Norma 9mm 104 grain "Armour piercing" - sectioned

I got a hold of a box of cartridges of the Norma 9mm “Armour piercing bullet” with 104 grain bullet, and decided to section one. I did a rather rough job of sectioning it, and I am really glad that I did cut it open. John Moss had told me previously in a post about “9x19 finds from SLICS” where I had originally posted the question with an image of the box, that this stuff was GMCS (which it is), but that the specific bullet construction was not entirely known. Well as the image shows it is a copper-clad jacket with a very thick steel under-jacket, which I have to say is the thickest GMCS type bullet I have ever seen on a 9mm aside from the M39B which I thought this might be vaguely similar to. I’ve seen many of the bullets from GMCS 9mm’s from the 40’s & 50’s cut open, but they were all pretty thin, and penetration did not seem to be a major emphasis with those. This bullet however seems to be tailored more to this end, and closer in resemblance to the M39B type bullet. It’s harder to see in the photo, but in person you can see there is actually a thin layer of copper coating the entire inside and outside of the steel outer jacket, and that the lead core does not actually contact the steel portion directly at all. The bullet weighed in at 104.2 on my scale before I cut it open (much tougher to cut than typical bullet), and the tip of the bullet should actually be a tiny bit more pointed, except for that I compressed it a tiny bit in the vice. I had questioned earlier that Norma would label a seemingly standard GMCS type bullet as “Armour piercing” but now I see that they do mean business with this one. My digital calipers are in storage, but I will try to get a measuring of the steel jacket soon. Next stop is the range where I will do some penetration tests with 10 rounds or so.

DK - thanks for posting a picture of a sectioned Norma 9mm AP bullet. However, you do not quote me correctly. Rather than saying that the bullet constuction was not entirely known, I actually described the bullet to you:

“Aside from their lighter weight, which is a result of a smaller lead core due to the bullet jacket being much thicker at the nose…”

I was totally aware of the construction of this bullet when I described it to you.

It is nice to see a cut away of it though, on the Forum, for those that have not seen one before. I cut one apart years ago, but didn’t bother to save it.

Sorry John, I was just referring back to where you said: “As to the design of the bullet, I can’t say”. but yes you are correct about the thicker nose, and GMCS, I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be one of those “metal piercing” type jackets like from Winchester, Remington, or Geco, or whether it was more M39B like. Now we know.

DK - that was in a later comment when we started comparing the Norma commercial AP to the M/39B military load. I was referring, in the statement you just quoted, to the M/39B load, which I have never sectioned nor have I seen a picture of it. From the tiny difference in weight, as I mentioned, I feel they are probably close in design, but not having seen on, I didn’t want to say.

No sweat anyway, buddy. Just wanted to set the record straight. No hurt feelings or anger here!!! I mean’t what I said - I appreciate you posting the picture of the sectioned bullet. It is a boon for everyone interested in this caliber to get to see what I could only describe. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

With all your good contributions to the Forum, I don’t see how you can keep it all straight! I get confused all the time from posting to posting on the same threads!

Keep up the good work. I’ll definitely print this one out for my files, and your good picture of the bullet.

Let’s put it this way; I work in the RV industry, and things have been sort of slow lately, so at work I have allot of free time in front of the computer. You are right about the description now that I read it closer. Here is a very clean cross-section of an M39B:

It seems to more or less match the cross section of the Norma bullet, after you account for my messy sectioning, and the fact that I didn’t go all the way down. Maybe the M39B is a military version of this, just having the red primer seal, and maybe the inner steel jacket shape is just a little more pointed?

Thanks again John!

DK - good picture of the M/39B! Really a complex shape to the core or the internal part of the jacket, however one looks at it. I didn’t expect that. I wish I had one of the AP Commercials to have a friend of mine section, but we both live in California! It would be interesting to see its shape with a good, clean bisection. Your job was fine to show the thickness of the jacket, but like any I would do myself, is too coarse to show the fine points of the internal shape (also not going down thru the base of the bullet).

Thanks for posting the M/39B bullet section. I would call it unusual. Nothing like I have seen before.

