Mystery head stamp from German occupation

Is there any possibility that the box could be for 7.9x33?
I have a 7.9x33 with an: ak, st, 7, 44, headstamp.
As I’m a relative beginner, hope you will be forgiving if this a foolish question.

JPeelen, I agree they the cartridges would not be for the Luftwaffe. My discussion was a bit disjointed, but I raised the possibility that they were perhaps sold by the S&B people to the Slovak Air Force for use in the MG 17 in their Bf 109Es or in one of their other aircraft which used the vz30 arial MG.

I will see if I can create an article on these boxes and have it translated and published in the Czech Bulletin which is an excellent work and well supported by the members. All of the boxes Dutch pictures seem related, as to the three brass case 7.9mm headstamps described by John M. There is a story here, but we need a bit more information to even have an idea where to start.

Thanks for all the input and any additional thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I believe this is the power of the Forum, to test ideas and use the information and insights of the various members to achieve understandings that none of us could otherwise achieve. Thanks to everyone and keep the thoughts coming.

Sam3, Welcome! Thanks for your input. It is not a foolish question, or rather any more foolish than any of us have asked in the past or even currently. I think the answer is that the boxes themselves will distinguish whether they were intended to hold 7.9x57 pt 7.9x33 cartridges.



when contacting your Czech friends, please help clarify if newly made ammunition for Slovak armed forces during the war was labeled in German language as assumed above. Thank you


I think the answer is probably not. Check the link I provided above on 9x19mm loaded with Czech powder. Here it is again:

In this case the box label is in Slovak, but this box and ammo were a product of dou. I frankly have never seen or heard of S&B ammunition made for Slovakia since one was an occupied territory and the other was an “independent” nation allied with Germany.

Given the German aircraft that the Slovak AF operated, but in relatively small quantities, It seems almost certain to me that their cannon ammunition (and MG131) was supplied from German production and almost certainly was not specially labeled, but that is just an opinion. Perhaps one of the collectors of this ammunition can comment!

There is one additional area relevant to this discussion where I am very weak and that is how S&B was organized and managed under German occupation. I have a book on the kam plant in Poland that goes into excellent detail indicating how it was run by the SS. Is this also true of S&B?

If anyone had information or references, please share them.From what I have read, it appears that Speer and the SS were, at least sometimes, in competition/conflict over the control of industrial facilities.Who was in control of S&B and when is clearly relevant to the discussion on the 7.9mm boxes above.



sorry, no possible connection to 7.9x33.
German rifle(!) cartridges (7.9x57), starting with the introduction of the S bullet in 1903, were identfied by letter designations which were abbreviations: S - Spitzgeschoss, sS - schweres Spitzgeschoss, SmK - Spitzgeschoss mit Kern, SmE - Spitzgeschoss mit Eisenkern, etc. No model number or caliber, simply “Patrone SmK”.

Other ammunition types had model numbers (year) like Pistolenpatrone 08. Its “mit Eisenkern” variant was identified as 08 mE.
What became the assault rifle cartridge had (during most of its existence) model year 43, for example 43 mE.

Therefore, “SmK” on the label clearly indicates a box of full power rifle cartridges. Apart from that the box would have very different dimensions which Dutch would have duly noted.

7.9x33 and 7.9x57 (the so called metric designations) are practical ways for us to identify these cartridges. But we have to keep in mind that German military up to 1945 did not use them.

P.S. The above is intended to give you a general idea. Reality has a lot of special cases.

Much appreciated and many thanks.

Here are the rounds John mentioned.
Two of them with a steel case head stamp.


Lew, you wrote;

In this case the box label is in Slovak, but this box and ammo were a product of dou. I frankly have never seen or heard of S&B ammunition made for Slovakia since one was an occupied territory and the other was an “independent” nation allied with Germany.

On December. 19th 1941, Waffenwerke Brünn asked OKH permission to export 40 Million 7,92 Mauser rounds to Sweden.
Sweden ordered the first 25 Million rounds to Waffenwerke Brünn.
Brünn decided that 10 Million of them should be made by Sellier and Bellot.
Means to me, there was a good cooperation between those two.

