Parabellum vs. Luger & 8g vs. 7.5g bullet


#1

Can anybody please tell the difference Parabellum & Luger ?
some companies like sellier & bellot produce two types of 9mm bullets the Parabellum & Luger, so there should be some differences .


#2

I don’t think S&B makes any distinction between “Parabellum” and “Luger”. The relevant pages in my 2012 S&B catalog are labeled on top “9X19/9mm LUGER/9mm PARA”.

Glad to see a new 9mm Para collector on the forum. Welcome! You can find some of your answers at my website at gigconcepts.com (link below) including a downloadable list of many of the headstamps known on 9mmP. There is also an article on collecting 9mmP that can be accessed through the IAA website (link to IAA home page at top right of this page).

Also feel free to ask ANY questions on cartridge collection or identification on the forum.

Looking forward to your posts.

Cheers,
Lew


#3

The cartridge was created in 1902 for the Parabellum pistol, which was designed by Georg Luger.

Parabellum was a brand name used by DWM (there was also a Parabellum machine gun, for example). So the “9 mm cartridge for the Parabellum pistol” became known as 9 mm Parabellum or 9 mm Para.
In the English speaking world, the pistol was called Luger pistol and the cartridge 9 mm Luger. Its simply a different name for the same pistol and cartridge.

Around 1970 CIP decided to change its name for the cartridge from Parabellum to Luger. The NATO STANAG still calls it 9 mm Parabellum.

Apart from this you will find basically two standard FMJ variations in military service: the “German” 8 g bullet (flat lead core at the base), and, probably originating in the U.S., the 7.5 g bullet used by many other nations (Sweden, for example) with a more or less hollow shape of the base. The typical German shape also has a smaller tip diameter. Most manufacturers today offer both.


#4

Actually, the 7.5g bullet appears to have originated in Finland for use in the Soumi M31 MP. The earliest documented use in Finland seems to be about 1935 (I have a Finnish drawing dated Dec 1935), but it could be earlier. That is also around the time that the M31 went into large scale production for the Finnish forces. I suspect the Finns adopted the lighter 7.5g bullet of the 9mm Steyr to give a higher velocity and flatter trajectory for the longer ranges of their MP.

First US production was also in 1935 with a very rare headstamp “WESTERN 9M-M” which was a contract for South America. It was likely intended for use in the Soumi, probably by one of the participants in the Chaco War. Winchester-Western records indicate production for Mexico in 1939, but the cartridges from this contract have not been identified.

Italy also adopted the 7.5g bullet for their 9mmM38 round for the Beretta MP, but I have not been able to find any history of the origin of this cartridge that addresses the selection of the 7.5g bullet. I suspect the Italians tested the Soumi with Finnish ammo and that was the origin of their 9mmM38 bullet but that is only speculation.

Sometime after the Finnish Winter War began, the Finns contracted with Winchester for 9mm ammunition with a 7.5g bullet. They sent two M31 Soumi MPs and a quantity of ammunition and Winchester apparently used that as their standard. I have a Winchester drawing of the 7.5g load dated 23 Feb 1940. None of this ammunition was delivered to Finland. Rather, the initial batch was bought by Sweden but it appears to have been stored in New York and eventually sold to the British. I have not seen a box for this “Finnish” production.

The British were is desperate need of 9mm Para ammunition and bought up quantities of ammo produced for the Chaco War. They also took over the Winchester “Finnish” production and these are the well documented white boxes with black letters and “50” in the top right and left corner and identified as “FULL PATCH CARTRIDGES” on the label. Interestingly these boxes with an over-label of Proof or Dummy are not rare in the US, but I have never found a box of the ball ammunition. The only examples I know are in British collections.

The first British mention of their own design of a 9mm Para cartridge that I have found is an Ordnance Board memo dated 23 June 1941 for the design specification for the 9MM MK1Z cartridge. If someone knows of an earlier mention, please let me know. The first design drawing of the cartridge was submitted to the Design department in June 1941 and limited production of the round began at the Royal Laboratory in Woolwich around September 1941. Both Tony Edwards and I were convinced that this design was based on the Winchester design produced for Finland which was widely available in the UK before this date. The British were probably also influenced to adopt the 7.5g bullet by their experience with the Italian 9mmM38 ammunition encountered in North Africa which impressed the British military and shows up often in the Ordnance Board memos of this period.

