Ethiopian 8 x 57 Mauser ammo, Examined in depth

Link: December 6, 2018 (if link doesn’t open)
Ian McCollum examines a case of surplus Ethiopian 8 mm Mauser ammo. Date on wooden box and on cardboard packets is 1947, headstamp is 1955. He fires 15 rounds for velocity, pulls bullets, discusses composition of cartridge case and bullet construction, and generally presents a great deal of information on this cartridge being imported by Century Arms. He mentions it was made in Addis Abba with advice and help from Czechs.

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Yes, the Czech influence is evident in the ammo crate
Inner liner…steel wire RIP top opening.
The German- Czech influence in cartridge packaging…
15 round loose pack, 300 round battle pack…20 packets, and 1500 rounds ( 5 Battle packs) per can/case.
Strangely, only the central pack has the web cotton strap for easy removal from the can…German /Czech
Tragepak had a tape and buckle on all of them, for ease of individual carry.
Finally, the NCS and GMCS bullets…the Nickel ones are typical Czech postwar production, and the GMCS Are probably Ethiopian production.
As to the discrepancy of dates…could there be recycling of both packets packets and crates?? Or is the 1947 a Model date, as the -Vz47 post-war Czech 7.92 loading?? More likely a cartridge adoption or model date.

Doc AV

Czech influence? :-)

Considering Považské Strojárne of Czechoslovakia built the ammunition plant in Addis Ababa in the late 1940s I suppose you could say there was some Czech influence!

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Just found a couple of boxes of the 7.92:

Jon, great reference pics, thanks!

What does the 1947 refer to? Propellant lot?

Deciphering this label is interesting. Using an Amharic character map, and then translating them with Google translate I get:

ናቀ ፡ ኃ ፡ ሥ ፡ ጥ ፡ ፋ ፡ = “Nuclear Power Plant” (not sure - they don’t have Nuclear)

፩፭ ፡ የጠመንጃ ፡ ፐይት ፡ = “A gun fire pound” (??)

ኻሊብር : 7.92 : = “Depression 7.92”

ተሠራ ፡ 1947 = “Made in 1947”

የሌሬ 18 = “Other 18”

Matt, I wondered because the case says 1955 and assumed 1947 must be the propellant then.

Jon, was this repacked or so?

1947 is the year model number; given that CZ Strakonice set up the Ammo factory to load Vz 47 cartridges ( the post war Czech 7.92 load), the M1947 is the correct model description for the Cartridge.
Nothing to do with powder etc.

The ammo , except for its age and primer problems, was well made for the time.
Ian of Forgotten Firearms did a test firing Video for Century Arms, the importers. The ammo that fired was a bit above the Velocity of the original specs, but the occasional misfire or double struck cartridges did
put a crimp in the “quality” of this milsurp.
I would use it for practice, and reload it ( the Berdan Brass is of excellent quality, as is all Czech engineered military brass); the failed primers are easily Hydraulically decapped ( no hook or chisels allowed…I know!!), and for those with a supply of .217" Berdan primers, an economical supply of target ammo.

Amharic is a difficult language to transliterate and the nuances can lead to misinterpretations esp. with a computer translator not geared for " gun speak".

Doc AV

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Matt, you really need a better translator!!!

Alex, I’m more inclined to believe it’s Model 1947 ammo, made and packaged in 1955, but it could be the powder. I actually served in the IDF with a bunch of Ethiopians. I loved their food, and learned a few phrases, but nothing that even remotely helps here.

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I know, the Amharic character alphabet has a ton of slight variations, and figuring whether something is a smudge, error, or intentional mark is tricky.

Well this thread just got even more interesting, this arrived today:

Ethiopian stamped box label (shown below) has “1945” as apposed to the “1947” seen on Jon’s box.


Two views of headstamp for the 1950 dated cartridges contained in the box.



Brian, thanks!
Is it possible that we need a more exact translation of the wording around the 1945 and 1947 in these box markings?

Clearest 15 round box label photo I can find, from



Hello, ተሠራ 1947 means “Made in 1947”, so it is not a model designation. Also, the first factory established with the help of Czechoslovakia dates from the early 1920’s, so there is no relation with this date either.

In my opinion the confusion arise from the use of two different calendars to identify Ethiopians boxes and headstamps. For example, a cartridge case headstamped “1955” was made during the Gregorian calendar date of 1955, that equals to the Ethiopian calendar date of 1947 (September 1954 to September 1955). It also indicates that it was loaded during the same year that the case was manufactured.

However, a case headstamped “1950” was made during the Ethiopian date 1942/1943 (April 1942 to April 1943), but the box indicates it was loaded during the Ethiopian date 1945, that equals to Gregorian date 1952/1953 (September 1952 to September 1953).

In later boxes you can find the two calendars dates. For example, a .30 Cal. cartridge headstamped “77” has a case made in Gregorian date 1977, but the box indicate it was loaded -made- in Gregorian date 1978 or Ethiopian date 1970 (ተሠራ 1970 / Manuf. 1978).

To resume, if you look at an Ethiopian box you need to keep in mind that their calendar is 7 years behind the Gregorian calendar.

Confusing, isn’t it?






Thanks, I think.


Brian, we need to trade rounds!

Fede, thank you!

What would be our interest in all this if it would NOT be confusing?

Here is a conversion chart between 40 years of Ethiopian and Gregorian dates. All Gregorian dates start and end in September.

Ethiopian vs. Gregorian:

1935 = 1942-1943
1936 = 1943-1944
1937 = 1944-1945
1938 = 1945-1946
1939 = 1946-1947
1940 = 1947-1948
1941 = 1948-1949
1942 = 1949-1950
1943 = 1950-1951
1944 = 1951-1952
1945 = 1952-1953
1946 = 1953-1954
1947 = 1954-1955
1948 = 1955-1956
1949 = 1956-1957
1950 = 1957-1958
1951 = 1958-1959
1952 = 1959-1960
1953 = 1960-1961
1954 = 1961-1962
1955 = 1962-1963
1956 = 1963-1964
1957 = 1964-1965
1958 = 1965-1966
1959 = 1966-1967
1960 = 1967-1968
1961 = 1968-1969
1962 = 1969-1970
1963 = 1970-1971
1964 = 1971-1972
1965 = 1972-1973
1966 = 1973-1974
1967 = 1974-1975
1968 = 1975-1976
1969 = 1976-1977
1970 = 1977-1978
1971 = 1978-1979
1972 = 1979-1980
1973 = 1980-1981
1974 = 1981-1982
1975 = 1982-1983