Info on Ammo from Estonia, Lativa and Lithuania

This morning I received an interesting email from a Forum member (Valikas) with some information on Lithuanian arms factories. I did some research online to supplement what he sent me and came up with the following:

Linkaičiai artillery manufactory: Produced 7,92x57 in the 1937-1940 period for Lithuanian army, cases were marked with “K” for “Kaunas”, sometimes - “VR K”.

Metalas factory in Kaunas: Produced ammunition-this may be bad info.

Giraitės ammo factory: Began producing ammunition in 2000 with the GGG headstamp. has produced 5.56mm and 7.62NATO, mostly for sale within NATO. Also reportedly has made 7.62x39mm

In 1938, Lathuania ordered both 7.65mm Browning and 9mm Para pistol ammunition in some quantity from Bayard Arms in Belgium (I wonder what the headstamp was and who made it for Bayard)

I think all serious 9mmP collectors have a cartridge in their collections

These cartridges are usually loaded with a truncated WWI style bullet with a base stamp “DM” indicating they were made by DWM K (at least the bullet, though the entire round looks German to me). There is also other evidence linking these rounds to DWM. Three dates are known, 35 5, 36 4 and 39 4. Could DWMK have produced the ammo for the Bayard contract documented and earlier Bayard contracts for Lithuania??? Lithuania adopted the 9mm Browning pistol in 1935 so the dates match.

I also have some 7.92x57mm that was sold to me as Lithuanian. Headstamps (right to left, tip to bottom) are: “L 39 D 1”, L 40 D 12",
“K 18 32” and “A 38 D”

I also have somewhere a pre-WWII Kynoch drawing of a rifle cartridge marked as being made for Lithuania and something on the drawing implying the “K” on the headstamp indicated Kaunas instead of Kynoch

I looked in Labbett book on military ammunition 1945-1980 and he makes no mention of Lithuania, Lativa or Estonia which makes sense since they were all part of the USSR at the time.

I can’t recall hearing anything about ammunition made by or for Lativa or Estonia.

I do understand that Estonia had no Army in 1940 when they were occupied by the USSR, but they must have had a police.

There must be more information out there on the ammunition made/used by these three countries.

I should know if any of these three ever procured Luger pistols, but I don’t.

Lots of smart guys on the Forum. Please add any information you have on the ammunition factories, ammunition procurements, ammunition specimens or any other relevant information on the history, arms or ammunition of these three countries!


Bayard certainly had a history of fronting for German interests, so I’d think it possible they could have been the middle-man in a transaction between Lithuania and Germany in the 1930s. Jack


To make it a little confusing.
For many years I have an empty 7,9 Mauser box in my collection that makes no sense to me.
If on the box label is mentioned; “Patrh.” (Cartridge case) K.2. L. 34. I would expect a “K” in the head stamp.

It could be made in 1934 for the German police, custom or export.

Is there something known about a German 7,9 export to Lithuania?


Dutch, Maybe you are correct! I assume the box came to you empty. Does anyone have a 7.92 headstamp “K * 2 34” or something similar.

Another 7.92 for some of you to drool over. This is so nice it makes me want to collect 7.92s (wash my mouth out with soap)!!! Too bad Lithuania wasn’t using the 9mmP until 1935.

FN contract load for Lithuania with the Lithuanian Crest-courtesy of John Moss!


That 7.9 Round with the Lithuanian crest is now in the collection of Phil Butler and Bill Woodin. I acquired two of them from a huge import of 7.9 of Lintuanian provenance, most FN headstamps. Bill got the first one, and when I broke up my collection, Phil got the one I had retained. They were the only two found by the importer, who had his crew going through all of it for headstamps. The represent the earliest lot that we know to be for Lithuania, with suceeding lots have just the FN, the month, and the year. I figure it is one of the best and rarest of non-German 7.9 x 57 headstamps.

Lew - The Kynoch drawing you mention is BK119/5 dated 20 June 1932 and is a tracing of the Lithuanian drawing sent with their specification to Kynoch for Order Z2256. This was for 10 million cases and caps, so was for loading presumably in Lithuania. According to that drawing Lot numbers were 13 to 22. (There is also another drawing BK119/2 dated two days earlier but it appears to be identical) As the drawing is a tracing of the original Lithuanian, it is safe to assume that the “K” is indeed for Kaunas.

I will scan it and post it later today, along with details of other orders for the Baltic states.

I wil also photograph and post details of several .303 inch rounds made in the Baltic states.


Here is the Kynoch drawing BK119/5 for the case and cap order.

Other Baltic orders I have found from a quick trawl through the Kynoch order books are:

Z269: 8 July 1924. 20 x 7.92mm in chargers as sample to Latvian government
Z434: 12 July 1925. 500,000 .303 Ball mark VII Red Label, 100,000 AP, 100,000 Smoke Tracer (Buckingham), 100,000 Flame tracer for Estonia.
Z2072; 14 January 1932. 1 million 7.92mm Ball loaded with 187 grain boat-tailed bullet and 42.5 gns Dupont IMR, 500,000 .303 inch loaded with 174grn boat-tailed bullet. For Estonia.
Z2361; 21 December 1932. 20 million 7.92mm Ball loaded with 198 grn bullet. This order may be for Lithuania because it is shown linked to their earlier order Z2256. However, 1,000,000 reject cases from that Lithuanian order were loaded and sold to China and the 198grn bullet may suggest this was a further Chinese order.

…more to come on the Baltics.


Speaking with my ‘tinware’ hat on, the marking on this charger clip has a striking similarity to the ‘K’ on the base of the cartridges. I know its not enough in itself to be proof that the clip be Lithuanian but I wonder if any of the packets of ammunition from that country came with charger clips?

