Headstamps on 11 x 60 mm R ammunition (Mauser Gewehr 71)

My name is Takuya Nagaoka, PhD Student at Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland. I conducted an archaeological survey in Pohnpei, Micronesia last year and found a cartridge case with the following headstamps:

Unknown mark? at 12 o’clock
"A" at 3 o’clock
"76" at 6 o’clock
"S" at 9 o’clock

My friend identified it as 11 x 60 mm R ammunition for the Mauser Gewehr 71 rifle, however, he was not sure what “SA” means. Please let me know any information on this headstamps. If you need, I can send you a image of the case and headstamps, so please let me know. Thank you for your information.

Takuya Nagaoka
PhD Student
Department of Anthropology
University of Auckland
New Zealand
Email: t.nagaoka@auckland.ac.nz
Website: arts.auckland.ac.nz/staff/index.cfm?P=11002

Please post a picture of the headstamp to identify the unknown mark at 12 o’clock

Yes it is a 11,15 x 60 R or simply known as “Patrone M/ 71”
(cartridge M/ 71). The unknown mark is a spacer in form of a star or asterix.
M/ 71 ia the year of introducion 1971.It is uncommon that no month is in the headstamp
The cartridge was made in 1876 Small Arms company Birmingham England. prussia gave a contract to England.

The headstamp is always difficult to read - so it couldt be an S and an 4.
Than it wouldt be Spandau april 1976.

Please send a picture.

Your cartridge is the 11mm Mauser cartridge for the “Mausergewehr M71” and was made by Small Arms and Metal Company of Birmingham, England. The unknown mark at the 12 O’Clock Position is likely a number denoting a lot number or month-of-the-year. We have in a book a drawing of the same identical headstamp with the number “5” at the 12 O’Clock position of the headstamp, as well as a photo of the same headstamp with a number “9” at the 12 O’Clock position. These were among the first lots of the "Munition 71 mit H

The book is available on the following site:
waffenbuecher.com/HiMaSch/pa … ammler.htm


Laurent - please see the reference book I cited in my answer. It is clearly an 11mm Mauser Model 71 Cartridge made in England, not in Spain.

There was, in fact, a second British Supplier contemporary to the Brimingham Small Arms and Metal Company, using an identical headstamp format, but with the initials “N A” instead of “S A”, the National Arms and Ammunition Company of Birmingham, England.

These two companies were one of the earliest manufacturers of the Mauser 71 case-type, producing and exporting to Germany until German production reached the levels sought by the German Government.

If you have confirmed, scholarly sources that would show Dr. Windisch’s book to be wrong, and that the cartridge is, indeed, Spanish, please cite them. I know it is difficult to identify these early rifle cartridges when complete dimensions are not cited in the question, but the cartridge in question is not only identified in the German book on the 71 Mauser round, but it was previously identified by a friend of the person on posted the question on this thread, and also identified correctly by Genkideskan almost simultaneously with my own response (I was just finishing up mine when he wrote his).

Genkideskan - do you have a picture of such a headstamp with a Star? If not, how do you know the undocumented headstamp entry was a Star. As you said yourself, the normal entry there is a digit. Of course, without a picture, but with the identical format as shown in the cited reference, I assumed it was a digt that perhaps was unreadable as stamped on the cartridge, for some reason.

Hello people,

Thank you very much for your information!

I tried to post my photo, but couldn’t make it… The photo must be on line to post? Could someone kindly teach me how to post a photo?


Click on “FAQ” and there you will find any info about photo posting.
If you will not be able to post your picture,send it to me by e mail,I’ll post it for you


Go there:



I believe (& corresponded with Dr Windish over this issue) that the ‘S 12 A 75’ style headstamp was used by Birmingham Small Arms & Metal Company. BSA&MCo completed its first contract for 40 million capped cases on 15th October 1874 (the actual date called for in the contract!) & put in a bid for a further 25 million cases - to incorporate Nitzke’s Patent - which the Prussian War Ministry thought too high at 17 Thales per 1000. The Prussian’s wanted to make their own cases - so BSA&MCo quoted on three sets of case machinery & supervised their installation at Erfurt, Danzig & Spandau - & also got the contract for 25 million ‘Nitzke’ cases. The ‘S 12 A 75’ style headstamp meets the timeframe - & Dr Windish did find Prussian documents confirming the British contracts.

