A couple of interesting Czech 7.62s

Just found these and thought I’d share them.

The items on the left are 7.62mm Czech reference loads (ie standard loads). About 5 years ago I had the opportunity to shoot a varity of guns at the S&B range and all the ammo we used at the range was purple tip. Shame to shoot it and not walk out with it, but was not given that option. I sent boxes of purple tip 7.62x39 & 9mmM down range. we all have to make sacrifices!

The other two (7.62x39s) are, as I understand it, proof loads but I could have misunderstood. Can someone confirm this or tell me what they are??? Note the punch marks on these bullets. One of these loads had the punchmarks much closer to the tip of the bullet.

All these rounds have a bxn headstamp.



Yes, Lew, they are proof, barrel proofs I think. The purple-tip reference rounds also appear in 7.62x39. I would think they should also exist in 7.62 Tokarev, but haven’t heard of any.

Jon, I have a box of purple tip 7.65mmB by S&B I have had for some years. I suspect they make it in most calibers, including 9mmP but I have never seen any of these.

Oh yeah, forgot about those.

Jon, in case you have none we can cure that situation easily:

Those I have seen so far were on Russian year-letter coded cases.

I have them in Russian cases with both 539 > A E <, but not in a Czech brass or LS case with a bxn headstamp. Do those exist? What is the headstamp on your Russian examples?

I also have D (what you mention as A) and E. Have never seen others

Lew - can you post a picture of the box for the 7.65m/m Bronwing purple-tipped Czech rounds? I have never seen one. If you have a translation, could you mention that in the posting?

My understanding is that these are “barrel test”, not “barrel Proof”. As it was explained to me, this is simply a way to “slug” the barrel to get the inside measurements, not a “proof” or “high pressure test” sort of thing. The proof or HPT loads use a standard ball projectile with a special type of powder and an all black and in some cases an all yellow bullet color code. I only know of Czech HPT with the black bullet. This barrel test cartridge is fired into some sort of soft medium to catch the projectile so it is not deformed. MOst of the Warsaw Pact countries used similar projectiles, but the DDR used one that looks like it came from a 7.62x54r but is unique to the load. All of these barrel test projectiles have a hollow base, presumably to expand into the rifling better.


AKMS, this is a tale and please should be erased from anyone’s memory and the one who promoted his opinion to such an extent is missleading people and should be punished because he is endangering them.

The Russian designation of this round is “VD” what stands for “vysokoe davlene” = “high pressure”. (the original color code for these was an all yellow projectile - to be observed with calibers where no special projectile got developed like the Russian 5.45x39). With the appearance of these special longer and heavier projectiles the yellow marking was dropped obviously. The Russian pre war 7.62x54R “VD” for example used also a regular projectile which was all yellow painted. An oddity is the (likely) one lot of Hungarian 7.62x39 with that longer and special projectile, it is also all yellow (thin translucent laquer), a duble marking so to say. Also interesting is that Poland and Romania developed for thier 5.45x39 “VD” a special projectile similar to the one in question above while Russia and the GDR did not.

The info that this is a measuring round is missleading people in a way that they may think it might be harmless to fire this round from a weapon. THIS IS NOT THE CASE AND MAY EVEN DO HARM TO THE SHOOTER AND DESTROY THE GUN!

The “VD” is a “barrel proof” round for barrels with a rifling and chamber in it without outer contures - when they are still outside a weapon (hence the longer projectile, it does not fit a magazine, just MHO). So if a test fired barrel has passed it will be furter machined to the final specs, this way a lot of work is saved in case a barrel does not pass.

Regular HPT rounds as you have indicated have an all black projectile. These are supposed to be used in assembled weapons. Their designation is “UZ” and stands for “usilenyi zaryad” = “enhanced propelling charge”.

Many, many thanks for setting the record straight EOD.

Do you know why the Soviet and DDR 5.45x39mm “VD” projectiles with yellow color markings have a flat base instead of boattail? My Soviet “VD” round with all black bullet has a normal 7N6 type boattailed projectile. Which one has more pressure, black or yellow tip?


