Ryo

MG34 questions.. (becoming a 8mm ammo list)

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Posted (edited)

I have been trying to study more about the MG34.. There are 2 topics I'm trying to decipher from all that I am reading.

1. Maintenance:
I'm just starting to read about maintenance.  I got picked up a translated manual but haven't gotten a chance to dive in to it. This got me thinking what type of tools do I need to maintain it? I have general tool like punches, wrenches, vice, etc.. but not some of the dedicated tools that I saw in Robert Segels's Machine Gun Support Equipment with the ammo can maintenance kit the German soldiers were issue.

Also is there a any specific parts I should have spares of in case of breakage/malfunctions?

2. Surplus Ammo:
This is the big one for me since I need to buy some.. Since good surplus ammo is drying up, it is starting to be limited to only a few brands of "cheap" surplus. Since I don't want to damage the MG34, I was wondering what ammo have you guys been using with success. I've been looking at forums, YouTube, Forgotten Weapons ammo reviews, etc. All the reviews seen on YouTube were 90% about shooting it out of a bolt rifle.
Side note: Mike brought up a good point about condition of ammunition due to storage.
So this is what I've been looking at: 

  • Romanian Surplus (corrosive): Red lacquer is good, but green lacquer is bad. Haven't seen any store selling them. :(
  • Portuguese Surplus: "Portuguese Ss heavy ball from the 1970s and 80s, if in good condition, duplicates the original German load, and works well." - Mike. He also mentioned that he did have some bad stuff but the wood crates looked more worn due to not well maintain storage.
  • PPU: Expensive but new. Might be underpowered compared to surplus.
  • PPU Surplus: Possibly Good
  • FedArm (corrosive, though they mark them as non-corrosive): Cheapest around but I read Mike wouldn't put it in his due to it being surplus parts put together.  One video I saw on it showed the box which has made in Russia and the website does state that it is mixed components.  The casing  can be different.
    Found videos of people shooting it and everyone went bang and velocity fell around 2400 fps, which is a positive thing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J0uMsISFkA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BY1sXS4ZFY
    ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG-LWtdPaHQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfPvFmav8WQ
    *********
    So I bought some FedArms. Apparently they do reuse components and mark the side of the case with their information "8x57 IS FA". Opened one box of 20 to look at the headstamps. They all have "dou" markings, all with "41" which I am assuming is 1941. The other 2 marking vary.. IXg1, VIIIg1, or St. The other marking is a number 10,11,12,18, or 19.  The primers look original, crimped in.. so makes me wonder if they are will go bang. It will be a while until I can test it.
    I found another one.. has copper jacket bullet.. "P25" markings, 1940. This one has less rust in it than the "dou". 

    I found a website talking about it.. showing different photos of the ammo you get from them.https://forum.cartridgecollectors.org/t/techcrim-russian-8x57-is/26508/70 
    Based on the different ammunition you can get.. it could be luck of the draw on the lot you get.Note that the shipping box both rounds were shipped in has the same lot # sticker inside the box!
  • Ethiopian Surplus (corrosive): Read it was decent with good annealing but some may have poor ignition (but that was in bolt rifles). Videos show them not firing (25% failure). Some show a bit of hang firing.
  • Egyptian Surplus (corrosive): Seems like there was some decent reviews on it but not much detail
  • Serbian M75 Surplus (corrosive): One video had a guy said it was good in his bolt rifle.
  • Israeli Surplus: Mike mentioned it was hit and miss due to hot weather storage and primers.
  • Hotshot: might be good.
  • Yugo Surplus (corrosive): bad reputation? Read someone had case cracking (occurred in a bolt rifle), unsure of year of round.
        Read the Yugo were good with date stamp within the 1950's but read the 1954 is rumored to be bad.
        Read a person with Yugo 1955 ammo cracked his receiver.
        YouTube had a guy shooting 1953 Yugo, about half failed to fire in his Yugo Mauser, chrono at 2300-2400, Kar 98a had no failures, chrono at 2100-2300
  • IRAN / SYRIA: Mike had good results with it even though likely they were stored in high heat.

