Blanks for the MP38 and MP40 Machine Pistols


#1

I have recently bought a couple of books on the MP40, and both mention that the thread at the muzzle was to accept a blank adaptor. The blank adaptor is illustrated in these and other books and apparently in Armorers Manual for the MP38 and MP40.

As has been pointed out previously, this looks like a blank adaptor intended for an extended case blank with a crimp in the shape of a bullet rather than a blank with a paper or wood bullet.

Below are the German blanks I know of from the period 1926 through 1945.

Starting with the top row, left to right:

  1. Blue wood bullet Polte known from 26 and 27. There must have been some production since a Polte board is known for this load an boxes are known, though quite rare.
  2. The pointed stule red paper bullet from Polte from 1929
  3. The blunt style paper bullet from 1929 from Polte
  4. A wood bullet in an emp Xf1 1 41 CWS case. This apparently turned up in Denmark with some very old ammunition that had been stuck away. Reportedly the police recovered it along with a torn box and a few other rounds. The fate of the box and other rounds is unknown
    Bottom row:
  5. Very probably RWS with a paper bullet
  6. Geco with a paper bullet filled with iron powder to give it weight to function a weapon
  7. A wood bullet with a shape that recalls the 7.92x57mm red wood bullet
  8. A crimped, extended case blank by Geco.

There is one other blank that is not in my collection with a wooden bullet and headstamped P St 1 39 and a CWS case.

There is one other German blank from this period with a mercury filled wooden bullet which clearly was not designed for the MP40.

Most of these blanks long preceed the MP38 and all except #8 have wood or paper bullets and seem poor choices for the MP38 blank adapter.

Clearly some blank existed for use with this adapter. The development and testing of the adapter required a blank cartridge. Since the blank MP38 and MP40 were both military developments then the blank adapter must have also been a military development and it seems reasonable that the blank would also have been a military development.

Has anyone got any additional information???

Cheers,

Lew

PS: My web site has photos of some variations of the Polte paper bullets and additional blank photos.


#2

Lew, Why ot the Geco crimped blank. Remember, there is the elongated-case blank (23 mm to the shoulder) that is identical in all other ways, and was for an SMG, the MP Schmeisser Model 28 II, and came in boxes so marked, without any definite caliber marking. Those blanks appear from the box label to have been loaded, or made for, C. G. Haeneil, Waffenfabrik Suhl/Thüringen. I believe Haenel had quite a bit to do with the MP38/40 series of guns as well.
Am I correct? If so, it would stand to reason that they might use a similar blank.

Just conjecture on my part, of course. I have no documentation on this subject.


#3

John, I think that blank (with the 23mm shoulder) was specifically designed for a training weapon, the 9mm Zielfeuer Gerät 35. It is a MP made only to fire blanks. It was introduced in 1935 and made by HAENEL. This weapon was never designed for the 9x19mm cartridge so I don’t consider this blank a 9x19mm. The 23mm case length was specifically selected, apparently, so 9x19mm ammunition could not be fired in it.

This blank could not have chambered in an MP38 or MP40. The blank adapter is designed to fit the standard barrel of these weapons so the blank must have had a 19mm shoulder.

Erma developed the MP38 & MP40, from the MP36 which itself was the result of a previous line of MP development that runs back to the Vollmer MPs of the 1920s. Erma, Haenel are confirmed to have manufactured the MP38 (there are references to Steyr making the MP38 though it appears that no Steyr produced MP38s have been actually documented) Steyr made MP38 magazines exist and Steyr was producing MP40s in 1940 while Erma was still producing MP38s into 1941. Haenel stopped producing MP40s in 1942. while Steyr continued until the end of 1944 and was the largest producer of MP40s. Erma began producing MP40s in 1941. Haenel was believed to have started production in 1941, but three 1940 dated weapons have been documented. Still it appears that the initial design setup for the MP40 must have been done at Steyr since 1940 codes with the “660” code are documented indicating production before the “bxn” code was assigned and the Haenel 1940 guns have the “fxo” code. These guns are marked with the acceptance code from Erma rather than from Haenel.

I suspect that Steyr was preparing to produce the MP38 (which was first produced by Erma in July 1938) and was assigned initial production of the MP40. If Steyr produced any MP38s it was probably a very limited number. Haenel used far more subcontractor made parts than either of the other contractors

I have included this early history of MP38 & 40 production since I believe it is central to a lot of our 9x19mm discussions on the forum. Most German 9x19mm ammunition from 1939 on would have been produced for this weapon.

