Early DWM 7.65mm and 9mm Luger Bullets


There are two threads that have wandered a bit off topic and have begun to converage a bit so I am starting this thread to continue the discussion in a single place.

The first thread http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9174 has evolved into a discussion of when and why the DWM adopted the 9mm truncated bullet, and as a subset, the 7.65mm truncated bullet, as well as why Germany then went back to a RN bullet which had been DWM standard design practice before the Luger pistols.

The second thread http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9198 began with a discussion of which case 471 or 471A was first used for the Luger carbine load and when. John Moss posted a great set of carbine loads and the thread is now focusing on the bullets loaded in the 7.65mm Luger cartridges by DWM.

The following is the source data that I have. Might as well put it here for all to see. There are five basic documents. The bullet drawings from the DWM 1904 catalog and the DWM bulletand case logs copied from a master document about 1912 or 1913. I have also included the Luger bullets from the DWM 1911 catalog. There were multiple copies of these logs made (I have heard there were 6). They started as very close copies of each other but were updated independently afterwards so contain some different information so comparing them is instructive. I have copies of a case log that reportedly was sent to DJ magazine which also includes the 480 bullets, and the copies of both the full case log and bullet log that Fred Datig was given in 1956. The Datig and DWJ logs were obviously updated seperatly since the WWI time period. The images below are grouped by subject for easy comparison across the sources.

Although this is primarily a bullet discussion, the case logs show which bullet was intended for each case.

7.65mm / DWM 261 Bullets - 1904 Catalog

7.65mm / DWM 261 Bullets - Datig

7.65mm / DWM 471 cases - Datig

7.65mm / DWM 471 cases - DWJ

7.65mm & 9mm bullets-1911

9mm / DWM 278 Bullets - 1904 Catalog

9mm / DWM 278 Bullets - Datig

9mm / DWM 278 Bullets - DAJ

9mm / DWM 480 Cases - Datig

9mm / DWM 480 Cases - DAJ

I will post some of my quesitons tomorrow. It is getting late so I will leave all these here for now.

It would be a great deal of help if some German speaking member can post the translations of the various notes in the DWM logs for those of us who are language impared!





At the right is the DWM 7.65 mm Parabellum round, with Schlitze HP bullet, I spoke of on another thread. There are three other splits in the jacket identical to the one showing. I took the photo at a slanted angle to show the tip details the best I could. To the left of it is a similar 7.63 mm Mauser cartridge with Schlitze projectile. Both of these cartridges are from the same era and by DWM using the headstamp * D.M. * K. As mentioned before on the other thread, I am inclined to think the 7.65 mm Para round is a normal pistol round, despite the fact that the case looks like it was blackened at one time. It was varnished when I got it, and still is, and that may be what is giving the “dark” look to the case. I showed the 7.63 Mauser round so one would not think that use of the Schlitze bullet was an anomaly in this instance. I have seen others in both calibers, although they are fairly scarce, I believe.

Photo and collection of John Moss


Well, Lew, I am writing this one-half hour after I opened your personal message to my home to take a picture of my Schlitze bulleted 7.65 mm Para round. I since have taken it out of the cabinet, rearranged my photo setup to take the picture closer and more head-on than I usually do, took the picture, went upstairs and put it into the computer, photo-shoped it (although it needed almost nothing - just cropping) and then wrote my Pardner Joe, who sometimes is faster than a speeding bullet and sent him the picture. I see it is up already. Is that fast enough for you, mon General?

Joe is a wonder - he really earns the massive payments I send him for doing this! (don’t worry Joe - the “check’s in the mail” Just be patient). Thanks, Pard.

John Moss


When I put the first posting on this thread together, it is the first time I had compared the information this way. A number of things popped out.