Bad Ammo (or possible bad ammo)

  • Turkish ammo (corrosive): BAD BAD BAD BAD! Overpressure, can damage firearm.
  • Greek (corrosive): Mike says stay away from.
  • Romanian Surplus (corrosive): Green lacquer I heard was bad, but haven't gotten confirmation
  • South American: Mike ran into some booby trapped ammo that destroyed but sounded like they were not factory looking ammo.
  • Ecuadorian (corrosive): Read some are good batches while some have bad batches. If bad batch then possibly 50/50 due to bad primers. Someone said it is higher pressure than other surplus due to primer flattening. 
    Haakster mention Ecuadorian 7,9 amo was loaded under contract in Argentina for Ecuador in the 1950's. They were 198gr, but they have ignition problems from dying primers. Some have reported no problem, but he recommends to avoid for MGs.
    Another report of many primers failing to ignite.

Also what about reloading?  Do any of you guys do that?

Edited by Ryo
Updating Ammo list.

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Updated my Surplus Ammo list through reading review, reading posts, and YouTube videos..

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All you probably need are a spare bolt or two, firing pin springs, and mainspring.     As for ammo, all I've shot is pre-1940 german and czech, and while I have yugo and romy  I haven't broken into the new stuff like that.  Yes, stay away from the turk.  I've not seen some of the others you mentioned, but if I had none, I'd start with the romy and if not available maybe try the PPU.  If you see any ammo that fails to fire one round out of a bolt rifle, odds are it will never run in a 34.

I have several of the armorers tool kits, and while cool, they are not necessary for the most part unless you are going to tear it way down or need to adjust your patronentrommel 34 tension, which very few of us have, and fewer adjust.  Spare 34 parts are everywhere and if you did break something it's no problem finding it, and they are currently making more so there is no shortage. 

You're going to see tons of stories about guys switching bolts/ barrels and all kinds of other parts to get their guns going.  It's not that complicated, buy good parts and good ammo and problems will be minimized.  Swapping out 6 bolts/ barrel combos with bad firing pin springs and shot out barrels, crappy ammo until you find the combination that works.....and it only works that day is funny to read about, but it's very common and why the gun has lost popularity over the years to the MG42 which is indeed more user friendly.  When you do get advice 80% will be from the semi 34 owners who have never had a gun that would strip the first round from a belt and fire.....ever, but they will tell you they got their guns going really well by doing........again 6 different combos of stuff.   HTH

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Posted (edited)

Ryo, this is actually a succinct, user friendly reference, so appreciate you doing the research and sharing.  I personally have been advised by several people to use the Romanian surplus, and I have done that with great results, though this has been in MG08/15 and MG42.  
 

I’d also be curious to hear what your conclusion is on Ecuadorian 8mm surplus.  That comes up periodically as well.

-David

Edited by Armydoc0115

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1 hour ago, Armydoc0115 said:

Ryo, this is actually a succinct, user friendly reference, so appreciate you doing the research and sharing.  I personally have been advised by several people to use the Romanian surplus, and I have done that with great results, though this has been in MG08/15 and MG42.  
 

I’d also be curious to hear what your conclusion is on Ecuadorian 8mm surplus.  That comes up periodically as well.

-David

Thanks. I figured it would make a good reference.. even though most of the stuff I'm writing is stuff I read about people's personal experience. (trying to weed out the hearsay). Also I made this post this way to show that I'm serious about trying to get information vs a person who doesn't do research and asks tell me what is good. The hope is to get more discussion about people's experiences of the good and the bad.

The Ecuadorian 8mm surplus I read is possibly made by FN (hearsay). There are number of people who say it is accurate and they have very few problems.  Then there are others saying in their experience they had issue with them. I haven't read anything to help distinguish which batch is good or bad.. There was one person stating it has higher pressure (case flattening) than he's use to with it, and another saying it was hurting his shoulder vs Yugo.surplus.