AKMS, I can not tell for sure, my guess would be that the GDR probably used tracer projectile jackets to get the projectile heavier than the standard 7N6. I actually never got into this before.
How the Russians managed with the 7N6 then I do not know (if so).
Be aware that the GDR was using Russian 5.45x39 dummy rounds (with 7N6)
to set the laquering machinery - those being pulled afterwards may give us a wrong impression of the whole thing.
About those GDR 5.45x39 “VD” we should read up in Mischinger’s books again.

You mixed the designations now:
VD is the long / yellow projectile = barrel proof
UZ is the black projectile = weapon proof

The VD has the most pressure.

  • @ Lew: Since it is not mentioned, the 2 rounds from left [see the photo at the very top] are 7.62X45. Liviu 10/07/08

Good catch Liviu!


I have sectioned Soviet made 5.45x39mm “UZ” cartridges with both all-black and all-yellow projectiles. Both projectiles are “normal” length and have the ogive profile of the standard 7N6 projectile. The all-black projectile has the normal 7N6 steel cored porojectile with lead in the tip behind an airspace. The all yellow projectile is also a steel core/lead/airspace but the steel core is not tapered at the rear and the projectile is flat based. I do not think that a tracer jacket was used since the ogive is that of a 7N6, not the tracer. Also the steel core being present does not effectively increase the projectile weight, like one would assume for a high pressure round. Even with a tracer jacket completely full of lead, as we see in current commercial loads from Ulyanovsk, the projectile weight is only about 8 grains more than the 7N6.
The DDR M-74 “HD” with short yellow tip (05 88) is constructed exactly like the Soviet load with all-yellow tip. Mischinger’s book does not explain the projectile design, only that the HD load generates 30% overpressure.

Perhaps the black tip indicates a lower pressure and the yellow tip indicates a higher pressure and the flat based projectile is needed to better contain the pressure in the barrel?

A few years ago I saw on Tula’s website a picture of lacquered steel 7.62x39mm with all black and all yellow projectiles. Normal, “ball” type projectiles, nothing longer than normal. It appears that there were two distinct High Pressure test loads used in USSR and still in Russia?


AKMS, good you clarified the facts on the 5.45x39 “VD”.

You are asking for the higher pressures of the two proof rounds?
The black and yellow (resp. long and heavy proj.) are both higher in pressure than the regular cartridges.
Here to my understanding how the order is (by increasing pressure):

  • regular ammo
  • “UZ” black = weapon proof
  • “VD” yellow (long and heavy projectile) = barrel proof

That is interesting, I have never seen or heard about a Russian made 7.62x39 with all yellow projectile in conventional shape. Do you have an image from that website?


I printed a copy of that web page for my notes, but did not save an image to share. I was mistaken in my earlier statement about the yellow bulleted 7.62x39mm. The picture only shows a lacquered steel cased round with all black bullet. The image does show the two 5.45 high pressure test rounds. One with the all black bullet and one with the all yellow bullet. I am still confused about the yellow bulleted 5.45 round. You keep saying the yellow color should be associated with a long and heavy bullet, in the case of the 5.45 it is a normal size and weight bullet. The DDR calls this a high pressure cartridge, not a barrel test, but you are saying that the identical load from the USSR is a barrel test?


Correct, I tried to say several times that the all yellow projectile is equal to the longer and heavier projectile with no color markings. These both are the “VD”.

Here you have examples of the 5.45x39 “VD”.
1st is Russian and 2nd is Polish

OK. Now I understand. I missed the part about the two being equal but of two different designs. Please excuse my thick-headedness. “Ich bin ein Dummkopf”!

Looking at Mischinger’s book, it appears that the DDR did not have both a “VD” and “UZ” types in 5.45, just the “VD”, only they called it a “Hochdruck”. Perhaps they used this one cartridge to perform both functions? If you look on page 53 of VEB-SWL, the sectioned 5.45 cartridge has the steel core/flat based projectile found in the DDR “HD” and Soviet “VD”.


Good you got the point on these two.

The GDR certainly could not have used the “VD” / “HD” since it is only for barrels and not for weapon mechanisms.
That no GDR “UZ” exist does not mean that they did not use Russian ones or GDR made ones without markings, which exist in 7.62x39 for example.
Seems there are quite some questions left.