FNB identification


I picked this box up in Germany.
If my memory serves me correctly (?) the plastic container had 50 rounds of HP star 6.35 star cartridges.
I kept 8 rounds with container to reduce weight.
My assumption is this was made by Hirtenberger.
Who was this made for?


Bob - The FNB would indicate it was made for Fabrique Nationale Belgique."
It is, of course, post-WWII. Very nice box. Have never seen one before.

John Moss


FNB stands for Fabrique National Belgique, yes. That’s why I think this box contained Belgian made ammunition. The box bears also the old Belgian quality inspection mark of the CIP. That’s another reason why I think this is Belgian and not Austrian.


I don’t have catalogs showing this box, but it is not of FN manufacture; it was made by Hirtenberger using their 50 round egg-cup plastic box, which was not a packaging used by FN. I assume that, since this caliber was not longer being manufactured in Belgium by the time this box was made -mid to late 1980’s, they decided to fulfill a requirement with cartridges of HP manufacture.


Fede, I agree. There are other instances of pistol-caliber ammo,
even some with FNB headstamp, made after FN had stopped producing
these calibers. While I had not seen this 6.35 example before, it is
certainly not unique in being marked for FNB but not of their manufacture.

John Moss


I’ m not convinced. FN had similar egg cup boxes for its 7,65 Browning (25 pieces). And what about the CIP approval mark? As I follow your way of thinking: HP produced the ammunition and labeled it with FNB (why should it?) Then sent it to Belgium where the proofhouse of Liège approved the ammunition. Isn’t that a bit over the top? What was next? Distribution to South-Africa?


The key to that sentence is the word “similar.” I have a number of FN “egg cup” boxes. They are all made from a milky-white substance. I do have one that is quite transparent, but it is an exception, and still has some color of white to it. All of my boxes from FN of that type are for 25 rounds. All have a lid of the same construction as each other, with the raised letters “F N” in the center of the top of the lid. The lids are of quite a different construction than are those of the Hirtenberger 50-round “egg cup” boxes, which are all (at least that I have or have seen) made from crystal-clear plastic. I have the Hirtenberger box of this style in both 6.35 mm and 9 mm Parabellum. The former is identical in all respects to Bob’s nice box, except for the label, which is the same basic design (construction, in that it wraps over the top of the box to seal it on
the upper and lower sides of the box.

Bob’s box is, in all things except the printing of the label, identical to the Hirtenberg boxes. It is unlike any of the FN “egg cup” boxes that I have seen both in quantity of cartridges for which it is made, and in design and the texture (color and tone) of the plastic.

Bob, if your box has the FN impressed from the underside of the lid into its top, which I completely doubt, you can probably feel it running your thumb over the label.

I cannot explain the Liege mark, especially since it is on none of my 25-round FN boxes, where the country of origin, Belgium, is not in doubt. Of course, all of my boxes are for auto pistol ammunition. I don’t collect boxes of other types.

For me, there is no doubt that Bob’s box and cartridges are of Austrian origin, and little doubt, from the format, spelling, etc. of the label that it is original as well (not counterfeit).

(Edited to correct two typo errors only)

John Moss


Well then… Let’s trust the experts. Hereby some pictures of the egg shaped FN boxes as described. The transparent 7,65 box was for me standard issue when I started my career in the eighties. I cannot remember having seen other boxtypes on training (my service-weapon was a very old FN model 1922). Me too, I cannot explain the lack of the CIP approval mark on many (!) Belgian boxes.
Maybe it was not needed for the own Belgian market at that time and certainly not for the army.


The 50 round 6.35 container that I have is made of very thin/weak/flimsy plastic unlike the two 25 round plastic boxes you picture.
There is no FN or FNB imprint in plastic top or case.
I could find a lot number on side of clear plastic. Can only be read with white lid in place.
The only plastic box that I have seen that is similar in plastic quality or lack there of is a 50 round plastic box I have from PMP.
When I acquired this box on the last day and last hour of the German show, I vaguely remember seeing a sticker with box or box owner telling me this was a export box for South America.
I really appreciate the input.


I agree that the box on the right is closer in color (or lack of color) and
transparency, but not in design of construction, to the Hirtenberg box
shown initially on this thread. And, once again, they are for 25 rounds,
whereas the Hirtenberg boxes are for fifty rounds.