  1. Clearly the 7.65mm SP bullet (261A) was a replacement for the truncated bullet (261L). I suspect the replacement occured during WWI since the changes were in both copies of the DWM log. It appears to me that the logs were kept up to date during WWI but were only updated occasionally after the war. Since the truncated bullet is still in the 1911 catalog we know the change had not been made by that date. It is also interesting that the truncated bullet was replaced by a SP bullet! More on that later. Finally, the 1934 and 1938 DWM catalogs still offered the 7.65mm Luger cartridge with 261, 261A and 261K bullets.

  2. It is interesting that the RN FMJ 261 bullet was not offered in the 1911 catalog. In fact by 1911 the only FMJ bullets offered in either 7.65mm or 9mm were truncated ogive.

  3. The 1911 catalog shows that none of the 9mm RN bullets (278C and 278G) were offered by 1911. In addition, the truncated HP bullet was still designated the 278H, not the 278K, another change that was in both the DWJ and Datig bullet logs. It is interesting that the DWJ case log shows this change but not the Datig case log for the 480C case.

  4. The case logs both show the original entry for the 480C case as intended for both the RN 278G bullet and the truncated 278F bullet, but the 278F is lined out and the 278H is written in on both case logs. This implies that the truncated bullet was only loaded in HP which would date the entries around 1916 based on what we know from actual loads. Still, truncated bullets with GM plated jackets were loaded for the Dutch in 1917 and 1918 so the meaning of these changes is a bit confusing.

  5. The Datig bullet log shows the basic 278 bullet as a RN ogive which appears to me to be more pointed than the 278G. The Datig case log shows the 480 case with only the 278G bullet. These entries may have been some sort of summary entry for the early entries in the original log since this copy was probably made a decade or more after the introduction of this cartridge.

  6. I suspect that the Datig case log was done sometime before the DWJ case log (which is dated Aug 1913 on the front) because the 480D case in the Datig log lists both the RN 278G bullet and the truncated 278F bullet, with the 278G crossed out and the 278H truncated HP added. The DWJ log shows the 278 F and 278H bullets without any corrections implying it was copied after the decision not to offer the 278G.

There is a lot of info here as you start comparing the entries. I would love to know what the note next to the 278G bullet means since it indicates something happened in Aug 1914.

Now for speculation. One of the early objections to the 9mm Luger cartridge (and the 7.65mm) in the UK and US was the lack of stopping power (ie wounding capability). Perhaps DWM deviated from previous design practice and introduced the truncated bullet ogive to increase wound effects. This may tie in with the earlier comment by Vlim.

Enough for now. I sure would like to hear thoughts from others on all this.




John, Nice load. I suspect the Schlitez bullet is one of the early loads, pre-1913 that was dropped out of the bullet log between the 261A and the 261J.




261A -298O: According to orders from DWM Berlin the bullets Nr 261A-H must no longer be made.

278E The same bullet but with sharper edges at the bottom.

278-278E: Trials DWM Berlin
278G: Being produced again, 9th of December, 1914.
278K: Invalid

Copperplated iron cartridge case 480C
Weight of the completed round with bullet 278F and G 12.3 +/- 0.15grams.
Remark from D. on the 12th of November, 1915.

299P: W.F. Mauser (Waffenfabrik Mauser) of 30th of January, 1917.
Carbine was not brought to market.


Vlim - interesting. A copper-washed steel case by DWM is known, but the headstamp is “DWM
9 mm” or similar. Randy Elzea had it. There is a 7.92 x 57 mate to it - same headstamp format. I had that one at one time. In both cases, they are late, as the letters had no serifs, according to my memory.

Now we finally know the story of the “9 mm Carbine.” Never made. A few Luger Carbines in 9mm were made. I had one in my hands one time. It was a “GL” (marked on the rear cam of the toggle assembly) and was, I believe, in a shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has been a long, long time, and I forget the shop, but a gun enthusiast doesn’t forget seeing a piece like that. I suspect that the few made probably worked at least marginally well with standard ammunition. The Luger is, of course, recoil operated and the heavier bullet of the 9mm generates more recoil than the 7.65 mm, so perhaps a special load wasn’t essential, especially in light of the miniscule amount of 9 mm carbines made.

