Friday, July 19, 2013

Ammo Almost As Old As Me

In my last post, there was a pic of some ammo that I may or may not have bought recently, here it is again.

One of the types of ammo pictured is 7.62x54R, a good sized Russian rifle round for the Mosin Nagant rifles. Military surplus of that ammo is available at decent prices regardless of the current ammunition shortage and ammo buying frenzy. I guess that the Soviet Union and other ComBloc countries must have produced millions or tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of rounds of it; I say so because there almost seems to be a never ending supply of old military surplus stock of it out there for sale.

You can see three ammo cans of it in the center of the above photo. They are the green cans, center of picture. Each of those cans should hold 440 rounds. To your left, as you look at the photo, there is another can, kind of silver in color but with a good amount of white corrosion on it - it is plainly marked 7.62 on its top. That is also a 440 round can of 7.62x54R ammunition. The amazing thing about that can of ammunition is that it is only about two (2) years younger than me and the gunpowder used in the ammo is only about one (1) year younger than me. I have no idea if the ammo inside the can is still good after being in storage for about 56 years but I intend to find out. No, I am not admitting it is mine or that I bought it, just that I will have a chance to test it in the not too distant future.

The Sixth Annual Northeast Bloggershoot is going to be held on August 3rd somewhere in New England. (It will be held at a secret location, not because anything weird or extreme will take place but in order to honor the land owner's privacy.) I intend to take that can of ammo with me, and if I can figure out how to open it, without it taking up all of my shooting time, I'm going to try to get every round of it shot that day. Nope, I don't mean Brendan or I will shoot it all, 220 rounds of 7.62x54R apiece would more than certainly put a hurtin' on our shoulders that would preclude us shooting anything else for awhile. Instead, we (or I if only I attend) will shoot as much as we can and I will also give out a good amount of it to anyone else who wants to shoot it out of their Mosin Nagant rifles. It should be a blast. If I remember right, last year, someone had a machine gun that fired this caliber. If it is there this year, I could donate ammo to be fired through it (so long as I get to shoot some of it). Whatever, it will be fun shooting it up - if it still fires and my guess is that it will do so nicely. It has corrosive primers and they seem to last forever in relative terms to other ammo.

Getting back to that ammo can and how I know it is almost as old as me. As can be seen in the lower of the two pictures that accompany this blog post, the ammo can has markings on it. The top line shows the caliber is 7.62. The bullet type is seen in the next marking - the thing that looks like nnc; if I am not mistaken that symbol means the bullets in this ammo are light ball. The three symbols after that, looking like a lower case r followed by a ) and that followed by a K, denote the case type; which in this instance means bimetallic copper washed steel case. On the lower line, the first marking on the left (your left) is the cartridge lot series and lot number. That is followed by the number 57 which is the year in which the cartridges were produced, so this was made in 1957. Then there is the number 188 - there is some controversy as to what this number means - some say it is the factory identifier and others say it is the day of the year that the ammunition was produced. If it stands for the day of the year that the ammo was manufactured then it was produced on July 7, 1957. I tend to believe though that it is the factory designation as that would be more important in identifying the ammo in the event of problems with it. The next symbol that looks like a broken rectangle is of unknown significance but may indicate the bullet tip color (which indicates the type of bullet when the bullet is no longer in the sealed tin, like when you have it in clips) - such as light ball, heavy ball, armor piercing or incendiary. The letters after that indicate the gunpowder type. The two numbers appearing one over the other with a line between them, like a fraction, indicates the lot number over the year of production of the gunpowder. In this case the year the gunpowder was made was 1956. That is followed by the letter T that indicates the source of the gunpowder.

If you think I am making all of this up off the top of my head, or that it is all bogus, let me just say that I am not. I found the info on the Internet so how could it be wrong! Seriously, it looks to me as if someone did a lot of research to come up with exactly what the codes mean as can be seen here at the source I used: I would be willing to bet it is more fun shooting it than researching it; so, my thanks go out to whoever did all the research.

The other thing that I hope will be fun, and not a pain in the butt, is opening the ammo can in question. It certainly is not much like the typical Russian 'spam' cans and thus the can opener I have for them will obviously not work on this can. There is what appears to be a pull tab on the can (lower right hand corner as you view it). With any luck, I'll just have to grab that with a good pair of pliers and lift and pull it all the way around the can. If not, then I suppose the my K-Bar fighting knife will come in handy. Once I get it open, the real fun will commence.

All the best,
Glenn B


Chaplain Tim said...

Grab that pull-tab and pull hard, all the way around the can. The steel band that it is attached to is covered in soft lead-based solder, so it should pull free without much trouble.
Had a can like that, ammo shot very well out of a M44 carbine (that doesn't like to extract the plastic coated steel cases).

Glenn B said...

Thanks for the info, should be helpful.