Home page
Close This Window
Article created: Thursday, December 7, 2006
Article modified: Monday, September 10, 2007

1902 Dated Swiss Luger Ammunition

Front Side
Left Side          Right Side
Back Side


The committee reconvened

On the 2nd and 3rd of April 1900 at the conclusion of the 1899/1900 Swiss trials of the twenty 1899 Test/Acceptance Borchardt-Lugers, the selection committee gathered once again in Bern to attend to the last details concerning the manufacturing of the Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900 and to address its final requests to the manufacturer. Since the Commission had been last convened, complete tests had been conducted in Thun, Switzerland, with special bullets fully built in the Swiss federal factory. The director and chief of the ammunition factory who lead the tests produced a report showing it was possible to completely build the needed bullets in Switzerland only. This fulfilled all the requested characteristics.

The Swiss army adapted the 7.65mm Parabellum round in 1900, buying the first batch of ammunition from DWM as production at the Eidgenössische Munitionsfabrik Thun did not begin until 1903. Assuming the batch ammunition supplied by DWM was packaged by Thun in 1901-02 then the solid round nose bullet style could have been similar to DWM No.261, possibly with a DM head stamped cartridge. Although the ammunition could have been unstamped as identified and pictured on page 126 of Faustfeurwaffen II - Selbstladepistolen by Christian Reinhart 1 titled "Die Munition zu den Selbstladepistolen Geschosse und Hülsenböden." (The ammunition of the Self-loading pistols of bullets and casings). Support of the DWM manufactured first batch ammunition is found on page 127, where interestingly, is featured a colored picture history of Swiss manufactured Luger and other weapons ammunition, starting with 1903.

The variety of Swiss ammunition bullet styles and packaging variations for the Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900 is very limited when compared to the DWM German commercial 7.65mm 50 round box packaging. This consists of several different bullet styles and an equal amount of varying packaging label styles and colors. The reasons for the different bullet styles was to satisfy the hunting requirements of the commercial M1900 Parabellum vs. the sole military purpose or use of the Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900.

Pre-1910 Swiss Ordinance, Thun packaged 7.65 mm Parabellum ammunition consists of only 2 packaging box styles and initially only one style solid round nose bullet. The rarest by far is the first style packaging of 24 rounds in 4 rows of 6 rounds each in a rectangular, almost square box or carton being (6,0cm) 2-3/8”L x (4,4cm)1-5/8”W x (3,4cm)1-1/4”H. The first use of this box size and label style by the Schweiz. Eidgenossenschaft or Swiss Confederation on the label was not for the 7.65mm Parabellum but interestingly for the 6.5mm “System Bergmann” specifically being a 20 round box, blue ink date stamped label 18:6.97 or June 18, 1897 and a 20 round box of System Mannlicher ammunition dated 13.6.96 or June 13, 1896 with a hand written label. The first 7.65mm Parabellum 24 round box of ammunition identified is dated 3:9.1901. + or Sept. 3, 1901 with one other box dated 29:4.1902 M+K or April 29, 1902. All four identically dimensioned boxes are pictured in two books .

The first style box for the Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900 was packed with DWM supplied 7.65mm ammunition as stated above until 1903. If the first Swiss was packaged with DWM supplied solid round nose bullet ammunition it could have been alternately loaded with *DM*K or Deutsche Metallpatronenfabrik head stamped cartridges as these 7.65mm bottleneck *DM*K head stamped cartridges have been identified in early 1900 DWM commercial 50 round packaged ammunition.

The Thun, Switzerland first box style for the Parabellum ammunition was short lived, being barely 2 years, discontinued sometime before 1903 as the second and most common, relatively speaking, decidedly rectangular box style, being approximately 3”W x 1” x 1-1/4”H, holding 24 rounds of 3 rows of 8 rounds each, appeared circa 1905 as evidenced by a 1903 date printed label with an additional blue ink stamped date of 30:8.1905. M+K or August 30 1905. It is not certain as to the first actual 1903 packaging date with the new style box, despite the cited 1905 ink stamped example as possibly only the 1903 dated label(s) were first printed in anticipation of Thun production. The Thun manufactured 7.65mm ammunition continued with the solid round nose bullet and with a bottle neck cartridge with a head stamped “T – 03 – T”.

One advanced collector when asked about the availability of Swiss collectible ammunition stated there was “plenty out there”. Unfortunately not much is available as it is all in private collections, was probably referring to the second more “common” box style. With the addition of another, recently private collection located and acquired, unadvertised, unopened box of the early Swiss style, dated 20:5.1902 M+K or May 20 1902 makes a total of three known and pictured, as of this writing, of this very early Swiss packaged 7.65mm Parabellum ammunition.

Not one single box of the 1901 or 1902 dated Swiss dated unopened 7.65mm Parabellum ammunition has ever been offered or been advertised in the USA for sale, to the knowledge of this author. In addition, with the post 9/11 severe restrictions on the export of ammunition, collectible or otherwise, contributes to the already scarce availability of any European or foreign collectible ammunition.