Polte 7.65mm Browning-Round Ball Bullet

I recently ran across this drawing in my files. Has anyone seen one of these cartridges? What is the bullet made of? Is it known in any other calibers?



Lew - I have over 1,000 7.65 mm Browning rounds in my collection and don’t collect dates, but I have never seen or heard of this round before. Interesting. A 7.65 Browning Germany Gallery and training cartridge. Wonder if they ever actually made one? Lots of factory drawings from all over the world are of proposed rounds that seemingly never got made. Engineering thought they were keen and marketing thought they would flop. Marketing often gets the final say.

John, If you said “Produced” instead of “made” I’d agree with you. Things like this are a lot simpler to make in a test shop than they are to draw us. My bet is that some of these were made up in a test shop at Polte, fired and different things like the crimp, etc were tried before they ever made a drawing. Then a trial lot was probably made from the drawing but in the end there was never a military customer who wanted enough of them to get them approved for production in 1942

. After all, there is a Polte board with this same kind of load on it with a red plastic bullet. Perhaps part of the same effort.

I can’t speak for what Polte actually did but I have seen the same thing done in the US in the labs at Eglin AFB and I’ve been told that ammunition suppliers to the AF did the same thing. I know the first washer stack rounds were made up from a rough sketch and quite a few variations were tried before they settled on a design and drew it up and had a quantity made for more comprehensive testing. I suspect all ammunition companies pretty much do this.

Just my opinion.



An identical cartridge was made by Polte in 7,9 x 57 caliber (aux St 1 42). Kent’s book (revised edition) p. 110 describe its projectile as “…bright red ferrous sulphide ball…”.

This drawing and picture were taken from “Die Patronen 7,9mm der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1930-1945” by Windisch/Micke/Kellner who describe it as:

“6.20 Short Range Training Cartridge Zeilpatrone (Experimental)
A short-range machine gun training cartridge for indoor shooting ranges was developed by Polte at Magdeburg with a red plastic ball for a bullet. (Fig 6.20.1). Details are not available.”

Apparently the round is only known as components and a Polte board.

The drawing says ‘Ziel u. Übungspatrone’ which translates as ‘target and training round’.

Looks like some short range target practice round.

The resolution is a bit low, but I think I can read ‘Fliesspappe’, which would be a felt wad (between the ball and the powder).

Well, I thought that this (un)famous story about the so-called “ferrous sulphide” bullet was gone for ever…Unhappily, it does not appear to be …

When my old friend Dan Kent wrote his excellent Mauser book (1st and 2d editions), I was not aware about it and did not tell him in time. We had a lots of discussions on the 7,92 mm subject, but not about this point, alas…

The “story” goes up to a note by the late Fred Datig, in one of his classical “Cartridge for Collecrtors books”. It was about a short range version of the 7,92x33 cartridge.

I do not know when and where our dear old Fred found this phoony, but as far as I know, ferrous sulphide was NEVER used to make any bullet, for the good reason that its mechanical properties would have not allowed it.

This substance is a (bad) iron ore, usually refered as Iron Pyrite, or “fools gold”, because its bright cristalline yellow aspect could basly induce the not-knowing prospector…

A very bad iron as most of its composition results in sulphur, so it is used in the industry not for the metal, but to obtain this component to make sulphuric acid, by “grilling” it in special ovens.

I also spoke about its structure, as it is usually found in beautiful cristalline masses, appraised by the collectors of rocks and minerals (another of my old interests! just ask why I love so much to visit Bill in Tucson…!), and by no ways, it could be possible to work it otherwise than in powder…(the only solution should be to make it solid thanks to an organic plastic liant or kind of glue)…
And to end, it is absolutely not colored in red!

In his note, Fed Datig spoke about this projectile as “made of iron sulphide or trolit” …

This is absolutely untrue, as TROLIT, or TROLITUL was a brand of mixed polystyrens patented by IG Farben shortly before WWII, to make plastic parts in civilian or also military implements (it is still used to-day in electronic devices).

It seems that at a moment in his researches, Datig was subdued by one of his sources, who did not know anything on the subject, or mixed several points…or just wanted to make a good joke…

At the time Datig’s book was written, it seemed that everything coming from Germany, especially in the weapon and ammunition sector, had a kind of mystic aura, notably amidst anglo-saxon researchers (please excuse my lousy European background…!.), with the results of accepting anything from overthere as comming out the Holy Bible or even more !

And since, even with several well-known authorities in the field trying to correct this errors, what has been writen once, even blatantly erroneous, is often flatly reproduced and re-copied for ever !!!

So it must be specified that Trolit bullets did exist, but by no way made of ferrous sulphide…

Thanks to have taken the time to read my litterature !!!
All the best to everybody, and friends, as ever


This load also exists on a 9mm P08 “polte board” single round display of a round and a section like the 7.9 board illustrated by Pbutler.

All I have is a very poor copy of a photo but have seen the board which was on display 15+ years ago in the Aberdeen museum. The data was simply



like the 7.9 board illustrated, the 9mm round had no neck crimp. It had a light gray lacquered steel case typical of the dnh headstamped cases and the ball was clearly red plastic. There was a number 25 under the glass so this was once part of a set. No idea what happened to this when the museum closed. probably never to be seen again if not thrown away. I tried to take a photo through the glass but got nothing.

It looks like the Germans made this in a number of calibers, in quantities large enough to justify creating these boards.



I have a simular cartridge in my collection in 9mmx19.[/url]][/img]

Kind regards,

Richard - Are you sure your Spanish Round from Santa Barbara-Toledo is a 9 x 19 mm? The headstamp is from the 9 x 23 mm Largo cartridge. The deep cannelure makes this a hard cartridge to measure correctly.

John, you are wright ( as usual). The case measures 22 mm. ( including the heavy crimp +/- 23mm). I must have made a mistake in the past and put the cartridge in my 9mmx19 collection. Thanks for the correction made.
Is it possible that the same concept is used by the Spanish Santa Barbara as shown in the drawing in the start of this subject. Or is the Spanish version in some way different.

Kind regards, Richard

I would not at all rule out that the Spanish used a German concept for the Dorronzoro line of riot-control cartridges. Germany and Spain had close relations before and during WWII, and after the war. some German Armament Engineers ended up in Spain. Development of these actual rounds took place at Carabanchel Proving Ground, a Spanish Army facility, although it is possible that some were loaded by CETME.The earliest rounds have Palencia headstamps, but six of the eight variations we have examined personally have Toledo headstamps, the last of which includes the “SB” for “Santa Barbara.”

The bullets weigh about 3 grams (46.3 grains); some are made of copper and some of steel. They were rated with a maximum range of 500 meters. Some Spanish authorities on ammunition have stated that these rounds are too powerful for riot control, especially in urban areas.

I wish you were correct that I am usually right. In this case, I did spend several years researching my book on the 9 x 23 mm cartridges. Over the years of its publication, I have found a few minor errors of commission in the book, but it is sound for the most part. There are lots of errors of omission, however; things that simply have come to light since it was published.