German WWII Headstamp Bunters

First, I have never seen a German headstamp bunter from the WWII period or even the decades before WWII. In fact, though I have asked about such bunters many times and I have never encountered anyone who claims to have seen one. Since the high quality steel used for bunters was probably a very critical material during the war, I suspect they were melted down and the metal reused.

I have heard a number of times that these German bunters different from the bunters I have seen from other countries. Basically, it was claimed that the German bunters were constructed in sections (some said four sections and some said two) to allow at least the lot number to be changed without changing the whole bunter.

I have come to believe this was much more speculation rather than fact. I have looked at a LOT of German 9mm P08 headstamps and have seen double stamps, chipped bunters and other issues. I have never seen any evidence of a multiple part bunter, like a line from a misaligned bunter. I am pretty confident I have never seen a headstamp where the headstamp looks like a worn bunter but the lot number does not look worn.

Most German I have encountered is of extremely high quality, but it seems to me that the widespread use of multipart bunters would leave some evidence.

I will freely admit this is only speculation on my part, and would be glad to be proven wrong.

Has anyone seen a multiple part bunter used anywhere for modern SAA, even as far back as 1900???

Has anyone seen evidence on German headstamps going back to the 1920 that a multipe part bunter was used to create a headstamp???

I will accept that a multiple part Hobb could have been used to create bunters that were then cleaned of imperfections (see topic


Many years ago I found several 7,9 cartridges.
The person who gave me the rounds told me they came from FN.
The German code was “ch” during WW.
He also told me they came from a test run from the beginning of the production in 1943.
Well I cannot proof anything but they came together this way. I don’t believe they made a bunter for each marking on the head stamp so I think the bunter was split in 90° parts.




Thanks for the info! I have some similar headstamps on 9mm P08 from at least dnh, dnf, dou and va. I suspect they used bunters that they trimmed the missing letters off. I suspect this is not an unusual occurrence for experimental or test rounds, and a lot simpler than a multi-part bunter. Even under high magnification, I can’t find a seam from a multipart bunter, but a sell fitted part may not leave a seam.

I ( and other collectors) have Swedish blank rounds with WWII dated brass cases, but with a faint, or not so faint “E” at 1200hrs. Clearly a bunter for steel cases was modified for use on brass cases.

A great set of 7.9s!!! Congratulations!!!



Many years ago I had discussions with John Martin from Footscray about this subject, relevant to .303s in particular which had only a single number or letter on the headstamp. He said it was impractical to make segmented bunters for a number of reasons. For experimental lots they ground off some letters/numbers from an old bunter. They also on occasions used incorrect bunters on trial lots as an economy measure.
Is it possible the 7.9 headstamps shown were originally the complete one, then whittled down.?

The ch St+ 1 43 is the first lot they made.
I think they had no “old” bunters.


If bunters were made from tool steel, rather than mild steel suitably hardened, I suspect that the worn bunters were probably ground down before being re-worked, it would have been hugely impracticable to recycle by smelting the tool steel at each individual plant and probably just as unlikely that they were sent to a central facility for melting down.

Although this is just supposition on my part.

In the intelligence reports produced from mid-1945 onwards there are often examples cited where German production differed from that in Britain and the US, but from memory I don’t recall anything about the marking of headstamps, which would indicate that there was nothing that caught the inspectors attention … German methods probably being akin to everyone elses. If you have access to the reports it might be worth giving them a skim through, just in case.



What I was saying was I thought these may have all been modified from the original bunter of the first lot. Modifying it a number of times to get the individual details.

Thanks for the inputs. interesting food-for-thought!

I don’t believe headstamp bunters were made directly until the advent electrical cutting and numerically controlled machines. Rather a hobb was engraved with the headstamp exactly as it appears on the headstamp, then his hobb was hardened and used to create the actual bunters, with a lot less cutting than required if a headstamp bunter was cut directly with the raised lettering. I have discussed this in more detail in a recent post —see my link above in my original post.


Interesting subject, seen a few over the years that are obviously “modified” during or after manufacture.
The earliest ones I have been involved with the manufacture of were done direct into the bunter by engraving away the material not required and then heat treated afterwards. A pantograph type machine was used, in later years these type of bunters (punches) are CNC machined in minutes. Tool steel in the annealed condition being used, this material and its variations have been improved tremendously over the years, worn dies were just scrapped as normal “good quality” steel waste. It is almost 40 years since I worked directly for any producer so can not comment on current day production or any type of salvage scheme.
On cartridges (and I am talking shotshells) any wrong or incorrect bunters were often keep and the letters/numbers ground off (as required) and not always fully dressed up, then this could be used when test production runs were instigated for new loading or to test another batch of powders, etc.
See sample below from one possible re-used bunter, this could also be from a re-coined head but I doubt it however I can not rule that out.

First of all, I was wrong with the 90° bunter.
They were made of one part.
It took a longer time making several phone calls until I found a fellow collector who has a bunter in his collection.
It is not a 7,9 bunter from WW2 but the cases were pressed on the same machines this plant used during WW2.

For fast working, only the inner part was replaced.
Sorry for the confusion.


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Thank you for sharing. First time I see a German bunter.

Thank you for your research! Excellent.