8x56R mm Steyr


#1


8x56R mm Steyr, steel jacket over lead core, headstamp - VIII/19/38/eagle over Buddhist symbol (maybe Navaho Indian, or Greek), from Anschluss, Austria
Got another one, same box with headstamp - I/19/38/, but () more like fireworks explosion.
For the Hungarian Steyr 95 Mannlicher. Projectile is .329

Need to post a few more insignificant ones, then the real stuff!


#2

Wolfganggross –

In your “19/1/38// headstamp, the "” would be the two-headed Corporate State Eagle, which was the mark used by Hirtenberger on their ammunition made for the Austrian government. After the German takeover of Austria (the Anschluss), in April 1938 control of Hirtenberger was given to the German firm Gustloff Werke, who at first used the headstamp as shown in your “19/VIII/38/eagle”, the eagle here being the Nazi eagle holding the swastika emblem. In 1939 the firm changed to using the standard German identification system, firstly “P635”, and then in 1941 “am”.

John E


#3

Going to post picture to just make things easier. Realized after photos first time that had another headstamp in the box.
Its probably like you said JJE, but I’m not familiar with that mark. To me it looks like a cross between a Austro-Hungarian proof mark for second proofing of guns and a Austrian-Steyr proof house mark for rifles. Learned more from you than the round is worth. Great intresting history. I didn’t know any of that. Guess thats Otto Eberhardt, Patronenfabrik - Gustloff Co., Hirtenberg, Austria
The german ordnance number codes for guns for Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Steyr, Austria is 660. The code for Muntionsfabrik Wollersdorf, Vienna is P635. Did they have different number codes for the ammunition?


#4

Wolfganggross –

Yes, you’re right. When Gustloff took over the Hirtenberger plant they re-named it Gustloff-Werke Patronenfabrik Otto Eberhardt, in memory of its first director who died suddenly. But P635 was the German code for this plant only, and had nothing to do with Wöllersdorf.

There is still a lot of confusion over “Wöllersdorf”, all tied in with the use of the Eagle as the Austrian government mark, and resulting from wrong information published in several reference works. In fact Munitionsfabrik Wöllersdorf was the Austrian government plant making small arms ammunition before WW1, and was situated near Wiener Neustadt, about 25 miles south of Vienna.

In the old Forum I posted a summary of the use of Austrian Eagles by a succession of ammo plants, mainly gathered from information in Josef Mötz’s excellent books on Austrian Military Cartridges, but that post seems to have sunk without a trace. I think I’ll post it again for the record as questions on this come up quite often.

John E


#5

German Ammo Factories were initiall;y limited to Polte (magdeburg) during the 1920s, under the Versailles Treaty restrictions; then the Germans, in 1933-34, began including other factories under a “P–Number” code, which was supposed to show that it was simply a subsidiary factory of Polte, to fool the Treaty Inspectors. Actually the “P” stood for “patronenfabrik” ( Cartridge factory).

The “P–Number” codes system grew quite large, by 1939, when “P 635” was assigned to the Hirtenberg/ Gustloff facility. Then Germany in 1940, as war became widespread, decided to change over to a “letter code” system (there were Hundreds of Factories in all areas of Munitions production, not just ammo and weapons) and the Two letter and three letter codes were introduced…
BTW, The “arrangement” of the letter codes also gave an indication Where the factory was… Codes begining a,b, &c were in Germany ( Gross Deutschland);
Letter "d’ was in the former Czechoslovakia, “j” was Hungary, and so on.

