Nazi 8 X 56 R Mannlicher

Yesterday a friend of mine gave me an Austrian Mannlicher clip charged with 5 rounds cal. 8 X 56 R Hungarian.These cartridges are dummied and they are headstamped “III 1938 and the nazi symbol with swastika”.The clip is marked with this symbol too.I would like to know what factory made these cartridges


the word “hungarian” refers to the denomination of this caliber,according to me they are austrian made cartridges

Made by P635 = Gustloff-Werke O. Eberhardt, Patronenfabrik Hirtenberg


Have these cartridges ever seen combat? I always see them in factory new condition.


[quote=“strakv”]Have these cartridges ever seen combat? I always see them in factory new condition.


Certainly during WWII and in 1997 I have found some in Angola together with the rifles (it was no hunting party).

I meant WWII. I just asked because i have never seen these in “dug” condition

I have just started to collect the 8x56R and there is very little information on them and the best site is in the Hungarian language with out a translator all I can see is picture sketchs. Any good sites for the various types of headstamps and types of bullets? Vic

Much has been posted on Gunboards and also Parallax Curio and Relic boards.

Short story on 8x56R (Mannlicher-Steyr) cartridges.

Official Name: Patrone M30 8mm"S" (Cartridge M1930, cal. 8mm Spitzer type bullet): Austria.

Oles Toltenny 31M : Hungary

Patronnyi manlichera Kal 8mm “S” Za kartechnitza i Pushka/karabina ( Cartridge mannlicher Cal 8mm “S” for machinegun & Rifles/carbine (Bulgaria;
No date reference as to model, as the first issue was in 1935-36, followed by Rifle M37 and 38, and LMG M39; Also all the pre 1930s MGs(M of various models were also converted to the “S”{ cartridge.axims and Schwarzloses)

Austria developed the cartridge to upgrade its ageing M95 Mannlichers, and improve the range of its machine guns (the “Ta-pum” of the Dolomites and the Alpi Carnie and the Piave had seen its days.). It was a simple conversion, requiring only a recut of the rifle chamber, thus utilising the original barrel unless it was worn beyond effective use. First used in the Steyr-Solothurn M30 LMG, adopted by Austria.

Cartridges were manufactured in Austria from late 1930,at the Wollersdorf Staats-Munitions Fabrik ( I have some 1931 dated examples); Hungary also adopted the new cartridge in 1931, and their conversion of M95 carbines was called the 31M; it was distinguished by a large “H” on the barrel shank (the Austrian conversions had a large “S” stamped on the barrel shank):

The name "8x56R “Hungarian” came about in the USA, as these “H” marked rifles were the first examples inported into the USA in the late 1950s, so this relatively unknown calibre was nominated “8x56R Hungarian” by both US Gunbook writers and importers. Typical US getting the cart before the horse.

Bulgaria, which also had large quantities of their M95 Mannlicher rifles, saw the Austrian and Hungarian conversions, and began in 1935, converting their machine guns, then sent some of their small stock of M95s (both Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian Contract (1903-1914) rifles to Austria for conversion, in 1936-38.
Along comes Adof Hitler, and annexes Austria in March 1938 (Anschluss) With this annexation, Austria is now part of the Greater Reich, and all its military facilities come under German (Nazi) Control. By 1938, the Wollersdof State factory had been operated by the Hirtenberg concern, and so when the Germans applied their “Code” numbers for ammo manufacture, all the factories connected with hirtenberger received the “P635” Code (Patronenfabrik Nr. 635).
The change over on the Packet labels occured in September 1938; The Nazi eagle and P635 appeared on the packet under the “bullet” stamp; before that, (ie, March to August 1938, the older Wollersdorf “StMf” and Austrian Eagle was used, probably to use up stocks of old, pre-printed labels; The Eagle with swastika began appearing on some lots of cartridges and clips from April 1938 onwards, but there is still a mixture of Austrian Eagle headstamps and Nazi control Swastika headstamps in the Months March to September 1938.
In 1938, given that the Austrian Army was wholly absorbed into German Wehrmacht, the Austrian regiments were re-armed with Standard German pattern Kar98k, in 7,9mm, and the Austrian M95 and M95/30 rifles were stored, pending disposal, to Bulgaria (a Potential ally of Germany, as they had been in WW I.)
Austria did further conversions of M95 to M95/30, and almost the entire inventory of both guns and ammo was shipped to Bulgaria in 1938-40.
hence the wide range of “Austrian” packets coming out of Bulgaria.

