Nice 7.92x57mm hsts from Woodin Lab

Many of you know of the Woodin Lab. It is an ammunition research establishment dedicated to military ammunition 30mm and below made since the late 1800s. It is a non-profit 8A institution that can accept tax exempt donations and is devoted to preserving the history and specimens of ammunition. The Woodin Lab provides assistance to military and police organizations as well as to collectors.

We are all fortunate to have the Woodin Lab and both Beth and Bill Woodin as part of our community. Below are a few of the exotic 7.92x57mm headstsmps in the Lab collection.


Lew, great pictures.

Many thanks


Okay, I applaud the Woodin labs too.

Now, tell us less well edumacated folks what makes these headstamps so interesting or important…

Thanks to post these headstamps. The probe headstamps are very rare to find.
The cases with these headstamps where used in the factory for test purposes.
Normally after completion of experiment these cases were destroyed.
Some of these headstamps are know loaded as platzpatrone.(blank)
They used also cases with numbers for experiments.


What is the significance of the yellow paint on the last one?

As 451kr said, these are al pretty exotic Polte headstamps used for their experimantal work. If you had a box of each, you would not be as concerned with the stockmarket.

Falcon, I don’t think anyone knows why this particular case is painted yellow!!!

451kr, another great headstamp. I will send Bill W a copy!



For those not into 7.9, but interested why these are great headstamps, I will try to provide a more complete answer. The first thing we must know is what would standard Polte headstamps of the period look like. Below are some examples with a brief explanation of why they are what they are. These would apply to most German 7.9 headstamps of the period, except that the factory designator would consist of other letters or “P” followed by a number, rather than just standing alone as it does on pre-1941 Polte rounds:

P S* 10 39 Polte, Werk Magdeburg; 72% brass alloy case; lot number 10 (case lot only, nothing to do with the loading lot); case manufactured in 1939.

aux S* 24 42 The same as above, except the new code for Polte Werk Magdeburg, “aux.”

aux St 1 41 The same again, except with “St” for unimproved steel case.

aux St+ 3 43 Now showing the plus mark after the steel-case identifier to
indicate that the case is the improved pattern with strength web at the base.

aux - St+ 4 45 Now showing a dash after the factory code to indicate that the case has a single flash hole.

The above are made up headstamps. I don’t know off hand if the lot numbers exist as shown. They were merely done for example, and I didn’t want to run downstairs just to make them accurate as to lot number, since it is irrelevent to what I am trying to get across.

Now that you have seen what the standard headstamps looked like, you can appreciate the fantastic headstamps Lew showed, missing all sorts of information from the bunters, adding the word Probe and a number indicating a series of experiments, etc. etc. In short, these headstamps are not the norm; in fact, they are all incredibly rare. That makes them much more valuable financially speaking, and of great interest to the advanced 7.9 x 57mm collector. I wish I had even one of them in my collection of 12,000+ rounds of this caliber.

For another example, it would be like finding a WWII Frankford Arsenal .30-06 cartridge with a headstamp like “FA Experiment #8 42.” No, to my knowledge, that does NOT exist. Again, just an illustration of what I am talking about.

Hope this clarifies the subject beyond just “experimental” which while true in these headstamps shown by Lew, is one of the two or three most over-used words in the cartridge collector’s vocabulary.

Here are some others.


Anyone got any questions about why some collectors like 7.9 x 57 headstamps? Wow. Of all those shown I have exactly three of them, and one of those is the unheadstamped round, the least interesting of all of them.

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing you guys!

Were the “Probe” rounds picked up as souvenirs by curious allied soldiers looking round a newly captured factory?

Falcon - that’a a question for the ages! Who knows how these things came to be in our collections. I have a .38 Super round that was personally headstamped for General Cardenas of Mexico, who later became President. I got it from Germany! The cartridge was made in Mexico. Now, it left the hands of a General or President of one country, found its way to Germany, and ended up coming back to the US to a collector.

I have always wished cartridges could talk. The common military-issue rounds clearly come as battlefield pickups and in large surplus lots of ammunition sold by the then-possessor years after it was made. Those lots often contain headstamps we have not seen before, but they are usually things that were made in large quantities originally. Considering that by WWII’s end ammunition was still not studied anywhere near like it is today, and that the average soldier would not have recognized a “rare” headstamp, it is a wonder how this stuff that has been in collections for 50 years got saved and recognized as something special.