Actually there was a lot of crossover, as “dnf” was actually Dynamit Nobel in Germany, and one of the few letter codes which reflected the actual Factory name. Aside from the location specifics, the codes were supposedly random…

As to the 8x56R ammo,

Most of our current ( 1980 to present) supply of this ammo has come from Bulgarian Strategic reserve stocks Surplussed off in 1980-90; In 1938-39, Germany sold/gave all the Former Austrian Inventory of M95/30 Rifles, Karabiner and Stutzens refurbished to 8x56R to Bulgarian, anbd the Hirtenberg
factory was guven a large order to produce millions of rounds of 8x56R for Bulgaria, but with normal “Nazi” markings. Since the ammo was NOT meant for the German ordnance system, it did not use the “P635 code” but maintained the old style, only replacing the Austrian “Corporate Eagle” with theNazi Eagle and Swastika; The major month of production was VIII (August) 1938…

Later on, the factory changed over for a short time to the P635 marking, and Mixed coding of P635 and “am” have been seen in late 1940. It is presumed that this “Germanic ordnance” coded ammo was for internal use by “austrian” Police and training units. By this time, the former Austrian Army was fully integrated into the Wehrmacht, and armed with Kar98k and other 7,9mm firearms. Rifles and ammo still in country ( of M95 type) were issued to secondary and training units ( Luftwaffe, Border Patrols, camp guards, etc.).

Sufficient photos exist to confirm this series of events.

of course, Bulgaria was NOT an active German Combattant, restricting its activity to Balkan areas in “police actions” againsts partizans etc. In 1944, the Soviets “convinced” Bulgaria to abandon its support for germany, and become part of the Allied “Co belligerants”, and Bulgarian Units fought WITH the Soviets in the Drive thru Hungary to Austria and Czechoslovakia, still armed with their M95/30 rifles and 8x56R Ammo…in the years between 1936 and 1944-45, Bulgaria ( Kazanlak VF) also made its own 8x56R, first in brass ( 1936-42) and then also in Steel cases (German Style) 1942-44. ( B-phi Lion date).

After the war, Bulgaria became Communist, and by 1947-48 had switched over to using Soviet calibres and Ammo. Most of the ex-Austrian and Original Bulgarian Mannlicher equipment was placed in Good strategic Stores, as was all the 8x56R ammo, and it only re-surfaced in the 1980s, as a small amount of Military aid to the Frelimo and MPLA rebels in Portuguese Africa, and then flooding onto the US etc. Surplus market.

The ammo comes in crated “repacks” of Austrian and Hungarian-made 8x56R, and also original sealed Tins of Bulgarian made ammo.( crated repacks are “Clipped” ten round packets, but the Bulgarian AmmoTins( 250 Rounds) are either clipped cartridges( in 2-clip wrappers or Boxes) or paper-wrapped Bundles of 10 ctgs( MG loading cans) without clips…Bulgaria had MGs of both belt Fed (Maxims, Schwarzlose) and Box mag designs ( Solothurn M30 and ZB M39)

The Variety of Clip makers is huge…some clips have been recycled from pre- WW I makers, even M88/90 clips show up occasionally with 1930s 8x56R ammo in them.

The Study of Bulgarian Ammo and Rifles has already occupied several years of Posts on “Gunboards” to which we could refer all interested Cartridge collectors
( Posts by “Nick” the resident Bulgarian connection, and Doc AV amongst others)

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#6

Many of the boxes of these 1938 eagle with swastica headstamped cartridges will have the P635 code on the label:


#7

The use by the German army ordnance dept. of P-plus-number to identify makers of cartridge cases for small arms ammunition actually began in the mid-1920s. Brandt et al. indicate that the codes P25, P69, and P120 were in use in 1926 for 7.9 m/m ammunition. In this case, as in so many others, German ordnance practices in 1933 and later were in continuation of previous norms. Jack


#8

Doc Av - your 1933 date for the introduction of other ammunition factories using the “P” numerical codes in Germany following WWI is not correct. As an example, here are some of the earliest dates known on other codes, just in 7.9 x 57 production

P25 - 1926 (Earlier production at this plant using factory designator “Pö” - as early as 1924)
P28 - 1928
P67 - 1930
P120 - 1926
P131 - 1928

Factories involved:

P25 - Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen G.m.b.H., Werk Sebaldushof
P28 - Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken A.-G., Karlsruhe
P67 - Sellier & Bellot, Schönebeck/Elbe (only know in one lot in 1930).
P120 - Dynamit A.-G., vormals Alfred Nobel & Co., Werk Empelde (this is another one where the letter code, by the way, seems to use the first three initials of the factory location, not just a random code, as they switched over to “emp” on 7.9 ammunition in 1940).
P131 - Deutsche Waffen- und Munitions Fabriken A.-G., Berlin-Borsigwalde

The code “Pu” was also used as early as 1924 on 7.9 x 57, and is believed to have been used by Burgsmüller Kreiensen-Harz. Another odd code was “Pi” but it does not really relate to what you were saying, since it was used by Hirtenberg on some clandestine ammunition, some of which was probably actually loaded at Soluthurn in Switzerland.

It is absolutely true, though, that MOST of the factories using the number codes began producting small arms ammunition from 1933 on through the end of the 1930s, but no all of them.

Sorry to nitpick, but it is important in that these showed that Germany was even side-stepping the Versaille Treaty restrictions before the Third Reich, following WWI.

John Moss


#9

When I first started collecting cartridge clips I thought that the ‘triangle + year’ ones were probably the only ones made in Germany to hold ammunition produced with the approval of the Allied Control Commission. Since then my thoughts have turned to the ‘P’ coded ones produced with a makers code but with no year attached.


From 1934 the system works in a similar way to other equipment produced at the time, the year being indicated with a letter suffix. 1934 = ‘k’ whilst 1935 = ‘g’ and by 1936 any pretense about hiding the year of production had disappeared.

There exist however a number of makers whose clips have only the ‘P’ code, with no indication of the year of production. These are;

‘P’ ‘P25’ ‘P28’ ‘P131’ ‘P154’ ‘P208’ ‘P315’ and ‘P416’

I wonder why there were several marking systems in use, either concurrently or consecutively, in a system that was normally strictly adhered to, that of marking the year of production on items. Was it to conceal, to confuse or just not thought about?

Happy collecting, Peter

POST SCRIPTUM … Final paragraph edited to omit gross factual inaccuracies … whoops!


#10

Peter - I am only into Small Arms Ammo, so don’t know anything much about artillery headstamps, where maybe undate P-code headstamps are common (or not - again, I know nothing about them). Can you give an example of an “undated P-Code” cartridge made for clandestine purposes? I am not quite sure what you mean, as aside from a few experimental rounds where one or more headstamp entries have been removed from the headstamp-bunting process, and the “Probe” headstamps on experimental cartridges (many “Probe” headstamped cases were used up by loading them as standard Platzpatrone 33 blanks, so am not counting those in my use of the word “experimental”), I am not aware of any undated P-Code cartridges. May just be a brain lapse on my part - sometimes I don’t think I have a brain anymore!

John Moss


#11

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Peter - I am only into Small Arms Ammo, so don’t know anything much about artillery headstamps, where maybe undate P-code headstamps are common (or not - again, I know nothing about them). Can you give an example of an “undated P-Code” cartridge made for clandestine purposes? I am not quite sure what you mean, as aside from a few experimental rounds where one or more headstamp entries have been removed from the headstamp-bunting process, and the “Probe” headstamps on experimental cartridges (many “Probe” headstamped cases were used up by loading them as standard Platzpatrone 33 blanks, so am not counting those in my use of the word “experimental”), I am not aware of any undated P-Code cartridges. May just be a brain lapse on my part - sometimes I don’t think I have a brain anymore!

John Moss[/quote]

John,

You are entirely correct, it was a lapse on my part that caused me to write the final paragraph as I did.

What I meant to say was that Polte, using the code ‘P’ was the approved manufacturer by the Allied Control Commission to produce cartridges to keep the limited stock of small arms ammunition allowed topped up as it was used for training purposes. Any other manufacturer would have been ‘clandestine’ even though the ammunition concerned was destined for use by the Germans themselves or for building up concealed stocks.

