A couple of Russian shotshells to identify

Does anyone know what these are? Especially the bottom one is quite a mystery to me… Russian shotgun shells LE / military but what exactly.


These are wind indicator cartridges for artillery systems - mainly the 122mm MLRS BM-21.
They are fired straight into the air by a so called “wind rifle” what is basically a M1891 Mosin-Nagant rifle with a 12 GA barrel.

There are 3 variants, 2 (ZP-1 and ZP-2) for use by day which have a lead ball with a colored cloth band through the hole in that ball. These 2 have different charges (and sowith effective heights).
The third one (“NZP” below, your cloth band is missing) is the night variant with a pyrotechnic composition which allows to see and find it by night.

So after firing the crew has to wait for the return of the projectile (wearing helmets I guess). Then they locate the position of the projectile. Measure the distance and angle in relation to the firing position and intended fire direction of the weapon system and look up the figures in their wind drift calculator spread sheets and get a correction figure for the fire control system of the weapon.

EOD, thank you. For a long time I had been wondering how a Windgewehr works, which I knew was used in rocket artillery. WTS in Kobenz had one on display, but no explanation at all.

You are welcome.

How old is this weapons system?

The earliest cartridge I know of is from 1964. So it might be even older.
As the use of these is heavily connected to the BM-21 system we may look up the history of that one and if the wind rifle was adopted at the same time (may be difficult to find out) we may have a better idea of the time it got adopted.
Unfortunately I have never seen a manual for this thing.

My ZP-2 is dated 83 (headstamped 12 [at 9] & 83 [at 3]) & my NZP is dated 7-72 just under the H3n case print, to perhaps? put end dates.

Nice information EOD, knew they for some kind of wind estimation, but nothing else. THANKS!

Here are a couple of drawings of the “wind rifle” mentioned by EOD (this model is designated VR-2M):

Pete, the latest I know of is from 1987. I assume this must be close to the time radars took over maybe but I would not be surprised if the wind rifle is still used a as back up.

By the way, the only non Russian/Soviet manufacturer seems to having been Czechoslovakia.

Thanks for the schemes Fede!

Some of you guys seem to be very interested in this so I thought you may like to see these schemes then:

A big thank you for helping me with these cartridges way out of my expertise. I was so wrong with my guesses… Really interesting items, indeed.

See you all who are attending the ECRA meeting in Landhorst!


can this “critters” be found (in the USA…SLICS?) I would like one (or two have have Paul section one!)


Hi all!

ZP-1 and NZP can be shot 150m high , ZP-2 200m. N= night