HP date code? .30-06 and other calibers

Think this cartridge was made by Hirtenberg.
Both, .30-06 and 7,62x63 on the head stamp.

What is the meaning of the tiny “6”

The 6 is a marking for export. The same headstamp is known with a small 8.
Maybe this numbers mean different contracts.
Josef Mötz knows maybe more about this.

Dutch–The small “6” is the year of production. Most likely 1986. They did the same on .22 LR with HP-o to HP-9 headstamps for 1980-1989.

Also known on .243.

This topic has been raised before:


The short answer is that there is no definite answer.

In my correspondence with Josef Mötz, he believed that they were lot numbers but had no proof. The fact that they aren’t known above 9 and there are gaps in the sequences seems to indicate that this is unlikely.

Ron, you have stated that these were date codes and I am inclined to think that these are date codes but when is the question ? Over a number of posts the dates offered have changed quite a bit. Originally you stated 1960’s-1970’s and now 1980’s. They definetly existed by 1979, HP1 and HP4 codes are shown in RSACCA (#20 & 21).

Indeed a mystery.

WBD–The single numbers as year codes on .22 LR may have started in the late 1960’s and were repeated each decade. I can say with certainty that while George Kass and I were in business together from 1980-1988, all the Hirtenberger .22’s we got for sale had the appropriate headstamp for each year, that is boxes received from our wholesale sources in 1981 had HP-1 headstamps, 1982 purchases had HP-2, etc. through 1988 having HP-8. Only numbers 0-9 are known which mitigates against them being lot numbers. Also, while we did not pay attention to the stamped lot numbers on the boxes, all the shipments (3-4 per year) were consistent with the same number on the headstamp through out the year, only changing after the beginning of the next year. As to their use in the 60’s and 70’s, that is based on finding them in box styles which were use during those decades. So, I can only assume the numbers were repeated each decade. I think, but can not be sure, that they actually started about 1968. I do not know how long they continued after 1988 as that is the last year that we purchased Hirtenberger ammunition for resale. We only bought .22 Rimfire (Sorts, LR and Win.Mag). We did not buy any Hirtenberger centerfires, so I can only say that the numbers on centerfires are, by analogy to the known facts as stated above, most likely apply to centerfires as well.

In addition of the caliber list with this Hirtenberger subscript phenomenon: I have a .300 Winchester Magnum case with headstamp HP2 .300WIN.MAG. The 2 is written as a subscript.

And I have a cartridge 6,5x68 marked HP5 (the 5 is on subscript). I always wonder what these digits means.


If we are going to post calibres and variations of tyhe small HP codes, here is a list of the European Sporting Rifle calibres that I know of:

HP1 * 5,6x57 *
HP1 * 6,5x57R *
HP1 * 6.5x57 *
HP1 * 8x57JRS *
HP1 5,6x50 R MAG.
HP1 6,5x54 M-Sch.
HP1 8x57 JS
HP1 * 5.6x57R *
HP1 * 7x57 *
HP1 * 7x57R *
HP1 * 7x64 *
HP1 * 8x68S *
HP2 5,6x50 R MAG.
HP2 * 8x57JRS *
HP2 * 5,6x57 *
HP2 * 6,5x57R *
HP2 * 5.6x57R *
HP2 * 6.5x68 *
HP2 * 7x57R *
HP2 * 8x68S *
HP3 8x57 JS
HP3 * 6,5x57R *
HP3 5,6x50 R MAG.
HP3 * 6.5x68 *
HP3 * 7x57 *
HP3 * 7x64 *
HP3 * 7x65R *
HP3 * 8x68S *
HP4 * 6.5x68 *
HP4 * 7x57R *
HP4 * 7x64 *
HP5 * 6,5x57R *
HP5 * 6.5x68 *
HP5 * 7x57R *
HP5 * 7x64 *
HP5 * 7x65R *
HP6 * 7x64 *
HP6 * 7x65R *
HP7 * 7x57R *
HP7 * 7x64 *
HP8 * 7x64 *
HP8 * 7x65R *
HP9 * 7x64 *
HP9 * 7x65R *

WBD - here is the headstamp of the cartridge 6,5x68 from Hirtenberger.
Sorry for spamming, but I’d been asked for this.

I hope that the resolution of the picture is good enough for you.

My best wishes to all of you!

Thanks for sharing the image Ivo.

I have been giving the subject of the HP codes more thought and while I still believe these are date codes there are some issues:

Firstly, Ron you say there were “0” codes on the RF. These don’t seem to appear on the CF cases. If the CF codes do repeat across decades where are the codes for 1970, 1980 etc ? Almost all the calibres that I listed with codes are also known without codes that match the same format (ie 5-point star code at 9 o’clock, 6-point star at 3 o’clock). Maybe the ones without codes are the 1970, 1980 etc ?

Hirtenberger used the “HP” from at least 1927 but then with two five point stars. Previous to this they used “H” also with two five-point stars. The combined 5&6 point stars format appeared after WW2. Hirtenberger also produced ammunition for RWS (by 1979) with “RWS” hs and these can be identified by having both 5&6 point stars. More recently (2000’s?) they seemed to have dropped the stars altogether.

I don’t have post WW2 catalogs until the 1990’s so if anyone has such catalogs they may be able to see what headstamps were used.

Maybe some of these points will help reveal what is the truth behind the codes ??

To dredge up an old topic, I’ve just acquired an ‘HP3’ case in 7 x 57R. Has any further information been found on these subscript numbers?