Cheers,

Lew


#4

Lew - I wasn’t talking aobut the extended case blank being for the MP40. I was just illustrating that it had been made for an automatic firing device (more in a minute) sso why could the same style blank, made with the 19 mm case length as the one you show in your pictures, have been for the MP40 with conversion unit. You seemed to ignore that blank as a possibility in your opening comments on this thread. Again - I am talking about the Geco all-brass, rose-crimped balnk with 19 mm “case length” (from base to shoulder).

About the Graining device, the 23 mm case length might have been used in that. However, the box plain says it is “50 Platzpatronen für M.P. Schmeisser Mod. 28 II. Dürfen nur aus Platzpatronenlauf verschossen werden.” (50 Blank Cartridges for the Machine Pistol Schmeeiser Model 28 II. Must be used for shooting only with the Blank-firing Barrel.") The last is a loose translation. Someone more skilled in the German language than I could probably make a better translation. So, by box label designation, it was not for the Zielfeuer Gerát 35, although I don’t deny for a minute that it could also have been used in that training device. There could have been packaging we have not seen, for the same blank as that for the MP 28 II, mandating its use in the Zielfeuer Gerát 35, or instructions for the training device could have simply demanded use of the MP 28 II “Platzpatrone.”

It would make sense to use the elongated shoulder blank in the MP 28. First, it would preclude accidental firing with live ball rounds, as they would be pushed too far into the chamber to have the primer struck by the firing pin as the bolt finished its cycle and completely closed. Secondly, the blank-firing barrel could have been used in 9 x 23 mm and 7.65 mm Parabellum-caliber MP 28s as well. I have never taken an MP 28 II apart, but assume that the barrel must come out fairly easily. Such a replacement barrel for the MP 40 would not have been as proactical, being very expensive due to everything that is attached to it - rest bar and front sight assembly. The MP 28 II probably has pretty much just a straight plain tube, since it is enclosed in a barrel jacket.

I could be wrong about its use, but the box label is pretty strong evidence that I am not wrong about the original intent of the 9 x 23 version of this blank being for the MP 28 II.

Regarding the commercial headstamp of the cartridges in question (both lengths), military use would not surprise me. The Germans never intended that enemy troops be on their soil, of course. No one embarks on aggressive war expecting that, or they would not do so. Items made for the German Police, for example, were not coded until late in the war. Examples I can think of off hand are police holsters and Luger Pistols, which, if made specifically for police contracts, were commercially marked with the manufacturer’s name. Note the "Mauaer Banner"
police-model Luger pistols. Blanks were likely used only at training posts within Germany, I would think. Also, it does not seem like the MP 40 blank-firing device was used in huge quantity, since my understanding is that they are smewhat scarce to find. Of course, so are the Geco blanks in question.

Interesting - while typing this, Air Force One just flew over my house! Does that make me famous?


#5

Weve had this discussion in the old forum. No news in the meantime.
The problem is the rarity of any 9mm blanks and the total miss of
documents. I have a lot of drawings, docs, manuals and tables of produced ammo, changes ect. - not one mentioned about a 9mm blank of any construction. The only source I know is a police manual and a doc about
the drill of custom dogs. These are for police, border troops and custom
officers - NOT Wehrmacht. But the MP 40 manual shows that blank firing device. These device was made for crimped ammo - wood or paper bullets would had been filled the barrel instantly.

I think there is a very high evidence that they didnt make crimped blanks
for the wartime MP 38 and 40. Drill was simply made with dummies and then later with life ammo.


#6

I tend to agree with you on real production of blanks during the war. All of the German 9mm Blanks are very scarce, leading one to believe that they were all for very short contracts, or experimental, including the Geco crimped one, which I believe could have been made in the period of the MP 38 and MP 40 production.

Regarding previous discussion, we have a whole new bunch of Forum users since the original Forum, and many subjects have been and will be revisited, rightfully so. Firstly, it serves the new members of the Forum; second, we can never know if someone has information, but has not participated before, or if one of the older members has found new information, unless we the subject is revisited.


#7

I have a 1940 660 MP40, which has assured provenance that it came from North Africa as an Aussie official Bring-back ( 9 Battalion souvenir)
( AMN).

