Great War 7.63 m/m cartridges for C96 Mauser pistol

Are there any boxes of 7.63 m/m cartridges known to have been acquired for German military use in the C96 pistol during the Great War? Is it known, or suspected, that any cartridges in this caliber not manufactured by DWM were procured during that period by the German authorities? Jack


According to Patronen fur Deutsche Hilfs- und Beutehandfeuerwaffen des Zeitraums 1914-1938 (Cartridges for German Auxiliary and Captured Small Arms 1914-1938), Micke, W., 2011, pages 31 to 33, 7.63mm ammunition was procured during WW1 and boxes are pictured with both military and commercial labels. This includes cartridges produced by DWM, both ball rounds and exerzierpatronen.


Brian: Thanks much. Does the Micke book indicate government procurement of this caliber from any sources than DWM? Jack

Jack, The military headstamps found in 7.63 mm from the WWI period include one known from DWM, but it doesn’t really match the style of headstamp generally used by the Germans in WWI. Many of that particular headstamp were found in Africa, and I assume there is a possibility they were made for use by Colonial troops in German East Africa.

The headstamps that do match the German military pattern are from Spandau (ball and blank, and often found factory-loaded with SP bullet, with S headstamp and Rheinisch Metalwarenfabrik, Soemmerda (RM S headstamp).

I don’t know of any others with military-style headstamps. Of course many of the C’96 pistol used were in 9 mm Parabellum (“Red Nine”) caliber. Certainly not all of them, though, because 7.63 mm pistols with the Imperial Eagle on the front of the magazine housing are known.

I have the DWM odd-ball headstamp, and a Spandau Platzpatrone (sorte 1), plus the RM S round which is later than any of the Spandau cartridges I have seen. Oddly, my ball round from Spandau is one of the Soft Nose. I have a FMJ round also, but it is sitting in another country.

If someone wants to post them for me, I could scan pictures of the DWM, Spandau and RM S headstamps, but aside from the DWM, they are all quite normal in content - the same as those in 9 mm Para - so not particularly exciting.

I do not have a box label for any of them, but I am sure there are Forum users that have them. although large, my box collection is quite mediocre.

John: I would be very interested in seeing any of the headstamps you mentioned. I have a 7.63 m/m round by RMS, but it is purely commercial in style, with RM at 12 o’clock, S at 6, and a couple of stars at 8 and 4. Jack

This list needs a bit of updating, but it’s a good start. I have marked all the headstamps I think could have seen some WWI use with a (*) just before the country of origin. Any additions that might fit the listing would be greatly appreciated.

Jon: Thanks for posting your list. In addition to the RM S round I have the Genschow (?) with the D and two asterisks headstamp and had wondered if perhaps both might have been German issue. Jack

The undated RMS rounds are purely commercial. That, of course, does not eliminate the possibility of individual or emergency purchase and use in combat, but then one could say that of any cartridge of almost any caliber ever made. I was speaking only of rounds that were official contracts for German Government sources during WWI or before. That would include Police, by the way. Often police-used ammunition had their own, somewhat different headstamps, or were commercial, but just as one can’t say that commercial rounds were never used by the military, you can’t say, without solid documentation, that military rounds were never used by police.

It is really, to my knowledge, only Spadau and RMS, and perhaps the odd format DWM dated rounds, though that fit the “mold” for German military headstamps of the time.

I also was speaking only of German rounds. Italy did use some flat-side Mauser pistols in the Navy. And of course, military officers from any country that had commercial sales of Mauser Pistols could have purchased them. I did not consider private purchase pistols within the parameters of the questions.

The headstamp L.D.P. * * by the way, which seems to be marked as being military, was a French company’s headstamp, Leon Deux of Paris, and was likely commercial ammunition. (Hope I spelled that company name right - no time to look it up).

Just some random thoughts.

John, You have pointed out one of the thornier issues with collecting military/police 7.63 cartridges. I have included on my listing rounds that, due to their age and origin, could have possibly been used by a military or police force. I am always hoping that questions such as the OP’s concerning boxes/labels will yield some information as to contract or end-user.
Oh, I think the Austro-Hungarian example in an aluminum case with 4 star headstamp should also be included here.

