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Ammunition

Mauser 7.92x57 ammunition
Infanteriepatrone 7,9mm

This cartridge was used by the german Mauser Karabiner 98K, Gewehr 41, 43 and numerous other rifles as well as in aircraft, vehicle and infantry machine guns. As the german standard rifle cartridge it was called Infanteriepatrone 7,9mm ("infantry cartridge"), also known as the 7,9mm - Militärpatrone ("military cartridge") or as Mauser - Standardmunition 7,92x 57 (Mauser as the weapon company that introduced the ammo for its famous 98K rifle; 7.92mm is the calibre and 57mm the length of the casing (not the chamber as in the US); also, in germany a bore's caliber is measured from land to land). The total production of this cartridge during WW II was 10,475 million (that is over ten billion). Sometimes, esp. among angloamericans, it is also referred to as 8 mm Mauser. The fired projectile of the Infanteriepatrone had a typical initial energy E0 of 3,700 Joule (sS - projectile of 12.8g at a V0 of 760m/s) but could reach initial energies of over 4,500 Joule (some V-Patronen) depending on the concrete ammunition type and firing weapon. Between 80 and 90 % of all 7,9mm ammunition produced was of the 7,9 sS (sS for schweres Spitzgeschoss = "heavy pointed bullet") type; the complete cartridge weighed 27g, it was 80.6 mm long and contained 2.7g of gunpowder; the projectile weighed 12.8 g and was 35mm long. When fired from a MG34 or MG42 (as well as from the other rifles using the cartridge) it had a typical V0 of 755 m/s.

 

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The regular sS projectile had the following penetration performance: 85cm of dry pine wood at 100m, 65cm at 400m, 45cm at 800m and 10cm at 1,800m; 10mm of iron at 300m, 7mm at 550m; 5mm of steel at 100m; 3mm at 600m. The second most used type was the SmK (Spitzgeschoss mit Kern = "pointed bullet with core") bullet that measured 37.2mm, weighed 11.5 g and contained a hardened steel core (about 8% of all produced 7.9mm rounds).

Another type was the SmK L'spur (L'spur = Leuchtspur = "bright trace" = "tracer") bullet that was the previous type combined with a tracer that burned for 800 to 900 m (a little less numerous than the SmK).Tracers were placed at every seventh round. The lS (leichtes Spitzgeschoss = "light pointed bullet") which had an aluminum core and therefore weighed only 5.5g which resulted in a higher speed of V0 = 925 m/s but of course also in a shortened total range (the bullet was used mainly in the air defense role; about 4-7% of the total production), the lS-L'Spur which with a length of 37.2mm and a weight of 6.1g was again the tracer version of the lS (less than 1% of total production). A version produced mainly for use with the MG 17 as aircraft armament was the so-called V-Patrone which had an increased powder charge that increased the V0 by 15%. This ammunition type was available with the PmK projectile ("Phosphor mit Stahlkern" = "phosphor with steel core") or with the B ("Beobachtung" = "Observation") projectile contained a little phosphor and exploded upon impact, the latter ammunition type was also known as the B-Patrone and was used as an incendiary round; both types are not counted in the 7,9mm production.

 

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The final and most interesting (for our purposes) bullet type was the SmK(H). The H stood for Hartkern (hardened core), this was the armor piercing version of the 7,9mm Infanteriepatrone. The projectile had a length of only 28.2mm, weighed 12.5 g and contained a tungsten core that was 22.5 mm long. The propellant gunpowder of the shell was increased to 3.6 g. The bullet had a penetration power of almost 20mm of plain steel at a range of 500m (90° impact angle). However, production of this ammunition type ceased in March 1942 because of an acute shortage of tungsten; still, SmK(H) cartridges continued to be issued to the troops as late as February 1943. while it was still inproduction, this ammo type accounted for 1 to 2 % of the production of 7,9mm Infanteriepatronen. When the machine guns used the normal sS ammunition they achieved an armor penetration of up to 10mm and more at close ranges.

Kurzpatrone 7.92x33
The Kurzpatrone 7.92x33 was designed for the MP43 and MP44 (Sturmgewehr); this ammunition is known under the designations Kurzpatrone, Infanteriepatrone 7,92mm PP 43 or as 7.92x33. It was a bottle-shaped cartridge, essentially a shortened regular Mauser 7.9mm rifle cartridge. The projectile had a caliber of 7.92mm and weighed 6.95g; the complete cartridge weighed 16.7g (incl. 1.4g powder) and developed a typical Eo of 1,500 Joule. Penetration performance: 25cm of birchwood at 50m; steel helmets were penetrated at ranges exceeding 600m. Total production of the Kurzpatrone ammunition was 822 mio. cartridges until March 1945.

