5.8x42 Chinese




Cool photos. Any headstamp, ballistics or performance data? I hope no one is tell tales outside of school…


If this is the ammunition for a new weapons system it is surprising to see the use of a “Maxim” style closed pocket, pull out belt. It is very similar to the old 7.62 x 54mm belts. What action does the machine gun have?



There was an excellent article about this cartridge in Guns & Ammo’s “Combat Arms” (sold around April-July, 2006) authored by Timothy Yan.

Some of the features of this cartridge are:

DBP87 (Standard Rifle Load):

Case Length: 42mm
Cartridge OAL: 58mm
Case Taper: One Degree
Case Dia: 10.5mm
Case Material: Lacquered Steel
Primer: Berdan
Bullet weight: 64 grain FMJ-BT w/penetrator

Muzzle Velocity (DBP87 standard rifle load):

QBZ95 Assault Rifle w/18.2 in. barrel: 3,050 fps.
QBB95 Squad Auto w/21.9 in. barrel: 3,181 fps.
QBZ95B Carbine w/12.8 in. barrel: 2,581 fps.

“The bullet has a composite core that consists of a pin-shaped hardened-steel penetrator located near the bas of the bullet, with lead as the filling material between the penetrator and the jacket, as well as the tip cavity. The steel penetrator is 16mm in length, 4mm in diameter and weighs 23 grains”.

“The 5.8mm cartridge uses a silvery dual-base propellant in small dish-shaped pellets”. “Due to cost-cutting measures, the 5.8mm’s propellant is of the corrosive-powder variety”.

“The 5.8mm heavy load has a completely different design than that of the standard assault-rifle load. Its bullet features a slightly smaller hardened-steel penetrtor at the tip of the bullet. This allows the use of more lead to increase the bullet’s weight to 77 grains (5g). The overall bullet length is lengthened to 28mm with a marginally rounder bullet ogive and a deeper boattail to improve aerodynamics in the near-subsonic velocity range”.

“There are other special loads developed for the 5.8 caliber. The 5.8 tracer is marked with a blue-violet color tip. The two different 5.8 training blanks are the star-crimped case blank and a frangible PVC bullet blank that feeds better and doesn’t require the use of a blank firing adapter. The non-lethal 5.8 rubber bullet is loaded with a full-size round nose black rubber projectile in place of the FMJ”.


If this ammo uses corrosive powder, how long will it be before the Chinese have problems with weapons becoming unservicable due to poor cleaning?



COTW 11 has an article on the 5,8 by Yan as well.