The head stamp used on this order was a “Z” and “SB”, but the head stamp was made in German style. These export rounds had nickel plated bullets.

Lew, If I am well informed, you have an 9mm Para with a ”Z” head stamp ( Z St 1 42) of a similar contract in your collection. :-)



Thank you for confirming my thoughts.


Dutch, Again, you caught my sloppy wording. I should have said that; “I had never heard of S&B ammunition made for the Slovak military or police during the war.”

In fact, as I started on an article for the Czech Bulletin I reread the thread on the Swedish contract at .

One reason I went back to that thread was trying to figure out what you meant by a statement in your original post. You said “I only know a M31 with a “Z” headstamp from 1942” . Since the only “Z” headstamp I know on 7.9mm is the Swedish contract, I decided to go back and check the thread. I still do not understand what you meant! Is there a box somewhere with the “M31” marking??? Do you know what the “M31” means???

Thanks for the three photos of the ak brass case rounds that John M mentioned. I intend to use them also.

Your intelligence sources are excellent as usual. Yes i have a 9x19mm headstamped “Z St 1 42”. When these first showed up, I was told a partial box existed, but have never seen one or heard of one since. I doubt these were produced for Sweden so a box would be very interesting as it relates to the conversations above.

I have been trying to find something on the internet to better understand S&Bs management during WWII. The Wikipedia entry for S&B, which is almost surely written by S&B, skips over WWII without a mention. The History on S&Bs website makes it almost sound like S&B was making commercial ammo during that period. The only decent information I have found is in Czech Firearms and ammunition by Dolinek, Karlicky and Vacha, but it deals much more with Waffenwerke Brunn than with S&B and lacks details and dates though it does discuss the conflict between the SS, Speer and the Wehrmacht in directing and controling the arms and munitions factories.

I did find information on the Avai B-534 fighter which was used as a trainer and other duties in 1943, and in September 1944 during the Slovak National Uprising against the pro-German government, a B-534 shot down a Hungarian Ju-52 flying to occupied Poland. This is a historic victory since it is the last recorded air-to-air victory by a biplane!
This aircraft may be significant since it had four vz30 MGs mounted in the sides of the fuselage and firing through the prop, so perhaps like the MG17, these guns (or rather the pilot) preferred a specific load of brass case ammunition when firing them through the prop??? Another, perhaps irrelevant data-point.


One reason I went back to that thread was trying to figure out what you meant by a statement in your original post. You said “I only know a M31 with a “Z” headstamp from 1942” .

It is the one on the right.



Lew and Dutch,

I also have the Z St 1 42 9 mm 08 round. I had two of them I picked
up at Chicago years ago. At the time, they were the about the most
expensive 9 mm rounds I had purchased. I have not been offered one
since, although I know there was another in a mid-west (USA) collection
and I believe that there are at least two or three more in collections other
than those of Lew and I.

I have never seen the box label for this round.

Lew - why, in light of the similar headstamps, do you doubt that these rounds
were made for Sweden? I am not saying they were or were not - I have no
opinion on that, although other than perhaps Norma, Sweden seems to have
only begun their own production in 1941. Prior to that, as far as I have been
able to observe, ammunition for their P-39 (The German Walther Model HP (P-38)
was supplied by DWM and perhaps other German firm and Finnish companies.
I am of that opinion due to the presence of regulation Swedish drill rounds bearing
Berlin-Borsigwalde and Sako headstamps, likely made from salvaged brass. There
may have been other foreign makes too.

If not for Sweden, who do you believe they were made for? Again, I don’t really know
either way, so am interested in any ideas about for whom these may have been made.
We can document the German 7.9s for Sweden, with SB and Z headstamps, from
Swedish box labels and a Swedish wall charge, of which I have an original copy (although
the headstamps are drawn improperly, bearing the usual Czech-style headstamp entry dividing
lines, which don’t actually exist on the cartridges themselves.


They could have been for Sweden, but I doubt it because Sweden had one manufacturer up and running in '41 and five in '42 making M/39 so it seems unlikely they would need a German source in 42. The other reason is that in 1943 on ammunition for the ZK353 machine pistol in 1943 the spec sheed shows a similar headstamp with a Z implying the Z headstamp was intended for use on more than just the Swedish order.The actual production used dou headstamped cases.

