9x19mm Lapuan plastic box

A long time ago I asked if military still used inches and pounds to designate artillery calibres. Alex said that non-metric system was abandoned years ago. Here is a box with grammes and grains side by side. Is there a movement to switch to grammes only? Grains art as archaic as avoirdupois. And I still can’t find “9mm Finnish” orange box.

The simple answer in this case is that it is a dual language label designed to be understood in Europe with the metric figure and in the “English” speaking countries where grains is still in common usage for ammunition.

The interesting part to me is that while the box is for 9 mm Para, the orange cartridges depicted in a semi-circle are shouldered cases, which from Finland, would be 7.65 mm Parabellum. Nothing important - just an observation.

John, I have a number of cardboard boxes in both orange and yellow with the same 7.65 Luger drawings but clearly marked 9mm PARABELLUM! Guess Lapua was saving on artwork, or they thought the 9mm Parabellum cartridge looked boring.


When looking at other Lapua boxes of similar design it becomes clear that the depicted artwork is not related to the actual caliber contained in the regarding boxes. This also becomes very obvious with boxes for rifle cartridges then.

And using an essentially straight case like the 9mm would not create the circular pattern like a bottlenecked cartridge does!

The box here in Europe looks the same.
The difference is the stamp “Boxer” on the label and the bullet weight.
Also the “Vo” is lower.


Dutch, Vlad’s box is giving the V10, your’s the Vo.

Is this maybe an “Americanized” load like it seems to become common to have all loaded “below average” Vo and pressure for what ever liability reasons.

[quote=“EOD”]Dutch, Vlad’s box is giving the V10, your’s the Vo.

Is this maybe an “Americanized” load like it seems to become common to have all loaded “below average” Vo and pressure for what ever liability reasons.[/quote]

I need better glasses. :)


I understand that V=velocity and E=energy, but what is Vzero vs V10? Is it velocity at muzzle vs velocity at 10 metres?

Vlad - yes. I suppose in some American date, the V10 could mean “velocity at 10 yards” but in the main, their is little enough difference between a meter and a yard to make a very important difference, in a practical sense.

Gentlemen, you seem to overlook that we have two different loads here: 8.0 g (let me call it German) and 7.5 g (foreign).
The first (v10 390 m/s) is in my opinion from a barrel of submachine gun length. This is the typical velocity of Pistolenpatrone 08 from a submachine gun.
The second (v0 320 m/s) is in my opinion from a pistol barrel. According to my measurements, this is typical for the Finnish military version of the 9 mm Parabellum. It is a little less powerful than Pistolenpatrone 08 (nominally 327 m/s for its 8.0 g [sic] bullet from P08).

Has anyone ever explained how it came about that in many countries 7.5 g (115 gr) is the standard, while in Germany it always was and stil is 8.0 g (123 gr)?

JPeelen, I did not overlook the different weights as the heavier one is the one with the higher velocity what kept me from trying to explain that the lighter load should be faster by nature then.

Maybe Lew can tell us more on the 7.5 vs. 8 gram?

Peelen, For the answer to that, contact Lew Curtis. He has done a big study on that. In the US, we have both bullet weights. 7.5g (115 grain) and 8.0g (124 grain) in common use. I will leave it at that, because I can’t think of which one was used earliest, and alone for some years, of the top of my head, and no time to look it up.

I think there was some discussion about this bullet weight situation on this Forum not so very long ago, but again, not sure of that.

The story of the 115gr (7.5g) bullet in the 9x19mm is interesting with lots of unknowns. The first appearance of the 115gr bullet was in conjunction with the Finnish Suomi MP model 1931. Even the Finns don’t have the story sorted out but it appears that roughly around the 1934 time-frame, perhaps some years earlier, they were using the 115gr bullet. The 9mm Steyr used a 115gr bullet. I speculate that the Finns, looking to provide a higher velocity, flatter shooting round for their M31 decided to adopt the 9x19mm case with the lighter Steyr bullet. The first documented production of the 115gr bullet was a rare load headstamped WESTERN 9M-M that was loaded in May 1935 for a South-American country, unnamed. These were likely for a Suomi MP. Mexico ordered 115gr loads from Winchester in 1939, again, probably for the Suomi M31.

The real spread of the 115gr bullet began when Finland ordered 9mm from Winchester during the Winter War with the USSR. Winchester was provided a couple of Suomi M31s and some 115gr ammo (Finnish military issue). They began production, but the Winter War ended before any ammo was delivered. Sweden bought the ammo, but is was still stored in the US when WWII broke out.

After Dunkirk, the British were pressed to provide a MP/SMG to their forces and were desperate for 9mm ammo. They contracted for the WRA production at Winchester and bought the original Finnish ammo from Sweden (probably through WRA). Since 115gr (Finnish) bullets were what was available, that is what the Brits bought. Later (in 1941, the spec for British 9mm ammunition was written around the WRA load and the 115gr bullet). Of course, that is the round the Sten was developed for and the 115gr bullet became the load produced in the Commonwealth (Canada and Australia) and adopted by the US. After the war it was the standard 9x19mm bullet of the Allies and spread from there.

The Germans and much of the rest of Europe had long produced the 124gr (8g) bullet and this was the standard for these countries. The 124/125gr bullet was standard in the US before WWII. I believe the NATO STANAG accommodates both bullet weights. Note that the Italians adopted the 115 gr bullet for their Beretta M38 MP, but I can’t find any information on why. They undoubtedly tested a lot of MPs prior to settling on the M38, and one would have been the Suomi which was sold widely. My speculation is that they liked the Finnish 115gr load for a MP and adopted it as the 9M38 load.

Lots else to the story and a lot unknown, but there are the bare bones.

Note that the material above is off the top of my head and may have some errors. Treat it as the ramblings of an old man who, on his anniversary, has had three glasses of wine before drafting this post.


Lew - have a 4th glass and pretend I am there sharing the bottle with you. Since ML can no longer drink even wine, I have almost forgotten what it tastes like, and my wine rack has become only a dust catcher. Maybe I can turn it into a cartridge box display, or something. :-)

My anniversary is coming up in a few more days. I think I will celebrate it with a bowl of Chili and a glass of Cherry Pepsi. :-(

Lew, thank you for your explanation.

Returning for a brief moment to the Lapua boxes, here they still use the same design but have ‘reverted’ to cardboard at least with the 9mm. On these 115 grain loads the V25 is indicated as 300 m/s. No mention of the primer type. I have no idea of how old these boxes are.

Soren - thanks for posting the picture of the cardboard 9 mm Para box. I have a plastic one with the yellow art work, as opposed to orange, which I also have, but had never seen a cardboard box with this format of top-label box art. Very nice. It seems all calibers used the same “basic 7.65 mm Para” cartridge drawings on the label. Collecting only auto pistol boxes, I did not know that before, as paid no attention to revolver-caliber boxes.

What a huge amount can be learned on this forum!

Thank you.