WRA 7.92mm


#1

Can anyone tell me in what time frame these Winchester 7.92x57mm rounds were manufactured and for who were they made? I


#2

Phil - I am not positive on the era of these cartridges, but it would surprise me if they were for a Central or South American country. While there was certainly some use of 8m/m Mauser-caliber weapons in both areas, they were in a minority. The primary Mauser calibers in use were the 7mm and 7.65mm in those regions. We know from the Argentine contract that Ecuador had some sort of 7.92 x 57mm weapon in service, and in 1924, Mexico made the 8m/m Mauser cartridge, although that could have been for some one else.

The 154 (some say 156 grain) bullet is the same weight as supplied China for Bren Guns made by Inglis of Canada, and for rifles as well, by Western Cartridge Company during WWII. I would tend to believe the rounds were the Winchester equivalent for China, although they may have been supplied right after WWII, for the end of the failed struggle against communism in China. Our presence in China was still fairly heavy until Mao took over. A pretty large quantity of 7.9 ammunition was manufactured in the U.S. for various lend-lease purposes during the war. I assume some went to England as well, although I don’t know that.

If the ammo is post-war, and perhaps a WRA box expert could tell us the era of the white boxes with black print, of the “end-tab” construction (unlike the tear-top Western WWII 7.9 box for China), then all bets are off, as it could have gone to any country with lots of captured German weapons, like Italy, Austria, Norway, France, etc., etc. By WWII, though, most of the German weapons were sighted for the type s.S. ball (heavy bullet), not for the Type S 154 grain bullet, I would think.

The box isn’t much help - mine doesn’t even have a lot number.

Just for the record, I have this with the normal red primer seal, but also one with a dark (perhaps black) primer seal as well. Both rounds weigh about the same so I don’t think the seal is representative of any special loading. I have not seen many with the black seal, which does not look added later.


#3

John - Thanks for the reply. I don’t have one with the dark primer seal but I have some with no primer sealant at all. The boxes I’ve seen and have also have only what’s printed on front, nothing anywhere else. Any idea when Winchester became part of Olin Industries, Inc.

Phil


#4

Hi, Phil and John…“Division of Olin Industries, Inc” appeared on cartridge boxes in 1946, and continued until 1954, when “Division of Olin-Mathieson Chemical Corp” came into use.


#5

Randy


#6

Phil - the time frame for this box labeling - 1946 on to the 50s, would fit in with the post-war deliveries to China in their fight against the Communist revolutionaries under Mao. Still speculation on my part, but China was one of the countries using plenty of 7.9 x 57mm weapons that still needed ammunition for them. Europe was exhausted from the war, and there was plenty of this ammunition still around in those countries, so I don’t think it would be for Europe. The only other thought I have for this caliber is England for Besa Guns. They still had “colonial problems” after the war, but I personally think china is a better bet. Again, only a starting point for further research. Maybe Lew Curtis has some ideas here. He knows a lot about Chinese ammo, and deliveries after the war to China. I am only making an educated (?) guess. The 8mm Mauser was not a South American Caliber to speak of, nor used much in sub-Sahara Africa. Of course, everything known to man was used at one time or another on the African continent, but in the time frame of the box, I don’t see it going there. Europe can be pretty much ruled out in my estimation. Of the 8mm using countries, that leaves Iran, Turkey and china as the main ones, I think Turkey and Iran, not much effected by WWII, were probably making their own and weren’t at war right after the War anyway. China had been, and still was engaged in heavy combat in their own Civil War until the Communists took the country. After that, it probably would not have been, under any circumstances, a U.S. contract for China.

One could speculate that if it were made in the early 1950s, it might have been a contract for West Germany at the time of rearmament, but DAG began making the cartridge at that time, and that would have fit in with trying to rebuild West German Industry better than supplying them from American factories.

Well, again, all speculation. Isn’t a shame that we can’t just phone up the factory and learn our history first hand?


