7.62x39 Ulyanovsk

I have a 7.62x39 made by Ulyanovsk headstamped “7,62 x 39 LOGO”. It is a zinc coated steel case, red casemouth and PA. The bullet, instead of coming to a normal point, has a 1/16 inch tit shaped point. Is this normal or a defect. This was sold to me as “M-8 Ball with Nickel Plated Case” However, it is clearly zinc or tinned, not nickel platted. What is the “M-8 Ball” bullet.

Ron - your cartridge does not have a bullet defect, nor is the “tit” on the nose akin to the minor imperfection found on many 7.62 x 39 bullet tips - it is there by design. Designated 7.62 x 39-8 by its maker, the Ulyanovsk Machinery Plant State Production Association (note spelling of Ulyanovsk). The description of the cartridge, as contained in a publication of the Association of Cartridge Plants (Russian Federation), is very confusing. There are evidently two different rounds carrying the basic designation of 7.62 x 39-8, one of which adds the word “Effect” to the designation. For example, part of their description says:

“The dispersion of bullets in firing 7.62 x 39-8 Effect cartridges is 1.5 fold below that of 7.62 x 39-8 cartridges.”

In a general picture, the show a normal hoolow-point bullet. I don’t know if this is the “Effect” version or not, but I believe it is not, as between the two columns of the page is a near double-size picture (case at 67.86m/m in the picture) of a round with exactly the bullet you describe. I believe that one is probably the “Effect” bullet simply in the context of the photo. However, it does talk about the Effect bullet’s expansion capabilities:

“…and insures a high expansion effect equal to expanding 7.62 x 39-8 bullets after hide penetration.”

The same publication and same page speaks about the availability of zinc plating, and all of the 7.62 x 39s pictured on the page have a high-polished, silver-color finish to them. They do not mention any availability of nickel or chromed cases.

I do not know the exact meaning of the “-8” nomenclature. My first impression was that it might be a reference to the fact that this cartridge has been occasionally described as the “7.62 x 38” but that would not square with the fact that in other parts of the blurb on Ulyanovsk, the cartridge is described as simply “7.62 x 39mm,” therefore pretty much signaling that the “-8” nomenclature has to do with the sporting loads only.
It may be nothing more than the factory numerical nomenclature for those two partricular loads, hollow-point and “Effect” (if I am judging that the “Effect” is the cartridge you described and NOT the hollow point. Wish I knew more about this caliber so I could be of better help, but aside from those from the DDR, I am pretty much a dunce on the subject.

I never heard the designation M8 and would assume it to be a western makeup.

The designations I know from box samples is “8M1” and in Russian advertisement this little additinal nose is to enhance accuracy.

Here an image:

There is no relation to GDR products at all.

EOD - OK, now we know for sure which picture in the brochure of the Association of Cartidge Plants (Russian Federation) is the “Effect” round, the one with the projection on the bullet tip, as I had guessed.

I agree that the precise term “Model 8” was probably used “in slang” by someone in the West, perhaps only the guy Ron got his round from. However, the part of that that is the umber “8” stems certainly from official Ulynovsk references - “7.62 x 39-8” in the brochure, and “8M1” on the box label, so the “8” is a Russian designation, not Western at all.

John–I hate to muddy the waters concerning the “Effect” cartridge, but I just got off the phone with the person I got the M-8 cartridge from. He has a box that says 124gr HP LCB Hunting Cartridges 7.62 x 39-8M3 “Effect”. The word “Effect” is in quotes on the box. The cartridges in the box are Hollow Points.

It appears that since the brochure I have was published, they have changed their terminology to name both types as “Effect” cartridges. It doesn’t muddy the waters for me. It is clear the the 8M1 is the cartridge with the “tit” on the tip of the projectile and the 8M3 is the hollow point. I wonder what happend to “8M2?”

The main thing is, I hope, that your question about the tip got answered.

My box containing the 8M1 “effect” cartridge claims it to be “match” and also having nickle plated steel cases. This is “Silver Bear” brand. Unfortunately I do not have any of the cartridges from the box. The only truly nickle plated 7.62x39mm out of Russia that I know of were made at Klimovsk.

As for the “-8” designation. I have this on sealed spam cans from Ulyanovsk dated 1992 and on a plain white box from Uly, dated 1996. (Both containing hollow point cartridges) I think the “8” refers to either a lead cored projectile or a hollow point cartridge (maybe both).


I have an empty 8M2 box but can not say what was inside - or at least how it looked like.
The designation there is “7.62x39 124GR. FMJ L.C.B.” so this is obviously no HP.

Noone there with catalogs of this civilian stuff?

I found an old printout I made from an Ulyanovsk website a few years ago.

