9 mm Bergman Cartridge and the 1897 Bergmann Pistol

In Reinhold Gunther’s book, Bergmann’s Ruckstosslader, printed in Berlin 1900, shown in a footnote on page 74,the Patrone No.6, Caliber 9 mm fur Pistole Muster 97 (Cartridge No. 6, Caliber 9mm was for the Model 1897 Bergmann pistol).
Was the Bergmann no. 6 cartridge, the first 9mm (slightly tapered case) from which other 9mm pistol cartridges were developed?
When was the Bergmann No. 6 developed ?


The known Bergmann pistol 1897 was chambered for the 7,8 Bergmann (with a lot of synonyms: 7,65 Bergmann 1897, 7,5 Bergmann Nr.5) but I do not knew the 1897 model chambered in 9mm…
In 9mm I knew only the derived Bergmann M1903 for the cartridge 9mm Bergmann No.6 DWM 456 ( the forunner of the 9mm Bergmann-Bayard)…The difference is only the OAL.
The 1897/98 Bergmann pistol was called by Bergmann the No.6 pistol, but was first made in 7,63 Mauser caliber, and starting in 1903 in 9mm…
Its the same pistol used for the 10 (no DWM Number) and 11mm (DWM 490) Experimentals.

That makes me wonder, how the 9mm cartridge can be mentioned in a 1900 printed book, when the pistol in 9mm was issued in 1903 and 2 years later adopted with 9mm ammo from the spanisg Government??

The thought that someone in 1897 designed a modern 9 mm pistol cartridge got me going. The cited book “Bergmann’s Rückstosslader” by Swiss army captain Reinhold Günther was indeed published in Berlin 1900. Luckily, the text (not the illustrations) is made available online by Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich.
The origin of “9 mm” is in my view a printing error in a footnote on page 74.
The detailed description of the “Muster 97” (also written as M/97 and Mod. 97 in the book) on pages 37 to 69 only mentions caliber 7.65 mm (explicitly on p. 44, 74, 75 and 76). On page 52, bullet diameter is given as 7.82 mm, bullet length 13.8 mm and bullet weight 5.5 g. On page 75f the author writes: “The Mauser as well as the Borchardt and Bergmann Mod. 97 Cal. 7.65 pistols fire the same projectile and use a nearly identical cartridge case, which Mauser calls caliber 7.63, while Borchardt and Bergmann call it 7.65 mm.”
The Mod. 99 pistol, described on page 84ff, had caliber 8 mm (pages 89 and 91).

The confusing footnote on page 74 lists the following data (cartridge number, caliber, charge weight with Swiss smokeless powder):
No. 2 - 5 mm - 0.045 g
No. 3 - 6.5 mm - 0.13 g
No. 4 - 8 mm - 0.14 g
No. 5 - 7.65 mm - 0.30 g
No. 6 - 9 mm - 0.27 g
No. 7 - 8 mm - 0.24 g
According to the footnote, No. 2, 3 and 4 are for the Mod. 93 pistol, No. 5 and 6 for the Mod. 97 pistold and No. 7 for the Mod. 99 pistol.
This footnote is the only place in the book where I saw 9 mm mentioned.

Edit: corrected charge weight for No. 5 from 0.39 to 0.30 g.

Gentlemen - I am not so sure that the entry on page 74 of “Bergmann’s Ruckstosslader” referring to a 9 mm cartridge is a misprint of any kind. For me, the defining part of the entry is that the cartridge was referred to there as “Patrone No. 6 Cal. 9 mm…” The entry for the 9 mm Patrone No.6 in the DWM Case Register is for a 9 mm cartridge.

We know that there was a Bergmann No. 6 Pistol, also referred to as “Model of 1899.” Specimens of this pistol are most know with a Swiss connection, and are said to have been made in caliber 7.5 mm (DWM No. 460A and 7.65 mm (DWM No. 475). The 9 mm Bergmann cartridge, the first version from DWM being with a longer overall length than the later 9 mm Bergmann-Bayard and with a headstamp of * D.M. * K. The assigned case number was 459, which appears on a later headstamp which, although has the same weight bullet as the longer D.M.K. version, has a shorter overall length. My specimen of the 9 mm No. 6 cartridge has an OACL of 35.29 mm (1.3895") The first “Mars Cartridge,” as they as also known, actually is slightly longer than a 7.8 Bergmann round or a 7.63 Mauser round. I wish I still had my Bergmann Model 1903 Mars Pistol, to see if the D.M.K. cartridge will even fit the magazine. I would doubt it would, however.

