7.62x54R cartridges


Can anyone identify the following cartridges (7.62x54R) :

Left :
copper washed steel case headstamped 21 (Hungary)/ 73
181 grains bullet, 37.41 mm length

Right :
copper washed steel case headstamped 10 (bulgaria)/ 89
125 grains bullet, 26.72 mm length

Thank you for your answers



The left one is the heavy mild steel core bullet designated as “DPSz”



Maverick - the one on the right is a Bulgarian case, but it was loaded in the German Democratic Rpublic (East Germany), and is a short-range "M39

  • @ John Moss: I have a Romanian made 7.62X54R round which has a CWS cartridge case with a raised headstamp [“22” over “80”] and a short-range projectile. It is known that this type of ammo [7.62X54R] was loaded with short-range bullets by the former DDR [East Germany] and I won’t deny this. It had to be very inconvenient to send empty 7.62X54R shell cases from the country of origin [Bulgaria, Romania, etc] to East Germany only for loading and later to get back the loaded 7.62X54R ammo from East Germany. To me this practice makes very little sense, not to mention the cost of the ammo transport [unloaded and later loaded] and all the regulations and strict rules required for such an operation. What was the special reason why only East Germany could load 7.62X54R ammo having short-range bullets??? Anything so special about the propellant and the projectiles used by East Germany to justify the process mentioned above??? Liviu 12/30/07


[quote=“strakv”]The left one is the heavy mild steel core bullet designated as “DPSz”


Thanks Vince
It is a munition for sniper or for machine guns ?


It is rather for MG



Much of what went on in the former Communist Bloc countries did not make sense. These East German 7.62x54r short range cartridges are well known and can be found with headstamps from Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The East Germans are also known to have purchased (or traded for, in the spirit of Communist brotherhood) 7.62x54r ammunition from The USSR and Czechoslovakia. Why the East Germans did this is still a question. There is nothing “special” about these practice loads really. The ball projectile is very similar to the normal 7.62x39mm “PS” steel core ball, only the projectile is flat-based instead of boat-tailed. The tracer version uses the same exact
"T-45" tracer projectile as the 7.62x39mm. The odd thing is that these cartridges contain a full powder charge, so I cannot consider them to be “short range” like the Czech. 7.62x54r practice load. Years ago, a friend of mine brought back an interesting story from the former Czechoslovakia. He went there on a business trip to see about having some sort of pyrotechnic devices manufactured. Marine flares or something like that, I don’t exactly recall. He toured several munitions plants and other manufacturing facilities. He told me about how this one factory made nuts and bolts which were then sent on by rail car to be melted down and then the raw material sent back to the factory to make more nuts and bolts. Apparently this was done in the Communist system to give people jobs and make the various industries look productive. How true this story is, I can’t say, but Romania shipping primed 7.62x54r cases to East Germany to be loaded there does not seem all that unusual to me. I do not think that these cartridges were then shipped back to Romania to be used there. I have only seen these practice cartridges in East German packaging. Do you have boxes or other information that these were used by countries other than the DDR? As far as I know, only the DDR and Czechoslovakia used short range or practice cartridges in any quantity…


  • @ AKMS: When I served in the army in Romania [1974-76], we did not fire any cartridge having a short-range bullet, we only used ordinary ball rounds, tracers and in the very beginning blanks for training and during army maneuvers under simulated combat conditions. At that time I had no idea about any round with a short-range projectile. According with an “Illustrated Technic Military Dictionary” [printed in Romanian, English, French, German and Russian and translated from the original Russian version which was printed in 1968 at Moscow] only these types of bullets for the infantry small arms are listed: ball, tracer, incendiary, adjustement-incendiary [for the firing range adjustement ???], armor-piercing and armor-piercing incendiary with tracer. There is also listed a “live radiological cartridge” with a rimmed shell case but this had to be something special. Liviu 12/30/07


Liviu - why assume that these rounds were sent out of the DDR once they were loaded? The box labels are in German, with the German designation. As far as I know, and have never heard different, they were made for the use of the Volksarmee or other military and paramilitary organizations of the DDR. The mystery is why, once they tooled up for the 7.62 x 54R case, they did not seem to do any serial production of it, instead purchasing the cases from other Warsaw Pact countries. As you probably know, East German-made 7,.62 x 54R rounds (I mean with cases made by them and so headstamped) are a rarity. Some good collections have only unfinished cases or empty cases. Most have none. I say “mystery” because i don’t read German well. Gerd Mischinger’s fine books on L

  • @ John Moss: Yes, as you mentioned above, the main question is why the 7.62X54R cartridge cases were not manufactured in large quantity by DDR [East Germany]??? It makes no sense since the DDR industry was very good and capable of producing high quality products. Perhaps the former Soviet Union didn’t allow the manufacture of the 7.62X54R shell cases in DDR taking in consideration a strategic reason or something similar which we may never know. Actually it had to be a very good reason and maybe a cartridge collector from the former DDR could give us a clue. Liviu 12/30/07



These two training cartridges were regularly adopted and used in machine guns and in the SVD sniper rifle. Tha maximum range was 3000m. The GDR also produced blank cartidges from imported cases and loaded them at VEB Silberh


EOD - That is interesting about the 203 reloading of ammunition. I don’t know why they used foreign-made cases in 7.92 x 57mm. I have blanks loaded by 201 (can we put a name to that factory?), of caliber 7.9 x 57, using Czech cases, but also in East German (04) cases. I have the box label, and it is clearly “201” and not “203.” I wonder if there was a factory “202” as well, because then we would have 201, 202, 203, 04 and 05. Just a thought!?


I don’t know if this is useful to anyone, but I bought a full box of the short range practice ammo from a friend, in the tin he had there was a paper with info on it, mainly how to correctly set the sights on MG’s to compensate for the cartridge. I got that off of him too…

If it would be usefull, I could get pics of the box, rounds, and paper…


John, of course you are right. I should have looked at the same box as you have it.

Why do you refer to 7.92x57??? I meant 7.62x54R.

“203” is "VEB Silberh


I mentioned the 7.9 because it relates to the topic of cases of non-German manufacture used to make ammunition in the DDR. Really exactly the same topic as the last several entries on the thread.

You are probably right about the reloading aspect. I am guilty, even though I well know the difference, of thinking of one company’s cases loaded by a different company, especially in another country, as a “reload.” Of course, it is not always the case, although I have a brasss-cased “04” blank loaded by 201 in 7.9 that does look like a reload. None of the 7.62 x 54R rounds in my DDR collection are reloads - the cases were boviusly new, and probably primed at the manufacturing point of the case, rather than by the loading factory, although I am not certain of that. All my other 7.9 blanks from the DDR, in lacquered steel 04 and bxn cases, look like new cases as well.

Got to break myself of the over-use and more important, the incorrect use, of the word reload. Not ithe first time I have rightfully been taken to task for it.

John Moss