White tip - 7.62X54R

  • 7.62X54R round with CWS cartridge case headstamped [raised]: “17” [Barnaul plant] over “50” [year of manufacture 1950]. The bullet has a white tip. Is it a LIGHT bullet??? Liviu 02/07/08

I have also a Russian cws cased white tipped bullet. Heastamp of the case 188 71. There is a red p.a. and n.c.(primer annelus, neck seal)
I’ve listed them as a reference ctg. Wishes, Jan

Does your bullet have a milled cannelure around it? If it does it may well be a Finnish tracer loaded into a Soviet case.

As far as i know white tip is a standard marking for reference cartridges in the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.


Ditto; I’m reading through a Russian book on arms and ammunition now (“A Directory of Small Arms in the CIS”, by A.I. Blagovestov), and says that reference cartridges are maintained for test cartridges against those held in long-term storage; when the quality of the stored rounds (determined by random testing) drops below a specific level versus the reference round, they know it’s time to withdraw them from stocks. These reference rounds are marked with white tips in all calibres.

—> @ Jim: No, the bullet has no cannelure around it and it isn’t a reload. —> @ strakv & SDC: I’m sure you’re right. In this situation the “reference ammo” (it should be called also “etalon ammo”) is a top lot ammo with all parameters [accuracy, velocity, gas pressure, dimensions, etc] having a very low tolerance fluctuation. Am I right??? Liviu 02/08/08

In 1950 the reference rounds had a purple tip colour. The colour was changed much later, not before the 60s, maybe 70s, to white. Maybe someone can be more precise.

Before that change there was no white colour tips. With the Finnish tracer to be excluded I believe it is the light iron core bullet.

  • Well, there are more 7.62X54R rounds with white tip and CWS cartridge cases, all having raised headstamps and showing the State factory code “21” [over “52” and “53”] and the State factory code “22” [over “53” and “54”]. These 7.62X54R rounds with white tip could be made in Hungary by the plant “21” [Veszprem] and “22” [Jobbagyi], the rounds are not Romanian made since the 7.62X54R cartridges manufactured in Romania in early 1950s had brass shell cases [not CWS] with the 3-letter mark “RPR”. —> QUESTION: Did Hungary manufacture in early 1950s 7.62X54R rounds with CWS cases and white tip bullets??? I would like to know for sure what type of bullet had the white tip. Liviu 02/08/08

Hi Liviu,

At first, i have to tell that we have no documentary proofs about the cold war ammunition production. According to the specimens i’ve seen, Hungary produced CWS cases till the late 60’s and ballistic reference rounds are very rare.
I think white tip bullets in this caliber from those years might be lead core “L” or “D” bullets but you have to pull the bullet to make sure

  • @ strakv: I did pull the bullet with the white tip from that Russian 7.62X54R round with CWS case headstamped “17” over “50”. The bullet is 1 1/8 inch [28mm] long. Using another similar round, I filed the bullet in half [the bullet is still crimped in the CWS case] and it offers a perfect 13/16 inch [21mm] long section which I polished with sandpaper [1000 grit]. The bullet section shows no lead inside, under the tombac jacket is only iron or steel [hard to be filed]. I’ll take some close picture and send them with a comment to be printed in the IAA Journal. Liviu 02/10/08

These Soviet and Hungarian white-tipped cartridges were imported into the US a few years ago and sold as “Etalon” reference or ballistic standard. Some shooters have tested these cartridges and proclaimed them to be no better than average surplus ball ammunition. These cartridges are packed in boxes of mixed headstamps and it has also been suggested that these are remanufactured, probably at a date later than the orginal one on the case, which would account for the mixed headstamps but consistent powder charge and projectile types. Since the Soviets were not making the steel cored “LPS” bullet in 1950, if you found one in a 1950 dated case, then it is probably a remanufactured load. I do not knopw when the Soviets began to use white to mark reference cartridges, but I have a 1950’s dated 7.62x25mm reference round with a purple/maroon colored tip.


  • @ strakv: There is also a Hungarian made 7.62X54R round with CWS cartridge case having raised headstamp markings: “21” [Veszprem ammo plant] over “73” [date of manufacture 1973]. The bullet has a silver tip with a yellow band under it. What type of projectile is it??? Thanks for any help, Liviu 02/10/08

The silver and yellow tip color is the code for “Heavy Steel Core Ball”.

Yellow = Heavy Ball

Silver = Steel Core

Only used by the Hungarians on 7.62x54r cartridges to my knowledge.

This projectile is an almost exact copy of the Czech. made 7.62x54r heavy steel core ball of the 1950’s, which had no color code at all.


  • @ AKMS: Thanks for your reply. It is true, those 7.62X54R rounds with white tip and CWS cartridge cases made by the plants [“17” - Russian, “21” and “22” - Hungarian] were all mixed in a bag. The 7.62X54R rounds [headstamped “17” over “50”] have clear visible crimping marks but the 7.62X54R rounds [made by the plant “21” and “22” in early 1950s - see above] show no crimping marks. Liviu 02/10/08