pre-WWII German 7.92mm headstamps


I just started Daniel Kent’s book while simultaneously digging into my Mauser pile. It will be a long long time before I finish this book (unless I quit my job and stay at home). Does anyone want to provide me with quick pointers on how to approach these headstamps? I realize this is a huge topic. For instance, why is “P” inverted in the bottom middle round? Why is segmentation absent in the bottom left round?


Vlad–The “P” isn’t inverted. The whole headstamp is inverted. The “P” goes at the 6:00 position.

Originally cartridges with CNCS bullets were for Rifles. Those with GMCS were for Machine Guns. Neither had segmented headstamps. Late in 1915 ( I have a DM /12 /15 /S67) segmentation was added to indicate that GMCS bullets could be used in both Rifles and Machine Guns (see page 4, Para.3 in Kent)


Vlad–I am not quite clear as to what you mean when you asked “how to approach these headstamps?” Do you want cataloging suggestions or ID information or something else?


The “segmentation” also indicated, that the cartridge was assembled and crimped" Mit Rille" ( serrated cannelure in the bullet) to improve “bullet pull”…it was found that the earlier, non-cannelured Bullets, when used in MGs, tended to have malfunctions from bullets moving out of OAL, thus causing feed jams.
The Segmentation was a prime indicator of MG preferable use.
The Change from Alpaca ( German silver or Cu-Ni ) coating was more due to wartime econom\y measures (GMCS (Tombak)was cheaper, and left less fouling in the barrel)

By the end of the war, “Ohne Rille” (without cannelure) was almost extinct, all ammunition being “Mit Rille” and thus with segmented headstamp.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


I guess what I mean by “approaching” these German headstamps is that the field is so huge and intimidating (and I know so little at this point) and I don’t know whether or not to separate them by year, by manufacturer, by headstamp (segmented vs non-segmented). Just being anxious for no reason. That’s why I don’t even look at .22 rimfire, just separate them into boxes and put them away.


Vlad–All the methods you mention are viable depending on the size of the collection and your purpose. However, in a cartidge like the 7.9 X 57 Mauser where there are so many load types, I personally feel the best approach is to seperate them by load type. I then sort within each load type, first by company then by case material then by date, followed by lot number. If you are interested I can send you a text list of known German load types and their identifing characteristics. There are aprox. 40 WW-I and 130 WW-II Load Types. If you use Quattro Pro as your spreadsheet, I can send you a copy of mine complete with a click-button index. It may also work in Excel.

As for “segmented vs. non-segmented” it is not really that importent in a large collection unless you are restricting yoursellf to WW-I. Segmented headstamps were only used by the Germans on “S” bullet loadings and then only on GM or GMCS jacketed bullets from mid-1915-1918. Polish and Czechslovakian loaded rounds did retain the segmentation in later years, but to my knowledge, it has no meaning other than just being the style used by the military.

  • @ sksvlad: If you’re interested in good info about the German made 7.92X57 rimless cartridges [lot numbers 1941-45, headstamp markings 1888-1945, color codes, “P” codes and so on] then look to this web-site here at Liviu 05/04/07


I have not started collecting the 7.9 boxes by BOX MANUFACTURER but this site would make that easy as well. Plenty of good info. here. Thank you.