Unknown ammunition

Dear All could help me to identify this cartridge.i am a detector from Italy and I found it yesterday in a location where skirmish between German and partizan took place in 1944

Hello Piero and welcome to this Forum. Is it possible to show a picture of the whole case? To me it looks a rimmed case and pretty older than WWII. And no worries, I think a specialist will identify your case soon.

Hello there ! Thanks for the prompt reply and I attach another picture ,hoping it will provide helpful. Some friends suggested it could be an austrian ammunition for a Mannlicher ,The gun was available to the infamous Turkestan Legion who was used in counterguerrilla purposes during 1944 in the area yesterday I was detecting .But let s wait for the expert judgement!


If possible would you please take a picture of the cartridge case mouth:


From the first photo above the " 85 " located at the 6:00 position in the headstamp possibly indicates a date of 1885.

The cartridge does not have the Mauser stepped case head so it is not a 11.15 x 58mmR Austrian Werndl.

The 8 x 50mmR Austrian Mannlicher was not adopted for use until 1888.


Certainly…here we go

Ok, well… expert-stuff. We’ll probably have to do it with the head stamp, unknown to me.

10.4 x47R Vetterli m. 70
Pyrotechnic of Bologna, Bologna, Italy



Wow I am impressed! You seem to know your stuff really well…so it so not a P but a B for Bologna…very interesting. Indeed many thanks and I will be back soon!


Unfortunately, the name going with the initials of the Inspector, S.A., is not known. Whoever it was, he service at Pirotecnico di Bologna from 1885 to 1899. The last time I was Italy visiting my wife’s family at Sestri Levante, I was told by a collector in Genova that these initials, although many have been published, were still considered secrets by the Government. Don’t know if that is true or not. There was a second S.A., obviously not the same man, at Pirotecnico di Capua from 1951 until 1957, with name also unknown.


John Moss

John and all,

Many thanks indeed.Just one question, do you think this may have been used on military purposes or instead on hunting? ( The area has wildlife).Can the ammo have been used on WW2 or too old?


Anything is possible.

In the book The Italian Vetterli Rifle, Developments, Variants and History in Service (2016) by Robert Wilsey, he implies that Vetterli rifles in service by WW2 were the mod. 1870/87/15 and were chambered for 6.5mm Carcano cartridge.

Also note that on cartridge case you found someone at some point in time (probably a long time ago) made the cross marks in the case head and beat on the primer and managed to smash in the case mouth.

Fascinating , thanks for such a academic lesson!


I agree with “BD.” While it is possible for any ammunition to be used for hunting, the headstamp pattern with the initials of the manufacturer’s Chief Inspector, as far as I know, was used only on cartridges made for the Government (military and possibly some police purposes). Further, as long as it will go “bang” when the trigger is pulled, it could be used at any time. I kind of think, though, that it is unlikely it was used in WW2.
Chi lo sa? Non c’è niente impossibile.

Ciao! Buon Natale!

John Moss

I had some further readings on some italin sites and it turns that those rifles where used in Africa during our colonial adventure . So a lot of them where captured later by the British who seem to have used them to supply ( and probably get rid ) to the partisans . I have read a diary of a partisan deluded by the weapons found claiming them being medieval . Anyway thanks all this was culturally very enriching to me .

Buon Natale !

After so much talking I could not wait but check the diary I mentioned . I copy a couple of pages despite in italianas the surprise was big when I read it . It is dated 24 October 1944 and the essence is that when the parachuted boxes landed one broke and they found the Vetterli ( Weterlj ) in usage by the italian army before 1891. A chorus of desperation follows.
You have also to bring in mind that the Allied were very catious in supplying weapons to potential communist forces , hence the choice . image

1 Like