8x50R Austrian M.1888 Pat. F. By G Roth

I’m in the process of trying to buy several boxes of these 8m/m M. 1888 cartridges. The seller describes them as 8x52r but I assume they are 8x50R. What is the meaning of ‘Pat. F.’ on the label? Also, the Collector Cartridge Prices metric rifle list includes a 8x52R Mann M/88/90. I am having trouble determining just what that is. I’ve read that the M88’s cartridge was originall a black powder load and was soon changed to a smokeless load. Is this M/88/90 the smokeless?

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From Austrian Military Cartridges, Vol. 1 by Motz; page 213

Brian

Guy,

scharfe Patr. (Scharfe Patrone) means life round in opposite of i.e. blank. The F I assume is another abreviation unfortunately I have no clue what it means.
All German speaking have a faible for abreviation and it gets worse if you come into military language ;-)

Cheers

Jo

The book by Josef Mötz (cited by bdgreen) on page 107 shows practically the same box as yours (except that it is from 2nd quarter 1891, not 1st quarter as yours), also having the F. But I could not find an explanation of the F in the book.
A possible candidate in my opinion would be “Fettauche” (dipping entire bullet and case mouth in grease). This was standard procedure well into the 1930s, as Mötz writes (p. 97). The grease wore off easily. Maybe the F indicated a repeated Fettauche?
Pressburg is the German name for Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.

P.S.
Desperado, I very much appreciate that, unlike German, military English only very sparingly makes use of abbreviations. :-)))

Jochem, the single letter after placed before or sometimes after the the manufacturer indicates the powder supplier. For example: B = Blumau, F = Felixdorf, P = Pressburg, S = Saubersdorf.

Regards,

Fede

Excellent information, Fede.
I think that solves the riddle.

Thank you all. Now I need to liberate these boxes from California.

I received the cartridges and can say that JPeelen was correct regarding the ‘F’
following ‘scharfe Pat.’ on the label as meaning that the entire bullet and case mouth had been dipped in grease (Fettauche). Several of the boxes were still sealed, and several more had torn seals but had never been actually opened. I opened one of the boxes with the broken seal and found the bullets to be coated with thick grease. Am I correct in assuming that the grease had to be wiped off before the clip was loaded into the M88 rifle?
The photo below shows a 5 round clip of these greased bullets, along with the the headstamp (I 18 GR (intertwined logo) 90), the box label, and the GR logo that is on the bottom of the clips.

Guy,
thank you for your kind words. But I am afraid my interpretation was wrong and Fede gave the correct explanation: F is the propellant manufacturer, in this case Felixdorf.

Having said that, the general application of “Fettauche” to the cartridges is not in doubt. My (wrong) speculation was about a possible repetition of the process. Your research by opening boxes is proof of how the Fettauche residue looked on ordinary ammunition, extending beyond the case mouth.

From the context in Mötz’s book, the grease was not intended to be removed before loading. It might be of interest in this context that Swiss 7.5 mm rifle ammunition also used (a small amount) of grease on the bullet near the case mouth over a long time.

Thank you, JPeelan, and my apologies to Fede for overlooking your pointing out that the F identified Felixdorf as the powder supplier.

Out of curiosity, I pulled a bullet and found that the base of the bullet was also marked with the GR logo. In addition, the primer pocket has a single hole in the center. I had expected these to have a Berdan primer. I’ve included a photo of the bullet base and another looking down into the case through the mouth at the primer pocket.

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On the subject of greasing jacketed bullets the Italians did it too, at least with rounds using cupro-nickel as jacketing material. The Italian practice, as I have seen, it employs a fairly narrow band of wax right at the juncture of the bullet and case mouth.

Cartridges having been out of the box for more than about fifteen minutes will no longer have enough of the wax to be readily noted. As to the central flash hole that was an old Austrian tradition; it’s still a Berdan. Jack

Not a tradition, but a generally adopted G. Roth Patent primer pocket design, mostly for the 5mm (.199") Berdan Primer, but also used in .217" by Czechoslovakia and Poland, and 8mm Kropatschek and .303 British by Portugal from 1900 to 1937. Countries using Steyr Mannlichers ( Netherlands, Romania and Greece, ) also used the 5mm Roth Primer pocket.

The single flashhole central to anvil design only disappeared during and soon after WWII from the world scene, even though RWS still made .199" rifle primers into the 1980s…I use them on 1930s 8x50R Circle M for Bulgaria.and Dutch 6.5x53R cases…

The rationale of the system was that it gave a concentrated flash into the center of the powder charge, and was able to be easily decapped for reloading in the economy-minded small armies of the times for target and training practice, a practice carried over from BP days. WWI ended the practice in Major Armies, but it continued in the smaller countries noted until WWII.

Doc AV