9mm Sub-Machine gun ammo

Is Sub Machine gun 9mm ammo loaded at the same pressure as standard handgun ammo. As I have a few partial boxes i was considering shooting it.

The box says Winchester 9m/m parabellum for use in Sub-Machine guns

Doug D

Good question, does not barrel of SMG get hot, expands and constricts the lumen therefore requiring higher pressure in order to squeeze the subsequent projectile out of the barrel?

The ID of a circle/tube (gun barrel) gets larger with heat, not smaller. Think about how you use heat applied to a siezed nut to remove it from a bolt.

I only have firing experance, but yes, most sub gun ammo is slightly “hotter” than standard pistol ammo. Will it hurt your pistol depends on just how hot that batch is, and just how strong your pistol is.

I’m looking forward to hearing some more answers here.
The only 9x19 I can think of that was specifically loaded with SMGs in mind is Israeli military ammo without a silver or blue tip. It was considered by the IDF to be too hot for Berettas and HPs, so the silver tip was made for pistol use.
Are there other legit examples out there? Lew? John?

If barrel’s ID gets bigger with heat, what was the purpose of changing barrels in MG34 etc.?

There has been lots of ammo made for SMG’s only. Some of it is hotter than the average pistol round, while some was for “SMG Only” (Remember “Nur im Maschinenpistolen verschiessen”?) not because it was hotter but because it was not considered to be of a quality high enough for a precision pistol, but would work o.k. in a burp gun. Sometimes indications on a box label that a round is fit for a specific SMG or group of SMGs is only an indication that the manufacturer insured it would feed and fundtion reliable in those weapons.

I only know of one loading that absolutely should not be fired in pistols, and ironically, in the country that makes it, they did it all the time. That is the Swedish M39/b load, identified by a red primer seal and case-mouth seal. I used to have a friend in the Swedish military and he reported of all kinds of pistols with major units (slides, frames) cracked with that loading, including even a fine SIG P210. Swedish Lahtis had the upper receiver crack at the locking block housing all the time with that load. It truly should not be fired in handguns.

I have seen no other that would do any real damage to a fine pistol like the Browning HP. I might be leary of using some of it in these so-called “modern” plastic frame and aluminum frame pistols, although they are all probably pretty safe tiwht mose of it. It is like anything else - moderation in its use might be a good idea. Why fire thousands of rounds of “hot” ammunition through any pistol - it simply isn’t necessary and while in my opinion, few loads made for SMGs would ever cause catastrophic damage in one, they probably accelerate wear on the firearm.

The best rule is, if you don’t know a load, or are uncomfortable with any designation given it by the factory, don’t use it.

Vlad - regarding changing barrels on an SMG because they get hot, you can ruin a barrel with too much heat, even cause it to “droop.” You can also have cook-offs - not even impossible in open-bold firing weapons. There are lots of reasons for quick barrel change, accuracy being another one. I am not sure any of them have specifically to do with bore expansion. Steel expands when hot, contracts when cold. Probably an over-simplification - I am not a technical wizard. But, that’s the basics of it.

There are several answers to this question, as over the years, especially during WW II, problems with US-made 9mm ammo showed up different Loading patterns vis-a-vis European 9mm.

As mentioned by JM, certain 9mm ammo should NOT be used in Handguns, as it will eventually crack frames, slides, and toggles etc.
Best example is the use of British/Australian 9mm Mark 2z in pistols such as a “Luger” (P-08) or a “Red 9” (C96).

The Mark 2z load was developed in 1944 to fuel Stens and Owen guns, because the original Mark 1z cartridge, modelled on the US made “9mm Luger” cartridge initially supplied from 1941 onwards, was woefully underpowerewd for SMG use (it was OK for captured 9mm Pistols, as made).
The British at the time were also using up captured German stocks of 9mm P08 cartridges whenever they could get them.

The British-used FN Browning GP35 pistol did not have this compatibility problem, as it was initially designed to use a European-style load of 9mm.

In other European countries, where 9mm Para was an SMG cartridge, and handguns used other calibres, the problem was less seen to exist. The Italians in 1935, with the First MAB ( African Colonial Police Model) developed a “souped up” 9mm cartridge, which, though interchangeable with the 9mm Parabellum cartridge case, had a slightly stiffer load than normal German 9mm P08 cartridges…and it was eventually called the M938, when issued with the definitive MAB38 SMG (which was built more like a full stocked carbine, and had the range to boot);

As to the “Nur Fur MP” overstamp, as JM stated, it was more likely a “quality” issue than an actual “loading” issue.

One thing we have noted over the years in Australia, is that anyone silly enough to use Post-WW II Mark 2z ammo in a WW I Luger pistol was asking for explosive dismantlement of the gun after several rounds.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

We have had trouble with the British L7A1 loading reported to be intended for use in open bolt 9mm SMGs in arctic conditions. After one shooter had a catastrophic failure in a closed-bolt design H&K MP5, most shooters will only use L7A1 ammunition in open-bolt design SMGs. L7A1 ammunition works fine in the open-bolt MP40 during the colder months. But the few times I did fire L7A1 ammunition in the Texas summer heat out of the MP40, it did blow a few primers. Headstamp info is “L7A1 91 HP” with NATO cross. Any credible information on this type ammunition would be appreciated.


Edit: Contrary to what BATFE has stated, L7A1 ammunition was sold on the U.S. market by the pallet load. Link to Jason’s post on L7A1 with info by JM: http://iaaforum.org/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=5169&highlight=l7a1

I will simply quote a document regarding this ammunition, as it is true, with information from Hirtenberger.

