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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this question has come up a lot - and there have been several strings on the subject lately. I am too lazy to go find them so wanted to start another one - The idea that there is or cannot possibly, or the interweb said there can be a standard caliber ammo load made only for Machine guns or submachine guns. Pictures below posted for comment.
3792197


3792198

3792199
 

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Note one thing...THE LABEL!
Plainly states the intended use of the ammo.

The “Hot machine gun ammo” worries or threads are 99% about regular old standard issue ammo
WITHOUT any such label/warning or concerns about use in all weapons chambered in that cartridge.
 

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Note one thing...THE LABEL!
Plainly states the intended use of the ammo.

The “Hot machine gun ammo” worries or threads are 99% about regular old standard issue ammo
WITHOUT any such label/warning or concerns about use in all weapons chambered in that cartridge.
That label appears to have been put on by the importer....not the manufacturer...

IIRC that batch of L7A1 was known to be out of spec when surplussed....
 

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I had a lot of the Winchester WW2 stuff over the years. Bought it at a gun show, and think I just kept one box for collecting. It is lend lease stuff and is corrosive primed. Shot maybe ten or so boxes of it that I didn't sell at gun shows. All shot fine, and not a dud in the batch. The British stuff don't know about, never had any of it.
 

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Try to help. Hackley, Woodin and Scranton history of...ammunition vol 2 pg228 229 lists 116 gr bullet gm lead core boxer 6 grains of powder not listed at 1400 fps out of a modified m3 SMG. The round "would also function in most foriegn pistols and smg's". "Mostly WRA and WCC stamps. 1940 to 45, about a half a billion rounds for British contracts. There was HP White 2 volume cartridges I think, I cant find mine, that tested 9mm "smg" stuff, 9me, 9se, this types, Italian m38, I'll look for the books. If I recall, this was normal pressures and function. We didnt load special 45's for the Tommy or m3, I dont see why the Brits would order special ammo for the sten they couldnt use in the inglis.( why is it when I type sten it comes out stench? No dis on UK gun- hope this comes out right. damphone). I think Jeremy is right, there were some stinky condemned lots sold as surplus of L7a1. Remember there were some unscrew-pulousey folks selling this to surplus dealers in the past...ie the indian 90's 308 and them rustbucket mosin Cabelas got hooked with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
well, for you guys that want this ammo for your luger, P-38 or red nine, guy local to me here is selling it. He has about 10,000 rds of the L7A1, and a few thousand of the Winchester. NOT cheap. He offered it to me, and I actually laughed in his face - but not in a derogotory manner of course. ;)
 

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I believe that the OP's pics and questions are best explained by the fact that early lots of 9mm purchased from the US by the Brits were not able to reliably cycle British Sten and Lancaster SMGs. I haven't seen any specs on that early-war 9mm, but I would venture to guess that it was a bit higher pressure than standard US commercial loads of the time.
 

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I believe that the OP's pics and questions are best explained by the fact that early lots of 9mm purchased from the US by the Brits were not able to reliably cycle British Sten and Lancaster SMGs. I haven't seen any specs on that early-war 9mm, but I would venture to guess that it was a bit higher pressure than standard US commercial loads of the time.

There was/is a tendency for American ammo manufacturers to under load ammo because of all of the surplus firearms that were brought back by the soldiers, some of which were not in tip top shape. I think the purpose was to try to avoid someone blowing up his pistol by using too hot a load.
 

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On the other hand, I have discussed with an Australian veteran about this issue, and he stated that the Australians had 9mm "SMG-only" ammo that was intended for use in the Owen SMG. He stated that using it in semi-auto pistols ALWAYS caused the pistol to "shake itself loose" or break something after a few hundred rounds, and that the Aussie Army (which continued to use both the Owen and the special ammo into the Vietnam war, finally phasing both out in 1971), made sure to keep it separate from "normal" military 9mm ammo.

He was one who had trained with the Owen during Vietnam, and the "SMG-only" 9mm ammo was still around the Aussie Army then.

Again, nothing "official"... but many things that are very real seem to not have official documentation.


As an aside, the Winchester 9mm ammo in the photos above, wherein the Winchester-applied packaging states "for use in submachine guns", features in the Owen SMG's history! Note the comment in this article: Australia’s Owen Gun - Warfare History Network
In tests conducted by the Lysaght Works, the American Winchester 9mm round seemed to feed the best and was more accurate than either British or Australian-manufactured bullets, much to the dismay of Australian Army officers.
 

