M & W Soemmerda

I picked this up 2 weeks ago
7.63 Mannlicher

 M & W 


What would the approximate date of manufacture be?

1 Like

Bob, it was 1901 or before as then the company was taken over by Rheinmetall.

1 Like

MUNITIONS UND WAFFENFABRIKEN, SÖMMERDA (M&W-S) only operated from 1899 to 1901.

After MUNITIONS UND WAFFENFABRIKEN, SÖMMERDA (M&W-S) went bankrupt, on 31 March 1901 it was taken over by the RHEINISCHE METALLWAREN UND MASCHINENFABRIK AG, Dusseldorf (also called RHEINMETALL which was founded in 1889). RM-S introduced a “R.M * S *” hs sometime in the 1901-1908 period. However it appears that the “M&W SOEMMERDA” hs of its predecessor was still used after 1901 as:

  • it was shown in a later c1905 RM-S catalog (ref Gun Report).

  • cartridges with “M&W SOEMMERDA” were found in packets labelled
    ABT SÖMMERDA (ref W&M #1322)

1 Like

The Soemmerda hs exists also in this version - the “M&” is just weakly stamped:

Thanks to all.
Great information.
This is the first time i have seen the M & W Soemmerda headstamp.

Its very easy to get confused here, because Nicolaus Dreyse was involved in two separate (!) companies:

  1. Dreyse & Collenbusch started making primers in 1820 and continued to exist up to 1945. From 1924 it was merged with others (Braun&Bloem for example) into Selve-Kronbiegel-Dornheim AG, or SKD. (The Kronbiegel name is the connection to the Dreyse family.)

  2. For producing his needle-guns, Dreyse founded another factory (Gewehrfabrik). This factory towards the end of the 19th century could not keep up with technology and got into trouble. It was first converted from a family business into the above mentioned M&W AG and then bought by Rheinmetall which also bought the Dreyse trademark. This is the place where Louis Stange designed his machine guns.

The SKD factory was located to the west of the Rheinmetall factory, along the road to Weißenfels. While many buildings of the Rheinmetall factory still stand, nothing is left of SKD.

Jochem, the machine gun relation in Soemmerda likely comes from the Dreyse machine gun (MG13).
I just wonder why so many years after the takeover Rheinmetall still referred to Dreyse. Maybe for marketing reasons as back then Dreyse was better known for small arms than Rheinmetall?

Good question. It may have to do with “Dreyse” being a name every schoolboy in Germany knew because of the needle-gun as a symbol for technical ingenuity and military victories.
There also existed a 7.65 mm Dreyse pistol which was used by a number of police units. Recently i saw an East-German TV production from 1963 where one of the officers uses it. Even the 1938 police pistol manual has a chapter on it.
In 1922 Rheinmetall tried to market a new 7.65 mm design, also called Dreyse first, which outwardly looked similar to a FN1910. In 1924 this pistol was called Rheinmetall. It was not a success.

The Dreyse auto pistol was seen in at least two of Fritz Lang’s early 1930s films, M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

This company also made a variation of this cartridge having a headstamp without dots and also “SOEMMERDA ☆”. Also, this factory made a small number of Mannlciher M. 1900 pistol chambered for this cartridge; these are marked “MUN. & WAFFENFABR.SOEMMERDA A.-G. vorm. v.DREYSE.

An illustration of a “M&W SÖMMERDA” headstamp without dots can be found in the Adolf Frank 1911 catalog, likely taken from an earlier RM-S catalog. I’m not aware of any reported specimen.

Here are photos of two versions of the Dreyse 7.65mm Browning caliber pistols and a photo of the 6.35mm Browning pistol.

There are quite a few variations of the 7.65mm pistol. The lower pistol is only marked “EDMUND RIOKKL” with no SN or other marking except the proofs. All three pisols have crown N proofs There are lots of variations of the 7.65mm pistol. A womderful “Ugly little pistol”.


Appreciate the Soemmerda headstamp you posted…

Inert example: 7.8 Bergmann No 5

Fede et al - I, too, have never seen a specimen of the 7.63 Mannlicher (also called the 7.65 mm Mannlicher Model 1901, as well as other names), with the " M&W SOEMMERDA" headstamp without any dots.

In this case type, I have the following three headstamps from M&W:

.M & W. S O E M M E R D A

The single dot headstamp is not just a weakly-stamped marking, but rather very uniform and with different letter spacing than the headstamp with two dots. Because of these dot variations, I could not rule out the possibility that cartridges were made with a “no dot” headstamp, as shown in the catalog, although again, I have never seen one.

John Moss

Looking at this topic again, I thought it might be a good idea to see how the products of MUNITIONS UND WAFFENFABRIKEN, SÖMMERDA (M&W-S) can be confused with those of MUNITIONS-WERKE SCHÖNEBECK (MWS).

M&W-S products always seem to have in the headstamp either “M&W” (with or without dots) or “SOEMMERDA” or both.

MUNITIONS-WERKE SCHÖNEBECK a Elbe GmbH (MWS = Munitions Works Schönebeck) existed from 1902 to 1920. It was formed in 1902 by some of the shareholders (including Otto Allendorff) of the NORDDEUTSCHE MUNITIONSFABRIK SCHÖNEBECK (NMF-S) after it went into liquidation.

A 1908 catalog shows that they produced a wide range of Flobert, RF & CF Revolver & Rifle cartridges as well as shotshells. The fabrication of the Saxonia shotshells was taken over by MWS. They also produced the smokeless cartridges: Loewe, S.M., Eilers, Browning-Spezial, Normal and also the Blackpowder cartridges: Garantie, Halali, Teutonia and Waldheil. The ex-NMF-S “NORMAL” shotshell trademark was registered by MWS in 1903.

Until 1909, MWS used a large variety of hs styles including the following: " MW", “MWB”, "M.W. * SCHÖNEBECK A/E. * “, “M+W”, " MWS” , “MS” , “MS monogram”,"MWS (horseshoe), “M.W.Sch:” and “M.Sch:” (on shotshells) - see images.


After the Erfurt conference of 1909, MWS was evidently allocated the hs “SCH” hs where “SCH” = SCHÖNEBECK indicating the location of the factory. Some cartridges are known with that hs (see “SCH. (headstamp)”).


During and after WW1, LIGNOSE AG took over a number of ammunition enterprises including the Sprengstoff- and Ammunition factory A&W Allendorff in 1913 and MWS in 1920.
(More company history is available if required)


Thanks for sharing and clearing the confusion on this topic.

Best regards