Assistance Needed to Interpret Box Label on 15 Round Box of 7.92 S.m.K


I obtained these boxes a few years ago and have just got around to looking at them. My first problem is I do not understand German nor the abbreviations which are used on the label.

The ammunition on the inside of the box appears to be repacked. It includes manufacturer codes: hlb, P, P25, P163, P181, and P315. All the ammunition is marked S* so the casing is common among all cartridges in the pack, and all appear to be S.m.K. loadings because they all have a red primer annulus.

What can anyone tell me about these boxes? Did someone just have some boxes laying around and stuff them with S.m.K. rounds? Is the ammunition proper to the box as repacked by German munitions workers?

Thank you for any information you can provide.


The first line: Patr. S.m.K. tells us the cartridge designation: Patrone Spitzgeschoss mit Kern (AP)
The basic format of the next and following entries is:
manufacturer-code lot-number “L.” year of production example: P. 163 21. L. 37
means: factory P163, lot 21 of 1937 (L = Lieferung)
P163 is a typo, it should be P162 for Presswerk Metgethen (suburb of Königsberg, East-Prussia)
The P without number represents Polte, Magdeburg.
Then comes the propellant: Nitrozellulose Gewehr Blättchen Pulver (flake rifle powder). (2.2.0,45) are the nominal flake dimensions in mm. Rdf is WASAG Reinsdorf and Walsr. is Walsrode propellant factory.
Patrh. S* - make of Patronenhülse (case), S* for brass case
Gesch. - make of Geschoss (bullet)
Geschoßteile - make of bullet core etc.
Zdh. - Zündhütchen 88 (primer) SKD = Selve Kronbiegel Dornheim AG of Sömmerda . The letter after the lot number ist the sublot (Rate in German). The 88 primer (from 1888) is corrosive and contains mercury.

These are not “official” repacks, which would be marked accordingly. Someone simply stuffed available cartridges in available boxes. At least he used the correct type (SmK, red primer annulus).

The cartridge designation did not include the caliber. German military caliber designation is 7.9 mm. The 7.92 mm is of Czechoslovak origin, never used by German military.

JPeelen, I am sorry but it is P163.
P162 made only 7 lots of sS rounds in 1937.

My fault, I mistook the text “Selters” for the town of the mineral water.
Correct information for P163 (later code hlb) is:
Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbrietzen, Werk Selterhof
At Treuenbrietzen there were two branches, both named after farms: Werk Sebaldushof (the older), located to the north-east of the city and Selterhof farther away to the south.

Oh and S* means brass (case) with 72% copper. First, there was S with 67% but Polte (Germany’s largest ammunition company) changed this standard in 1926.

Thank you all for the very useful information. I will keep the responses and use the information as I go along collecting.

I was wondering something else related to this thread. I used to use to obtain the information about cartridge manufactuers, case manufacturers, lot numbers, cartridge type, etc., but the website has be closed. Do you know if there is anywhere else I can find similar information?

Thanks again.

There is some good information on

Good luck with collecting this caliber.

Its old and contains errors, but for an English language beginner, the book by Daniel Kent on “German 7.9 mm Military Ammunition” is still a very good point to start in my view.
On the other hand, web site is an example of the many web sites that show good will, but mainly contribute to spreading half truths or plain wrong information. In reality, for example:

  • Mauser had nothing to do at all with the cartridge
  • it is not dangerous to fire a .323 bullet from a Gewehr 88, because contrary to wide-spread opinion it did not have a tighter bore and all Gewehr 88 in the inventory were modified (chamber, not barrel) to accept the larger diameter bullet. (Steel quality was questionable and I would never fire a Gewehr 88, but this has nothing to do with bullet diameter.)
  • as Daniel Kent knew, the German military designation for the caliber was 7.9 mm from 1888 to 1945; 7.92 mm is a Czechoslovak invention,
  • the civilian 8 x 57 designation was created as late as 1926, never used by German military.

It is a sad truth that German publications have significantly contributed to spreading erroneous information.

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