7.62 x 25 S&B steel insert


Firstly, I am new here so greetings from a South African radiographer to all of you. I hope your New Year celebrations were great!

My special interest is gunshot wounds and in one of my cases a guy was shot in the heel and ankle and there was a curious projectile lodged in his tibia, such that it could only be seen on X-ray and could not be removed surgically (it would have destabilized the joint).

I showed the radiographs of the insert to some AFTE members and a helpful guy in Hungary suggested that the curious projectile was the insert from a 7.62 x 25 Sellier and Bellot round. I managed to get a sample of one of those here in the UK. Here it is:

When I X-rayed the insert from another sample (insert intact), I was able to reproduce exactly the radiological appearances of the gunshot case. My conclusion is therefore that the curious projectile that could never be retrieved from the guy’s ankle, is possibly an insert form a 7.62 x 25 S&B round (the version with the insert).

But, before I set off all the fireworks and pat myself on the back, I need to know a few things, and I hope you guys can help:

  1. Are there any other rounds in existence, of any weight and calibre, that have an insert that matches the above sectioned insert in contour and proportion?

  2. Are there any other Sellier and Bellot inserts that match the above insert, but are made from a material other than mild steel?

  3. Is there a resource or a contact knowledgeable on inserts (mainly for handgun ammunition) who I can consult with about a separate matter involving inserts?

I appreciate your help, thanks in advance.


Hi odd job, welcome.

http://cartridgecollectors.org/cmo/cmo06july.htm this link will take you to the IAA sectioned cartridge part and this pic shows a very similar insert in a 9mm makarov.


In the early to mid 1950s, the Czechs switched to steel core Tokarev bullets to save money, lead being much more expensive. They also eventually switched to steel in other calibers. I have sectioned examples of that exact round. Please contact me if you need any further info, or a sample of that projectile.

To add: East Germany used a similar steel core in its Tokarev ammunition in the late 1950s to early 1960s. I will check my sectioned rounds tonight to see the extent of the similarity.


OK. I checked my Tokarevs and you have an East German projectile and core. The Czech core is cylindrical. Do you have the cases of the samples you got in England? The headstamp markings might be helpful.


@ Simon

Thanks for the link, that is interesting, but it is not the same profile. I’m open to more suggestions though.

@ Jon C.

Aaah, East German…I thought it was Czech. Just as well I found you guys!
The headstamp: I could not acquire the complete cartridge here in the UK because I am not licensed to own that. I got two bullets from a company called Sporting Services here in the UK. It was just my luck that they had a limited number of bullets in certain ‘calibres’ available. The delivery slip indicated that these were Sellier & Bellot 7.62 x 25 bullets.

If you do have samples of those Tokarevs, both East German and Czech, I would dearly like some of those (say 3 bullets each). I am willing to pay for the whole cartridge in each case, plus time to pull the bullets and postage costs.
If the radiographs of the gunshot victim will be helpful, I will post them here, as well as the radiographs I took of the intact insert.


With the help of a local vet, I’m experimenting with x-ray cartridges. The results I’ve just got back look very encouraging. I’d be very interested in seeing the x-rays of the Tokarov bullets. I’d also be interested in the technical details as this may help getting the settings here fine-tuned.

Dave S


@ Dave S

Here is the radiograph of the victim’s ankle. The insert is arrowed:

And here is a composite image:

1 = an intact insert from a Tokarev S&B steel jacketed bullet, placed on a sponge at an angle prior to being X-rayed.

2 = the radiograph of the insert (the X-ray image)

3 = the cropped, rotated, equalised image of the insert from the victim’s radiograph, for direct comparison with my sample.

As you can see, the features are almost identical. The slight difference in the contour of my sample radiograph can be explained by a difference in the angle of the sample relative to the X-ray beam (which results in an elongated image because of beam dynamics). If I wanted to get the images to match perfectly, I could change the angle of the sample insert on the sponge and do more X-rays. I have decided that it is not necessary, though.
I am 100% confident that the insert in my sample is a radiological match to the insert that was not retrieved from the victim’s ankle.
If no other such insert exists, then the ammunition has been identified as per Jon C’s specification and as per my radiographs (this is a form of forensic radiology).
But we have to be sure that no other insert has that contour and that density as seen radiologically.

