This is a brass 7.62 x 39 fired case, with brass primer, clear red annulus, held in by three stab crimps. Headstamp is: “97 ZI”. I presume this is a South African made round, and “ZI” is actually “IZ” in the normal RSA marking style of putting the date and mark number at the top. I know RSA still use the British marking system of a Roman numeral mark number and a “Z” for nitrocellulose powder. Am I correct that this is an RSA made round? If so, what factory made it? Any help would be appreciated.


This one is made by Zimbabwe.

That RSA used the British system is a long time ago. Today they use a 2x180 degree number marking.
1 position gives the year of manufacture and the second the loaded projectile type.


Thanks, cleared that one up. Hey its my 300th post.


These ZI headstamped rounds were made by ZIMBABWE DEFENCE INDUSTRIES around the end of last century. (Zimbabwe is the former Rhodesia, presently under the very sympathetic rule of Mr Robert Mugabe,a great specialist in human rights and democracy).

These cartridges were exported under the brandname"Cheetah " in 40 rds cartons, and had a 123 grains FMJ bullet.

The cartons themselves had a colorful "Cheetah’s fur spotted finish…! very decorative indeed in a cartridge box collection!!!

P. Regenstreif


Thanks, From google I found that Zimbabwe Defence industries is loacated in Harare, Zimbabwe. Could someone please arrange to have the headstamp list updated, as this simply says “Unkown Factory, Zimbabwe”. Maybe that is a project that all of the forum users should work on, as it is for the benefit of cartridge collecting as a whole.


Here is the Cheetah brand box. Headstamp is 97 ZI


Thanks for the photo Dave. What sort of quality is that ammo? Is it corrosive?


It seems to be good quality ammo, but I don’t know if it’s corrosive - I clean my firearms out as soon as I can after shooting.


The quality is better than average for this caliber and it is non-corrosive. One of my shooting buddies only cleans his AK’s once a year at the end of the shooting season, so we know for a fact that this ammunition is not corrosive primed!

Can anyone confirm that this ammunition was made on machinery supplied by the Chinese and with Chinese technical assistance? That is the rumor I have heard about this ammunition…