Vetterli Boxes


Hi, All…

I acquired these yesterday and I do not collect them and know nothing about them. They are both empty. What are they ?
Thanks !


Probably .41 (10.4X38mm) Swiss Vetterli rimfire. The IAA European contingent can probably supply much more information regarding source and other details. Many such Vetterli rifles came to these shores during the 19th Century with European settlers, and the cartridge was popular enough to have been loaded in the USA.


This is a box for multiball guard (“schrapnel”) cartridges of 10.4 x 38 R Vetterli caliber. Cases of this type are headstamped •T• (also found in cadet cartridges) and loaded with an extended paper container with five hollow-based slugs nested together.

There are at least two different loads with white and green paper container. Your boxes indicates two differente velocities (300 & 200 m/s) but I’m not sure of wich color belonged to each box.

Cartridges of this type were used by swiss Neuchâtel police (Vatican guard use is not confirmed). A very scarce collectors item.


As Fede indicated, and I surmised, these boxes are certainly not of US origin, and the labels appear to have been “done by hand”, especially the lighter of the two…(the slightly larger box). Also, why the “odd” number of cartridges contained in each, 14 and 29 ??

How collectable are these boxes ??



Randy, this boxes are wonderful and much rarer than its contents. This kind of hand written boxes are very hard to find.


I noted the “Schrapnell” but didn’t associate it with being a multi-ball load. Given the hand-written labeling with no indication of the maker for what was obviously a somewhat special-use loading, could these be custom handloads, as opposed to factory loads?


A few years ago me and TonyE were at a militaria fair here in the UK. There was a stall selling inert rounds and live blanks (legal in the UK). We found some interesting blanks, then the seller said: “I’m not sure what they are, they were in a box with a label written on in pencil, but I threw that in the bin when I got them”. So many interesting boxes must have been lost this way.