Swiss 8.1cm mortar primary cartridge

Hi all,
I’m trying to find the correct Swiss designation for the primary cartridge used in the Swiss (or the one used by them) 81mm mortar bomb.



The Swiss are calling it “Ladung 0” what translates to “charge zero”.

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Since my knowledge of mortars is poor, (never having had first hand experience), is this the same or a similar size as a 12 gauge, or other shotshell, and are there dimentional differences that would keep someone who thought it was a shotshell from loading and firing it?

Thank you very much Alex, Badger Jacks post leads me to another question, would I be wrong to list this one as 12 bore in my collection or should it be listed as another calibre?
BadgerJack, I do know the English version of these are 12 bore and even have 12 marked on the headstamp and have seen them re-loaded as shotshell, usually re marked with black bands and the shot load marked on the closer disc…so no, nothing to stop them being loaded into a shotgun and firing it…a mighty loud and powerful blank though!


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Here is my 81mm mortar without the fuze. Mw means Minenwerfer.
My mortar is a Practice HE (EUG) filled with black powder.(EUG = Explosiv Ubungs Granate).
I cannot see any swelling on the case to keep it in the tail. Is it a straight case wall Tony?


Most of the 12ga. mortar charges widen out above the brass cup to prevent them from being loaded into a shotgun.

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As said, some propelling cartridges have a raised belt or raised rounded portions (2 opposing each other) to secure them inside the tail section. Some do not and are secured by a locator screw.
Some cases have a thicker rim to prevent it from being loaded into a shotgun (also prevention of theft might be another reason.

Here a 12Gauge for the same purpose, from Austria. It bears a round “swelling” to avoid loading into a shotgun chamber…
But as the swiss are always trained in ammo (every soldier had to take his military guns to his home, to be always capaple of going into war, if called to) they think, everybody can read and do not stuck this ammo with the writings 8,3cm Minenwerfer (MW) into his shotgun…is a question of intelligence :slight_smile:
here the pic:
8cm Werfer Austria

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Peter, as above said the “belt” is to secure the cartridge inside the tail section of the mortar projectile.

I have a number of these mortar propelling charges and catalog them as 81mm, or 60mm. or whatever they are for.

They may look like a shot gun shell - if it looks like a duck & talks like a duck, it’s duck, but it doesn’t talk like a duck…

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yes, but avoiding anyway the loading into a shotgun-chamber…

Hi Ron,
yes my Swiss example does have the swelling, however the 3" & 4.2" English versions in my collection do not and are held in the fin assembly with a wire clip.
I don’t normally go out of my way to collect these cartridges, or any military shotgun type of cartridge, the ones I have just turned up, so my knowledge of them is very limited so thank you for pointing out the case swelling, I hadn’t noticed it and had to have another look to comfirm…something else learnt :smiley:


Thank you PetedeCoux,
I have other examples listed under 12 bore but thought the Swiss being the Swiss might call them something else :laughing:

As far as I have seen, the British types do not have any modifications that would prevent them from being chambered and fired in a regular shotgun.

Would it be dangerous to the shooter or risk damaging the gun if someone tried it?

I would say more it is a question of knowledge.

Anyone not trained to understand the markings simply would not know that it is not a shotshell.

I had no idea what the initials meant, but I have seen enough photos of them that I hope I would know one- or a box of them- if and when I came across it.

I agree that British mortar primary cartridges are straight-sided cases and can fit 28ga and 12ga guns.
The 28ga (2") mortar primary is held in place by the screw-on cap on the tail-fin.
3" and 4.2" primary shells usually have the metal striker clip crimped over the rim and this fits into the mortar base. There are no wire clips used. These cartridges can be found in boxes or without the striker clips but the 4.2" case is 76mm loaded or over 3" when fired so a risky item to shoot in a shotgun. Military marks and case print should discourage all use as a blank.
I am sure you knew this but point out that NO wire clips are used on UK 3 and 4.2" Mortars.
The wires around the tail are only to hold the secondary booster charges in place.
These are ignited by the primary via the holes in the tail fin.

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Hi Ron,
as I’ve said, my knowledge of these is very limited but I have dug up plenty of war time 3" & 4.2" mortar bomb remains, I know of the seconary charge wire, more like a spring on examples I have found, but in the square section of the fin tube on top of the primary charge head there has been a wire clip engaged in slots cut into the square fin tube section holding the charge in the fin tube…is this the striker clip?

On my example of the 4.2" charge it is marked unclipped, so now I’m beginning to understand what that means, so a big thank you to you again.


Please explain the military markings, as the only markings I have seen on the catridge body have been on aluminium cases, but only on the HS on paper hulls.

I tried to say that UK and Australian 3" and 4.2" mortar primary cartridges are all straight-sided and the paper cases are marked with military marks of the cartridge, red bands or actually written on the case that they are for 3" mortars. Top wads are also marked with a date and lot no.
You would easily see that they are not normal blank shotshells.
I have never seen or heard of an aluminium 3 or 4.2" UK mortar primary cartridge - all paper.

I show a selection of 12ga UK/Aust. primary cartridges which need a striker crimped to the base.
I also show a selection of 28ga cartridges for the 2" mortars.


And did I mention that I know virtually nothing about these? Also, without some specific knowledge of UK production, such as yours, from a collector of such…

Without knowing specific markings AND thier meanings, and if the cartridge did not have holes in them [first time I have seen those!], or have MORTAR stamped on them, or some design that would prohibit them from being chambered [could that ridge/bulge be misintrepreted as a bulged 12 ga round?], I would not know they were mortar rounds. I would also presume those clips can pop off fairly easily.

The I.C.I. stamped on the side, without any other reference, might simply tell me that were made by ICI, and the headstamps could just be military headstamps, which are also useless to the average person: Training cartridge? Signaling cartridge? Flame cartridge? Fletchette Cartridge? Grenade launching cartridge for a trench shotgun?

You can see where a “non-expert” could be confused, or simply not know if they are or are not for shotguns, and that was my question, and the point I was making.