Need help with id on 7,9mm Mauser cartridge


#1

I purchased a couple of boxes of these rounds a few years back. The place I bought them from claimed that they were made in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s for the German military.
The box the ammunition was packaged in was a plain, brown, 15rd cardboard box of the same size and configuration as German ones of this period. It had no label or markings whatsoever, and did not appear to have ever had a label affixed to it.
Tha casings are brass with no hs, a four point ‘stab’ crimp, and what appears to be a galvanized steel primer cup. The bullet weighs 178grs and has a very shiny c-n clad steel jacket. It is of the S.m.E. type, as you can see by the core I removed from one of them.
So, does anyone know if these rounds were actually manufactured for Germany by the Czechs in the 1930s? Were they left unmarked in order to hide their origin?


#2

Post-world war II manufacture, using techniques and components from German occupatiuon up to 1945. (Steel core, zinc plated primer. etc.)
Un-headstmaped: “Clandestine” or “cleanskin” sales, in the 1945-1050 period.
The 178 grain projectile is a typical Post WW II Czech bullet weight (“Vz47”).

There are more details to this production…some even had Wartime dates (eg, 44)

regards,
Doc AV


#3

Thanks Doc AV.
I figured it was either very late WWII or post WWII era. Especially since it used the steel-cored S.m.E. type bullet.
As I said though, it was advertised as being pre-WWII. I have learned that surplus dealers aren’t always authorities on the products they sell. At least they got the Czech part right.

thanks again,
Allen


#4

The only part of Doc Av’s explanation I am not sure of is the use of German “techniques” by the Czechs in manufacturing this cartridge. The Czechs were using the 7.9 x 57mm Mauser cartridge long before the German occupation of their country. They adopted the Mauser 98 as the Vz. 24 in 1924, at a time when they were generally rearming with new design pistols, rifles and machine guns. With a thriving and sophisticated ammunition industry, I am not sure that they needed any advice from the Germans on the manufacture of the 7.9 x 57mm cartridge although they may have sought such consul in the early 1920s from Germany), and I believe the Germans were smart enough and content to let the Czechs make ammunition with little more “interference” than mandating certain headstamps, and perhaps help with steel-case technology, although the Czechs made a steel-cased 7.9 round as early as 1928 (I have one in my collection). Left over components were used up, as Doc Av said. Further, note that I have said “not sure.” He may or may not be correct about the use of “German techniques” in manufacturing this ammo. Perhaps one of our Czech members will know how much revision of manufacturing techniques the Germans did after taking over the well-established and high-quality Czech Arms Industries.

These same rounds are found with in a number of variations involving the headstamps and the primer-cup material:

uxa 4 Brass primer
uxa 4 Steel primer
uxa 44 Brass primer
ux 45 Brass primer
No Headstamp Steel Primer
No Headstamp Brass primer

I am sure there are other variations. These are simply the ones in my own collection. Both the codes (uxa, ux) which are designed to be taken as German WWII codes, and the dates, are spurious. It is possible that the “uxa” and “ux” codes represent the two major factories of Czechoslovakia, Sellier & Bellot and Povazske Strojarne, but I am not sure of that.


#5

Dear JM,
During my visit to S&B Vlasim in 1993, and discussions (in German and English) with one of the most senior engineers at the plant (he was well past retirement age, and had started with S&B at the end of WW II), matters relating to the German occupation were touched upon.
The Czechs adopted a lot of the manufacturing techniques introduced under German Occupation, for Post-war and Cold-war production, such as “single flash-hole berdan cases” ( one vent instead of two, to savew drills and speed up production of “bonderised” ( grey steel) cases…the Phosphate Bonderising process for preparing steel sheet for case making (originally a French 1920s patent, adopted by the Germans in 1940-41, and used in all their general steel-cased production (1941-45),The “SmE” design of projectile (178grain steel core), used in the 7,92mm vz47 Czech ammo, both internal and export production;
Machinery still in use in 1993 included well-refurbished pre-War Brno-made items, and also well-refurbished German equipment as well of WWII use.
The design principles of the cartridge machinery is similar to the Loewe and Werner machinery dating from before WW I. Cartridge machinery tends to have “national” characteristics, whilst resulting in the same “end product”, American and British machinery sometimes goes about it in different manners. (ie, whilst the US Loading system was "Plate Loading’, European systems tended to be “In-Line” ( conveyor strip type similar to the Camdex reloader, or the RCBS “Green Machine” progressive loaders.) and British systems used “Dial Index” Loaders ( similar to rotary progressive reloaders)