The clip itself is in steel with a chemically blackened finish and is of the Roth 3 piece (body and pressure plate with separate spring in between) type, a design popular in Central Europe, especially Czechoslovakia.

Happy collecting, Peter

Edited; Cretinous syntax

Lew, yes, 7.62x39 with GGG hs do exist.

Lithuania also received 20x110RR Oerlikon from FN with their crest in the hs as well.
They also got guns (Flak 30) and ammo from Rheinmetall in 20x138B. The guns also beared the crest and and the Rheinmetall cartridges had it at least on the fuzes and I suspect on the hs but these have not been observed yet.

And we shall not forget the 7.62x54R supposedly made by Finland for Estonia with “ARS 39” hs and all those made by the British for them with special PA colors and different loads.

Here are the Baltic .303 inch that I mentioned in my previous post.

These are the ball and tracer made by Sllier & bellot at their Riga factory.

These are I believe Lithuanian but I cannot be sure. They came from a large batch that came to the UK a few years ago from the Baltic. They come in both ball and AP but are virtually indistinguishable.Possibly the ball has a purple P.a. and the AP a black one but they look much the same. The headstamp is “H26 V”

Finally, is this one Lithuanian too? I was told the “V” stands for “Vilnius” but…


Riga = Latvia

The “V” is the “Riga Train Car Factory” founded in 1895 which is “Rīgas Vagonbūves Rūpnīca” and they still exist today.

Many thanks


Latvia has and had such a small population that it makes me believe S&B Riga production went over into the hands of Rīgas Vagonbūves Rūpnīca. Does anybody know anything about it?

Thanks, Hans

“V” headstamp on 303 British is a first letter of the company name - Vairogs, state owned JSC after nationalization S&B in 1937

H26 V headstamp we already discussed, but didn’t make any conclusions which can help us to find the real manufacturer of such cartridges: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10923&hilit=+H26+V

Lithuania had two plants which produced 7,9x57 Mauser ammo before WWII:

  • Artileri Dirbtuvės, Kaunas (headstamp AD)
  • and new made Linkaičių artilerijos dirbtuvės, at the village Linkaičiai near city Joniškis

Some info about Giraitės ammo factory we can find at their site

Treshkin, so far I was not able to find a confirmation that S&B Riga became part of that company. We need to mention that “Vairogs” was just one of their names they had over the time.

Here some details:
Founded in 1895 as Factory for Train Cars “Feniks”, in 1915 evacuated to Rybinsk and plant there was renamed in 1918 to “Proletariy” and kept on as factory #808 after nationalization, factoy was reestablished in Riga before 1919, in 1930’s renamed to “Vairogs”, after Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 renamed to Factory #520, in 1941 evacuated to Sverdlovsk and returned in 1943/1944, in 1946 renamed to “Riga Train Car Factory” (RVZ), in 1991 factory became an independent enterprise and got renamed to “Rīgas Vagonbūves Rūpnīca” (RVR).

Here they are:

In view nobody seems to agree on these “V” rounds I’m going to suggest another possibility: What if they were not made in Latvia? What if the “V” is not for “Vairogs”, “Vayrogs”, “Vilnius”, “Veroks” or “Vagonbūves” but for “Valtion”? Yes, I’m suggesting that these were made in Finland by Valtion Patruunatehdas! Note the stillized “V” letter used in many VPT packets:

If actually made by VPT they were obviously for export because a normal VPT headstamp was not used and indeed, there are crates dated 1941 marked in Latvian language “1000 Ložmet. Patr. M.VII V 1941” (.303" Ložmetējs Patrona Marka.VII = .303 Machine Gun Cartridges Mark VII) and rounds also exist with a “41” date. What confuses me is that 1941 seems to be too late for a Latvian contract but maybe there is some explanation. A comparison with a sectioned .303 VPT 41 round will be greatly appreciated. Maybe I’m wrong but it doesn’t sound so weird. Any thoughts?

By the way, here is some verified information about Vairogs:

The industrial jointstock A/S “Vairogs” company, P.O. Box 543, Rīga was established on December 23, 1936. It took over the liquidated “Phoenix” metallurgical and wagon biulding works from the Latvian Credit Bank, and the Eesti Dvigatjel factory in Tallinn. The official transfer took place on December 31, 1936.

In a 1938 directory it was listed as “Vairogs” A/S (Wagon Building & Metal Working Co.), Rīga.

In a 1939 directory it was listed as Rūpniecības Akciju Sabiedrība (Industrial Company Limited) “Vairogs”, Brīvības gatvē 14, Rīga.

Since it was established the company had the following branches: wagon and machine building plant, foundry, automobile factory, horseshoe and nail factory, ship building branch, a dredging fleet, locksmith’s workshop and ammunition factory.

I couldn’t find any relationship with Sellier & Bellot Rīga.

Fede, still hard to say but as you also found Vairogs made ammunition.
Is it possible that the “V” with the little wave on one leg is a font used those days in the Baltics (to which Finland is closely related)?

More on the relationship between Vairogs and S&B Riga:

Another source mentions that the Pistonu un patronu fabrika a/s “Sellier un Bellot” was established on September 13th, 1927 and closed on July 27th, 1937. Then says that the Munīciju un automobiļu fabrika a/s “Vairogs” was established on May 28th, 1937. No relation between these two was mentioned, but another source dated April 14th, 1937 confirms that Vairogs bought and took over S&B Riga. This means that the .303 round headstamped 19 / SB / 37 / R / was the last product made by S&B.

EOD, I couldn’t find the use of that “V” in Latvia either, including Vairogs advertisements. This one is dated May 1938:

This letter is dated November 7th, 1941:

Fascinating replies. Quite a debate considering all I did was post a couple of Baltic state .303 headstamps!