1939, the war opens, and Bulgaria, naturally sides with Germany. By 1936, Bulgaria had already converted its Ammunition plant at Khazanlak from 8x50R manufacture to making 8x56R “S” type ammo. The rifles previously sent to Austria for conversion were classed “Pushka M937” and the newly arrived ex-Austrian M95/30s were labelled “Pushka M938”; Bulgaria also bought from Czechoslovakia, a version of the ZB30, fitted with a slighly curved magazine (similar to the Bren) and chambered in 8x56R; the ZB39 ( Kartechnitza M939). As mentioned above, most of the Maxims and Schwarzelose MGs left over from WW I were already being converted in 1935-36.
By 1941, with German aid, Bulgaria began making Steel cased ammunition in 8x56R, as well as Brass. All this ceased in late 1944, when they changed sides, joining the Soviet Union, which had already occupied most of the country, and turned on the Germans, invading into lower Hungary.
Manufacture of 8x56R slowed down in Bulgaria, and by 1946, remaining machinery was converted to make 7.62x54R Russian cartridges, utilising older cartridge cases originally made and headstamped for the “B phi and Lion” of the 8x56R

By 1947, the Bulgarians were well in the Stalinist camp, and began re-arming with Russian equipment…all the 8x56R type weaponry was cleaned, and placed in “Strategic Store” for possible future global conflict. The (Austrian) ammunition was checked, repacked, MG belts emptied, and all the ammo clipped and crated. Still-sealed cans and crates of Bulgarian manufacture ammo was also left unopened and stored.
In the 1980s, the age and obsolescence of both rifles and ammunition of the M95/30 type led to Bulgaria disposing of it to “Freedom Fighters” in former Portuguese colonies (Angola and Mozambique); this was a small portion, the majority was sold to a couple of US arms importers (1986, when the restrictions of US law GCA68 on Military Surplus Imports were abandoned); almost all the Mannlicher-type rifles and accompanying ammo in 8x56R has come from Bulgaria, 1988-1995.

Short History of Ammo production:
Double eagle HS: Wollersdorf StMf:1930/31 to 1938–Austrian republic-brass
Swastika Eagle: Wollersdorf/Hirtenberger P635/ oxo?: 1938-1942?-brass
HA monogram: Czepel Is. factory, Budapest (form. Wiess) 1931-1945 brass
ML monogram: Magyar Lozermuvek 1939-1945, brass & steel
Lion B phi (cyrillic= VF) Ammunition factory, Khazanlak, Bulgaria, 1936-1944-45/46: brass and steel.

Postwar Austria: Police contract, OJP ( Oesterreichische Jagd Patrone, early 1950s);brass case
Postwar Hungary : Training/Police “21” 55/56 dates. brass case

Clip markings: can be anything used for 8x50R and 8x56R from the 1890s to WW II:

Some examples:
Double Hapsburg Eagle: StMf Wollersdorf
H Hirtenberger; K&C Keller & co, Vienna
GR monogram Georg Roth, Vienna
Swastika and eagle, stick design (crude die making) “P635” from April to August 1938; Well made dies used after September 1938
W (straight and script) Wiess, Budapest
HA monogram: Gov’t factory, Budapest
ML Magyar Lozermuvek, Hungary
SF in oval: Societe Francaise des Munitions ( Gevelot & Gaupillat) 1904 Bulgarian contract;
CA (cyrillic) Sofia Arsenal, Bulgaria
There are a few others, but are restricted to 8x50R ammo: LP: La Precisa, a radio goods and steel pressings maker of near Naples, for 1930s Italian 8x50R ammo made for Africa Orientale Italiana.
M in half-Circle, 1934-35 Contract for Bulgaria, (8x50R), made at a Czech factory eventually owned by ZB (Brno) from 1935 onwards.

Clips can be the M1888/90 style( no window) or the M95 style( window) the size of the window may vary, especialy in some of the late WWII clips.

One Point to note, whilst the Germans marked all their standard ammo with P or letter codes, Nonstandard or Export ammo usually retained commercial or “logo” codes, such as the swastika and eagle, which denoted the Nazi party’s ownership of the factory (through the “Herman GoeringWerke” organisation)…P635 only appears on the Packet labels, not the ammo or clips themselves. Only later in the war did “fremdegerat” ( foreign) ammo bear standard german coding marks.

Another intertesting feature of the packet labels(Austrian and Bulgarian) is that the Powder origin is given, as well as the loading (Bulgarian only)
Thus Austrian cartidges have Powder from B- Berghof( pre 1938) and also Rottw–Rottwiel (near Cologne) after March 1938; Bulgarian cartridges have loadings that vary from 52 grains of Polish Powder (Polski barut) in clipped wrapped in cans, to 58 grains of Czech or Bulgarian Powder ( in unclipped wrappers in MG cans).

All loads (AFAICT) of 8x56R use a German-style Flake Powder, 2,0x2,0x0,4, also known as “Gewehr Blatchen Pulver” (Rifle flake Powder)
The variations in Powder Charges I have found is probably due to differing Burning characteristics of different lots of Powder from different makers, which is a common occurence in ammo making.

All cartridges are for universal use ( Rifles, carbines and all types of MGs).

8x56R ammo was widely used by the Bulgarians on the Russian front, and by the internal Police Forces in the occupied Balkans, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia; last significant use of the cartridge was the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, and the Frelimo/anti-Frelimo civil war in Mozambique well after the Portuguese had left (photo reportage in “DianaArmi” (Italian) 1990s). Angola (Marxist factions) also used it during the long civil war after the Portuguese left in 1975.

