Primer Markings

These seem to be a popular topic at present, so perhaps the following (from my database) in one place may be useful:

A : Various : Sellier & Bellot (Czech) pre-WW2. Significance of the ‘A’ is not known.
Very small “A” : CCI on improved primers - eg on Speer Gold Dot (

A (Large) : Believed Alcan (on S&W cartridges.

ATS : Atelier de Construction de Tarbes, Tarbes, France also used on ATE cases
Atelier de Construction de Toulouse, Toulouse, France

B : various ? : See Atzl, Scheiring. Small “B” primer on 7x67 Leuven (W115) .
“B” primer is known to represent Bofors (Reuter).
US : Manufactured for Cor-Bon by Federal and the “B” stands for bench rest.
Swedish ? : Small B known on Norma cases in 1981
CCI marks its BR-2 and BR-4 primers with a “B”

C (large) : On CBC Magtech and other CBC cases

CD : French - Chaudun & Deriviere (Cf. “GD”)

C F : US CCI Blazer : CF = “Clean Fire”

C. F. PARIS : Cartoucherie Francaise

C R : On CBC Magtech CR = “Clean Range”

D * * * : French - Devilliers on Mock-Duel cartridges (5-pt stars)

DA. : Dansk Ammunitionsfabrik ?? - see also “Star”

D.A.G. DAG (RWS) Germany

E = US Precision Ammunition = Fire Frangible

G : French : An early product of GEVELOT, use of which is known to have been discontinued by 1875.

GD : French - Gaupillat & Delion (?) See Gaupillat.

GEVELOT * GG * : French : SFM on large rimmed primers c2024

GG (monogram) : SFM

GJ (Raised) : France : GEVELOT Jules c1845-1885 [see FR105]

H * * * : On Austrian shotshell - likely Hirtenberger. Prob cWW1 (6-pt stars)

H F : US Remington : HF = “Heavy-metal Free”


I (capital I or 1) : for IMPALA by ?

ICI (monogram) : Imperial Chemical Industries on Kynoch hs used xx-yy ?

K (in offset circle) : Likely German on KNIPP cartridge primers (see KNIPP),
“K” primers known by 1984.

K (large letter with serifs) : Likely German : - for KLAUS by ?

L : Likely German : On 11.5x50R Werder with GECADO *" hs. 8x72R,
9.3x72R S&S (B.Stahl) 9.3x72R (Likely Lignose but poss Lindener)

L : Stylised “L” being the LIBRA Registered trademark

L F : US Remington cartridges : L F = “Lead Free” primers

M (in part circle) : Czech : Produced by ZBROJOVKA BRNO c1928-1934.

MG * * * : French : Marcel Gaupillat & Co

MGM ooo : French MGM c1935-1978

m|m : Müller Munition

M&S : Mayer & Sohn : early-mid 1980’s. Produced by ?

N (in shield) : Germany : Produced by RWS from c1928 till approx WW2 on SINOXID (patented corrosion free primers). The ‘N’ stands for the RWS Nurnberg factory. RWS supplied primers to other cartridge manufactures and that is why these can be found on GECADO, M+FA, DWM and other manufacturers cases (although reloads also exist of course).

NP (combined) : Swedish/Nowegian : Produced likely post WW2 till c1990 by
NORMA PROJEKTILFABRIK. Used only by factory indicating Norma loads.

NR (as >NR<) Czechoslovakia - NEROXIN Brand of non-rusting primer made by
Sellier & Bellot. “NR” stand for Nerezavějící (rustproof). Patented 1933.

O The “O” or “0” primer marking used with CBC’s ammunition indicates a
Mil-Spec primer. Found on quite a few US mil experimentals.

P, P (in circle) : On Peters primers prior to 1960

R (in shield) : Germany : Produced by RWS from 1905 till 1925.

R : Norwegian : Produced by Government arsenal RAUFOSS

RN : Norwegian : Produced by Government arsenal RAUFOSS AMMUNISJONSFABRIKKER to be used on reloaded sporting cases to indicate genuine factory loadings. RN = Raufoss/Norma (see RANO)

RWS : Germany : Used by RWS, known of in 1963

RWS N : Germany : Used by RWS

S : Likely German - poss RWS : On 8x68RS experimental likely post 2000

SFM * GG * : French : Produced by SOCIETE FRANCAISE DES MUNITIONS DE CHASSE. On large primers generally for revolver and tool ammunition. Eg FR33

SINOXID : Germany by RWS from c1928

SM : Swedish : (Offset) SVENSKA METALLVERKEN post WW2 till c1965.

S M : German : SM Chemnitzer Sportwaffen und Munitionsfabrik

TESCO : German : Teschner-Collath on large rimmed primers from c1924

T3 monogram : Czech : Produced by POVASKE STOJARNE (PS) c1945-1954. Primer is generally referred to as the “T3” the significance of which indicates the corrosion free properties of the primer. SBP had it’s own NEROXIN type.

U : (Unconfirmed) Germany: Believed produced by H.Utendoerffer-RWS until 1905.

U (in shield) : RWS registered in Germany in 1929.

U (bucket shaped) : On CBC Magtech.

U, U (underlined : USA - On UMC primers prior to 1911 & Remington later…

US, US monogram : Used by United States Cartridge Company (USC Co.) before 1938 on most calibers including European Sporting.

V : Czech : Sellier & Bellot from 1935-cWW2. V believed to represent the Vlasim factory.

VV (double opposed v’s) : Believed CBC.

VIS : Italian : Leon Beaux
VIS NOX : Italian : Leon Beaux (corrosion free)

VP (monogram) : Used on a variety of manufacturers handgun cases (WIN, FC)
which may be related to the VAPEX company.

