Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
You're sort of right, but you're also wrong.
No, the C96 Mauser was never the official issue sidearm. It was the Nagant revolver.
However, the Russian military approved the C96 for private purchase by its officers prior to World War I. It was very popular with Russian officers, as well as officers of other European nations. Winston Churchill purchased one and used it during the Battle for Omdurman, and thought very highly of it.
After World War I, both Germany and the new Soviet Union were something of international pariahs, so they naturally turned to each other for trade.
In the early 1920s the Soviet Union purchased approximately 20,000 C96 Mausers in 7.63 Mauser, primarily the smaller Bolo models, and issued them not only to high-ranking military officers, but also to Soviet secret police like the Cheka, OGPU, and NKVD. So, to a limited extent, the C96 Mauser was official Soviet military issue.
Additionally, the Soviet Union purchased not only several million rounds of 7.63 Mauser ammunition from Germany, but also from DWM the equipment necessary to manufacture 7.63 Mauser ammunition.
In the late 1920s, when the Soviets decided to adopt a semi-automatic handgun as general issue, they looked to the 7.63 Mauser for inspiration. The cartridge's dimensions were changed slightly to bring it more into line with Soviet manufacturing practices, but for all intents and purposes, the 7.62 Tokarev round was identical ballistically to the 7.63 Mauser.
The traditional load for the 7.63 Mauser is an 86 grain FMJ bullet at roughly 1,410 FPS.
The original Soviet-manufactured load for the 7.62 Tokarev was an 87-gr. FMJ bullet at 1,390 FPS.
The Soviets were more than happy with the 7.63 Mauser's ballistics, and saw no need to try to amp it up, and they didn't.
When fired in the longer-barreled Soviet submachine guns, the Tokarev round's velocity approaches 1,650 FPS. I've witnessed Soviet era ammunition being fired - over a chronograph - out of both TT33 pistols and PPSh submachine guns, and there is a several hundred foot per second difference with the longer barrel.
It wasn't until after World War II that the Soviet Union and other Soviet satellite states, primarily Czechoslovakia, produced uploaded rounds for use in submachine guns and the CZ-52 semi-auto pistol. Some of the Czech loadings would disassemble a TT 33 in relatively short order and would push 1,900 FPS out of Czech submachine guns.
That said, as I noted, the 7.62 Tok. round is dimensionally slightly different than the 7.63 Mauser round, and as such can give feeding and chambering problems in the C96. But, if it chambered, it could be fired safely.
"What DID happen was the Germans ordered a ton of obsolete .30 Mauser ammo to the front lines for use in captured Tokarevs. Russia may have intended that they be able to use captured ammo, but the reverse wound up being true because they captured so many Russian pistols but not much ammo."
OK, sorry that is absolutely wrong.
There was no need for the Germans to supply 7.63 Mauser ammunition to troops fighting in Russia.
In the early years of the war, the Germans captured millions of Russians and thousands of tons of equipment, including hundreds of thousands of PPD and PPSh submachine guns, both of which fired the standard 7.62 Tokarev round.
In addition to the guns, the Germans captured millions of rounds of 7.62 Tokarev ammunition, more than enough to supply all of the guns that they captured for a long, long time.
The Germans captured so much Soviet equipment that the PPSh was issued to rear-line German troops in occupied territories and, rechambered to 9mm Luger (a simple barrel alteration, the 9mm cartridge would feed through the standard drum magazine no problem) it was issued to front-line German troops fighting the Soviets.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.