As a Film Gun Supplier, the “spike” BFA is a predecessor of all the SA and FA rifle BFAs of Post war design ( screw on and clip on).
It is used (Post war) with either brass crimped Blanks or with “BakelittenFabrik” patent Plastic cased Blanks. All the other “Paper Bullet or Wood Bullet” guns need a “shredder” ( reduced Bore) type- usually screw-on, BFA. ( as the Germans used extensively on their MGs)

The MP28/II has an easily removable Barrel…unscrew the Front Washer in the Barrel Jacket, which locks the barrel in to the Receiver; the breech end of the Barrel has a Large Flange, to butt up in Receiver, the front end has a smaller Flange to locate it behind the Front “Washer” , which is a thick disk with two “wrench Holes” for unscrewing. ( same design in Sterling-Patchett Guns); with the correct Pin-wrench, barrel can be changed easily by Field or Unit Armourer for training purposes.

And JM, your Translation of the German " Only for Blank Fire Barrel" is correct.

The "Spine " Gerat is missing a part, the Barrel Locking ring, which is quite large ( 16mm Thread), for the device to be held into the barrel of a normal MP38/40; The Use of the Spine into the barrel serves two purposes ( supposedly) (a) reduces the barrel Volume, thus increasing the internal barrel pressure) acts as a “Vent” control, allowing gas to pass between the spine and the rifling grooves ( spine is just smaller than “Bore” (Land) diameter, and (b) the Spines on Rifle size restrictors also have a small (1-1,5mm) Vent thru them axially.
I don’t know if the MP40 spine has a central vent.

The use of “paper/wood” 9x19 Blanks in a “spine”-fitted MP 40 would soon have clogged with debris, as would the use of a simple “Vent” type BFA as used by the Movie Industry. Thus for this type (as Pictured) the use of crimped blanks would be mandatory.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#8

John, I had forgotten about the “Blank Firing Barrel” for the MP28-II. The MP28-II was also made in 9mm Bergmann according to Nelson Vol I which clouds the issue a bit. It was also made in 7.65mmP, 7.63mmM and 45ACP. Was the blank firing barrel a Bergmann barrel with a restrictor or was it intended for the 9mmP Bergmann or perhaps for all but the 45ACP??? I can’t find any info on a blank firing adapter for the MP28 in any of my books. I suspect it was intended for at least the 9mmP guns.

I think the Geco crimped blank I pictured (#8) is the only one that may fit the MP40 of those pictured, but didn’t actually say that. The ringed Sinoxid primer was still in use in 1942 so it is possible it could be the blank for the MP40. Has anyone seen or have a box for this blank?

genkideskan, I still have your material from the original post. Blanks have been used in small lots to train both dogs and horses, but I have seen photos of German military box labels for the 1926-1927 blank so they at least were military production.

Doc, thanks for the info! There is a photo of the recerver of an code 660 MP40 dated 40 and SN 7702 indicating significant production during 1940 at Steyr (in Frank Iannamico’s The MNP40 Machinenpistole of World War II). Is your’s a higher SN?

This discussion makes me wonder what all the other German blanks from between WWI and WWII were intended for. I don’t know of any blank adapters for P08s and P38s, and if there was a special blank barrel for the MP28-II, what were the other 9mmP blanks intended for?

Cheers,

Lew


#9

Sorry for not being right on the subject but I feel here might be the place to ask this question.

The 9mm “extended blank” is a Bergmann development as far as we can say.
Before WWII Bergmann had SMGs (and MG barrels) made in Denmark (Otterup weapon factory), may be only to a small scale but it definately was the case according to Danish publications.
As we know Denmark used long after the war also such an extended blank 9mm as M73 (?) - again in 9x19 weapons with a special barrel and the cartridges are looking almost identical to the Bergmann ones.
Question:
Is there a relation between these two cartridges?


#10

Its always hard to say if one development in ammunition influences another later
development or not. However, since the case length of the Danish M73 blank is approximately 21 mm and that of the German Geco blank in question approximately 23 mm, and a strong difference in the overall cartridge length (28.01 mm for the Danish, 30.88 mm for the German), I kind of doubt that they are related. Also, the ogive of the crimp portion forming the mock bullet is quite different between the two, as are the number of lobes in the rosebud crimps of them, and also the length of the crimped portion are different.

My view is that they are both simply independent, logical answers to a potential safety problem anytime you put a restricted-bore barrel into a gun designed to fire live ammunition, if the restricted barrel will chamber the ball cartridge and properly position it for firing.

