Help with .303 headstamp identification (Edited: 7.9x57mm Dutch Rimmed, BS= Basse & Selve for Artillerie Inrichtingen)

The ‘Cartridge Headstamp Guide’ by White and Munhall; mentions 8x57JR headstamp examples, possibly from the Netherlands, in a box of Rheinisch Westfalische Sprengstoff sporting cartridges.
The book also suggests possible WW2 manufacture.

Would be grateful if anyone could identify the origin and date of the appended .303 headstamp.


Sam, this isn’t a .303, it is a 7.92 x 57mm Dutch Rimmed. The designation of this ball loading is 7.92mm Patroon Scherp Nr 23.

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Hi Jim,
Just as I thought I was getting the hang of this…and then…red cheeks!
I’ve put the caliper on the bullet and case, and you are absolutely right.

I can see now that there was a clue in the; “8x57JR,” ‘Cartridge Headstamp Guide’ by White and Munhall," but, I completely missed it.

I’ve now found the cal. in Datig Vol1, Pg53 as 8x57R Dutch Machine Gun. The measurements (bullet, case length, head and rim) are identical to those given in Datig. The bullet is also highly responsive to a magnet.

If anyone can identify the date, or manufacturer, that would be most welcome.

This is my first 7.92x57R…and I’m very grateful indeed for your help.


Absolutely no reason for the red cheeks, it’s a very easy mistake to confuse the two calibres. A very experienced .303 collector and friend of mine recently paid a lot of money for what he thought was an unusual .303 only to find it was a 7.92mm Dutch.
I think your cartridge was manufactured by Artillerie Inrichtingen, Hembrug in the Netherlands. I’m not sure which of the numbers relates to the year of manufacture so it’ll be either 1928 or more likely 1939.

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Hi Jim,
Many thanks and best regards.

Yes Sam you are not the only one, I got a very nice tracer round as well that I thought was a .303 until I got it home. it will teach me to carry my digital calipers with me to shows.

see this thread of mine - .303 from the Netherlands

all the best


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Readers of this forum are aware that mentioning “7.92” may likely trigger a message from me. :-) Well, here it is.

The book “Nederlandse vuurwapens 1895-1940” by de Vries and Martens calls the Dutch machine gun cartridge caliber (p. 145, 158, 274 for example) “7.9” as in Germany. Its not 7.92 which (I believe) is of Czechoslovak origin. The cartridge is described as 7.9 x 57R in the book.

Dutch military ammunition types were identified by a number. Box labels did not mention the caliber. Therefore, the 6.5 mm rifle cartridge was simply marked as “Scherpe No. 1” and the 7.9 mm as “Scherpe No. 23”. “Scherpe” indicates live (Blanks were “Losse”). British .303 was Scherpe No. 17. So, never a caliber on the labels.

According to the book, the 4x90 headstamp has the meaning:
12 o’clock: case production year (aanmaak), for example 30
3 o’clock: cartridge loading year (samenstelling), for example 31
6 o’clock: letters for brass producer (possibly with lot number), for example O
9 o’clock: propellant lot number, for example 16
Dutch boxes show the headstamp of the cases also on the label.


Do you have a list of Dutch Military designations for cartridges?
Scherpe No. 1 through Scherpe No. xxx?
That could help all of us who are Dutch nomenclature challenged :-)
Thank you for your headstamp information.
All the best,

Hi, OP.

Is there any chance you could take a photo of the full cartridge? Google results are not showing me anything.

Next to a standard Mk7 .303 would be even better if you could.


Cancel that, OP.

Just found some good images of it.

This leads me to wonder. In a recent video by Ian (from if you don’t know) on a Snabb semi-auto conversion of a Dutch Mannlicher he mentions that that particular rifle was rebarreled to .303, I wonder if it was actually in this 7.92x57 Dutch Rimmed calibre? That would appear to make more sense.

