PA headstamp

Hi all,

For a few years now I’ve been reporting the PA headstamp as found on Steyr m90-5 clips & ammo as “Punitra Voina Societate Anonima Romana. Brasov, Romania.” as reported by However, I’ve recently come across a few Romanian ww2 boards that state it’s actually “Pirotehnia Armatei” (Pyrotechnic Army).

Here are the links to the two boards:

One says that Romania didn’t produce it’s own brass at first, another indicates that it was spread out in sort of a cottage industry.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

The two meanings you have given are not necessarily exclusive of each other. The initials P.A. on the headstamp certaining do stand for Pirotechnia Armatei (a general term indicating an Army Pyrotechnical factory). Your spelling of Pirotechnia as “Pirotehnia” may or may not be wrong by the way. I have a 7.9 x 57 packet on which the side of the label pertaining to the ammunition in the packet has it spelled without the “c” and yet on the other (inside) of the wrap-around label it is spelled WITH th “c.”

The full name you have give is the actual company name and location. The factory was at Brasov and named Punitra Voina. The “Societate Anonima Romana” just stands for a form of incorporation - probably in this case translating to “Romanian Anonimous Society.”

The P.A. was on Romanian cartridges going back to the turn of the century, sometimes in conjunction with a third initial. Regenstrief’s book n headstamps reports “P.A.B., P.A.F, P.A.H., P.A.M. and P.A.R.” as existing mostly on 6.5 x 53R Romanian Mannlicher, dating from the late 19th Century. I do not collect this caliber and have never seen the cartridges.

Interestingly, the P.A.R. headstamp showed up on some pretty recent 9mm Parabellum ammunition found in the middle east. The cartridges are without doubt of Romanian manufacture, although the box label’s information was spurious. My best guess, and that’s all it is, is that the P.A.R. stands for “Pirotechnia Armatei Romanca” or something similar meaning Romanian Army Pyrotechnical." In this case, the use of the archaic P.A.R. deisgnation may have been done specifically to confuse.

Wow, thanks JohnMoss! :)

Mmm, as far as Pirotehnia, I thought it should have a c in it also, but it translates directly as Pyrotechnics while Pirotechnia doesn’t. Still, as you have actual boxes with it spelled with a c then they’re probably alternate spellings of the same word. I.e. “grey” vs “gray”. I’ll make a note to put Pirotechnia in parentheses beside Pirotehnia.

Ok, so we have:

Clip marking: PA or PA inside circle or PA (underlined).

Manufacturer: Pirotehnia (Pirotechnia) Armatei (Army Pirotechnical Factory), Punitra Voina.

Location: Brasov, Romania.


That is interesting about the PAR stamp on recent 9mm. Trying to obscure the manufacturer is plausible.

Here’s the latest version of my list, with this updated information.

I am not a specialist in Romanian, but do have a working knowledge of the way the Romanian Language works. Firstly, it is a Roman Latin language, derived the same way as Italian. Secondly a lot of the Technical terminology is taken directly from either Latin or newer European languages (or Greek, as in “Pirotechnia”

Pirote©hnia is a funny word. (in both Italian and Romanian—and also Spanish and Portuguese) Most English translate it as "Pyro-technic/Pyrotechnical ( adjective) when it actually is a Substantive Noun, meaning in Vulgar terminology, “Explosives Factory” as a complete concept.

The Use or absence of the “c” can either be a “typo” or the fact that in a lot of countries, the “h” is sounded hard, as in “loch” ( Scots) or in the Guttural Germanic pronounciation.

So the headstamp or mark “PAR” represents “Army E xplosives Factory, Romania” ( or the other actual interpretation of the factory name as a corporation)

And just to further explain " Societate Anonima Romana" ( as in “Societa’ Anonima” in Italian etc)…it means nothing more than “Incorporated” ( stock/shares held by “public” ( anonymous) owners, as in a Publically Listed Incorporated Corporation in the USA. as aginst the LLC or “Private Company”, usually ownd by a family or group ( restricted) number of close associates ( given different, but similar legal effect names, the world over.)

