New to this site, and question on unknown German cartridges



Let me introduce myself briefly:
58 years, hunter, reloader, not yet a cartridge collector.
German national, living in Switzerland.

Recently I got the cartridge collection of my late father (he passed many years ago, the collection “slept” in a basement).
Have now roughly sorted through the boxes I got, using as a guide a 1974 cartridge list from the “Deutsche Patronensammler-Vereinigung” that was with the cartridges (not much else documentation, alas).
There are between 350 to 400 hunting and target rifle cartridges, mostly German and Austrian, some Swiss, both jacketed bullet/nitro and lead/black powder type.
Plus some few British and American hunting cartridges and some military, not sorted yet.

Here are some cartridges that are completely new to me:

Two with a head stamp 7x54 and N, base diameter ca. 12.0 mm, about the same as for a 7x57

One with head stamp R.W.S. and N., base diameter ca. 11.4 mm, case length ca. 38 mm, looks like a pistol cartridge, but has a 9,3 mm hunting bullet - appears to be the 12.5 gram / 193 grain flat nose TESCO-type bullet used with the 9.3x72R.
(A post-war RWS 9,3 mm bullet from my loading bench sits on the right side for comparison)
I have never heard of such a cartridge.
Seems to be made by RWS in the Nürnberg plant (because of the N), before WW2.

Can somebody here tell me more?
And contacts to Swiss or German collectors will be very welcome!

Best regards,


Hello fuhrmann, welcome to the forum. The 9.3x38 is designated “M. 88/38/9,3 ohne Rand” in RWS drawing No. 253 dated February 2, 1920. This is a very hard to find cartridge.

Edit: If base diameter is indeed c. 11.4 mm my identification is not correct. According to the drawing base diameter should be 11.95-0.10 mm (i.e., M. 88).


The 7x54 is another sporting cartridge made by RWS and simply designated as “7x54 ohne Rand”. It is included in their catalogs published between 1924 and 1934 (it is not mentioned in 1922 and 1936 catalogs and I don’t have the ones from 1923 and 1935). It is also mentioned in a few other sources, like Teschner’s price list of 1929. The drawing is No. 243b but its date is unreadable, although it is handwritted September 27, 1922. This is not a rare cartridge.


The 7x54 is also not mentioned in RWS’ Schiesstechnisches Handbuch für Jäger und Schützen 1st ed. 1934. (Shooting handbook for hunters and competitive shooters)


Jochem, it is included in 1934 “Deutschland” and “Export” catalogs with a notation: “Nur für lieferbar, solange Vorrat reicht” (Only available while stocks last). As it usually happens with most catalogs, these were probably edited late in 1933 and the handbook you mention is dated March 1934, which may indicate it was no longer available.


Fede and JPeelen,
thanks for the quick answers.

I have checked the “9,3x38” and confirm base diam. app. 11,4 mm.

Besides the diameter question, are there any indications what this cartridge was intended for?


[quote=“fuhrmann”]Fede and JPeelen,
thanks for the quick answers.

I have checked the “9,3x38” and confirm base diam. app. 11,4 mm.

Besides the diameter question, are there any indications what this cartridge was intended for?[/quote]

Is this rim-or base Diameter? it seems that the rim of the cartridge in question is smaller as the base, at least from the Photo…



Until not long ago I didn’t know of any reported 9.3x38 M.88 but at least one specimen do exist and looks original. What it’s interesting is that I don’t know its actual measurements and previously assumed that it was the one shown in the RWS drawing. Now I’m not sure if it could be the same as this undocumented 9.3x38 with M-S base type. Very interesting cartridge.


now with a micrometer instead of calipers:
base is ca. 11.45
rim is ca. 11.40


Hi All,
I am little confused, my reference material lists two similar 7x54 cartridges.
I have one listed as the 7x54 Mauser Short Neck and the 7x54 Finish.
Is this 7x54 a third variation?

7x54 Mauser Short Neck
inches mm
Rim Diameter: 0.475 12.1
Base Diameter: 0.475 12.1
Shoulder Diameter: 0.430 10.9
Neck Diameter: 0.312 7.9
Bullet Diameter: 0.284 7.2
Case Length: 2.125 54.0

7x54 Finish
inches mm
Rim Diameter: 0.477 12.1
Base Diameter: 0.476 12.1
Shoulder Diameter: 0.425 10.8
Neck Diameter: 0.317 8.1
Bullet Diameter: 0.286 7.3
Case Length: 2.130 54.1

I see that the 7x54 Finish is only found with LAPUA or SAKO headstamps.
The 7x54 Mauser has a number of different headstamps such as DWM, FN and N (RWS).
Can the experts help out here?



Some comments on this thread:

Firstly the issue re 7x54 cartridges:

There are at least four 7x54 non-interchangeable commercially produced cartridges:

7x54 RWS : This is the one shown above in this thread (W33 in “European Sporting Cartridges”) based on Mauser M88 case only known with “N 7x54” hs.
7x54 Finnish (SC48 - based on 6.5x55 case) Listed by both Lapua and Sako but I have yet to see a Sako example - all Sako boxes I have seen have Lapua hs examples.
7x54 Fournier (FR82 - based on 7.5x55 case)
7x54 Kortnek. The Kortnek (“short neck”) was a military cartridge used in the Boer War and was based on either a shortened 7x57 Mauser M93 case (M46) with a higher shoulder or a 7.65x54R Mauser necked down (M78) - see right image

Brian you have combined the 7x54 RWS and 7x54 Mauser (Kortnek) as being the same when the following image shows they are not the same.

