8x55R Kropatschek "F.A" Manufacturer

What is the name of the Portugese factory that made the 8x55R Kropatschek rounds headstamped (see below). Isn’t this the factory that is FNM nowadays?


This is probably an easy one, the answer to this would be helpful.

My records show the ‘FA’ headstamp to be a company called Ligeiras and as the full title of FNM is Fabrica Nacional de Municoes de Armas Ligeiras it would be a safe guess that they’re one and the same company.

I did think that they were the same company. I presume “F.A” means “Fabrica Armas”. Or “Weapons Factory” in English. The full company name today (F

Falcon - while the word Ligeiro(a) can mean siwft, quick, nimble, etc., it is not used in the sense of the English word “fast,” which is "r

Thanks, “Light Weapons” would make much more sense. It would be interesting to know what F.A actually stands for.

I have often wondered what manufacture F.A was. I have headstamps ranging from 1887 to 1906. Do you know of any before or after those dates?

Looking for something else, I found oine of Mr. Steagall’s drawings of an earlier label for the 8mm M/39 round. I believe he has passed away, but he used to make good drawings of box labels - never could figure out why since a xerox of the same label would be better, but I suppose he simply enjoyed it, which is enough reason to do anything. He did them very well and accurately. I won’t bother to scan it though, since it is not the original label.

It reads: "F

Forgot I had these but I don

Looking at my collection (I haven

The Portuguese Ammunition headstamps follow the the time line:
FA Fabrica De Armas (the 18th and 19th century general arms factory or “Arsenal” or “Armory” in US-Speak.
This Plant existed up to at least the First World War.

After WW I ( as early a 1919) a new headstamp became more common, the “AE” intertwined…Arsenal do Esercito…The Arsenal of the Army.

This headstamp lasted until 1937, when RWS and Mauser helped Portugal re-tool both Ammunition and Weapons facilities in Portugal, with a separate factory at Chelas, the FCPQ (Fabrica Cartuchoes e Polvoras Qimicas…Factory for Cartridges and Chemical Powders…ie a cartridge and explosives manufacturing facility.
This HS and facility lasted in HS form until 1949, when FNM ( Fabrica National de Municoes e Armas Ligeiras) was founded ( Factory of Munitions and Light Arms). and this HS goes from 1949 onwards( I have 7,9mm with FCPQ 48, and .303 Brit. with FNM 49 and FNM 50

Items such as Blanks were occasionally assembled at the Powder factories (ie, Barcarena), especially if they used “recycled” ball cases.

Also, Georg Roth (Austria) also supplied a lot of the origninal 8x60-56 cases up to the early 1900s (I have GR cases of 1900,03,04) and probably supervised the original machinery for making the Roth Patent Berdan primer Pocket design in the Portuguese cases marked “FA” (single flash-hole through centre of Anvil).

In the 18th and 19th, and even 20th centuries, many countries had all ordnance manufacture “under one roof”…so a factory produced the Powder, the cartridges and the Guns…sometimes in the one “location”, sometimes is separate locations for safety pruposes, but under the one corporate/government control; Only the more advanced countires had a plurality of manufacturers, plants, and facilities to be distinguished by different markings.

EG, Spain’s most Famous Arsenal, Toledo, made Swords, Bayonets, Artillery, and Cartridges, and even contained an Officer’s School within the ancient Moorish Fortress, the Al-Cazar…the presence of the cartridge machinery allowed the Cadets to hold out against the Republican Reds, during the famous Siege, which was eventually lifted by Franco’s troops coming from the East (having been flown in from Morocco by the German and Italian Air Forces )

Portugal’s Ordnance History is interesting, going back to the days of Henry the Navigator (1400s).

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

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Chelas is a location - a village, town, city, or industrial site - not sure exactly the size of it, but it is not a company name. That’s why it doesn’t translate.

The earliest Portuguese box I have is for 7.65mm Parabellum, with the intertwined “AE” headstamp. The headstamp alone tells us that one of the names used was Arsenal do Ex


The early headstamp for AE was not in monogram form but in the same configuration as the FA headstamp. The AE letters are intertwined on the 1912 headstamp which is the next one I have after 1907. So I don

Doc - you snuck your answer in while I was typing mine. Some good information. However, there is an error in the name. I do not think that “Fabrica Cartuchoes e Polvoras Qimicos (sic)” is correct. I have no problem with the lack of the various special punctuation marks on an English-language Forum. I know them and know how to apply them here, so I choose to use them. However, a couple of spellings are wrong. The correct name, used before in this thread, was "F

Dear JM, wait until I unleash my analysis of AE .303 British manufacture from 1922 to 1937, with all the variants of Bullet weight, powder type, Bullet origin, primer types, etc, etc…I did that some 20 years ago, on a crate of mixed, ex-Mozambique, ex-Century Arms ( to Aus)… and I will have to revise it somewhat…That will really add to the Portuguese ammo history.