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Posted (edited)

The Ecuadorian 7,9 ammo was loaded under contract in Argentina for Ecuador in the 1950's. It is a heavy ball sS loading (198) & corrosive primed. It has had ignition problems from dying priming mixtures since first imported, though some have reported no problems. Best to avoid for MGs IMO. Haakster

Edited by Haakster

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RYO, its great to see you collecting all the data and organizing it. other than the ROMAINIAN 8mm almost all of it is much older origin surplus . the problem with that is by the time you get a test done it will most likely be gone if you want more. the one variable that cant be avoided is HOW WAS IT STORED!  much of it was exposed to high temperatures and that can spell disaster.  the first lots of the 60's and 70's 8mm from PORTUGAL came in when DICK WRAY bought all the VICKERS and 34 kits from them. only the best was chose and it worked perfect . other importers were not so picky and bought anything they found.  after about 2 years we had miss fires in what looked the same but did show a bit more "weathering" of the wood cases. the last few lots we bought from SOUTHERN OHIO GUN had as many as 45% duds ! I think you are mainly interested in the 34 and very little of the world wide supply has the proper pressure curve for it. the ISRAELI  boxer primed surplus was great but again many lots had bad primers due to heat so it was hit-n-miss. when using other guns ,  we totally destroyed a brand new Mk-1 INGLIS 8mm BREN and a like new 42 with 8mm from SOUTH AMERICA with booby trapped ammo and after that only factory origin cases were even considered. the other huge lot was from IRAN / SYRIA we had good results with which is surprising because it was all stored in heat.  when I sold off the last of my 34 parts there were still more than 40 NOS complete bolts and double that in new original brls so junk parts were never considered or used so parts were never the problem. again my hats off to you for the perseverance keep it up! 


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Thanks for the information Mike. Added it to the list. 

I'm kind of surprise no one made a list.. though I know everyone's experience may differ due to storage conditions to lot # of ammo. You were correct I was looking at this towards a MG34, but this is still relevant info for MG42 and bolts rifles.  Though for the bolts rifles I'm not taking accuracy data.

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Last time I ran Ecuadoran ammo in my 08/15 about 10 years ago I had many hangfires and misfires.  I bought a bunch of it from Sportsman's Guide years ago.  I got a ton of Yugo stuff from them about 20 years ago that was still good.   I tried some of the Ecuadoran in a M48 Yugo Mauser bolt rifle a few months ago and some of it took 3 or 4 primer strikes to fire if it even fired at all.  I'm saving the rest to pull the bullets one of these days.

Kevin in NC

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These days, you kind of take what you can get in a lot instances when it comes to 8mm.  With some exceptions.  Like Turkish.  Never run Turkish in an MG.

I wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to convert your 34 to 308.  That's a popular option for a lot of 42 owners/shooters, and one I probably need to more seriously consider for mine looking ahead.  It looks like 34 folks do it too, but check with Mike Todd about something like that and take his word over mine.  I know from reading Mike's posts that he loves the 34.

-David

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ARMYDOC, THANX FOR THE FAITH ! i believe in the past i mentioned , i bought more than 500k rnds as scrap and fired more than half in my BROWNINGS only blowing a few primers. never the less I would suggest it NEVER be used in anything at this point. COMPONENTS ONLY! and yes I DO IDOLIZE THE 34. just wish there was an easy solution and I never found it. 

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I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Echo stay away from Turkish.  A buddy blew up a top cover with that toxic crap. Try to get a 7.62 NATO conversion kit (Norwegian or decent US made. 8x57 is going the way of 8x33. And  get Folke M's book. 

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On 7/22/2020 at 1:57 PM, Waffen Und Bier said:

Echo stay away from Turkish.  A buddy blew up a top cover with that toxic crap. Try to get a 7.62 NATO conversion kit (Norwegian or decent US made. 8x57 is going the way of 8x33. And  get Folke M's book. 

I would love to get Folke's MG34/MG42 book.. but it is quite expensive. I just might have to bite down and buy it. 

