Terminology: German Rifle Manufacturing Codes

During the Interwar Period military expansion in Germany was forbidden under the Versailles Treaty. The newly established Nazi government, however, had other ideas. In order to hide or at least obscure the pace of rearmament the military assigned simple alphabetical or numerical codes to manufacturers. There are codes for nearly every subcontractor and the list can be very long. Instead of covering all of these, here is a table breaking down the sorts of German rifle manufacturing codes you’re likely to find on the receiver of your gun.

Code Location Manufacturer
27 Erfurt Feinmecanische Werke, GmbH
42 Oberndorf a/N Mauser Werke, A.-G.
147 Suhl J.P. Sauer & Sohn
237 Lübeck Berlin-Lubecker Maschinenfabriken
243 Berlin-Borsigwalde Mauser Wekre, A.-G.
337 Weimar Gustloff Werke
660 Steyr (Austria) Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.-G
945 Brno (Czechoslovakia) Waffenwerke Brunn., A.-G.
ac Zella-Mehlis Carl Walther A.G., Waffenfabrik, GmbH
ar Berlin-Borsigwalde Mauser-Werke, A.-G.
ax Erfurt Feinmechanische Werke, GmbH
bcd Weimar Gustloff Werke
bnz Steyr (Austria) Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.-G
BSW Suhl Berlin-Suhler Waffen und Fahrzeugwerk
byf Oberndorf a/N Mauser-Werke, A.-G.
ce Suhl J.P. Sauer & Sohn
dot Brno (Czechoslovakia) Waffenwerke Brunn., A.-G.
dou Považská Bystrica (Czechoslovakia) Waffenwerke Brunn., A.-G.
duv Lübeck Berlin-Lubecker Maschinenfabriken
jhv Budapest (Hungary) Metallwaren-Waffen und Maschinenfabrik, A.-G.
qve Lübeck Berlin-Lubecker Maschinenfabriken
S/147 Suhl J.P. Sauer & Sohn
S/147G Suhl J.P. Sauer & Sohn
S/147K Suhl J.P. Sauer & Sohn
S/237 Lübeck Berlin-Lubecker Maschinenfabriken
S/243G Berlin-Borsigwalde Mauser Wekre, A.-G.
S/27 Erfurt Feinmecanische Werke, GmbH
S/27G Erfurt Feinmecanische Werke, GmbH
S/42 Oberndorf a/N Mauser Werke, A.-G.
S/42G Oberndorf a/N Mauser Werke, A.-G.
S/42K Oberndorf a/N Mauser Werke, A.-G.
S243 Berlin-Borsigwalde Mauser Wekre, A.-G.
svw Oberndorf z/N Mauser Werke, A.-G.
swp Brno (Czechoslovakia) Waffenwerke Brunn., A.-G.


Dual code variations do exist and are considered collectable.  An example would be “bcd/ar.”  Just combine the individual manufacturers’ codes.


6 Responses to “Terminology: German Rifle Manufacturing Codes”

  1. Jeff says:

    Very cool reference information.

  2. Devin says:

    Great breakdown. Very clean lines on the website and layout. I can tell that the site was done by a professional.

  3. Brant Fletcher says:

    I have a Mauser with conflicting markings and could use some input on deciphering them. On the front ring of the the receiver it is marked 42 1940 which would suggest that it was made in Obendorf in 1940. On the side of the barrel it is stamped S42G which would seem to suggest that it was made in Obendorf in 1935. both pieces have the same serial number stamped in them 1062. The stock and magazine plate on the bottom have the serial number 4062 stamped on them. How can this be?

    • Nagao says:

      I would have to see pictures of both to be certain but it certainly isn’t unheard of to have much earlier barrel codes on later receivers. The barrels were made in surplus and often shipped around before being assembled.

  4. Ron says:

    I have a Mauser with the markings HR 21913 on the side of the receiver. I believe it to be a cz24. However, it was a total loss. The barrel was so bad it could not be saved. Same for the stock. But, I have had a barrel made for it in the .308W caliber and put a stock & scope on it. After heating the charging handle a bit it bent well to allow for scope clearance. Nice smooth action even today. It could use a trigger job. You never know… :)

  5. David J. Potter says:

    My Mausers were made in Berlin and Stockholm in 1908. The marks on the German Mausers are all very interesting I am sure , but not to me,thanks.

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