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  1. #1
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    Default Bulgarian 7.62x25: Dangerous?

    I've got two 800 round cases of what I presume to be Bulgarian 7.62x25 ammunition. The head-stamps on the rounds in the case I opened are "3-10-52". I'm not sure what the other can's date is. I have a CZ52, so will these rounds hurt it? If I can't run it through that, then would these damage a PPSH41? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    No one has been able to independently reproduce the "dangerous bulgarian ammo" problems. Do the spin test in your CZ-52 if you wanna save yourself some grief with rounds jamming, otherwise, it should all be fine.
    RIP BBQ Sam

  3. #3
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    Not urban legend, but a guy who I always see at the gun show here in CA cracked his CZ slide w/ that ammo. Don't remember the exact headstamp, but it was Bulgarian. I used to shoot it in my CZ52, but it would lock it up at times. I much rather shoot the Polish, Yugo or if possible the Norinco ammo. In my pistol at least these shot better.

  4. #4
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    I bought a few packs of it years ago, and discarded it after several FTF's.
    "Conceal Carry. Because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

  5. #5
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    If you don't like it I will take it off your hands....I love the stuff.

  6. #6
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    search the forums. its been discussed many many many times

  7. #7
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    Well, I know some folks have said it has blown up CZ52s and such, but I wanted to be doubly sure it would not damage my friends PPSH41. I assume since these rounds are loaded hot that they were meant for SMGs? However, the producers of the PPS-43 pistol said that several of their guns were destroyed in the testing process using this ammunition.

  8. #8
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    If you're not wanting to shoot it i'd buy it off you. Many would. And having guns destroyed in a testing process sounds like a testing process, not necessarily bad ammo.
    RIP BBQ Sam

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col.Klink View Post
    Well, I know some folks have said it has blown up CZ52s and such, but I wanted to be doubly sure it would not damage my friends PPSH41. I assume since these rounds are loaded hot that they were meant for SMGs? .
    Running the Bulgarian 7.62x52 over a chrony will give you a muzzle velocity LESS than current Commercial S&B 7.62x25mm FMJ. I have not seen any complaints that the S&B commercial ammo is loaded "hot" or that it has blown up weapons. The Bulgarian ammo is not "SMG" ammo and not intentionally "Loaded hot". If it is blowing up guns...it is just DEFECTIVE ammo....that is, an occasional round is way overpressure or the brass cases are now failing when fired.
    "Saigon Tea, 60 P, you no buy you di di DI!"

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    I thought it was the 53 headstamped ammo that was "unsafe."

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    The contraversy was well-defined on a website a number af years ago. If you search for dangerous bulgarian ammo, you should still be able to find the site, complete with headstamp & cracked slide & frame pics.

    Bulgarian ammo is all OK, UNLESS it's packed in the pink (seriously) boxes. Supposedly pink stuff was either proof ammo or machine gun ammo & was not intended for Toks or CZ-52 pistols.

    The on-line article amassed info that linked the cracked slides directly with this specific ammo. All other Bulgarian ammo is considered OK.

    I've been using Bulgarian ammo for several years & all it's gotten my CZ-52 was ... dirty.

  12. #12
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    Half way through a tin of 1952 Bulgarian through CZ52's with no problems. Not the most accurate ammo but it goes bang %99.9 of the time.

  13. #13
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    "proof ammo" - no, it was labeled and marked as ball, probably just defective ammo.
    "machine gun ammo" - no such thing exists in 7.62x25.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  14. #14
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    Here is the BAD Bulgarian, forget the head stamp and just look at the wrapper. It is Proof Ammo that was imported long ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    I have owned a cz 52 and been surfing firearms board for about 8 years "not very long." And this was a hot topic when I first started lurking and posting. The pink wrapper Bulgy stuff was pretty well known to cause busted slides on the CZ 52. But, I remeber reading anothers testimony of S&B blowing out the slide on his too. I no longer own a CZ 52.