I hope this informs our newcomers to the short life of the 8x56R cartridge.
BTW, the “8mm” refers to the Bore of the rifle barrel ( .315 inch), a “true” Calibre…the projectile is .324 (M95 Round Nose) and .329 (M30 S-type): Rifling diameter(grooves) are .329-.330 in both the M95 and the M95/30 type rifles. The reasons for this are a "Gun " topic, and best left to Gunboards etc, to which I heartily advise all IAA members to refer to from time to time, as they do to us.

Regards, & Happy New Year, Bon Annee, Buon Anno, Gute Neue jahr, etc, etc.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
brisbane, Australia

Doc AV,

Thank you for your wonderful article about the 8x50/56R

I have some evidence, P635 made in 1940 and 41 both calibres with a

I have also some copper plated brass or pure copper cases.
…just a correction:it’s “alpi carniche” not " alpi carnie".
However the article above is a very good work!!!There are many informations I have never read.


A footnote re the B mark for powder maker on the 8x56R–it’s the powder factory at Blumau, Austria. It was later assigned the German code group “blu” for its products; whether these products included small arms propellants or not I don’t know. JG


Could you please post pictures about your CWS cases and their headstamp?

Here are two Hungarian CWS cases:
Left : VH 40
Right: V |

Does CWS mean copper washed?
As you can see from my picture the copper remains most on the head.You can see that it has a reddish colour compared to the brass primer.The case body has a very little reddish colour.These are undoubtlely brass cases altough copper washed

The second headstamp is from one of my nazi dummies,brass case

The case above is the copper washed one.It has a writing on the body: " HEGE 8 x 56 R ".According to me it was the person or the shop who imported these cartridges from Bulgaria.The dummy below shows the austrian headstamps

CWS means copper washed steel.
Sorry, i misread your post, you wrote copper washed brass, not steel


HEGE is a German Surplus wholesaler and importer/distributor.
German law requires that all ammunition sold in Germany carries the Makers/Importers mark and calibre somewhere on the cartridge-case…on commercial ammo this is supplied by the headstamp, but on Military surplus, usually the calibre has to be added, by an Ink stamp on the cartridge itself…just think of individually stamping several million cartridges…typical German idiocy in guncontrol.

Copperwashed cases:
I have only come across brass ( 72/28) and Bonderised Steel (grey) cases for 8x56R production, and then only in ML (Hungarian) and B phi (Bulgarian )headstamps. I have also heard of AH making steel cases, but no details as to type of construction.

It is possible that the Hungarians, with early German assistance(1939-40) did start trying “Galvaniziert” ( electroplated copper on steel) just as the Germans had done, before switching over to the Bonderising process( Phosphated steel sheet) to make steel cases.( I have ML steel cases in both 8x50R and 8x56R with 1943-44 dates–the 8x50R are loaded with M30 projectiles, so could be a factory expedient to supply the limited number of unconverted M95 carbines still in service.).

One must be careful as some of the brass alloys with a high Copper pecentage( 72-75%) can look “red”, whether fresh or slightly tarnished.

The “am” (P635–Hirtenberg) headstamp corrects my mis-ID of P635 as “oxo”, which is a German factory ( ??Treuenbritzen?)

Also the Austrian Powder factory is correct at “Blumau”…I had confused it with the Steel works at Bergdorf, which supplied a lot of the ordnance steel for Steyr.

Hungarian packets carry “Eles Toltenny” ( my mispelling originally) ( “Ball Cartridges”

So now we have “Austrian” production extending to 1941 at least…any later dates around for Austrian production?

Also, any 1945 dates from either Hungary or Bulgaria? (by then both were under Soviet control)

Thanks for the photos, corrections and added Information.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

Your explanation was incredibly interesting !!
How can you know all that, living in Australia ??
You were living in Italy before ?


I have steel cases from

@Doc AV;


Dear Dutch,
Thankyou for clarifying my mistake on the “oxo” Factory ID.
and thanks for the further information, regarding HS.

As to the Steel 8x50R cases ( 1943-44 dates, ) these were “ML–Magyar Lozermuvek” cases.
They came with a batch of mixed Hungarian AH brass cases loaded with the Stepped projectile Short range round, as well as some “soft-Pointed” Italian “M8 1937” headstamped 8x50R…I now know that these “M8” ("Mannlicher Eight(mm) )cartridges were part of the 1936-37 Hirtenberg Contract for supply of ammo to Italy, as part of resupply after the Abyssinian War (35-36). The 8x50R was directed to AOI, for the large numbers of M95 Mannlicher Rifles used there from 1920 onwards (Italian War Booty and Reparations from Austria in WW I).

This mixed lot of ammo came with the first M95(Karabiner-Stutzen) which I acquired some 30 years ago, through a surplus goods store…obviously disposed of by a visiting American seafarer…as the calibre and rifle were unknown in Australia back in the late 1960s.
I still have the cases, and reload them regularly. I saved a few original cartridges for my reference collection…205gn
"S" type projectile (FMJBT).

I think that this last burst of 8x56R Knowledge will allow me to write up a monograph on the History with HS details and Photos of the 8x56R cartridge. All that is missing is definitve details on pre 1930 development (Austria) and some more info on Post-War manufacture (Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria).

Wish me luck.

Thanks, best regards for nNew Year,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.