French 7.62 Carbine Ammo?


The following is a quote from a discussion on another website:

“There are two different types of French carbine ammo. One is steel cased and the other is brass. Both were loaded with Berdan primers which are corrosive and some of the brass was boxer primed and non corrosive BUT the majority of it is Berdan primed and corrosive.”

I don’t recall any steel-cased, Boxer-primed, or non-corrosive French M1Carbine ammo. Can anyone confirm?


I have only seen aluminum but the French made lots of steel cases in several calibers. Would be nice to see one.


Jonnyc so it’s all good. I’ll post a photo later


the steel case is very rare ,more than aluminium case
the factory would be VE (valence) or TE (toulouse)


I have two French .30 Carbine Steel cases in my own colletion.

NPE case: 4 VE 49 C Berdan primer - a look inside the case shows heavy rusting at the flash holes, and the primer was never even fired.

Ball round: 2 VE 52 F (Dark gray FMJ RN bullet with the look of German Sintered-iron bullets, although the finish of the jacket is not grainy in appearance like the German ammo, and may not be Sintered Iron at all. The bullet is heavily magnetic.

There may be others, of course.

I have never heard of any French non-corrosive .30 Carbine, or any that was Boxer primer. What is the headstamp, and the other specs on those rounds if, in truth, they exist at all?

I, personally, would not pull the trigger on any French .30M1 carbine round loaded in an M1 carbine. Damages caused to carbines fired with this stuff have been covered before on the
Forum. The only worse carbine ammo ever made, I think, was the junk made in the Dominican



that is not a sintered-iron bullet but a CNCS one.
Something must have happened to the CN coating.
I have the same with some french 30-06 cartridges. (see picture)
No idea if this is caused by bad storage or something else.
On the right bullet you can see that underneath the case-mouth laquer the bullet is OK
but above that, the jacket is damaged.



I’m sorry, but it is nothing like what has happened to your .30-06 round. The bullet is uniformily a dark gray, very, very obviously finished that way. I will try to post a picture of it.


Concerning the dark matte gray finish on some French military SAA bullet jackets, I think the steel jackets have been bonderized. I have a box for wartime 7.65 m/m long cartridges indicating bonderized finish and the jackets and cases have the same appearance. Jack


René - here is the picture I promised. Firstly, I forgot to mention
that in years of collecting .30 Carbine ammunition, I have never seen a
French round with a CN bullet - always Tombak jackets (GM or GMCS)
except for an all nickeled or chromed, not sure which, dummy round. In
the picture, I have put the steel case round in the center, flanked by a
ball round, brass case, with Tombak bullet jacket, on the left, and on
the right, the dummy mentioned above. This shows all three colors of
bullet jacket. The steel case round has a bullet that is almost the
same color as the case. It is reminiscent of some of the bullets found
in 7.65 French Long cartridges. The finish is absolutely uniform dark
gray. The round is in almost mint condition, with no signs of any
corrosion anywhere. The photo does not show the gray color as well as I
would have liked, but I think you can see it is not, nor has it ever
been, the color of the bullet in the other two rounds, and certainly the
color is not a product of corrosion.

All three rounds pictured are from the same case maker, but not
necessarily the same case-metal supplier.

Photo and cartridges from John Moss


I may well be remembering wrong, but quite a while ago, I believe I did have some loose French .30 Carbine ammunition with brass cases and Boxer primers, as I reloaded the cases. But at this late date I have no details. It is possible some of those cases are still somewhere in my brass inventory, but If I do find them I will post.


One of our French friends must know for sure if any of the French Carbine ammo is Boxer-primed or not. As it is, we are just creating doubt in what should be a simple subject, answered with more than anecdotal evidence. I have not pulled a lot of French carbine bullets, and I won’t shoot that stuff in any gun I have ever owned in that caliber, but every empty case I have seen has been Berdan. However, the sampling there is way too small to give a positive answer.
I have some Gevelot-headstamped carbine rounds in my collection, but unfortunately none in my dupes, so I don’t care to pull a bullet on my collection specimens. I am not at all sure about them. Also, the were Carbine rounds, I believe, with SFM commercial style headstamp (* SFM * GG) but I have never even seen one of them, although I believe some of the better Carbine collections, like Bill Hindin’s or the Woodin Lab’s, have them. I don’t know about those, either.