In a fine article on Bergmann Pistols, “The Bergmann Pistols,” by ed Buffaloe, he theorizes that the No. 6 (1899) pistol “may have been a hybrid of the No.4 and No. 5 pistols…”
The point here is that according to the case register, the 9 mm Bergmann no 6 cartridge precedes the other two cartridges known to have been chambered in the Bergmann Pistol No. 6 (Model of 1899). I am not sure that many people have seen even a picture of a Bergmann No. 6 pistol. They are likely the rarest of all Bergmann pistols. We know that in 1900 two No. 6 pistols were tested in the previously mentioned calibers DWM 460A and 475.

There had to be a reason for the production of the 9 mm No. 6 cartridge by DWM, which seems to have taken place c.1899. There must have been pistols chambered for it and capable of handling the 9 mm Mars cartridge. Further, we must remember that a finished pistol design seldom happens overnight. It took the U.S. Government 6 years of looking at the 1905 Colt .45 ACP Pistol and later prototypes models to get to the M1911. A simple blowback pistol like the Russian Makarov was 4 years in the making before adoption, 1947-1951 and another two years before serial production for issue took place.
It is likely that the development of the 1903 Bergmann Mars pistol started at least as early as 1900, and perhaps a year earlier.

None of this is hard evidence of anything, I fully admit. But when you add up all the little bits of information, they point to the great possibility that the Bergmann 9 mm No. 6 cartridge existed several years before 1903.

Just my opinion, and one I admit to not being wedded to. Documentation to the contrary would change that opinion quickly. Unfortunately, to date,we have to rely on what little documentation there is, along with a lot of emperical evidence surrounding the Bergmann Patrone 9 mm No. 6.

John Moss

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To all Interested:

scans of part of the book, hopefully, are below.
Reinhold Gunther wrote many books. He wrote the manuals for Theodor Bergmann’s earlier pistols (prior to AEP production of the 1903 pistol) and machine guns.
Noted on page 74 is the cartridge No.7, 8mm for the Bergmann Model 99, only which a few were made.
I had been looking for this book for the last 6 years and when I saw this information, I had to share it with you.!

To JPEELEN, Click on the last page that is green to get the drawings
Jim Alley

I think I have found, in my files, the origin of the Designation “Model 1901” for one version of the basic Model 1897 Bergmann. I found a xerox copy of a manual entitled "Die Rückstosslader-Pistole System Bergmann Modell 1901. It shows the caliber as 7.65 mm,which probably is the 7.65 mm Bergmann Model 1901 cartridge, DWM 475. Although the “1901” model designation has been referred to as a early version of the 1903 Bergmann “Mars” pistol, the weapon pictured in this manual seems to be much more like the Model 1897 Bergmann.

Now, if we could find a manual for the Model 1899 Bergmann, another adaption of the Model 1897, perhaps we could verify the caliber as being the 9 mm Bergmann No. 6 cartridge!?

The manual was evidently written by Dr. Reinhold Gunther, shown as “Eidgen. Hauptmann der Infanterie.” I assume the “Eidgen.” abbreviation is for “Federation” as in “Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft” (“Swiss Federation”). It was published by “von J. Winkel, Gernsbach.”

John Moss

Thank you for that.

John, the man you mentioned as “Dr.Reinhold Günther” was also the Author of the book, from which Jalley published above an excerpt from page 74 (Dr Reinhold Günther, Hauptmann Swiss Army) in which is stated by Mr.Günther, that the Bergmann M99 pistol IS in 8mm !!
Unfortunatelly the pages starting at page 84 (which describes the Mod.99 more in Detail, are not pictured…
If you click on the pages above they will enlarge and you see the author on the left side, and his Statement about the caliber of the Bergmann M1899 pistol…


Peter - I have a copy of the entire book by Günther in my library. Of course, I do not read German enough to get much out of it. I will check out page 74 and see what I can learn.

My main interest and point in the whole book, in regard to “Jalley’s” question was the list of calibers, where it was thought there might be a typographical error when, in 1900, a 9 mm caliber is listed in with others. If it was just the numerical value of the caliber, I might agree, but it also refers to it as Cartridge No. 6, which was DWM’s designation for the first of the 9 mm Bergmann cartridge. The entire line can’t be a typographical error. I think it proves that by the time the book was written in 1899, the 9 mm version of Bergmann cartridges already existed.

John Moss

T0 John Moss and others interested in Bergmann cartridges.
I find from my research that the 1901 Bergmann Pistol could or was chambered for straight cased
(slightly tapered) Bergmann cartridges 7.5 mm 7a DWM 460A, the 7.65 No.8 DWM 475 , the 8mm No.7 DWM 460 and possible the 10 mm with recessed in case projectile DWM 478.
The front cover of the Bergmann Manual for the Modell 1901 pistole as well as its data page are below. It seems that the “rare” Bergmann No. 8 7.65 DWM 475 cartridge is directly associated with the allusive Bergmann’s Modell 1901 pistole. Only very few were manufactured. This manual was also written by Reinhold Gunther.