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 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern? 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:09 am
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Post 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
I found these in Eastern European forrest, ~50 km. from 1944 German defensive line. Whole place was littered with shrapnel of warious calibur artillery shells (and probably even aviation bombs). There is something like U-form trench (lenght ~10 m), with fragments of completely rotten tarpaulin in it, bullets were stuck in a parapet, 20 cm. deep, all within 1m. square. No cases around.

There are 8 of them, in quite good condition, you can even see red paint.

Image
Image

Maybe it is possible to distinguish, whether they are WWII-wintage, or modern, left there by some guy with a Glock? I have no evidence, that trench and shrapnell really are from WWII, as some locals say it all may be post-war, remains of improvised soviet artillery training ground. Good condition of bullets support this theory, but again, they were found in a sand - it preserves metals well.

Are there any differences between WWII-era german Parabellums and modern ones? Can these bullets be called war relics? I'd really appreciate any help!


Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:53 am
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
It has been my belief, perhaps mistakenly, that following WWII, the Partisans were basically disarmed and non-Standard weapons were withdrawn from service, refurbished, and place in storage for emergency use only. We know this happened with U.S. M1911A1 pistols supplied to the USSR. Since the 9 mm Para cartridge was not a post-war standard cartridge for the Soviet military, it would be hard to think of why they would turn up in a post-war emplacement like that, unless some civilian with an illegal weapon from the war was using the area (if abandoned and isolated) as a plinking range.

The red case mouth seal that seems to be on at least one of the bullets in the picture is reminiscent of that on German commercial ammunition, and on some 9 mm Para made for the police, primarily, in WWII.

I am not sure you can positively tell from the form of the bullet if they are wartime or not. After all, if used post-war, the ammunition they were loaded in could have come from any country "visited" by the USSR during the war. Where they would come from after the war is anybody's guess.

Sectioning a few to show jacket thickness, core design and construction, etc., perhaps could provide a better backgraoun for analysis of them.

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:32 pm
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
Thoughts.

1. WWII or later Soviets goofing around with captured German 9mm firearms?

2. If Soviet , poss. from later 9mm USSR arms? (Bizon, etc.)

3. If they're indeed fired projectiles, an examination of the rifling would tell you at least whether or not the bore was cut or polygonal rifled, number or grooves, etc. That'd go a good way towards determining timeframe and origin.


Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:25 pm
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
JohnMoss wrote:
It has been my belief, perhaps mistakenly, that following WWII, the Partisans were basically disarmed and non-Standard weapons were withdrawn from service, refurbished, and place in storage for emergency use only. We know this happened with U.S. M1911A1 pistols supplied to the USSR. Since the 9 mm Para cartridge was not a post-war standard cartridge for the Soviet military, it would be hard to think of why they would turn up in a post-war emplacement like that, unless some civilian with an illegal weapon from the war was using the area (if abandoned and isolated) as a plinking range.

The red case mouth seal that seems to be on at least one of the bullets in the picture is reminiscent of that on German commercial ammunition, and on some 9 mm Para made for the police, primarily, in WWII.

I am not sure you can positively tell from the form of the bullet if they are wartime or not. After all, if used post-war, the ammunition they were loaded in could have come from any country "visited" by the USSR during the war. Where they would come from after the war is anybody's guess.

Sectioning a few to show jacket thickness, core design and construction, etc., perhaps could provide a better backgraoun for analysis of them.



John, this is not my field but The baltics and Ukraine had armed anti communists well into the 1950's. The most famous was Stefan Bandera who got killed by the KGB in Munich in 1959.

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:43 pm
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
I am not sure, that trench is really post-war. One local guy sweared that there is a German tank sunk in nearby swamp, and that Germans are the ones who were fired at by soviet artilery in that forest (as for tank it is complete bullshit, though). As for artillery - who knows. In my opinion, it is still possible that there was some fighting there.
If trench is post-war, bullets still may have been fired from German war-time weapon. There was quite strong anti-soviet resistance up untill late 50's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Brothers), they used German weapons sometimes.

On other forum one guy showed me this:
Image
The only German war-time Para with case sealant ring were made by RWS, pictured as No. 6. But they are (correct me, if I'm wrong) without copper jacket. Bullets, found by me, have it. Nowdays 9 mm firearms are popular in this region, as I've said, some guy may have been fooling around with his Glock in that forest few years ago.