Any of our friends in French have a definitive, documented answer to the question of primer types in .30 (7.62) M1 Carbine rounds of French manufacture?


yes there were the two types of cases, Berdan and Boxer primed.
Berdan primed case was the Mle 1950 and the Boxer primed was the Mle 1954 and then became the Mle 1950A (in 1955, not to confuse with the first French 7,62 NATO who was the Mle 1954).
VE made both, TE only Boxer primed and SFM, for the French Army contract, Berdan primed but maybe also Boxer. SFM commercial (Gévelot) seems to be all Berdan primed.



HI, I know only 2 lots of .30 M1 with laquered steel case and bonderized ball (with lead core) (VE-4-C-49 / EV-2-F-52).

On the brass cases, there are 2 types of primer:


It is amazing that a mercury fulminate-containing priming composition would (or may) have been used for any country’s small arms service ammunition at that late date. Other than for some special match-grade primers, I thought mercury fulminate priming had ceased to be by about 1900. Less amazing, but equally strange, is that the French used corrosive priming in the .30 Carbine. I wonder what their logic was for that? By the way, both the French and Dominican .30 Carbine ammunition (which I think also used corrosive primers) I have fired was not used in the M1 Carbine, rather a Ruger Blackhawk revolver in that caliber.


On 14 Aug 2010 “pierrejean” on this forum posted a machine translation of a treatise by Michel Rogier on French ammunition development. It does not mention .30 Carbine, but clearly states that the French 7.5 mm had severe problems with consistent ignition of the French powders with styphnate primers. Therefore they kept mercury/chlorate primers for a long time.
(Alas, the French orginal -apart fram an unreadable scan- seems not to be available on the Web.)

Regarding mercury fulminate primers, I thought it was common knowledge that these were used in the entire Warsaw Pact military ammunition right up to its end. In GDR, Königswartha manufactured them, also for Lübben and export. I assume, Russian and Chinese military ammunition, unless for Export (environment protection), still uses them today.
The German primers 88 (rifle) and 08 (pistol) contained mercury as well as chlorate and were manufactured up to the end of WWII. Primers 30, 30/40, 43 and 08/40 have the Sinoxid mix.

Edited for typo.
2nd edit P.S.: The pre-1945 DWM NICORRO primer mix also contained mercury fulminate, but no chlorate. (according to Richard Mahrholdt)
3rd edit for typo again.


I also received, thru another person, a detailed description of French .30 Carbine production written by Philippe
Regenstreif some time ago. Philippe is an authority on French, German and perhaps ALL ammunition, so it is
clear from his description and those presented here that the French DID make Boxer-primed .30 Carbine ammunition.

The next question, to which I haven’t seen an answer, is “was the Boxer-primed ammunition corrosive-primed as is
the Berdan-primed version?”

I wish I had some duplicates of French Carbine ammo. I have a fair collection of them, but I never acquired much
in duplicate or box labels, because when it was in the U.S. we would not, under any circumstances, sell it in our
store and I would not personally fire it in any kind of weapon. So, I never acquired mored than individual specimens.

I thank everyone for setting the record straight on the Berdan/Boxer issue. Ignorance, in this case my own,
is NOT bliss, like the saying goes.


Composition french primers M1950 (Berdan) & M1950A (Boxer) for .30 M1 cartridges (French Army documentation).


Excellent, thanks.


Interesting primer formulations. As they do not contain any chlorates, they may not be particularly corrosive, and maybe that’s why the mercury fulminate was used. But I still don’t understand why the fulminate was used instead of lead styphnate given its problems with decreased shelf life. Could the French powders have been that difficult to ignite?


I decided to pull apart some dupes and even a couple of French .30 Carbine from my collection. Here
are the results, presented in no special order:

VE 2-60 S Berdan
SF I 2 54 Berdan
VE 4-59 N Berdan
VE 4-61 BD Berdan
VE 4 C 58 Boxer
VE 4 C 56 Boxer
VE 2 C 50 Berdan

  • GEVELOT * 7.62 Berdan

The base of the GEVELOT round is formed a little differently. It has a dimple in the center, which
at first I thought was a flash hole. Then I realized that on either side of the dimple, were snaller
flash holes.

I did not have any duplicates of “TE C” rounds at all, and only two variations of it in my collection, so
I assumed it is much scarcer than the “VE” rounds and decided not to pull either apart. According to
information previously on this thread, they should both be Boxer primed, but I did not confirm that.

The 3 VE 49 C aluminum-case, and the 4 VE 49 C steel-casel, are both NPE cases in my collection, both with Berdan primers.