OKB-44, WWII Soviet ammo changing press


A prominent cartridge collector, Jon C., introduced me to this WWII curiosity, so I decided to share it with all of you. It is a manual cartridge press which “squeezes” German ammo into Russian. The idea was to drop these into the partisan areas so they can alter captured German ammo to be used in Soviet weapons. The 1st photo is from Moscow’s Central Museum of Russian Armed Forces moscow.info/museums/central- … useum.aspx
I include a discussion link at Guns.ru forum for those of you who can read Russian talks.guns.ru/forummessage/36/369.html



If the machine truly worked, the process was a bit more complicated than “squeezing”. I would really love to see (or get!!!) examples of the transformed cartridges. Perhaps you can check with your Russian forum friends to see if that might be possible. I ran the discussion you posted through a Word translation and it was good enough to read. Very interesting.


Correct, the bullet was pulled out, gun powder removed, empty cartridge went through the press, extra length was cut off, bullet went through the press too, and then gun powder and projectile were replaced.



That’s really interesting stuff I had never seen before! Thanks for posting that. I can’t read Russian, but I think I can read the pictures…9x19mm Parabellum “swaged” to 7.62x25mm Tokarev and 7.92x57mm made into a rimless version of the 7.62x54Rmm if I follow right?

Question that comes to mind first is how did the makeshift 7.62x54R get extracted after firing? I was also going to ask if Jon C. had one of the 7.62x25s made by this process…guess he beat me to that with his response!



I had a Russian friend who was sure he could get me a sample, but he “disappeared” before he was able to. Perhaps someone else will find a source.


Actually, if anyone cares, the name of this press is VP-1 (Винтовой ручной пресс ВП-1), OKB-44 was a war department or an engineering department, I think.



Perhaps a somewhat workable rim was made by securing the rim underneath and then flattening / striking with a chisel? or tool to spread the rim outward. I believe this was done by some of the Pakistani shops with .45 ACP rounds to function in a revolver with out using a clip. Plus the 9 mm Para., (although I can’t remember who did it) with the rim edges flattened in a press for function in a .38 / .380 revolver. I’ve seen German WW II steel cased rounds with this attributed usage.


pretty neat…


Vlad, OKB-44 is the plant 46 (coded in 1930’s) which is well known for ammunition production. Founded in early 1900’s as Russo-Belgian primer factory. This factory was developing and producing ammunition since the 1920s. In 1941 it got evacuated to several other locations like Novaya Lyalya (529), Ulyanovsk (3) and Sverdlovsk (kept 46 till 1942 then 304). In 1945 ammo production was halted and production of radar equipment was launched.


The so-called 9mm Quetsch rand (9 mm pinched rim) cartridges were alledgedly done in Germany by various processes so that the captured British revolvers could be used by the Volkssturm. I do not dispute that could be true. However, my examples are from South Africa, taken from terrorists who had improvised ammunition for older Enfield and Webley Revolvers from 9mm cartridges, which evidently were more plentiful on the black market than were the .380 Revolver rounds.

I would love to see a 9mm put through the Russian press. If anyone reading this has a bona fide example of one of them, perhaps they would post a picture on this thread.

John Moss


The press ( screw or “fly” press, to be exact) is a run-of-the-mill Blacksmiths and metal workshop bench tool for doing small jobs ( punching holes, riveting, making ( cutting) small caps, etc) when equipped with an array of tool dies, swages, etc.

I have a larger ( 5 ton model) in my workshop and I use it for “re-drawing” cartridge cases and swaging lead Bullets.

The process, as described by another Poster is simple. “Push in-Push Out” dies are used for reforming the cases; (once dismantled); the Projectiles are “down-sized” by a simle “Push-thru” die ( as with resizing Lead Bullets to correct Groove diameter for reloading in [modern] shooting ).