I still totally agree with Fede that the box in the original question is from
Hirtenberger and is simply a contract for FN. Again, non-Belgian made
pistol cartridges with even FN headstamps exist and are well known. I cannot
speak for right now, but for a time, FN ceased production of pistol caliber (perhaps
rifle, etc as well - I simply don’t know) ammunition.

John M.

John Moss


Maybe Chili? That could explain the CIP-approval as Chili is a memberstate,


Am not sure what you mean about Chile? Are you talking about made
IN Chile, or made FOR Chile? I see no connection.
for either case.

John M.


A CIP ammunition test symbol is only required for ammunition destined for the commercial market in a CIP country. You will not normally find it on boxes from a miliatry contract, or, In Germany at least, the police.

The CIP ammunition test became mandatory in December 1984, as we know from Fede. It will not appear on older boxes.


Made for, of course. CIP-approved, safe ammo because proofed in a CIP memberstate.


Bob’s box does not look like an FN box to me. I have gone through my Austrian plastic boxes and my FN. Looking at the bottom the connection between the individual cartridges on the bottom of the FN box is wider and blunter than that on the Austrian box which is labelled MUSGRAVE and Made in Austria. The lower tray structure of the Musgrave/HP box is identical to that of Bob’s box and very different from the FNB box. The upper lid on Bobs box is white while all my FN boxes have a clear upper lid impressed with FN. My HP box has the same reinforcing raised area along the edge as the box pictured by Bob. The ridge around the FN lids is much wider. The lid on the FN labels only fit half way down into the box. They are made so that a tape around the box closing it is half on the lid and half on the tray. the HP box and Bobs have a lid that fits almost entirely into the tray and are secured by the paper label wrapped over the sides of the lids and glued to the tray. Bobs box construction is very different from the FN boxes and identical to the HP boxes I have in 9x19mm.

The ammo could have been made by HP and shipped in their boxes, with no label, then passed CIP in Liege and labelled by FN, or a sample could have been sent to FN and been passed by Liege and the rest of the shipment packed and shipped by HP.

I don’t see a great mystery here!



that’s pretty much what I side. I don’t see any mystery either, and
I don’t, for the life of me, see any connection what-so-ever to Chile.
Even if Chile is a member of CIP, Chile makes its own 6.35 mm pistol
ammunition - I have at least one in my own collection - and, "of course"
there are many other CIP-connected countries than Chile, including
Belgium. Since it is labeled for FN Belgium, I don’t see the ID problem
here. The whole ammunition scene today is highly incestuous, with many
countries making ammo for many other countries, sometimes with nothing
more than a box label in the purchasing country’s language, and sometimes
with the purchasing country’s headstamp. This FN box, while unique in the
6.35 mm caliber, it seems, is not at all anything unusual in the overall schem
of the ammunition market existing today, especially in light of all the Conglomerates
such as RUAG, CBC, etc.

Since Hirtenberger stopped making ammo, there are even Hirtenberg headstamps
made for Austrian use in Slovakia, Italy, and other countries, probably.

Much ado about nothing.

John M.


Hi Jochem,

I think I have mentioned that regarding the Czechoslovakian “M” mark, but this does not apply to other marks recognized by the CIP. For example, this “FNB” box shows the old version of the Belgian “L” mark that was replaced by a slightly different design in 1968, that seems that every single company have ignored -probably because the change was too slight to notice- until its replacement by a new mark a few years ago. However, I don’t know when this mark, or any other CIP mark, became mandatory for cartridge boxes. Maybe some of you may want to check which one is your oldest box showing CIP markings. I’ll try to do the same.




thanks for correcting my misunderstanding.
So far, I have even been unable to find out exactly at what date it became mandatory in Germany. But it seems to have been around 1984/85, close to the Czechoslovak date.

P.S. I assume by “1968” you mean “1986”


This may not be of any real help, but…
I have some similar packaging to that, and the small package from duqjans, with 30 rounds of .38-200 that I was told came out of Britian, which I picked up in the mid-80s’.

“FN OXYLESS NON MERCURIC 30 CART .38 ORDIN.BALL”, Headstamp, “FN (star) 380 2Z”.
Sorry for the low quality, quick grabshot from my cell…


FN (star) .380 2Z is interesting. The 2Z leads me to think British contract for the .380 revolver.
Footscray in Australia had co-operation with FN for some years which is another story and would only muddy the water here.