It appears that the British stopped procuring Winchester 9mm Para in late 1942 or early 1943 as their own factories came up to full production. About the same time US military requirement for 9mm Para began to grow and the US took over the British contract with production in the well known white box with black letters marked “50 CARTRIDGES”, “FOR USE IN”, “SUB-MACHINE GUNS”.

During WWII, the 7.5g bullet was widely used by essentially all the Allied forces who used this caliber. By the end of the war, Winchester had a huge stock of 7.5g bullet and they appear to have used this bullet exclusively for their post-war production through the 1950s.

This is the short version with a lot of the details left out. I will eventually do a more complete history with illustrations for the IAA Journal.

Comments, corrections and additions welcome!

Cheers,
Lew


#5

To my opinion the name Para comes from “Si vis pacem para bellum”.
This was the telegraph address and a brand name from DWM these day’s

In the beginning the cartridge for this pistol was not the 9mm but the 7,65x21 mm Luger.

Rgds


#6

A small and obvious point, but no-one has mentioned it yet: another designation for this round is 9 x 19, the second number being the case length in millimetres in the usual metric designation fashion.

There was one other 9 x 19, but the Glisenti pistol hasn’t been used in a while…


#7

Tony, You make a good point. Thanks!

Actually there are at least two other 9x19mm cartridges.

One is the 355 Super made by Atlanta Arms and Ammo. This is a standard 9mm Luger case but with an extremely hot load for IPSA Unlimited pistols. The case is headstamped “.355 * SUPER *” and the box is specifically labelled to warn that it is not to be used in 9mm pistols. They are selective in selling this round and it took some convincing to get them to sell me a box. As the 9mm Glisenti is a different cartridge by being a significantly weaker load, the 355 Super differs by being a much more powerful load.

There is also a 9x19mm Czech experimental for the experimental ZB47 machine pistol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZB-47 and http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8282). This round has a cylindrical case with rim diameter, case diameter just ahead of the groove and diameter at the case mouth all about 0.78-9.80mm on specimens in my collection. the 9mm Luger case has a slightly larger rim and case at the head (~9.87-9.90mm) and the case diameter at the case mouth about 9.58-9.60mm.

There are probably others 9x19mm that are not really 9mm Luger but they don’t pop to mind just now, and are likely more obscure than the two above.

Cheers,
Lew


#8

Thanks Lew, I might have known that you’d come up with some more!

I suppose it could be argued that some of the specialised Russian military loadings of the 9x19 generate too much pressure to be safely used in many pistols, too.

An interesting subject for debate: at what point does a hotter loading for a case constitute a new cartridge?


#9

[quote=“TonyWilliams”]Thanks Lew, I might have known that you’d come up with some more!

I suppose it could be argued that some of the specialised Russian military loadings of the 9x19 generate too much pressure to be safely used in many pistols, too.

An interesting subject for debate: at what point does a hotter loading for a case constitute a new cartridge?[/quote]

Just like the 45 ACP and the 45 Super.


#10

Tony,
Again, I agree. The +P+ ammo likely would damage some older weapons, particularly if used in quantity, yet it is labeled as “9mm Luger” or “9x19mm”

There is a lot of subjective judgement in deciding what is actually 9mm Luger or 9x19mm. Since this is what I collect, I take a very broad view. If it has a 19mm case, I collect it. I also collect 9mm case blanks (typically 9x21 or 9x23) which are intended specifically for a 9x19mm weapon with a blank adaptor barrel chambered such that it will not fire a 9x19mm ball round.

I wander further afield that this, and include the USAF experimental shot survival load with a shoulder at about 20mm and an overall length of about 35mm because the weapon was reportedly referred to as a 9mm Luger weapon.

Many of the subcaliber training systems for 9x19mm weapons use rounds that are not 19mm cases but rather adapted for the particular subcaliber barrel or insert used. And I collect these also. Toy gun cartridges for a 9x19mm type weapon wind up in the collection even if they are not actually 9x19mm.

