Swiss Blank ID

This is a brass case rimmed revolver blank, from the headstamp, it is obviously Swiss. The case is sealed with a star crimp, which is in turn sealed with light green wax. The case head is lacquered dark blue, the primer is lacquered dark green. Measurements are as follows:


Case Length: 0.675"
Rim diameter: 0.445"
Rim thickness: 0.05"
Case diameter at head: 0.375"
Case diameter below star crimp: 0.375"


Case Length: 12.1mm
Rim diameter: 11.2mm
Rim thickness: 1.28mm
Case diameter at head: 9.5mm
Case diameter below star crimp: 9.5mm

Headstamp is:


Is this .38 Special blank with a slightly wider rim? If not, what calibre is it?

Someone out there knows what this thing is, I would be extremely grateful if someone could identify it.

If it is swiss it would be the best to ask them…

e- mail:

Thanks genkideskan, but I’m sure someone on here will know what it is.

Any ideas??

Falcon–I have a very simuliar cartridge headstamped “KYNOCH 38 SPECIAL” with rose crimp and pale green wax seal. It is a brass case with a flat nickel primer. The box this came from said “For Seal Hunting Harpoon”. I have no idea if your Swiss round is the same, but the description sounds like it might be.

This has a Swiss military headstamp, so harpoon blank would be unlikely. I know the Swiss used to issue .38 Special revolvers to Citizen Soldiers, so it is likely a blank for training in these. Still, I’d like to know for certain, and what the blue case head and green primer means.

Falcon - you say “I know that the Swiss issued .38 Revolvers to their citizen soldiers…” Where did you get this information? Do you have any literature on it. I have been studying small arms for 55 years and I have never heard this before. Doesn’t mean it can’t be so, of course. Still, I have a lot of Swiss military manuals on small arms, several books on the subject, and a lot of articles (albeit the articles favor the long gun side of things) and have never seen mention of this. Can you please authenticate this statement?

Thun did make .38 special ammunition, primarily for match shooting and, I suspect, primarily to provide various shooting clubs with that ammunition, rather than to any military use. I can’t speak for now - times change - but the Swiss Government used to heavily subsidize shooting in their country. The only loading I have seen is full wadcutter, copied somewhat from the Winchester version of the same loading. It had a “D T” headstamp as well, although I don’t remember the date. The book “Schweizerische Patronenboden-Bezeichnungen, 1867-1985” by Michael am Rhyn, documents this load, but no other. I once had a box of Winchester .38 Special 148 gr WC ammo with a Swiss overlabel. I used it to keep a box sleeve for Swedish Tracers squared with the box, as it fit inside perfectly, and I did not have the inner box for the Swedish rounds. I showed it to a .38 collector, and of course, gave it to him when he went wild for it.

Is your blank a nickeled case, or plain brass? It sounds like a blank made from a Swiss .38 Special case - the measurements fit in except for the rim, but that is so little over to be of no consequence. Erlmeier-Brandt shows the rim measurements for .38 Special to be 0.425" to 0.444" and you show yours at 0.445". A difference of 1/1000th of an inch isn’t much in the measrement of a revolver cartridge’s rim, even when it is at the maximum.

The headstamp seems right for a Swiss .38 Special as well, as the only headstamp recorded by am Rhyn is from Thun with case metal supplied by Dornach, the same as yours.

If I prove to be wrong for some reason, I think you’re only hope for ID unless some Swiss answers this is to contact Thun and see if they will provide information. In the meantime, a picture is worth a lot of words - can you post a photo of your cartridge?

Falcon–From the same book as John Moss mentions above, here are the pages for the 9mm Cattle Killer. I know yours is not a 9mm, but I post it to show that even on Cattle Killer cartridges they use Military style headstamps. So, just because it has a military style headstamp does not mean it can’t be a Seal Harpoon cartridge. I do not know that it is, but all the rest of your description fits my Kynoch round.

John, I was not 100% certain that the Swiss issued .38 Spl Revolvers, but I had seemed to think they had, possibly based on seeing a photo of .38 Special ammunition in a Swiss Military style box. My blank has a plain brass case, I wouldn’t have left it out of the description if it was nickeled. I did not think that so little difference in rim diameter would make any difference unless the revolver was counter bored, and even then possibly not. I want to get into pistol shooting, but that is not posssible in the UK.

Ron, What I have is exactly what the picture shows. I have the blue base “Ochsen” (“Ox” according to google translator). So it is a 9mm Cattle Killer with a military style headstamp.

I can post a photo of this round for future reference, and I’ll do a drawing of the headstamp in MS paint.

Falcon–I’m glad I posted that 9mm Cattle Killer. I did not pay close enough attention to your diminsions and had a .38 Special size case in mind. Glad we finally pinned down an ID for you.

Good catch Ron. I don’t know how I missed that in Rhym’s book, since I used it for research for this question. I will have to stop being lazy and use the English or German table of contents. because of a little bend in one page, my book opens almost automatically to the first green page, the French table of contents, and I looked right by "Cartouche d’abattage."
I usually use that - I shouldn’t, since I don’t hardly read a word of French.
Sorry about that Falcon.

I have added it to my records as 9mm Cattle Killer, cheers John and Ron.

Here are some photos of this round, Included for reference:

Swiss Blank (left) (Believed to be 9mm Cattle Killer) Shown next to 9x19 for scale. For any 9x19 fans who may be curious, hstp of 9x19 is “H/|\N 43 9M/M”:

Case head (headstamp is not clear, but shows blue lacquered base and green lacquered primer):

Drawing of headstamp drawn with MS Paint:

Falcon - you say that headstmap is drawn with “MS” paint. I don’t know what “MS Paint” is and don’t really care. The big question, does that mean you drew that headstamp yourself?

John, Yes, I drew that headstamp myself in Microsoft Paint, the basic drawing program that comes as part of the Mincrosoft Windows operating system. It took about 5 minutes. Swiss headstamps are easy as all the letters are oriented the same way.

Falcon - great job! Do I compliment you, or the computer? Heck, probably both. I probably couldn’t draw my own initials using the same program. At any rate, good work! When done accurately for content, better than most headstmap photos.


paint and much better picture publishing programms are very helpful anyhow. It is worth to learn the use even if it is hard.

I wonder about the Bolzenschu

I have to admit, I was puzzled by the animals represented by the different colors as well. I am not fluent in German, but I looked up these animals in my German-English dictionary, but wasn’t going to plead my ignorance.

I, too, wonder who would use such an apparatus to shoot Mice, and I can’t find any other word in English for M

Well a cattle killer is a steel cylinder that was set on the forehead of the animal. The propelling cartridge shot out a steel bolt app. 3 " ( adjustable )through the forehead bone into the brain. Well the strength and thickness of this bone might differ from animal to animal.
The brain was used to make sausages ect. and shouldnt be destroyed from the bolt. So they need different loads, trialed and measured out of experience. But why mice ???
May be they remove the bolt, load the gun and fire it into a mouse hole popping out the mice from their tunnels…