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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a bunch of China 7.62x39 ammo some of it is boat tail. When I melt the lead out of the bullet, all there is is a steel case.
The site below say if its boat tail its steel core.
Info from: http://www.makeyourowngear.com/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1146681053
"You can't use a magnet to check if your ammo has steel core bullets!
All Chinese ammo uses bullets made with copper plated steel jackets, So using a magnet is useless because it will be sticking to the steel bullet jacket and not the steel core. The only way to tell if your ammo is steel core is to pull a bullet. Steel core bullets are over 1
All Chinese ammo uses bullets made with copper plated steel jackets, So using a magnet is useless because it will be sticking to the steel bullet jacket and not the steel core. The only way to tell if your ammo is steel core is to pull a bullet. Steel core bullets are over 1" long, have a boat tail, and have black sealer on them. In the pic the steel core bullet is on the left and the lead core on the right.

Only Chinese factories 31, 71, 311 and 351 made lead core ball. (maybe 61 also, but not sure)
Any other Chinese factory code will be steel core.
Lead core ball from 31 ALWAYS has a green case mouth seal.
Lead core ball from 71 ALWAYS has a knurled crimping groove on the projectile.
Lead core ball from 311 and 351 is harder to tell, but generally the rounds have NO case mouth seal or primer seal and date from 1991-1994
The earliest known lead core from 31 is 1990 dated.
The earliest known lead core from 71 is 1988 dated. "


Will the steel core ammo have lead in it?
I have 'steel core' 7.62x54R ammo. There is a steel rod rod inside the lead bullet.
Will the China steel core or AP ammo have a steel rod in it? Is the bullet solid steel?


<<<All ammo packed in the paper wrapped bundles has steel core bullets.>>>
The boat tail ammo I have is wrapped in paper. 351/88 and has black sealant on the bullet.
Do I have steel core ammo? Is it AP?

What real steel core ammo and what is AP ammo?
 

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If your ammo is headstamped "351 88", came in paper wrappers and has a 1" long boat-tailed projectile, it should be steel core. The only boat-tailed Chinese 7.62x39mm without a steel core that I know of in over 20 years of collecting is headstamped "31 90" and "31 91". Is the black sealant you refer to around the outside of the case mouth or inside the case? There is some lead inside a steel core projectile, but it will have the steel "rod" like the 7.62x54r steel core. Steel core ball is NOT AP by anyone's definition besides the BATFE. Real AP (not API) in 7.62x39mm is very rare and was only made by a few countries and none have been imported to the US in any quantity.

D.D.
 

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Devil Dog,

Do you have any pictures of the boattail lead core Chinese bullets? Did you section one? I'm interested because I thought that all lead core Chinese ammo was flat based.

I know that some of the Chinese boattail steel core bullets have a thin lead coating on the bottom which hides the steel core.

The one on the left is the typical steel core, the one on the right has a thin lead coating on the bottom.


This is a flat based lead core bullet on the left, and the bullet from above right but with the lead partially scraped away to reveal the steel core.
 

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Yes, I have sectioned the all-lead core Chinese 7.62x39mm to confirm type. Unfortunately I don't know how to post pics here to show. But if you follow the above link, you can see a pic of this round and some others that I sectioned for the guy who originally wrote the article. In fact, much of the info and pictures of Chinese boxes and cartridges on that site came form my personal collection. As I said in my original post, these are found in cases headstamped "31 90" and "31 91". Copper washed cases with a GREEN case mouth seal. Green was the color used by "31" to designate lead core and was used 1990-1995. The flat based lead core projectile was first used by "31" in 1991, so it is possible to find both types of lead core projectiles with this headstamp. The projectile is interesting in that the front 1/3 of the projectile is a hollow space EXACTLY like the "Wolf" brand HP and FMJ, only it is filled with tiny white plastic beads. Like the Russians, it appears that the Chinese wanted to use the same tooling and jackets of the PS type steel core round for the lead core only projectiles. Makes sense from a manufacturing point of view to use as much common tooling as possible. When these rounds first turned up in 1991-1992 on the surplus ammo market, people thought that it was some sort of exotic load. These were often called "lethality" rounds under the presumption that the lead slug in the projectile being at the rear of the projectile would make the round tumble faster. After some reasearch and examination of sectioned rounds, it has been concluded that the plastic balls were simply there to fill the void and give the lead core somewhere to be seated against during the manufacturing process. Bill Woodin, dean of the Woodin Laboratory and respected authority on small arms ammunition had the opportunity to ask some Chinese engineers from the factory that made these rounds what they were. Their comment was that "it was just something we tried.".

