SKS (7.62x39) stripper clips


Is anybody documenting SKS stripper clips?

Mainly I would be interested in manufacturers and if existant any other variants than the “usual” ones.

Also I am interested to find out if the GDR ever made SKS clips. So far no evidence was found that they ever existed but as the GDR supposedly made the rifles I wonder why they seem not to have made the clips.



When I had three or four SKS rifles, I was kind of saving the clips by markings, but I didn’t record them, and they are gone now. However, I never saw and 04 or 05 marked clip, or any other marking I could identify as being from the DDR. They made the rifle for awhile - a friend of mine, now passed away, had one in his collection. They seem quite rare in the USA. I heard that most of them ended up in Angola, as the DDR did not keep them very long.

They might well have received stripper clips from other WARSAW PACT countries, under the policy that every country did NOT make every needed item, and supplied other Pact countries with items they made that the other countries didn’t. Pretty common practive I think.


John, most SKS clips I heard of in the GDR were actually Czechoslovak.

If the GDR made any clips then not neccessarily the factories 04 and 05 had to make them as making cartridges and clips is not a condition.
Supported by the fact that the GDR made 7.92x57 clips had a factory logo on which I so far was not able to ID (no numerical code). The logo is basically an arrow sourcing from the centre of a cog wheel, breaking through the arc of the wheel and exposing the tip outside of it.

About that not everybody made everything in the WAPA:
That is true only for certain items which were protected by patents or were simply high tech. At best items which were complicated to make but not needed in quantities which would have justified an own production.
Most WAPA states (if not all) were struggling to serve it’s own needs without importing anything (only the items whcih could not be obtained/made domestically) as import meant a loss of money or also trade goods whcih would have to be swapped against the imported material. All material traded away was then missing on the domestic markets (and if military material was used to make up for imports it took resources to make those and that meant a lack of domestic capacity again).
The WAPA was much less well off with it’s economies and production capacities that one would have thought (and those in those countries wanting the “old times” back did not realize that the system of state-arranged wealth was on the cost of the future - the one they are living in now were they are paying for those days and do think it was just a question of the system).
In short; what ever was possible to be made domestically, in particular simple items like a stamped clip were definately made domestically as an import was just burning resources which were short at any time.
Certain military material might be excluded here as systems like tanks and aircraft were produced in some sort of joint projects were for example the GDR and Czechoslovakia (and others? - I forgot already) had a joint production for certain systems where a production for the own military would not have been affordable. There were severla such projects between different WAPA countries on different weapon systems whcih sometimes also included the USSR wich had an interest to have a higher production capacity for the whole WAPA in case of war (and the USSR was not able to supply all needs of the WAPA after all).
Seems I got carried away with this - sorry for the communist lesson…


EOD - I was going by information I got from what was the East German Crime lab of the non-production locally of certain items. The 7.9 x 57 blanks, for example, were likely loaded outside of the DDR. Cases can be from the DDR but also Czech. The same for short range 7.62 x 54R. Of course, despite the ammo requirements for it in the early days of rearmament of the DDR, a DDR-made cartridge case in 7.62 x 54R is a rare bird. I still have my DDR cartridge collection, and I never was able to obtain even an empty 04 7.62 x 54R (or o5 for that matter, if they ever even made one). All my DDR 7.62 x 54R rounds, other than Stahlpatronen (gauges) were loaded in non-German cases.

Regarding 04 and 05 not making clips, I have no doubt you are correct about that. That’s why I put the caveat in my reply about “…or any other marking that I could identify as being from the DDR.”

I knew that most of the Warsaw Pact light aircraft were made in Czechoslovakia, as were a lot of the tanks. Probably other things as well.

The handguns used early on in the DDR were a hodge-podge of pre-1946 German and other European pistols. When it was decided to go to the 9 x 18 mm Makarov, the first used in the DDR were Russian and probably were the primary reason for the letter-coded dates on Russian Makarovs made from mid-1955 until mid-1960. Then, the Germans started making there own, with a tiny amount made in 1958, a relatively small amount in 1959, and then full-scale production from 1960 until 1965, when they stopped making it. After that, they purchase PMs from Russia and Bulgaria, and Feg pistols from Hungary and some Carpati pistols from Romania. They also used PSM and Stechkin pistols from Russia, Skorpions from Czech Republic. I had a DDR holster for the Skorpion, and still have one for the Feg PA-63.

Well, an interesting subject, and surprising is how little we really know about East German production considering it is all within our lifetimes.
It took me several years, corresponding with people whom one would think would know, to find out the original name of the specific Ernst Thalmann factory that made the DDR PMs (Simson & Co. Suhl), and I found that out first from a Czech! Of course, with all the digging by collectors, we know a lot more now than we did even just ten years ago.


John, as for GDR loading of cartridges we know the 7.62x54R blanks with foreign cases to be loaded at Schönebeck (#201) as this is indicated on the boxes. The life 7.92x57 I have seen on box labels being loaded at the “04”. Here I would wonder wha someone else should have loaded the blanks outside the GDR then. For others I can not tell.
In the light of the background of short resources and “do it yourself” mentality of the GDR I wonder if any GDR blanks were loaded abroad. I am not saying it did not happen but would like to see some citable sources for this (labels, original docs etc).

GDR made 7.62x54R were only made as a test run and when I got Mischinger right before he quit ammo then only a few cases survived and none were loaded. Looking into this subject now for 15 years I have not even seen such a case let alone getting hold of one. These must be as scarce as Finnish made steel cases from WWII.

As you say, this is very recent history now and we are cut off any info as during the fall of the Berlin wall the GDR was raided by western (not only German) agencies which took away anything government related (as the STASI had too much info on the dirty business of West-German politicians nothing should get known about, all these docs have the highest classifications).
This applied also to the arms industry of the GDR which had way too many and way too intimate relations to the west.
So this basically took away all documents about GDR procurement, research and export in the area of arms and ammunition.

As I am researching ammunition manufacturers of communist countries (including “former” and also successor states) I am often disappointed how little info I find about GDR manufacturers of ammunition (not only SAA). Often I am reminded of the situ in Germany in 1945. It seems that when a state is crashing certian things (and actors) always “disappear” first.


Talking about SKS Karabiner, the East German SKS with a characteristic Mauser like slit in the middle of the buttstock, why exactly are they so rare? I have yet to see one in real life. There are photos of East German ceremonial guards with karabiners. So they must have retained some, not all of them went to Angola.


Vlad - I didn’t mean to imply that the DDR SkS carbines went direct from the production line to Angola. They were used for a short time by the NVA in the DDR, but then replaced fairly quickly with the Kalashnikov, and probably then sent to Angola. I don’t know why they are so rare in the US either, but I doubt there was ever a large surplus shipment of them to the USA. I have only ever seen the one my friend had, in this country, and knew of one other. I saw a couple at the War Memorial on Unter den Linden Strasse in East Berlin when I was there in 1972, and somewhere have a picture of the two DDR NVA guards with them, but all the other VOPOS around that had rifles had Kalashnikovs, so the SKS was obviously relegated to ceremonial (and maybe substitute standard) status by 1972 or earlier.


John the ceremonial guards “Unter den Linden” still had the SKS back in 1987 when I was there and as you say all others at the Wall had AK variants.