Help with Chinese 7.62x39 can marking identification

Need help identifying a tin of Chinese 7.62x39 ammo. The owner claims it is 720 rounds in paper bundles of 20. I would like to find out exactly what it is without opening it. Any help would be appreciated. I have posted a picture.

Thanks, Robert

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The can ID’s the ammo to be for the Type 56; that would be the Type 1956 SKS Carbine, so that would be 7.62x39 ammo.
The can also indicated 550 cartridges in the can.

It’s the typical 550rd tin of Chinese copper-washed steel case, and copper-washed steel jacket ammo with mild steel core. It is corrosive but reliable. This can’s date says 1966 I believe. It should be worth between $200 to $275 based on the market for these cans.

  • @ surplus1: Inside of that Chinese ammo can are 550 rimless rounds 7.62X39 with most probably CWS cases. The cartridges should be headstamped “31” over “66”. The ammo (lot #7) was made in 1966 by the State plant “31”. The propellant was manufactured by the State plant “25”, in 1966 with the lot #40. Liviu 10/07/08

Just to clarify Gregg’s post, the marking on the can indicates that the cartridges are “Type 56” (7.62x39mm). But to confuse things, the SKS and AK-47 were also called the “Type 56” by the Chinese. The can quantity (550) in addition to the “stick man” symbol under it indicates that the cartridges are packed in 10 round “stripper clips”. This would indicate that they were intended for use with the SKS, but there was a magazine adaptor that would allow a 30 round AK magazine to be loaded with the SKS stripper clips. I do not know for sure that these adaptors were in use in 1966 or not.

“31 66” headstamped 7.62x39mm rounds are known with copper washed steel cases and brass washed steel cases. Unlike the Soviets and Warsaw Pact nations, the Chinese did not make any distinction between the case finish types when marking the cans.


1966 was the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
The production of ammunition quality is not good in 1966-1976, I suggest you not to buy.

My experience with Chinese 7.62x39mm ammunition from this time frame has always been very positive. I have fired many, many thousands of these cartridges without problems. In fact, the poorest quality Chinese 7.62x39mm I have noted is from the 1980’s.


  • @ AKMS: Back in Romania during the mandatory 16 months military service [1974-76], I had the “PM-63” [the Romanian made Kalashnikov] which fired the 7.62X39 rimless round. Before to enter the “guard duty” each of us was given 60 rounds 7.62X39 [6 stripper clips loaded with 10 rounds each]. We used the standard 30-rds detachable ribbed box magazines and with 60 cartridges we could fully load two of them. We NEVER had a magazine adaptor or a loading device and we had to load the 30-rds box magazines directly from the 10-rds clips. We simply hit one end of the loaded 10-rds stripper clip on the magazine side and put the same very end of the 10-rds stripper clip between the magazine lips pushing hard down the ammo. In no more than 2-3 seconds all the 10-rds 7.62X39 would be loaded into the box magazine. To fully load one 30-rds box magazine with 7.62X39 rounds on 3 stripper clips, we needed no more than 15 seconds. At the end of “guard duty” we had to give back the 60 cartridges 7.62X39, we were unloading fast the box magazines round by round [using the bullet tip of a cartridge] and later we had lo load the ammo back on those 6 stripper clips. —> I mentioned all this from above to show how we had loaded our box magazines with no special devices. It did work very well with a little practice. Liviu 10/08/08

Wow, 60 rounds for guard duty! I once guarded a whole ammo dump with only ten rounds in my M-16A2!!!

I’ve tried your method, but was not very successful. I’ll have to practice some more I guess.

I’ll bet the ammo you were issued for guard duty was pretty worn and beat up with all that loading and unloading over and over again!


  • @ AKMS: Yes, 60 rounds 7.62X39 were given for guard duty to each sentry. You’re right about the ammo used, it became pretty worn. Initially we had 7.62X39 rounds [headstamped “22” over the two digit date] with green lacquered steel cases manufactured in 1968-69. Because of too much loading and unloaing, after 4 or 5 months the steel cases lost almost completely the green lacquer. About twice a year that worn ammo which had been used for guard duty was spent at the firing range for target practice. New lots of 7.62X39 ammo [made actually in late 1960s] with green lacquered steel cases were issued again for guard duty and the cycle continued. —> NOTE: The Romanian made 7.62X39 ammo was packed in wooden crates, each wooden crate had a weight of 28 Kg [almost 62 lbs] and contained 1,320 rounds. Two green painted tins, each having 660 rounds, were inside of a wooden crate. Twenty 7.62X39 rounds were packed in a light cardboard box and 33 boxes were inside of one tin. I’ve never seen Romanian made 7.62X39 ammo packed on stripper clips. Typical black ink markings were visible on each tin and also on the wooden crate. Liviu 10/08/08

[quote=“AKMS”]My experience with Chinese 7.62x39mm ammunition from this time frame has always been very positive. I have fired many, many thousands of these cartridges without problems. In fact, the poorest quality Chinese 7.62x39mm I have noted is from the 1980’s.

You can get those 80’s ammunition production for export, most of them have not been rigorous testing.

The Vietnam War in 1979, when the ammunition(1966-1976) had been a most of issues.