FEG R61 .380 or 9mm Makarov


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ZBill
April 5, 2008, 11:55 AM
I picked up a FEG RG61 and the person I purchased it from said it was a regular .380. The slide is marked Cal. 9mmM, the barrel is marked 9mm Short.

However, after bringing it home and doing some research on the internet, it appears to be a 9mm Makarov. I hand-cycled .380 throught it and it cycled fine.

Do I have a .380 as in my Colt 1903 .380 or do I have a 9mm Makarov and now have yet another caliber pistol? If a Makarov, will I harm it by shooting
.380's in it?

Thanks for your input, Bill

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Nicky Santoro
April 5, 2008, 12:51 PM
I have one. It is similarly marked. It is a .380, not 9 Mak.

Aaron Baker
April 5, 2008, 01:34 PM
My understanding, partially through experience with a friend who picked up a Bulgarian Mak. and didn't know what she had, is that .380 will feed and fire in a 9mm Mak, but not the other way around.

One important difference is that 9mm Mak uses a larger diameter bullet. So firing .380 in a Mak is a bit like throwing the proverbial hotdog down a hallway. Less accurate, I'd say.

Firing 9mm Mak in a .380 (assuming it chambers) could seriously injure you. The barrel is too small, and because the case is longer, it could fire without the gun being fully in battery. That'd be bad.

All that being said, they make .380 conversions barrels for guns originally chambered for 9mm Makarov. So if the barrel says 9mm short, it's likely a .380 barrel on a gun that was originally a 9mm mak.

If you're in serious doubt, consult a gunsmith.

Aaron

Hoffy
April 5, 2008, 01:42 PM
Never fire a .380 cartridge through a 9mm makarov (9x18) pistol.

From: http://www.makarov.com/makfaq.html

Can I fire .380 ACP ammo in my 9x18M Makarov?
NO NO NO NO NO !!! There are those that disagree with me including an author of an article in Handguns magazine and gun dealers who wants to sell you a Makarov. The 9x18M cartridge is not a "true" 9mm because it's really 9.2mm. Therefore the bullets are sized .364" and .365" (barrel sizes vary...slugging yours is best to find out your bore size). Yes, you can probably get away with it a few times, but accuracy will suffer, you'll get gas blow-by, your barrel will wear out faster and for what? Save a few pennies? Hardly. 9x18M ammo is usually cheaper since you can get it surplus. If you absolutely want to shoot .380 ACP ammo from your Makarov, then buy a .380 Makarov or a .380 replacement barrel.


For a car analogy, have you ever seen or owned a car that burned oil? How long did the engine last after it started blowing blue smoke? Probably not long. The reason is that the pistons and rings are now smaller than the cylinders and each explosion sends gasses by-passing the piston ("blow-by"). You're literally burning the sides of your pistons now and engine death is imminent. That's basically what you're doing by shooting undersized bullets.

Mojo-jo-jo
April 5, 2008, 01:54 PM
If a Makarov, will I harm it by shooting .380's in it?

Yes, you will harm it.

Yes, it will chamber, Yes it will fire. However it is NOT SAFE!!!

9x18 (Makarov) bullets are .365 in diameter (it's actually "9.2mm") and have an overall length of 18mm.
.380 bullets are .355 in diameter and have an overall length of 17mm.

The .380 bullet is too small for the bore, leading to gas blow-by which will damage (erode) the throat. Eventually, you will end up with a weak spot in the barrel which will blow. The shorter case length exacerbates this, since the bullet doesn't even reach fully to the throat when in battery.

Never mind that since the bullets don't fully engage the rifling, they leave the barrel relatively unstabilized and tend to be inaccurate, even frequently keyhole.

I don't know if there are .380 conversion barrels available for that gun, but there may be. Otherwise, 9x18 is relatively cheap if you order it. You can usually get it for $9-$10/box.

If you need to determine the actual caliber of the barrel (maybe it has been changed?) take it to a gunsmith. The smith will be able to tell you what it is chambered for.

ZBill
April 5, 2008, 02:33 PM
throught the FEG R61 bore. I had to pound pretty had to get it through and it came out with nice grooves cut into the bullet. Diameter of the "swaged" bullet measured .356/.357 including the end I pounded on with a brass rod. I would have expected this end to expand if there was room.

From the above e-mails this leads me to believe it is a .380 as the 9X18 Makarove barrel would have allowed the swaged bullet to expand past .356 approaching .365 at some point.

Did I learn anything definitive? Thanks, Bill

Chester32141
April 5, 2008, 02:43 PM
If it were my gun I would take it to a reputable gunshop and explain that you are not certain what caliber to purchase for it and they will probably tell you for the cost of the box of ammo ... :)

MCgunner
April 5, 2008, 02:47 PM
9 mak has a CASE length of 18mm vs 17mm for the .380 and as both headspace on the case, headspace will be none functional on the .380, though it well could headspace against the extractor and fire. Lord knows where the bullet will wind up as it will not stabilize in that bore diameter. Excessive headspace is why it's dangerous. You could blow a case easily enough.

If it slugs .355 to .356, it's a .380. Mic that bullet you shoved through the bore. If so, a 9 mak probably won't even chamber in the gun or at least won't lock up in battery. The bullet will be too large for the bore and the case too long and probably fat to go in a .380 chamber.

Steve C
April 5, 2008, 04:22 PM
It was common to change 9x18 mak's into .380 ACP with a simple barrel change. Federal sold barrels to do this and there where quite a few Maks sold as .380 conversions directly from the distributors. If the barrel is marked .380, 9mm short, 9mm Kurtz, it is chambered for a .380 and not the 9x18.

lee n. field
April 5, 2008, 05:22 PM
However, after bringing it home and doing some research on the internet, it appears to be a 9mm Makarov. I hand-cycled .380 throught it and it cycled fine.


From your description of the barrel markings, I'd say .380 (aka 9mm short). Will 9x18 Makarov chamber? I'm guessing not.

ZBill
April 6, 2008, 10:23 AM
Carefully test-fired one round and miked the ejected case at .374 (unfired miked at .371) and examined it, no bulges, splits, etc. Must be .380 I decided and finished of the other 49 in the box. Quite an accurate little PPK knock off. A few cases did not fully eject but that has the case with most PPK's I have fired over the years. All in all a nice pistol at well under 50% of the cost of used Walther.

Thanks for all the input, Bill

det.pat
July 29, 2009, 12:36 AM
9mm M is definitely a 9x18 Makarov!

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