9x25 Mauser ballistics and some other questions


#1

Hello

according to available information, “standard” 9x25 Mauser round, when fired out of the submachine gun such as Kiraly 39M or Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 / MP.34, launched 8.15 - 8.25 gram bullet at velocities anywhere from 420 to 450 m/s.
Is there any reliable information on “special”, more powerful loads used by Hungarian or Austrian armed forces in 9x25?

What other countries (if any) used 9x25 ammo? I know that a few interwar subguns were made in thic caliber (i.e. SIG MKMO) but not sure for whom.

Thanks


#2

Hi Max. Regarding the 9 x 25 mm Mauser cartridge, it was manufactured in Germany, Austria, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and unimportantly, in Australia. The Australian made rounds were from c. 1996 and were made primarily for the California Cartridge Collector’s Association as a “Show” cartridge.

I would count French and English manufacture as primarily commercial, although I suppose some could have been made under contract with foreign governments. I am not aware of any such contracts, though.

The primary user of the cartridge was Austria, although Germany made some use of it as well, as they did with most of the ammunition of Europe during the dark days of WWII. Hungary made wide use of the cartridge as well.

In Greece, use was limited to use by the Mechanized Police under “Ypourgian Asfalias,” (Ministry of Security), from which the letters “Y A” found on German (DWM) contract ammunition for Greece, and cartridges made in Greece by E.N.K. came. This agency made wide use of the MP 34 (ö), but it was short-lived, as the Mechanized Police were originated in about 1937/38, and ceased to exist after the German’s occupied Greece.

Italy made use of the cartridge in Austrian weapons and made some ammunition using a 9 mm M38 (9 Para) headstamp bunter dated 1943. Probably war needs and a relatively small use of the caliber dictated that a special bunter not be made for this ammunition. For a brief time after the war the ammunition was made commercially as well, with a typical G.F.L. commercial headstamp, but by the 1976 catalog, it has disappeared from the line.

German ammo is known from DWM with both their normal * D.M. * K headstamp, and the K DWM K 487 headstamp, as well as with the P28 coded headstamp. It was also made by Geco and RWS both with commercial-style headstamps, and with P.405 and dnh-coded headstamps.

In England, I have only ever seen Kynoch production, with commercial-syle headstamp.

As to special loadings, except for Proof Loads and factory dummy rounds, I know of no special loadings, such as high velocity loads, etc. It was primarily a SMG cartridge, and they were probably loaded to the high end, compared to say cartridges intended for commercial sale in the C.96-type Mauser pistols.

Hope this is of some help and interest.

Reference: Moss, John (Woodin Laboratory), “The 9 x 25 mm Mauser Export Cartridge,” THE IAA JOURNAL, Issue 424, March/April 2002, Pages 6 - 20.


#3

According to the CESIM database, Italy produced military 9 x 25 Mauser cartridges with the headstamp described by John for Hungary. 9 x 25 weapons have been never officially adopted by Italy, although from the end of 1943 to 1945 soldiers of the Salò Republic may had used every available weapon.


#4

Hi Max,

As mentioned on my forum the third edition of ‘The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons’ has an article which mentions the 9 x 25 used in the Kiraly/Danuvia 39M and 43M SMGs.

This states that they used special loadings of the cartridge: a ball round firing a 156 grain bullet at 1480 fps from the 17.8 inch barrel (that’s 10.1 g at 450 m/s). There was also an AP loading firing a 139 grain at 1645 fps (9.0 g at 500 m/s).

These would obviously be very high pressure loadings, possibly unsuited to a conventional blowback SMG (the Kiraly mechanism used a retarded blowback).


#5

[quote=“TonyWilliams”]Hi Max,

As mentioned on my forum the third edition of ‘The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons’ has an article which mentions the 9 x 25 used in the Kiraly/Danuvia 39M and 43M SMGs.

This states that they used special loadings of the cartridge: a ball round firing a 156 grain bullet at 1480 fps from the 17.8 inch barrel (that’s 10.1 g at 450 m/s). There was also an AP loading firing a 139 grain at 1645 fps (9.0 g at 500 m/s).