BATFE Hazardous Ammunition Alert, Indiana Hunter Education News, Spring 1997 (printed off their website, still up May 1, 1999 11:26AM).

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has been advixed by Hirtenberger AG, of Hirtenberger (sic), Austria that certain 9 x 19mm ammunition produced by Hirtenberger is unsafe for use in any handgun. The ammunition, designated L7A1 and produced from 1990 through 1992, was made for the British Ministry of Defense specifically for use in submachine guns UNDER ADVERSE CONDITIONS (emphasis added by John Moss). The ammunition was loaded to produce pressrue far in excess of that intended for use in handguns.

"The manufacturer advises that up to 12 million rounds of this mammunition has recently been sold on the world surplus market. This ammo can be identified by the following head stamp located on the bottom of the cartridge case:

What arm did the UK intend to use this L7 ammo in? The open bolt Sterling was on the way out in 92. It is also curious that a high pressure ctg would have the NATO cross hs which I believe means it is made within narrowly defined specs.

Orange - I can’t answer your question. I think the most-used SMG (Machine Carbine, Machine Pistol) in England now is the MP5 used by Police and Special Ops people. I don’t know if the Sterling is out completely or not.

As to the NATO mark, don’t know that either. I doubt this ammo meets any NATO specification, but then I don’t know all the STANAGs relating to 9mm Para (9 x 19 NATO) ammunition.

Every now and then the NATO Mark creeps up on ammo that probably should not have it.

An interesting thread. I’m doing some research into SMG performance at the moment (not only 9x19) and am looking for some data on the muzzle velocities achieved - which would presumably be higher even with standard pistol ammo, let alone hot stuff.

Does anyone know of a source of info?

There exists a persistent internet myth about “Hot Tokarev SMG Ammo”. I would be interested if you discover anything to either confirm or refute the myth.

[quote=“Jon C.”]Tony,
There exists a persistent internet myth about “Hot Tokarev SMG Ammo”. I would be interested if you discover anything to either confirm or refute the myth.[/quote]
I have read that the Czechs loaded it very hot. Sellier & Bellot still quote a 7.62x25 with an 85 grain bullet at 502 m/s (1,647 fps) from a 120mm (4.7 inch) barrel and 540 m/s (1,772 m/s) from a 287mm (11.3 inch) barrel.

Prvi Partizan also quote a high pressure loading: 85 grains at 1,706 fps from a TT barrel.

This compares with the standard Russian military 85 grain ball loading which is quoted at 1,410 fps from a TT (1,378 fps for the Chinese version).

So there does seem to be some really hot stuff out there!

The myth is connected to a fact called “Bad C96 bolt stop design”. If you shoot hotter ammunition in a gun with a bolt stop that has been battered for some 90+ years, you can guess the result: Something will break.

The C96 bolt stop design is rather flimsy and the bolt stop itself does it’s work on a machined frame area that is only some 4 - 5mm wide.

Not using too powerful ammunition in vintage guns is always a good idea. The shooter and the gun will live longer.

I understand that there is HOT ammo and civilized ammo, but not necessarily designed to be for one weapon or another, as regards the discussion on this thread. I know of no Tokarev ammo that was specifically designed for SMGs only. Therein lies the myth part.

Do not forget the Bulgarian 7.62X25mm crap.

[quote=“Tony Williams”]An interesting thread. I’m doing some research into SMG performance at the moment (not only 9x19) and am looking for some data on the muzzle velocities achieved - which would presumably be higher even with standard pistol ammo, let alone hot stuff.

Does anyone know of a source of info?[/quote]

Small Arms Review magazine (SAR) has done a number of articles on SMGs with chronograph velocity/cyclic rate measurements. Data from different weapons becomes an “apples vs. oranges” issue for several reasons but here are some figures to look at:

 ERMA (EMP):  (SAR 04/04 p86)
      Federal 115gr. FMJ 9mm chrono'd 1248 FPS/541 RPM  
 Hirtenberger L7A1 "MG Only" chrono'd 1487 FPS/689 RPM.

 Bergmann MP35: (SAR 06/04 p65)
      Federal 115gr. FMJ 9mm chrono'd 1230 FPS/905 RPM 
      WW2 issue Winchester "MG Only" 1290 FPS/ no cyclic rate listed
             Hirtenberger L7A1 "MG Only" 1437 FPS/1015 RPM.  

 ERMA MP38/40: (SAR 07/04 p66)
      Federal 115gr. FMJ chrono'd 1195 FPS/ 557 RPM
     Hirtenberger L7A1 "MG Only" 1414 FPS/ 534 RPM

 MP28, II (SAR 03/04 p 39)
       Federal 115gr. FMJ chrono'd 1219 FPS/ no cyclic rate listed
      Hirtenberger L7A1 "MG Only" 1449 FPS/ no cyclic rate listed



Hmm…I suspect that we may be into semantics here. From what I can recall, the reason for the development of the hot ammo was to improve the performance of the SMGs (which, in military terms, were by far the most important weapons using it). It was also usable in a strong pistol, presumably with an increased wear and breakage rate.

I agree that designers would consider SMG performance as the primary factor, but the myth usually extends to the idea that the ammo in question must not be used in pistols. As far as I know, that situation does not exist for the Tokarev cartridge. Apparently it does in a couple of 9x19 examples.