7.62x54R ShKAS Question

Hi gentlemen!
I wish to ask is there any chance to determine what type of bullet presents in a 7.62x54R ShKAS cartridge made in 1944 by factory 46 (Sverdlovsk). At the point of the bullet there are only traces of red paint. I’m thinking that is possible by weighting it, but I don’t possess loading data for this type of cartridge. Any other ideas?

If the red colouring is right at the tip and not slightly lower down the bullet I’d say this would be the Type PZ Explosive Incendiary.
The B-32 API will have a red band beneath a black tip while the BZ-44 will also have a red band but with a purple tip. It’s possible it could be one of these two with the black or purple worn away.
Unfortunately all three types are magnetic.

I also think about these three types of loading - API, APIT or PZ, but the remnants of red are in such a place, that one cannot say for sure. Therefore, I suggest weighting the cartridge or some other non-destructive method for identifying it.
Thank you for your input anyway!

All three types weigh about the same, within a few grains of each other, so that won’t be of much help. However, my checklist only shows API (B-32) with that headstamp. The PZ (explosive-incendiary) load is not common and I have very few examples of it in my checklist. Odds are your cartridge is an API (B-32).


Iv40, maybe you can post an image and give us a better impression.

Yesterday I’d checked my 7.62x54R files and find that PZ bullet weights 10.3 g, BZT weights 9.2 g and B-32 weights 10.2 g - obviously almost nothing can be done by weighting.

So here they are the pictures:


I hope they can help!

As for me - this is B-32 bullet.

I think the only way to get exact answer - is to take out the bullet. But don’t use inetrtia hummer for this purpose - in case of PZ bullet you can lost the hummer because of bullet explosion.

This is B-32. There was no cannelure on PZ bullet. As far as I see, this one is with cannelure on bullet.

Or it could be ZB-46

In 1944?


In 1944?


Figures “46” is the number of the cartridge plant, not the year.

Yuri is right, there is no cannelure on the PZ and BZT bullets, so the remainig two possibilites are B-32 and ZB-46.
Thank you for disscusion!


Although badly chipped, a trace of black still appears at the tip. Mfg code 46 (Sverdlovsk) appears on many of the examples of ShKas B-32 API rounds currently seen. B-32 represents a large proportion of the ShKas ammo manufactured. In all likelihood, this is B-32.

Parenthetically, BZT was the desigation for APIT prior to the ZB-46. ZP had a gentle narrowing at the waist, rather than a hard cannelure, but BZT, like ZB-46, had one or more hard cannelures. I have seen T-30 tracers with the gentle narrowing, but not on the APIT.

The early tracers had no crimp grooves as it was feared (or by experience) that the pressing of the groove on the readily assembled projectile will cause (caused) the tracer compound to crack and stop burning (“combustion interruption” or what the special English term is - if one knows please advise) at that crack.
Probably the reason (or one of) why tracer compositions are often loaded in separate cups.

This also happens with solid propellants and HE charges - there cracks can also originate from shocks (or malicious production) prior to firing a regarding item. Effect there can range from ammo going only half way down the range or in worse situs even in catastrophic failures.

Interesting observation, EOD. I examined pulled bullets from my collection and did not see any hard cannelures on either Soviet, Czech, or Chinese T-30/46 style tracers. It seems the BZT and ZB-46 APIT were not spared this procedure. Perhaps, as they were loaded for the ShKas MG, it was felt that keeping the bullets in place during the high speed/rough handling of the loading cycle it was worth the risk.

As the engineers are probably all long deceased, we will probably never know the reason.

The issue with the crimp groove on tracers is stated in some Russian publication. So the observation is not my merit. Even today Russian tracers in 7.62x54R have no crimp grooves, that includes the latest BT-90 variant (an AP-T which has a green tip).
In general the problem of cracks in solid chemical compositions is an old issue in the business.

The ZB-46 (also designated BZT-46) with the 3 grooves was made this way in order to reduce barrel friction and related heating of ShKAS barrels due to their high rate of fire.