The British used a shortened 9mm Luger case (about 0.3" long) as a Flare Initiator for the Shaubly Flares and I include these in the collection, for no logical reason except they usually have a 9x19mm headstamp.

I even have the projectiles for a weapon developed for British Frogmen during WWII. These “guns” fired a steel dart, one for wooden hull ships and one for steel hull ships, used to attach an explosive charge to the hull. The darts diameter is larger than 9mm, but each has a chamber in the back of the dart sealed by a copper cap, which is made for a 9x19mm case shortened about 4mm. Only three are known to me, and one had a shortened 9x19mm case in the chamber headstamped (WRA 9M-M) and these came directly from a museum.

In my opinion, the bottom line is that if you really like it, and you can rationalize that it has some connection with your field of collecting, it is a valid specimen to collect. The world would be a lot less interesting if we all had to follow the same rules.

Talrusan, have fun with your collecting!

Cheers,
Lew


#11

[quote=“Lew”]Actually, the 7.5g bullet appears to have originated in Finland for use in the Soumi M31 MP. The earliest documented use in Finland seems to be about 1935 (I have a Finnish drawing dated Dec 1935), but it could be earlier. That is also around the time that the M31 went into large scale production for the Finnish forces. I suspect the Finns adopted the lighter 7.5g bullet of the 9mm Steyr to give a higher velocity and flatter trajectory for the longer ranges of their MP.

Sometime after the Finnish Winter War began, the Finns contracted with Winchester for 9mm ammunition with a 7.5g bullet. They sent two M31 Soumi MPs and a quantity of ammunition and Winchester apparently used that as their standard. I have a Winchester drawing of the 7.5g load dated 23 Feb 1940. None of this ammunition was delivered to Finland. Rather, the initial batch was bought by Sweden but it appears to have been stored in New York and eventually sold to the British. I have not seen a box for this “Finnish” production.

Comments, corrections and additions welcome!

Cheers,
Lew[/quote]
Hi
I do not know if the Finns also ordered 9mm from Winchester, Sweden and Finland did cooperate quite closely at that time.
The Swedish Purchasing commission arrived in NY early February, and a Contract for .45 with Remington where signed on the 15:th of February, but that order where off the shelf.

Then Sweden placed an order at Winchester for 9x19 before March 3 1940.
In addition to the two Suomi’s Winchester should have one or two Bergmann MP 28 too, delivered from Sweden.

Regardin the 9mm:
First Delivery to Sweden 250 000 rounds, left New York for Petsamo on May 15 1940 with the Finnish freighter Marisa Thordén.
Last Delivery to Sweden 1 125 000 rounds, left New York on November 1 1940 with Karin Thordén.
Total qty 9mm that arrived in Sweden where 8,625" the rest did not get export license and where sold back to US.
(For administrative reasons, as it was no problem for a Neutral state to sell arms to another Neutral state)
That the delivery where intended for UK was clear.

Kind Regards
John T.
Stockholm Sweden


#12

[quote=“TonyWilliams”]
I suppose it could be argued that some of the specialised Russian military loadings of the 9x19 generate too much pressure to be safely used in many pistols, too. [/quote]
Yes, they generate about 2,800 kg/cm2 of average max pressure.
there’s additional danger associated with these AP rounds, especially 7N21 and 7N30. Their protruding core tips are made from hardened steel, and tend to wear off feeding ramps of some pistols after some use. Pistol has to be specifically designed for these rounds.


#13

Finland did order and take DELIVERY OF Winchester 7,62X54r ammunition in M91 Rifle chargers, but I don’t know if that particular Commission included 9mm Para cartridges as well. H/S of rifle cartridges W 40 . I don’t know if this ammunition was assembled by the New Haven Plant of WRA, or the East Alton Plant of WCC ( which had made millions of rounds of 7,62x54R during 1915-1917.)

Doc AV


#14

John T, Many thanks for the great information. I have the original of a very extensive file on the Finnish and British orders and related activities that I understand was put together near the end of WWII as a result of litigation with the British over the order. It is clear that the Finnish placed the order for the 9mm 115gr bullet, but that Winchester had produced this load as early as 1935 for a customer in South America. It is also clear that the Finnish order was not delivered, in fact none of the Finnish order was delivered under the contract. Instead the ammunition was sold to Sweden. The ammo was delivered to Sweden in New York. Later there is a comment that this ammunition was bought by the British, but no details.

