Interesting 7.92 Polte Board


I posted this earlier on the BOCN (a pretty good Forum) but decided to try it on the IAA Forum also.

Below is a photo of a 7.92x57mm board that I had not previously seen. The blank is headstamped “P S* 84 38” which dates the earliest date for the board. The remaining six cartridges are headstamped only “7.92”. From left to right they are:
1.Green pa
2.Red pa
3.Red pa-Black bullet tip
4.Red strip across base
5.Black pa-Silver tip
6.Darkened, perhaps slightly green base

I recognize they are probably all simple ball bullets painted up in different colors for the board.

Why are the headstamps only “7.92”??? Do these represent contract loads???

Have others seen similar boards???




Lew - I personally think the “7.92” headstamps, of which there are three different sizes of print (at least) are Spanish Civil War headstamps by Polte. The other headstamps on the board you show being from “38” makes the timing about right. I suspect that for the purpose of this board, the headstamps were considered of no importance and cases were used as available.

Just my own opinion.


interesting photo, i would love to remove the projectiles and have a look to see if they are all heavy ball painted, or infact Smk, Lspur, B pat, IS? .


Here are some of the varieties of this headstamp John mentioned.

In addition to being found on Polte Boards (I know of at least two other boards like the one pictured by Lew), one round with the 7.92 headstamp was found in a box of lS L’spur (light tracer) with mixed Polte headstamps. (Picture courtesy Dutch)


Lew - If the tips of the SmK L’Spur (black tip) and the B-Patrone (chrome tip) are painted they would be made up rounds. The SmK L’Spur had a chemically darkened tip and the early B-Patrone tips were chrome plated.


Phil, The headstamp style is identical to the middle of the three hsts you illustrate. The L’Spur and B-Partron both have very legit looking tip colors. I compared them to the tip finish on a L’Spur and early B-Patron I had laying around. Thanks for confirming that their are other boards like this one. Do they also have the “7.92” headstamped cartridges? If so I’d suspect they did a batch of them at the same time. Were there any dated cases on these other boards?

It is interesting that the “7.92” round found in the L’Spur box also dates from 1938. What year did the B-Patron go from a chrome tip to a black bullet with a GM tip?

John, The Spanish Civil War ended in April 1939 so the “7.92” headstamped loads could well have been for the Spanish.

Can any of our Spanish members confirm the “7.92” headstamped Polte ammunition turned up in Spain in quantities?

Thanks for the help. It would be fun to date this board and the date on the blank provides the earliest date. The dropping of the Chrome tip B-Patron would provide an approximate end date.

Appreciate the info.



The way the calibre is shown on these headstamps is interesting. Some are 7.92, others are 7,92. Didn’t Germany call this calibre 7,9 (without the 2 and with a comma instead of a dot for the decimal)? Is this system of marking on these cases simply because they were intended for export rather than use by Germany itself?



Lew - The two other boards like yours that I’ve seen had all 7.92 headstamps.

The changeover from the chrome tipped bullets to the bullets with the lower 2/3 chemically darkened occurred in 1939.


Thanks Phil! This pretty well wraps it up that this board was made from mid to late 1938 (case lot 84 of 1938 sounds pretty late to me) and before mid-late 1939 (If the code for B-Patron was changing, would they use an old code just before it changed???)

Phil, any guess what the cartridge next to the blank with the darkened base was suppose to be?



In 1938 Polte made 230 lots of brass and copperplated steel cases. The highest lot-no. of the brass cases is 143.
Maybe Dutch has some further informations.


Regarding the use of “7.92,” for their own use, the Germans called the caliber just “7.9” most of the time. On many contaract items - headstamps, box labels, etc., they called it “7.92” as did many other countries. On some sporting rounds, they called it * x 57 mm" or “8 mm Mauser” just as many other countries do. That is not to mention the “J” and “JS” designations. Lots of names for pretty much the same cat!


The Use of “7,9” is a standard German Military Nomenclature. A Lot of other European Countries used “7,92” ( Spain, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Gt.Britain, Greece etc.) and with other countries it depended on where they first sourced their “Mauser” rifles…China, for instance, used “7,9” or simply “79” as its ammunition indicator.