And “Punitra Voina” is a description ( as in “P. War /Military” something, as the word Voina in Romanian is a Slavic word, and not Latin; ( Voina in Bulgarian, Voennyi in Russian, V****ni in Serbo-Croat, etc. I have not found what “Punitra” means exactly in Romanian…mislaid my Romanian English dictionary…still looking for my Russian one…

One of my Cousins in Italy married a Romanian girl back in the dark days of Ceausescu, in the early 80s…met her on a Motorcycle trip to the Black Sea, and then managed to “smuggle” her out. He learned a bit of Romanian on the several trips he did, and of course she now speaks perfect Italian ( even if with a bit of a eastern accent)…but being of Kindered Language groups certainly helped…I can read most Romanian texts and newspapers, slowly, but that’s because I did 4 years of Latin and 10 years of
almost exclusive Italian language use.

Thanks JM, for the early 6,5 Romo ammo info…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Doc - thanks for the further information on the Romanian meanings. My knowledge of the language is poor, as is my Romanian-English Dictionary. The tiny bit I know of it comes from Italian and Spanish. My translations were “word for word” and that is always a poor way to translate, as you know.

The information on the early Romanian 6.5s isn’t mine, but rather from Philippe Regenstreif’s book on Headstamps, volume I. The 6.5 Romanian cartride is, largely, a mystery to me. If not for this Forum, I would know virtually nothing about it.

The PAR headstamp interested me a lot, because I acquired a partial box of 9mm Para with that headstamp. The Box is a spurious copy of Sellier & Bellot - not just the style, but their trademark “S&B” as well. The meaning i ascribe to PAR in that case is a guess and a gosh, but I simply don’t know what else it could be. Until about three 25-round boxes of this stuff showed up, no one had ever seen it before.

One thing I would bet on is that the factory that make it is the one currently using the SADU headstamp.

I will print out your great response for my files. I used to print everything out, but I no longer can. I am two years behind in filing, and out of space. I am not even sure I will ever get what I am now printing into file, where it is useable for me, so I print out very little from the Forum any more.

The reference to “early Romanian 6.5s” ties in to a question I’ve had for some while–that is, is there any other kind of Romanian 6.5 than early? Post-1917 Mannlicher 6.5 m/m rimmed ammunition made in or for Romania seems to be exceedingly uncommon. My guess is that most of the small arms held by the Romanian army were destroyed by the Central Powers after Mackensen’s campaigns of 1917. Are there known late Romanian-made or contracted 6.5 m/m cartridges out there? JG

Thanks as always Doc, you’re a font of information. :)

I’ll make notes of the spelling & what they stand for.

I’m not sure why I put the topic as “headstamp”, what I get for staying up late. ^_^

  • It is amazing and makes me laugh how the WRONG information circulates around for so many years and it is taken from book to book and from collector to collector. The Romanian headstamp mark “PA” stands for “Pirotechnia Armatei” [which is 100% the correct Romanian name] and it can be translated into English as “Army Pyrotechny”. First it did exist the “Pirotechnia Armatei” located in Bucharest [the capital of Romania] in the district named “Cotroceni” and this facility was active only until 1947. In 1939 a new “Army Pyrotechny” was established by a Royal Decree in the Romanian town of Bumbesti-Jiu from Gorj county and this facility manufactured during WW2 7.92X57, 9mm Steyr and 13.2X99 Hotchkiss Long ammunition which has the “PA” mark on the headstamp. After 1945 this facility became known as “Uzina Mecanica Sadu” and today it’s simply known as “SADU”. For those who have no idea, the name of “Sadu” comes from a river which flows in that area. => NOTE: There is NO connection beween the “Army Pyrotechny” from Bucharest or Bumbesti-Jiu [later “Sadu”] and the “Pumitra Voina” plant from the town of Brasov located in Transylvania. Liviu 05/21/09
  • During the WW2 years there were many plants in Romania which did manufacture war materials. I’m NOT going to post here a complete list of these plants and their military products. I should only mentioned that Romania was active during WW2 between the summer of 1941 until May 1945. —> Somebody mentioned above the Romanian factory “Pumitra Voina” located in Transylvania in the town of Brasov which is about 110 miles [approx. 175 Km] north of the Romanian capital Bucharest. That factory mostly known in Romania as “VOINA” plant manufactured during the WW2 years only “anti-tank devices” and the military production from “Voina” factory had absolutely NOTHING to do with shell cases, clips or small arms ammunition. I hate to see wrong information circulating for years. Liviu 05/21/09
  • One more final note: that Romanian factory from Brasov was not named “Pumitra / Punitra” or “Pumitru Voina”, it was named “Dumitru Voina”. Liviu 05/21/09

