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7.9 X 30 POLTE XPL


This was one of a series of small, intermediate cartridges developed by Germany during the 1930’s. The 7.9x30 was done by Polte Armaturen und Maschinenfabrik AG at Magdeburg. Their experimental cartridges were generally shorter than the corresponding RWS/GeCO counterparts. Long before WW2, small arms designers in various parts of Europe came to the same conclusion that most cartridges in existence at that stage in time were quickly becoming obsolete. The biggest revolution in small arms design during the late 19th century revolved around the invention of smokeless powder by Frenchman Paul Marie Eugène Vieille in 1884. This lead to a mini ‘arms race’ in small arms design and the transition from big, chunky lead bullets to small caliber jacketed bullets extended the range of fire beyond what a soldier could manage via open sights. Developments in machine gun technology meant that large amounts of flying lead from old fashioned volley fire by units of soldiers at soft skinned targets at longer ranges were no longer necessary – a few carefully positioned machine guns could do a much better job with a lot less effort.

On the opposite side of this equation, the emergence of semi-automatic pistols and the application of these rounds in submachine guns lead to a whole new level of research into the concept of ‘intermediate’ rounds during the years between the 2 World Wars. The basic requirement by the Heereswaffenamt (Army Ordnance Office - HWaA) called for a firing performance satisfactory to 800 meters, with full-and semi-automatic fire. In most conflicts, very few, if any combat situations ever happens where soldiers fire upon each other over distances over 800 meters and unless one is a sniper, shooting at an enemy hundreds of meters away with a bolt action rifle with open sights is a complete waste of time and energy. A less powerful round designed for closer combat or urban warfare would save both powder and brass, produce less recoil, making the weapon more effective under normal combat ranges in terms of semi auto or full auto fire, while soldiers would gain an advantage of being able to carry more ammunition without increasing the overall load he or she is already carrying.