#7

THis headstamp and packet design is typical of a large WRA contract for Indonesia, 1952-3, packed in the old WRA Wooden crates with Embossed Red and Black designs and lettering.
Top of Box has delivery address referring to Indonesian Army in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Calibres supplied .45ACP, .303 British, and 7,92mm.

Quantities of these calibres appeared in Milsurp both in the USA and Australia some 25 years ago (I have an original .45 (empty) crate and several (Full) 7,92 crates.) Boxed and loose .303 was also available (poor quality); this may have been Dutch contract, ( 1945-49) used during the War of Independance.

Whilst the .45 and .303 was in Poor condition ( several bulged Thompson barrels (M1927 SA) occurred with this ammo) the 7,92 was in perfect condition…I dismantled a lot to make 7mm and 6,5 Port. cases from it, as well as reloading it as 7,92…Boxer cases, Olin “Ball” Powder.

AT the same time with the ammo, Importers (Canada, Australia) had a selection of Johnson rifles, KNIL 6,5 Dutch rifles, Indonesian .303 converted M95s, and Mausers (both Dutch and others); Japanese “Shoot anything” Type 99s and T38s were also to be found…and even .303 Br. ammo with the rims hand-filed to fit a 7,7-T99 Chamber. One of my Indon Type 99 rifles can chamber and safely shoot the original T99 Japanese ammo, the semi-rim T92 MG ammo, modified or unmodified .303 Br, and even at a Pinch, 6,5x53R Dutch M95 ammo…talk about versatile…simply by opening up the bolt face to .530 inch (.303 Rim size).

Winchester could also have supplied some of this ammo to Israel in the early 1950s, to help them over shortages after the 1948 War of Independance; Although Israel had clandestinely imported US cartridge making machinery in the mid-1940s, before Independance, it was mostly used to produce 9mm Ammo; and Big time IMI production of 7,92 only started in 1954, from headstamped examples seen. The 1948 War was almost wholly run on German, Czech and Polish WW II production ammo, and some 7,92 BESA (British) Ammo left behind.

WRA 7.92 would also have been supplied to the Dutch in the late 1940s for the KNIL forces, and to European Allies with Colonial attachments…The Europeans had plenty of good german etc. 7,9 ammo available in any case.

I will try to get a Photo of an Indon. Contract crate with address for the Board.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#8

The information from Doc Av is very good. didn’t think of Indonesia, as don’t associate them with the 7.9 x 57mm cartridge. Undoubtedly at least part of this ammo went to them, based on his good information. Perhaps all of it.

One point of disagreement concerning Israel. They started making the 7.9 x 57mm cartridge in 1948, although specimens with that date are very hard to find. I don’t have any. However, from 1949 thru 1953, I have 44 Israeli 7.9 x 57mm cartridges in my collection, including blanks and factory dummies, about 40% of my collection. No doubt that production of this caliber was higher in the mid-1950s, but by 1950 they were well into the production of the 7.9 to a point where I doubt they would have used any of their credits with the US for this caliber ammunition. In fact, by May of 1957, they had ceased production of 7.9 x 57mm cases, with loading operations probably ending within a month or two afterwards. By that time, many of the weapons they had used in that caliber had either been withdrawn from service as no longer needed, no longer serviceable, or converted to 7.62 x 51mm NATO.

I agree, by the way, that the use of the 7.9 x 57mm cartridge in the 1948 war was probably 90% (or more) of non-Isreaeli production. As I mentioned, Israeli 1948-dated cartridges are rare, and those dated in 49 are very scarce.

Oddly, dispite the number of Enfields and Bren guns Israel had, they produced very little .303 ammunition, and any specimen is moderately scarce. I have recorded only 1948 and 1949-dated specimens, one of which was a factory dummy. They must have managed to acquire a a good supply of this ammunition following the 1948 war, perhaps captured from the Arab nations who also made heavy use of British weapons.


#9

Thanks a bunch, Doc AV and John. It only took 15 years for me to find the answers I was looking for!!


