Some Soviet 7.62x39mm questions


On another forum, someone made a few remarks about Soviet made 7.62x39mm cartridges that I’d never heard about before. Please weigh in and let me know if there is any truth to these statements:

  1. in 1960, the case changed from copper clad steel to lacquered steel as an economy measure due to the large amount of ammunition being made in this caliber. I think this might be part truth, but many examples of copper clad steel cased 7.62x39mm are known post -1960. Is there more to this than simple economy?

  2. At the same time (1960) a modified “PS” bullet was introduced. How is it different? I have pulled bullets from pre and post-1960 Soviet 7.62x39mm and never noticed any differences, but maybe it’s a very slight difference?

  3. At the same time, an improved powder was introduced, suggested to be a ball powder. The first ball powdered 7.62x39mm from Russia I have seen was early 1990’s. Up until then it’s all been “WUFL”. Was there an improved WUFL introduced without a nomenclature change?

  4. The original 7.62x41mm projectile was lead cored. The “PS” steel cored projectile replaced it, and being longer, the case was shortened in order to keep the overall length the same. Supposedly the steel core projectile was a result of a requirement for the bullet to pierce a steel helmet at 1,000 meters. Any truth to this? Was this the reason or was it for the economy of using steel in place of lead?

I’ve been collecting 7.62x39mm cartridges since the early 1980’s and all of this information is news to me. But then again, I learn something new each day on this site…



AKMS: I can comment only on your fourth question, and only part of it. The case was shortened not to shorten the OA length of the complete round but rather to reduce the neck length to agree with the longer ogive of the modified steel-core boattailed bullet. The original 41 m/m case had a neck so long it would have been larger in diameter than the bullet at its mouth, resulting in a gap around the bullet. Untidy and a place for dirt to accumulate. This same reasoning is why the .30-06 case neck was shortened from the original .30-03. Jack