  16. #16
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    pjogrinc,
    Do you read Bulgarian? Please tell me where on that label it says anything about Proof Ammo.
    It doesn't.......and it ain't.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  17. #17
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    Some of the posts by Ed Hoffer and others show quite a bit of the combloc was not at spec, either out-of-round case necks or OAL being too long. Combine that with a CZ52 tight chamber, bad things can happen. Maybe some years were worse. Even the older S&B stories were probably from sloppy manufacturing.

  18. #18
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    I have and shot the pink wrapped stuff in my TT33's, PPS43 and PPSh41 with no problem. I will shoot the rest in my PPS43 and not in my Russian or Yugo Tok just to be safe.

  19. #19
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    Honestly, have you ever heard or read of a TT having a problem with bad or high pressure ammo??? CZs maybe, but not TTs.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  20. #20
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    "pjogrinc,
    Do you read Bulgarian? Please tell me where on that label it says anything about Proof Ammo.
    It doesn't.......and it ain't
    . "

    When I ordered my first bulk order of 7.62x25 from CAI in 2006, I talked with a sales agent about the "dangerous Bulgarian". He stated that there had been some "high pressure test ammunition" that came in mixed in with the rest of the container load of ammo. These were all in tins like the regular Bulgarian. He said it had been pretty well wedded out and that I would not get any of this ammo, only the safe stuff. No, I don't read Bulgarian, but what I have just found out, is that the label reads "REGULAR MACHINEGUN AMMO".

    Isn't "Regular Machinegun Ammo" higher pressure ammo ????

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny c. View Post
    pjogrinc,
    Do you read Bulgarian? Please tell me where on that label it says anything about Proof Ammo.
    It doesn't.......and it ain't.
    Doesn't matter whether it says anything on the label or not. The pink wrapper may be the only clue. There's enough compelling material compiled on this pink wrapper stuff to convince me that I wouldn't want to feed it to MY CZ-52.

    Your gun, your fingers, your choice.
    "Hey Look! We've got Guns ... and We've got Snacks!"
    - Cdr. Samuel "Sam" Axe, USN, (ret) -

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjogrinc View Post
    "pjogrinc,
    Do you read Bulgarian? Please tell me where on that label it says anything about Proof Ammo.
    It doesn't.......and it ain't
    . "

    When I ordered my first bulk order of 7.62x25 from CAI in 2006, I talked with a sales agent about the "dangerous Bulgarian". He stated that there had been some "high pressure test ammunition" that came in mixed in with the rest of the container load of ammo. These were all in tins like the regular Bulgarian. He said it had been pretty well wedded out and that I would not get any of this ammo, only the safe stuff. No, I don't read Bulgarian, but what I have just found out, is that the label reads "REGULAR MACHINEGUN AMMO".

    Isn't "Regular Machinegun Ammo" higher pressure ammo ????
    I just translated the bottom line using a Bulgarian keyboard translator then pasted that into the Google Bulgarian - English translator.

    Not to start a pissing contest,
    but I have received unopened cases of Bulgarian that are mixed gray and pink wrappers again. There is a site on the web that had a commercial pressure testing house test the ammo. Pink or gray 16 round wraps of Bulgarian tested the same (within the SD) but the white labeled pink wrapper was significantly higher, I want to say around the 50K PSI mark. Darn, I wish I could find that site.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjogrinc View Post
    "[I] No, I don't read Bulgarian, but what I have just found out, is that the label reads "REGULAR MACHINEGUN AMMO".

    Isn't "Regular Machinegun Ammo" higher pressure ammo ????
    Those 16rd packets of Bulgarian 7.62x25 DO NOT mention "MACHINE GUN AMMO" on the label.

    And most certainly... NO, "Regular Machinegun Ammo" is NOT higher pressure ammo.
    "Saigon Tea, 60 P, you no buy you di di DI!"

  24. #24
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    ...not to mention that a 16 round packet fills two TT mags and has no relation to a PPSh or PPS mag.

    It is also worth noting that Proof ammo is generally not produced in any quantity, is only used in weapons manufacturing and testing facilities, and is often loaded by that facility and not by the ammo manufacturer. There really is no way that a large quantity of Proof ammo would be produced and packaged, and then accidentally mixed with ball ammo at the ammo factory. Whatever the problem was with some small quantity of Bulgarian Tokarev ammo, it definitely was not an issue of Proof or Hot MG/Sub-Gun Ammo.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjogrinc View Post
    I just translated the bottom line using a Bulgarian keyboard translator then pasted that into the Google Bulgarian - English translator.