Dear Nagaoka-san,
Ohayo Gozaimasu.
The islands of Micronesia were part of the German Pacific Colonies before WW I ( part of the chain of the Ost-Asiatische Kolonien—from the Chinese Concessions (Tsingtao) through the Marianas, Carolinas, German New Guinea, and Eastern Samoa.)
Troops of the Ost-Asiatische Schutz-truppe were initially armed with M71 Mausers, then the Gew88 and finally, the Gew98.
The earlier M71s were devolved to the local White German Reservists, and also the local Native Police force under German administrative control.
So supplies of M71 ammunition would have still been around at 1914; Whilst most of the German islands above the equator were occupied by the Japanese in 1914 and retained as “League of Nations” Mandates, after 1919;those below the equator (New Guinea, Bismarck arcipelago, and Samoa, were taken over and administered by Australia, and in (eastern)Samoa’s case, New Zealand.
These two powers stripped the German colonies of all the German rifles, most of which were either dumped in the sea, or “souvenired” back to Australia…most of the Kar71 carbines and Kar88 carbines in Australian collections come from the ex-German Pacific Colonies; one big lot of captured Mauser rifles still at the Brisbane Naval Stores in 1938-39 were burnt and dumped into the concrete foundations of a new cross-river Bridge
(the Storey bridge) quite close by.

The Japanese, on the other hand, tended to utilise “in loco” any captured German equipment for their own administration, and so both the rifles and the ammo could have lasted at least till WW II in some sort of Police service on these Islands.

The cartridge cases could be either initial use in occupying the Islands in the 1880s-90s, or later in the Japanese occupation of 1914, or even afterwards in normal administrative use, or even by civilian Japanese based in the islands; very little is known (in English) about the period of Japanese occupation of the Marianas and Carolinas in the 1919-1942/4 period.

Good to see someone in a distantly related field of scientific research (anthropology) being interested in Modern arms, as distinct from more primitive types, such as arrows and spears etc. After all, anthropologists in 3000 CE will look at the relics of arms of our generations, and wonder how we used them etc.

Good luck in your Doctorate.
regards, and sayonara,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics, Forensic Services

After reading the wonderful postage from DocAV I am almost ashamed to put this little head stamp in the answer post.
But the reason why I post it; it took half a hour to get this head stamp visible.

The character missing is the month of producing the case.


Dutch, what about the two “o” marks…they seem like “reloading” indicators,
probabaly “factory” applied, given the lacquer around the primer cup.

It is well documented that the worst recruit task was reloading the Regiment’s training ammunition in the barracks ammunition store…worst than KP, latrine duties, or even Company Punishment…because of the stench of burnt powder, the black residue and fouling which had to be cleaned off, and the general dirtiness of the job. I doubt that local reloading unit was equipped to “mark” the cases…but it is also known, from several European sources, that regular factory refilling of BP era cases was carried out…the Dutch even continued this practice with smokeless 6,5x53R well into the 1930s, especially in the Dutch East Indies, and Ball reloads (and even Blanks) were “re-dated” or "marked (“x” or “o”).

Any further info regarding these practices from German Literature?

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

These are the pictures of the Takuya’s cartridge:

They didnt reload the cases. They remove the spent primer caps and clean the cases with water and soap.
In the barracks was a cast iron block with an aperture that keeps the fired case, then water was filled into the case and a 11mm round wood punch was inserted into the case mouth. A hit with a mallet and the hydraulic pressure
pressed out the primer.
To that the target wall was screened and lead bullets where riddled out from time to time.
Cleaned prepared cases, lead and used primers where send back to the ammo plants and the regiment get payed for the stuff.

The mystery mark on the headstamp seems to be a " 8 ". So the case is
made in august 1876 - and reloaded one time.

Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for your information (thanks, Pivi, for posting my photos). Just let me tell you about the story of my cartridge, relating to DocAV’s posting.

Based on several lines of archaeological and historical evidence, it is most probable to assume that the cartridge was used by a resident trader of Alfred Capelle and Co., a German trading firm based on the Marshall Islands, which set up their trading post on Lenger Island in 1874 and continued their bossiness there probably until 1883 (or 1886?). So the cartridge must be used by that time.

The number at 12 o’clock could be 3 or 8.

My friend wrote me that that reload marks on my headstamp indicate it was reloaded much after 1876. Can someone explain this?


The cartridge case was made in 1876 - we dont know when the cartridge was filled with powder and loaded with a bullet. These informations are written on the boxlabel. So we know the case was loaded, fired, loaded a second time and fired againe between 1876 and 1883.

At the SLICS 2008 I was lucky to find two M71 boxes from 1888.

There were over 30 different head stamps in the boxes. Almost all with one ore more reloading rings.
The way they were sticking in the box I believe I was the first one take them out.
That means for me, these rounds were reloaded in Spandau.


To add possible confusion I noted in my files that Birmingham Small Arms & Metal Co. was in existance from 1881 to 1893. Prior to 1881 it operated under the name of Addley Park Mills. After 1893 it was Birmingham Metals & Munitions Co., Ltd. Thus the 1876 date would put it in the Addley Park Mills period. Can someone give me an explantion or is my file data incorrect?