I must add a small note here: this case is a research case and is not subject to any legal proceedings. There are no financial aspects to this case and no individual can benefit or be penalised because of the identification of the ammunition in this case.


@ Dave S

PM me with details of your project and I’ll be glad to offer advice about radiography of cartridges and cartridge components.


@ Jon C

I have conflicting information on the insert in this thread. A guy on another forum says the insert of that contour is definitely present in the Czech Tokarev. He also provides headstamp information:

“…czech 7,62mm Tokarev ammunition…headstamp bxn 54…berdan primed laquered(…dark green…) mild steel case…9.3 grs smokeless powder charge…OAL 34,80 mm…bullet weight 85 grs(…plated mild steel jacket, mild steel core…”

Could you please verify the contours of the Czech vs East German Tokarevs. Which ammo has the cylindrical insert? Is it possible that both versions have the same insert seen in this thread? Or is it possible that the Czech Tokarev was made with two different inserts?

many thanks for your help


I am at this moment sitting at my desk looking at a cutaway DDR Tokarev (04 58) with that exact core (insert) shape. Right next to it is a Czech round with a cylindrical core, the tip slightly rounded. I am also looking at Gerd Mischinger’s excellent history of the Konigswartha Factory (04), which includes shop drawings of the factory’s cores and projectiles, which match your sample. Can I say that the Czechs and East Germans never exchanged components? Of course not. I can tell you I am 100% sure of what I see in my collection and files. Nobody in this hobby is a complete expert on anything. You gather as much relevant information as you can and make an educated guess.
What is the other forum you are referring to? I am always interested in cartridge discussions.


@ Jon C

Well that would definitely clear it up: there must be two versions of the Czech insert, one such as the sample I have here (S&B) and the other with the cylindrical insert that you have there.
The other forum where I posted this question is Tactical Forums and the link to that thread is here:

tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/t … p=1#000000

That sub-forum ‘Terminal Effects’ is more aimed at the performance of ammunition rather than the collection of ammunition, however the gentleman who has helped me in that thread also has good information on these Tokarev rounds.
If you have a Czech Tokarev with a cylindrical insert then I have to conclude that two different types of inserts were available for that ammunition (that is what the other gent advises me).
As for the East German round you have there, it presents me with a problem because I can’t determine whether it does in fact have the same radiological appearances as the sample I have here, which in turn matches the insert in the gunshot victim. I can’t determine that because I don’t have a sample to X-ray.
As you suggest, it may well be that the insert is the same for the East German and the Czech Tokarev, I don’t know. Both you and the gentleman on Tactical Forums know a hell of a lot more about Tokarevs than I do.
I would appreciate your comments on the information that has been given to me by the gentleman on the other forum. I also realise that it is possible that both of you are right.

These are the dimensions of the insert I have here:

Length: 0.54" (13.71mm)
Shaft Diameter: 0.224" (5.69mm)
Bulge Diameter: 0.267" (6.78mm)
Weight: 41.8 gn

If your East German insert matches that, then the plot will thicken and I will have to get hold of one of those and X-ray it. I still have much to learn about these rounds and I appreciate and value your input. It is frustrating not having access to all the relevant rounds under discussion.


It is a bit sad that Mr. Tranquillo is so positive that I am “wrong” without him having any knowledge of DDR ammunition components. I am not so “confident” as he and I will continue my study. I will check the cores on a number of Czech rounds to see if infact they used 2 styles of core. As I said before, there is always the possibility of a similarity between Czech and DDR components, but my DDR sample matches yours while my Czech one does not. PM a mailing address to me and I can send the DDR shop drawing information to you.

Now about 45 minutes later. I just removed the steel cores from 3 Czech Tokarev rounds, from 1951-53 (aym, X, “four balls”). All had completely cylindrical cores. I will check bxn, S&B, and other Czech codes as I dig them out.


@ Jon C

Thanks for your help and a different angle on this. The gentleman there means no offense, I think he is only concerned about the debate whether the Czech Tokarevs only have cylindrical inserts or not. He has stated that he has no East German samples and he can’t comment on those.
I find it compelling that he has such detailed information on the S&B Czech Tokarev and provides an image of a sectioned sample with an insert that matches mine in contour.
It is not my impression that he disputes that the East German Tokarev can have the same insert as mine, I think his dispute is more to do with whether the Czech Tokarev can have an insert which is not cylindrical.
Anyway the last thing I want to see is an argument between the two of you and I would rather be in a situation where we can agree that you are both right and that it is a simple matter where the one individual has seen the insert in the Czech ammunition and the other has seen it in the East German ammunition. At some point I am going to have to find out whether the East German insert is of the same dimensions and density as the Czech insert. There remains the possibility that it is similar but not a match.
If you post pictures of your East German sample in section or of the intact insert I will gladly post those on the other forum because I am sure that the gentleman over there will be most interested in it.

