5.45x39 Ball Bullets (sectioned)

left to right

  1. 53gr from 05 87 headstamped Spreewerke, East German round
  2. 54gr from 10 89 headstamped Arsenal, Bulgarian round
  3. 54gr from 21 93 headstamped Zaklady Metalowe MESKO, Polish round
  4. 60gr from WOLF 5.45x39 headstamped Tula, Russian round
  5. 71gr from 3 96 headstamped Ulyanovsk Machinery Plant State Production Association, Russia round

1,2 and 3 are Military production ball with steel core
4 and 5 are commercial production ball/FMJ

I find it interesting that the Bulgarian bullet has a differant construction than the E. German and Polish bullets.

That IS really odd; since the ballistic effect of these rounds is supposed to be a function of the movement of the lead nose-core, it would be interesting to see how they perform in ballistic gel. Thanks for posting these.

Could be a manufacturing error.


I agree with AKMS.

AKMS & EOD thanks for the second opinion. I had wondered if it might be a manufacturing error. But with my luck and 120 rounds to pick from what are the chances of me picking a production error? Apparently fairly good :-) Any hoo, I sacrificed another round to the goddess of knowledge and it is confirmed. It was a production error. Here is a plonk of both:

Canadian made SS109 (5.56 NATO) on the left with Bulgarian bullet sectioned today next to the production error. US M193 (5.56x45) ball on far right.

With that kind of luck beating the odds, you should go buy a lottery ticket!


[quote=“AKMS”]Could be a manufacturing error.

I believe it could be an “error” of bullet sectioning process…

Your mean it was heated before cutting and the lead made it’s way into the tip?

Not a section error, it was never too hot to hold (never even warm) and only hand tools were used, so it had to happen at the factory.

I’ve sectioned quite a few 5.45x39mm projectiles and never had the core or lead slug move. Manufacturing error.



I think, No 5 bullet at Sht_LE photo is TRACER bullet

You are partially correct. The projectile is a lead cored Ball load, made by Ulyanovsk for the US (and possibly others?) civialian market. They used a tracer jacket, but the entire core is lead. It is interesting to note that the lead core is in two pieces. It seems as though the Russians took a partially complete tracer projectile, where the jacket has been formed and the lead front-core has been inserted, and instead of filling the rear portion of the jacket with tracer mix, put another lead slug in it’s place. When you section one of these, you can see how the lead core is in two pieces. The even went so far as to insert the pierced disc at the base of the projectile, just like in the tracer…