Russian caseless cartridges



THESE NEVER MADE ANY SENSE TO ME. WHY PUT A WATERPROOFING SEAL ON THE MOUTH OF A CASELESS CARTRIDGE. THESE LOOK LIKE BULLETS TAKEN FROM REGULAR AMMO AND MADE INTO SOMETHING ELSE MORE EXOTIC, POSSIBLY FOR MARKETING TO COLLECTORS. These seals are put on after ammo is loaded. Illogical to me. Russians are much too practical for this to my mind. Some years ago I was told that these were made at FN using Soviet pulled bullets but no proof. I doubt that they are Soviet/Russian made.



Many extraordinary experimental cartridges were coming out of FN during the late 80s and 90s both real experimentals and what I call “market experimentals” - cartridges designed to be sold as collector items rather than as any actual practical program. Paul Van Hee , Graham Irving and others were very active during this period bringing packets full of goodies from the European shows back to the US for sale. Those of us who collect all types of cartridges INCLUDING FAKES were happy to snap them up. There was a contact with someone in FN who turned out many “market experimentals” and marketed them to Van Hee and the other high rollers in Europe. I got my examples of these 5.45s from him at the time. There is no reason for Russian development engineers working at this level of experimentation to have to pull bullets for their testing. These bullets were loaded into cases otherwise they would not have mouth seals painted on them. That fact,the source, and the similarity to other FN items leads me to be fairly confident that these are not Russian experimentals. Run them by Regenstreif for his opinion if you have not already.


THE NONCONSUMABLE PRIMER IS NOT NECESSARILY A GIVE AWAY AS MANY EXPERIMENTALS GO THROUGH DEVELOPMENT PHASES WHICH ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE FINAL DESIGN. FOR INSTANCE A POWDER OR BINDER EXPERIMENT MAY BE IN THE WORKS FAR AHEAD OF THE PRIMER DEVELOPMENT. Once the body components are determined the primer can be developed and sometimes these are happing at the same time. If the primer has not been developed and is not necessary to develope the powder charge other primers will do. Cartridge development and testing is far more complicated than most of us realize. I have development protocals which run into thousands of pages for such items as sabots, primers , primer seals. These folks are doing this for a living and spend years at small developments which seem crazy to us after the fact. Current development programs will not be in the field(if at all) for 10 years minimum all during which time folks will be working on all types of aspects which will never work or be part of the final product.



These are standard 5.45 ball bullets.



My guess is that they were made in the Soviet section of FN.


They look a little bit like Jean Paul Denise FN (Home)Works…but unfortunatelly FN worked in this time really also in the caseless small caliber field…and it is very difficult, to tell: This is a real Experiment…really tried …or it is one of the experiments, to get money out from collectors :-).
Except there are papers showing up from the FNs Experimental work bench, we will never know for sure…
FN is keeping ALL paperwork still confident about their experimentals,even the 30year old ones and had also hidden them from the french “buyers”, I mean GIAT who had overtoken them some years ago, before they got again “independent”…
I was happy, to get some papers out from the Schirnecker Experimentals, but they came from the original inventor and not out from FN…

So, thats the same story:
a man with one watch, knews the time…a man with 2 watches…is never sure

All my best


Thank you. I never knew Denise but did see his work.


P. Regenstreif:

Happy to post on this fine forum.
Yes, I am afraid this wonderful Russian caseless are fakes, and most of us know the “faker”, who worked for a time in the Ballistic Lab of the Belgian FN factory. Clever enough, he always mixed genuine good specimens with terrible fakes…Ask Bill Woodin!!!

All the best!





Just for the record: 5.45mm is the bore diameter, the bullets measure 5.6mm.