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Testing 7.65mm French Long Ammo (Reed’s and Buffalo Arms)

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I am on the search for suitable ammunition for the Mle 1935A and Mle 1935S French pistols, as well as my MAS-38 submachine gun. They are chambered for the 7.65mm French Long cartridge, aka 7.65x20mm, aka .32 French Long. It has never been produced commercially that I am aware of, and surplus French military ammunition is scarce, corrosive, and very unreliable. So that leaves a couple custom ammunition makers to try from.

I did not try anything from Gad’s Ammo, as I have had poor experiences trying to order from him in the past.

I did buy a supply of ammo from Buffalo Arms, made with converted .32 S&W Long brass. I also was given some similar ammunition made by Reed’s Custom Ammo by a viewer (thanks!). I also had a selection of steel-case French surplus ammo. My results on a chronograph were:

Buffalo Arms (9 shots):
Average velocity at 3 yards – 979fps
Standard deviation – 41 fps.
Conclusion: Underpowered; usually ejected the case but would not chamber a new one. Not recommended.

Reed’s Custom (9 shots):
Average velocity at 3 yards – 815fps
Standard deviation – 82 fps. (!)
Conclusion: Significantly underpowered and extremely inconsistent. Never cycled the pistol, and usually failed to eject the empty case. Definitely not recommended.

French surplus:
10 rounds attempted, only one fired. Velocity of that round was 1085fps. Corrosive. Not recommended.

At SHOT Show in January 2018, the Starline booth rep told me that they were planning to start making proper new production 7.65mm French Long brass within the year. My understanding is that converted .32 S&W brass has a tendency to split case heads when loaded to original spec, so getting new production brass from Starline will be the key to anyone being able to make workable ammo for these pistols (both at home and commercially).

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