Your information is GREAT! It shows that some of this ammunition was actually exported by Sweden in the two shipments mentioned. The remaining ammunition was likely that which was sold to the British. If Swedish documents indicate this ammunition was sold back to the US (that could mean either the US Government or to Winchester) then the British bought it from one of those two.

The use of a Finnish freighter for at least the first shipment makes me wonder if it was actually delivered to Finland! Do you know the nationality of the second freighter, the Karin Thordén???

There is no record in these documents that Winchester ever received the two Bergman MP 28s you mention. I suspect they didn’t because their is correspondence indicating they searched for weapons to supplement the Suomi M13s. In fact, they contacted the president of a company in Pennsylvania because he had a MP hanging on the wall of his office (I forget the type) to borrow the gun for testing ammunition. He loaned them the gun. I think if the two Bergman MP 28s had arrived at the factory, there would have been mention.

There is no indication in these records that Winchester actually manufactured 9mm ammunition actually intended for Sweden, but only that they sold the ammunition already manufactured for Finland.

Since these are not the total manufacturing files, but only those put together for the legal issue, they are not complete. During this same time there was a contract with the Dutch for 9mm ammunition for their forces in the East Indies. These boxes exist, but they used 125gr truncated bullets so were not relevant to these files, though they had the same “W.R.A. 9M-M” headstamped cases.

Cheers,
Lew


#15

Doc AV, If someone had one of the boxes for the “W 40” headstamped 7.62x54R ammunition, and if it has a box load date stamped, typically inside the box flap, then we can tell who manufactured it. A Winchester labelled box, with an “A” prefix on the load date code means it was made by Western.

Cheers,
Lew


#16

FWIW- “Finish-contract 7.62 mm cartridges loaded by Winchester in early 1940…Cartridges made by East Alton and New Haven factories.”

Legacy of the Three Line Cartridge 7.62 x 54R Cartridge in Finland 1918 to 1945, Pitkanen & Simpanen, 2014; page 75.

Brian


#17

Lew,

Winchester-made 9 mm cartridges were never delivered to the Finnish government. However, the first shipment to Sweden went through Finnish territory as harbor town of Petsamo belonged to Finland those days. BTW: The Swedes bought 9 mm ammunition first from Germany (at least D.W.M. 1939), then from the USA (Winchester, 1940) and finally from Finland (Sako, 1942) before they got their own production running in 1941-42.


#18

Might well be so, I went through those files at the Swedish archive before i got a digital camera so I only copied the most important pages, but as I remembered at least one Bergman disappeared between Sweden and US. I though they given it another try but my memory might failed. (I anyhow need to go back to those documents some day)

This make much sense for a number of reasons.

  • Pre war Finnish expectations of ammo expenditure of small arms ammo where higher than actual during Winter war.

  • Finland started the Winter war with 22" 9mm rounds and ended it with 21" so Finnish production almost kept up with the 12" consumption.

  • Thus the Finns might very well thought they needed ammo initially but found out it wasn’t really that important.

  • No need to waste precious Dollars on something you produced yourself.

  • Sweden had bought 1800 Bergmanns but as they where not delivered to Finland (as Göring intended) only 500 000 rounds where delivered of a promised 4"

  • And as Tikkakoski could not promise further deliveries of Suomi SMG’s for Sweden, it was agreed that Huskvarna should produce Suomi SMG under license, in 9mmP

  • So the demand in Sweden where rising, and as Mika said, there where no Swedish production.

  • Sweden had a much better Trade balance than Finland and Swedish crowns where a Free currency, thus directly trade-able for USD.

