Tula 7.62x54r with "* *" mark

What can anyone tell me about this cartridge? It’s a steel case and I didn’t bother to upload the side view because it’s a crimped mouth blank, which I’m fairly certain is not as manufactured. The primer may not be original either, but I’m not sure on that. Full headstamp is T * * 34 reading 12, 9, 3, 6. TIA

I do not have an answer but this is a very early steel case so it might be related to a pilot lot. Great item!

Thanks. I was also thinking it might be an early ShKAS round, but wanted to see what others had to say first.

7.62x54r, ShKAS cases have ring crimped primers and deeper primer pockets.

I will confirm later, but I believe I have this same headstamp on a brass case.

Okay, I guess that rules out that theory.

My mistake, mine is also CWS. But I knew I had something similar but different. I do have a brass-cased T 3 4, but the base is rounded, and the 3 is at 9:00 and the 4 is at 3:00. There is nothing at 6:00, and there are no stars. Your idea about the stars denoting a steel case could be correct.

Thanks for checking Jon.

Back to my ShKAS theory for a moment. I just checked the timeline in the back of Chumak’s book. According to it, steel case production began in 1934 at 3 different factories. All steel case production was ShKAS until about 1936. At Tula two types of ShKAS rounds were produced in 1934, Type L ball, and blanks. I don’t think there would be a need to ring crimp the primers on blank ammunition because it’s not going to develop the energy to require it. Maybe the two stars do denote ShKAS after all.

I’m posting a picture of the case just for curiosity sake. It is a blank, but I don’t think it’s original. It’s on loan from Hendere and he tells me that he bought several like this from one source and they are a mix of headstamps all with the same black sealer at the mouth. He thinks they may have been done for re-enactors or something like that. I agree with that theory.

The same lot that this cartridge came from included a blank made from a later ShKAS case that still has the original red paint on the primer and a VPT headstamped case made into the same style blank with the same black paint on the mouth. I haven’t seen these anywere else, but I’m guessing they were made here.

To further muddy the waters…
I spoke about this with Jack Wells, known to some of you. Here’s his answer:

“Rechecked my 7.62 x 54R listings,and in checking thru
my ShKAS listings,I found I have:
T 34 Ball-Cws. Heavy double (2) ring neck crimps,
no * * in HS:
'And the mystery deepens’

Seems possible that 1934 was a real headstamp transition year at Tula.

[quote=“7.62x54r”] I don’t think there would be a need to ring crimp the primers on blank ammunition because it’s not going to develop the energy to require it. Maybe the two stars do denote ShKAS after all.

A ShKAS case which did not pass the QA and being turned into a blank certainly would not get a ring crimp since it would not have been used in a ShKAS gun. As said ShKAS cases have deeper primer pockets.
No Russian manual ever mentioned blanks to be used in ShKAS guns nor two stars as a marking for ShKAS cartridges. (stars also appear on other Russian head stamps)

How can you tell that it has, or doesn’t have, a deeper primer pocket just by looking at the primed case? Maybe Chumak just assumed that it was a ShKAS cartridge because it’s a steel case. It seems to me that it would be pointless to have a special headstamp simply because it’s a steel case when that’s obvious and easier to see just by looking at the case itself. Of course the stars may not mean anything at all in particular, but that seems odd also.

7.62x54r, I was wrong (the pocket is not deeper), the primer is deeper seated because the primer cup got shortened. Easily visible from outside (compare a real ShKAS to a regular cartridge).
Russian collectors refer to additional marks in the hs as “technological” means as marking for cases which are different in some way. These are not official military markings and the meaning is factory internal.

Thanks for the clarification.

So maybe the two stars just indicate a steel case and it was dropped shortly afterward as redundant or unnecessary.

7.62x54r, I wish I knew the answer.

I don’t know if anyone considers it relevent, but I have over twenty 7.62 x 25 Tokarev Rounds with the two-star design headstamp ( 3 and 9 O’clock),
and while the majority are on brass cases, a few are on steel as well. Also, on many rounds, the stars are not there, but there are triangles in their place, not always oriented the same on various headstampa, but always oriented the same on the same headstamp, and they are found on brass and steel cases also. Not the same caliber, but Russian ammunition regardless, with dates from 1944 to 1952 at least.

I find it hard to believe that the marks have anything at all to do with case material. If they do, then it was only during the 1930s that it did.

Other Tokarev rounds have only one star, and a lot of month number added to the arsenal number and date to make a four-place headstamp. A few of these headstamps have dividing lines between each entry. Some with only a single geometric symbol have a single triangle instead of a star. In none of these cases, can I positively relate the symbols to the case material, due to their use on both steel and brass cases.

I personally think one has to search elsewhere than the case material for an answer to these stars. I have my own opinion about these figures on many other country’s headstamps, although I have not formed one on the Russian rounds, but expressed it once on a long ago thread and seemed to be a minority of one, so I’ll keep it to myself this time. I have no documentation to back up my opinion anyway, nor did those who disagreed have any to back up their opinions. Like I said, I think the search has to continue.

I’d like to hear Yuri’s opinion on the meaning of the geometric symbols put on these Russian headstamps.

Good point John. I had forgotten about the 7.62x25 in spite of having just posted my list.

John, I’d like to see your theory, either posted or PM’d. Posting would be best, others might agree with you, or use your ideas to build upon.

Some extra information from Boris Davydov’s article.
They made a test 14.5 mm cases from thinner brass ring (8.15-8.4 mm) than usial (11 mm) at Plant #3 in 1942. They placed headstamps at 12- 3, at 6 - 42, at 9 - star. See pic of drawing.
3 and 42 was the most frequent headstamp for 14.5 mm durind WWII, sometimes with star at 3, not at 9!

Here an exceprt from the Russian training manual “Ground Based Artillery Ammunition” 1970.
It says about the symbols “technological signs”. Now we just need a manual which will decode all of them.