Browning 9 mm Long and .380 ACP


Gun Master
April 26, 2013, 12:46 PM
I recently saw a Browning 9 mm Long, Swedish Army "1907" Model for sale, stating it was a ".38 cal.". Basically it appeared to be a "1903" Model (FN) Browning. Is it safe to shoot .380 in this gun, and is there a source of supply for the Browning 9 mm Long ammo currently?:confused:

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April 26, 2013, 12:51 PM
Not .380 ACP.
It is 9x17mm.

The Browning long is 9x20mm.

Ammo availability is scarce at best except for very old surplus.


April 26, 2013, 03:11 PM

The 1905 or 1907 BROWNING (depending on who made it) was made in an obsolete caliber. It is a low pressure round compared to the 9m.m. LUGER (9x19) and was designed for a large, blowback action pistol. The 1905 BROWNING was the scaled up, larger version of the BROWNING's second blowback pistol design.
Colt produced the smaller version in .32ACP as the COLT 1903 Pocket Hammerless and then introduced the .380ACP aka 9m.m. BROWNING SHORT or 9x17 in the same gun as the model 1908 POCKET HAMMERLESS. Great guns.

The small guns were very popular, but the larger framed version was a slow seller with only SWEDEN adopting it as standard issue.

Many of these guns were later exported to the U.S. and some were rechambered to the .380ACP. The problem now is that the .380ACP round may not generate enough recoil to operate the gun reliabably. If you run into this problem, try some hotter ammo or change to a lighter recoil spring. Even so, you will still have a problem with the magazines, which would be a little too long for the .380ACP.

It is an interesting pistol and should be very reliable in the original caliber.


Jim K
April 26, 2013, 10:04 PM
FWIW, the "rechambering" involved inserting a short steel ring into the chamber to take up the space between the length of the 9mm Browning Long and the 9mm Browning Short or .380 ACP. That ring has given trouble in a few guns, even though the conversion works OK most of the time.

That pistol was intended as FN's answer to the Luger. They couldn't make the Luger, and designing an entirely new pistol was a bit much, so Browning scaled up the Colt Model 1903 to 9mm and worked up a new cartridge which was more powerful than the 7.65 Browning (.32 ACP) although not up to the 9mm Parabellum in power.

It was not a bad cartridge, but keeping to the power level that could be handled by a blowback pistol restricted it considerably. It was the last of the Browning semi-rimmed cartridges. At about that time, Browning saw or heard about the 9mm Parabellum (Luger), realized that supporting a case on its mouth was the way to go, and dropped the semi-rimmed idea for his last two cartridge designs, the .380 ACP and .45 ACP.


Gun Master
April 26, 2013, 10:15 PM
I recall when the Swedish Army imports happened. I believe the ads I saw were for the "Longs". How could a guy tell if it were a .380 conversion?

Jim K
April 26, 2013, 10:19 PM
They were stamped ".380" on the side of the frame. I am not sure exactly where, but if it is important I can get one out and check it.


Gun Master
April 26, 2013, 11:20 PM
Whoa! You are the "greatest" Jim ! No joke. Thanks:)

April 27, 2013, 12:04 PM
Can't find the reference book I need so I'll just ask.

Could one cut back .38 Super cases to make usable 9x18 Browning?

Could such a case be loaded using .380 dies screwed out a bit?

In the guns sleeved for .380 would handloads with Speer 100 grain JHPs or one of the 9mm 105 grain Truncated cone lead designs loaded out for over all length to keep the magazine happy work? I am guessing the heavier bullet might aid in working the action.


Jim Watson
April 27, 2013, 09:54 PM
Yes, you can shorten .38 Super brass to make 9mm BL.

I would use .38 Super dies or even .38 S&W rather than .380. Look at case O.D.

Dean Grennell once reported that a .380 load that would function a converted BL was running 9mm P pressures. Yours might differ, but be careful. Heavier bullets might help.

Q for Jim K: Can you pull the insert ring out of a converted 1903 FN and return it to 9mm BL?
(Sidebar, was the Steyr Hahn "ringed" to 9mm '08 for German use or did they rebarrell?)

The 9mm BL is listed as a 110 gr bullet at 1100 fps. Not equal to 9mm P, but no pipsqueak, not far behind .30 Luger, which was the standard at the time. Remember, 9mm P was new in 1903, too.

April 28, 2013, 02:06 AM
Samco still has 9mm Browning Long in stock.

April 28, 2013, 09:34 AM
Could it be the defunct .38 Auto round popular in the Spanish pistol designs? There is some brass out there for that if it can be used.

Jim Watson
April 28, 2013, 09:16 PM

.38 Auto that can be shot in some Spanish Largo pistols is 9x23 Semirim.
9mm Browning Long is 9x20 Semirim.

The main platform for 9mm BL was the 1907 Swedish as made by FN and Husqvarna, from the OP here.

There was a Webley auto in the calibre, most apparently went to South Africa.
There were a very few Le Francais autos in their odd tip-up action.

Jim K
April 28, 2013, 10:00 PM
If considering restoring a Model 1907 Swede to 9mm B.L., note that in addition to jugging the chamber, the importers also cut down the recoil spring to function with standard U.S. .380 ACP. So if restoring to the original cartridge or even using European spec .380 ACP (9mm Browning Short, aka 9mm Kurz/Corto) replace the recoil spring.

FWIW, mine is marked "CAL 380" on the left side of the frame above the trigger guard and ahead of the Swedish Army property number.


Jim Watson
April 28, 2013, 10:55 PM
A couple of years ago Sportsmans Guide had 9mm BL barrels.
I thought about getting one and looking for a gun to put it in, but prices were already out of the novelty project range.

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