Ah, ok, so it’s

Factory A (not used as a name, just an indicator)
?-1947= Pirotechnia Armatei. Cotroceni District, Bucharest, Romania.

Factory B
1939-1945=Pirotechnia Armatei. Gorj county, Bumbesti-Jiu, Romania.
1945-present=Uzina Mecanica Sadu (SADU)

Factory C
?-?=Dumitra Voina. Brasov, Transylvania region, Romania.


I can understand not posting everything every plant made (that would be a long list!) but do you have any records of what was manufactured at the Bucharest plant? That way the plant that produced ammunition for the Steyr rifles could be narrowed down.

Thanks! :)

  • @ Zeliard: The only one Romanian plant which could manufacture 6.5X53R ammo for the 6.5mm Mannlicher Mod.1893 bolt-action rifles around 1900 was the “PA” factory from Bucharest. The propellant was made at another facility from Bucharest. The production of the Romanian made 6.5X53R ammo was not enough for the army demand during WW1 and even before. The segmented headstamp for the Romanian made 6.5X53R rounds with brass shell cases shows various markings like “PAB”, “PAF”, “PAH”, “PAM” or “PAR”. As you can see the first two letters are the same “PA” and stand for “Pirotechnia Armatei” [Army Pyrotechny]. Only the third letter is different and this partcular letter could show two things: “lot number” or “brass supplier”. I think the meaning of the third letter has somethng to do with the brass used for the 6.5X53R shell cases. Liviu 05/21/09

Thanks Liviu. Is the Bucharest factory likely the same one that produced M90 & M95 en bloc clips?

  • @ Zeliard: I think it had to be. Liviu 05/21/09 P.S. The “PA” factory from Bucharest also made the 8X27.5 Mle92 cartridge for the French 8mm Lebel revolver [weapon adopted by Romania], the 7.62X54R ammo and probably a few other types of cartridges.

Cool, thanks! :)

  • @ Zeliard: The pleasure is all mine. Liviu 05/21/09

I have cartridges 7.92x57 with a HS “PA” 1937 and 1938 years.
How I have correctly understood cartridges with a HS “PA” till 1939 were made in Bucharest, and after 1939 in a Bumbesti-Jiu?


  • @ Pulkin: Since the 7.92X57 rimless rounds you have are dated 1937-38, the ammo was made at “PA” from Bucharest. The “PA” ammo factory from Bumbesti-Jiu [later “Sadu”] started the ammo production very early in 1940s. —> NOTE: After the end of WW1 in 1918, the Romanians finally realized that the “PA” factory from Bucharest could NOT manufacture enough ammunition for small arms, especially if the country was at war. This is the reason why the “PA” ammo factory from Bumbesti-Jiu was established in 1939 and Cugir plant [part of the “C.M.C.” military-industrial complex] started to manufacture small arms ammo too. At the same time it was not safe anymore that the “PA” ammo plant from Bucharest [located inside of the capital city limits] to manufacture ammo. This was a smart move since between April 1944 and August 23rd 1944 Romania was an important target for the 15th USAAF and the 205th Group of the RAF bombers which bombed Bucharest, some oil refineries [mostly from the town of Ploesti] and other cities. The “PA” ammo plant from Bumbesti-Jiu and Cugir had an excellent natural cover and heavy AA protection and were not damaged by the Allied strategic bombing missions [April-August 1944]. => The “Operation Tidal Wave” which took place on Sunday August 1st 1943 was an American mission that had as target only the town of Ploesti [and not Bucharest] and those oil refineries from the Ploesti area. Liviu 05/22/09