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That label appears to have been put on by the importer....not the manufacturer...

IIRC that batch of L7A1 was known to be out of spec when surplussed....
You are referring to the warning label on the L7A1 ammo - the label on the WW2-era Winchester 9mm is the factory label!
 

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The first of these orders must have been placed when 9mm. pistols were almost unknown in the British service. I don't believe bullets of the earlier truncated cone FMJ bullets were ever ordered or used, but there may have been a suspicion that they could be, and round nosed bullets would give better performance for the longer ranges at which submachine-guns could be used.

Of course they seldom are. but the first true submachine-gun was the 1918 Bergman, of which the Lanchester, preceding the Sten in the British service, was a close copy. They were hevy guns, perfectly cPble of making just about anybody the equal of a really good and level-headed pistol shot at a couple of hundred yards.

Colonels Tthompson and La Garde, in the Chicago stockyard and cadaver trials which led to the .45 ACP, found little use in expansion in soft tissues at normal pistol velocities. Other than the central nervous systemm instant stopping power was achievable only by breaking the long bones used in locomotion. They found small calibre, high velocity jacketed bullets very inferior in this, with a tendency to glance off or pierce bone which a larger, softer bullet would have shattered.

The 9mm. they tested was the truncated cone, and round nosedb ullets must have been a retrograde step which only submachine-gun range, if that, could justify. ////the latter did become standard for all weapons. I have dug them up on a WW2 RAF Coastal Command station range, mingled with .38 bullets and in numbers which don't suggest submachine-gun use. But it does seem plausible that there was a time when the round-nose 9mm. was thought of as the submachine-gun bullet.
 

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On the other hand, I have discussed with an Australian veteran about this issue, and he stated that the Australians had 9mm "SMG-only" ammo that was intended for use in the Owen SMG. He stated that using it in semi-auto pistols ALWAYS caused the pistol to "shake itself loose" or break something after a few hundred rounds, and that the Aussie Army (which continued to use both the Owen and the special ammo into the Vietnam war, finally phasing both out in 1971), made sure to keep it separate from "normal" military 9mm ammo.

He was one who had trained with the Owen during Vietnam, and the "SMG-only" 9mm ammo was still around the Aussie Army then.

Again, nothing "official"... but many things that are very real seem to not have official documentation.


As an aside, the Winchester 9mm ammo in the photos above, wherein the Winchester-applied packaging states "for use in submachine guns", features in the Owen SMG's history! Note the comment in this article: Australia’s Owen Gun - Warfare History Network
I served in Vietnam a few hundred yards from the Australians in 1966. Had a lot of mates then with SMGs and Browning HPs. Never saw any 9x19 labeled SMG-only or any mention of separate ammo for their identical chambered weapons. It may have been there and just not a matter of conversation. I would like to see the boxes of Aussie the special & regular 9mm.
I still wonder WHY make an SMG, chamber it in the same cartridge as your handguns, and then make a special load for it not kind to all your handguns. Surely that load would have a “Soldier Proof” warning label on it.... Our GI vehicles had “Diesel only” or “Gasoline only” on them....but the “SMG ONLY” is something I have yet to see...the “only“ being the key word. The 7.62x25 that people always call “SMG ammo” is usually plainly labeled “pistol“ in the makers language.
 

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I have never heard or seen any reference to any Australian "SMG ONLY" ammo. And as Ammolab posted, it makes absolutely no sense at all.
 

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Hirtenberger L7A1 124gr circa 1990-1992 is what I have experience with. I had two 1000rds ammo cans of it and shot it all... here are my observations - shooting it out of G17 or G17L poses 0 issues. Its noticeably snappier but on par with +P+ commercial made modern ammo.
Considering Glock is the only one I know Of which warranty high pressure ammo - I did not put these through my other pistol or carbine platforms.
 

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Back in the 80's, while serving in 10th Special Forces Group, I somehow ended up with a couple of boxes of 45ACP ammo clearly marked, in French, 'only for machine gun'. I ended up shooting it all up in my old Essex Arms M1911A1 after installing a stiffer spring and a buffered guide rod. Recoil was still noticeably snappy to say the least.
 
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