Should I shoot this old 9mm ammo?


#1

I was given some of the pictured ammo to try in my Luger P08.

Headstamps are “20” across from “ak” and “41” across from a solid star.

The other round has “d n f” across from “11” and “S t +” across from “44”.

Any information as to the type of bullet would be helpful, as well as the manufacturer and value.




#2

I question that the availability of current production ammunition is such that you should find the need to shoot this old ammunition. I’d be happy to trade you a like number of boxed modern rounds.


#3

I agree, the simple answer is ‘Nein’ (eh, no).

This stuff is collectible and you don’t know who stored it and where the last 60+ years or so. Why take the risk when modern 9mm ammo is available and cheaper?


#4

I have been having trouble finding ammo to cycle my Luger P08 properly. I mentioned this to the local gunstore owner who I’ve purchased 3 types of commercial ammo from, and he pulls this stuff out and says “try this.” I told him that I couldn’t possibly shoot this old ammo and that it’s probably worth some money as collectible. He said that he had “plenty more of it” and that i should go try it. He said if the “Luger doesn’t cycle with this ammo, it’s the Luger not the ammo.”

Any idea what it’s worth?

The darker bullet is strange looking. It almost looks like lead or sintered metal but strongly attracts a magnet. What is it? The case also appears to be a lacquered steel case, not brass and the primers are a whitish silver color.

Can anyone tell me anything else about the ammo? Manufacturers?


#5

The cases on that 9mm ammo are steel. That was the most common material for this cartridge case in Germany during the actual years of WWII.

The code “ak” indicates the case was made by Munitionsfabriken vormals Sellier & Bellot, with offices in Prague and the factory at Valsim, in Czechoslovakia.

The code “dnf” represents Rheinisch-Westf


#6

Thanks for the excellent information, Mr. Moss!

Here are some better pictures showing the complete labels and headstamps.











#7

I don’t feel so bad shooting this stuff now! :)

I am very new to the Luger P08 and bought a shooter, not a collectible piece. It’s a Russian Capture (I think) with mostly DWM parts. Maybe that’s why it’s picky!?

The barrel extension is a 1908 Bulgarian contract DWM piece.





#8

If those bullets look like graphite pencil lead they are homogeneous sintered iron, a material that was used in some 9m/m ammo in Germany late in the second war. The likelihood such light weight bullets (about 90 gr.) would work properly in a Luger is pretty small. JG


#9

I am not a gunsmith nor have I ever been one, but I have owned, over the years, about 30 Lugers (My first collecting field when I was young with little money was Lugers), and I have shot most of them, in both calibers and in all barrel lengths except for the Luger Carbine, which I never owned.

Lugers are a very pretty pistol and full of history, but they are not a precision weapon. I can hear the screams now!!! Precision is when you can take apart 100 pistols and reassemble them at random, and 99 to 100 of them will still work perfectly. Lugers are a fine example of good German hand-fitting, but that is not precision manufacture as should apply to a military weapon. The hodge-podge of parts in your pistol is certainly an indication that malfunction can be expected. I have seen Lugers, all matching in numbers, in poor condition that still worked fairly well, but parts Lugers seldom do unless they have been treated to some real working over by a highly skilled gunsmith who fully understands the ins and outs of that particular pistol.

I would simply do your best to enjoy shooting the gun on the range, except the malfunctions you are getting, and NEVER stake your life on this gun, or in my opinion, and other Luger pistol, even mint and matching numbers.

They are grossly inferior as a weapon to pistols like the fine Belgian Browning GP Model, or the supreme Colt Government Model, or the more modern pistols like SIG-Sauer, Glock, Smith & Wesson, and the like.

I know this isn’t a gun foreum, so forgive me, but this relates directly to this gentleman’s ammunition questions.

By the way, it appears if at least some of that ammo is repacked. The emp label does not belong with any ammo I can see the markings on in your postings.


#10

I pulled the worst looking rounds to see how they looked inside. The brass cased “ak” round had visible corrosion on the outside of the primer as well as on the inside of the case and bottom of bullet. The propellant was flake like and had a greenish gray color mixed with some rusty contamination.


The steel cased “dnf” round looked very good inside and had a yellow/orange extruded propellant. The bullet feels pretty light weight and certainly looks like a sintered iron bullet. Pretty neat. I’ve never seen sintered iron bullets before.





#11

That bullet is sintered iron. It has no core. It is a one piece bullet.


#12

Just shoot a couple and let us know how they shoot!!!
I shoot .30M1 ammo from WWII and they are doing well.

regards
gyrojet


#13

Sure, go ahead and ruin the barrel and the ammo :)
I’m afraid the comparison between a .30 M1 and a Parabellum / Luger is not the best one to make.

Apart from that, Lugers don’t like steel cased ammunition and German ammo boxes (the wooden crates) even carried warning messages about that. The sintered iron and iron core rounds are not exactly easy on the bore either.

The better approach is to try and find out why your gun doesn’t cycle properly.

The first 2 steps should be:
-Get a MecGar magazine.
-Get Sellier & Bellot 124 grain fmj or Winchester 115gr fmj (White box stuff).

This combination works on all lugers that are within specs. If this combination doesn’t work, the ammo and/or the magazine are not the problem, something else is.

If that all fails, check with a gunsmith who understands lugers (and take a look a the luger forums).


#14

The Dutch maths:

An opened 16-round WW2 box fetches about 15 Euros.
A 50-round box of S&B 124 grain costs about 12 Euros.
A 50-round box of Winchester White-box can be had for 11 Euros.