Edit: thank you for removing those inserts and checking their configuration. If you don’t have any further use for them, I would like to purchase those for MRI deflection testing (I would need the inserts and the remainder of the dismantled bullet in each case). If you have the pieces and they are not contaminated with one another, and you know which pieces belong to which, I would like to buy those if you don’t need them.


Unfortunately I mingled and tossed the the jackets and filler material, keeping only the cores. However, those projectiles are rather common. I am surprised that Mr. Tranquillo believes the cylindrical Czech core is scarce.
As I said above, the DDR information is from Gerd Mischinger’s book, so I will not post any pages from it. If you would like I can send you some of the information.


Yes sir, I would appreciate that. I will PM you my email address.


I would be suprised if there were NOT two or even more different cores in Czechoslovakian 7.62 x 24m/m Tokarev ammunition over the full time of production. Certainly current, export cores from S&B in this claiber are all lead, or they could not import the ammunition into the U.S. There were two factories, Sellier & Bellot now in the Czech Republic, and Povazske Strojarne, now in Slovakia. For a time anyway, they used very different bullets in the 7.62 Tokarev. Some time ago, I pulled bullets from four 7.62s of PS-Slovak manufacture, from the 1950s, and two from S&B manufacture of the same era. The bullet you show is of the length (very roughly 17mm) of those from the PS rounds. The ones from S&B (from rounds headstamped “bxn” and “O”) are much shorter (roughly 15mm). All six of the bullets, regardless of length are of nominal weight of 84 grains (running from 83.9 through 85.1 grains). In light of that, and the fact that they all have GMCS bullet jackets, the cores of the the longer bullets cannot be, I would think, the same as those in the shorter bullets. I have not sectioned any, by the way. I am going by complete bullets. My experience with steel cores of 9mm Para bullets from different manufacturers in the same country (both in the case of Germany and of Czechslovakia) from WWII is that there are many different nuances in the shapes. I know this doesn’t clarify much, if anything, but it is an angle to your question I didn’t notice covered in the great thread resulting from your inquiry.


Question on the x-ray. Not to be a smart guy but was that person also shot with a paper clip?


@ gangjm

No, sir, that paperclip is applied by the ER doctor (or in that case by me, the radiographer) to the visible breach on the patient’s skin prior to X-ray.
It is a way to mark the wounds so that their position can be seen radiologically, in relation to any projectile components and anatomical damage within. The other skin breach marker has been cropped off the image, but it is present on my original images (of which I have two further views).
The benefits of having the skin breaches marked are clinical and forensic in nature, and it is standard practice at the level 1 trauma center at which my research was done.


@ John Moss

Well the plot looks to thicken quite a bit on this one, especially if bullet lengths are different. I can see how this is going to end up: I am going to have to get two samples of all the possible Tokarevs involved, get the inserts out of them and X-ray the lot.
I don’t know how else to approach the problem as a person who does not have in depth knowledge of these rounds but nevertheless has good documentation of an unknown insert whose properties can be matched radiologically to another one.


Dear Jon,

sorry for my words but I referred to the statement that 7,62mm Tok. czech manufactured bullets have only cylindrical steel insert …because I’ve found cylindrical insert and steel insert with the shape as Mr. Odd Job pictures(…the latter in bxn headstamp ammunition…)…on czech 7,62mm Tok ammo…

as I wrote in the other forum…I never saw DDR 7,62mm Tok ammo so your work and your result is priceless for me.

I was not so confident(…I am a dubious man…)…I wrote only that I saw '50s manufactured bxn ammunition and the bullets have a steel insert with the same shape, diameters, lenght and mass… as measured by Mr. Odd job and by Mr. Emil Hamza…surely if your east german steel insert has the same shape and same dimensions we have a problem…and we need to take a look at the steel quality of the insert…

All the best