D.D.
 

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Yes, I have sectioned the all-lead core Chinese 7.62x39mm to confirm type. Unfortunately I don't know how to post pics here to show. But if you follow the above link, you can see a pic of this round and some others that I sectioned for the guy who originally wrote the article. In fact, much of the info and pictures of Chinese boxes and cartridges on that site came form my personal collection.

D.D.
Wondered where Freeman was making that AK info available at now.tracked down the website-
http://www.ak-47.us/JAFreeman/
 

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looks like the plastic core.i would imagine you could weigh one round and compare it to the weight of another as the plaz bullet was only 63gr.
 

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So is this the plastic core stuff ? the head stamp is 04 85
Your photo shows regular E German Steel Core M43 BALL AMMO.

The Plastic core round has a blackend, blunted bullet and has "Ub" on the label ("training" abreviation in German)
 

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Yes, I have sectioned the all-lead core Chinese 7.62x39mm to confirm type. Unfortunately I don't know how to post pics here to show. But if you follow the above link, you can see a pic of this round and some others that I sectioned for the guy who originally wrote the article. In fact, much of the info and pictures of Chinese boxes and cartridges on that site came form my personal collection. As I said in my original post, these are found in cases headstamped "31 90" and "31 91". Copper washed cases with a GREEN case mouth seal. Green was the color used by "31" to designate lead core and was used 1990-1995. The flat based lead core projectile was first used by "31" in 1991, so it is possible to find both types of lead core projectiles with this headstamp. The projectile is interesting in that the front 1/3 of the projectile is a hollow space EXACTLY like the "Wolf" brand HP and FMJ, only it is filled with tiny white plastic beads. Like the Russians, it appears that the Chinese wanted to use the same tooling and jackets of the PS type steel core round for the lead core only projectiles. Makes sense from a manufacturing point of view to use as much common tooling as possible. When these rounds first turned up in 1991-1992 on the surplus ammo market, people thought that it was some sort of exotic load. These were often called "lethality" rounds under the presumption that the lead slug in the projectile being at the rear of the projectile would make the round tumble faster. After some reasearch and examination of sectioned rounds, it has been concluded that the plastic balls were simply there to fill the void and give the lead core somewhere to be seated against during the manufacturing process. Bill Woodin, dean of the Woodin Laboratory and respected authority on small arms ammunition had the opportunity to ask some Chinese engineers from the factory that made these rounds what they were. Their comment was that "it was just something we tried.".

D.D.

Thanks for the information. I learn new things from this board all of the time!
 

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That stuff in the blister packs is steel core. The plastic stuff had a rounded tip, and a gray colored bullet.

Ooopps..see that ammolab just told you the same thing. The plastic stuff was fun to shoot, like the 54r stuff made in Czechoslovakia that came in a while back.
 

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Your photo shows regular E German Steel Core M43 BALL AMMO.

The Plastic core round has a blackend, blunted bullet and has "Ub" on the label ("training" abreviation in German)
I was told it was steel core at the time of purchase and however I dont plan to shoot it it would suck accidentally using the plastic stuff for home defense. :eek::eek::eek:
 

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Don't be fooled by the name "practice". This plastic cored 7.62x39mm has a muzzle velocity of over 3,000 fps. It could be very lethal at close range.

D.D.
 

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Hi S-the tips look like the blunted lead core repacks,now that I look at your pic closely and this happened during the reseating;probably not repacked in Germany -or so it has been rumored.Looks like the pics show a flattened tip.I'd still weigh one and compare for the hell of it.Still has a corrosive primer.
DD-for sure all the plastic core is blunted ?-I thought some were copper coated and shaped like a normal fmj..wish I still had some rounds to look at .I imagine those plaz rounds were almost too effective at crowd control .I'll bet wild parties in EG broke up fast when a few of these got fired.:eek:
 

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Hi S-the tips look like the blunted lead core repacks,now that I look at your pic closely and this happened during the reseating;probably not repacked in Germany -or so it has been rumored.Looks like the pics show a flattened tip.I'd still weigh one and compare for the hell of it.Still has a corrosive primer.
DD-for sure all the plastic core is blunted ?-I thought some were copper coated and shaped like a normal fmj..wish I still had some rounds to look at .I imagine those plaz rounds were almost too effective at crowd control .I'll bet wild parties in EG broke up fast when a few of these got fired.:eek:
Nope...the lead core "reloads/repacks" were put in white cardboard boxes... His picture is the German MILITARY Factory pack and so marked with the Military "M43" designation for GI BALL. His rounds also show the Military lacquer neck seal...not found on lead bullet reload/repacks.