#10

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Phil - the time frame for this box labeling - 1946 on to the 50s, would fit in with the post-war deliveries to China in their fight against the Communist revolutionaries under Mao. Still speculation on my part, but China was one of the countries using plenty of 7.9 x 57mm weapons that still needed ammunition for them. Europe was exhausted from the war, and there was plenty of this ammunition still around in those countries, so I don’t think it would be for Europe. The only other thought I have for this caliber is England for Besa Guns. They still had “colonial problems” after the war, but I personally think china is a better bet.

Well, again, all speculation. Isn’t a shame that we can’t just phone up the factory and learn our history first hand?[/quote]

John,

I doubt that this ammo was destined for the UK for use in BESA’s. The bullet on the specimen shown has the normal “Mauser” profile which didn’t work well in the UK made BESA MG because we made the barrels with the “wrong” throat which needed a “fatter” ogive, more like the .303 mark 7. I have never come across BESA belted ammo with WRA cartridges. When UK armoured vehicles were sold abroad after the war the BESA’s went with them, many ending up in Israel. The Israeli surplus BESA and MG 37 belts which are turning up recently have a mix of non-UK ammo, usually Israeli and FN.

gravelbelly


#11

Gravelbelly - thanks for the info on the BESA barrel throats. I was not aware of it, but I still didn’t think there was a lot of chance they were for England. I was kind of locked onto China, because I knwo a lot of ammo was sent there to help them fight Mao’s Communist forces during the post-WWII phase of their continued civil war. I also know that they had plenty of Mauser rifles, Bren-type guns (Czech and Canadian), etc. in that caliber. However, with the information Doc Av supplied, it seems it was likely for Indonesia.

I hadn’t thought about Indonesia and the 7.9 x 57, since that wasn’t a cartridge used much by the Dutch (they had the rimmed version, I know, but we are talking only about the classis 7.9 x 57mm rimless). Right now, reading what very little I have on Indonesian weapons-use, I can’t figure out what exactly they were shooting this caliber in, but my information on weapon use there, after the Dutch left, is really, really scant.


#12

I don


#13

sorry


#14

The story I got from a guy that worked at Hirtenberg was that “original” Hirtenberg production was 5 and 6 pointed stars. Anything that was subcontracted out or produced by other factories had a different arrangement.


#15

To JM: Indonesia, in 1949, besides having a lot of Dutch 7,9 rifles and carbines (FN made, 1948), also bought a lot of Mauser rifles surplus from Eastern Europe, as well as 7,9 calibre LMGs etc. In a Box of odds and ends from an Aussie Importer who got stuff direct from Indonesia (without going via Canada or the USA) included some Receivers marked “Kb98a”…the typical marking of Polish produced M98 rifles (long Model) of the 1920s
Other WW II German Mausers were also in this mixed box of bits ( as well as Dutch M95 pieces, Lee Enfield, and Arisaka;) all rifles used by the Indonesians during the War of Independance ( 1945-49) and immediately after till the late 1950s; the Dutch themselves, utilised stocks of German Mauser rifles and LMGs left in Holland at the end of the war, as well as Lend Lease M17 rifles ( .30 cal) some of which were cut down into “Police carbines”, and marked with Marechaussee (KP) marks and a date “1/48” on the stock.
The large number and varied origin of the 7,9 calibre weaponry would justify the order (substantial) of Ammo from Winchester.

Rergards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#16

Doc AV

were you able to get a picture of the wooden crate for the Winchester 7.92 Indonesian contract? I would would sure like to see it if you can.


#17

About Israeli use of 0,303" ammunition.

Vast quantities were stockpiled in Palestine when the British still thought it possible to use the area as a strategic reserve to support its post 1945 ‘world power’ status. There was even a suggestion that this base would remain as and when Israel got its independence. In the end we had to abandon the idea at huge cost in money and resources that could have been used better elsewhere. How much of the ammunition stocks were ‘mislaid’ will probably never be known.

Britain also armed and supported the forces of Trans-Jordan, later truncated to Jordan after the war of 1948. Large numbers of Enfield No4 rifles were supplied, presumably there was ammunition also. Given the small size of Trans-Jordan a lot of this ammunition was probably kept close to the border and so would have fallen into Israeli hands.