These would obviously be very high pressure loadings, possibly unsuited to a conventional blowback SMG (the Kiraly mechanism used a retarded blowback).[/quote]
Tony, the post that you mention is the reason I’m asking here, to get maybe an independent confirmation to this info.


#6

[quote=“mpopenker”][quote=“TonyWilliams”]Hi Max,

As mentioned on my forum the third edition of ‘The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons’ has an article which mentions the 9 x 25 used in the Kiraly/Danuvia 39M and 43M SMGs.

This states that they used special loadings of the cartridge: a ball round firing a 156 grain bullet at 1480 fps from the 17.8 inch barrel (that’s 10.1 g at 450 m/s). There was also an AP loading firing a 139 grain at 1645 fps (9.0 g at 500 m/s).

These would obviously be very high pressure loadings, possibly unsuited to a conventional blowback SMG (the Kiraly mechanism used a retarded blowback).[/quote]
Tony, the post that you mention is the reason I’m asking here, to get maybe an independent confirmation to this info.[/quote]
If it helps the article was by a man called Jim Thompson.


#7

I guess it boils down to what one cares to call “Special.” The first Hungarian loads, in brass cases headstamped * / * / * / * / were loaded first with CNCS gullets and them with GMGS bullets. The weight on my specimens (total cartridge weight) are 210.12 grains for the CNCS-bulleted cartridge and 206.5 grains for the GMCS one. One in brass case with what appears to be a blackened bullet weighs 202.1 grains. I have not seen another of these and it is possible that the bullet jacket color turned by other than purposeful staining of the jacket. Still, it is the lightest of the three.

Hungary was under the direct influence of the Germans. When they turned to steel cases in about 1943, to save on brass material, it appears they also adopted the “mE” bullet style that Germany did for the 9 mm Para. Hungarian steel-cased rounds in my own collection had the following overall cartridge weights - 195.3, 199.4, 195.9, 193.9, 197.3 grains. This may result from the different jacket material, but I think it probably reflects adoption of a steel core for the same reasons the Germans adopted it.

If you accept that the German Pistolepatrone 08 m.E. was a “special” or “Armor-piercing” cartridge, than I suppose would could say the same of the Hungarian 9 x 25 mm in steel cases with black bullets. Personally, I would call both of them “ordinary ball” differing only due to cost-cutting and material shortages. I still hear arguments that the black-bullet German m.E. in 9 mm Para is “AP,” but have never seen any official documentation from wartime Germany calling it that.

So, were there two loads? Yes, I would think, although I have not sectioned either type of 9 x 25 mm Hungarian bullet to verify the use of lead and steel cores. Would I consider these “special loads” due to bullet materials, or even velocities. No. The velocity spreads for this cartridge as loaded in various countries probably varies widely.

So, the definitions for Hungarian 9 x 25 mm ammunition appear to be in the eye of the beholder, to use or not as you please, or as you judge them.


#8

I had the hardness of an 08 mE core measured: it is not hardened at all. It was purely a measure to save lead, culminating in the sintered SE bullet.


#9

JPeelen, I understand that the mE cores in P08 were iron and not steel, but I brought loads from 1943 & 1944 from about 6 different factories to Aberdeen in conjunction with some other testing they were doing using 0.25" cold roll steel plate. The mE bullets did not penetrate the plate, but left a sizable lump on the back, larger than that left by either the magnetic or non-magnetic KTW loads. The only production bullet that did more damage was the American Ballistics AP bullet, solid steel with a very pointed tip. It put about the same lump on the back of the steel plate, but there was a crack that the tip of the bullet showed through. The SE bullets shattered against the plate and had about the same effect as a lead core bullet.

I once, on this forum offered an opinion that Germany in WWII never had a P08 AP load. After some thought I partially retracted this statement because it would be so simple to use a steel core in place of the iron core in an mE bullet, that I can’t believe that nobody tried it out to see what it would do.