They list:

8m2 “effect” FMJ
8m3 “effect” HP
8m5 “effect” HP
8m6 “effect” SP

So, no mention of the “8m1” Match load with “tit”, or an 8m4, whatever it might be. They list a blank, but assigned it no nomenclature other than “noise”.

Seems that “Effect” is just a trademark.


Thats the 8M1 “Effect” loading that is a FMJ made to perform like a JHP.

I know Barnual made this loading in the late 1990’s - early 2000s as well.

How does this “tit” increase accuracy? Isn’t it likely to deform by banging at other cartridges in the magazine?

It is clear that the “M” series of numbers is a load identifier.

The round with the “tit” on the point was not, at the time of publication of the information I have from the association of Cartridge Manufacturers, touted as a match round, but rather as a deep-penetrating, expanding bullet. Who knows what they decided to eventually sell it as!

Vlad - the “tit” could not contact other cartridges in a magazine, other than a tube loader, where on recoil, it would immediately set off the cartridge ahead of it in the tubular magazine. Fortunately, there are no tubularmagazine 7.62 x 39 rifles. Since the “tit” is on the tip of the bullet central and aligned the same as the center line of the cartridge, it could not touch any other cartridge in a box magazine, and would have not effect ot any other cartridge. Whether it would feed in everything I don’t know, but I don’t see much reason why not. I don’t think the 7.62 x 39 generates enough recoil, being a comparitively weak cartridge, to deform the tip while the rounds are in the magazine.

I will see what I can find in the regular Ulyanovsk catalogs about those numbers, if I have any. No time right now. Will try to do it tomorrow. If not then, someone else will have to research it, since I will be away for a week.

I found the following information on another web site"

“8M1 effect bullets have an air-pocket in the tip of the bullet that sets the center of gravity farther back than usual. When the bullet hits a soft target, it travels about 4” point-first, then it starts to yaw in order to spin around into a more stable tail-first configuration (because the center of gravity is near the rear of the bullet). But once it yaws through 90 degrees the lead shifts and the air pocket moves backwards, the bullet stops yawing and travels sideways the rest of the way through, making a large “keyhole” wound in the target."

Also, on another Forum:

“Effect” is simply the trademark of ammunition produced by Ulyanovsk. It can be found on box labels for FMJ, HP, SP and the
"nipple" round. “Nipple Effect” is a misnomer. According to Uly, this “nipple” round is listed as an HP."

As to the coating, according to pictures of a number of different boxes, all of them say “Zinc Plated Case”, not Nickel. I think this plating is just a marketing thing to go with the brand name of “Silver Bear”.

From the sectioned example in my collection, there is virtually no airspace in the tip of the projectile. Certainly not enough for the lead core to “flow” into to any degree. Compare this projectile to those made by Tula, which have a huge airspace in the tip, and you can see the information about this projectile being made to yaw or tumble or “act like a hollowpoint” is incorrect. The tumble and yaw pattern attributed to this design is very much that of any flatbased-lead core 7.62x39mm projectile, such as the Yugo M-67 without the silly part about the lead core flowing this way and that. The “tit” was designed for accuracy/aerodynamic reasons, the actual theory of which escapes me at the moment, not as some sort of wounding mechanism. The thickness of the jacket and “tit” are such that it is not likely to deform any more than a regualr FMJ. I agree that the nickel or zinc plated cases are only there as part of the marketing of “Silver Bear”, but my box clearly says “Nickel Plated” even if the cases were probably zinc plated.


AKMS–Thanks for the continued information. That the case was “Nickel Plated” was what was originally reported to me, but every box I have found on the web clearly says “Zinc Plated”. It appears there was a breakdown between marketing and production and that the first boxes were marked “Nickel Plated” and it was later corrected to the more accurate “Zinc Plated”.

AKMS - I agree that the information contained in original Ulynovsk ammunition literature about the wound capabilities of their cartridge with the projection at the bullet tip is probably hype. About 50% of all factory information about the capabilities of their cartridges is - perhaps even a higher percentage than that.

However, have you actually tested this cartridge in ballistic material, or on game, to see what it actually does, or are your comments theory? If theory, they should be identified as such. I haven’t seen any real testing of this round reported anywhere, although quite frankly, I agree completely with what you said, theory or not. Still, sometimes bullets surprise. I gave the U.S. Army ballistics lab at LAIR a hollow point bullet to examine and test fire - Fiocchi 147 grain - and when they looked at it, they predicted poor expansion but good penetration. In truth, penetration was good - average for the heavier bullet - but expansion was very good as well.

As I say, I agree with your comments on this ammunition in question, but just pointing out that it is important to identify if they are theories or the results of actual testing done.

