Identification of 7.92 Headstamps


Can anyone help me with identification/translation of these 2 headstamps, both 7.92x57. Apologies for the poor quality. Any help would be much appreciated


First go:

  1. Iran
  2. Spain


Hi John,
The first one is, as Jon says, Iranian but its actually made by FN, Belgium for Iran. I think the date translates to 1950.
The second round was made by Palencia, Spain in 1952.


Many thanks to both of you.



How did you determine the 7,9 was made by FN for Iran?



I’ve got an identical cartridge in my collection and always understood it to be FN contract for Iran. I have just checked Ken Elks ‘Ammunition with Turkish and Arabic markings’ and on page 46-47 he shows this same headstamp as being FN for Iran.



Well, read this posting again that you once responded to and maybe you will feel differently. Persian 8mm Mauser Surplus Ammo

The fellow that deciphered what the boxes and packing slips said, is now deceased, but he was a retired Iraqi General living here in the States. He once told me thru my friend the interpreter that also grew up in Tehran, that he only remembers that Iran contracted ammo in the early 30’s and thereafter made there own in a few different factories they had, mostly in and around Tehran. All I can do is reiterate what I was told thru a translator and the packing slips pretty much prove it was made in factory or plant 131 in Tehran. So apparently the crown at 12h does not mean it was outsourced.



I apologise if I’m missing your point but I still do not see why these are not FN manufacture. For the benefit of those interested and who do not have Ken’s book this is what he has to say…

**Belgian Contracts for Iran, Fabrique Nationale, 1950 - 1958
Despite having their own factory in Tehran it was still found necessary to import ammunition in the 1950’s with at least one lot supplied by the Belgian company of Fabrique Nationale. These and later contract ammunition, which may be from the same source despite the differences in the headstamp style (notably in the treatment of the Pahlavi crown), have the Arabic character for M in the left hand segment of the headstamp and the Arabic numeral 2 in the right hand segment. This appears to differentiate them from .30-06 cartridges from the same period that also have the Arabic M but instead have the Arabic numeral 1 in the right hand segment. Although not every year has been seen, enough of the intervening dates have been noted to suggest that these contracts ran continuously from 1950-58.

Ken then posts three headstamp photos for Solar Hijri year 1329 (1950-51), S.H. year 33 (1953-54), and S.H. 37 (1957-58).
The first headstamp he shows is identical to that posted by JohnP. I did not suggest that the crown meant the ammunition was outsourced…my understanding is that it simply means the ammunition is Government property.



Well, this gets kind of touchy as I know both of you fellows and like very much both.
First, Ken tries in my view to include all cartridges he knows of, regardless of whether he has documented info on them or not. This in my opinion is good, but also opens this to conjecture, but it has to be done. He often states words like “assume”, “unknown” and “perhaps”. That is all you can do sometimes.

I on the other had have first hand information from an ex Iraqi general that tells me different. I also have personally opened sealed crates and inner sealed soldered tins with packing slips inside indicating Iraqi manufacturer. I think that outweighs conjecture any day of the week IMHO.



Joe, the only additional bit of info I can bring to the table is a catalogue I have produced by Gordon Conway of Conjays Ammunition Company. I don’t know whether you have knowledge of Gordon Conway but his company were probably the biggest dealers ever of ammunition for collecting purposes here in the UK. They produced very good catalogues providing a lot of good information about the vast selection of ammo they had to offer and the catalogues are a superb reference in themselves. Their stock was supplied in boxes & crates and they took the designation for each item from that original packaging. I don’t recall ever noticing an error in any of their catalogues.
In their 7.92mm catalogue they list four variations of these Iranian headstamps, including the one we are discussing, and describe them as ‘FN Iran contract’. The designation for these cartridges in the catalogue is 'Cartouche cal. 7.92mm Mauser Balle Biogivale.'
I do appreciate that this isn’t clear evidence such as you have provided but I’m still of the opinion that these were produced by Belgium rather than Iran.



Yes, aware of “Conjays Ammunition Company”. They have made errors from the 80’s forward. I can remember getting a good chuckle here and there of there listings in the past. It is also known that they made up cartridges. In there later sales they finally were then divulging, if they had items that they made up for “test purposes”. Would like to see what you are looking at in the Conjay catalog.

