Argentina’s “Sturmgewehr”: setting the record straight

Back in 2011, TFP published a “reader” Ronaldo Olive contribution ( on CAM 1, the Argentine copy of the WWII German Sturmgewehr assault rifle granddad made in that South American country in the early 1950s. In the text, it was stated that the gun was chambered to the (then) Argentine standard 7.65x53mm Mauser cartridge, information that was passed to me when visiting FMAP-“DM” (Fábrica Militar de Armas Portátiles-“Domingo Matheu”), in Rosario, Santa Fé Province, in 1990.

However, later thoughts and basic investigation on my part revealed that it had not been so: not only did the gun use the original 7.92x33mm round, but the ammo was also briefly manufactured in Argentina by F.M.C. “SL” – Fábrica Militar de Cartuchos “San Lorenzo” (San Lorenzo Military Factory of Cartridges), as detailed shown by the accompanying line drawing and photos of one of the actual rounds.

Detailed drawing of the Argentine 7.92x33mm cartridge, as manufactured in the early 1950s by Fábrica Militar de Cartuchos “San Lorenzo”.

A very rare surviving example of Argentina’s 7.92x33mm cartridge intended for use in the local CAM 1 assault rifle.

The F.M.C.”S.L.” headstamp for the 7.92x33mm round shows 1953 as the year of manufacture.

Further research on the theme has revealed that the German MP44/StG44 assault rifle somehow found its way to that South American country in 1947 or so, and that using a reverse-engineering process, personnel from CITEFA – Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de las Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces Institute for Scientific and Technical Research) in association with those of FMAP-“DM” came up with the CAM 1. An unrecorded number (small, for sure) of prototypes were eventually completed at the Rosario factory, but plans for a full-scale manufacturing program of the rifle gradually came to an end in about 1953-54. By the way, I’ve not found the actual meaning of the “CAM 1” designation.  “Carabina Automática Modelo 1” (Automatic Carbine Model 1)? Just guessing here…

A CAM 1 prototype photographed by the author at FMAP-“DM” in February, 1990. Regrettably, no detailed (close-up) photos were taken to show markings, etc.

This example of the Argentine “Sturmgewehr” is currently on display at the Museo de Armas de la Nación, in Buenos Aires. To all practical purposes, a faithful MP44/StG44 clone.

Ronaldo Olive

Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.


  • Eric Frey

    damn. imagine if any had been imported before 1986, it would’ve been the newest production STG until H&M’s offering comes out eventually.

    • Twilight sparkle

      I guess you haven’t heard of the ptr 44?

      • CavScout

        Or the AK, though a very crude rip off mostly developed by engineers from defeated in Germany. 😉

  • John

    Ain’t no wehr like a sturmgewehr ’cause a sturmgewehr don’t jam.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Hopefully the technical package is still around. After the inevitable revolution whoever can sell it to American companies would make a pretty penny.

  • Poyo

    Thanks again Ronaldo for a great article. I believe that the cases for the 7,92×33 were made from 7,65 x 53 brass (used in our 1909 Mauser and Colt monitor). Apparently we were unable to produce a gunpowder suited for the new cartridge and that sealed the faith of the CAM 1.
    Also a few copies of the Garand and the Jhonson rifles were made in 7,65 x 53 for trials.
    Ronaldo, what do you know about the 9mm ammunition designed by Pantaleon Kotelchuk for the Federal Police in 1987?

  • gunsandrockets

    Well, that’s some fascinating firearms historical trivia.

  • Dougscamo

    The most ironic line of the post “the German MP44/StG44 assault rifle somehow found its way to that South American country in 1947 or so”…..”somehow” along with thousands of Nazis with the help of Peron…who dressed his troops in Wehrmacht fashion….
    I guess it took said NSDAP members that long to tool up for manufacture….

    • Stan Darsh

      HA. I caught that line too.

  • Franivelius

    Interesting! I didn’t know this and I live here in Argentina lol.

  • Tom J

    You could write several books about the technology that the Germans created prior to WWII. Much of it was spread around the world by Nazis who were trying to prove their worth in exchange for not being prosecuted for war crimes. Had they not adopted the Nazi ideology, Germany would be a major superpower today. Much of the boost the Russians and us got for our space programs came from fleeing German scientists. There are several books about the “Paperclip” scientists. It’s fascinating to think how different the world would be had the Nazi’s not come to power.

  • jcitizen

    I’ve seen the ammo mislabeled in other articles I’ve read in the media – not surprising to me.

  • Walter Keller II

    You think the Argentine’s might have had a couple “helpers” with that project