Question on 6.5 Carcano headstamps

Are the “S B 16”, 17 & 18 headstamps on 6.5 Carcano from Sellier & Beloit in Austira, or Bologna in Italy. It would make sense to me that the Austrians were making the stuff as they probably had captured a bunch of the rifles.

Steinhauer’s headstamp guide says it is Bologna, but why would they change the headstamp style for those three years away from the inspector initials at noon, and B-year at 6 O’Colck.


Dave, these were made by Società Italiana Generale per Munizioni ed Armi (SIGMA) of Bologna, which was a subcontractor of Pirotecnico di Bologna. This company was established in Casaralta on November 6, 1915 and closed in 1919.

These headstamps can be found on ball and blank loadings ( the blanks used recycled cases that didn’t pass the factory inspection). Blank cases ( with the cross on the base) are quite uncommon, so the SIGMA production should have been of high quality ( few cases rejected).
SB cases / ammunition are quite common as relics in WW1 trenches.

SIGMA produced clips with his own mark too.

A " B S 17" blank case also exist. It could had used a rejected case due to the headstamp mistake

These are the known Carcano headstamps from 1916 to 1918

Capua: LN for Leggiadore Nicola
LN C-16
LN C-17
LN C-18

Bologna: BP for Boschesi Pietro

BP B-16
BP B-17
BP B-18


SMI 916
SMI * 916 *
SMI * 917 *
SMI 918
SMI * 918 *

not confirmed: SMI 917

SB: Sigma for Bologna

S B 16
S B 17
S B 18

Gentlemen. Thank you very much for the information.

Is there any reference material out there that would list all Italian military headstamps?


Dave - I can’t think of any. There are some Italian Cartridge books - one by Pettinelli has a lot in it. You might want to look over at least that one next time you visit me. I think, though, that a book listing all Italian headstamps, even those known, doesn’t exist. Just Italian headstamps that have appeared on auto pistol cartridges would fill a subject for a medium-size book, I would think. That’s one reason why the lists that are compiled and reported on this Forum are so important.

Check some of the websites on Italian ammo. They are helpful too, but I can tell you that even the best of them are far from complete - I know that from my own specialty.


there is the italian collectors web site

It contains the most exaustive descriptions of italian ammo and headstamps.
You have to join the association and pay a fee to see them. The forum is free

If you want a complete list of italian Carcano headstamps, contact me and I’ll send you my database

Here are two of the clips from this producer, the first is brass although heavily patina’d, the second is plated steel. Both were battlefield ‘pivkups’, as are so many early Carcano clips, and so aren’t in the best condition.

Happy collecting, Peter

The SIGMA of Bologna was, for many years, considered a “Succursale” ( Subsidiary) of the Bologna Pirotecnia; Just a happenstance that the Headstamp (SB) can be interpreted both ways, and effectively indicates the same thing…that SB was a subsidiary Plant of the Main Bologna Ammunition Factory.