9mm Beretta

I need some help with the translation off this paper inside the box…

Google translate thinks it says: “Lubricate cartridges before use”

Standard 20 round Military/Police Packet of M938 9mm cartridges on stripper clips (“Piastrina/e”) for Normal Issue 20-round magazine for M1938 Moschetto Automatico Beretta ( MAB38) or Beretta Machine Carbine.

The MAB 38 had magazines in 20, 30 and 40 rounds available, but the most common in Police Service were the 20 round, and the 30 in Military Service.
40 round mags were rarely seen or used.


Seems like it might be a dangerous practice to lubricate cartridges that might not be fired immediately.


  1. Too much oil in the chamber could increase pressure.
  2. Residual oil will attract dirt.
  3. Oil could penetrate and kill a primer.

Its actually a very odd instruction

I don’t know with the Beretta M38 machine pistols, but lubricating cartridges for use in Breda M30 was a common practice

How was it done, and did it cause any problems?

This was not a uncommon practice and was neccesary with many weapon designs to avoid extraction problems but these were usually rejected for military service. Some known examples of lubricated ammunition are .276 Pedersen cartridges for Pedersen rifle, 7.62 x 54 R ShKAS ammunition used in other weapons, 6.5 and 8 mm for Breda machine guns and 7.7 x 58 used in Type 99 LMG prototypes (Model 1).

Hola, Fede,
add to that all the Hotchkiss-type Nambu guns ( Type 3, Modelo(Chileno) 1920, and Type 92,) which had a built-in oiler and brush system over the Feed tray; the T99 LMG had an oiler incorporated into the magazine filler.
The Fiat-Revelli M35 (in 8x59RB Breda) also had an incoporated oiler, which squirted oil into the chamber between cartridges.

All the Italian guns suffered from stoppages in two opposite theatres of war…in North Africa because of sand and dust causing an abrasive glue effect, and in Russia, because the oil thickened and even solidified. (in the cold).

Why the MAB ( a direct blowback SMG) required the instruction to “Lubricate the Ammo” is beyond me, unless it was a means for increasing the Rate of fire!!! I will have to ask my father, who carried an MAB 38 ( early model) from mid-44 to end of war-45 in North Eastern Italy/Slovenia.

Doc AV

Spoke with my Father this afternoon, and showed him the photos of the packets and lables…he said, that in the 9 months he was in the Combat Zone, he carried the MAB38 and 4 “very long” magazines (??40 rounders??) full of ammo…he had bought the lot on the black market for 700 Lire ( 1944 value) which was a couple of week’s wages at the time. He also said, that since he was the only one in his company with an MAB38, and that he usually fired the Squad’s Fiat-Revelli M35, he used the Beretta very little. And there was no 9mmM38 ammo on issue to their company. I suppose he could have scrounged some from either the Italian supplies, or the Co-combatant Germans in the area, but besides having the M35 to look after, he also still had in his kit his issue M91 Cav.Carbine with the normal packaged ammo for it. Basically the MAB38 was his “back-up” in case of dire necessity. Nice back-up…I have photos of him with the MAB38 on his bike and his Plumed hat (Bersaglieri).
(Piedicolle, near Gorizia (Border of Italy and Slovenia, then Yugoslavia)

So, can’t shed much more light opn the packet or the internal “please oil” label.

Doc AV

To add one more auto weapon with cartridge oiling: the Austrian Schwarzlose of 1907, perhaps the first of the breed; certainly the first significant example. Lubrication of cartridge cases needn’t be by oiling: chamber fluting serves essentially the same purpose in many guns, where the cartridge case is separated from the barrel by a blast of high-pressure gas from the chamber. Jack