The longer length of the German Geco blank for the Bergmann gun does bring one question that I have never been able to answer, since I don’t have an MP 28 II magazine to measure, and that is, would this Geco blank with its 23 mm shoulder and 30.88 mm OAL fit into an MP 28 II magazine designed for the 9 mm Parabellum or 7.65 mm Parabellem versions of the weapon? I forget off hand if that question was ever answered on the old Form thread on this ammunition.

Can anyone answer that question going by the above-given measurement of the Geco blank?


#11

Here is the old thread - I had send a comparision pic of magazines. The MP 28 has an inside dia. of 32,5mm.

2007 - wow - time is really running :-)

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3306


#12

So, the long Geco blank with 23 mm shoulder would fit inside a standard MP 28 II magazine. Interesting. With an special barrel, this blank could have been used in guns of 9 mm Para, 9 mm Bergmann, and 7.65 mm Para caliber. Also 7.63 mm Mauser if they ever made the MP 28 II in that caliber. That would explain too why the box label for them does not show any specific caliber - it only says “Blank cartridges for the MP 28 II.”


#13

Dear Lew,
My MP40 is “9433” and still has the “unsafe” Bolt handle ( simple “c” shaped handle, rear safety hold-back notch only.) Very good condition
( Sahara sand hadn’t a chance to wear the Blue away…captured 1941.).

Got several mags with it, some marked “MP38 u 40”, some MP38 only.

regards,
DocAV


#14

Here is the mag photo - from left MP 28, STEN, MP 40, UZI

.


#15

Good photo! I can see what they have done with the Bergmann MP 28 magazine to make it the same outer dimensions despite which caliber it is used with. It has a filler “rib” down the inside back of the magazine, or at least so appears to in the photo, to make the 9 x 19 mm fit well. Probably, if made for a longer cartridge, that rib simply was not put into the magazine box.


#16

The inside back is the magazine box part - not a filler rib. Annother U shaped part is put over the mag with formed on magazine lips.

.


#17

The curved portion, which I thought was a separate filler rib is not, as you correctly point out,and I can plainly see with your very good new photos. However, that curve goes down the full length of the back of the magazine, possibly serving two functions. Firstly, it strengthens the magazine box itself from becoming bent, as corrugation always does with sheet metal. Further, it could perform the same exact function as it would were it a separate, inside rib. It shortens the usable space of the inside of the magazine. To make the magazine box suitable for longer calibers, they would only need to produce it with a flat back side.

That said, admittedly, I have never seen a box magazine for a Bergmann MP 28 in 9 x 23 mm or 7.63 x 25 mm (assuming they made any of the latter - I have seen it on a list of calibers available with this gun, but I don’t recall where, and that is no guarantee they ever produced it, of course).

Another important point - did you take the inside measurement of the magazine from the top of the curve inside the back of the magazine, or did you take the measurement from the inside of the flat portion of the back of the magazine well? That will probably tell the story as to whether or not the indented back is performing simply a strengthening function, or also acting as a “filler.”


#18

genkideskan.

[quote] The MP 28 has an inside dia. of 32,5mm.
[/quote]

Many thanks for the great photos of the magazines!!!

Going to John’s point on the internal depth of the M28 Magazine to accommodate a cartridge of a particular length. I estimated the depth of the M28 magazine by measuring the length of the 9mm round to the left of the magazine and the internal, front to rear depth of the magazine from the reinforcing groove to the internal face of the front of the magazine and took this ratio against the actual length of a German 9mm P08 cartridge (in this case hlc St+ 3 42 mE bullet which I had handy). I came up with an internal depth (front to back) of about 30.5mm which is too short to accommodate a blank with an overall length of 30.88mm. The blank barrel could have been accompanied by a magazine that was modified (perhaps by a shallower rib) that would accept a 31mm long blank.

Another conclusion is that my measurements are all screwed up!

Please confirm the measurement provided in the quote. I have provided an image of the top of your MP28 magazine with a white line showing the dimension I tried to estimate.

Cheers, and thanks for all the help.

Lew


#19

At the moment this box is on sale in Germany.


#20

Dutch - that box seems like it might be for the blue-wood-bullet Polte blank. I am going by the 1926 date. It is interesting to see that it was for the 08 Pistol specifically, according to the box label. That’s good information right there on the box. Is the box full or empty? The box itself, if for the blue-bullet blanks, is much rarer than the blanks themselves, of course, by at least a ratio of 16-1. Even I have one of the blue-bullet rounds, and I have almost nothing in the rare German blanks.

Thanks for posting that. It is a rare thing to see even a picture of one of the sixteen-round boxes that isn’t ball, proof or dummy.