Kazanlak 7.62x54R?

I have a 7.62x54R Round headstamped “* B 3 48”. I’m sure this is Kazanlank, but it is listed as unknown in my database. I thought I asked this in a thread before, but can’t find it despite trying different searches.

May we have a visual?

Falcon - your cartridge is a product of the factory at Kazanlak, called during the period your cartridge was made, I believe, the "Friedrich Engels Factory."
The “B” on the headstamp is, of course, the Cyrillic letter representing the “V” sound in the Roman Alphabet, and stands for Voenna, or "Army."
I believe the star indicates a brass case. The “3 48” stands for the month and year, or possibly the quarter and year, to the best of my knowledge.

Edited for spelling only

Thanks, I’ll sort out a scan later on tonight.

Here is a scan of the headstamp. Sorry I can’t get it any bigger.

John Munnery’s booklet on Bulgarian military cartridges suggests that the “B” and “3” translate as “Voenna Zavod” or Army Factory, referring to the state factory at Kazanluk. The “3” actually being a Cyrillic letter, not a number. There is no explanation of the star, but it does seem to only appear on brass cased cartridges in this time frame. Note that he spells the name Kazanluk instead of Kazanlak. John is correct about the name “Friedrich Engels Factory” which was adopted after WWII and remained as such until about 1970 when it became known by the trade name we know today as “Arsenal”.


I know that John likes to know original pronunciation of foreign words. Well, here is a link to Казанлък (Bulgarian spelling to avoid taking sides).
That letter next to the last one is known as hard sign (твёрдый знак) which is difficult to describe. The closest, I assume, is “i” in “lick”. If anyone goes to Bulgaria, visit Shipka Monument next to Казанлък (see below), the site of big battles during the Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878. To Bulgarians it is a holy site. Cool mountains too, very cold and a lot of wild raspberries around.

AKMS - of course the “3” is a Cyrillic Letter “Z” - I don’t know what in the heck I was thinking of. I have many of these headstamps on Tokarev, 9mm Para, etc., and it is always a “3.” and therefore, clearly not a date since it would mean they only made cartridges in March or in the 3rd quarter of any year. I will go sit in the corner on a stool with a dunce hat on! How stupid of me.

Now, I am not quite that dumb on the spelling of Kazanlak. It is quite true that like any transliteration, spelling in the Western alphabet becomes somewhat of a problem. John Munnery, a dear friend of mine, likes the “u” spelling, for reasons I forget. I have mentioned in at least one previous thread that “Kazanluk” is generally considered an acceptable alternate spelling. In truth, I really don’t feel it is for one reason. All of Arsenal’s factory literature in the English Language, and all of the material I have researched over the years about the factory, including the Factory’s own website, as well as the address on the instruction book for their Makarov pistol, spells the location name as “Kazanlak.” All other literature from many websites, including some from the UN’s anti-gun shills talking about international disarmament also spell it with an “a” and not a “u”. In fact, on a cursory examination of various files I have dealing with Arsenal, the only scholarly work that uses the “u” spelling is John’s book. I am not saying he is incorrect. He speaks Bulgarian and lives there. I haven’t a clue as to what the name sounds like when spoken by an educated Bulgarian speaking the national dialect. However, since the website of the City of Kazanlak, the Bulgarian Defence Industry Association website, and the website and printed material of the company of Arsenal JSC of Kazanlak all spell it with an “a” it is clear and obvious that “Kazanlak” is the preferred Roman Alphabet spelling of the name, and therefore, is the correct spelling in our alphabet.
Note that in the website address that Sksvlad gave for Wikipedia, it is also spelled with an “a.”

I was not trying to picky about the spelling, just wanted to point out that this was how the author spelled it. As we all know from previous threads, translation, spelling and pronunciation of non-English to English words are not always exact or consistent!


Thanks for the input everyone.

AKMS - no offence was taken pardner! I just was explaining why I spell it the way I do, and why I think that is the “correct” spelling in the Western Alphabet.

I am grateful for your comments on the “3.” It woke me up a bit. It was a bit embarrassing, as it should have been since I have, for the last few weeks, been heavily embroiled in the Cyrillic alphabet due to what i am currently writing, and trying to learn it on sight without much luck. Memory “ain’t what it used to be!” I suffered a total “brain switch-off!”

Bulgaria, prior to complete Communist control of everything, used the term “Voenna Fabrika” (?Sp) signified by “B phi” and of course, the Bulgarian Lion crest. Even the first lots of 7,62x54R made at Khazanlak (?sp) were so marked.
I would question the use of “ZAVOD” which although is a Slavic term, was only used by the Yugoslavs (in the Cyrillic areas) and by the Russians themselves; all others used a version of “Fabrika/i/etc” which is a Latin derived word. maybe the Russian technical Inflence caused the adoption of the tern “Zavod” and the corresponding “3” symbol to represent it.

The “Star” is self-evident…Communist state.

Pronunciation of European vowels: If one pronounces the “lak” in the correct way, it sounds like “luck” to an English speaker. There lie the problem> If one is to transliterate European languages correctly (especially Cyrillic) one must know the native pronunciation correctly, and not assume an “Anglo” pronunciation, which would result in “lak” being sounded as “lack”. ( as in "Lackawanna, or “lacking” and “luk” being pronounced as “look” or luk ( as in yuk!)

There exists a similar conundrum between french and English transliterations of Arabic…but we won’t go there…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Now I am a bit confused. Here is a 1953 round. Is “3 10” a date (3rd month of 1953) or “Zavod 10” where 10 is numerical Казанлък? Also, which year did they switch from writing the name in letters to “10”?

Resolution of the question “is " * 3 10 53” a "month of 1953, a Lot of 1953, or simply the cyrillic “Z” of Zavod???

I would go to “3==Z” in cyrillic. Hads anyone seen any other number denoting Month or Lot on Bulgarian ammo??? ( before or after the arrival of Communism…)
I think NOT…so the “3” is Zavod…

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

This headstamp should be read crosswise (across the primer cup) as “3 10” or in our alphabet “Z 10” which means “Factory 10.” The Bulgarians first started using the factory code 10, under the Soviet system, in 1949, as far as I can tell. I have a 7.62 Tokarev from the year with the same headstamp style as you show on 7.62 x 54R. There is no month of production expressed on these rounds, only the year. In Tokarev, my next earliest round is “48” date and has the old, pre-war style Bulgarian four-place headstamp with segment lines between the entries.