Russian made 8 x 50R Austrian


This is another cartridge received from my friend in Moscow. I had not seen a 8 x 50R Mannlicher cartridge without a headstamp before. I assume this was another example of intentionally covering up the country of origin, as was the unheadstamped 7.62 x 39 Russian produced in the 1960s and the CN headstamped ammunition produced in the 1950s, both at the Lake City Ordnance Plant.

Strange unmarked 8x50R Mannlicher

Not really covering anything. Russian 7.62mm Nagant Revolver cartridges had no hs till 1930 and 7.62mm TT got head stamps only after 1941. If the Russians had only one manufacturer for a caliber they just did not use a head stamp.


I found several unheadstamped 8 x 50 R cases through common Austrian marked brass as relics on battlefields .Some of them about 2 Km from where I live.All stuff fired by Austrians during WWI.I don’t know who was the maker but it has been used by Austrians


In August-September, 1914 Russian army has grasped many trophies near the city of Lvov (modern Ukraine). The grasped rifles of Mannlicher and machine guns of Schwarzlose were used by Russian army, but for them there were few cartridges. In 1915 the Petersburg cartridge factory has made 8x50R cartridges for use of the trophy weapon. These cartridges had no h/s as they were made only by one factory. But not to create mess with supply by the cartridges, all trophy weapon has been handed over in arsenals where it was stored prior to the beginning WWII. In beginning WWII the trophy weapon (Mannlichers, Arisakas, etc.) stood out to home guard in territory of modern Ukraine. There are no proofs that other manufacturers (in Austria, Germany, etc.) made this cartridge without h/s.


Those found in Austria and near by are all likely to be Russian ones. Just pull a projectile and check on the flash channels, they will not be of Austrian design.
These cartridges must have been used already in WW1 since these cartridges have shown up in Austrian arsenals (captured by the Austrians).


The neck on this cartridge is split, so the bullet comes out easily. There are two flash holes that appear to have been punched in rather than drilled.


Guy, now check on an Austrian 8x50R from that time, you will see the difference.


Pardon my tardiness - I was looking through my collection to see if I had a suitable Austrian example that I wouldn’t feel too bad about pulling the bullet from, and I found one made in 1910 that has a split neck. I had assumed that both the Russian and Austrian were Berdan primed, and that the difference would perhaps be three flash holes on the Austrian. However, I see the Austrian has a Boxer primer; consequently, a single flash hole.


Guy: Actually what you have there is a center flash hole Berdan primer. This was a sort of Austrian specialty and was later used in other countries whose cartridge tooling was of Austrian origin and/or were in the Austrian technical orbit. If you’ll notice the flash hole is somewhat smaller than the usual Boxer flash hole. Jack


“Austrian” single flash-hole Berdan primer…Georg Roth Patent design.
Made reloading of the Berdan case easy (fine decapping pin to drive out the spent primer, and easier to manufacture as well ( single drilled central (small) hole). When this Berdan system was designed, a lot of European Armies still reloaded their own gallery and training ammo.

Countries which adopted the Roth system for primer Pockets are:
Romania and The Netherlands ( 6,5x53R);

Portugal 8x60R Kropatschek and then both 6,5x53R and some 6,5x58P; .303 ( from 1922 to 1936…went "normal Berdan ( twin hole) with introduction of RWS machinery in 1937 and adoption of 7,9 as the standard calibre).

Czechoslovakia: 8x50R (Local use and export) 7,9mm until German occupation; several other contract calibres ( 7x57 and 7,65x53, .303 etc).

Hungary :8x50R till adoption of 8x56R (31M);

Greece 6,5x54MS ammo ( Austrian and Gmade; adopted twin system with manufacture of 7,9mm ( 1930s);

Austria maintaned the system until they adopted the 8x56R M30 ( twin flash holes).

I have a custom made die set for reloading my Czech 1935 8x50R (Bulgarian contract) cases. Same die design as normal boxer, with very fine ( about 1mm diameter) pin in shank & expander plug. Works a dream. I also made a Hand Pin using spring wire ( 1mm) and .250 rod to handle all other “Roth” cases.

Another thing to note, is that the Roth system primer cup is usually .199 diameter ( 5mm), a size only available today as a “Pistol” primer or as a “Cattle Killer” cartridge primer. The Czechs kept making the .199 primer for use in their 7,62x45 Vz50 cartridge, as did the Russians in a lot of their 7,62x25 Pistol cartridges.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Perhaps one last country will finish the list of Roth-type primer users: Norway. The firm of G. Roth was closely involved in the development of the 6.5 m/m cartridge for the militaries of Norway and Sweden in the 1890s, and Dana Jones’ Crown Jewels shows an early dimensioned drawing of a semi-rimmed 6.5 m/m rifle cartridge designed by Roth and supplied for testing in Scandinavia. The Austrian connection endured in Norway beyond the early testing and that country purchased a quantity of 6.5 x 55 Krag rifles from OeWG at Steyr and adopted the Roth primer for 6.5 m/m ammunition produced in Norway. The Krag book of Mallory and Olson also discusses this. Jack


Yes, I had forgotten that before WW I, the Swedish cartridge was also a .199 Primer (the move to .217 occurred with the introduction of non-corrosive priming in the 1930s); and with Steyr being the prime Rifle supplier to Norway ( and part of the cartridge development), it is logical for G.Roth to have been involved with the development…Thanks for the added Listing of users of the Roth patent…
I don’t know if DM/DWM supplied 6,5 ammo was .199 or .217 primer??? (once Sweden went “Mauser”)

Doc AV