A different 7x54 was shown in a c1929/30 Burgsmüller catalog (see left image) but the drawing shows a longer neck more like a 7mm version of the 6.5x54 Mauser (M13). It would be unusual for this type not to be the RWS one and is quite possible that the diagram was incorrect as the case doesn’t match any of the other 7x54 case types either. A 7x54 ohne Rand (without rim) was also listed in the c1923-1925 Stiegleder catalog and is most likely to be this case type as well. Same as a listing in a c1925 Springer catalog and the 1928 Teschner catalog.

Regarding the 9.3x38 M88. I agree with the comments by Fede. The problem with this is that the case diameter is measured at c11.4mm which means it is likely based on the 6.5x54 MS (A89) case rather than the 10.95mm M88 Mauser case. If that dimension is correct then it is also unusual as the generic "R.W.S. N. " hs shown is not known (by me ??) on the 6.5x54 MS case which makes the whole issue even more confusing. Either the factory drawing was wrong (??) or this is a different cartridge or someone is dabbling in producing cartridges that never existed (not unknown in cartridge collecting).


Regarding the possibility of dabbling:
in the collection are some more “cartridges that don’t exist” - one might conclude this raises the possibility.

What I can say is the following:
Dad was collecting in the 1970s and early 80s (he died 1986)
since then, the collection was sitting in my brother’s basement, untouched (we were both not really interested till now)
Dad had a contact at RWS in Nürnberg or Fürth (about 100 km from our family home) and he got some items there (I remember a big box of swaged lead bullets Nr. 16H for the 8.15x46R, these where not collected but used up in target shooting)
2 of the cartridges mentioned above are labelled “experimental” in Dad’s handwriting
he was a reloader so technically he was capable - but he was certainly not the type for “dabbling”



fuhrmann, I apologise for not expressing myself clearly enough.

I did not intend in any way to accuse your father of ‘dabbling’ as I put it. Indeed the information you have now provided makes the likelyhood of that even less likely.

Regarding some German case types, there are definitely indications that some cases with generic hs (ie no calibre shown) have been re-worked to make rare case types (e.g. in the ‘MB’ Target case types for instance.)

Many of us European Sporting collectors probably have such items in our collections without realising it and we need to keep an open mind about what we have.

Regarding the 9.3x38 and the info you have provided, it seems that this may have been one of several experiments (the M88 case was likely another) in trying to produce a 9.3x38. None of which saw commercial introduction ??

Fede, if you could get the dimensions of the other 9.3x38 you know of, this could be very useful in explaining this issue.

Once again my apologies for any confusion and thanks for sharing this great information.


Hello WBD,
I was hoping you would respond (big smile).
Thank you for your clarification. I had mixed my headstamps in my documentation.
I was guessing that there were many more variations of the 7x54 than I was aware of.

Thanks all,



thanks for the clarification!
Still I cannot tell where my father acquired those “funny” cartridges (will show some more in a separate thread).
So it is logical to wonder about validity.

‘MB’ stands for Mauserboden, correct?
I understand that in the early years (roughly before WW I ) shooters or local gunsmiths did not buy cartridges from the ammo plant, but empty cases and loose bullets.
Then “rolled their own”, not a problem when black powder was used.
That changed with nitro powder and jacketed bullets.
I have a number of BP Express and target cartridges here, and quite some of them are clearly reloads.
Plus there was a lot of experimenting and no regulation like proof laws in place. This lead to a big mess of different cartridge types, the temptation to “recreate” rare types is understandable…



[quote=“fuhrmann”]And contacts to Swiss or German collectors will be very welcome!

Best regards,

Hi Fuhrmann,

I can only recommend that you visit the ECRA meeting in Walenstadt.
The meeting takes place from Sept 18th (16.00H - 19.00H) till Sept. 20th.
The 18th & 19th are certainly the better days to visit the show.

Are you a member of the ECRA or IAA ?




thanks, I’ll keep that date in mind.
No, I’m not a member yet.
Still considering what to do with those cartridges.



Fuhrmann, Only one answer to your question. Begin collecting cartridges, particularly with the collection your Father left you. It is a great hobby with great people.

I was a hunter and gun collector for many years, beginning both when I turned 15 and continuing both off and on over the 68 years since. The guns led me to accumulating ammo, and then collecting cartridges. Great hobby, Great people. The German ECRA show in May is outstanding. Europe has excellent Spring and Fall cartridge meetings that are well worth a visit before you decide what to do with the cartridges. If you have any interest in cartridges, it is also worth joining the ECRA, and probably also the IAA. Both have publications during the year that are full of interesting information.

I hope to see you at the May meeting in HO. Also, welcome to the IAA Forum.



I recommend to contact
Patronensammler-Vereinigung e.V.
Neustadter Strasse 13
91085 Weisendorf

See also

On May 8 to 10 there is the annual meeting at Hessisch-Oldendorf. If you can, you should attend it. Access is normally only for members, so contact the address above before you go there.
If you live in southern Germany, on May 4 there is a meeting at Museum für historische Wehrtechnik in Röthenbach near Nürnberg.


Thanks for suggestions!
But unfortunately I will not be able to attend the German meeting in May.
I’m living in Switzerland, so will try for the September meeting in Walenstadt.