Looking for German & Russian WWII explosive rifle ammo

I would like to do some testing (including slow motion video) of both German and Russian WWII explosive ammo used by snipers (8x57 and 7.62x54R). The German is B-Patrone; I am not sure what the cartridge was designated by the Russians. I’m looking for 5-10 rounds of each - does anyone know where I might be able to find them?



Hi, Ian;

I believe the 7,62 x 54 mm R cartridge you’re looking for is designated «PZ» - «Pristrelochno-Zajigatelnaya» or in English, spotter-incendiary. If memory serves me correctly, the bullet contains a Tetryl explosive surrounded by an incendiary compound.

Member wolfganggross has a thread up on the cartridge displaying a sectioned example.

Good luck finding them, looking forward to seeing that fancy new camera capture the spirit of the cartridges :-)


Tennsats, in English transliteration it should be “Pristrelochno-Zazhigatelnaya”.

I’ve seen it transliterated as both, but I suppose you are right. While I see most sources transliterate it with zhy or zhi, I personally pronounce zhy/zhi and ji the same in this case, and they translate to the same term- «Пристрелочно-Зажигательная». I picked up that transliteration from post written by a Russian member, and I’d assume he knows how to transliterate his mother tongue.



I gave it another look and you are right. If it was ji the word would be Заджигательная.


Пристрелочно-Зажигательная is correct, the 1st word means “the one which shoots nearby, in the vicinity”, the 2nd means " the one which sets on fire".

Tennsats, as discussed in another thread before the transliteration between different Latin script based languages is different (means Russian to Norwegian differs from Russian to English). Also there is a difference in transliteration and the phonetic value of a letter which to my view is not part of a transliteration then.

For what ever it is worth I am sticking to the US military definition (transliteration):

Vlad, that above sounds a bit like an online translator.
“Пристрелочно” here is the word for “zeroing”. Actually it is a spotter round then by the naming and assigned purpose (as per Russian documents) as it is with German ones too.
Means these projectiles are not “explosive” as per defined use.

Ian, as a replacement for the scarce Soviet loading you may want to try some aftermarket cartridges loaded with Argentine contract 7.65x54 Mauser Spotter bullets. These are almost always advertised as “explosive” or “HEI”, and sometimes repainted yellow over the original black.

Пристрелка as a verb means zeroing or sighting or framing the target with sighting shots (such as артилерия пристрелялась по цели - artillery has laid its fire on target [after some spotting shots])
Пристрелочно-зажигательная пуля is correctly (but not literally) translated as “Spotting - Incendiary projectile” as it is used to spot impacts of the firing (пристреливаться по цели)

just my 0.02 roubles worth of translation-fu ;)

While on the subject of various spotting rounds, how (and when) did someone decide to use a round designed to make a cloud of smoke and dust for basically blowing up a human (soldier)? Was it by accident or was there an official order saying “besides indicating a target, you may shoot these at the enemy thus blowing their heads off”?

I doubt such orders ever existed. In war, troops need no encouragement to invent “more effectice” use of available equipment.

Hardly believable as it may seem, it took until early 1945 in Germany to officially allow B-Patrone use by snipers. The reason given was retaliating the use of Soviet ZP (or PZ) by enemy snipers. By the way, the design of both types is the same (Austrian origin), only the Germans called their own brand observation and the Soviet variant explosive.

please include in your firing tests some accuracy measurements, if at all possible.

These cartridges are frequently associated with use by snipers. On the other hand, the bullet design with movable internal parts and a more or less liquid white phosphorous filling, should be a nightmare from an accuracy standpoint, the anti-thesis of a sniper round.

So actual accuracy measurements would be most interesting.

Would be cheaper to buy reloaded Yugo B patrones at $10 each, than original German for $20-25.

German B patrone, half blackened bullet, explosive cup which sets off phosphorous


Yugo reloaded B patrone, silver tipped half blackened bullet


which is different from Argentine Spotter, black tip, just thermite(?) in tip


And the 7.62x54 ZR spotter, red tip, explosive cup that sets off the thermite(?)


And a reloaded 7.62x54 with Argentine Spotter


I do not think any of these “solid filler” projectiles contained thermite.

The Russian one is the “PZ” not “ZR”.

I do not think any of these “solid filler” projectiles contained thermite.

The Russian one is the “PZ” not “ZR”.

IIRC, before and early in the WW2 there were two versions, ZP for Red Army and PZ for Air Force. Later in war only PZ survived to be used by all services

Yes, I am aware of the “PZ-ZP” issue and also of the predecessors of these the “P” (spotter with WP) and the “Z” (incendiary with solid filler).

Are you saying one is called Пристрелочно-Зажигательная, and another Зажигательно-Пристрелочная?

Are you saying one is called Пристрелочно-Зажигательная, and another Зажигательно-Пристрелочная?


Did the designations differ between «regular» and aircraft (ShKAS) issue? As in, ShKAS rounds had one of the abbreviations, the regular rounds the other?
I know the cartridges made for the ShKAS featured an «ш» on their headstamp to indicate their aircraft use. I assume one may draw similiarities between this and how the German marked their aircraft machinegun cartridges with «verbessert» indicating a higher working pressure?


Are you saying one is called Пристрелочно-Зажигательная, and another Зажигательно-Пристрелочная?

Yes, but it is still the same cartridge. Just differently designated by 2 services and only later unified.