W, W (in circle) : USA - Winchester Repeating Arms Co

Z (in circle) : Czech : Produced by ZBROJOVKA BRNO c1928-WW2.

ZL : Lienhard and represent ‘Zündhutchen Lienhard’ . ZL is a trade mark.
Not Zimmermann…

Symbols ++++++++++++++++++++

Acorn : RWS (DNAG - also used on RF

Circle : Evidently RWS indicating Sinoxid primed for handgun ammunition.
See also “O”


Diamond/ 4 sided star - RM-S = the Rheinmetal Logo :

Horseshoe : The Horseshoe was a trademark of Sellier & Bellot, Schönebeck plant (Austrio-Hungary) and was stamped on copper primers typically on ammunition with early “SB” hs. This symbol was used later by Munitionswerke Schönebeck Germany (on primers ?) but interestingly this was not its successor !?

Leaf (Walnut): Originally Badische Munitionfabrik. later Gustav Genschow (GECO).

Leaves with Acorns : Germany : Evidently produced by GUSTAV GENSCHOW (GECO) as this is one of their company symbols. Also found on cartridges with “L” hs believed produced by LIGNOSE (unconfirmed - less likely is LINDENER).

∏ (Pi Symbol) : Actually represents a gate and so could be Svenska Metallverken or Svenska Metallverken

SPADE : Scandinavian ? Found mainly on 12x44R with “MASENG” hs of unknown manufacturer but may be a reload and the primer could have come from any source. Also on or 12x44R with "HAGEN 12 * " hs and also 10.2x57R LV with “HAGEN 10-2” hs. Note that CARTOUCHERIE FRANCAISE used a spade symbol on Rimfire ammunition for export. [Moss] ACE in Leeds, had primer cups embossed with the outline of a Spade (the playing cards suit, not a shovel).
Recently used by ZERO of England.


Star : Denmark: Produced by Dansk Ammunitionsfabrik - small off-set 6-point star

Swiss Cross : Swiss : Produced by Government Arsenals EIDGENOSSISCHES MUNITIONSFABRIK ALTDORF and THUN. Used from 1919-1942.

V (truncated V with flat bottom) - CBC

Four dots on DWM primers

Any corrections, updates or additions are welcome !


This may be tangential rather than an addition, but I think that in the case of US commercial centerfire calibers there is a fairly close correlation between the adoption of smokeless powder and appearance of the lettered primer. The American makers didn’t like people handloading smokeless powder and blowing something up, and quickly became anti-handloading.

I think that marking the primers perhaps helped ID handloads, especially if marked primers weren’t offered for handloading. Of course, some determined enthusiast could perhaps get the proper primer and destroy old Betsy, but unmarked or wrongly marked primers might have helped stay the hand of the handloader. Or at least maybe make him a bit more careful. Jack

That’s an interesting observation Jack !

I know that Norma only used their “NP” primer for factory loads - didn’t sell it to the public. Especially when they began to sell cases as they would be able to determine whether a particular cartridge was their own load or someone else’s reload. This was from c1947 to c1990 so way after when you are talking about in the USA.

Brad, excellent work, thank you very much for sharing.

I can confirm that “A (Large)” is Alcan, “VV (double opposed v’s)” is CBC, and “VP (monogram)” is Vapex. US primers marked “0” are Remington made.

A distinct variation of the CBC “VV” marking is also found in Argentine made cartridges by FLB: New Argentine 7.62x51 and 9x19 cartridges by FLB

It is worth mentioning that any company is able to stamp a desired mark on the primer cup during the seating operation, which means that not all primers with special markings are contract made. In the early 2000’s, this system was implemented in Argentina for commercial reloaders and I was lucky to be in charge of the primer marking design. Back then, I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, so I draw all the markings using Microsoft Paint! You can see an example in the last post of this thread: Argentine 45 ACP Blank



1 Like

Impressive work, Brad!
Thank you for sharing.

Primer marking M in circle:
Municije, Bratislava from 1928 1934 ( originaly JR Jiri Roth), bought out by ZB, 1934-35, Factory moved from Bratislava to Povaske Bystrica, ( Factory Povaske Strojarne). Primer mark changed from Circle M to fullcircle Z ( the
ZB cartridge trademark). No ammo was actually made at Brno.

Doc AV

Doc, my understanding is that:

Prior to WW2 the Czech Government controlled all arms and ammunition manufacture under the title Zbrojovka Brno (Brno Arms Factory). Upon the government take-over of the ex J.Roth Bratislava factory in 1928 (see: “J.Roth”), the company became known as the “Československé muniční a kovodělné závody a. s., Bratislava.” but was under the control of Zbrojovka Brno.

This produced both military and sporting ammunition using a hs monogram consisting of an “M in a circle” which was used from 1928-1934. Primers are known on their sporting calibers with “Z” in a circle but these could be reloads.

In June 1934, the Bratislava factory was closed for political reasons (too close to the border) and a new factory was set up by Brno, “Zbrojovka Brno, AS, zavod II Povazska Bystrica” at Bystrica in Slovakia on 6 June 1934. This factory produced both military and sporting ammunition using a “Z” hs. A ‘Z’ in a circle has been also been used in the hs, but is rare (see images). The trademark “Z inside rifled barrel bore” (see image) was registered by “Zbrojovka Brno, a. s.”. On June 19, 1935.

ie Still under the management of Zbrojovka Brno.
This information comes from Czech articles on the subject.
Povaske Strojarne was post-WW2.

Thanks for the confirmations and additional info, Fede.

Great information! THANKS Brad & very neat Fede.