|Cartridge case headstamps are given in the clockwise system, the clock-sections are divided by "|" for better reading. The "|" does not mean an imprinted line in the headstamp.Example: symbol at 12 o´clock | 3 o´clock | 6 o´clock | 9 o´clock|
|Small arms ammunition up to 14,5mm:|
|Russian Federation and Associated States without Czechoslovakia:|
|The factory code of the state factories are all
located at the 12 o´clock position, with the year of
manufacture at the 6 o´clock position. The
codes consist of one, two or three digit factory numbers, sometimes
are 5-point communist stars at the 3 o´clock and 9
especially in the calibers 12,7mm and 14,5mm. The headstamp is not a
mark. The marks and numbers are all embossed.
As a rule of thumb, this can be said about Russian Federation and Associated States small arms cartridges headstamps:
Most East Germany factory numbers begin with 0,
examples: 04, 05
Heavily used Russian state factory numbers are:
3, 17, 188, 606,
|Without doubt, the former Czechoslovakia took many aspects from the German WWII headstamp. The factory codes consist of stamped-in three digit lower case letters:|
|If Czechoslovakian factories made ammunition for Russia, the manufacturer code was written in cyrillic upper case letters.|
|Ammunition above 14,5mm:|
|This ammunition no longer follows the rules described
Please view headstamps of the cartridges described to get a glimpse. Some Russian headstamps follow the scheme of imprinted markings in medium caliber shells. See the cartridges described for details.
|Czechoslovakian ammunition headstamps above 14,5mm
consist of marks at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o´clock.
The 3 and 9 o´clock positions are consisting oftwo rows. It has the manufacturer code mainly at 3 o´clock, but the code can also be at 12 o´clock sometimes. The letters "OTK" (odboru technicke kontroly) are often seen near the manufacturer code, this is the Czechoslovakian technical inspectors office mark. Numbers are found at 12 and 9 o´clock, giving the Lot, month and year of case production. The crossed swords on Czech ammunition indicate that the material (steel or brass) was accepted by the army. Also, the last two numbers of the year of acception are imprinted beside.
|The above is all said for post WWII ammunition. The later associated states used their own headstamp configuration before and during WWII, which will not be outlined here. Russian WWII headstamps of medium calibers have the manufacturer-number at 3 o´clock, often in a circle. The Lot-No. and the year of manufacture below are imprinted at 9 o´clock. The type of shell is sometimes imprinted at 12 o´clock. The year of manufacture is followed by the cyrillic "G.", short for "god", that's "year" in English. Sometimes the manufacturer is given at 6 o´clock, with Lot-No. and year at 12 o´clock. Many angles and symbols are imprinted without any order over the entire headstamp.|
|RFAS color code for small arms (up to 14,5mm):|
|RFAS color code for medium caliber ammunition (20mm and above):|
Russian projectiles below 45mm are surface treated (blued) for
protection against corrosion and appear black,
Russian 30x165 Naval projectiles are overall lacquered green.
Projectiles 45mm and above are either also blackened or lacquered grey
or dark green.
|Explosives, Incendiaries, Propellants|
|Listed below are examples (not a complete list) of high explosive fillers. The USSR designation is often painted onto the shells.|
|Incendiaries consist of a mixture
of magnesium and aluminum powder,
barium nitrate and colophony resin. These ingredients are pressed in
and located inside the ballistic cap of medium caliber armor piercing
These incendiary pieces are surrounded by paraffin wax to accommodate
inside the ballistic cap.
type of tubed propellant is designated with two
numbers; the first gives the wall thickness between the tubes in
1/10ths of millimeters, the second number gives the number of
tubes through the powder piece. Example: 4/7 powder has 7 tubes
separated by 0,4mm to each other. On single tube propellant, the first
number designates the distance between tube and outer surface of the
is a single
base propellant used in nearly all medium caliber Russian ammunition.
In larger calibers, a layer of waxed paper is located along the inner walls of the cartridge case. This acts as phlegmatizer and is indicated with a cyrillic letter F on the case. A phlegmatizer reduces the wear of the barrel (burning-out of the barrel) and extinguishes flames that may appear as the breach is opened. Odder additives, such as decoppering-agents (wires or foils of lead) or muzzle flash reducers (flash reducing smokeless powder UGF-1) may be used as well.
|Projectile and round designation system|
|The Russian projectile designation system consists of
a letter-number code that designates the type of projectile and the
type of weapon to be used
in. It is used on calibers 25mm and above, below 25mm caliber the
are only referred to as e.g. "AP-T" or "HEI" type.
The first two letters designate the basic type of
in this example "BR" for "broneboinij" which means armour piercing.
The above code is printed on the projectile, for the
code on the
cartride case the letters "U" or "V" are put in front of the code to
a fixed round or separate pieces of ammunition.
For identification of the different letters of the projectile codes please refer to the list in the "Markings" section right below.
|RFAS stamped-in markings on bullets are designed in
the "Lot-No. - manufacturer
- year" scheme. After this, a single letttter is often imprinted. The
have the designation of the fuze in front of this information.
A broad arrow is sometimes imprinted on the side of the shells, this marking is found on live HEI shells along with the year of manufacture, the letter C, a triangle or some numbers. The meaning of this arrow is not known. However this arrow DOES NOT designate Russian inert dummy ammunition as arrows were commonly used on German WWII target practice projectiles.
Note: I do not speak the Russian language, so I can´t say anything about the correct writing or pronunciation of the terms above.
For translation of English or Russian words, try this online dictionary.
|Czech markings on bullets follow the RFAS scheme,
followed by Czech symbols
like the crossed swords.
Czech fuzes and primers have the designation of fuze or primer, the "manufacturer - Lot-No. - year" and the "assembler - Looot-No. - year" stamped in. Some single- or two-digit numbers are spread all over the shell, these are inspectors marks, along with letters K or KT, etc.
Note: I do not speak the Czech language, so I can´t say anything about the correct writing or pronunciation of the terms above.
For translation of English or Czech words, try this online dictionary.
|The Cyrillic Alphabet|