R.H.A.Co. 8mm Lebel


I have an 8mm Lebel (Rifle) round made by Robin Hood Ammunition Co. in 1917. Was this round made for use by the French on lend-lease or use by US troops is Chauchat machine guns? The full stamp is: “R.H.A.Co. 2-1917”. I presume this means February 1917. The bullet also has a base stamp of the UMC “U” with a smaller capital “T” inside. Is this correct, were the bullets made by UMC and cases by Robin Hood, and who loaded them. Also, did I get a good dea on this, my friend used to collect “bullets” as he called them, and got this fron an antiques store a few years ago. I paid


Falcon–These were produced for the French. The first contract for the U.S. government was a Remington contract on 24 July, 1917.

Robin Hood Ammunition Co. was purchased by Remington-Union Metallic Cartridge Co. in 1915. It then became the Rem-UMC, Swanton, Vermont Works. I beleive that the R.H.A.Co. 2-1917 was the last headstamp used by Robin Hood. I have a R A S 4-1917 headstamped 8mm Lebel round in my collection. This, of course stands for Remington Arms-Swanton.

I have no idea what the “T” on the bullet base means.


Thanks. I thought this would be an unusual addition to my collection.


It can be two wariants of marking on the base of bullet 8x50R made in USA:
small “B” inside U
and small “T” inside U

B means Brass
T means Tombak


Treshkin–That makes sense because the original production of 8mm Lebel bullets in the U.S. was using the original French all copper bullet which I assume would be indicated by the “T” for Tombak and in May, 1918, the Ordnance Department authorized bullets to be made of Brass instead of copper (Tombak).


Thanks, I knew it had to be there for a reason. From googling “Tombak”, I have found that it is an alloy of copper and zinc usually used for false gold jewellery. My impression was that these bullets were solid bronze.

Does “2-1917” mean February 1917?


Falcon–Yes, 2-1917 does mean Feb. 1917. Tombak is the European term synonymous with the U.S. and English term Gilding Metal. The 8mm Lebel bullet was actually solid copper hardened with 10% zinc.


Thanks, I thought that might be the meaning of the “2”. Why were the bullets marked with the european names for the metals and not “G” For gilding metal and “B” for brass? I suppose this is in the same category as the “SS” markings on Israeli Made 7.92x57.


Falcon–At the time this round was made it was a contract round for the French, not a U.S. contract. The markings were as designated by France, thus “T” for Tombak"


Thanks. This seems a little pointless as these markings are inside the complete round, so serve no purpose after assembly, yet the French insisted UMC use their markings, but I suppose that is just the way it goes.


It is not pointless. The reason that bullets are stamped on the base is that it helps identify the manufacturer if there is a problem with the finished ammunition. The loader of the round did not always make the bullet.

This is the reason why German labels identify the manufacturer of each component and British .303 has such subtle differences in headstamps such as BE, B (space)E and B (arrow)E.

If there is a problem with a finished lot of ammunition, pressure, dimensions or whatever, there must be a means of identifying who made the components.



Here is the corresponding box.




@TonyE - I undestand now, the French military inspectors would want to now who made a batch of dodgy bullets if they turned up.

@JFL - Thanks for the box photo.

Were these rounds made by anyone else other than Robin Hood / Remington-UMC? If so, I would like to see some pictures of headstamps.

Does anyone who uses this forum specialise in the field of contract loaded military ammo? The others that come to mind are 6.5mm Arisaka by Kynoch , 7.62x54R for Russia By Kynoch and Greenwood & Batley, and .303 for the UK By WCC. Although the 6.5 were mostly used in Arisaka rifles bought by Britain, so were not really contract rounds. I suppose the field could be called something like “Ammunition for military use made by countries in non-native calibres” or the like.

Some interesting rounds have turned up from my friends “bullet” collection, not just the usual .303, 7.62, 9mm etc. He was originally smarter than me, I started off polishing my rounds, but he said he liked them to look old.


The subject of contract ammo is a fascinating one, especially during WWI, and one that I am very interested in.

You have only mentioned a very few. Most of the 6.5mm Arisaka made in the UK was actually for Russia, as was the 7.62mm. Not only was that made by Kynoch and G & B, but also by Royal Laboratory, Eley, GCF1, GCF3 and GCF4.

Then there was the 7.65 x 54mm for Belgium made both in the UK and the US, plus 6.5mm Mannlicher for Roumania by Kings Norton. In the US Winchester also made 7.62 x 54mm and .303 was made by Remington, Winchester, Peters, USC Co and National Brass.

Then there were the 8mm Lebel, made by Birmingham Metals, Aerator Systems, G & B and Kynoch.

Going the other way, RL loaded 30-06 in ball, tracer, AP, incendiary and tracer in 1918 and had the war continued both G & B and Kynoch were tooling up to make .30-06 for the US.

Not contract ammo, but Polte in Germany made 8mm Lebel and 7.62 x 54mm for captured weapons and probably others.

Some of the above are relatively comon, but most are now quite scarce items.


Falcon–Western Cartridge Co. also made 8mm Lebel . I have “WESTERN 4-16” and “WESTERN 1918” headstamps. I also have Remington “REMINGTON 4 15 ART D”; “REMINGTON 1 16 ART D”; “REMINGTON 1 17 ART D”; “R A S.4-17” plus the discussed "R.H.A.Co. 2-1917"
I am sure there are more dates besides these. Besides the Ball loadings, Remington also loaded two different versions of the “Spotlight” (Observation Explosive Type) bullets made by Frankford Arsenal. These were loaded into cases with “R A S.4-17” headstamp.