Soviet 7.62x39mm "Pyroxylin" powder?

I’m helping a new collector identify some 7.62x39mm cartridges he recently acquired. He has a Soviet 7.62x39mm PS ball cartridge, copper clad steel case, head stamped “17 59”. It was identified by the previous owner as having “Pyroxylin” powder. I have not heard of this before. Is it just another name for the WUFL powder normally seen in Soviet 7.62x39mm?


“Pyroxilin” is a very common designation in Germany and some other places.

While “Pyroxilin” referrs to the chemical composition of the propellant the “WUFL” is a military designation along the line “rifle powder, shortened, phlegmatized” (what can be of almost any suitable chemical composition). Most militaries do not dare to waste time on chemical designations in such cases. So “WUFL” and “Pyroxilin” are no contradiction.

NOTE: As my time does not allow I did not check if “WUFL” in fact IS “Pyroxilin” powder or how it is called in English.

There are several types of nitrocellulose, having different amounts if nitrogen in it. For example 13.4 percent, because the theoretical limit of 14.4 percent cannot be achieved in practice.
Pyroxilin in simply the name (stemming from the old Russian aera) for a nitrocellulose type with a certain nitrogen content, typically used in propellant manufacture. The actual propellant is always a mix.

Saying Pyroxilin propellant is simply another way of saying nitrocellulose propellant. Like saying Pepsi instead of Coke.

Thank you for explaining that!