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.30 luger _VS_ 9mm luger?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by G.A.Pster, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. G.A.Pster

    G.A.Pster Well-Known Member

    How do the .30 Luger and 9mm Luger cartridges compare, as far as ballistics, speed, accuracy, etc?

    From what I read it seems like the .30 Luger was abandoned quickly by militaries in favor of the necked up 9mm Luger because when using FMJ bullets the 9mm was more effective.

    But with the advent of modern hollow point bullets why hasn’t the .30 luger been resurrected?
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The standard load in .30 Luger is a 93 grain bullet at 1250 fps.
    You can get a 115 gr 9mm bullet up to that velocity without too much trouble, so nobody sees the need to go back to the bottleneck.
    I must admit that is one of the few uncommon calibers I find interesting, but that does not mean it is of much use now.
  3. Ben86

    Ben86 Well-Known Member

    Even though modern .30 hollow points may be better than the old fmj (although some doubt this because of a lack of penetration). Modern 9mm hollow points are superior in every aspect of terminal performance. There really is no point.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Much the same thing is true of the .30 Mauser, although it is more potent than the .30 Luger. Yet, under the name "7.62x25" it is often considered to have power of mythic proportions, with claims that it surpasses the .357 Magnum.

  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The difference is that there is no current action that will accomodate the .30 Mauser.
    No gun company is going to tool up for a new gun to shoot Romanian surplus and there are a lot of barriers to going into production of fresh ammunition with the latest in expansive bullets.
  6. Archie

    Archie Well-Known Member

    For a long time, I've thought .30 Luger (or Mauser) would make a very handy small carbine. Not a semi-automatic, large magazine sort of thing, but a bolt action, small game arrangement.

    Probably not much commercial value, but something fun for walking in the woods.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    There are not many current guns for the .30 Luger, either, except for those made for sale in countries where possession of a gun in 9mm P is illegal.

    Actually, I like the .30 Luger (7.65mm Parabellum). It is pleasant to shoot, with mild recoil and (in a Luger) is more reliable than the 9mm.

  8. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member

    A friend down the road has a Luger chambered in 7.65, inherited from his uncle who brought it back with him from Europe when the war ended. I've never shot it, but he basically relayed the same sentiments. Superb balance, and pretty mild shooting resulted in stellar accuracy in his hands. He told me just the other day though that he doesn't want to shoot it anymore, saying that it is too much of a priceless piece of family history to risk in any manner.
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Yes, but the difference from .30 Mauser is that if there appeared to be a market, all it would take would be a barrel for a 9mm gun, like the Luger itself.

    Agreed. And it kind of disputes the urban legend that Luger requires heavily loaded ammunition, too.
  10. rmfnla

    rmfnla Well-Known Member

    9mm has a larger cross section, too.
  11. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member

    As a 30 Luger shooter I can tell you that it does take a different recoil spring. (I shoot it in a Ruger P89 as well as Lugers, both take a different recoil spring.) This is doubly so, given that current factory ammunition is underloaded. Winchester claims 1250 fps for their ammo from a 4.5 inch barrel but the air over my chrono must be thick stuff because I can't get close to that from any of a multiple of guns ranging up to a 6 incher. Fiocchi's stuff is slower still.

    The urban myth that a 9 mm Luger wants hopt ammo is just that, a myth. But it does have a different recoil spring than the 30. Not just because Georg Luger and God intended it that way but, but because of the urban myth, every Tom, Dick, & Harry has been tinkering with the recoil springs in shooter grage Lugers. Open up 7 shooter grade Lugers and you will find 8 different recoil springs, 9 of which are out of spec.

    There are various reasons why the Luger has a poor reputation for reliability, most of them BAD reasons arising from ignorance of what a Luger needs to work right. But lack of hot ammo isn't one of them.

    On the other hand, the 7.65 Parabellum is sentimental favorite of mine. The bottle necked case does feed better and I've been known to run cast semi-wadcutters and full wadcutters with perfectly good reliability.
  12. G.A.Pster

    G.A.Pster Well-Known Member

    I’m no ballistics expert, so pardon me if this is a stupid question, but why do both the 357 sig (.40 S&W) and 32 NAA (.380 ACP) have ballistics that either match or outperform their parent cartridges, and .30 Luger doesn’t?
  13. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    The .30 Luger was the parent cartridge to the 9x19, not the other way around, IIRC (though I'm sure you probably know that).
  14. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member

    9 mm vs 7.65 mm

    As stated above, the 7.65 mm Parabellum was the original Luger cartridge. The German military requested a larger caliber and the 9 mm Parabellum was developed using the same basic case as the 7.65. Initially, the 9 mm was loaded to a power level much closer to the 7.65. This for the Old Model Luger which had the same flat leaf recoil spring for both calibers.