I can only call in aid the current very hot weather that has surely addled my thoughts and thoroughly confused my typing finger.

Happy collecting, Peter


#12

On the pre-1933 use of “candestine P-code” HS, this is of course correct…I had only mentioned the 33 date as a reference point, seeing as in Australia, we have very little of the pre-33 “P” HS ammo available except as rare personal collector imports;
Anyway, by 1933-34, the need for a anti-Versailles clandestinity was more or less bypassed…it became a “military security” type of clandestinity.

It may have been misunderstood what I did write regarding when this “candestine marking system” originated…The Germans had been “squirrelling away” all sorts of ordnance since 1919/20 in any case, with Design Bureaus in Holland, Sweden and Switzerland,Armour Training areas in the Soviet Union, Subsidiary Rifle factories under the “S” code used by Simson ( again, the only “legitimate” Small Arms producer/ Repairer of the Treaty) and so on.

I get brain-lapses lately as well ( Post-Operative Stress Syndrome), but then that is par for the course for me…

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#13

While we’re picking nits in this thread, it might be useful to point out that the German code date system didn’t begin with K for 1934. The German army ordnance dept. actually began a date scheme at about the same time the numerical codes for miitary suppliers were created, that is, about 1926. I know of no example of its use on small arms or SAA, but I suppose it must have found some application in the years 1926-1933. Jack


#14

Jack - Brilliant! I never thought of that, but that would perfectly explain the first one most of us knew about being “K,” since beginning with “A,” and eliminating either the letter formed like “I” OR the letter formed like “J,” both often used interchangeably, it works out perfectly with the dates you gave, I think. I always wondered about that, and never thought to research it properly.

To the others who admitted to lapses on this thread, don’t worry my friends. Sometime I think my entire thought process is one big lapse!!!

Some really good information on this thread. Thanks to all.

John Moss


#15

John, that is correct.

The only addition I could give is that Polte started the production of 7.9 Mauser cartridges in November 1923. However there are also 7,9 Ex rounds known from 1921 and 1922.

Reading a document from 18. November 1926, from H. Wa. H . there were 6 factories who were aloud to make that time ammunition and components “9mm and 7,9” for the German Army.

  1. Polte
  2. Hirtenberg Patronenfabrik (Pi)
  3. Burgsmüller Kreienzen (Pu)
    4 Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbrietzen (Po) (P25)
  4. Lindener Zündhütchenfabrik Empelde (P120)
  5. Bofors Schweden (P.S.)

In this letter is also the information “The orders by Pi and Pu were delivered, no new orders will follow.”

Dutch


#16

Here are the “Reichswehr” codes

1925 A
1926 Z
1927 M
1928 T
1929 R
1930 B
1931 E
1932 O
1933 N
1934 K
1935 G


#17

Interesting - the codes are NOT simply the alphabet as I would have thought. Thanks for the REAL scoop Dutch.

John Moss


#18

Is there any other known connection of Burgsmueller with the manufacture of small arms ammunition? Is it possible they were fronting for another producer? Pu is known on headstamps, is it not? Jack


#19

Yes - “Pu” is known on 9 mm Para, although very scarce, and also on very rare specimens of 7.9 x 57 with lots scattered from 1924, 1925 and 1927. I am not aware of it being found on any other calibers, but that is not to say it could not be. And, it IS a code for Burgsmüller-Kriensen.

John Moss


#20

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Yes - “Pu” is known on 9 mm Para, although very scarce, and also on very rare specimens of 7.9 x 57 with lots scattered from 1924, 1925 and 1927. I am not aware of it being found on any other calibers, but that is not to say it could not be. And, it IS a code for Burgsmüller-Kriensen.

John Moss[/quote]

John calls it a scare round. It is more than scare.

At my information, only these fired 7,9 cases from “Pu” are known.

Pu 7 24 S
Pu 10 24 S
Pu 11 24 S
Pu 12 24 S

Pu S 25 9

Pu S 4 27
Pu 4 27 S

Dutch