French Gras?


I have a brass covered bullet rifle cartridge measuring 11.15 x 59R. It has a headstamp of SFM at 12 o’clock and 1 star on each side. It also has some engraving at 6 o’clock. Accord to Curt Steinhauer’s CD which I purchased, his id is S101A. and says something about a factory in France. Is this a French Gras? The brass throws me for a loop? Tom from MN



Here are some screen shots to show you how to go to a basic headstamp reference list here on the IAA webpage (not all headstamp are listed)

Click on “REFERENCE”, see purple arrow

Click on the “Headstamp Codes to identify makers”, shown by purple arrow.

Click on “S”, shown by purple arrow

Scroll down to “SFM”, purple oval

Late production Gras carton label: “Enveloppe Laiton” = Brass envelope (brass bullet jacket)



It sounds to me that you are describing the incendiary loadings of the French Gras round that were used in aerial machine guns against observation balloons and Zeppelins during WWI.


I checked some old forum posts and it appears that you have a FMJ round made by SFM for compliance with the Hague Treaty against expanding bullets. I have the same round that was sold to me as a WWI incendiary… well I learned something new. What type of bullet is in these 11mm Gras cartridges


I think its more likely to be a ball round. The incendiary loads generally had tinned bullets and/or red primer annulus for identification.