The Soviet Army – 7.62 x 39 mm Cartridge

The following data comes from Janes Ammunition Handbook 1995 – 1996.


7.62 x 39 mm; 7.62 mm Kalashnikov; 7.62 mm obr 43g


Soviet development of an intermediate rifle cartridge had begun in the late 1930s, parallel with similar work in Finland, Germany and Switzerland, but was dropped in 1939. Probably spurred by the appearance of the German 7.92 x 33 ‘Kurtz’ cartridge in late 1942, development was restarted in 1943. A design attributed to N M Elizarov and B V Semin was approved in late 1943 and applied to an experimental carbine by Simonov which later became the SKS. However, the major adoption of the cartridge came with the AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle, after which it became the standard rifle and light machine gun round for the Warsaw Pact and was widely adopted by other countries obtaining arms from the Soviet Union.


The case is rimless bottle-necked, of brass, lacquered steel or brass coated steel, Berdan primed with one or two flash-holes. The standard ball bullet PS is streamlined, with steel core, steel jacket and gliding metal envelope. Ball bullets manufactured in other countries may be non-streamlined and use a lead core, the weight being adjusted to the PS pattern.


Round Length:55.80 mmCase Length:38.65 mm
Rim Diameter:11.30 mmBullet Diameter:7.90 mm
Bullet Weight:7.97 gNominal Charge:1.60 g; SSNF 50 powder
Muzzle Velocity:710 m/sMuzzle Energy:2,010 J


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