Question on Italian 10.4x47R Vetterli

I have a standard 10.4x47R, gm projo, brass case with flat copper primer. Headstamp is “ES” at 12 O’Clock and nothing else.

Any idea whi made this? I looked on (awesome website on Italian military) and did not see this maker.


Does the bullet jacket have the typical skirt that seats against the case mouth? Raised or impressed headstamp? Jack

It is an impressed headstamp on the base of the ctg, unlike the typical outter edge most others have. It does have the typical skirted projo.


Dave: I’m well and truly stumped. Perhaps it was made outside Italy during World War One for the use of others. The headstamp doesn’t seem to be much help. Jack

initials of the inspector of armaments at Pyrotechine militarie de Capoue early in the 1900’s
Culots de Munitions Tome 1 by Regenstreif & Jorion drawing # 644 shows a C-10 (1910 date) at 6:00

I think that it should be a product of the Pirotecnico di Capua .

Many headstamps on these and other cartridges ( 10,4 mm Glisenti) are very slightly stamped so the C - date part could had been erased by time

I have many 10,4 mm Glisenti revolver cases whose hds are very difficult to read since they have almost disappeared

Pivi: would the gilding metal bullet jacket as described here be atypical for Italian military production in this period? I ask because the few jacketed 10.4 m/m Vetterli cartridges I’ve seen have had brass jackets. Jack

What is gilding? Steel or nickeled bullets?

The 10,4 mm Vetterli cartridge intended for Gardner machine guns had a nickeled bullet without the typical “belt” of the standard brass jacketed bullets.

The 10,4 mm Vetterli M40 was produced with copper washed or bare steel bullets

There are 3 basic variations of the 10,4 mm Vetterli ordinary cartridge

M70 = lead bullet
M90 = brass jacketed bullet
M40 = steel jacketed bullet

Pivi: Gilding metal (abbreviated as “gm”) is tombak or, basically, a red copper alloy. I brought this up because I don’t recall having seen this material used as a jacketing material on Italian military cartridges in the pre-1920 period. Jack

It could also be simply a brass jacketed bullet .
A picture would be helpful , a lot of reddish cases , once cleaned up are simply brass instead tombak ( tombak was used a lot for cases but not for bullets , as far as I know)


Thanks for all the help. Looking closer, I would say that the jacket is indeed brass on the projo. However, there is no evidence, at all, of any marks other than the large “ES” at 12 O’Clock. I studied it very closely under high magnification, and I would say there never was any other marks. The round is in good condition. The letters are on the flat part of the base, almost touching the primer, and are about 1/8" in size, much larger than the typical Italian raised headstamps. The other significant difference is that the primer is very flat compared to all the other 10.4s that I have. Most of them have a slight dome shape. This primer, is very flat.

I do not have a good camera setup otherwise I’d be glad to post a picture.

Thanks again,

Typical letters of the Vetterli hds are impressed , not raised

As I said I have seen many hds of these and 10,4 mm revolver cases where the hds were partially erased since many times the letters are very slightly impressed .I have a 10,4 mm case on my desk right now made by Capua whose date had disappeared.Even with high magnification I can see no evidence of the previous marks

Letter sizes vary on Vetterli hds

I believe this headstamp was not for the Italian military but rather a special headstamp made for Hamburg arms dealer Bruno “Benny” Spiro. Spiro sold more than 10,000 Italian Vetterli rifles (+1million rounds of ammunition) in 1913-early 1914 to the Ulster Volunteer Force (Irish Protestants). To the same buyer, he also sold 20,000 Mdl. 88 rifles and Mdl. 1904 Mannlicher rifles in 7.9mm. Un-headstamped 7.9mm cartridges are associated with this sale. Spiro also sold Vetterlis to the Irish Volunteers (Irish Catholics). There is an interesting article discussing pre-World War I Irish gun running activities and associated ammunition in ECRA #306 (Nov. 1990), English edition.

The article briefly discusses this headstamp but does not tell us who made the cartridge or what the letters “ES” mean. It could have been made at Capua. Perhaps the bunter was altered to differentiate between a military and this “commercial” contract. Considering its age and replacement by the 6.5mm rifle, were they even manufacturing 10.4mm ammunition at this facility just before World War I? Has anyone seen a 10.4mm Vetterli (not 6.5mm) manufactured at Capua with the “ES” inspector initials?

But then it could also have been produced by a commercial factory. dak21 mentions that the “primer is very flat” and is unlike those found on normal military Vetterlis. While a picture of the “ES” headstamp would be nice so as to know exactly what he means, the only 10.4mm Vetterli round I know of that has a “very flat” primer has no headstamp. Does anyone have another example of a “very flat” primer on a Vetterli?

And a final question for Pivi—What is the state of the ordnance records in the Italian military archives? Do they still exist?

These two rounds were both recovered in Northern Ireland and I’ve always assumed that they were part of Bruno Spiro’s ‘imports’.
The Vetterli has a flat copper primer and the usual skirted brass-jacketed bullet.
The 8mm M88 is a very distinctive golden colour. I understand the 8mm was made at Spandau Arsenal but I have no idea on the Vetterli.

Worldwar website describes the unheadstamped vetterli case as used in the british - irish war 1919 - 1921 and probably made by Leon Beaux .Two different cases are pictured , with different primers and rims

ES letters were used by pirotecnico di Capua in 1899 - 1900 and 1910 - 1911 .I don’t have a vetterli hds list , but I have a very well done carcano one . Vetterli cartridges were surely made in that period

Anyway , is very difficult to ID that sample without a picture , due to the “disappearing” hds problems …

The meaning of most of the government ispectors’ names remains unknown .Most records were destroyed or got lost

Great discussion guys. Thank you all.

The primer is just like the one pictured in Jim’s post. I also notice that the rim has a slightly different taper.

I’ll try and find a camera to borrow and get a good picture.

Thanks again for all the great information.