Does anyone know the significance of the x in these two headstamps?
Does anyone know the significance of the x in these two headstamps?
I have never figured this out myself - sometimes an x after the year and sometimes after the Month(?). The same month and year combinations can be found with no “x” after any entry. I hope someone has the answer for this - it would be interesting to know. We still know very, vwery little about Chine ammo considering how long and how much of it they have made.
One friend of mine advanced the theory that since you cna find them with no X and with X after either entry with otherwise the same headstamps, that they might denote the loading line they were done on, but he had absolutely nothing to back up that opinion and admitted it. I simply have no idea at all, even though I have many examples of it in my own collection.
Phil Butler - do you know?
The Position of the “x” ( once after month, once after year, almost diametrically opposed, indicates to me one of the following possible solutions.
The “Chinese Coin” ( square in circle) is the mark of one of the pre-Revolution(Nationalist) factories, which continued production after 1949, until “number codes” were introduced in 1952-3.
Ammunition headstamps also changed from Chinese Characters and Republic dating systems to Western numbers and Gregorian dating under Mao ( 1950 onwards).
Have the cartridges been dismantled and compared with “non-X” marked ones??? ( Different Powder, bullet, primer, etc???)
I have extras of the one with the 1951x, and would be happy to take one apart, but have none without the x to compare with. For what its worth, these came from Bill Gessner’s sale stock, and the box they were in were labeled ‘from tunnels in Saigon’.
Doc - I would totally rule out reloads. The “x” headstamped cartridges show absolutely no signs of ever having been reloaded. I have a number of them in my collection, and as I say, they sometimes duplicate headstamps of the same month and year with no leters “x.” All are brand new factory ammunition.
I would also rule out any question of an added character to headstamps. They are far too regular in position on the headstamps to be an added mark, in my opinion.
Further, I don’t think they denote any special loading. Cartridge characteristics (other than the possiblity of powder since I have not taken any apart - but I doubt that as well) are identical between “x” and non-"x’ rounds. Three contemporary rounds from my collection were weighed, one each with no x, year-x, and month-x, with the following results:
Month 7X: 370.3 grains
Year 1951X: 370.1
No X: 367.7
All three are within expected cumulative specifications for a the total weights of cartridges loaded with the same components.
Of any of the answers, loading line indetification would strike me as the only feasible one in this case, from those considered. There may be other considerations that I have not the knowledge to think of or explore (regarding factory needs for indentification during production).
Regarding the “coin” headstamp of a square or rectangle in a circle, that is the mark of China’s “20th Arsenal” opened in 1938 with resources of the Chungking and Nanking ammunition factories. They produced ammunition using the Chinese dating system during WWII. After WWII. They also produced .45 ACP, .30-06 and 7.9 x 57mm Ammunition after WWII, at least as late as December (12) 1951 in the case of the 7.9 x 57mm round.
A very large quantity of mixed Chinese 7.9 x 57mm ammunition was brought into this country from China by Service Armament some years ago.
Some of it was totally mixed lots within containers, and some were full cases of the same ammunition as originally factory-packed.
[quote=“JohnMoss”] They also produced [color=blue].45 ACP, .30-06[/color] and 7.9 x 57mm Ammunition after WWII, at least as late as December (12) 1951 in the case of the 7.9 x 57mm round.
John, do you have by chance images of such head stamps?
Could it be something technical to do with the primer composition, case metal etc. ? Just a thought. Being a cartrdige collector and engineer has got me looking at small markings on alot of items and wondering what they actually mean.
EOD - I do not have any images of the Chinese .30-06 with “square in circle” headstamp. I don’t collect that caliber, but have seen not only specimens, but also reference to it in an article by Lew Curtis and Bin Shih, both of whom are quite expert in Chinese ammo in general, and the older Chinese pistols in particular.
I will, on a different thread per the current “rules” (since anything posted here on Chinese …45s will be outside of the scope of the title of this thread,) pictures of the Chinese headstamp as well as the box for it. I have many examples of that cartridge and headstamp combination in my own collection.
Well, JM etc, now that you have definitely eliminated the “Reload” or “Special Load” options which I put forward, there only remains the “production line” hypothesis.
Seeing as the machinery for Factory #20 came from two different former (nationalist) plants, due to Japanese encroachment,
could it be that the production lines of the two donor plants were kept separate, even though under the one “Coin” HS identifier, maybe due to different tolerances, or machinery processes, etc? Maybe even because they were made by the one “maker”, the actual machinery was dislocated in two(nearby) different areas, for strategic protection reasons?
As to the other calibres made by “Coin” HS, I have 30.06 and .45ACP made by several factories during the 1945-49 period, Mostly by “Double diamond”
(Arsenal 41, formerly KungHsien (Gong Xian), but also “Coin” and “%” ( percentage mark but horizontal). These should be the subject of a specific Post on Revolution Chinese Calibres.
