It is my understanding this was the cartridge which started WWII, I have seen at least 3 different headstamps, one with a Austrian Eagle, one with the Austrian Eagle with a swaticka (sic) under the eagle and a bulgarian, looks like a bird or something, how many other variations for this cartridge are therr? Vic

The 8x56R M30 Austrian cartidge(31 M for Hungary, Patronnyi 8mm “S” for Bulgaria) can be found with the following makers headstamps:

Double headed Austrian Eagle ( 1930-1938) Austria
Nazi spread wing Eagle and Swastika- Austria as part of Greater Germany --(April 1938- about 1941)
AH overlocked: Hungary 1931 1944
LM (or ML) Hungary, 1939-1944
B phi with Lion, Bulgaria,( cyrillic for “VF” ) 1935-1944, small amount 1945-6.

Post WW II: OJP ( Austrian Police Contract, 1953-4)
“21” Hungarian production, up to 1956.

Clips for 8x56R come in a far wider selection of marks, many being former 8x50R clips recycled from as far back as 1888, so all the makers of 8x50R will feature on the clips.
There was a thread on GUNBOARDS regarding Clip marks. ( also here, I think)

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Not sure what you mean by “the cartridge that started WWI.” Archduke Ferdinand was assasinated by a man named Princips, who used an FN .32 caliber pistol, either a Model 1900 (in my opinion the most likely due to production numbers by that time) or a Model 1910 - I have read both ways.
I also have read that the cartridge was an FN cartridge, but don’t know for sure. Pardon the sketchy answer, and possible mis-spelling of Princip’s name. All of the top of my head - no time right now to dig thru the WWI history books.

So, I suppose you could say that the lowly .32 A.C.P. (7.65mm Browning) was the cartridge that started WWI.

If anyone knows the lowdown on which type of gun was actually used, from documentation, chime in. Like I said - this is all from memory of things I have read years ago.

Vic actually said “WWII”, but that doesn’t fit either. You could make the arguement that WWII started between the Chinese and Japanese in 1937 or so, and that would negate the 8x56R. If the “official” start was the German attack on Poland in Septmber 1939, there is very little chance that an 8x56R was the first round fired.

  • The bullet which started WW1 can be seen at a museum from a castle located about 31 miles southeast of Prague. It is a .380 bullet which was fired on June 28th 1914 at Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip using an FN M1910 semi-automatic pistol. The victim was the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. His wife was killed too. Read all the facts here at —> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident Liviu 10/22/07


The Austrian firm Gustloffwerke used the “am” code under German occupation. I have a H (Hirtenberger) marked clip loaded with am * 1 40 stamped cartridges.

Do you have a picture of the afterwar Hungarian 21 hstp?


One more note:

Two different AH stamp exist, which looks similar:


Jon - I guess I read it as WWI because that made more sense, involving Austria’s Ferdinand, etc. Of course, as Strakv recounted, WWII in Europe started near the German-Polish border with the phony incident of a Polish incursion into Germany. As he says, the first shots fired, regardless of whether they were from Polish weapons to help set the scene, or from German, would have been 9mm or 7.9 x 57mm.

Strakv - thanks for giving us the correct information. It shows once again how inaccurate the popular gun press can be. I had not read anything about this incident for about 20 years, and of course in school (50 years ago), while we learned everything about the event and its background, they never bothered with the weapon used. These conspirators had four of them, according to the referenced item - FN 1910s in .380 (9mm Browning Short) caliber. That was really new ordnance at the time of the assasination. The .380 caliber was not introduced in this pistol until 1912.

I see that even the very fine book “The Belgian Browning Pistols, 1889-1949” by Anthony Vanderlinden, Page 24, there was no positive answer to the question of which gun Princips used. He does recount the purchase of four 1910 .380 FN-Brownings by a Serbian Official from a Belgrade Store, but ends the paragraph with "It is debateable if Princip used one of the FN Browning 1910 models or a FN Browning 1900 pistol. "

Personally, I accept Strakv’s explanation, since the pistol and the bullet are in an Austrian Museum.

Thanks, Strakv, for giving us good sources on the web, and for setting the record straight on the gun and cartridge used in the assasination of the Archduke Ferdinand.


that wasn’t my post but Liviu’s which you have replied.

In the years down to 1938 there were actually two forms of eagle used in Austria: the double-headed eagle of Dollfuss’ corporate state, and the less frequently-seen single-headed version. Moetz, which is not at hand, covers this (along with everything else!) in detail. JG

OK I guess I need to be clear in my post I meant that the 8x56R was used by the Germans at the start of WWII but was replaced a improved cartridge which I think was a 7.9 rimless if I am not mistaken. Sorry for the mispost. thanks I got the information from the first post thanks Doc. Vic

Vic - the Germans adopted the 8 x 57mm Mauser, usually called by them (militarily) the 7.9 x 57, in 1888. It was changed from a nominal .318 RN bullet to a .323 (call S-Bore or Type S) about 1905 and of course, loaded to higher pressures due to the improved (over the Model 88 Mauser) Model 98 Mauser, which could handle it with ease. Aside from increasing bullet weight in ball ammunition (Type s.S. ball) towards the end of WWI, in serial production, they used the same basic cartridge until 1945, and then after about 1954 when they were allowed limited rearmament, it was used again for a short time, both in West Germany and in East Germany. It was replaced with the 7.62 x 51 NATO, although the German police had M1 Carbines, probably M1 Garands, concurrently with the post-war use of the Mauser. Some countries used it for a long time after the war, and I believe now the former Yugoslavian countries still use it in their version of the MG42, and for some sniping use. At any rate, they were the last to have a first line weapon in production and use in this caliber, to my knowledge.

Please note that this is a simple, capsule history. a full book on the variations of ammunition used world-wide and the weapons for this caliber would have to run many, many volumes. There is one book that tries to cover the cartridge world-wide, but is primarily on German ammo, and one that covers primarily German ammo, with a brief Foray into Polish and Czech ammunition, and even a mention of a Western contract for China.