Just a preview: primers Round and Flat; Anvil traditional Berdan and G.Roth patent: Bullets weights vary from 170 to 190 grains, all “mark VII profile”.
Bullets both new-made and recycled WRA British Contract mark VII ammo;
Powders large tubular grains, small tubular grains, German style (Troisdorf) flat diamonds; and various coatings.
package marking ( 100? round Box) with either Cartucho M919 (1919) or Cartucho M923 (1923)…the boxes with the 1919 marking held British WW I cast-off ammo (both British VIIz ( 1917-8) and US Contract (Rem, WRA,USCco, etc); whilst boxes with M923 marking held AE, from 1922 to 1937. Some boxes were obviously repacks, and held both types.

The crate carried Portuguese markings of the Factory (AE), the Mozambique Ammunition administration, and Century Arms rubber stamp; The case itself was marked “M923” and cal 7mm,7 ( ie, .303)… the size of the crate is identical to the later 7,9mm crates by both FCPQ and FNM

Also in the crate was some few hundred FNM50 and 51 .303 cartridges. ( again, different primer, Powder, and bullet design, and better made cases.
Sadly, 95% of the FNM cases had age split necks and loose bullets…these have been dismantled, the powder recycled, as were the Bullets, and the cases trimmed and reformed to my personal “8x42R” for a “Portuguese Mauser-Vergueiro-Enfield-Martini” ( a modified M904/39 7,9mm barrel fitted to a M-E action, making a medium powered Pig stopper, with a cartridge that is a clone of the 1890s 8x42R derived from the 8x57JR of German drilling fame.
Sorry for the diversion into cartridge modification, but since it gives a solution to cartridge defects, and revives a long obsolete cartridge, I though it was of interest… Also a source of mystery when someone in the future will find a FNM 50 case with original primer (factory) but formed to a calibre which disappeared about 1910… Just what were the Portuguese doing, one may ask in about 2050!!!

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

Doc - don’t apologize for putting in the part about the cases you altered. It is fascinating and informative, like all of your contributions to the Forum. Great piece of history, and you hit the nail on the head - important information for future reference. I had all of the .303s that you mentioned when I was collecting that caliber, but didn’t know from whence they came. Interesting stuff.

Years ago, Federal Ordnance of South El Monte, California, brought in what was the first load of Portuguese 7.62 x 51 NATO ammo seen in the United States. No one had much heard of Portuguese ammo (among shooters) at that time. Knowing we were very touchy about the quality of surplus ammo we sold, Bob Brenner sent me a personal free sample of 100 of the dirtiest culls he could find, promising that any we purchased later would be clean (it was), although mixed date. That 100 rounds probably spanned ten years of production and thousands of lot numbers. I shot it first in my FAL rifle, and then in my 40XB-BR Remington and early Texas-made match M1A (M14 type), using some US Lake City Match ammo for control. The Portuguese ammo, at 100 yeards, shot rings around the Lake City Match. Needless to say, we purchased a very large quantity of that. Our experience from then on with Portuguese NATO, 8 x 57mm Mauser and a small lot of surplus 9mm was that it was among the most accurate and best quality ammo we had ever sold. Our customers loved it, and one used the .308 constantly in competition in his Match M1A. He said it was cheaper than reloading.

In the initial lot of dirty 7.62, there was a good mix of Portuguese headstamp styles, some of which I saved out, but I missed one weird headstamp, I don’t remember now what it was. Obviously FNM-manufacture with the typical green PA, but one of those “Anonymous” headstamps they used from time to time. I found the fired case when I was examining the brass for bad signs - neck splitting, backed-out primers, etc. (I didn’t find any). Bill Woodin got the fired case, but I was sure ashamed that I was the one that shot it. I never saw another round with that headstamp.

I have a couple of different AE headstamps for 1907, the standard one that has been discussed here:

and this one, which I assume is the same manufacturer:


That’s a nice one. I’ve never seen that arrangment before.


In my notes (these are second-hand transcriptions) AE was used in 1906, so I’d think the headstamp change from FA to AE occurred during that year. JG

Here’s the 1906 AE headstamp:

Great!!! So both the FA and AE headstamps were used in 1906. Nice to know!