9x19 "black vs not" projectile question

Here are 2 rounds made at the same place, but the earlier 1943 has a black projectile. They both are equally magnetic, lifting the same magnet with the same strength. I assume they are both mit Eisenkern. So Waffenamt had black projectile in 1943, and then decided to go back to non black in 1944. Warum?


I don’t know the exact date, but there was a time when the Germans stopped manufacturing the lead-core 9 mm bullet, c.1944, and all production was m.E. ( or s.E.-sintered iron) which has the grey bullet for ID). Therefore, there was no need to go to the extra production step of blackening the m.E. bullets for quick identification.

German miltary bullets traditionally have a steel jacket. The test with the magnet cannot identify the presence of a steel core.
I suggest weighing the rounds on a powder scale; Bullet weight difference of 8 versus 6.4 g should show up.

What Peelen says is correct. However, if the question is which rounds are lead core and which are mild steel cores (m.E.) there will be a overall cartridge weight difference with the lead core rounds being somewhat heavier. It seems to me that setting a scale at 170 grains gives instant separation of the two types, but I could be off on that weight. It has been over 30 years since I got into resolving the difference between plain bullets with lead cores and plain bullets with m.E. cores (about 1944 and after as noted in my first reply). The blackened-bullet .E. type and the s.E. type speak for themselves through bullet-jacket color. The only reliable way of finding the difference in the two loads that have plain, GMCS bullet jackets, short of sectioning the bullet, is thru weighing either the bullets, if pulled, or the complete loaded cartridges.
As I recall, there were a few instances, when I originally went through my whole collection to determine which were lead core and which were not, where it was a little hard to figure out as the weights were close to either type, but there were not many, and the headstamp dates gave the probably answer.

The one with a black projectile from 1943 id 10.24 grammes, the other from 1944 is 10.30 grammes. Weighing done on 2 scales (balances) which are calibrated daily. These are the entire weights of these cartridges.

Then Johns original assumption is correct that the blackening process of the gilding coating was skipped on these bullets. But I must say that I am not aware of any official document authorizing that.

So, am I correct interpreting all this info that in 1944 an ammo manufacture in Berlin went from making steel core rounds back to lead core?

Vlad - no, you are not interpreting what has been said correctly. They did not go back to making lead core ammo. Since all of the 9 mm ball ammunition was m.E. they simply stopped coloring the bullets black. There was no longer two different bullet types and weights so there was no need to color one for identification.

Please note that when I say “all” I am perfectly aware that there are always exceptions. I can’t think of any very late-war lead core German 9 mm, but there could be anomolies.

Regarding documentation, I don’t recall where I learned this - probably from either Bill Woodin or Lew Curtis, or perhaps Erik Windisch. It makes perfect sense though. It is amazing that we have as much documentation as we do, when you think of all that must have been destroyed during the war in all the bombing, and then during the building to building fighting at the very end. Pictures of Berlin after the Russian fight for the city tell the story - almost total devastation. It is simply not possible that copies of every regulation and orders for change survived the war.

John, thank you. Now, one last question. Who actually cared at that time if projectile was lead core or steel? Meaning, if I were a soldier at that time, they would give me a box and I’d shoot it in the battlefield without even thinking about what I were given. So, why to make it black in the first place, a note on the paper label of the box would suffice.

The box labels did show the difference in the loadings. As to who cares? Probably only the ordnance officers and perhaps the manufacture, for quality control and contract specification purposes. You are right about the soldiers, I am sure. The average soldier would simply assume that he is being given the right ammunition for him weapon. If he had to scronge around for it himself, in cases of diminished official supply, even the average soldier, or some of them, might be a little more careful about what they used.

We were taught damned little about ammunition in the Army. I cannot speak for the German Army of the time. I know there were manuals the spoke to ammunition identification, but I don’t know the German Army’s criteria for distribution of those manuals. Many of the American manuals I have in my own library and dated from approximately my time in service, I never saw until after I got out of the Army! Distribution was pretty much by what the military perceived to be the “need to know.”