    With the advent of the New Model Luger with a coiled recoil spring it was much simpler to make two different springs, one for each caliber, and they upped the ante for the 9 mm.

    The mystery is why they didn't up the ante for the 7.65 as well, as the action is not pressure limited for either cartridge, it's impulse limited, and the 7.65 could have been loaded up to match the new 9 mm's impulse.
  15. G.A.Pster

    G.A.Pster Well-Known Member

    IRT Snowdog:
    Yep, I knew the .30 Luger was the parent cartridge.

    IRT Unspellable:
    So is all .30 Luger ammunition basically under-loaded to have the right recoil impulse for the flat leaf recoil springs of the OM Luger?
  16. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member


    Depends on your definition of 'under loaded'. Georg Luger developed the Old Model Luger around the 7.65 Parabellum cartridge with a 93 grain bullet leaving a 4.5 inch pistol at 1220 fps. Note: That spec was for a pistol, not a test barrel. The spec never changed from that day until now. A pistol in good condition will work jusrt fine with this load. The original Luger carbine used what we would today call a +P+ version of the 7.65 cartrdige loaded to 40,000 cup which was the pressure of the proof load for the pistol.

    I did a little research into how they measured bullet speed in those days. The 1220 fps was the average speed over a distance of approximately 50 feet with the starting point around five feet from the muzzle. (Those are the standard numbers used in the US, In Germany they used meters but it works out close enough.) The method was quite accurate and when they said 1220 fps they meant 1220 fps.

    Now fast forward to today and SAAMI. SAAMI specs call for a maximum average working pressure of 28,000 cup for the 7.65 mm and 32,000 cup for the 9 mm. I don't know why they say 28,000 for the 7.65. Thicker barrel walls make it weaker? I suspect it may not even be possible to reach 1220 fps with that pressure limitation.

    Winchester claims 1220 fps from a 4.5 inch test barrel for their 7.65 mm load. When I questioned this Winchester got a bit snotty with me and said, "That's from a test barrel, not a pistol!" The dirty little secret is that the SAAMI specs for the test barrel are identical to the SAAMI specs for the pistol barrel.

    In any case, it's a lawyer's load, no way in h**l you're ever going to see 1220 fps from it with a barrel less than 10 inches long. The Fiocchi load is even wimpier. It's loaded down to the point where it will not reliably cycle the action on all pistols. Remington/Peters had a slightly hotter load but they quite making them some years ago.

    Bottom line is you need to reload to really get it right.

    For another day: The trouble with today's 9 mm "Luger" loads.
  17. G.A.Pster

    G.A.Pster Well-Known Member

    Have any modern loaders tried loading 7.65 mm to 32,000 cup?
  18. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member

    1220 fps & pressure

    I don't know of anyone loading to 1220 fps and actually measuring the pressure. Today we can get an accurate and simple to use chronograph at a pretty cheap price, but measuring pressure is still pretty much the province of full blown labs.

    The Luger has an action that is quite strong pressure wise. The limitation is impulse, if the load cranks up too much velocity for the bullet weight you risk knocking the toggles off. The Luger carbine had a much longer barrel. The extra weight kept the cannon velocity (slide or upper on other pistols) down and allowed the use of hotter loads.
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Accurate Arms has data for .30 Luger under a SAAMI maximum of 28,000 cup.
    They claim a 93 gr Hornady + 7.2 gr AA#7 for 1338 fps at 26400 cup.
    But that is in a 6 inch barrel.

    The pressure is mild vs 9mm in the same action, total recoil is mild, the power factor is below IPSC Minor. I don't know how sharp the impulse might be but #7 is a fairly slow powder and ought not to shock the system too bad.
  20. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    While I'm not gonna argue that the 7.62 Tok exceeds the .357 mag, but I will argue that it's not .30 Mauser under a different name. Just because the two cartridges will interchange doesn't mean they were meant to or that it's a good idea. There are slight differences in dimensions and not-so-slight differences in pressure. I've clocked Surplus Tokarev loads from my VZ-52 pistol in excess of 1,500 FPS. It's no anti tank round, but pretty zippy for a WWII pistol cartridge.

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