German WWI Steel Case Pistol Ammunition

During WWI German produced some quantity of 7.9x57mm ammunition with copper washed steel cases.

Among the very rare German WWI 9mm P08 rounds are the copper washed rounds which were produced in 1917 and at least one type made it as far as field trials. Known specimens were made by Spandau (three known), Cassel (about 7 known) and Geco (one known-Ge D headstamp). An additional Spandau round was documented in a German collection about 40+ years ago, and probably the same round was later reportedly in a US collection. The US collection was sold to the Woodin Lab, but the steel case Spandau round was not in the collection when sold. With the exception of two or three of the Cassel rounds that are in Germany, the remaining rounds are in the Woodin Laboratory or in my collection. The Geco round is in the Woodin Laboratory.

Recently a copper-washed steel case 7.65mm Browning round showed up in Germany, headstamped RM S. Clearly another piece of the German WWI copper-washed steel case pistol ammo story.

I am trying to run down the rest of the story and would appreciate any help from Forum members.

  1. If you know of ANY German steel case pistol cartridges from WWI vintage, even ones that may duplicate the known specimens, please let me know. It is also very possible that steel case rounds were made in other pistol calibers other than 9mm Luger and 7.65mm Browning. I would not be surprised if steel case rounds turned up in 9mmK, 9mmBL or 6.35mmB. It is also probable that other manufacturers were past of this effort.

  2. As far as I know there is NO documentation on these rounds.The dated rounds (9mmP08) are all dated from mid-1917 to the end of 1917. There must have been documentation on this effort, perhaps even a passing reference in the documents pertaining to the 7.9x57 steel case development and employment. Any documentation or suspected sources of documentation would be appreciated.

  3. Clearly this effort, at least the 9mm P08 part, grew out of the 7.9x57mm development. It would be useful to know which companies are known to have made steel case ammunition in 7.9x57, and the dates of these rounds.

Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.


OK Lew

Production from 7,9 CWS cases as far I know

Munitionsfabrik Cassel; April 1916- Oktober 1918
Dresden; May 1916-November 1918
DWM Karlsruhe; March 1917- November 1918
Ehrich & Graetz; May 1917- Januar 1918
WMF Geislingen; March 1916- November 1918
Rheinische Metallwarenfabrik Düsseldorf (H) August 1916- Januar 1919
Haubtlaboratorium Ingolstadt; June 1916 – August 1916
Lindner ; August 1917 – March 1918
Huck Nürnberg; June 1917- Oktober 1918
Utendörffler Nürnberg; June 1917- November 1918
PMF; December 1916- November 1918
Polte Magdeburg; May 1917- June 1918
Spandau; March 1916- December 1918


Great Dutch!

This is an excellent place for me to start. These are all potential manufacturers of steel case pistol ammo. I will try to build a matrix showing which of these produced 9mmP08 and then seek help on which ones produced other pistol calibers.

I had hoped that some members would reply that they had, or had seen steel case WWI 9x19mm German cartridges. I have been surprised by where they turn up.

My first round (by Spandau) was from a Swiss collector MANY years ago in trade for a very good German WWII experimental aircraft cannon round.

My second (by Cassel) was from a general collector I met at breakfast at the Chicago show. He was going through a gun dealers junk box of ammo and picked out quite a few older cartridges. When he got home and was looking at them he realized one of the 0mm Luger rounds was a copper-washed steel case.

I picked up a second Cassel date, along with the box from a collector in Germany who had bought the residue an old shooter had left in his gun club when he went into a retirement home. As I remember, there were four rounds along with a partially smashed box.

The second Spandau date I obtained was from an online auction of about 50 rounds of mostly German 9x19mm ammo, and unrecognized in it was this single steel case round. To be correct, it was unrecognized by many but at least one other bidder knew exactly what it was and bid accordingly!!! I have not told my wife what I paid for this box… The two Spandau rounds are interesting because one if from June 1917 and the other is from December 1917.

Given this history, I strongly suspect that there are more of these rounds lying out there in collections or junk boxes or wherever, either unrecognized or unappreciated!


With Dutch’s help I made the following chart to look at he relationship between the organizations that made Steel case 7.9x57mm cases and those that made P08 ammunition and those that made steel case P08 . All the known steel case cartridges are dated between June 1917 and December 1917.

There is one other copper-washed steel case pistol round from this period and that one is headstamped RM * S. *" I suspect the dot before or after the “S” or no dot is an indication of roughly when the case was produced, as is the existance of serifs or their lack on the headstamp letters, but I don’t have sufficient information to figure out the sequence .

I have contacted a number of collectors checking for other German WWI steel case pistol cartridges but no luck yet.




Regarding the RMS headstamp dots or lack thereof after the “S”, they appear
as following, if you read them with the cartridge orientated with the "R.M. at
the top of the headstamp:

No dot
Dot at the upper left of the “S”
Dot at the lower right of the “S”

My personal opinion is that these dots, while they may help tie down
the progressing dates of cartridge production by which style is present,
are not a date code of any kind, but rather simply presented (on those
that have a dot at all) to show the orientation of the letter “S.” Lew agrees
with me on this point; it is offered here only for clarification.

On the military RMS headstamps with month and year on them, the dots
appear after the sequential number of the month in the cases of “6.” and
“9.”, once again clearly indicating how that number is to be read, since
both are basically identical in shape.

The R.M.S. round known with CWS case is, by the way, a 7.65 Browning, mentioned
here, as with the above information on the dots (my opinion of their meaning), is a
7.65 mm Browning-caliber round.

John Moss

John is of course correct, the WWI vintage round by RMS I mentioned is 7.65mm Browning. I agree with John’s assessment of teh reasons for the dot near the S.


Lew, here are codes missing codes in your list

Ehrich und Graetz = E&G
WMF Geislingen = G
Huck Nürnberg = Gothic „N“