7.62x54R "21 86" DDR box

I bought this box with neatly stacked 7.62x54R “21 86” rounds inside. The box is definitely DDR but I think it originally contained 7.62x39. Am I right?

Vlad the GDR 7.62x39 was designated M43. So this one here looks genuine. Your’s here should have short blackened projectiles.

Alex, thanks, they are short and dark. And there are multiple small metal shavings caught in the crimp between the cartridge neck and projectile body, looks funny and very un-German. How come neither IAA headstamp guide or Municion.org mention “21” as an East German manufacturing plant? Is it a Hungarian made cartridge loaded in Germany?

Vlad, this is a GDR made 7.62 x 54 R short range cartridge designated Übungspatrone M 39-Üb and in this case it was loaded using Hungarian cases. It was designed for PKT, PKMS and PKMB machine guns.

Fede, thanks. I kinda vaguely remember Hungarian discussion some time ago. Any idea what “68” in the upper left corner is?

Probably a lot number. I have pictures of packets marked 21, 31, 38, 51, 64 and 68.

Vlad, the East Germans used cases sourced from neighboring communist countries to load these practice cartridges. The projectile is that of the 7.62x39mm M-43, with a steel core. The only difference is that the projectile does not have a boat-tail, whereas the M-43 does. Presumably this was done to match the trajectory of the also flat-based T-45 tracer projectile used in the practice-tracer version of this load and to reduce it’s overall range. Regardless of the handwritten note on the box, I expect these are corrosive primed…