M88 Chinese?


I have found this cartridge amongst my 7.9x57.
I suspect it is from China.
Can anyone verify what is the country of origin and what the lettering means ?


Turning the headstamp 180 deg. and piecemealing together information from Chinese Ammunition 1870 to the Present Day, Ken Elks (2012), the star indicates this is a product of the Chinese Hanyang Arsenal. The two sets of dashes at the 9:00 position may represent “22” or the year 22 which translates to 1933. The symbols at the 3:00 position may also be a number but what that corresponds to I could not find in the book.



I think that second number may be “27”. My only doubt is that it
appears that if the “2” is right side up, than the “7” is upside down.
Of course, die-stamped Chinese characters (seal writing) do not
always exactly conform to written ones, although there would be
no reason to simplify those two simple characters in making a
stamping bunter. I could be wrong - I don’t read any Chinese, but
do have a list of their numbers in an American Chinese-English,
English-Chinese military dictionary (TM 30-533 dated 26 May 1944)
in my language library.



Elks lists the basic Chinese number figures in his book but I was not sure how to read the number at the 3:00 position in the headstamp, so you may well be correct in that it stands for 27. Now the problem is what does that signify? A lot number?



Brian - I haven’t got a clue on that. In a fine article on Chinese headstamps,
1880-1950, by Lew Curtis, Bin Shih and Bill Woodin, there is no headstamp
precisely like this. Either the “22” of the “27” (if we are interpreting that correctly,
could be the year of production per the Chinese Calender, which would be 1933
and 1938, respectively, on our calender.

The five-point star could indicate the manufacturer, and if so, could indicate
production at Hanyang Arsenal. However, I will quote the article in regard to
the use of that symbol: “The traditional symbol of the Hanyang Arsenal was the
star and the headstamps below (JLM Note: Does NOT include the format in
question here) are all probably a product of Hanyang, although this identification
is not certain since the five-point star was a commonly used symbol in China
during this period.”

It is known that along with other calibers, Hanyang produced the Model 88
8 x 57 mm rifle cartridge.

So, for now, it would appear that any opinion on the headstamp pictured on
this thread is conjecture.

John Moss


I decided to take a look at Ken Elks’ book, “Chinese Ammunition
1870 to the Present Day,” and on page 74, he does show a headstamp
of identical format to that shown here, Figure (e) in his book, and it
is on a 7.9 Mauser cartridge he attributes to Hanyang production.
It is a three-position headstamp with a five-pointed star at the top.

His explanation shows that the numerical figure at the left side of
the headstamp is the year (in the case of his photographed specimen,
23, equal to 1934 on our calender) and the figure at the right representing
the month. That figure on the cartridge headstamp he shows is simply
the Chinese character for “2”. However, if this figure truly represents
the month, how does one explain the “27” on the cartridge pictured on
this thread? I cannot explain it. all of the other Hanyang headstamps he
pictures have single numbers in that position except for (a) which is quite
a different headstamp.

Is it possible that the number that appears to be a “7” on the headstamp
in question is actually a character representing a word rather than a
number? As noted, it does appear to be upside down from the normal
context one would expect of the two numbers on that portion of the

Edited to correct an error showing the number “22” in the second paragraph
of my answer. The correct number, if that is what it is, would be “27.” I am
referring to the number on the right side of the headstamp. The one on the
left is “22” and represents the year, according to Elks.

John Moss