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Mauser 7.63x25 ammunition
Introduced in 1896, the C96 Mauser pistol (Mauser-Selbstladepistole-Construction 96) was chambered for a round that was a slight modification of the 7.65mm Borchardt. The bottle-necked 7.63 Mauser cartridge was, until the advent of the .357 Magnum, the world's highest velocity pistol cartridge. A little cartridge history is also for the reloader quite useful, straight to order the power dependencies in the 7,63 reach. Since what became with the legendary  Mauser C96 as 7,63 Mauser a common expression, roots in the 7,65 Borchardt from 1883 back, which still, with a 5,5g = 85 gr. bullet for instance from Remington, was factured. After deutsches Reichspatent Nr. 90430 dated 11th  December 1895,  the C96 was manufactured in the calibers 6 mm with ten and 7,63 also with six cartridges magazinecontent.

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Their energy lies a quarter below the Mauser and so tallies the 7,65 Mannlicher, which outwardly like is, which various european ammunitionfactories supplied until end thirties. Both cartridges are today, only distinguishable from the bottomstamp,  collector's items; to shoot the corresponding and valuable pistols just with 7,63 Mauser, shall not occur to anyone. Against that are the 7,63 Mauser  and 7,62 Tokarev of 1930 fully compatible, at least on paper, but also there not quite, then latest with the polish pistol came here problems (see "Differing Experiences"). Maybe, because the Mauser was already deplaced by the 9 mm Luger, the russians cribbed, started to make the cartridge for the, just in the then new soviet union introduced, Bolo Mauser, didn't bother to take care about any changes, through which for instance the 9 mm Makarov differed from the 9 mm Browning short.

Though the C96 here in Germany functioned as a stopgap, she found with her 7,63 Mauser cartridge worldwide spread and much awareness at the spanish, chinese, korean copyists, also when those widened the cartridgeselction to .45 ACP. She could maintain her position as the speediest factory pistolcartridge after .357 magnum appeared; comparable with the later is she not at all.

9mm Luger Parabellum
The most globally-prevalent handgun cartridge, the 9x19mm (or 9mm Parabellum), was created in 1902 to meet criteria established by the German Navy. The development history went something like this: Around 1893 Hugo Borchardt (of Sharps-Borchardt fame) sold an automatic pistol invention to Ludwig Loewe in Berlin, Germany. This action was capable of chambering high-velocity smokeless powder cartridges and the resulting Loewe-Borchardt pistol was produced in 7.65x25mm (.30 Mauser or 7.63 Mauser). Ludwig Loewe's company merged with Germany's DMK to form Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken (DWM).

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In 1897 George Luger, an employee of DWM, demonstrated the Loewe-Borchardt pistol to the US Army. Using constructive criticism provided by the Army's rejection, DWM and George Luger substantially redesigned the Borchardt action and its cartridge. The result was unveiled in 1898 as the Luger pistol in 7.65x22mm (.30 Luger or 7.65 Luger). It was immediately adopted by the Swiss government.  The beautiful arm was The Mauser 00 in 7,65 Luger.

Several years later the German Navy officially rejected the 7.65x22mm cartridge. As a result DWM developed the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge in 1902. The 9mm cartridge and the 9mm Luger pistol were adopted by the German Navy in 1904. The German Army accepted them in 1908. Two enduring designs for 9mm pistols arrived on the scene 30 years later: Browning's M1935 High Power (1935) and Walther's "double action" P38 (1938).

7.65 Browning (.32 ACP)
The 7.65mm Browning cartridge was introduced to the European market by the Belgium firm Fabrique Nationale in 1899 in John Browning's first successful semiautomatic pistol. In 1903, Colt introduced its first Browning designed autoloader, the Pocket Model, chambered for the same cartridge, but renamed it the .32 Automatic Colt Pistol, or .32 ACP for short. Of semirimmed design, the .32 ACP was introduced with a 71 grain full metal jacket bullet at a muzzle velocity of slightly over 900 fps for around 130 foot pounds of kinetic energy. Several U.S. companies offer factory loads for this cartridge, but Winchester's loading with a 60 grain hollowpoint bullet at 970 fps is often preferred by the very few law enforcement personnel who continue to use this relatively anemic cartridge in pocket pistols for backup purposes. Winchester lists the muzzle energy of its factory load as 125 foot pounds.

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Even though many other cartridges enjoy far greater publicity, it is thought that more handguns have been chambered for the .32 ACP than for any other. It is estimated that during the first 10 years of the .32 ACP's existence, Fabrique Nationale alone produced over 500,000 pistols in this caliber. Practically every minor and major manufacturer of autoloading handguns in the world have built millions of small pocket autoloaders in .32 ACP with famous names like Walther (PP&PPK), Mauser, Colt, Remington, Savage,and FN/Browning on the list. The groove diameters of barrels in this caliber can vary from .308 inch to .313 inch among the various manufacturers.

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