Knurled cannelure on german 9 mm Parabellum

I believe you could be in a position to tell us the approximate share of lead core bulets (versus 08mE) and brass primers 08 (versus tinned 08/40) in 1943 production of German 9 mm by looking at your collection. Ignoring the knurl, is this configuration typical for the period or were 08mE with 08/40 primers already dominant?
Like Alex and John I think a factory internal test is quite plausible. But lets face it, I would not rule out some enterprising guy simply applying a knurl to a few cartridges long after the fact; in other words a dingbat.

The illustration is not from Hatcher’s Notebook, but apparently from his earlier Textbook of pistols and revolvers (1935). This plate would have been worth including in his postwar Notebook. Jack

Jochem, looking at the knurl it appears that knurling was done before the case received it’s laquer coat. And from plenty of reports we know how difficult it was to develop a case laquer which was fluous and had a sufficiently low density, viscosity etc. Means faking the laquer might be near to impossible. Might the knurling still be original?

Did anybody compare weights of this one to similar other German loads of the time?

Jochem, The knurl is clearly under the lacquer coating. This is the major features that made me consider this a legit round from the beginning.

John & Jochem, It is almost certainly an experimental of some kind. German WWII experimental rounds almost never have external markings like those in other countries. The one thing that these rounds frequently have in common is the lack of a primer seal, or a black/brown primer seal.

The weight of this cartridge is essentially identical to other dnh/Geco lead core rounds from 1943. The primer type is an interesting question, but dnh appears to have introduced the tinned 08/40 primers about with case lot 2 of 1943 but continued the 08 (brass) primers until at least case lot 9 of 1944. This doesn’t mean much. From about 1943 the German logistics system appears to have been under some pressure and in considerable turmoil. A dnh box from this period recently sold on Gun Broker, but the cases were faa (DWM-K). Polte brass cases from 1937 (if my memory is correct) were loaded by emp in 1943! Without the box it is difficult to tell how the components relate.

Below are some other German experimentals or maybe experimentals as examples.

From Left to Right:
#1—This is the well documented VDM sintered core bullet, the precursor of the SE bullet by VDM. They had orders to make a million rounds but couldn’t get the materials for the plant and in the mean time converted to thae all splintered bullet. The factory eej did some of the testing for VDM and apparently used one of cases from a lacqure trial for the case. Note no primer color.
#2—This is an unknown load from the same time frame as the knurl case round above. note the bullet has a dark magenta color which looks brown in the image. The overall cartridge weight is 70gr so it is ~110 gr lighter than the lead core knurl round at the beginning of this topic. The case is two lots later than the knurled round.
#3—A DWM (faa) case with a black finish. The headstamp is faa St+ 8 44, and again, no evidence of a primer seal. Overall weight is 160gr Which is a few grains heavy but in range of an mE bullet. This could also have been a lacquer test.
#4—Another magenta bullet but this one weighs 185gr, about right for a 125gr bullet. This case has a black pa seal.
#5—Another Geco (dnh) load with a black primer and seal and a red casemouth seal. At 182gr is is also likely a 125gr lead core bullet. likely a special load for a particular customer, but with a case lot only one removed from the knurled case round.

One thought has occurred to me on the knurled case round. Could it be a test for case separation? The knurl would weaken the case and is located about where the case would begin to thicken. Mid-1943 seems like a strange time to test the thin steel (St+) case bur perhaps field failures or something could have prompted a test. It could even just to answer a “what if” question from someone up in the command structure. Wood bullet blanks would have no problem with case knurls but a full pressure load is another case entirely. It could even be a test of a new type of powder. This was about the time they were introducing the smaller grain 0,7 - 0,7 powder used in SE loads and testing it in a weakened case with a full weight bullet could have been to ensure that there was a significant safety margin with the SE bullets. There are probably 50 other logical explanations but I don’t know what they are, and I’m not disassembling my round to check the powder.

Other ideas welcome, on this or any of the other rounds above.


I’m wondering if it would aid extraction in tight chambers. We know the steel case 9mm boxes carried a warning label for use in the P08 pistol. So they may have tested some possible remedies?

Ultimately, removal of the step in the P08 chamber cured the extraction problem, but it was not carried out often, even though a special reamer was designed for it.

From reloaded 9mm ball round are only, as far I know a few examples from the pre 1918 aria known.
As far I am informed only Bavarian plants reloaded 9mm for practice purposes.
Just like the M71, M71/84 and Reichsrevolver cartridges, there was a “ring” stamped in the head stamp.


The first factory made M88 blanks had a red annulus and a ring half an inch from the base.
I call it a ring not a knurled because this was a sign of a new made blank and not a reloaded case made from a fired ball.


The Germans found out in an early stage that the bullets came from the case after they were on stock a couple of years.
All cartridges the Germans had on stock were reworked and the bullet was pinned to the case.
You see that the blank88 on the right has the sign of a reworked ball and was knurled as sign of a reloaded case as blank.
I hope you all see the difference between a ring and knurled.

To provide the sticking from fired CWS cases in the chamber there were some experiments done with the 7,9 Mauser cases. It looks different than the 9mm case.
One of them looks like this.

Picture courtesy, Woodin Lab.

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Thanks Dutch! The only other knurl I remember on a German military 9mm P08 cartridge is a WWI round in the Woodin Laboratory that ahs a knurl in the extractor groove. Bill had no idea of the significance.


Thanks Dutch