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9mm NATO in P38's and Lugers?

11echo11echo Member Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2018 in Ask the Experts
I was just watching You Tube on the German P38. I have one so was interested in seeing if I could learn something new. The author was rambling on about the data on this weapon, coming up with nothing new, but then he states to NOT to use +P ammo in this weapon! SO this brings up an issue for me, I also have a German Luger, and it's long been noted using 115gr bullets with lighter load (normally used in the U.S.) causes the classic "stove pipe" feeding problem. After some investigation I learned the Germans use "hotter" 9mm ammo than what's normally use in the states. Nazi 9mm was a 124gr at 1300fps. ALSO during WW2 there was no distinction with any of the 9mm ammo, basically one fits all weapons. I had just purchased some NATO 9mm, 124gr.s at 1200fps, so I'm think this will work just fine in both my Luger and P38, but +P 9mm ammo ballistics are 124gr at 1220fps. So my issue, am I fighting someone option or known facts?

Comments

  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,435 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The problem would be with the post W W II P 38's, made with Aluminum frames. The early production ones, ( mid 50's- early 70's). Would crack with a steady diet of hot ammo.

    The West German Army realized the problem, after awhile. And initiated a fix. Witch was a beefed up frame. With a hex shaped steel bolt just above the trigger. This fix solved the problem of the cracked frames with the hot ammo.

    I you got one of the post war P 38's, with the unreinforced alloy frames. It's going to crack, with a steady diet of hot ammo.
  • nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,271 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think that the advice you got from Youtube is sound. NATO 9mm should be fine in your guns, as long as they are in good condition. Since the Germans used corrosive 9mm ammo, all guns should be carefully examined for cracking & pitting before firing (especially the breech face).

    The post-war guns to which r-s refers will be marked P1 or P38 AND "Made in Ulm/Donau".

    Neal
  • 11echo11echo Member Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The P38 I have is war time production 1942, my Luger is 1938. So shooting NATO 9mm should be fine, is what I'm thinking.
  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,435 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not all of the post war, alloy frame P-38's. Would have the common, "Made in ULM/DONAU" markings. Due to the agreements made with the Russians, after the end of W W II. The German Police in Berlin, had to be armed with non German made firearms. As show in the photo below.








    Manurhin_P38_03_v_1483212625.JPG
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    ORIGINAL 9mm in 1903 was a 124 slightly under 1100 fps in 100 mm barrel.
  • spiritsspirits Member Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Issues with the Parabellum 1908 firing modern ammo are: 1) their springs are usually as old as the pistol, 2) chambers in rough condition, 3) not properly cleaned and lubricated, 4) ammo not standardized ammo as used by the Germans in WWI and WWII, and 5) designed for 124 grain ball hard round nose bullets. All of which lead to extraction and ejection difficulties. It's definitely not a pistol I would rely on or have any confidence that it wont fail me. The aluminum frame P38 with the steel strengthening hexagonal bolt through the frame will handle all modern ammo without any problems.
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Like any vintage firearm; if you run them hard they're going to break sooner... and they'll be pricy (or impossible) to fix.

    Standard pressure 115 gr FMJ will be less abusive to your guns than the NATO-spec loads.
  • 11echo11echo Member Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't think shooting a box or two every 6 months is too much to handle, and that's my usual schedule.
  • Laredo LeftyLaredo Lefty Member Posts: 13,437 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a Manurhin made P-38 pistolet and a couple P-08 Lugers. The P-38 works well with 115 gr U.S. made 9mm but both of the Lugers become jam-o-matics with that ammo. Clearly the Lugers need hotter ammo or weaker springs to function.
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