Also the trimming and head turning machines are also different…European and some US machines are sort of auto-lathes, using cut-off knives, etc, whilst others in the US are “vertical Miller” trimmers, producing different kinds of waste ( tube-like brass in one, milling swarf in the other.)
European trim machines tended to be double function…a hollow “collet” held and spun the case, whilst it was trimmed to length and head-groove and rim were turned at the same time, saving “double handling” by two machines.

The Czechs during Soviet Bloc ammo production, of course, made both Russian style copper weashed steel cases, but the preponderance of their military production was and still is, the grey lacquered Bonderised steel case… and with improvements on the internal case material stress relief, which the Germans in WW II did not address, reliing on the fact that steel cased ammo was considered to have a “combat shelf life” of around one year or less. But stocks of WW II steel case ammo surviving into the 60s and 90s, was found to fail from “stress induced corrosion” in the shoulder area of the case, from within, mediated by Nitric acid deterioration of Wartime Powder. End result, separation of neck and shoulder area on firing, or break-up of the case in storage ( “damage” to MGs especially).

The production lines at S&B for both 7,62x39 and 7,62x54R were of Soviet origin,but the machinery was copied from German machinery, or actually was German WW II “confiscated” machinery transferred to Czechslovakia after WW II. The Soviets had the habit in 1944-45, of capturing an ammo plant in Eastern Reich areas, immediately dismantling it, and shipping the lot back to Soviet territory lock stock and barrel, including the key plant staff and raw materials and factory ammo samples as well…complete “technology transfer”. After the war, as the Soviets consolidated their hold over Eastern Europe, factories were “re-equipped” with this captured equipment, throughout the Eastern nations. The Czechs, who were still technologically independant of the Soviets, also had most of their Factories survive the war reasonably intact, both from Allied Bombing and Soviet depredations.

I do concur that the Czech ammo industry did a lot of development before WW II, especially given their export markets, but the major injection of Steel case technology occurred under German occupation, when the Czech located plants became the largest suppliers of ammo (7,9mm etc) outside of the Reich proper, up there with the likes of Polte, DWM, and their associated plants.
The cost saving “one flash hole” berdan case was actually first done by the Czech factories, as a cost-saving technique–Berdan flash holes are drilled, not “punched”, and the very small drills used are both costly to make and liable to rapid breakage, especially in mild steel ; the drill head is actually two spindles, sometimes at a slight angle, and the two holes(“vents”) are drilled at once…a single drill simplifies the “drilling machine” and also allows the use of a slightly larger diameter drill, with resultant longer drill life.

As the collection of “unconventional” German style HS codes seems to indicate, whilst similar to actual WW II production ,it is most likely post-WW II production for “non conventional” sales, even utilising old stocks of components, along with continued production of components using the WWII techniques.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#6

Doc Av,

thanks for the info - interesting stuff. Didn’t think of the single-flash-hole, which they continued to use off and on after the war, as did Bulgaria, with both using the same “dash” symbol for it.

A lot of the clandestine 7.9 (and at least some of the “ndn” and"oma" clandestine headstamp Czech 9mm) went to Israel while relations with Czechoslovakia and Israel were still good, so the ammo was probably made in the 1947/1948 era (perhaps some as early as 1946), along with lots of weapons, both Czech and German, Polish and other weapons left behind by the Germans. My own Israelie 7.62 x 51 NATO caliber K98k Mauser started life as a Brno-made vz 24 7.92 x 57mm rifle.

Thanks again for the posting. As usual, lots of good and interesting information from down under. I didn’t realize the Czechs took so much from the German occupiers, since they had a very high quality ammunition and weapons industry long before the Germans invaded them.