9x19mm "oxo" question

What happened to “St+” in the 3rd headstamp? Why is it only “St”?

I thought the St/St+ in wartime German ammunition was for denoting the metal used in the case manufacture, right? St was the older composition and St+ was an improved metal?

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On brass case 9 mm,only in one instance, Lot 1 of 1940 (P25 S 1 40) from Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen G.m.b.H., Werk Sebaldushof, the letter “S” standing alone represent a brass case.which likely represented brass formulated with 67% copper. On 7.9 x 57 it sometimes represent the “S” case. The letter “S” is often confusing in German ammunition designations, since it is used so often for different things.

The “S*” headstamp is a material code, and denotes a case made from72% copper (allowable content from 71 to 74%).

A “*” marking (seen as a five-pointed star on some rounds and as an asterisk on others)
indicates a 72% copper formulation. It is possible that the “S” did as well, but was changed to avoid the confusion represented by that letter on German headstamps.

“St” indicates the case is of steel, usually found on lacquered-steel cases, but occasionally on copper-washed steel cases, and usually found in conjunction with letter codes only, although it can be found on a 7.9 x 57 mm cartridge with numerical code, “P162 St 3 41”. There could be others, but that is the only one I recall.

The marking “St+” indicates a steel case of improved design, which as I recall, had to do with the strengthening of the web of the cartridge case - that area directly above the extractor cannelure.

If the head of the case has a radial line bisecting the head, than the case was made from round bar stock, rather than from cups punched from a clad sheet. This is primarily found on the 7.9 x 57 mm cartridge. This is a rarely found marking on 9 mm Parabellum, found only on some lots of 1943 and one lot of 199 with code “asb,” representing DWM Berlin-Borsigwalde.

Occasionally a brass case cartridge is found with the “St+” marking. This can be due to an error in bunter use, or to make very small lots when it was not prudent to manufacture new bunters.

Hope I got this all correct. My available notes all dealt with the 7.9 x 57 mm cartridge case markings.

Edited to improve wording and content and to relate better to the original question, which concerned the caliber 9 mm Parabellum (9 mm '08). These same markings were used on 7.9 x 57 and some other calibers.

John Moss

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The “hyphen” between manufacturer and St+ indicates a single flash hole instead of the usual two.

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The material code on cases was a tool to find errors in the production process.
It is a Roman number, the code from the steel plant, a character, the cup manufacturer and a number from the steel mix.
The quality from the “Näpfchen” cups, were in 1941 so good, that it was not necessarily anymore to print the Mat. code on the case.
There was only St pressed in the case. This does not mean that the Mat. code was giving up.
It was still used internal. As an example a label from a case shipment from manufacturer “cg” to an other plant of November 1942.


John, the remark;
The marking “St+” indicates a steel case of improved design, which as I recall, had to do with the strengthening of the web of the cartridge case - that area directly above the extractor cannelure.

I would describe it differently.
The problem these days were sticking fired cases in a chamber. They made the cases wall thinner so it could be rejected more easily. In this letter the OKH describes why Patrh. S (Stahl) mit kleiner Wandstärke need a + in the head stamp. A different powder loading, and were the + must be placed in the head stamp.

@Jpeelen describes the “hyphen” much better that I could do

Well I only have this information about the 7,9 Mauser, but I think that it was similar to the 9mm.


Let me see if I understand you correctly.
There was a problem with Lackierte Hulsen that lacquer would heat up, come off the ammo and jam the chambered rounds because they were made of steel and not pliable brass. To eliminate this problem, the steel wall of patrone was made thinner, and a different gun powder was used. To indicate this improvement, a “+” was added to existing “St” (Stahl) to look like this “St+”.
Am I right?

Dutch - I can read the German document, but it evidently, in the context of your answer, explains the St+ marking. I had received the information I used from a couple of German collectors, and while I don’t have those notes anymore, I think your explanation is certainly better. There may have been a problem with English translation and meaning in what I received years ago, and that would have been a problem with me, since they could not write me in German.

I think it would be confusing at this point for me to further change my answer, but if anyone thinks it would be better to delete what I had said regarding this marking, I will be most willing to do so.

Thanks to you Dutch for the information, and to Peelen for filling in another headstamp marking that I had not included.

John Moss

It had nothing to do with a lacquer problem. It stays the same.

The steel case has a certain thickness. They made the case wall thinner and after firing the case was fathering back to his old size.
They used the same powder, but with a different weight between the St and St+ cases.
The paper say, to avoid mistakes during the production (Loading) they marked these cases differently.

John, The problem is that for many decades in books was written, and please excuse me writing it in German “besseres Ziehverfahren”. If one author is writing from an other and it is published in different books, it must be the truth. Often a cut of the cases were added to support this theory.

