scans as well, send me PM.