Hirtenberger AG, The First 150 Years


I have just received my copy of this anniversary booklet, which was reviewed in the recent number of the ECRA Journal. I find it most interesting and excellent value for its price of 10 euros (about $14, £8.50), plus postage.

It is written in both German and English so there are no translation problems, and is a 150 page detailed account, with many photographs, of Hirtenberger’s history, from its formation from Keller in 1887, through its time as Gustloff Werke AG, up to the present day. It concentrates largely on its ammunition production with details of manufacturing processes and cartridges produced for home and export, with illustrations including cartridges and cartridges boxes, and headstamp details. It also gives some account of the firm’s activities in other fields, eg various munitions and even aircraft.

Email: kontor@waffenbuecher.com for details of postage charges, and to order (I used paypal).

John E

amended once to correct typo!


Could it be you mean kontor@waffenbuecher.com, not waffenbeucher?




WHOOPS! Thanks for pointing out this late night typo – error now corrected




Now that there is info in english will you please answer a question for me. I have K&CO 12ga all brass and NI plated brass. I have been told they are Keller & Co., Hirtenburg, Austria. I have not been able to find any Keller history in english. I would like to know if the K&Co. HS is Keller and about when they produced shot shells.



Rookie –

Is the headstamp on your cases definitely “K&Co”? This is not a usual Keller mark.

Their known headstamps are stated to have been “SK” or “KELLER H” on early production, followed by “K&C” from 1888 to 1904, while “KC” was used from 1888 to 1904 on rimfire and pinfire cartridges. “K” was used on one unspecified German export order in 1890. Note that although the change of name from Keller & Co to Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik took place in 1887, the “K&C” headstamp continued to be used until 1904, and the first “H” headstamp didn’t appear until 1905.

The “Hirtenberger 150-Year” book doesn’t have much info about Keller & Co, in fact it does say that very few off its contemporary records have survived and that our knowledge of its activities mainly comes from specimens in cartridge collections. However Keller did start to manufacture commercial cartridges for the civilian market sometime in the early 1880s, and shotshells may well have been part of this. Because of his background as a metal worker, Serafin Keller may have preferred to start using brass cases rather than develop paper-rolling expertise. Later, Hirtenberger manufactured shotshells, both at Hirtenberger and in 1899 started production at their Hungarian plant in Altenburg (Magyarovar).

So if your cases turn out to be by Keller/Hirtenberg you may have piece of history there! Can any of our shotshell collectors throw any light on them?



Jonathan - the 1890 Contract was for 7.9 x 57 mm Model 88 rifle cartridges. I know this from rounds in my own collection marked “K” and dated “90.” However, it is also mentioned in Mötz’s book on Hirtenberger AG The First 150 Years, on page 30.

John Moss


your shell in question is said to be from Keller & Co. by a number of knowledgable collectors. Best I can do as I’ve not seen any proof & for what ever it’s worth, I have mine with other Austrian shells, but don’t have any paper Keller marked shells, just the one, 12 ga brass.


Now available for downloading at hirtenberger.at/media/pub/HP … ft_Web.pdf




Thanks a lot Schneider!!!