While I was not aware of an aluminum-cased Hungarian 7.63 mm, if it has the four segment lines and four stars on the headstamp, it is likely to be way too late for WWI, the subject here. For example, that was the headstamp on 9 x 25 mm Mauser ammunition found in boxes label for the M-39 Hungarian SMG.

OK, I thought it was earlier. Your Uncle Bill has it. I think I have a pic to send you.

Thanks to all for the information and comments. Fede indicated in a post a while back that the LDP headstamp was that of the firm of Louis Dieu of Paris. Jack

Jack - thanks for the right spelling. I simply couldn’t go look it up and my memory is getting to be rather poor, especially for non-English words and names that I don’t have the opportunity to use much anymore.

Jon - I see I wrote 9 mm in reference to your posting about the aluminum case round. I have correctored that. I guess all the new 9 mm headstamps coming out have clouded my mind and when I caliber is described, all I see is 9 mm.
The pictures were great. Thanks.

I will try to get pictures scanned of the early, pre-WWI dated DWM headstamp, the Spandau headstamp, and the RMS headstamp, along with a scan of the cartridges, primarily to show the rather scarce blank round.

Jon - can you post them for me if I send them to you. I don’t know how, still, and am too old and stupid to learn.

Of course. If I have any to add I’ll post them too.

[quote=“jonnyc”]This list needs a bit of updating, but it’s a good start. I have marked all the headstamps I think could have seen some WWI use with a (*) just before the country of origin. Any additions that might fit the listing would be greatly appreciated.


Hello Jim,
I’m looking for a long time for the german WW1 military headstamp and had never seen one. I really enjoy to see pictures of the following cartridges:
RM S 11 18
S 1 98 .
Could you make pictures, please?

These are from John Moss:


Headstamps of the German rounds. Note that there are only four
headstamps, since the headstamps for the Dated DWM cartridges are
identical, including the date of 8-04. This is not a standard German
military headstamp by WWI standards, and it is early. As noted earlier, they
are found in Africa, which leads to the conclusion that at least in part
they may have been Colonial issue to troops in German East Africa. We
have no documentation for that, however. The cartridge headstamps are: Dated DWM August 1904 headstamp on FMJ and SN
bullet loadings; RM S (Rheinisch Metalwerken Sömmerda dated 11 18 (the
last month of WWI); Spandau SN cartridge dated from November 1902 and
Spandau blank cartridge dated from January 1898. Note orange primer
seal which is also found on some contemorary (late 1898 and 1899 7.9 mm
M88 cartridges). Other Spandau dates are known, but all encountered by
John Moss on the 7.63 Mauser caliber have been pre-WWI.

I should note in Jon’s Posting of my pictures that the top Headstamp for Spandau should be at the bottom. This is my fault, not Jon’s. I sent them to him in the wrong order. Secondly, the odd line in front of the “R” on the “RM S” headstamp is an anomaly on the head of the cartridge. It is not part of the headstamp and has no meaning.

Other dates are known to exist on the Spandau cartridges, although we have no comprehensive list of them to share. In the case of the RM S 11 18 headstamp, I am not familiar with any other date, but then, I don’t collect lot numbers or dates in most pistol calibers. A German monograph on the RM factory shows the commercial * R.M. * S headstamp for .30 Mauser, but does not even include the military headstamp with date shown on my picture. It simply does not report the military headstamp for this caliber only. We have no other reference showing any different dates, but also no study concluding that 11-18 is the only date.

Jonnyc and john moss,
thank you very much for pictures and informations.

I just wanted to report that I got my Spandau 7.63 mm Mauser round with FMJ bullet. It is interted, with the bullet out and a snapped primer. The headstamp is “S 1 05.” The base of the bullet is marked with a German Gothic letter. I believe it might be an “M” but I am not good with that alphabet at all. I don’t even know which way to orient it. I could be reading it upside-down, for all I know.