The first of these 9mm rounds was, as far as I know found by Randy E in a US collection. Then I was told a partial box showed up in Austria and I got one of those. I believe these are also the ones that came to the US with some of the German collectors who attended SLICS or Chicago. Since then I have seen a number of these rounds, usually at German meetings. Perhaps Morton or someone can comment on their prevalence in Sweden/Norway .

Lacking a box, I have no idea who they may have been made for. A Swedish box would convince me it is Sweden, but it could have been almost anyone! Without a box, I am not even sure they are actually 9mm P08 loads.


Dutch, the one on the right is not a vz. 31 (M31) armor-piercing but a vz. 35 (M35) spotter. The former has white primer sealant.



Lew - good points. Possibly for the Check or Slovak police. Also,
as Peter pointed out in the referenced thread, could also be for

My thinking towards the possibility of a Swedish contract was based on
the large amount of business Sweden did with Germany. By about 1939,
20% of Swedish war materiel was coming from Germany, as Sweden started
a buildup of military forces and industry, not to take part in the war, since they
were fiercely neutral, but rather to make any possible invasion of Sweden by
anyway less palatable. The bought pistols and 9 mm ammunition from Germany
in that year, and continued to sell materials like iron ore to Germany even as
the war began. By 1942, they did have several factories beginning production
of the 9 mm round, but with the great enlargement of their military services it
may or may not of been enough, especially in light of the fact that with the pistols
Models 1939 from Germany and the 1940 (Lahti) from Finland, and their own
factory Husqvarna, and the conversion of 9 mm Browning Long SMGs (Suomis,
as I recall) and acquisition of new ones original to the 9 x 19 mm caliber.

The amount of trade between the two countries was large enough that German
or German-occupied factories in other countries could have spurred a residual
contract for ammunition.

While actually firing at one point at Luftwaffe aircraft invading Swedish airspace on
their way to Norway, the Germans did not retaliate. I remember when I was in Malmo,
I learned that German troops from Norway had been granted use of the Swedish
railroad, and then ships, to travel to Germany. However, I have, in the intervening
46 years since that trip, forgotten the circumstances. I was told they were not allowed
off the trains after they boarded until the reached the port of debarkation, so that sounds
like they were troops leaving Norway, which would have been at the end of the war,too late
to figure into the 9 mm story.

Wish we had a photo of the box that originally showed up. It could go a long way to answer
questions about the Z St headstamp on 9 x 19 ammunition. In the interim, I now fully understand
your uncertainty about a Swedish connection, and share it.


John, the Germans were allowed to travel by train through Sweden during the occupation of Norway. The Germans were about to loose the battle of Narvik, their first defeat during WWII, and would not risk to ship troops by boat along the Norwegian coast. So Sweden let them travel by train together with their equipment. Officially they were medical staff and equipment, but in reality, they were well trained soldiers and heavy equipment like canons and anti aircraft artillery. Sweden was very pro-German in the beginning of the war, even returning fugitives from Norway to the Germans those first years. They also allowed transport from Norway to Finland when they invaded Russia. German use of Swedish railways stopped in August 1943. Sorry for going off topic.

Fede, thank you for the correction. You ar right.


A lot of mention of MG 15 and 17 usage, what about the MG 81 for aircraft use? I’m not 100% on what aircraft used the guns, but the setup had a ridiculous rate of fire. I think production numbers were in the 40,000s

The MG 81 used a special cartridge with a double crimp made by “hlb”


That would explain why there wasn’t any mention of that gun before! Ilearn something new on this forum every day.

PSG - I don’t consider that information as off topic. Sometimes one
has to know some history about various war-time relationships (even
peace-time, come to think of it), to understand why things were done, and
that includes the manufacture and supply channels of ammunition.

Thanks for the correction. It brought back memories of things I was told
during my visit to Malmo in 1972. I had forgotten a lot of the details, and
as I hinted at, tried to draw a logical conclusion, in this case totally wrong,
about the use of the Swedish Railways by German troops.

Sometimes, things are done on a quid pro quo basis, including balancing
trade with contracted items rather than monetary payment.