Polish MESKO 30x173 cannon rounds

An article in the Small Arms Defense Journal on MESKO had this photograph of some of their 30x173 ammunition;

It lists these as being “30mm Bushmaster ammunition from MESKO; TP-T, APFSDS-T and MP-T/SD”.

The body of the text lists the types produced as including “the APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot Fin-Stabilised with Tracer), the FAPDS-T round (Fragmenting Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot with Tracer), the MP-T/SD (Multi-Purpose Tracer with Self-Destruct) and TP-T (Target Practice-Tracer)”.

There is also mention that MESKO makes 7,62x51 in Ball, Tracer, API, AP and Blank as well as many other calibers and types.


The 30mm are all Raufoss (NAMMO) designs (projectiles all made there to what I know) and Mesko is also loading Raufoss 12.7mm projectiles.

As I recall, Poland operates Patria AMV 8x8 infantry fighting vehicles armed with ATK MK44 cannon in 30x173 calibre, so they need the ammo.

Mesko catalogs many small arms ammunition calibers commercially, but they never seem to be available anywhere on the market. I have corresponded with folks in many countries about whether or not their ammo was sold commercially there, and have 100% negative replies. None of them has seen any of it. Anyone know anything about MESKO’s commercial market?

John, Mesko is serving mainly the military market as that is much more prosporous and orders were plenty.
For this reason they never focused much on the civilian market. The few civilian loads we know are merely exceptions.

Some staged photos of ammunition and one photo of part of a wood crate containing 5.56x45 cartridges supposedly by MESKO and supposedly being used by Iraqi National Army trainees: sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=2636

Ron Fuchs shows 5.56x45mm rounds and some headstamps in the Poland section of the reference book on .223 (5.56x45mm).


Brian, yes it is a Mesko crate.

EOD - I wonder why they bother with a commercial catalog if they are not going to supply the rounds catalogued to the commercial market. Certainly some of the calibers are not being purchased by military establishments.

Well, some of these companies do silly things. I fully understand the military vs commercial sales aspect, but I don’t understand offering a fairly full commercial product line thru their web site and catalogs if they are not going to produce and deliver them to the market. A properly managed company with a long history like MESKO’s should be able to do both.

John, which “commercial” catalog do you mean? The catalogs I know are all the same.

EOD - They have an online catalog, for example, on pistol ammunition, that amoung other things, includes 9 mm Parabellum in Soft Nose and Lead bullet loadings. Also 9 mm PA and 9 mm PA CS. These sound like commercial loadings to me! I suppose you could say they are “Police” in some cases, but then on a worldwide basis, just about any handung cartridge could be used by some police agency somewhere. In the US, there are tiny local police departments were officers buy there own ammunition at local gun shops - in some instances, small departments as well. I have one catalog, albeit an older one, that shows hunting rifle cartridges.

I admit that there more current catalogs seem to show military loads in rifle calibers, but certainly some of the pistol loads are much more of a commercial type.

John, the 9x19 soft nose were tested by the Polish police at some point. I do not know what the lead projectile round is for but have never seen a loaded one.
The blank firing cartridges might be for the domestic market in Poland.

In all the civilian section Mesko is running is very small and judging by the absence from the commercial market they are not much into this market segment. Also I been told this by people doing business with them.

I do have an example of the Polish-made Nammo 30x173 APFSDS (see below).

Which remains me, I must re-take that photo to include the Rheinmetall APFSDS in the same calibre which I have since acquired - it’s interesting because it looks entirely different.

From left to right: 20x139 APDS (HS 820, US M139, NEXTER 20M693, Rh 202), 20x141 APDS (NEXTER 20M693), 23x152B HEI (Soviet 2A14 - Denel version), 25x137 APDS (Oerlikon KBA, M242 Bushmaster, NEXTER 25M811), 25x137 APFSDS (Oerlikon KBA, M242 Bushmaster, NEXTER 25M811), 30x165 AP (Russian 2A42, 2A72), 30x170 APDS (Rarden L21A1), 30x173 APFSDS (Nammo, for Bushmaster II / MK44, Mauser MK30), 30x210B HE (Zastava M86/89), 40x180 HE ( Super 40 dummy), 40x255 APFSDS (CTWS)

Tony, you listed the 30x210B HE as “Zastava M86/89”. Despite it being a Russian dummy here the more common designation for the caliber should be “NN-30” (gun wise, as you named the other calibers) as it is the original weapon in this caliber and certainly much more spread than the Yugo, Chinese or Romanian knock offs.

Alex, the reason that I did that is that the photo shows ammunition used in guns for light AFVs. The NN-30 is a naval gun (although the Romanian Army uses a version of it for AA), the Zastava guns are used to arm AFVs.

Incidentally, Yugoimport were showing a new version of the Zastava gun at Eurosatory, designated the M97/12, which is available in either 30 x 173 or 30 x 210B.

Ah, that makes sense. Then some more calibers could be in no?

Couldn’t fit them all into one photo, so they’re in the next one: :-)

40x255 APFSDS (CTWS ), 35x228 APDS (Oerlikon KDE, Bushmaster III), 50x330 APFSDS (sectioned 50mm Supershot ), 40x364R HE (Bofors L/70, Bushmaster IV), 57x347SR HE (Russian AU-220M), 60x410R APFSDS (IMI / OTO 60mm)

More photos to come? :)

Not of current light AFV armament, but there’s a whole galaxy of HMG and cannon pics on my Ammo Photo Gallery grouped in various ways: quarryhs.co.uk/tankammo.html