When I get back into my half-renovated home I will find the dremel tool, and try a more accurate section. I’m now interested if it is shaped just like the M/39B or not. Maybe they are the same?

Arghhhhh…Not the Dremel
Try a medium cut file first, followed by a fine file.
Take 2 pieces of wood, place them face to face, and drill a 3/8 hole on the joint line. Now you have 2 “sample mounting blocks” to hot glue a bullet into for filing (the wood gives you something to mount in the vise).

Thanks tailgunner, will give that a try!

Thanks for posting the sectioned bullet. It surely looks like a 39/B. What is the headstamp on the case, and does it have the normal red primer- and case mouth seals?

There is no red sealer on the primer or bullet, and the headstamp reads: “norma 9mm luger”. The primer is the nickel colored type.

DK - I think Morten was referring to the M/39B load, not the Norma commercial one. It should have had a red primer seal, a major ID for that load in Sweden.

The absence of the red laquer and the “norma 9mm Luger” headstamp is interesting, as it indicates that this is a commercial loading. When the image of the Index 211 box was posted for the first time, I sent it to my Norma contact and asked about it. He told me the ctg was an AP produced according to a drawing dated August 15th, 1975. But he also told me it was produced for the Swedish military and never sold commercially, which is obviously not true [hope you don’t read this, Kenneth ;-)] But the dating of the drawing still indicates some sort of special production, as I have several “ordinary” m/39B from Norma (headstamped 027 and date) from the early 60’s in my collection. i.e. much earlier than the drawing in question.

Morten, as far as I know, boxed as we have seen it here (I have the same basic box, now empty, but of a different printing) it was completely commercial, if not for gun shop sales alone, then for sale to police agencies.
Until California passed a law against pistol AP ammo, we sold it it in our store right off the shelf, obtained from the normal Norma jobber at the time. We had it for a long time. Actually, sales of it were poor, as there really isn’t much use for such a load. It was expensive, and not popular with our customers. None of the police agencies I was familiar with had any interest in it what-so-ever. I can’t speak for nation-wide, of course, only for our area. When it came out, I passed the word to police friends thinking it might generate some sales for us, but there was no interest at all.

Of course, the problem for that kind of ammo for police is that it is a relatively poor self-defense load, and in the moments they might need it against a vest or a vehicle, there is no time to change the ammo in your gun, loaded for the situations you will encounter 99% of the time.

Edited for typos only

Morten - Just to be clear, I was referring to the headstamp on my Norma 9mm cartridge (“Norma 9mm Luger”) which came from the box pictured above. I don’t have the headstamp for a M/39B such as the sectioned one above, but I assume it would be like most other M/39B’s. That section photo for the M/39B (lower photo) was just a picture I found on the web somewhere to compare to the “commercial” load from Norma in the box that I have. Thanks for checking with your Norma contact, this is all very interesting stuff. I assumed that the box I had was from late 1960’s to early 1970’s?

This is a good thread.
In my usual way I want to add a couple of totally obscure points that may or may not be of interest based more on my experience as a user and tester of ammunition rather than a collector.

(1) The fact that the steel jacket has copper on the inside as well as the outside indicates to me that it has been electroplated with the copper rather than having a second skin. Electroplating is common practice but it only places a thin layer of copper on the jacket.

(2) This is significant because the copper doesn’t appear thick enough to cover the rifling. With a normal steel jacket/lead core the steel is thin and deforms on firing to mould itself around the rifling. Thats how you get away with using steel jackets. Steel cored bullets need a second skin of some material soft enough to engage the rifling.
Also no allowance can be made for tight bores. Given that there are so many 9mm pistols some of them will have tighter bores than others.

(3)With this jacket there will be no give in the steel jacket what so ever.So what happens to the rifling? Odd unless the bullet is undersized. Can you measure it?

Hammer - Thanks for the photos! Is the lower picture of the original Swedish version of the Norma “index 211” 9mm Armour piercing cartridges? I figured they were, but the box that I have has silver-colored primers, and not gold-colored like that picture.

Norma box is m/39 load. (9mmParab. f

Hmmm, interesting, now what we need is a side-by side sectioned comparison of an M/39B, an M/39 and a commercial “index 211” AP bullet to put the icing on this cake.