South Africa 7.62 x 39 Headstamps

Does anyone know what factories are represented by the code numbers 11, 12, 13 and 14? Are there others?

I have a rose crimped blank, headstamp “13 88” with a white sealent on the crimp. Is this just a noise blank or a grenade launcher round?

Those aren’t factory codes, they stand for No.1Mark1, No.1Mark2, etc.

Jon. C–Are you sure they they stand for No.1Mark1, No.1Mark2, etc.

I have “11 87”, “12 87”, “13 87” and “91 14”. These are all ball loads and look identical. I can see nothing that supports them being different marks of ball. Plus I have a “13 88” blank, so that doesn’t fit the pattern for marks either.

Maybe Will Reuter can confirm what you say or if they are factory codes or not.


Jon C–By your comment “Sure” do you mean “You are sure they are Marks” or do you mean “Yes, maybe Will can confirm what they are.”

Sure that they are Mark numbers, AND sure that Will will confirm. As far as I know, only one RSA factory made 7.62x39.

Jon, I have seen this represented as “M1A1”, “M1A2”, etc… Same meaning expressed differently I guess…


You’re probably right, I was just illustrating that they’re mark codings and not maker codes.

i have a few 13 over 86 if anyone is intrested in cross sectioning/comparing a few diffrent numbered ones. I have heard second hand that they are all made by the same factory, pretoria metal pressings and that the numbers besides the year were ‘load identifications’

The “Model” and “Mark” designations alluded to by the other posting partires here are, in essence, load designations, and their terminology in their identifications is essentially correct according to RSA sources in my library.

Is it implied that these diffrent ‘load designations’ or marks are visible diffrences in the construction of the projectile or loading? If not then it would make it harder to give a solid meaning to these numbers. If some diffrence can be physicly noted then it would prove that explination.

7.62x39 was only made by PMP in Pretoria, so only one factory. The case is R1M1 or R1M2 etc, meaning Ball, first model; Ball second model etc. The differences between first model & second model would not be visible - these model changes often refer to a change in primer composition, a change from Berdan to Boxer primer (not of this caliber, only Berdan primed), a change in extruded propellant to ball powder etc. It does not mean the bullet weight wa changed (but could do). The 7.62x39 production was very clandestine in South Africa, politically at the time (mid to late 1980’s) we could not be seen to be making communist ammunition. Actually production numbers were very small and this expalins why the blnak cartridges also have a ball headstamp, it was not worth the trouble to make a blank correct headstamps for such low production quantities.

The ammo was only used by special forces (who could pick & choose their weapons of choice, us grunts used what we were given) and some was exported to Angola for use by the forces of Jonas Savimbi, who was seen as friendly at the time.