Star on 10.4mm Italian Vetterli HS


I have a 10.4mm Italian vetterli round headstamped “G.D C-91”. There is also a 5 pointed star at 3 O’Clock. What does this mean?

Thanks for any info.

  • = For machine gun.

Cases strengthen … r-vetterli … li?start=1


Sorry but I disagree.

The star identifies the primer type ( Berdan) , not the load or the case type.
The machine gun round shown in the worldwar website is identified by the 3 - stabs crimp at the mouth.
Stars are found also on ordinay ball loads.
I have a M70 with the lead bullet and a M90 with FMJ bullet with the star in the hds

( from worldwar website : “the star ID the primer type , not the bullet”. In the same website you can see a ball loading with the star in the hds)


I don’t know if this relates or not. I have a 9 mm Corto (.380 Auto) round with headstamp
" R.M. * B-43 " which has a five-pointed star at the 3 O’Clock position of the headstamp. Other than that, the cartridge is quite ordinary - brass case with cannelure, Brass FMJ RN bullet, brass Berdan primer. I was told, I think by Sig. Grimaldi, that this was a proof load, as signified by the Star. It is the only Italian 9 mm Corto I have seen with the Star in that position.

Any comments on that information? I have had the round since very early n in my collecting.

John Moss


I read again the following book (Write in Italian and English) and effectively, I badly understood the text.
PS: nothing on the 9M34 with a star!
ISBN 88-86338-96-1


Thank you for checking. Actually, I have this book and can read some Italian. It is not a bad book but there are many missing items. I guess no book can cover everything. Just when you think you have them all covered, you find something you haven’t seen before. You could actually write a book of that size on nothing but Italian auto pistol cartridges, and perhaps even just on Italian 9 mm Parabellum rounds. Still, as I said, it is not a bad book and very valuable as a general survey on Italian ammunition.

I think the 9 mm Corto round from Bologna might be very scarce. I have only seen the one, although I am sure it must be in Italian Collections, and other large collections in other countries as well.

I just wondered if the star really meant a proof load in that case, or if it might mean whatever it actually meant on the cartridge about which this thread on the Forum was begun.

John Moss


Hi John
this is a part of my monography in the “9 Corto”, already adjourned, present in the site of the C.E.S.I.M.
as you can see, they exist two types of “proof” (prova forzata) with different type of ball
interesting also that with the lacquered steel case
talk to you soon

insertion photo


Giovanni - La ringrazia molto. I would love to get a copy of your monograph on the 9 mm Corto cartridge. The steel-case version from GFL is totally new to me, although I have an aluminum-case cartridge of this caliber from Bologna, as well as the Beaux commercially-headstamp 7.65 mm Browning round with aluminum case and bullet jacket. These, though, are very well-known cartridges.

Interestingly, the “Star” on the headstamp of my round is found at the 3 O’Clock position on the headstamp, not at 9 O’Clock like those you pictured.

How can I obtain a copy of your article on the Italian 9mm Corto cartridge (como posso ottenere una copia del suo articulo sopra le cartucce Italiane del cal. 9 corto?).

John Moss


Dear JM, it is noted in “Il '91” by Simondi, Belogi & Grimaldi ( 1967) that the “Star” appears on the 6,5 case used for Proofing Completed Rifles; and that another cartridge was also used to prove “Barrel Blanks” ( Sbarre di canna).

NO designs or phoots show.
SMI (1924) in the 1920s did use an extra star/s on some of their 6,5 cases, but these are definitely Ball loads ( I have had whole ( 50 round) packets of them.)

Outside of those indications, I don’t have any Italian Info regarding “Proof cartridges”, except to know they certainly did exist, for all calibres of Small arms, as required by the Banco di Prova of Gardone, for both Civil and Military proofing.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Yes , the star at 9 o’clock on 6.5 Carcano ammo ID a proof load. Outside dimensions , the bullet and the case are identical to a Ball loading , except for the hotter load. … a?start=10

I have a sample made by pirotecnico di Capua with that star symbol .The stars used by SMI on some headstamps on ball loadings are in a different position


The excellent Italian web site linked above depicts two rounds of the Mod. 1890 Vetterli brass jacketed ball cartridge. The second cartridge shown under this heading shows a large copper Berdan primer and the headstamp “S.D [star] B-90” and the text says it’s Berdan. The first cartridge shown, with headstamp “F-O T-90” seems to be described as having “il ‘solito’ Boxer.” My understanding is that that means “the usual Boxer,” but in fact the sectioned case shown appears to have the same center flash-hole Berdan primer as the second specimen, differing only in having a brass primer cup. Have I misunderstood? It wouldn’t be the first time. Thanks, Jack


Jack , the text refers to a " new primer type ( large ) " for the first M90 cartridge pictured.

Yes , “solito” means “usual”


Yes, as Pivi says, the translation of “il solito” is “The Usual”…but it must be interpreted as “the usual” ,as in the common or garden variety, the most commonly found, or what is normally found, etc…like the phrase “The Usual suspects” ( which in Italian is roughly translated as “I soliti ignoti” ( the usual unknowns) but more correctly as “i soliti sospettati”

The early Vetterli cases used a Boxer Primer with a separate anvil, of smaller diameter than the Berdan primer which was used in post-1890s cases…as to the Vetterli cases made as components during WW I in the USA for assembly in either the UK, Italy or Russia, I don’t know which primer they were made with???Boxer or Berdan??? ( Supplier is thought to be Remington or one of its subsidiary plants…but unconfirmed.)

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Pivi and Doc: Thanks for your responses. As poor as my grasp of Italian is, my real problem (I think) is the caption of the second cutaway round on pagina 2 (first link above). The caption says it’s the usual Boxer, but the picture seems to depict a center flash-hole Berdan primer (like the 3rd cutaway following) rather than resembling the first cutaway, which I can easily see has an Orcutt-type vertical anvil and is thus a true Boxer. The technical history of this cartridge is pretty clearly complex (several major variations of case, primer, and bullet) in the first place, and if a caption and illustration or two fail to jibe it’s just about enough to finish me off. Still, I feel I’m gaining ground. Thanks again, Jack


Jack , you should ask Giovanni , who is a forum member , about that sample. He is the guy who made the website cartridge pages.