SO the use of “7,92” on German-made ammo indicates a Foreign Contract, as distinct from Wehrmacht Procurement.
And since the rest of the headstamp is blank, that would point to a “Covert” supply, most probably to Spain ( Franco Forces) during the SCW.

The Use of “8mm” is a German Sporting designation, to distinguish the cartridges from Military Issue ones ( common feature of the “Military-Civilian” calibre dichotomy which still exists in Europe today… and which mistakenly led to the birth of the US “8mm Mauser” bastard cartridge in the 1920s).
BTW, US-made foreign Military contract 7,9 ammo is marked “7,92mm”.

And Kynoch, on its sporting ammo, marked the cases “7,9 OR 8mm” just to be sure. ( what we call in Aussie betting slang, “two bob each way” )

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


This is the second confirmation of Polte.

A few years ago we were lucky to find only one 7,92 head stamp in the lS tracer box.
For me it was a confirmation that it was a Polte made case.

The case was probably a leftover from an export order. For the production of this “practice” round the head stamp was not so important. The other cases in the box were different Polte lots of 1937.

As we see on the wonderful pictures Phil made, I still don’t know how he do it, the annulus color of the 7.92 don’t looks German made to me.
It could be, they were made for Spain but I am not sure about that. The given Polte code for Spain was B I.

John you are right. The first 7,92 x 33 Stg. rounds had only 7,9 in the head stamp and not 7,92. There are only a few German Mauser labels known with the caliber written on it.
I don’t remember a German label with 7,92 on it only 7,9.



Hitler’s aid to Franco’s Spain was overt, so no need for clandestine codes or sterile headstamps. Many cartridges were sent to Spain from Polte and DWM with their current headstamp style.

But it is known that the Germans sold ammunition to the other side too, mainly via the Greek Powder and Cartridge Co. I believe here is where all the coded and sterile headstamps belong.


More on this at the end of this thread:



Yes, I can confirm that this cartridge is found in Spain, although it’s not the most common one. Being excellent ammo, it probably was sold as surplus in the US in the 1960s, after Sam Cummings (Interarms) bought out the entire Spanish civil war inventory. Although, who knows, Interarms could have supplied some foreign government too. Ammunition with no dates on headstamps should be easier to sell, I think.


Shneider - I was in the business then and we did a lot of business with Interarmco - later Interarms - and I don’t recall any large amounts of mixed 7.9 x 57 from those times. Plenty of surplus in that caliber, just no lots I would have associated with the Spanish Civil War. Not to sa it didn’t happen. I can say there was never any big supply of the “7.92” headstamp, although among collectors, it is certainly not rare - not common as fleas, but no rare either.


Dutch – Thanks for showing that label. I have been pulling my hair out trying to find that picture!! I couldn’t remember what loading it was. I think it is the only German 7.9x57mm military label I have seen that includes the caliber. Almost all the export labels say 7.92mm. German overlabels for Czech ammo say 7.92mm. German overlabels for Polish ammo say both, 7.9 and 7.92mm (as do the original Polish labels). I don’t know how it was decided what to call the ammunition.


[quote=“Lew”]Thanks Phil! This pretty well wraps it up that this board was made from mid to late 1938 (case lot 84 of 1938 sounds pretty late to me) and before mid-late 1939 (If the code for B-Patron was changing, would they use an old code just before it changed???)

Phil, any guess what the cartridge next to the blank with the darkened base was suppose to be?

Hi Lew, The dark green base probably indicates HPT, but Phil or Dutch will know for sure. JH


Lew - I was going to post some examples of the s.S. Beschusspatrone (HPT) and the l.S. (Light ball) both of which have a green or partially green base but then I realized I don’t have proof loading in a brass case, so I am using a copper washed steel case to make a comparison. If yours is not similar to one of these I don’t know what it might be.

Left - l.S. (Light ball), right - s.S. Beschusspatrone (proof)