It would seem, that perhaps from their own testing (which they would never publish, I am sure), that Ulyanovsk has backed off their claim for controlled expansion from this bullet. My only factory brochure - a single sheet catalog mostly in Russian, shows the round as 8M1 Effect HP, and lists it under “Hunting Cartridges.” Their tiny bullet “sectioned” drawing shows an odd tip at the core as well as the jacket. Left with no reason for its production, it is logical that since they are set up for it, they would likely pass it off as something else, in this case a match load. Of course “match load” in this caliber is kind of a silly thing, since most of the rifles made in this caliber (not all - Sako made some Bolt Guns in it) are simply incapable of anything even approaching “match accuracy.” The Valmet 62S is probably an exception - the one I had was supremely accurate for a short-barrel assault rifle with my own handloads (there was no factory ammo other than expensive Lapua around then, and it was good, but not great even in the Finnish rifle). I have never shot an AR15 in that caliber, although my experience with the 5.56 is that they are very, very accurate if fired with a “bench rest posture,” that is, not stressing parts of the weapon by cheeking it too hard, or gripping the pistol grip too hard (especially pulling down on it), etc.

Interesting stuff. One more candidate for the useless “wonder bullet” file.

Well, Im probably beating this subject to death, but researching something else reminded me that I had a "Golden Bear, Silver Bear, Brown Bear Catalog from 2005. Case finishes for this ammunition can be confusing, because that brand (brands) uses ammunition from three different factories, Barnaul, Ulynovsk, and Novosibirsk.

Boxes pictured in the catalog for Barnaul and Novosibirsk show the plating as “nickel.” Boxes for calibers by Ulyanovsk show the plating as Zinc.

The pistol caliber boxes in my own collection reflect the same information.

Mind you, I am not saying that the boxes mentioned here as showing nickel plating are NOT of Ulyanovsk manufacture, but rather one of the other two. Am just reporting on this catalog and on my own non-7.62 x 39 calibers. Only headstamp verification will tell anything about the 7.62 x 39 rounds with boxes showing nickel-plating, when it comes to the “Silver Bear” line of ammunition. With two of three makers utilized by this brand, it is quite possible that the earlier boxes for Ulyanovsk loadings show an erroneous plating material for that factory.

John, I have not done gel testing of the 8m1 round. I based my comments on having sectioned a large variety of 7.62x39mm over the years and comparing construction of them. The 8m1 is essentially an analog to the M-67 type projectile and thus “in theory” would perform the same. There is no “airspace” for the lead to flow into creating instability and the “tit” is substantial enough that I doubt it would deform in soft tissue. I’ve recovered enough fired projectiles of all shapes and sizes to have a pretty good idea what they can take and not take. I take any mention of “hunting” with a grain of salt when it comes to Russian ammunition. This seems to be a catch-all phrase, perhaps to make the ammunition more import friendly. From the many internet reports of using Russian 7.62x39mm HP for hunting, it is not up to the standards of the job, usually performing much like an FMJ. I have several Russian commercial boxes of 7.62x39mm FMJ that use the term “hunting” in the box label!

As for the box, my Silver Bear 8m1 box is clearly a product of Ulyanovsk and marked as nickel plated. I have a pic of a near identical box showing the cases as zinc plated. Maybe the first one is a marking error?


AKMS - I agree with you completely on what you said about the bullet in question. Just thought it should be clear on what it was based. The experience you outlined that you have would, to me, take it pretty well beyond just theory.

I think you are right about the early boxes being wrong, although it is hard to say. Some of the first Bernaul pistol rounds in boxes say they are zinc plated, and to the eye, they are. Later boxes say they are nickeled, just the opposite of the Ulyanovsk situation, and again, in the case of Barnaul, the later ones do look nickeled - they are quite different in the look and even the feel of the Zinc plated cases.

Perhaps the original intention was to do a nickel finish but Ulyanovsk decided to zinc-plate them for some reason or another. All nothing but conjecture on my part, of course.

By the way, I class all Russian rifle ammunition that I have fired as “plinking rounds.” Good enough to send down range for fun, and considering modern military tactics, probably plenty good enough for combat, but not accurate enough for serious target shooting and with bullet designs really not terrific for hunting. In pistol ammunition, I have had little experience with Russian ammunition in serious target shooting, but some of it in 9mm Makarov has performed with excellent accuracy, admittedly at close range but with initial groups quite small. In fact, the only Makarov ammo I have shot that does any better is Chinese, and I have shot a lot of Makarov ammo!

I checked the patent for this one and it is declared as a hunting projectile there. It says that the jacked is grooved from inside below the tip portion what provides for the expansion effect.