7,62x39 question

Hello Gentlemen !
Recently i buy a few 7,62x39 cartridges . I was thinking that one of them was made at the Lake City Arsenal and intended for use in captured Viet Cong weapons. But i already had the same cartridge and decided to compare them .The comparison showed that these are two different cartridges .There are to many differences between them. Please help me to identify the second one.




My guess is what cartridges were loaded with bullets from different contractors or in different period of time (and that is why cannelures are different).
A chamfer (I hope this is proper translation) on the edge of the base of this case may be different in different lots (by the way this is pretty common issue on modern Russian cases, especially produced in Tula).

I think the same thing about crimp around primer. It could be a slightly asymmetric and width of circular crimp could be different from lot to lot or production line to production line.

P.S. I don’t clime they are same or different. Anything is possible. But for me between them only one major difference - bullet with different cannelure and sign above case shoulder which may indicate reloading of the case.

But maybe there are other thoughts?


7.62x39mms were made at Lake City and Frankford army arsenals. the 7.62x39mm with the smooth bullet groove might be a early Frankford arsenal with a Finnish bullet loaded in it-the U.S. copied the Finnish 7.62x39mm bullet. I don’t have a Lake City or Frankford arsenal made 7.62x39mm with a smooth bullet groove in my collection!

Good point on the possibility of the smooth cannelured bullet being a copy of the Finn design. My first thought was that it is an M-43 bullet, especially with the slightly flattened tip so often seen on them and that the ogive shape looks more like M-43. Maybe FA or LC used captured M-43 bullets to test? I know that FA made drawings directly from actual Finnish 7.62x39mm cartridges. I once owned one that was given to me by Dave Hughes. He had it given to him by a draftsman at Frankford Arsenal when he was working there.

The cartridge on the left with the less prominant primer crimp looks a product of Frankford Arsenal. From my collection, the only way to tell the two manufacturers apart was by the primer crimp.


The smooth cannelured bullet is a 122 grs Lapua made and was first used by FA until they developed their own design with 124 grs and knurled cannelure (following Lapua’s design). Bullets made by LC followed FA design.

Note that two different drawings were assigned to the bullet:

Thanks, Fede!

Thanks for the information,Gentlemen!

does the bullet with the smooth groove have a steel core or steel jacket?

Both of them react to a magnet .Tomorrow i can make an X-ray picture at my work,but i dont know will it show steel core or not.

If it is the short style shown in the drawing, it would probably have a lead core.

Finally i have made an X-ray picture.


Hi Guys!
I have one more 7,62x39 which needs to be identifi.Help me with it.


Where was this one found?

EOD,it was found in Ukkraine.

From former UN troops?

Maybe, I don’t know.

A cartridge head with this look was found in Africa and is shown in a report I saw on internet.


These would be the ones in question:

I haven’t been following this thread, but I am surprised that the bullet is magnetic. I visited Lake City when they were at full rate production on these rounds. They were still producing the cases from 7.62 NATO cups so there was a lot of trim from the case manufacture. They were expecting to receive cups specifically for the 39mm case within a short time.

I spoke with they lead engineer for the project. He said that the Lake City cases and bullets were designed based on the Finnish 7.62x39mm case and bullet. All Lake City production used a GM bullet jacket (non-magnetic) lead core bullet. He told me that they had made a test batch of bullets with GM coated steel jackets but had dropped that idea early on and no production of steel jackets loads ever took place. In fact, I don’t think the bullets were ever loaded and test fired. He gave me one of the steel jacket bullets which I passed on to the Woodin Laboratory.

I was under the impression that Lake City never produced any steel jacketed 7.62x39mm ammunition. They did give me a chrome plated round. At that time 50 had been made for a group of senior visitors. The head of the government group at LC had 7 or 8 left and gave me one. The people at LC were very upfront that the ball ammunition was being made for Cambodia.

LC was also producing 7.62x39mm blank rounds. They had been producing these for some time, well before any work on the ball cartridges. The blanks were for a tactics training school at Ft Hood as I remember, but in Texas.

Back then I was a USAF Captain and made a blind call to the Defense Contract Management Office and asked if I could come over and visit (this was late 1970 or sometime in 1971). To my surprise they were glad to have me come over and the head of the government contract management group spent the whole day with me, and I left with a bag full of goodies. The good old days.

The guy who hosted me told me an interesting story. This was during the troubles in Northern Ireland. Boxes of LC 5.56mm was showing up on the streets of Belfast from production lots that had not yet been issued to US troops. In fact it was showning up while still in transportation. Initially they thought that the ammo was being stolen during shipment, but couldn’t find any indication of this. It turned out that there were a couple of guys at LC on the production line that would run off a few extra cases of ammo, put them in the trunks of their cars and drive out the gate with them. The guy they were selling them to was shipping them straight to Northern Ireland. It was not clear, to me, whether the guys stealing the ammo knew it was going to the IRA.

Bottom line is I don’t think either of your two rounds was either LC or FA production-though I am sure no expert in this area. The boxes Fede shows in his post don’t look anything like the boxes used for the Lake City rounds. I think I still have one of those boxes-flat and never used-from my Lake City buried in my storeroom.

It would be very clever for somebody who was sending ammo to places it shouldn’t be to make it look like the LC production. Might be interesting to compare the powder from these rounds with the powder from a legit LC round.


Lew, there here do not look like US made cartridges. I have seen the whole projectile pulled and it is way different in construction. Also the area around the primer pocket looks different from US production.