    Not to start a pissing contest,
    but I have received unopened cases of Bulgarian that are mixed gray and pink wrappers again. There is a site on the web that had a commercial pressure testing house test the ammo. Pink or gray 16 round wraps of Bulgarian tested the same (within the SD) but the white labeled pink wrapper was significantly higher, I want to say around the 50K PSI mark. Darn, I wish I could find that site.
    I DID find this article, which may give a little insight on the ammo situation:
    http://www.geocities.ws/kirbytheog/bad2.html

    Apparently the original link is no longer active, but this appears to be an excerpt from the original published info:
    http://www.ar-15.co/forums/showthread.php?t=3082
    "Hey Look! We've got Guns ... and We've got Snacks!"
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  26. #26
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    He also clearly states that weaker designs than the CZ 52 like the TT-33 or the C-96 would have done even worse!i

  27. #27
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    I repeat:

    "Honestly, have you ever heard or read of a TT having a problem with bad or high pressure ammo??? CZs maybe, but not TTs."
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  28. #28
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    AZShooter, I read your interesting attachments. I have no idea who this Sgt. Fortys is, but he truly knows little about East Bloc weapons and ammo, especially where it concerns Bulgaria.
    1. The Bulgarians did not adopt the PPSh because they could not afford AK47s. That is a ridiculous supposition and it totally ignores chronology and history.
    2. Standard 7.62x39 AK ammo is far from "diminutive", and 7.62x25 Tokarev ammo comes nowhere close to matching its ballistics, especially out to 300 meters.
    3. Standard 7.62 Tokarev ammo does not give "pitiful performance", and it penetrates better than just about any pistol/SMG in history. Just ask a few million well-padded yet highly-perforated Germans. I would like to meet some of those "many" US Korean War vets who "remember shaking such bullets out of their longjohns". Perhaps he is talking about Chinese vets and the M1 Carbine?
    4. Pre- and post-1957 Russian 7.62x25 ammo is ballistically identical. Where did he get the idea it was different? As a matter of fact, the Soviets ended large-scale production of the cartridge in 1956, and only produced it for small export orders after that. The only place an American can find post-1956 Soviet Tokarev ammo is in isolated specialist collections like mine.
    5. Then he goes on to pronounce that old crap about .308 and 7.62x51 Nato ammo having a 4000 to 8000 psi difference! I won't even start with that here.
    About the only intelligent thing he says is that "Sometimes the packaging gives a clue". Well, that is true, but it is only to facilitate loading efficiency, it has nothing to do with the power loading of the contained ammunition. In addition, he describes Bulgarian Tokarev ammo as hot, and specifically loaded for SMGs, yet it is invariably packaged in 16 round packets for loading 2 TT magazines!!!
    Where do these "Internet Experts" come from. Folks, don't trust everything that I say, do a bit of research and use your brains.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  29. #29
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    I ran a case through my m-57 with no problems. Shoot away!

  30. #30

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    I guess none of you has ever beat open a Russian Tokarev with one of these cases expanded in the chamber.More than once in 40 years in this bussiness.The very same headstamp.I would not use it in anything but a ppsh submachine gun.I have a case of this that I have been pulling the bullets and powder from sence the 1980's.I refuse to sell it as shootable ammo.


    Dallas

  31. #31
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    Yes, it's definitely dangerous....to anything in front of the muzzle.

  32. #32

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    Dangerous on the shooters end also.Fortunately for me,it's guys who think they know it all that keeps work coming into my shop.

    Dallas

  33. #33
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    "I guess none of you has ever beat open a Russian Tokarev with one of these cases expanded in the chamber."

