Chinese(?) Knock-Off Headstamps

Prevailing wisdom ID’s the following as rounds made in China, perhaps in the 1920s, 30s, or 40s. Any (non-photo quality) comments welcome. I’ll try to retake the pics. The first 4 are 7.65/.32 ACP, the last 5 are 7.63 Mauser.


Jon - are you sure the “3 V B 38” is a Chinese knock-off headstamp? I have never seen it in my life on a .30 Mauser cartridge, but it is a known headstamp style on German-made 7.9 x 57mm ammunition made for the Spanish Civil War. Spain also had plenty of weapons in caliber 7.63mm Mauser - Astra, Royal, Azul C’96 types as well as Star Browning types. It would not have been impossible for the Germans to have made a clandestine headstamp in this caliber for that war.

The condition of the cartridge is not great by the picture, but the markings are well excecuted and properly placed. We mustn’t confuse condition with original quality of manufacture. Now, maybe there is something about the cartridge not seen in the picture (primer size, neck crimp styles, etc.) that tells it is Chinese.

This is just a thought. Since I have never seen this headstamp, from anywhere, on a pistol round, I can only inquire as to your provenance that it is definitely Chinese.

All good thoughts and questions, John. The (3 V B 38) headstamp is not really top-notch, and not up to usual German 1930s standards. Although VERY FAR from definitive, I base my Chinese ID on the headstamp quality, and the fact that it came out of Forgett’s Navy Arms with a batch of other ammo that I’m pretty sure was Chinese, including all the other 7.63s above. I would welcome any info to confirm or refute my theory.

No other info available. In the photo, it just looked like it was too well stamped for one of the Chinese knockoffs, or I should say, the letters to well formed. the fact it came out of China proves nothing about its national origin. When Val imported all the .45 from China, over half of it was american made. I have, in my 7.9 collection, all manner of foreign (non-Chinese) rounds that were resealed and repacked in China.

I was just trying to put two and two together, but may well have come up with five as the answer. Its a known German headstamp 0n 7.9 and for the Spanish Civil war, a country where the .30 Mauser round was widely used. I hope it is a Chinese rip-off, as if not, it would drive the European collectors to drink, the way it has me regardless of what it is.

I have no documentation to prove my half-hearted theory - all my comments represent. Admittedly, I would rate its chances of being Chinese as 50-50 and maybe higher in the favor of it being Chinese. Something to think about, anyway.