Jim, there is no way this packaging I pictured in the other posting was done by FN. That is all I have to say…



Hi Jim and Joe,

After reading several sources discussing these cartridges, in my opinion both of you are right, because the headstamp of the cartridge made by FN is dated 1950-51, and the similar headstamps made by the State Arsenal in Teheran are dated 1953-54 and 1957-58. The latter cartridges have very different manufacturing characteristics.




Hi Fede,
In view of what you have just said could you clarify who you believe manufactured the cartridge at the top of this post…as posted by JohnP?

Joe, I agree with you about the packaging and I have no doubt at all that the packaging was produced in Iran. This is getting a bit of a habit but I also agree with you about Conjays ‘making up ammunition’ but they did this openly and for a good reason. Their specialisation was to make up armour piercing & expanding ammunition in otherwise unavailable calibres. This ammunition was then sold to agencies and organisations (such as our Home Office and police forces) for testing of armoured vehicles, body armour, windscreen penetration, etc. I am not aware of them making up cartridges to sell to the Collecting market.
I will scan/photograph the relevant entry in their catalogue and send it over to you.



“different manufacturing characteristics.”

How so? I have them all in my collection. They are all the same as far as I can tell. Same neck crimps, same extractor rim cuts and so on…

Do the headstamps crowns get simpler as time progressed, yes. look at there headstamps currently. Most of them you would have a hard time reading.




I sent you an email.

When I wrote and posted pictures on the IAA forum a couple of years back of the several sealed crates I had purchased of Iranian manufactured 7,9 German (s.S.) and 30-06 Springfield (M2 Ball). After breaking the seals and opening the wood crates and opening the sealed inner tins, I had the packing slips inside the tins translated by a retied Iranian General residing in the States. The rounds were according to the packing slips made in factory 131 in Tehran for the 7,9 and 133 for the 30-06. I also asked him if and when Iran contracted ammo and he was very vague, but did proclaim to his knowledge it was only done in what we translated to be the 1930’s. I will try to update my pictures on the IAA posting I had contributed to. You can clearly see it is Iranian packaging. FN would NEVER package something so sloppily regardless of contracted funds, as they have much pride in there work. I had a residential contractor friend look at the wood crates. He is Iranian (or as he insists, “Persian”) . His name is Jamshid Tadj. He grew up in Tehran and move to Paris to go to college and then Colorado. His father is the famous Persian composer Tadj. He verifies the wood for the crates is Iranian form there mountainous region. I am just trying to say, my info is iron clad… If anyone has otherwise physical information that these 1950’s rounds were manufactured by FN, I would of course love to see it. Not that anyone has, but I feel it coming, If anyone feels to suggest this ammo was repacked by the Iranians I would call that ludicrous. Please do not take my questions in an authoritative manner. I am more ignorant than most in the subject of middle eastern ammunition. Thus I enjoy your back and forth immensely.

Jim, Conjay… all I remember is having a good chuckle with collector friends back in the day about there descriptions. I know I was not as knowledgeable back in the day, but others used to also chuckle. Selling… I have in my head that a couple of decades ago we here in the US could order from Conjay. You had to make a minimum order and it would take forever as they shipped it in mass to a US distributor and then they would distribute to you as I recall. Regardless, people were not always happy with what they received, as some of it was not as described. Pull down and reassemble and such, as my memory serves.

Now we had a similar outfit in the US called Big Sky Surplus that used to be run by a fellow we jokingly called “No Bang Bob”. He is a nice fellow, but he used to blatantly sell items he put together as original and he often did not list items correctly as he really did not know what he had sometimes, so he would guess. He has closed his business name after many years and turned the business over to a younger family member named Sean. It is now called CDVS. Sean is much more honest and forthright. There prices are still nuts however.


Edit: added correct factory numbers off of packing slips.


Joe, please, can you post pictures of your examples of 7.9x57 cartridges made in the 1950’s? In my opinion the ones dated 1329 (1950-51) and attributed to FN are quite different from those made in later years and attributed to Iran, Below you can see a comparison of four different dates taken from various sources, including Elk’s book.

From left to right: 1329 (1950-51), 35 (1956-57, 33 (1954-55) and 37 (1958-59):



When I pulled these down to send across the pond some time back to a couple people, the internal construction was the same. Even the primer foil was hot pink color on all.