We can all stop looking for a 9 mm Carbine load now. Wonder what my black case B DWM B 480C round (not serifs) really is???

John Moss


I have just received some interesting information from Geoff Sturgess who read this thread. He sent me the translation of the letter from Kriegsministerium dated 22 March 1916 directing that the “ogival point” bullet would be used in the future for all production. At the bottom is a forwarding minute to the Royal Bavarian Ministries Saxonian, Wurttemburg War that states that the “ogival pointed pistol bullets is being adopted because field units are partially of the opinion that the previous bullets with flattened points are considered to be Dum Dum bullets by the enemy.” Vlim was correct! That answers some of the original questions.

Further, Geoff sent me information from the German G.P.K. Pistol trials and in March 1904 there is a note “Tests are conducted to improve on the mortality, namely (1) by means of a larger calibre and (2) by means of bullets of a special material.” further “Luger has submitted an improved pistol”. This is clearly the first 9mm Pistol in the German tests and the date coincides with the shipping date of the 50 Powell Indicator 9mm pistols to the US Army for trials along with 25,000 rounds of ammo. This was undoubtedly the first lot of truncated bullet cartridges and had the DM * K * headstamp. I’m convinced that the earlier 9mm ammunition used in the US tests had RN bullets. The “special material” is either a bit of intentional or accidential misdirection and a reference to a special shape. Two months later there is a clear reference to a 9mm flat-nose bullet. This makes it pretty clear that DWM went to the conical/truncated bullet to improve wound effectiveness. They later went away from it because the troops were concerned and the ballistics of the RN bullet were just as good (which was also in the letter mentioned above).

I suspect the steel case DWM 480C was from 1917 and probably had a military headstamp. I have never seen this cartridge, but the German was testing CWS cases in mid-1917 and military headstamped loads are known from Spandau, Cassel and Geco dated in this period.

The CWS DWM round mentioned by John is headstamped DWM K without serifs and is probably later than the annotation in the case log although that is just an opinion. I thought the 7.92mm rifle rounds with this headstamp dated from the 1930s-someone, perhaps Dutch can confirm that. I would guess the 9mm round was from the same date. I don’t think that there were many updates to the case books in the 1930s.

I also suspect that the 9mm Carbine note that no guns were brought to market is why the darkened case loads are so rare. I would not be surprised if some were not produced in the 1930s and some ammunition produced to include the 480C black case loads 9mm collectors have.

Still some open questions. I wonder whether the 261A load was entered in the log after WWI. The lettering clearly is different from the hand that made the original entries.

Other thoughts/info would be appreciated




Lew - are you sure that the DWM CWS round headstamp is simply DWM K? I can almost see it from when Randy showed it to me in my room at Chicago, after he had just received it. I really thought it had the caliber on it. I agree that these rounds could be from the 1930s. They are certainly after 1927 or so. I forget the exact year they dropped the serifs at DWM, but my impression was that it was in the mid to late 1920s.

It is not inconsistant in the case of the 9 mm Luger carbines that DWM said they were not brought to market. The few that exist, or that I have read about, were all with the “GL” rear toggle, indicating I believe that they were made at the request of Georg Luger and probably gifted to important people. Basically, custom guns not sold on the market. I could be wrong of course. I do not have access to the documentation found only by visiting European archives, and don’t read enough German to be helpful if I could visit them. Thank goodness others can.

John Moss


I think we will all know a lot more when Geoff Sturgess’ book on the Luger is out. I expect some real insight into the 9mm carbine.

I’m sure about the headstamp. I photographed it at SLICS just after he got it, and recently photographed it again at the Woodin Lab. It is on my wantlist at http://gigconceptsinc.com/9mmP.html and is the second from the right on the second row. This headstamp really surprised me because of the fluted dummy (480C2 above) has the same headstamp, but with serifs. I would love to know the date of this dummy since the ogive is more blunt than the 278G ogive. Another mystery!