JohnMoss wrote:
Sectioning a few to show jacket thickness, core design and construction, etc., perhaps could provide a better backgraoun for analysis of them.


What techniqe can I use for this? Can I just cut them with regular hacksaw, or it may damage structure?


Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:18 pm
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
Valkas,
The first question is what is the weight of the bullets?

The second is are the jackets magnetic?

Those will help confirm who made the bullets. They could be German, but there are other possibilities. The red casemouth seals were generally only used on early WWII German ammunition, and probably not ammunition used by the German Army. Much post WWII German military ammunition had red case mouth seals. In 1944 The German Army would have been using almost exclusively ammunition with iron cores or sintered iron bullets.

My first reaction is that it was post-war, but the weights will tell us somethings.

Post war Russian, Yugoslave, Hungarian, Swedish and Finnish ammo all commonly used red case mouth seals. Too bad there were no cases found.

Mwinter is also correct, a good image of the rifling marks would also give a strong hint of the timeframe.

Cheers,
Lew

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Always looking for 9x19mm cartridges, boxes and DATA!!!
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Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:01 pm
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
Lew wrote:
The first question is what is the weight of the bullets?


After some kind of cleaning three least rusty bullets weigh approximately 7.5-7.7 grams each (measuring with kitchen scales).

Lew wrote:
The second is are the jackets magnetic?


You mean jackets themselves, separated from bullets?
This brings back question about cutting them: will regular hacksaw make clean cut, or should I use something more sophisticated?
Meanwhile, without any dismemberment, bullets, obviously, are magnetic.

Here are some photos of riffling marks, as good as I could make with my old shitty camera:

Image
Image
Image
Image

It seems, some bullets have way more visible marks than others.

Also, looks like inside jacket, bullet is just plain lead. At least it is easy to make a scratch with a knife.

Image


Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:31 am
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
Valkas, Very useful information. The 7.5g (115gr) bullet was only used by the UK (and the British Commonwealth), Finland and Italy prior to or during WWII, except for some WRA/WCC contracts for Central and South America, as far as I can tell. The US produced 115gr ammunition for the UK (and perhaps others) during WWII. None of this ammunition has, as far as I know, red case mouth seals. Finnish WWII cases can be found with red casemouth seals, but these were apparently refurbished after WWII.

So, almost certainly your bullets are post WWII production.

Based on the GM plated steel jacket, and the ogive, and where they were found, my guess is that they are Russian commerical loads. Various Russian manufacturers have sold commercially 9mm Luger ammunition with 115gr bullets and GM plated steel cases and red case mouth seals in the US for quite a few years. I suspect these have been available in East Europe for at least as long.

Another possibility is Czech ammunition. I have some examples of S&B and PS made ammunition post-WWII that has GM plated steel jacket, 115gr bullets. Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary have also produced GM plated steel jacket bullets with red cms, but my examples of these all have 124gr bullets. Still, it is possible that they produced 115gr bullets which became popular loads post-WWII

Another chance is Finnish post war 9mm ammunition, but, to my eye, these have a somewhate more blunt bullet ogive. Most Swedish 9mm with a red cms is loaded with a 108gr bullet.

This is my best guess or guesses, but you can be very confident that these are post-WWII bullets.

Others probably have additional information, particularly on who loaded 115gr bullets post-WWII (or even pre-WWII)

Cheers,
Lew

_________________
Lew Curtis
Always looking for 9x19mm cartridges, boxes and DATA!!!
Check http://gigconceptsinc.com for books on cartridge-info on 9x19mm-Updated 25 July 2012---9mm German WWII Cartons & Cases
USAF 1960-1996---Retired
IAA since 1965 ECRA since 1967


Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:34 am
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Post Re: 9x19 Parabellum bullets: WWII era or modern?
Lew, are you some kind of god? Amazing! Thank you!

Police and army in Baltic states use western-made 9 mm's, but gun owners often buy cheaper Russian ammunition. So, "guy with a Glock" theory wins.

Anyway, now I owe a huge amount of thanks to all who helped. God... ehm. Lew bless you all!

Update: Just asked a friend, who works in Armed Forces. Back in 90's army purchased a number of CZ 75 and quite a lot of Czech Parabellums, some of those may have been sold on commercial market. This scenario is even more possible than Russian.


Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:01 pm
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