Experimental heavy machine gun and autocannon cartridges

According to Wikipedia, the first R-23 ammunition seen outside of Soviet allied countries was from a crate that was accidentally shipped to Syria with crates of 23x152B. This was then captured in Lebanon by Israel in the early 1980s. This was supposedly before it was known which weapon used it.

The same article also claims that the first time the gun was seen by any Western military was in 1987. This was when French EOD cleared the wreckage of a Libyan TU-22B shot down over Chad.

To me it seems likely that it could have been known before than, that is only the first time it was publicly confirmed.

How often are the cartridges seen in collections? There can’t be many available.

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That’s the same information I’ve been able to find too. I also know more ammunition was found in middle eastern ammo dumps as late as the 2010’s, likely leftovers of Libya’s stocks that got lose. I’ve got some photos of a crate of HE cartridges that were found, ID’d, x-rayed then destroyed. I’ll check with my friend who found / sent me the photos and see if I can post them.

As for the rarity of the cartridges, I think they’re quite rare. I found this one by chance after dreaming about having one for years. I can’t say I personally know of any others in collections, but I’m sure there must be more out there. I’d love to find a link for one too, but again I’m sure those are equally rare.



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Some online sources such as the link below claim that the cannon fitted to the space station was a 14.5mm version. If that is correct, that would be a good cartridge to have in a collection if an example is ever found.


Is the 23mm aircraft version ever known to have been fired in combat?

I know of exactly one such case in private hands in Russia and that is somebody who is deep in the ammo business there.

I’d prefer the factory drawings and test reports over any real specimen - if there would be the choice.

Image source: internet