There is a reference in DWJ to an AP P08 bullet tested in WWI associated with the use of a selective fire Luger pistol with a snail drum being tested for air-to-air use.

Very difficult to saw what “NEVER was”. Easy to say that there is NO Evidence that Germany ever produced for operational use an AP bullet before the 1950s. As far as I know, that it the truth.

Cheers,
Lew


#10

I have nothing to add on the 9x25, except that I am continually pleased to see the wealth of knowledge on this board, and eternally jealous of the collections and experiences that go along with it.

I recall seeing an old diagram associated with the snail-drum Luger; it showed a stylized soldier aiming it at an airplane flying overhead. The pictogram of the bullet trajectory was ‘curved’, I assume to show that if you lead the target the bullet impact will coincide with the target’s location. I wish I’d kept all the old manuals and stuff I had.

I did find a photocopied article yesterday that an IAA gent sent me some years ago.

Keep up the good work gents.

MW


#11

Lew, thanks a lot for sharing your observations of firing mE and SE cartridges against steel plates. Its most interesting that the SE bullets shatter on impact. (Should have tested it myself but hesitated because of fear what SE bullets would do to my precious barrels.)

Regarding the question: “Was there a German AP load?” I think one has to answer “Did the Germans introduce the 08 mE as an AP load?” They did not. Better penetration compared to the ordinary lead cored bullet, as can be seen in the test you report, is a side effect, not the purpose of adopting this cartridge. I am not aware of a German document that mentions penetration as a consideration in adopting mE, be it for pistol, rifle or assault rifle cartridge. Saving lead was the dominating theme, leading to SE, to SmE lang and to countless (and fruitless) test with “soft-iron” lead-free bullets (Gaspolstergeschoss!).

So my answer to the initial question is: “No.” This does not at all rule out experimental hard-cored AP bullets. But I think one has to make a clear disticntion between what was in the hand of troops or close to adoption and what only was experimented with.


#12

To get back to the subject of the 9 x 25, I agree with Peelen and think it equally applies to the steel-cased, black-bullet 9 x 25 mm Mauser cartridges of Hungarian manufacture. They were basically following German manufacturing guidelines, I am sure, considering the relationship between the two allies and their war time needs.

So once again, we come back to the answer that the correct answer to the original question depends on your view of what “special loads” are. I would stand by my original opinion that aside from proof loads and possibly (probably) dummy cartridges, the Hungarians did not load any “special loads.”


#13

What constitutes a load so different from the usual as to be described as a “special load” is of course a matter of opinion. I should perhaps explain that I kicked off this discussion on my forum because I was curious about the ballistic performance of the 9 x 25 compared with the 9 x 19, especially when loaded up to give maximum performance in an SMG. I was primarily interested in the muzzle energy developed rather than in the type of bullets or case materials.

For the sake of comparison, the military 9 x 19 2.z ammunition fires a 115 grain bullet at 1300 fps (7.45 g at 396 m/s) giving 434 ft lbs (585 Joules), but the powerful Hirtenberger L7A1 NATO SMG loading fires a 124 grain bullet at 1300 fps (8.04 g at 396 m/s) from a 4" barrel, increasing to an average of 1444 fps (440 m/s) from SMG barrels of 8-10", giving a muzzle energy of up to 577 ft lbs (778 J).

Various contributors responded, quoting bullet weight and muzzle velocity figures for the 9 x 25 Mauser from a variety of sources. One difficulty is often in determining the barrel length used to make the measurements. Where this is quoted, commercial loadings generally used the 5.5" (140mm) barrel typical of the Mauser C96 family. Anyway, the outcome of my little survey is this:

First, the bullet weights. The standard weight quoted is usually a 127 or 128 grains (8.2-8.3 g) military ball type, although Erlmeier/Brandt quote three different bullets: FMJ ball at 123-128 grains (7.97-8.30 g); soft-point at 132-133 grains (8.55-8.65 g); and a flat-nosed soft or hollow-point at 136-139 grains (8.8-9.0 g). They also quote a muzzle velocity of 1361 fps (415 m/s) from a 5.5 inch (140 mm) barrel without specifying which bullet weight this applied to, but as they give a muzzle energy of 522 ft lbs (703 J) we can calculate the bullet weight to be 126 grains (8.16 g). The only significant variation in military bullet weights I have encountered are the two “special loadings” already mentioned for the 39/43M in Thompson’s article: 156 grain ball and 139 grain AP.

