Magnetic Chinese 7.62x39 "61 67"

I stopped by at the “new” Sarco store on the way back home from Morgantown ammo show Sarco is a “dinosaur”, one of the last surviving great old gun retailers, akin to Navy Arms and Numrich Gun Parts. There I found a crate of these Chinese “61 67”, with a paper saying they are steel core but not AP. How is it possible, and why?

You cut one open?

In Germany for example steel core is not necessarily AP since it depends on core hardness.

Mild steel cores have been used by many ammunition manufacturers to lessen the use of more-valuable lead. Mild steel is not as hard as ordnance steel or tool steel, and it is not intended to be armor-piercing, and in most cases it really does not penetrate more than lead-cored ball ammo. And a magnet can also show you that the projectile has a steel jacket, as Chinese ammo does, and does not necessarily indicate a steel core.


These are not 7.62x39mm bullets, but a bullet is a bullet. On the left are two Cal .30 LR steel core bullets and on the right are the same basic bullets as AP. (With an M2 AP thrown in the mix)

Steel cored 7.62x39mm ammunition is considered AP by the BATFE, even though it does not posess a hardened and pointed core as proper AP projectiles do. More of a political fiat than a proper identification, done to end the import of this ammunition. SARCO is possibly treading on this ice selling this ammunition if they are operating with an FFL (Federal Firearms License) at that location. Steel core 7.62x39mm ball is not legal for an FFL holder to sell to other than Military or Law Enforcement entities. Regular civilians like you and me can freely posess and trade this ammunition with each other though! (Your state laws may be another story…)


Al the Chinese I have seen used a bimetal (copper over steel) jacket, hence magnetic

Also, all M43 spec comploc BALL ammo uses a steel core, but is not AP.