I'm definitely looking into getting a 308 conversion.  Not sure how to tell what is decent made though. I saw one for sale, but didn't come with a feedtray, but had all the stuff needed to modify one.  Need to find a spare feed tray to modify since I don't want to modify my original. I had bought a lot of Malaysian 308 which runs great. Not great grouping size, but it is realiable and non corrosive.

*I updated FedArm ammo on the first post.  Picked some up but haven't had a chance to try it.

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Ideally a Norwegian issued 7.62 conversion kit. Beyond that, something  by Landies. Can't advise about any other kits. Folke's book is the shite. Gotta have it. Cost be dammed. You have an MG34, man. 

Buy spares where you can (although it never fails, when I sell the gun, I end up throwing the spares in with it......have to stop doing that....because I either end up buying  another gun, a friend ends up buying a gun, or the costs of spares goes nuts). Good luck.

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Your money is better spent on 8mm ammo than a 308 conversion.  Norway did it because they got guns for free , but they never worked all that well.  With the gun's operating system just lightening the barrel is not the equivalent of running less powder, there is a lot more to the design than just a powder charge/ barrel weight calibration which is why 308 is not particularly dependable. 

If you think the books are too expensive wait until you see how much time and money you dump into a 308 conversion!  

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I have read about the 308 conversion issues.. Trying to get ejection port timing via mix and matching bolt parts, etc.  I've been hesitant buying the kit because of that.  THough I've heard some people had no issues.. but the way my luck has been going this year, it would explode.  LOL.

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Posted (edited)

I just pulled a FedArm 8mm Mauser round apart and found rust..

The bullet is boat tail and the inner side show signs of rusting. 
The case walls show signs of rusting as well. The crimping leads me to believe this is the original primer.. which is corrosive.

I'm wondering if this rust will cause any issues.  Not use to seeing rust in bullets.

The marking are::

  • dou - Waffenwerke Brünn A.-G., Werk Povázská Bystrica, formally Czech National Arms and Ammunition Factory, Povázská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia under German occupation
  • 41 - Made 1941
  • IXg1 - steel metal supplier
  • 12 - Lot #

Powder type: Flake
Powder weight: 42.1 gr
Bullet weight: 197.005 gr
Case with primer weight: 168.7 gr

7Nf8gV4.jpgr9NoFTr.jpgsfwgelg.jpg
tfemKJM.jpgDkxPtVt.jpg

tnD9D4X.jpgjPlJSRz.jpgFHe4wmU.jpg

Edited by Ryo

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I purchase some 8mm 5 plus years ago with the square flake powder. The brass was no good. Too many split cases. I have forgotten the headstamp info BUT it was original factory ammo. Paid a nickel a round. Tore it all down for components, Sold the real nice bullets for 5 cents. Scrapped the brass. still using the powder in 30-06 reloads for my BAR only. Just my experience.

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Posted (edited)

The 1941 7,9 dou sS ammo you got is completely original, not reloaded. The rust is from nitric acid coming from the decomposing powder, which then attacks the steel case and bullet jacket. The stenciling on the cartridge case is a EU requirement, as the original head stamp does not show caliber. ZDh 88 (corrosive) primed. Might work OK, but I would not buy a lot. The next box might be an entirely different year/loader. Regards, JH

Edited by Haakster

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Posted (edited)

Pulled a different FedArm round.. with copper jacketed bullet.

Headstamp:

  • P25 (Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen G.m.b.H, Werk Sebaldushof, Sebaldushof, Germany)
  • 40 (1940)
  • VIIa1 (Steel supplier)
  • 120 (lot)

Weight (overall): 410.3 gr
Powder weight: 39.4 gr
Bullet weight: 198.4 gr
Case weight (w/primer): 169.5 gr

kLH85Ub.jpg

kjqhpRQ.jpg

u8BCMan.jpgr0tGsbh.jpg?1yaxkNN5.jpgSDtPvEM.jpg

Edited by Ryo

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