Second, the muzzle velocities. COTW lists the 9 x 25 factory load as 128 grains at 1362 fps (8.29 g at 415 m/s), while Military Small Arms quotes 128 grains at 1350 fps (8.29 g at 411 m/s). Barrel length not specified, but I suspect this is probably 5.5". A German commercial loading is quoted as 127 grains at 1325 fps (8.25 g at 404 m/s) from a 5.5" (140 mm) barrel, at a chamber pressure of 35,500 psi.

Figures from various sources quoted for 9 x 25 SMGs include the following:

Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 SMG (MP M.34 in Austrian service: 8”/200 mm barrel): 127 grains at 1417 fps (8.25g bullet at 432 m/s) developing 570 ft lbs/770 J

Swiss MKMO and MKPO SMGs (19.65”/500mm and 15.7”/400 mm barrels respectively): 1608 and 1312 fps (490 and 400 m/s). Bullet weight unspecified, but if the usual 127 grains these deliver 773 and 488 ft lbs (1042/656 J) respectively. Personally, I do not trust these figures; the increase in barrel length from 16 to 20” could not by itself result in such a dramatic increase in velocity with this ammunition.

Kiraly/Danuvia 39M and 43M (19.65”/500 mm and 16.7”/424 mm barrels respectively):

Smith/Smith quote 1475 and 1450 fps (450/442 m/s) bullet weight unspecified. If 127 grains, these result in 617/596 ft lbs (832/803 J)

Thompson’s article already mentioned refers to a 156 grain bullet at 1480 fps from the 17.8 inch barrel (that’s 10.1 g at 450 m/s). There was also an AP loading firing a 139 grain at 1645 fps (9.0 g at 500 m/s). These generate 763 ft lbs and 840 ft lbs (1028 and 1132 J) respectively, far more than other figures quoted except for the suspect MKMO one. If the data on these two loadings are correct, the chamber pressures must have been exceptionally high, which I doubt would have been safe in pistols and possibly not in simple blowback SMGs either. I think that would justify them being described as “special loadings”.


#14

What is Thompson’s Documentation for the Hungarian AP Loads? Please provide an external description of the loads and how they are identified as being AP. I have never seen any load from Hungary that has special markings for AP, nor any box label for one. That, of course, does not mean they don’t exist, but you would think if they were “special loads” and not just experimentals, there would be some in collections somewhere. What was the official Hungarian Designation for the “special loads?” The box label for the steel-cased, black-bullet ammunition (40-round box, ammo dated “44” and on stripper clips) shows the designation “9 m/m 39 m. Mauser” which was the designation for ball ammunition of this caliber in Hungary, so he is not likely talking about them as being the “special loads.”

I decided to pull some bullets from the few 9 x 25 Mauser dupes I had left. Results are:

RWS (German, brass case) CNCS: 126.50 Grains (8.20 Grams)
Gustloff-Werke, Hirtenberg (P635) GMCS: 127.30 grains (8.24 grams)
Vezprem (Hungary brass case) CNCS*: 124.80 grains (8.08 grams)
Vezprem (Hungary Streel case) Black Bullet: 127.70 grains (8.27 grams)

  • The Hungarian brass case round with CNCS bullet in poor shape. Bullet surface rusted and pitted. Some slight bullet-weight loss possible, but not more than a couple of grains at the most.

Bullets weighed on RCBS Electronic Scale, properly zeroed).

No evidence here of any bullet weight about the normal range of 125 grains to
140 grains (High range usually in commercial soft-point bullets).

