WW2 Luger ammunition question
I was wondering if anyone could tell me what was the standard velocity of the German 9mm ammunition used during WW2 in the standard P08 ? It seems like most of the modern ammunition sold now is well below 1200 fps and doesn't really cycle the pistols very well.
Depends on the condition of the main spring. I have seen the frame cam ears hammered by shooting full power ammo (or +p) and I have seen the rear toggle link cracked from hot ammo. I have also seen the same full power ammo fail to cycle the toggle fully locking it back when firing the last round. Each Luger should be checked with ammo before making a judgement on ammo. You can ruin a fine piece that has a weak spring by an assumption that all Lugers need hot ammo. Wolff springs sells main spring that will require a full load to make them work. In an Artillery with a new spring in it, it is usually needs a stiff punch to fully cycle the weapon. I find that 115-124 gr loads work the best for the average Luger loaded around 1100-1200 fps depending on the gun. Another spring that is especially important is a full power magazine spring works best or you may get failures to feed. I think others may give you the exact specs for the issue ammo. I have restored hundreds of Lugers so I can speak from working on indivdual guns.
Wolff used to sell a 'calibration kit'. Basicaly had a 36, 38 and 40 pound recoil/mainspring as a set. The 38 pound spring is listed as standard. They also sell xtra power mag springs in both styles.
I got my Weimer era DWM working with a new Wolff mainspring(38 pound), and expensive fxo milled/extruded mags. Much, much less ammo sensitive now. I had tried the lighter and heavier springs, and recoil springs from other sources with no luck.
I've also never had too much luck with aftermarket mags in my Lugers unless I stuck a Wolff xtra power spring in it.
Originally Posted By BIG-DOG:
It seems like most of the modern ammunition sold now is well below 1200 fps and doesn't really cycle the pistols very well.
How much lube are you running on your Luger? Don't be afraid to oil that rascal up & let it slide around. Standard, modern generic 9mm ammo cycles my Lugers just fine, FWIW. I use both 115 & 124gr, whichever I have on hand.
I have found Fiocchi 115 grain FMJ, Sellier and Bellot 115 grain FMJ, and GECO 124 grain FMJ to work well in a number of Lugers that I have had the opportunity to shoot.
I have heard that the American made Black Hills Ammunition 115 grain full metal jacket new manufactured, not the remanufactured stuff, works very well in most Luger pistols but have not had the opportunity to try it yet.
It is more or less common-sense here in Germany, to take the slowest (mildest loaded) cartridge available, to pretend damaging a 08. So the most guys take the 124 grains FMJ Lapua if they don't reload. V null = 320 m/s (1050 feet/second).
Irrespective of the condition of the springs, it may happen that the 08 didn't cycle - but please, do not take a hotter loaded cartridge. There are more elements than the condition of the pistol or the ammunition. Totally underrated are the circumstances (at a certain point in time) were the pistol was designed.
More than hundred years ago it was common that competitive shooters and soldiers fired their pistols in the one handed stance with an totally outstretched (right) arm. That's like a thrust block for the pistol and makes it work.
Proof your modern stance, think you know what I mean.
To prove that "theory" a short anecdote. In the twenties, the Dutch Army bought a large batch 08 for their officers. But they send them back to Germany because they didn't cycle well. Here no-one was able to reproduce the malfunctions and they send them back to the Dutch Army. This procedure was repeated a few times until some engineers (from DWM IIRC) were send with the 08s.
And they discover the problem. Not the pistol, not the ammo but the officers them-self. Or better their pistol training. Before the 08 they carried revolvers and they were trained to hold them with both hands just in front of their faces, with both elbows pointing downwards very near to the waist, I hope you can imagine that. This stance was not stable enough, so the 08 didn't cycle. Thats all.
I agree with what Sven is saying.
What was and what is are two different things.
I don't have a problem shooting a Luger with hotter ammo but am also a gunsmith and have the ability to inspect a handgun for wear factors that may affect the guns ability to function.
Lugers were one of the finest handguns made in their era.
Some of the very best steels of that era were used in their production.
A well maintained Luger is more than capable of shooting good quality ammo that mat be considered on the warm side but for most people, why risk it right?
I don't know any serious shooters that would consider a Luger as a serious carry gun today, that would be along the same lines as someone packing a first or second generation Colt Model P Single Action Army, these guns are kept as collectable pleasure shooting pistols.
If you are concerned that running half a box or a full box of cartridges through your pistol once or twice a year may cause a breakage, all I could recommend is to not shoot it at all.