There are also “straight-line” loading dies, to reseat the reformed Bullet in the (re-filled) reformed case. All very simple, notably slow, but effective… May be a Hundred rounds every couple of hours ( between disassembly, sizing, re-assembly.)

As to extractability of the Reformed rimless cases, the extractor on a Mosin-Nagant is beefy enough to engage the groove and rim of a 7,9mm case ( even though it is some 10-15 thou smaller than a 7,62x54R case, (head) or 50-60 thou rim difference. I suppose occasionally the rod would have to be resorted to to clear an unextracted case…

With the 9x19 conversion to 7,62x25, another problem arises…the 9mm case reaches only as far as the beginning of the shoulder of the 7,62x25…so it is the Bullet which is “Partially swaged” to form a “7,62” Nose, with a shouldered “skirt” still at 9mm, to seat in the case neck. Thus the complete round will “chamber” and “headspace”, and on firing, the “skirted” projectile will swage down fully to 7,62, and go down the barrel…a bit rough for a Blowback operated gun ( PPSh, PPS etc.) but Barely Functional. Could be a bit too much pressure for a locked breech Pistol ( Mauser C96 or Tokarev.)
Definitely only for lead cored Bullets, would not work with Sintered iron 9mm.

Extraction is not a problem, as the rim dimensions of both cartridges are roughly similar.

I would think this was a “make do” early war ( 1941-early 42) solution to Partizan ammo problems, but soon resolved by the Plethora of Ammo captured from the Germans ( even 7,62 as well). BY 1943, partizan groups were well supplied, and also in regular contact ( directly by runners and also radio contact with their masters on the Russian side of the front).

So much so, that by war’s end, many “Partizan” groups were rounded up by the NKVD, and on the charges of “consorting with the Enemy” and “fleeing the battlefield” ( originally in the Debacle of 1941), were packed off to the Gulag for between 8 to 20 years ( Section 58, “Anti-Soviet Activity”).

The Information supplied above is Purely Historical in nature, and Not meant to be Possible "Reloading " Info as per Forum Rules.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


I tried this. I ran a 7,9 Mauser case through a 7.62x54r resizing die and then trimmed to length. There is a significant difference between the head and rim diameters between the reformed 7,9 and a 7.62x54r case, but the reformed 7,9 will chamber in a Mosin-Nagant rifle. Getting it out is another matter. No luck getting the extractor to grab the rim. I had to use a cleaning rod each time I tried to remove the case. I shudder to think what a fired case would have looked like! No doubt that it would have ruptured or split in a very ugly way…

I think as a last-ditch attempt to make a single shot rifle it would have been somewhat effective, but I would not want to be behind the trigger… especially since the MN rifle is not designed to vent the gasses from a ruptured case like the Mauser or Springfield.

The reforming took very little effort, certainly not so much as to require the screw-press. Swedging a .323" projectile down to .311" would be another matter.



Humm, time to drag a “old war story” I’ve heard several times out, along with my own “personal theory”.
It was specifically to do with firing the 7.62 NATO in a 7.62x54 and wrapping a stout string around the rear of the case (the string was to extract the spent case).

Now, my personal theory is that this reforming was a field expedient used to obtain the opposing forces weapons (refer to Mao’s treatise on gorilla warfare) IOW 1 round is all that’s needed for 1 man to obtain the weapons of a single sentry. His (the sentry’s) weapons, plus the now cleared and re-loaded rifle and a couple friends can than capture the weapons of several more sentries (etc etc)


I’m sure I have read before that chamber reamers were made to ream the chamber of a .303 rifle out to take a 7.62x54R Case. Apparently some partisans had .303 rifles, and as the bullets are the same diameter, it was only a case of reaming out the chamber to take 7.62x54R. The rifle’s extractor might have had to be filed out a bit as well to take the larger 7.62x54R rim. I tried some 7.62 x 54R rounds is a SMLE mag I have, and they fitted alright. I don’t see why they wouldn’t feed.