So, 50 rounds for less money that work reliably in 1913 and 1917 DWMs and a 1937 Mauser. After some spring surgery even a terribly mismatched DWM/Mauser mongrol would cycle and shoot just fine.

Sintereisen rounds are not ‘that’ common over here, though. Guess most of the stuff went to the US in the 50s and 60s :)


#15

Don’t forget that most, if not all of your WWII German ammo is corrosive primed and will require proper cleaning after firing.

My friend has a very nice Luger that his father captured in the Ardennes during the famous “Battle of the Bulge” that runs 100% on Winchester “white box” FMJ ammunition. If you can find any these days, I would try some. When my local Walmart has it in stock, it is $19.97 per 100 round “value pack”.

AKMS


#16

Vlim - why would iron core German ammunition be harder on the bore than lead core German ammunition? Both have the same GMCS (mild steel) jacket contacting the bore, and the iron core is sheathed in lead within that jacket. I think that is a myth. I understand that the SI bullets might be a little tougher on the bore.

No where near all lots of steel-cased German ammunition had the warning labels about case sticking or to shoot only in machine pistols. Plenty of it was issued with pistols.

It is true, though, the the Germans never seemed to perfect the steel case. None of it can compare with the steel-case ammunition turned out by Evansville Chrysler during WWII, most of which still shoots fine today, although corrosive so normal cleaning practices for corrosive primers need apply. By the way, shooting corrosive ammunition need not harm a gun barrel, if proper maintenance is done. I have shot thousands of rounds of corrosive ammunition without problem. It is tougher to clean, of course.

Collector value is one issue, but some of the other things about shooting ammunition like this are simply myths, in my opinion. Frankly, I wouldn’t shoot any German WWII steel-case ammunition because I am afraid of invisible-to-the-eye internal case rusting and weakening of the case because of that. However, admittedly, I have not seen hardly any of that with 9mm - perhaps due to different powders.


#17

John,

I should have said ‘steel jacketed rounds’. Steel on steel creates more wear than brass or lead on steel, so I’m not very fond of any steel jacketed ammo. The Sintereisen is particularly rough on the barrel.

The steel cased ammunition problem with the P08 (the only pistol that really had issues with is) is well documented and Mauser even suggested a fix to the German army. It was never implemented as the P08 was phased out in 1942. The stepped chamber of the P08 was the main cause and removal of the chamber step was the fix suggested by Mauser.

I have one of those 9mm crates with the warning label over here. :)


#18

Hi Vlim - yes, there was a problem for sure. My only point was that ALL 9mm steel-case ammo was not excluded from the P-08. I have, in my lifetime of collecting, seen far more of it without the labels than with it.

Everything I have read about tests with barrel erosion and steel-jacketed ammunition would indicated the the mild-steel jackets used are not significantly more harmful to the bore than the normal copper alloy or cupro-nickel jackets. It would take a lifetime of shooting by the average “Luger shooter” these days to realize the difference in bore wear.

I knew about Mauser having a solution to the problem of steel-case ammunition in the P-08, but not the specific “fix”. Thank you for that information. Frankly, if the Luger had not been such a marginal and complex design compared to the Browning systems, or the later P-38 Locking design, it never would have needed that stepped chamber. I would not be without a Luger pistol - it was the first pistol I seriously collected years ago, and it was not one week after I sold off the Luger section of my general auto pistol collection in 1972 that I swapped a couple fo the remaining pistols, that were not part of a specific group (Lugers, P-38s, Webleys, Mausers, Nambus, etc.) for the P-08 I have now. However, it was an obsolete design almost contemporary to the first production of it, and by 1911, it had been left in the dust as a combat pistol. I would not even stake my life on my own pistol, which has a fantastically good track record at the range, for a Luger, for not having any malfunctions.


#19

[quote=“Vlim”]Sure, go ahead and ruin the barrel and the ammo :)
I’m afraid the comparison between a .30 M1 and a Parabellum / Luger is not the best one to make.

Apart from that, Lugers don’t like steel cased ammunition and German ammo boxes (the wooden crates) even carried warning messages about that. The sintered iron and iron core rounds are not exactly easy on the bore either.

The better approach is to try and find out why your gun doesn’t cycle properly.

The first 2 steps should be:
-Get a MecGar magazine.
-Get Sellier & Bellot 124 grain fmj or Winchester 115gr fmj (White box stuff).

This combination works on all lugers that are within specs. If this combination doesn’t work, the ammo and/or the magazine are not the problem, something else is.

If that all fails, check with a gunsmith who understands lugers (and take a look a the luger forums).[/quote]

I have already tried two brand new MecGar magazines and the pistol is single shot with the Winchester white box. The only ammo that seems to work fairly well is Magtech 115gr. but I can’t find more of it anywhere.

I have also received a few ideas from the Luger forums worth consideration. I wish I knew a gunsmith that had some expertise with the Luger!


#20

[quote=“AKMS”]Don’t forget that most, if not all of your WWII German ammo is corrosive primed and will require proper cleaning after firing.

My friend has a very nice Luger that his father captured in the Ardennes during the famous “Battle of the Bulge” that runs 100% on Winchester “white box” FMJ ammunition. If you can find any these days, I would try some. When my local Walmart has it in stock, it is $19.97 per 100 round “value pack”.

AKMS[/quote]

Yep, not a problem. I ALWAYS clean my firearms properly after a range trip. I shoot hundreds of rounds of corrosive primed ammo on a regular basis. I’ve never had any issues with corrosion.

I’ve given up on Walmart as I am not willing to camp out at the store to buy two boxes of ammo. Apparently it sells before it hits the shelves. Oh, well.