A lot of WWII European stuff that was special got saved by firearms-savvy members of the American, British and other Ordnance teams that went into factories and warehouse specifically looking for advancements in technology - ie: “experimental stuff.” those included guys like Fred Datig and Phil Sharpe. I believe that Sharpe had a large personal collection that ended up in another large collection after he passed. Some very large surplus importations from sources that had not been tapped before also contained things not generally seen. Of course, that just doesn’t apply to German WWII stuff.

In the last 30 or perhaps 40 years, it is no wonder good stuff ends up in collections, as there are legions of collectors like all of us sticking our noses where some would say they don’t belong, and thank the Lord for it, speaking as a history preservationist. Governments, with few exceptions, have no soul when it comes to preservation, preferring to destroy rather than maintain. Fortunately, our fraternity has seen to the preservation of literally thousands of fine items. Every guy, for example, on this Forum that has ever, through his own knowledge and initiative, rescued an unusual or rare cartridge from being shot, thrown in the garbage or destroyed, from whatever source he found it, can be proud of rescuing this stuff from obscurity. I have been fortunate eoungh to make five or six major finds of individual rounds in my own “carrer” as a cartridge collector - rounds that would have ended up in the garbage had not they come to my attention. There are those among us who are responsible for the same thing 100-fold.
Again, every one of you that has saved even one scarce round for historical study and preservation has served our entire hobby and study well!

The late Phil Sharpe, in his official capacity, was effectively “looter” for the US Ordnance Department ( they called it Ordnance Intelligence back then, or “CIOS”…that meant visiting all possible German Ordnance (Small arms ammo) sites, as they were “liberated” before the less discerning troops got there, and really steal everything not tied down.
Hence the famous “Polte Boards” mostly disappeared from view; and what the US teams didn’t do, the Russians finished, by dismantling the entire plant, and shipping it to Russia, along with any remaining Staff (the Smart ones had moved out with the Americans, as Magdeburg fell within the Russian Zone of Germany.

Mr. Sharpe did save a lot for US Ordnance research, and probably made himself a large personal collection as well…there was so much of it available.
Such is war and Burocratic stupidity…other countries, actually destroy their Ammo factory collections, both physical and documentary…“can’t have civilians getting this information, especially cartridge collectors”…such was the thinking in Australia when Footscray was shut down and demolished, along with the machinery and the Factory Historical Cartridge collection (Burned).

Instead, the factory collection of Sellier & Bellot is now housed in a Country Hunting Lodge (more like a castle), in Vlasim, and open for all to see. There is also a very good Czech restaurant, which serves a mean Pork or Veal and Dumplings along with gallons of Plzner. (hidden in the basement, or “dungeons”). If you ever want to see a “draw set” of both 8mm Mannlicher cases, and the steel Mannlicher clip, or the production of paper shot shells, or a hundred and one other cartridge history items, go to Vlasim.

Yes, that was the stupidity of War…and its aftermath.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

The CIOS teams were not just for the US Ordnance department. CIOS stood for “Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee” and had many British investigators amongst its members. There was a separate BIOS team, “British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee” and both teams produced many detailed reports including those on Polte, Rheinmettal and DWM.

How did so much get into private hands? Easy, good old fashioned pilfering. All the items removed from the factories were crated up and sent to a holding depot in Paris prior to shipment to the UK or US. A goodly number of the Crates were looted there by the staff and many items of small arms and ammo simply went AWOL. There is a complaint about this in the BIOS records.

There was also another group of reports called "HEC"s, which were intelligence summaries from examination of captured items and interviews with German technical personnel. HEC stood for “Halstead Exploitation Centre” and was based at the British ordnance development centre at Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks, Kent. They had the technical language experts to translate the huge numbers of documents retrieved.

In the UK these reports are held variously at the IWM, British Library and National Archives. In the US I gues it would be the National Archives.


Some of these rounds, including I’m told at least one of the Probe loads was found in boxes of wooden bullet blanks where the experimental loads were fired and the cases reloaded as blanks, or left over cases were loaded as production blanks. You never know where you will find a gold nugget. It could be in the next box of 7.9 blanks you open!!! That makes this hobby so much fun!