RWS 6.5x57 ID

This 6.5x57 (seemingly 7.92x57 based) made by RWS crossed my desk.
As I am not very familiar with German items and even less with hunting calibers (if this is one) I thought to ask here.
Is anybody able to provide propper ID and a time frame?

Case head diameter is 11.8mm and the nickel plated proj. jacket is magnetic.The remnants of the PA appear to be black.
HS reads:
12h: R.W.S.
6h: N.

As far as I know, it was never adopted by any military.
The case is indeed based on the 7.9x57 not on the 7x57, the latter being based on the 7.65x54 for Belgium/Argentine (different base diameters).
The old name for the cartridge was M88/6,5 and its creation date is assumed to be around 1893.

Jochem, thanks!
So it is a hunting cartridge/caliber?

Something wrong here,what is the bullet Diameter?? I have a few in these Cal but the
lowest on the case heads I can come to is 11,39mm me think this is a 6.5+53,5mm
Greek Mannl. Or DWM.No 477.I do not think this item has anything to do with a standart
7mm,besides this is a nice dummy.To me on a personal basis these blanks and dummys
have always been far more difficult to obtain than the loaded round and on the wallet too
lets say most of the time.

Sherryl, no worries, it is a 6.5x57.
Bullet diameter is 6.58mm-6.68mm.
Case length is 56.8mm.

Is this the one you have in mind,it is also a dummy,I do not know if you are aware of it but the N
in your cartridge seems to stand for foreing contract

Sherryl, the “N.” stands for Nürnberg (English: Nuremberg) to the little I know about RWS.

Perhaps it does.,I took this out of Cartridge guide and was surprised
by the revelation because the meaning of that N got my curiosity

as of the catalogue created in March 2018, the 6.5x57 and its rimmed sister are still made by RWS. I know of no military adoption and therefore consider it a hunting cartridge.

When the Erfurt agreement [on commercial ammunition cases] of 1909 made mandatory the identification of the manufacturer in the headstamp, letter N was assigned to RWS Nürnberg.

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.

John Moss

Clearly some have not seen (remembered) previous info on this subject:

Also, those early “R.W.S. N.” and “.R.W.S. .N.” hs almost certainly predate the 1909 Erfurt conference and although the “N” does indicate “Nürnberg” this was used by the company before the mandatory use of the letter was made in 1909. Just like the “T” = Troisdorf factory was (eg “R.W.S. 18 T 94”).


the Erfurt convention was a voluntary agreement, attempting to control the chaos that had developed on the commercial market because every manufacturer and many gunsmiths tried to sell their own versions. There was no guarantee that a 6.5 mm Sauer & Sohn cartridge would fit a barrel sold as being 6.5 mm Sauer & Sohn.
To answer your question, in my view, the agreement was strictly limited to the gun trade and deliveries to police would not fall into this category. At the time, Geco and RWS were different makers and the question of one party making cartridges sold under the brand name of another party was in my opinion simply not considered in 1909.
Before WW1, everyone who had the money[!] could buy a 9 mm Parabellum pistol or a 7.9 mm military rifle and ammunition. [This limited the number of potential buyers severely, of course.]
Your questions, on the other hand, refer to the “Sinoxid period”, which was two decades later when the restrictions following a lost world war were dominant. The standardization process itself had achieved a lot, including many more calibers and was basically complete in the mid-twenties. It took more than another decade (1939 proof law) to make the technical part obligatory for the gun trade. I would not expect that marking rules from 1909 were still strictly obeyed in the Thirties.

Peelen, Thank you. I know that the Depression hit German soon after the end of WWI, along with incredible inflation of the Mark. I have some German banknotes from that time, in what we look on as impossible denominations (50,000 Marks, etc.).

It still leave me wondering why RWS/GECO used the “N” for an RWS factory designator from before the Sinoxid primer well into the era of the Sinoxid primer. I am, of course, assuming from cartridge characteristics and the presence of the “O” primer that the “N” headstamp is from Geco/RWS. I also still wonder why they did the N * 1 33 headstamp on 9 mm Para with commercial “O” primer. The same basic headstamp is found also, and a bit more commonly but still scarce, on 7.9 x 57 mm cartridges from the early 1930s. Of course, they likely is some significance to the Lot 1 of 1933, the only known lot on the “N” 9 mm Para rounds, considering it is the beginning year of the Third Reich.

Thanks for all you help on this.


People interested in/dealing with weapons tend to be conservative. Maybe, RWS management thought to continue using the well known commercial “N” code (the military code had been UN for Utendoerffer Nürnberg) would be a good idea.
The significance of “1 33” is seen from our point of view today. In January 1933 there were a lot of Germans, former chancellor Franz von Papen among them, who were convinced that Hitler would not last longer than his predecessors. Having lived in Bavaria for more than three decades, it is my view they did not give a damn what happened in Berlin.