I was a bit surprised by the quantity ordered, 22"

[quote=“MikaPitkanen”]Lew,

Winchester-made 9 mm cartridges were never delivered to the Finnish government. However, the first shipment to Sweden went through Finnish territory as harbor town of Petsamo belonged to Finland those days [/quote]

As Finland was neutral during the period April 1940 - June 1941, Petsamo where the only Atlantic harbour not controlled by Germany.
Almost all shipments where carried on Finnish ships, a handfull Swedish ships where allowed in and one US the "American Legion"
https://books.google.se/books?id=H0oEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=American+legion+petsamo&source=bl&ots=aiFxcL4FE8&sig=PepK-u-eV-CsOb75wLvC9iViN5A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAWoVChMIguvJo9zvxwIVIuFyCh2gFQ3u#v=onepage&q=American%20legion%20petsamo&f=false

Sweden helped with motor transport on the dirt road between Petsamo and Rovaniemi and where allowed roughly 1/4 of the imports and IIRC slightly less of the export. (My oldest Uncle drove a truck there for a while)
Thordén Line where a Finnish company, but Mr Thordén himself where born Swede.

[quote=“MikaPitkanen”]
The Swedes bought 9 mm ammunition first from Germany (at least D.W.M. 1939), then from the USA (Winchester, 1940) and finally from Finland (Sako, 1942) before they got their own production running in 1941-42.[/quote]

The First order from Sako where during Spring 1940, and as far as I know, the last big deliveries where in August 1941,
“for apparent reasons” as some Swedish official noted
But that might have changed.

And If I got it right, the machinery for 9x19 production where bought from Finland.
(might find out tomorrow)

Kind Regards
/John


#19

John

[quote]The First order from Sako where during Spring 1940, and as far as I know, the last big deliveries where in August 1941,
“for apparent reasons” as some Swedish official noted
But that might have changed.[/quote]

I’ve not found information about 9 mm deliveries from Sako to Sweden in 1940-41 but in March 1942 3.0 million, in July 1942 8.7 million and in August 2.8 million were delivered to Sweden for sure. This information is solid because it’s from Finnish MoD Ammunition Office’s ammunition ledger which I have in my collection (as a xerox copy). This is backed up by information about two 9 mm orders from Sweden made in 1942, 10 million cartridges each! This information is from Sako’s unpublished history from 1963.

However, I have suspected that there must have been some smaller lots of Sako 9 mm rounds delivered to Sweden in 1940-41 as those are mentioned in contemporary Swedish ammunition catalogues. If you have some details about these deliveries it would be much appreciated…


#20

[quote=“MikaPitkanen”]

[quote]The First order from Sako where during Spring 1940, and as far as I know, the last big deliveries where in August 1941,
“for apparent reasons” as some Swedish official noted
But that might have changed.[/quote]

I’ve not found information about 9 mm deliveries from Sako to Sweden in 1940-41 but in March 1942 3.0 million, in July 1942 8.7 million and in August 2.8 million were delivered to Sweden for sure. This information is solid because it’s from Finnish MoD Ammunition Office’s ammunition ledger which I have in my collection (as a xerox copy). This is backed up by information about two 9 mm orders from Sweden made in 1942, 10 million cartridges each! This information is from Sako’s unpublished history from 1963.

However, I have suspected that there must have been some smaller lots of Sako 9 mm rounds delivered to Sweden in 1940-41 as those are mentioned in contemporary Swedish ammunition catalogues. If you have some details about these deliveries it would be much appreciated…[/quote]

Hi Mika
I learn from each post at this board!

When looking for your orders, I found that Sweden allowed exit of 5 000 000 rounds TO Finland on 1 August 1941
and a second batch of same quantity on the 22 August 1941.
(From “Beredskapsverket” volume 38)

Regarding 1940 I got this extract from a Report from “the Ammunition purchase commite” 3 July 1940:

From my notes I got some further details,
25 May 1940, Ordered 3,5" 9mm am from Sako (Finland) to be delivered before 20 Aug 1940 price 266 000 SEK.
This batch where delivered on the 15 Sept 1940. (Ktk utestående lev)

And from a monthly status report compiled the 15:th each month. “outstanding foreign orders"
Added another order of 1,5” for “later” delivery from Tikkakoski (?)
15 July 1940, adds 1,0" delivery in Aug-Sept from Tikkakoski for 100 000 SEK.
15 November 1940 250 000 delivered from the last order.

And another source, a compilation of of Foreign purchases up to end of 1940, say’s 8" out of 9,5 delivered from Finland.

The Big order I refered to in my first post where for monthly deliveries of small arms ammo late 1940 up to August 1941,
but I haven’ found the specifics this weekend.

Cheers
/John T.