Peelen - very good information. I was not aware of assignment of letters like this under the 1909 Erfurt Agreement. While I knew of such an accord, I have never seen or had explained its contents.
I have the “N” headstamp, replacing the factory initials at the 12 o’clock position on the head, in calibers 6.35 mm, 7.65 mm Browning, and 9 mm Kurz. Those seem to be commercial cartridges. However, I have it also in 9 mm Parabellum, not a cartridge commercially available to the public in Germany without special permits. Did the agreement consider police ammunition to be “Commercial?” The headstamp format on the 9 x 19 mm Para cartridge is military in style, “N * 1 33” (Primer “O” - Sinoxid).
Even the commercial rounds beg questions. One of my 7.65 mm predates the Sinoxid “O” primer, but another does not. The same is true, as I recall of 7.65 mm. I believe what I have in 9 mm K have the “O” primer. The would indicate that these “N” cartridge headstamps in at least the three “pocket-pistol calibers” were made by Geco for RWS, under the 1927 working agreement between the two companies concerning commercial ammunition production. Is that reasonable under the terms of the Erfurt Agreement?
The 9 mm Para, being a caliber generally reserved for para-military, military, and police issue could have still be made by RWS, just as later numerical and letter-coded cartridges in this caliber were. If a police item, and if police ammunition of pistol caliber was considered “commercial ammunition,” than it too could have been made by Geco for RWS.
Any answers to those questions?
One more question comes to mind. On the cartridge in question on this forum, the 6.5 x 57 sporting rifle round, since the manufacturer is identified on the headstamp as “RWS” then I assume that the “N” at the 6 o’clock position does stand for Nürnberg, as EOD mentioned?? I have a hunch it was picked as the sole manufacturer’s ID code because the letter represented the location of the factory, Nürnberg, even on those rounds using only the “N”. Just a guess on my part.