7,62 x 39 mm arabic



can you tell me more about this cartridge .


Most likely Iraqi. As you have it positioned, at 12 o’clock 89 (year of mfg.); 5 o’clock 03 (factory code? appears on most/all Iraqi headstamps of this style); 7 o’clock 39 as in 7.62x39-mm.

Search the forum and you’ll find quite a few Iraqi related threads.



The only thing I can add to the correct information above is that the factory that produced this ammunition was reportedly set up by the Yugoslavians.



thanks for your help.

irak does produce so tracer and API? the color are the same than in russia?



Yes, Iraq does or did produce Ball, Tracer, API and Blank cartridges in 7.62x39mm. All of the cartridges of these types had the standard color codes used by Russia/USSR.



thanks a lot


As to the Yugos setting up the machines, production could have started about 85 because this is the first year of those distinctive look ctgs. to my knowledge. But the Yugos did not supply the cartridge spec: the Iraqi

  • bullets all have the same ogive shape
  • ball bullets are shorter than that of a Yugo
  • primers have a circular crimp

I can confirm that Iraq made/makes 7,62x39 ball and tracer/green tip. My youngest Iraqi API dates from 84 and looks like another CSSR import. Made by bxn with 2 position h/s. But is there any API known made after 84 with 3 pos. h/s?

In my collection I also have a white tip Iraqi 7,62x39 out of 87. It was labelled “white tipped tracer”. Since it has the weight of a ball round of the same year I rather believe it to be a reference round, following the Soviet pattern.

Neighboring to it in the shelf was a yellow tip (!) brother which was labelled as another colour tracer, I forgot which and unfortunately did not get that one. What could this one be?

Maybe someone can bring more light into this?


My checklist shows API made in 1981 and 1982 with the four element headstamp, in addition to your two element headstamp dated 1984.

Tracer, API and Blanks seem to have only been made for a few years.

There has been some debate about wether a lot of Iraqi ammunition was made by them or for them by other countries, at least prior to the known production that started in 1985.

When I was in Kuwait during 1990-1991, 99% of the 7.62x39mm ammunition we captured from the Iraqi army was not of Iraqi manufacture.
The Iraqi 7.62x39mm we did see was all of the ball variety. The tracers were from USSR, Bulgaria and China. The only API seen was of Chinese origin.

I suspect your white and yellow tipped rounds to be not original loadings. But since not much is kown about Iraqi ammunition, anything is possible…



Interesting to read that, AKMS.

Looking at how bad a late era Iraqi ball looks I share your doubts our friends technically were prepared to produce any other than practice ball ammunition in this calibre. But a reference round requires no special know how to make, no other tools or machines, just the good will to give the name.

We can suspect both white and yellow tipped rounds being of Iraqi manufacture. I looked 3 times at them with a magnifying glass because I did not believe my eyes. But both were fine and original (and of the last 3 pos. h/s era).

I cannot speculate about the yellow tip, but there was a third party in the box: an 89 green tip, slightly lighter, only 0,15 gram/2.3 grain than a ball and of the same ogive shape. I’d not pull it and have no access to an x-ray machine. I really don’t know it this is tracer, same ogive - same weight make it look shaky. But it came with a copy of a printed label. Quote:

7.62 X 39

Use with caution
When shooting
eyes and ears

Maybe those were sales man samples?


You might be very correct about the white, yellow and green tipped tracers.

Here in the US, some companies have used Iraqi ball cartridges, bought as surplus in the early 1990’s, to make “reloaded” tracers. I used to have one in my collection. It was headstamped “03 39 89”, had a red primer seal and a green tip. The projectile may have had it’s base drilled out to insert a tracer mix. This would account for the slightly lighter weight, but same ogive. The green paint was not normal in appearance, so I doubted it’s authenticity from the beginning. I never took the cartridge apart to see how the projectile was constructed. Maybe one of these “reload” tracers made it’s way over to Europe? Maybe the white and yellow tips were from the same manufacturer. There are many different color tip “reloads” for sale here in the US at gun shows and on-line. They use whatever cases are available. I just discovered a new one today. Purple tip using new “WOLF” brand cases.
These purple tip rounds trace for 300M then explode!



Hans - the box you are referring to that had a caution about using shooting glasses, etc… Where was this box located? In Iraq, or in some other country? It does not sound like any military label I have ever heard of, but that wording, expecially if in English, and the mixture of colored tips that most don’t seem to know about, suggest some of the small-shop custom loads made in the United States, often using unfired cartridges with either the bullet reworked or a new bullet of the same weight set over the original powder charge in the original primer case. I do not collect 7.62 xx 39 and know little about it other than having shot many thousands of rounds of it before such weapons were outlawed in my State. I used to even handload it, when no ammo was available, using converted 6.5mm Mannlicher cases and .303 British bullets. However, I have handled dozens of specimens of the commercially produced ammo in various loads and had many, many of them in my collection of auto pistol ammunition before they, too, became illegal in my state and I had to give them all up.


AKMS and John,

I got those items from one of our routine Atlantic crossers, so it is not unlikely he brought them back.
My thought about the box label was that Iraq those days tried to get into the kind of business Syria already was in. But with the details you provide I rather believe now they are US reworked, even though I can see no clues on them. A piece of good handicraft!

Thank you for your time,