Markings on 8mm Lebel Bullet

I bought some paper wrapped packs of 8mm Lebel cartridges which are claimed to have been recovered from a WWI battlefield. I split the worst of these and have had a go at cleaning them up. I pulled the bullet from one of the cartridges and found that the base of the bullet (not the cartridge case) is marked A. VIS J 2.16. I assume this is some sort of manufacturing code and date for February 1916. Can anyone identify the maker from these marks and what purpose they served? Where they for quality control purposes? Does this mean they were manufactured somewhere other than the facility that manufactured and assembled the other components of the cartridge? Or was it for tracing back ammunition recovered from the dead and wounded? I think the Shanghai Police at one time used similar markings to trace back their bullets IMG_6899 IMG_6913 IMG_6900 IMG_6915

Welcome here Fergie, keep in mind that police and military applications are often very different.
While tracing and investigation after a shooting do matter for police units it is way less with militaries.
The lot number as applied here on the bullet serves the same purpose as on cases and on any other ordnance item.
Mainly quality assurance and stock keeping (though with simple bullets it is less critical).

And your assumption is correct as for exchange of components amongst various manufacturers.
Means the maker of a case (and headstamp thereof) do not neccessarily indicate the manufacturer (loader) of a complete round.
In particular in war time you will find that for example a large caliber round can comprise of about 10 different components and every single one is made by a different manufacturer and the plant which did the final assembly is then another one.

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Welcome Fergie. Battlefieldrecovery WWI? Do not simply believe those epic stories after 100 years WWI. Do believe what you know and find out after research. You have here a French Lebel 8 x 50 R, with a “balle D” bullet, massive bronze. The code on the bullet tells something of the maker, I leave that to the specialists. Yes, February 2016. Headstamp is rather unclear to me, your photo is not that sharp. Could it be VS at 9h, 16 at 12 o’clock and 2 at 6h? If so, the case comes from Atelier de Construction de Versailles, February 2016. Oh, there should be something at 3 o’clock but it seems that’s gone? Take a look at There’s a large section for the Lebel.

Dirk, it seems there was no statement when the recovery took place. It could well have been 100 years ago and then kept by persons till recently.

Hi Alex, you could be right but these days it 's far too easy to sell something as original (dug out) battleground-souvenir. That’s just something I want to warn for. And yes, the paper wrap looks very old indeed. Kind of a pity there’s nothing readable on it anymore.

VS for Atelier de Construction de Versailles is misinterpreted. This was a place where was loaded artillery shell but not a manufacturer of SAA.
In 1915 when the manufacture of 8mm cases changed from Mle 1886D to Mle 1886Dam, the headstamps also evolved, and VIS became VS. So VS is for Versailles on the artillery loaded cartridges (not in the headstamps), and VS is for Vincennes in the headstamps of SAA.

I paid £1 per pack so I don’t think the story was made up to boost the price. The condition would indicate that they had spent a considerable time in adverse conditions. There were quite a few so I suspect they were probably buried inside an ammo box rather than directly in the soil. A clear provenance would be nice but I don’t have anything more specific.