The German "practice rounds" (Ub marked) are as stated.... Lethal ammunition. Would be no different than Ball ammo for crowd control...maybe a bit less penetration on your target, but not a nonlethal round for sure.

Here is the German Ub ammo and box label:
 

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Thanks Ammolab-the stuff I am most familiar with is the loose early EG ammo in cans or plastic bags-those packages appeared later around here.You wouldn't happen to have a picture of the repack.I remember some of it looking pretty flat tipped.Anyhow -what an enjoyable thread...:)Sure adding to my limited knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If your ammo is headstamped "351 88", came in paper wrappers and has a 1" long boat-tailed projectile, it should be steel core. The only boat-tailed Chinese 7.62x39mm without a steel core that I know of in over 20 years of collecting is headstamped "31 90" and "31 91". Is the black sealant you refer to around the outside of the case mouth or inside the case? There is some lead inside a steel core projectile, but it will have the steel "rod" like the 7.62x54r steel core. Steel core ball is NOT AP by anyone's definition besides the BATFE. Real AP (not API) in 7.62x39mm is very rare and was only made by a few countries and none have been imported to the US in any quantity.

D.D.
The sealant is both, it can be seen on the outside and inside when pulled.
No rod came out when I pulled the bullet and melted the lead. I cut the tip if the bullet too.
After cutting and melting, I can see through the bullet. I is much like the Russian steel bullets I have melted except that the China bullet is thicker steel.

I have many different boxes of 7.62x39. It would be nice if I had one that was steel core with a steel rod.
 

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Landtoy, I'm surprised that your "351 88" ammo has lead core projectiles, but I suppose that anything could happen...

The "flattened" tips on East German 7.62x39mm projectiles are supposed to be there. It is part of the projectile design, not a result of the loading process. The original lots of "reworks" have the same flattened tip. Either the former East Germans made these themselves or had them made to order by Hirtenberg in Austria. In any case, original DDR blueprints clearly show the flattened tip is intentional. Later lots of these reworks have a slightly different projectile, usually with a more normal, pointed tip. This leads me to beleive that the projectiles were made elsewhere...

The first of these reworked rounds used East German cases and you could not tell them apart from original steel core rounds at all unless you pulled a projectile. All of the reworks came in the white boxes marked "made in Germany".

D.D.
 

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The first of these reworked rounds used East German cases and you could not tell them apart from original steel core rounds at all unless you pulled a projectile. All of the reworks came in the white boxes marked "made in Germany".

D.D.
Didn't ALL the East German "reworks" use East German cases? What other case could they use in reworking E German Military ammo into lead core. Some Hungarian GI ammo was done the same way, right? I also don't recall that they didn't put the lacquer neck seal on the Lead core rework projectile.
 

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In addition to the East German cases, I know of Soviet, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Polish cases that were re-worked and packed into the white "made in Germany" boxes. There are two explanations for this:

1. East Germany often traded with it's communist allies. Since they made no API, Subsonic Ball, Incendiary-tracer and only limited amounts of Tracer, they got these types from their allies. Once the supply of DDR ammo was used up in the original rework, they might have began reworking this "specialty" ammo for the later lots. The projectiles were useless, but the cases and powder had value.

There was a huge de-mil program in the former DDR after "re-unification". From small arms ammunition to RPG's and artillery. What was not de-milled and scrapped/recycled was sold as surplus or remanufactured for resale. Keep in mind that in many European countries, "steel core" is meaningless, so lots of surplus was sold "as is", not needing to be reworked.

2. As the supply of ammo to be reworked was exhausted, the Germans bought up surplus from their former allies to rework.

Hungary did rework some of their older steel core ball and sold it under the "MFS" brand. The first batch was all the same headstamp (23 90) and some years later there was another round of reworks, but these contained mixed headstamps.

D.D.
 
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