Soviet M43 Production in the 1940's

I was sorting through some new additions to my Soviet M43 collection and wondering in what numbers M43 (Soviet 7.62x39) ammo was produced in its early days in the 40’s and early 50’s

In a large batch of mixed sovet M43 ammo ( a few k rounds) I have not come across any 1940’s dated 7.62x39, so i dont think it was produced in any real quantity until the 50’s for that simple reason. My earliest examples are 1950, then it seems to really start picking up in 1951. I once thought that these early rounds that appear to be brass were actually bress cased untill i noticed that a magnet sticks to the case all over. I have also noticed that 1959 seems to have very little M43 production from all Soviet factories in comparison for some reason as well. Every other decade and/or timeframe besides the 40’s seems to be repersented in this particular mix to some extent.
This particular batch was Isralei pickup from Lebanon and the PLO that the Israleis recently sold off. It is a mix of Soviet, Egyptian, Chinese, Syrian, Polish, Hungarian, East German, Yugoslavian and Bulgarian, in that order most to least.

But back to my point,
I know the RPD-44 was the first real testbed for the M43 round and said to have seen limited use on the eastern front of WWII, and also that the SKS-45 may or may not have seen limited service as an experimental production prototype in the closing days of the eastern front.

Does anyone know when mass production of the M43 round really got going? as in how common are 40’s marked cases? was it pretty much still in testing through the 1940’s? What would really answer my questions would be some production figures of the Soviets M43 production broken down by factories and years starting from its inception in 1943.

And as a side note, i have come across some NK/1966 Igman produced former Yugoslavian 7.62x39 rounds that are loaded with an M43 projectile verses the standard M67 that the Yugoslavs used. When did they Yugoslavians start producing M43? Was it as early as their first domesticly produced firearms in that caliber (1959?) or even earlier? They obviously stopped in 1967.

-Thanks for any info, im just trying to fill in gaps in my understanding of 7.62x39 and its use/production over the last 66 or so years.

me262, the earliest date for the 39mm case is 1948 followed by 1949, both are very scarce as far as I can say. The earliest is from 1948 because this was the year when the original cartridge in 7.62x41 got it’s final shape and was turned into a 39mm case length and got a different projectile. So basically the cartridge should be a M48. All cases before 1948 were 41mm long.


- Dates on existing non-commercial Yugoslav cartridges I know of:
IK: 65 until 91
ИK: 1965 until 1984
PP: 66 and 67
ППУ: 1968 until 2000
PKI: 1984 until 1990
СМБ: 1993

- IK and ИK (Latin: IK), Igman, Konjic: Those two headstamp styles come from the same plant, just using Latin or Cyrillic characters, maybe distinguishing 2 production lines. Igman, Konjic has survived the war around Bosnia and is operating until this day, happily selling it’s products all over the world.
In my collection I have
Mild steel core ball:
ИK 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968
IK: 65 and 66
ИK 1968 and all following years
IK: 67 and all following years
Loading the M67 by the way seems to coincide with the application of bitumen case mouth seal inside the case neck, replacing the outside lacquer seal. Usually you can count on M67 when there is no visible case mouth seal.

- PP: It is said that both known loads (Drill and Short Range Training for bazooka were made at ППУ. But I rather doubt this. To my best knowledge Yugoslav manufacturers generally put their plant name initials followed by the initial of the production location into their headstamps. Since it is unclear if the headstamp is Latin or Cyrillic we can’t even say if the initials in Latin are PP or RR.

- ППУ (Latin: PPU);: Also Prvi Partizan, Usice has survived the wars against Serbia.

- PKI: Is assumed to stand for a “reserve capacity I”, I, not 1 !!! and is said to be “Suvenir, Makedonski Brod”. I’d not swear if it really is so, it would break the rule as described under PP and the town of Makedonski Brod is located in Makedonia, a Cyrillic writing country.

- СМБ (Latin: SMB);, Suvenir, Makedonski Brod: This plant according to my files was founded in 1980 and produces infantry ammo since 1984. After a number of too many changes in ownership it is said to have seized operation now.

So was it a diffrent chamber that the early RPD’s had for this 41mm case? or no.

here is my 1950 7.62x39 example:

picture quality is bad, my flash went off and washed it out

Absolutely, in 1948 all 41mm cased cartridges where phased out and earmarked for disposal (and were destroyed somewhen) and all barrels of existing weapons were exchanged for new ones chambered for the 39mm case.

me262 - was looking thru some stuff I have here and found the Arsenal 60 also made a dummy with four flutes in the case and a snapped primer on the 1950-dated BWS case. I also have a 270 code with the same headstamp style, BWS case, from 50 and 51. Then, the same headstamp but on CWS case, triangle 270 triangle 52.

Almost wish I collected these. Years ago, I had a lot of the early Russian headstamps in my dupes, from a 50,000 round shipment our store got, originally out of Israel, and a real mixed bag. At the time we got the shipment, most of the headstamps in it were not in U.S. collections. I bought 500 rounds of it which I selected out of mixed-headstamp boxes, and made a lot of military cartridge collectors happy. I have less that 30 of those left, 25 years or so later.

Its a fun cartridge. I love reading about it, even though I don’t collect any of them except East German.