According to the two books by de Vries and Martens, the ammunition numbers have the following meaning.
Dutch labels show letters S (Scherpe, live) or L (Losse, blank) after the ammunition number:

No. 1 S - 6.5 x 53.5 R
No. 2 L - blank version of No. 1
No. 3 S - 11.3 x 50 R Beaumont
No. 4 L - blank version of No. 3
No. 5 S - 9.4 x 21 R revolver
No. 6 L - blank version of No. 5
No. 7 L - old name of No 6 L up to 1897
No. 7 S - training version of No 1 with short plastic bullet (Marga patroon)
No. 8 L - machine gun blank of No. 1
No. 9 S - tracer version of No. 1
No. 10 L - machine gun blank of No. 1
No. 11 S - 9 mm Parabellum (from 1927); temporarily 11.3 mm Remington carbine; No. 11 was the original designation for No 5
No. 12 L - machine gun blank of No. 1
No. 13 S - 5.5 mm rimfire for use in cartridge-shaped insert barrel
No. 14 L - blank version of No. 23
No. 15 S - reduced danger-area version of No. 1
No. 16 L - 26.5 x 55.5 R training round for 47 mm cannon
No. 17 S - 7.7 x 56 R (.303 British) bullet 12.3 g
No. 18 - not assigned
No. 19 S - 7.62 x 17 HR (7.65 Browning/.32 ACP)
No. 20 - not assigned
No. 21 S - 9 x 19 (9 Browning short/.380 Browning)
No. 22 - not assigned
No. 23 - 7.9 x 57 R, bullet 12.7 g
No. 23 L - tracer
No. 23 P - armour percing

Koninklijk Nederlands-Indische leger (KNIL) used its own number system:
(labels do not show letter S or L after the number)
KNIL scherpe:
No. 1 - 6.5 x 53.5 R
No. 2 - 11 x 51 R Beaumont
No. 2 voor mitrailleurs - version of No. 2 for Gardner guns
No. 3 - 10 x 27 R for revolver M.91
No. 3 O.M. - 10 x 23 R also for revolver M91
No. 3 P.M. - 9 mm Parabellum for pistol M11
No. 3 Colt - .38 Smith & Wesson for revolver M31
No. 4 - guard version of No. 1
No. 5 - 9 mm Parabellum for pistol M11, truncated cone
No. 5a - 4 mm centerfire training ammunition for pistol M11
No. 6 - training cartridge for rifle
No. 7 - version of No. 1 with reduced load for Gardner gun; possibly later used for 9 mm Parabellum with round nose bullet
No. 8 - 7.65 Browning
No. 9 - 11 x 51 for Gardner gun; from 1940: 7.63 mm Mauser
No. 10 - 7.62 x 63 (U.S. cal. .30 M2)
No. 11 - unknown
No. 12 - unknown
No. 13 - 6.5 x 52.5 (6.5 Carcano)
No. 14-19 - unknown
No. 20 - 20 x 138 [B] Rheinmetall
No. 21-22 - unknown
No. 23 - 7.7 x 56 R (.303 British)
No. 23 schroefmunitie - Australian produced 7.7 mm for Colt aircraft MG (schroef = propeller; I assume for synchronized firing)
No. 23 L - tracer version of 7.7 mm
No. 23 P - armour percing version of 7.7 mm
No. 24-29 - unknown
No. 30 - 12.7 x 99 (.50 Browning)

KNIL losse:
No. 1 - 6.5 x 53.5 R
No. 2 - 11 x 51 R
No. 3 - 9.4 x 21 R [sic] for revolver M91
No. 4 - machine gun blank of No. 1
No. 4 km - machine gun blank of No. 1
No. 5 - Flobert case without bullet for use in Scherpe No. 6
No. 6 - machine gun blank of No. 1

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Looking back at some previous IAA posts, I noticed a comment from Fede in:
".303 headstamp?"

Is it possible, or reasonable, that the letters BS on the headstamp refer to the metal supplier Basse & Selve?


Thank you JPeelen for the list.
I will happily add it to my notes.
All the best,

I’ve wondered about the possibility of a Basse & Selve connection also. 6.5 m/m cartridges with BS in headstamp are known in the WW.I period. Jack

Just in case it might be of interest, I’ve copied below a Link to the; ‘Cartridge Collector.’


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Have just found the following reference, at Municion.ORG, ‘that appears’ to link the letters BS, in the headstamp, to Basse & Selve:

Basse & Selve, from Altena (Germany) pod producer for Artillerie Inrichtingen (today Eurometaal), from Zaandam.”