J. B. Wise 7.62 x 54R Russian ammunition

Can any of our Russia or Ukrainian friends tell us whether or not WISE-headstamped 7.62 Mosin-Nagant cartridges are found at all in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and if so, how would you rate the incident of finding them in recent times?




Commonly found

They’re all over the place in the former USSR countries

How common are these in collections outside of the former USSR countries, such as in Western Europe, the United States and Canada, Australian and New Zealand, South Africa, etc.

I am trying to get some sense of whether or not all of these WISE contracts were ever filled. It will still be a guess and a gosh, I think, but the scarcity of WISE cartridge specimens seems
to leave a lot of questions about actual production.

Thanks for any help anyone can give. I could use quick answers, as the article is in progress at this very moment.

John, how does such a Wise hs look like?

“Normal” US and UK production is not uncommon in the former USSR and follow up states. Usually often found on WWI and civil war/revolution battle grounds.

I am only familiar with the “WISE” headstamp on 7x57 Mauser cartridges.

Headstamp reads “WISE 7.62”.

Fede, thanks a lot! A new one to look for - and sounds like impossible to find now.

I have never seen one originating from Russia, so they must be at least very scarce there.

John must know for sure, but I believe that the only known specimen is in Bill’s collection.

Fede et al - I don’t know how many of the various wise headstamped cartridges were made. That is what I am trying to find out - that is, were these contracts every really delivered; in short, was there ever really serial production of any of them, or simply a few prototype sample cartridges made.

The only one I am sure of is the WISE 1906 - headstamped .30 Model of 1906 cartridge. The Woodin Lab has the only specimen, a loaded cartridge, known to most of us. I don’t know about the 7.62 x 54R, the 7 x 57 mm Mauser,or the .30-30 Winchester, and with the latter, why they even made some samples, if nothing else. Those are, to my knowledge, the only four calibers that had WISE headstamps, by the way.

I doubt the 7 mm in the Woodin Lab collection is the only one, as Volume XII, Number 2, of either Buttweiler’s or Pete De Coux’s auction catalogs one offered for sale, with an estimated price of $20-35.00. I am not sure which catalog as I have only a xerox of that page, and the formats of the two catalogs, as I recall, are similar. It was Item 662 in the referenced catalog, for all the reference is worth.

John, I guess that if the reported box top indicated “manufacture of sporting ammo” that would be the reason why they made .30-30 cartridges.

John, the WISE in 7x57 is not a super rare cartridge, but it is rather scarce. I have one in my collection and I have see or had offered at least 5 more over the years.

Never seen WISE 7.62 here. The only one foreign rare HS made for USSSR is “H” (sure this is not Wise) - manufactured by Hirtenberger before 1930.

John Witzel in the IAA issue 427 page 17 shows the WISE 30-30, I believe the only one known. I’m not sure if it was Otto’s or John’s, however he codes the photo as from Bill Woodin. So perhaps 2 known?

We had a 7mm in sale 13 (lot 176) with a bunter flaw spelling WISE as “WISF”.

The WISE 7 m/m headstamp is also known in two very slightly different sizes, with a larger m/m and a the “I” being longer .066" vs .055" in the smaller.

need a photo John? e-mail me & I’ll make you one.

edited once to add quote marks on WISF.

It is beginning to look like only the WISE 7 x 57 ever reach serial production and perhaps was
a finished and delivered contract. Common wisdom says it was a Serbian contract, and that is not impossible as Serbia at that time used various models of 7 x 57 mm rifles and carbines. There is, though, that early in the intention of J.B.Wise to build a cartridge factory, he was visited by a delegation of three Spanish Military officers representing the Spanish Government.
Beyond that, I have no information on them, or any possible contract for Spain. Had there been one, it would likely have be 7 x 57 mm at that time.

Do any of these WISE rounds show up in Spain???

I have a listing of 7.62 from the collection of the late Peter Skala, which was the most comprehensive in terms of 7.62 Nagant in South Africa. He and Arno Klee worked for years on this as a project (roughly 1300 specimens, including some date variations). There are some pretty mind blowing stuff in there, but I cannot find any Wise specimen or reference to it in the lists and research


Daan - thank you! Peter Skala was a friend of mine, and visited by house on several occasions.
It is helpful for me to know that a collection as good as his did not have a WISE 7.62 mosin-nagant round.

Yuri - it is equally helpful to know that it seems to be unknown in the former USSR countries. These comments of “where the round is NOT,” are as helpful as those about where it does exist in collections, as it is leading in the direction of a failed contract.

John, I was reading a report of US ammunition purchased for the British Government by J. P. Morgan & Co. since January 15, 1915 and found this:

The report includes contracts up to late 1917 but there is nothing else on J. B. Wise.

Fede - I wonder what the caliber was to be? It appears to me from this document that this contract was cancelled and payment not made.

Among the information recently received there were articles indicating from interviews that Wise had actually manufactured some 7.62 x 54R as a trail lot for Russia. We know there is a round of that caliber headstamped by
wise, but they are so rare, and according to what I get from collectors from the former USSR countries, unknown in Russia. I wonder if they might have actually been made for Remington for testing the rifles they made for Russia? Still, I have seen Remington 7.62 x 54R, including ball rounds and proof rounds. So, to half-answer my own question, why would they buy ammunition from Wise if they were making it themselves. Their true daily cartridge output capacity was five times or more than that of the Wise Cartridge Co.

From all indications, the 7 mm Mauser, reportedly for Serbia, was the only ammunition serially produced by Wise.
I am still studying all of the information received 6 months ago, as well as that I received in the last few days, but have a way to go. Their are, just as I have mentioned before, some contradictions, especially in regard to Maxim MC’s production, and whether it took place at the Water street factory in Watertown NY or in the factory at Derby. One or two articles say one place while another couple say the other place. These are sources contemporary to the production of the ammunition. Perhaps both were true, since while the Wise/Maxim Watertown operation made very big claims for their daily cartridge output capabilities, they never lived up to them.Meanwhile, it is clear that although they had quality problems, that the Derbiy plant could pump out ammo at a fairly high production rate.

Any and all thoughts on these matters are welcome. It is all a case now, with the very, very large volume of contemporary literature I have at hand, of separating the wheat from the chaff. Much of the material is from newspaper articles, and while I believe the newspapers of that day, especially the local one not dealing with political subjects, were probably far more accurate than the American Press is today, which isn’t say much since basically the American press has become little more than part of one party’s political apparatus - propaganda organs worthy of Pravda and the old German “Deutsche Beobachter” publication.

While it seems the article in progress will answer some questions and provide far more information that I have seen in print on its subject matter, it also appears that there will still be a few unanswered questions.

For what it’s worth: I just got the word that a Wise made 7x57 (round nose) was found in western Russia.