DDR designations


Does anybody have any information about the following (bullet?) designations found in DDR documents:
0,30 SPS/S and
0,30 MC/S

There are boxes of the known blister style, stamped
10 Stück
0,30x39 SPS/S-5

Can we read this as 0,30 SPS/S bullets loaded into x39 cases? -style 5?


I have one of these cartridges, although not the package for it. The designation is a really odd mixture of inch and metric (.30 x 39). Even the fine work on the Lübben factory (my cartridge is from Lübben date “85”) gives little real explanation of the designations of this cartridge. I have not even found out what “SPS” in the designation means, yet.

John Moss



admittedly from the US point of view it is tempting to believe and expect this, but in my eyes it is a dodgy assumption. Remember, Germany entered the metric world some +/- 150 years ago and it does not look as if those items were intended for export into countries who stayed behind. But if so, where is the reason to jump back for a strictly internally used term?

Most people today don’t even know how many mm an inch is! This was also true in 1985.


Hans - if the 0.30 x 39 does not mean a .30 caliber cartridge cartridge, with a 39 mm case length, what other possible meaning can it have? Further, do you know what SPS means for the bullet? “Soft Point Spitzer?” That would be even stranger, for it to represent an English-language descrition of the bullet. The packaging and headstamp makes me agree that this round was NOT for export. There is something in the book on Lübbem about Herr Honaker (I did not look up the spelling - may have spelled it wrong) having a hunting rifle in this caliber, but I don’t have enough German to read in what context that is reported in association with this ammunition.

I have always had lots of questions. Perhaps one of the German/English speaking colleagues who has the book on the Lübben-made Ammunition could translate for us that part of it that deals with this cartridge. It is not all that long.

John Moss



because I have no idea what the designations could reasonably mean I asked the forum. :)

Before I fight my way through Gerd’s text just let me say this:
Gerd gives in his book the designations as 0.30, while in my files I find 0,30, he’s possibly right.
And to you, John, I absolve you from not remembering proper spelling of comrade Erich Honecker’s name. I don’t remember anything he really deserves it for!

Gerd covers the matter on page 86:

… Among others hunting cartridges based on the M43 were made. Designations for the bullets [Hans: for better readability in a table:]
0.30 MC / 43,
0.30 SPS / 43,
0.30 MC / 45 and
0.30 SPS / 45
as well as 0.30x39 SPS for the cartridge with soft point bullet for example, and MC for the full jacket version, make assume the US American market as planned purchaser, though former employees believe the cartridges were meant for Herrn Honecker’s hunting activities with a hunting rifle mady by GWB Wiesa.

Bullet masses in gram as follows [Hans: again for better readability in a table]:
0.30 MC / 43 9,6g;,
0.30 SPS / 43 9,0g;
0.30 MC / 45 11,2g;
0.30 SPS / 45 11,0g

For production of those cartridges they widely reverted to the tools of the running M 43 production. The cases are marked with the familiar military headstamp, the soft point bullets were made in an unorthodox way by cutting off tips of M43 and M45 bullets, force-fitting of a leadcore and border crimping the jacket at the bottom. According to reports in the beginning this both sides open jacket resulted in lead cores leaving through the muzzle while jackets got stuck in the barrel occasionally. It is hard to follow why there was no hearken back to the Königswartha sister plant’s decades of experience in the making of 8 mm hunting bullets. …

Here I sit by the sweat of my brows and swear: I will not become a translator. NEVER.

My guess, the military headstamp and blister pack alone exclude the sale on the commercial marked for the items that were actually made. It would be a project unfinished, a product not brought to the market.


Hans - Thank you for the translation. I know what you mean about translating. Doing a document like this is harder than translating a non-technical thing, where you can simply read it in the language it is printed in, and then put that aise and tell the story iin your own language. Things like Gerd’s book need pretty juch, a word-for-word translation, which is always difficult.

Your English translation, by the way, is outstanding. If I was fluent in German, I doubt I could translate that as well as you did simply because my own English usage is not as “complete” as the way you translated that. GREAT WORK!

Even for the American market the 0.30 x 39 designation is odd, as we do not mix metric and inch like that either. Their have been a couple of cartridges, the calibers alluding me at the moment, that have been given names like that, but it is an extremely uncommon practice here. In fact, most U.S. shooters would not even know what the “39” figure referred to. Remember, that not every shooter is a student of arms and ammunition. We take a language related to our hobby for granted, but in truth, the casual shooter in America, and other countries where the shooting hobbies are practiced by a large group of people, knows little of that language. It is like me. I drive a care, but if you named 20 small car parts, I probably would have no idea with 19 of them were.

By the way, my reading of material, box labels, even headstamps, indicates to me that there is no difference between the use of a comma or a period in designations like “7.65” or “7,65.” A lot of Europe tended to use a comma most of the time, although that seems to be changing to use of a period. The U.S. seems to have used the period more often. Both serve to separate the main number from the fractional number.

John Moss