Here is one I still have that is pulled down. Bullet is 197.2 grains GM. Powder, 45 grains. Case is two flash hole berdan primed and NOT solid. In other words, the primer pocket humps up into the internal casing. I have plenty of 1950’s FN 7,9 and pulled plenty down in the past. Different 1950’s s.S. projectile design on there contract s.S. and different internal case. I personally also do not have any 1950’s FN made 7,9 that use any primer crimps at all or a black primer sealant, but my FN 7,9 collection is not world renowned either…

These Headstamps are two crude to be FN work IMHO. Headstamp on left has a rounder more S ball ogive GM projectile and total weight is 412 grains. Headstamp on the right has a more s.S. ogive projectile that is GMCS and total weight is 408 grains.

410 grain round like S ball ogive GM.

The mouth crimps on the above rounds are also not 1950’s style FN. Totally different machine.
Look at the crowns on the wood crates in my other page picture postings. The crowns are different, but the ammo inside was exactly the same 1954 ammo with the fancier style crown on the headstamp.



I have no opinion in this matter, but I do know that in 197-1977 Conway had business relationships with both FN and Kynoch to dispose of old ammunition residue that they had previously paid to have someone burn. In those days I had occasion to walk through his storeroom and he had multiple case quantities of amazing stuff from both companies.



Hi Joe,

Thanks for the emails…not been ignoring you but been away from home visiting my Dad.

Firstly, I’ve attached the relevant extract from my Conjay’s catalogue as promised. For some reason it scanned as a crappy pdf. file and its come out a bit blurry but it should be clear enough to read. If not, let me know and I’ll re-do it. I don’t actually think its of any great help anyway as the fonts used to print the catalogue aren’t a true representation of the fonts on the actual headstamps. There’s nothing as good as a photo!

Okay, my reservations…

My concern about your Iranian General’s information is that in principle he could not say for certain that there was no import of Belgian ammunition during the 1950’s unless he was in a very senior position overseeing all ammunition imports into the country. Only the very senior Ordnance Officer could say this with any certainty and you do not say that he held this role. Your General could only say that he was ‘not aware’ of such imports and this does leave a bit of a loophole. You even said that he was a ‘bit vague’ about this subject.

I have no doubt about the authenticity of your crate, its inner packaging, or the packaging labels and I fully agree with you that these are Iranian. The problem though is that the crate, as I understand it, contained the 1954-dated cartridges as originally shown in the post started by 2KO5GT. These are not the same as the cartridge shown by JohnP which is dated 1951 and this is the headstamp we are discussing. This is the headstamp I am convinced is Belgian…not your 1954 headstamp. There are very obvious differences in headstamp style and font between the 1951 cartridge and those produced later that decade – and which were no doubt produced by Tehran. I think Ken has perhaps complicated the issue by concluding that all 1950’s headstamps were FN-produced ‘cos I don’t think they were.

I am inclined to agree with you that its unlikely now that anyone will come up with a definite answer but I’m still hoping Fede might. Conjays would hold a vast wealth of information for us guys but they no longer respond to emails or phone calls for ammunition enquiries so that’s a dead end.

Do you still have a dupe of the 1954 headstamp available? If so could you set me one aside please?


SCAN_20170519_205259296.pdf (399 KB)


Jim & Fede,

All I can say, as you do not allude to what you feel is actually different in the headstamps, is you may be referring to the fact that as time progressed there headstamps get sloppier. Yes, as like I emphasized earlier, try and read a modern Iraqi headstamp. It is very sloppy.

Jim, thanks for the Conjay scan. The 1930, 32 and 33 7,9 I never challenged could have been contracted. The 1950 listing they proclaim as FN contract for Iran… You can see my posting of two different 7,9 rounds above with this headstamp and I still say knowing FN’s work, there is no way FN made a headstamp as sloppy as this. Maybe there was also an FN 1950 contract, but if there was, It is surely not the headstamps I provided pictures of nor the inside structure of the csings. Look at some 7,65 Mauser rounds FN contracted for Turkey, they are precise IMHO. No comparison to the 1950 Iranian headstamps I pictured side by side above.

Edit; One additional thing to point out on the two 1950 headstamps I provide of two different projectiles above, is the one is GMCS and the other is GM. Conjay states there 1930’s and 1950 surplus was magnetic and non corrosively primed. I call BS on there statement of non corrosively primed. According to FN, there first loading of non corrosively primed contract ammo was December 6, 1957 and that is a well establish known fact that most of us have no quarrel with… So like I stated earlier, I don’t hold much faith in Conjay’s descriptions.