7,62x39 blue bullet!

7,62x39 blue bullet !
What is this load ?
For comparison the blue bullet between a ordinary bullet and tracer.

Could it be a reloaded US incendiary bullet?

The case is Russian but to my knowledge up to present days blue tip never used in USSR. Only some modern cartridges are coming with blue tip.

Hi Yuri - I know that you are using the term “Russian” as most of us Americans used it during the period of the U.S.S.R., but would it be more correct to say that the case is “Soviet,” rather than Russian? It is, from Lugansk, which is a Ukrainian factory, of course under the U.S.S.R. at the time the cartridge-case in question was made.

In the more modern codes, which I fully understand do not apply to the cartridge on this thread, am I correct in saying that a blue tip now signifies a proof load? I want to clarify this, as I have several 9 x 18 Makarov rounds with blue tips (all dummies from USITORY and IWA shows in Europe).

Hope all is well with you. Always glad to see your name pop up on the Forum.

John, the blue tips have shown up only in recent years and for some strange reason noone knows them in Russia and then the only one known there is no proof round (complicating it even more).
The round above is made in the 1950’s and I wonder if there is a relation to those made in recent years.

I never knew there was such thing as a military 9.3 x 64. What firearms was it used in in military service?


When was that weapon introduced? Unfortunately I cannot read Cyrillic, please could you post some more information?


Thanks for the link, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it before now, I visit that site frequently.

Just for info, the Russian Military / military indutry is designating this cartridge as a “9mm”.

This blue tipped cartridge appears to have a case mouth seal of some sort. In the picture it almost looks like glue residue. The headstamp of this cartridge puts it before the time when the Soviets used case mouth seals, so that is the first thing I see wrong with this cartridge. Second, the length of the tip color is too short. Third, the tip color appears to be paint, from the way it has chipped at the tip. The authentic lacquer type material used to color cartridge tips does not chip this way. Finally, the ogive shape is not right, even for a US projectile. Proof loads from this era used a standard PS projectile and an all-black (lacquered) projectile. I have to say that this cartridge is the product of someone’s overactive imagination, although I would like to be proven wrong!


Firstly, thank you Yuri and EOD for your comments on the blue-tipped rounds. It is very important to me because I am working on the Makarov story right now, including guns, accessories and ammunition, and it is important that I get facts right. I would have called my blue-tipped rounds “dummy proof loads” as that is how they were represented to me, and at least one case that I am positive of, to the person who got if for me at one of the military exhibitions. One of mine, indeed, has a Russian commercial headstamp, while the other two have the “188” military headstamp from Novosibirsk. I will now relate them exactly as Yuri and EOD have mentioned. Certainly two top experts in this field!

In a personal message to me, because he had some trouble getting on the Forum, Jack Wells, a noted 7.62 x 39 collector and friend, mentioned something that I should have thought of myself, since I have been to one of the shops and am really familiar with the existence of them. In and about Tucson, Arizona have been a couple of ammunition dealers that convert ball ammunition to specialty types. This is done for shooters - they are not “fakes.” They are packaged in their own packaging and not represented by the makers to be anything other than what they are. C & T in Tucson makes some that I am told by a knowledgable shooter friend are superior to many original military tracers. Before I had to give them them up, I had many, many examples of these, some purchased at C & T on a visit to Tucson, including a “Chinese” Makarov round with such a perfect brilliant metallic green tip color (tracer) that I could not believe it was not factory. Bill W. told me it wasn’t and when we went over there , so did the owner of the business. He had made them from ordinary ball.

Some of his rounds in rifle calibers, as I recall, had a yellow neck seal, which seems to be on the 7.62 x 39 round pictured and in question. I don’t know if it is actually yellow, or rather clear lacquer, from the picture. I think, as does Jack Wells, that this is the most likely scenario concerning this round. Without the packaging, there is no way to prove it that I know of, other than finding the maker and doing it by personal interview, unfortunately. If it is, the pale blue tip would designate an incendiary.

Jack knows his stuff and had an impressive collection some years ago when I paid him a visit.

But, I doubt that this round is an aftermarket load from C&T or anyone else in the US. I’ve seen and had quite a few of these in 7.62x39mm over the years and none had a projectile profile, tip color or case mouth seal like this specimen. C&T used whatever inexpensive surplus ammunition was available at the time, and this largely consisted of Chinese steel core ball. Later, Russian commercial ammunition with lacquered steel cases was used.
The “270 N” headstamp is not common here in the US, certainly not in enough quantity for anyone to use it for remanufacturing purposes.


On retrospect, AKMS, I think you are right. I heard from Jim Hawk as well, and he did not think the round was of C&T, and knew it wasn’t from his own firm.

On those early coded-date Russian rounds, the only quantity that came in was many, many years ago at our store in San Francisco, battlefield scrounge from Israel. We had quite a lot of the coded dates from several arsenals - 3, 60, 270 and a little from 539. However, certainly not enough that any quantity of it would have been converted. Besides, although we had somewhere around 50,000 rounds of it, at a time when there was exactly ZERO 7.62 x 39 ammo kicking around other than a little, very expensive Lapua, we sold it all at retail out of our own store. We sold none to dealers. I remember buying a quantity of the mixed headstamps myself, and many very advanced collections of the time got their first really early 1950s and even a few 49 headstamps, I think, from me. Still today, and it must have been almost 30 years ago now, I have some in my dupes, but everyone has them now.

I think we are totally back to the drawing board on this blue-tipped round with the Lugansk headstamp. It may be a fake, or it may be some “special” load put together in tiny quantity by an individual. I really have no idea.

Shot in the dark, but did the Soviets do any experimentation with Infra-red tracers, and could this be something like that? This cartridge warrants a few x-rays at various intensities.