I think that the idea that two different production lines could be represented by the presence or lack of an “x” makes good sense. But after looking at the checklist, I have to wonder not only why the “x” is used, but why it is sometimes with the year and sometimes with the month number. Perhaps the presence, lack of, or placement of the “x” refers to a period of time within the month that it was produced? Say the presence of the “x” next to the year indicates that the cartridge was manufactured during the first half of the month and the “x” next to the month indicates that it was made during the second half of the month. Food for thought…
Fascinating, even though I don’t collect this caliber!
I also have to think that the Chinese, regardless of the era or ideology, do not do anytyhing without a good reason, but also the reason might be odd or arcane to a Western mind…
Is it possible the x might indicate who or what the cartridge was made for, or perhaps to indicate a lot?
Guy - I can’t be sure about the part of “who it was made for,” but I doubt it. The lot number theory I don’t think goes. They are dated headstamps, and it is likely that the month was sufficient identification for the Chinese rather than a lot number. The fact that they are known in three variations only and pretty consistently I think, with no “X”, with “x” after the month, and with “x” after the year, would allow for only three manufacturing lots for the cases. anything is possible, since we really don’t know, at this point, why this was done, but again, I doubt that the “x” represents a lot. Simply my opinion. Everything is conjecture at this point.
We need to hear from Tiengulden. He has been been very quiet lately - perhaps focused on the Olympics.
[quote=“JohnMoss”]EOD - I do not have any images of the Chinese .30-06 with “square in circle” headstamp. I don’t collect that caliber, but have seen not only specimens, but also reference to it in an article by Lew Curtis and Bin Shih, both of whom are quite expert in Chinese ammo in general, and the older Chinese pistols in particular.
I will, on a different thread per the current “rules” (since anything posted here on Chinese …45s will be outside of the scope of the title of this thread,) pictures of the Chinese headstamp as well as the box for it. I have many examples of that cartridge and headstamp combination in my own collection.[/quote]
Thanks a lot John!
I think I have to post this here, even though it is primarily on .45, because it is also about the “x” on 8 x 57mm.
Remember, there are three variations, not two, of the 7.9 x 57mm headstamps with “x”. So it can’t be to identify anything in “twos” like loading lines from on machinery from two different factories, or to parts of a month, etc. The third variation are the ones, of the same month and year, that have NO “x” in the headstamp. It could identify three different loading lines, of course. Again, conjecture at this point, but that is o.k. since conjecture sometimes points the right path to further exploration of a subject.
Doc Av - please verify that you have “double-diamond” headstamps from Gong Xian (Kungshien) in .45 caliber. That headstamp, I believe, is totally unknown on .45 by most of us who heavily collect that caliber. Also, my sources say that Gong Xian was formerly the 11th Arsenal, not 41st Arsenal.
The 41st Arsenal is atrributed to the factory at Kwangtung (Guang Dong) redesignated and moved to Tong Zi in 1939. Their only known production was 7.9 x 57mm. Their headstamp mark was of three intertwined, semi-circular figures, sort of like a flower and similar to the old Kokura mark Stacked cannon balls), except not perfect circles. The flower mark was enclosed inside of a circle. Similar too, but not the same as the “square in circle” mark of the 20th Arsenal. What are your sources for “double-diamond” having been the 41st Arsenal?
Can you please post a scan or photo of the double-diamond headstamp, from a .45 auto round. on the new thread on Chinese .45s? It is a well know headstamp on .30-06 and 7.9 x 57, so no need to post one from those calibers, I would think. It is essential to confirm any previously unknown headstamps, and of course, they do show up. I just acquired a previously unknown .45 headstamp from Brazil, about which there will be a short article in a future IAA Journal. The cartridge is pre-WWII, but has not shown up, at least for most collectors in the world, until recently.
My identification was from extensive research done by Bin Shih, Lewis Curtis, and Bill woodin, as contained in the article “A guide to Chinese Headstamps, 1880-1950,” contained in IAA Journal Issue 420, Jul/Aug 2001, pages 30 thru 34.
Guy - You mentioned earlier in the thread that “the box they were in were labeled ‘from tunnels in Saigon’”. Does the box have the original Chinese label or markings on it? If it does, could you post some pictures of it. I would like to see a 7.9mm box from this manufacture.
Sorry, but I should have said plastic box to avoid any confusion; they are not in their original box.
I had a full case of 7.9 x 57 with one of these “square in circle” headstamps, I don’t recall which. It was a metal case holding several hundred rounds, but they were loose - not just thrown in a can but laid flat in rows with paper between the rows. It may have held more than several hundred - I got rid of it years ago and stupidly, for one who collects the cartridge, did not photogrpah it or even take notes on it. I don’t know why, except that I don’t recall much a label. The can was black and seemed to have a coating of something on it, and the lid was a “tear-up” lid soldered to the top of the can. When torn off, the opening was about 80 percent of the can top and the corners of the otherwise square opening were angled slightly. That much I remember. I had no use for it, not shooting either of my 8mm Mausers often and preferring my own loads immensely to surplus military, so I gave it away. I haven’t seen many chinese small-capacity box labels on this caliber. I am sure they exist, but they don’t show up much.
I only have 1 Chinese 7.9mm box with lable (25 round) but it is from Factory 671.