It is understood that weighing four specimens is not conclusive of anything - simply a matter of interest, especially in the the case of the Hungarian “Black bullet” loadings. I have about 60 specimens of this caliber (I do not collect dates) in my own collection, so acknowledge that four is a sparse sampling).


#15

Sorry John, there is no more information about that in the bit of the article I was sent.


#16

Tony - thank you. All any of us can do is report what information we find, unless we were personally involved in the development of some item. Your input is appreciated even though I would dispute the article, myself, regarding ultra heavy bullets (about 150 grains) in this caliber except if they were simply experimental loads and identified as such. I don’t consider experimental loads to be “special loads” in the sense of ISSUED ammunition.

You probably missed the addition of the bullet weights to my previous posting, as you answered it before I could get the job done, once I decided to do it. I will leave the rounds I tore apart in that condition and add them to my collection as the easiest way to preserve the information. I didn’t weigh the powder charges, because I do not have the technical equipment, or knowledge, to test the powder for burning rates, and without that, the weight of the charges, all four having different powder, is somewhat meaningless.


#17

Hungarian-manufactured 9 x 25 mm Mauser cartridges. Left to right:

Ball, brass case, CNCS bullet, headstamp: * / * / * / * Ball, brass case, GMCS bullet, headstamp: * / * / * / *
Ball, brass case, Black bullet, headstamp: * / * / * / *
Ball, steel case, Black bullet, headstamp: LM 44
Barrel Proof, steel case, black bullet, orangish-red case head: LM 43 Dummy, chromed brass case, chromed bullet, headstamp: * / * / * / * /

Brass cases with “LM” headstamp exist, but are very rare. None available for this photo.

Submitted just to record cartridge images for a more complete thread.

Collection and photo John Moss


#18

To add a view from a ballistically minded contributor:

As TonyWilliams mentioned, a Guns Review publication says there existed a 9x25 Mauser cartridge with a 10.1 g bullet giving 450 m/s from the Hungarian SMG.

I see basically two problems with this. First, the usual 8.25 g bullet would have to be about 2.5 mm longer to achieve 10.1 g. This length could only go into additional cartridge length, because reducing available case volume is impossible (see below). This would require a magazine/weapon redesign.

Second, the 10.1 g bullet according to my calculation would have 1023 J muzzle energy. This is a hefty 23 % larger than the energy calculated for the published 450 m/s and 8.25 g for the Hungarian SMG. Pistol propellants are already at the high end of energy per gram. I see no way to increase energy content of the propellant by 23 percent. So we are only left with increasing the charge from the ordinary 0.53 g by 23 percent to about 0.64 g. There is no realistic way to do that, because the case is already full at 0.53 g.

I conclude a 10.1 g load at 450 m/s did not really exist.


#19

[quote=“JPeelen”]
I conclude a 10.1 g load at 450 m/s did not really exist.[/quote]

You may very well be right. And thanks for taking the trouble to measure the bullets, John.

To return to the basics of this, “The Handloader’s Manual of Cartridge Conversions” lists the case capacity of the 9 x 25 (up to the case mouth) as 1.07 cc compared with 0.70 cc for the 9 x 19. So, other things being equal, the 9 x 25 should be able to take about 50% more propellant than the 9 x 19 - enough for a considerable increase in performance.

9 x 19 2.z ammo from WW2 develops 585 joules muzzle energy (unfortunately I don’t know the barrel length - does anyone?), whereas 9 x 25 loadings seem to be in the range 670-710 J from a pistol and (ignoring the suspect figures) 770-830 J from an SMG, depending on barrel length. Does this look like a reasonable difference in power given the difference in case capacity?

The current L7 NATO loading of the 9 x 19 develops 630 J from a (short) pistol barrel and 778 J from an SMG. Is this increase in performance over the 2.z loading down to higher chamber pressures or is it the result of better powders being used, which were not available in WW2?


#20

I have found a partly full box of Mk 2z (Radway Green 1958) in my inventory and took the steps to have 15 of them measured in a CIP pressure barrel (150 mm). Then we will know how pressure and velocity compare to ordinary 9 mm.