    And what catastrophic damage was done to the TT?
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by vz58kid View Post
    He also clearly states that weaker designs than the CZ 52 like the TT-33 or the C-96 would have done even worse!i

    I believe the Tokarev pistol is quite a big stronger than the CZ-52. The CZ is not a delayed roller lock like the G3 - the rollers lock the barrel to the slide, but do not absorb recoil energy, delay extraction or use mechanical disadvantage to cushion the mechanism. The TT has a beefier barrel around the chamber, and more locking area. I really like my CZ52, I'm just saying that on average you should tend to see a higher failure rate in CZs than in TTs shooting the same bad ammo. My $0.02.

  35. #35

  36. #36
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    I've shot a few hundred rounds of Bulgy 1951 through my M57 and outside of being dirty and stinky, no problems...

  37. #37
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    After reading this I took my combloc samples and perry spin tested it against an unfired CZ52 barrel. I ended up with 3 piles, one that passed, one that is for the M57, and one that was so bad I wouldn't fire it.
    On another note, I also tested 100 rounds of unfired Starline. Only 4 rounds out of 100 passed the spin test.

  38. #38
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    I am having one heck of a time selling some Bulgarin 7.62x25 because of this old problem! I have several hundred rounds left from an 800 round batch made in 83. A lot of people simple won't be convinced Bulgarian is ok to shoot!

  39. #39
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    I was lucky enough to buy from Century when that bulgy tin ammo was 65$...I have shot 51' 52' 53' 54' of the star-3-10 stamped stuff in 52's, 33's and AR's.... it's dirty as sin, will crack necks on discharge...but shoots fine.

    I've had one primer pop out and had to clear my m-57 once....

    I had one of the first pps-43 repros that was just a bad build and blew up even with S&B ammo....

    fire away Sir! range is hot ammo is ready to run hot straight and true

  40. #40
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    Cruiser, there is no 1983 dated Bulgarian Tokarev ammo. Either it's dated '53, or you have Romanian ammo.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny c. View Post
    It is also worth noting that Proof ammo is generally not produced in any quantity, is only used in weapons manufacturing and testing facilities, and is often loaded by that facility and not by the ammo manufacturer. There really is no way that a large quantity of Proof ammo would be produced and packaged, and then accidentally mixed with ball ammo at the ammo factory. Whatever the problem was with some small quantity of Bulgarian Tokarev ammo, it definitely was not an issue of Proof or Hot MG/Sub-Gun Ammo.
    I was thinking the same thing. Proof ammo is not going to be produced in large quantities.

    I've seen posts on this "hot" ammo topic for many years now and have yet to be convinced that this is anything more than a few bad lots of x25 ammo. You hear the same thing about Yugo 8mm from the 50's - don't shoot it if it has this month/year on the cartridge or that month/year and then others will chime in that they shot a whole case of the "bad" ammo and had no issues. Guess the only take away for me is tread carefully with this ammo.

  42. #42
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    I simply cannot see how anyone would look at the THIN chamber wall of the cz, then lok at the THICK chamber wall of the tok, understand the locking areas of both, understand the inherent limitations of the roller locking design in the cz, and yet STILL say the cz52 is stronger. Just makes no sense at all.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franz 1796 View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. Proof ammo is not going to be produced in large quantities.
    And "Proof Ammo" is not going to do any harm to a sound firearm!
    "Saigon Tea, 60 P, you no buy you di di DI!"

  44. #44
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    It took a few moments to read through this thread and here is my .02 cents worth. Both TT-33's and CZ-52's are plenty of pistol for said ammo. This story like most tells of a blow up but the parts leading up to it never come to light. Often those 110 gr cabine bullets with a compressed load of AA#5 they fired the week before slips their mind and fails to be mentioned. I have shot this in a broomhandle that was in good shape and own a nagant conversion that will stand up to S&B and Metric Winchester. All Surplus eastern block stuff is aging and has not seen the best storage. Common sense is not so common anymore. Sunfish

  45. #45

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    I bought some 7.62x25 ammo several years ago from century arms I think and it was head stamped 3-10-53,it was not in the pink wrapper.It shot well out of my cz52 but I noticed the cases were cracked on the side after firing,some along the entire length.I called century and they wanted me to send them the cracked cases and they refunded my money.I never shot the rest of the ammo because I thought it was a dangerous situation.
    paranoia is total awareness

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