A couple of years ago this document was found and there fore I add the original paper from this OKH order/message. You should never write something you cannot prove.

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Dutch - in principle, I agree with you about writing things you cannot prove. That is why I often ask for documentation of states. However, in a believed lack of documentation, sometimes the advancement of theory (theories) is helpful in bringing out responses from folks that do have documentation to share, and then again, sometimes theory is all we have.

I admit that it should ALWAYS be stated when something is said based only on hear-say or theory. Sometimes we all simply forget to do that.

Thanks again for setting the record straight on this particular question, my friend.

John Moss

pardon me for intervening. The problem of steel cases is very tricky. Hebler already in his (I think) first book told the readers what an advantageous case material steel would be: its much cheaper than brass and about two times stronger, so cases could be made with walls of half thickness and therefore lighter.
The problem is that the elasticiy of steel is very much different from brass. After expansion during the shot, steel cases do not “spring back” to a smaller diameter as brass does. Extraction may fail. Stuck cases are the eternal problem of steel. Hebler, for example, never again mentioned steel cases in his following books.

Germany (and I assume in the Soviet Union), having nearly no brass, made extreme efforts to arrive at a solution. Countless variations of alloys, heat treatments and surface coatings (during drawing stages as well as on the final product) were tested. The laquer problem you mention was only one of the many difficulties. So the St+ case stood at the end of a lengthy development process.

Still, it was not possible to arrive at a standard process. Each manufacturer did it a little different. Consequently, the function depended a lot on know-how of the people involved. “cg” cases were considered among the top, while youf find “eba” cases, for example, mostly on blanks. This means “eba” steel cases still tended not to function reliably, even after all the effort put into the develoment.

From an outside perspective, making steel cases may look quite straightforward. But the reality is different. One U.S. (!) manufacturer even experimented with silver as a coating during drawing. I will add the source for this; have to search a bit.

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I can help with some documents.See the pages 300 ff. in my book.Die 7.9 mm Kurzpatrone 43.

Norbert Berg

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You inedvertently are forcing me into another question. Why “dou” code is always followed by a dot, like this “dou.”?

Norbert - Vielen Dank! However, I cannot read German sufficiently to get much out of those pages, which look to be very interesting and informative.

I assume they document what Dutch said about the true meaning of the St+ case, as opposed to the older St case. Truthfully, I was speaking in generalities about documentation. When it comes to collectors like our sammlerfreund Dutch, his word is
always sufficient documentation for me. Some of us, including me, are living with the
“common knowledge” of many years ago. I remember when there were, for example, many of the headstamp codes, both numbers and letters, that were “unknown” to collectors. Then, the “liste der Fertigungskennszeichen für Waffen, Munition und Gerät” came to light. I remember Stephen Fuller having photocopies of the original lists from “a” to “ozz” before they were published into a book in 1977. Many questions were answered, but we still had to try to sort out codes after “ozz” which a group of us did in a few instances, by comparing fonts, finding the changeover point in lot numbers, ets. The codes “edq/tko”, “asb/rfo” and “faa/suk” come to mind. Still, the discovery and learning process went on until this day, when thanks to the huge efforts of collectors, primarily in the German group pertaining to German ammunition, like Dutch, Erik Windisch, you and many others gave us almost a complete understanding of every facet of headstamps appearing on German small-arms ammunition from the beginning of metallic cartridges until the closing days of WWII. It still goes on with revelations about the meaning of post-war headstamps, such as the current rather long “lot numbers” appearing on calibers like 9 mm.

I am sure there are many examples from other countries besides Germany, remembering the great work done, with the help of others as is virtually always the case, by Dr. Regenstreif of France.

I am humbled, but proud, that I can call many of these folks, some unnamed here now gone from our midst, “my friend.”

Thank you again. I will certainly keep this thread for my files.

John Moss

It is said that was done to prevent reading upside down which would become: nop

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Vlad - the code “dnb.” representing Borck und Goldschmidt, Mechanische Werkstatten für Telegrafie und Telefonie, Berlin 0 17, Fruchstrasse 1-2, was, to my knowledge, the only other code found on German (to include German occupied factories in other countries assigned codes) small arms ammunition that has the dot. The code “dou” could be read as “nop” and “dnb” could be read as “qup.”

John Moss

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And this practice of using a full stop after a code that could be read inverted was applied to all alphabetic codes, not just the ammunition ones. Like “bnz.” for the Steyr works. Jack

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Jack - good point!

John Moss

There is an other company who used sometimes a dot behind the code.
It was used to identify the loading facilities/plants. I still don’t know.
You can identify them by the lines in the mat code and later a dot behind the “fb”



There is annother code with a dot. dxd. on a Luftdichter Patronenkasten B

Norbert Berg

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Seeing all these it may be safe to say that the additional dot then is to prevent upside-down reading.