Unusual Swiss 7,65mm Para

This is an uncommon Swiss 7.65mm Para (Pistolepatrone 03 / pistol cartridge 03) from 1979:

  • green primer

  • copper (Tombak) platted bullet (copper platting was abandoned in 1971)

I suppose it is a cartridge from some trials - the M+F in Thun often carried out trials.

Does anyone know more about it?


DSCN0006 Kopie

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I can’t really tell you anything about your 7.65 Para round except to say that I have a round with the same bluish-green primer seal, identical in tone to the one you picture above. However, my round is headstamped T 4 T 65. My round has the same four longitudinal crimps on the neck, just above the shoulder, pretty normal for Swiss 7.65 mm Para rounds.

It is hard to tell from a picture, but the only difference I think I see in the picture from mine is that your round seems to have a slight, additional roll mouth crimp, which mine does not have.

The bullet in mine is a normal GMCS FMJ RN bullet. I do not have one like yours. Normally, I only collect this caliber by headstamp style, and while I collect small differences in headstamp font, or any other feature of the cartridge, I do NOT collect by lot number and/or date.

Your bullet appears in the picture like it might have a crimping cannelure on it, whether manufactured that way or the cannelure simply formed by “crush” of the mouth crimp.

This one I have is the only Swiss 7.65 Para, out of a fair number of specimens, with this color primer seal, so I have no doubt that it may have some special significance, although I don’t know what. All of my later ones (none before the date you mentioned, of 1971) that have any primer seal, the color is dark blue (save for one specimen with a white seal superimposing a blue one. If I ever knew, I have forgotten the significance of the white seal, which appears to have been added.

John Moss

These cartridges had parallel flash-holes - trials in the 1970’s.

Interesting hint about the additional crimp - I was not aware about this.

Thanks John


could it be you mean “cupronickel plating was abandoned in 1971” [not copper plating] in your original post?

To be correct: From the mid-1950s until 1971, the bullets were plated with a brass alloy containing copper (German term for this alloy: Tombak).

Sorry for being obviously slow thinking, but what was the standard cladding after 1971? To me it looks like the bullet cladding of the 1977 cartridge you show in the original post is still tombak (brass with 90 percent copper).

ok - now I understand what you mean - I guess I was a bit unclear: the green primer and the Tombak plated bullet are unusual - pistol cartridges 03 after 1971 usually have a silver colored bullet (and blue primers until 1982).

BTW: The Tombak plated bullet and the blue primer should prevent confusion with the new 9mm Para cartridges - hard to believe, but some officers were shooting 7.65mm Para cartridges with their 9mm pistols (Pistol 49 / SIG P210) …

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Thank you for the clarification. A silver colored bullet would mean a cupronickel cladding.

yes - what’s the correct term in English: cladding or plating?

Taking the example “GMCS” for gilding metal clad steel, I think cladding is the correct word. As EOD has explained in a recent thread, the material is created in a rolling mill. Surprisingly, during rolling down to the about 0.5 mm final thickness, the relation of base material (steel) to cladding material (cupronickel or tombak) of typically 10 percent remains the same.
“Washing” in turn means a galvanic proess. I am not sure about plating.

Jochem, to what I understand “plating” is the general term for a coating. Not technically specific.
Like the German “Beschichtung”.

What is most unusual, is evidently smaller primer guys!
The green part is surely smaller than 4 mm ( around 3,7 mm according to picture ).

I do know that a green primer in the Swiss 7.5x38mm indicated it had a ‘Sinoxid’ primer, but not really sure, and doubtful, if this id colour code would still be used in 1977?


M+F has conducted trials with Sinoxid primers in the 1950’s, but these primers were red

Stucki - I am surprised to hear that a red primer in a Swiss round indicated a Sinoxid primer. I had thought that red, at least in 7.65 mm Para and 9 mm Para, indicated an inert cartridge. I will have to revisit that feature of a couple of Swiss rounds I have.

John Moss

According to the book of am Rhyn (Cartridge head stamps of Switzerland) the cartridges with red primer from 1958 were used in trials with Sinoxid primers - the red primer, which indicates an inert cartridge is from the 1980’s.
The two primers looks different.


So much interesting info here! Great to see!
I wonder when a book on Swiss SAA might be published?

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Stucki - I agree completely that the all-red primer was used for types other than just “Modell Inerte” dummy rounds. I don’t agree that the red primer, when used to show an inert cartridge, is solely from the 1980s. In my own collection, I have a 25-piece draw set for 9 x 19 mm Parabellum, counting case draws, bullet draws, and inert primer cup and a dummy loaded cartridge (with red primer), the latter also engraved “Modell Inerte” on the side of the cartridge case, with headstamp " T 11 T 77." I also have a dummy round, indentified by only a single hole in the case, in caliber 7.65 mm Parabellum, with GMCS bullet. Headstamp is " T 5 T 64." While the hole is perfectly executed, I do acknowledge that it might be a ball round inerted for a collection (I got it from a Swiss collector), and not originally a dummy. However, the red color tone is identical to that of the 9 mm “Modell Inerte” cartridge from my draw set, not the darker color you show on a " D 8 T 58 " cartridge. My 7.65 mm '03 round with the hole in the case side is in near mint condition, and is with a GMCS FMJ RN bullet, by the way.

Am Rhyn’ s book shows red-primer rounds as “Modell Inerte” in 7.5 GP 1911 with a 78-dated headstamp, and in 5.6 mm CF (I assume what we call “5.56”) with a 79-dated headstamp and all-red primer, although that round evidently has a “black groove” somewhere on the cartridge.

I think it would be correct to say that the all-red primer was used on inert cartridges beginning in the late 1970s.

Pardon the long answer - I really like the 7.65 mm Para cartridge as a collector!

John Moss

Thanks for the hint John, I agree - until now I only observed Inert cartridges with red primer from 1980’s


The M+F used the term “plattieren” (plating?) as a technical term.
In the 1980’s the M+F undertook tests with pistol cartridges 03 (and 9mm pistol cartridges 41) which the bullet jackets were so called “kaltplattiert” (cold-plated?). This means that the two components of the bullet jacket, steel and a copper nickel alloy, were joined together under high pressure and without heating.

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