Russian 7.62x25mm Factory Ammunition with Backwards Loaded Bullets from 7.62x39mm

Russian company TechCrim (known for designing the .366 TKM round) makes cartridges with very strange looking bullets. These are 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridges with backwards loaded bullets.

It is possible that a single round could mistakenly be loaded backwards, but not entire lots, right? It turns out, that they’ve deliberately done so. Further research shows, that these are actually not 7.62x25mm bullets, but 7.62x39mm ones (both cartridges have the same bullet diameter). So they took 7.62x39mm bullets, partially deleted the ogive to have a flat surface and loaded them backwards into the 7.62x25mm cases. This is where the good old question “WHY?” comes to mind. I can’t find any explanation for this other than the possibility that they had a ton of 7.62x39mm bullets and ran out of 7.62x25mm ones, so they decided to make these frankenbullets.

Image from forum.guns.ru

The company also designates these bullets as FMJs. I think that is arguable and causes a lot of confusion. The bullet itself started as an FMJ indeed, but the way it is loaded (and intended so) with what used to be a tail now being the nose, makes me think that it is not quite correct to call it an FMJ. I supposed these are now JHPs!? What do you think would be a correct designation for these bullets?



Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at Hrachya@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Luke Man

    Would…would those even feed properly? Any chance for a gel test?

    • PK

      I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t feed just fine.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        Older guns weren’t made to feed hollow points like today’s designs are. Even until the 90’s you had to test a 1911 with hollowpoints to see if it would even feed them, and that was new production. Feeding could very well be a real issue.

        • PK

          All of the JHP designs I’ve run through my 7.62x25mm firearms seem to have less width to the cavity than, for example, 9x19mm JHPs. The ogive of the normal FMJ round nose and the base of the 7.62x39mm projectile shown seem like they match up well enough to feed, just as the JHPs match up well enough.

          For me, for various JHPs, I’ve had no issues running them through the following… PPSh, PPS, TT33, CZ-52, and a SA Vz. 26.

        • Mystick

          Indeed. I have an AMT Hardballer that does not get along with HP…

    • Jai S.

      Shouldered cartridges have a much easier time feeding. I don’t think there would be many issues.

      • James

        Yeah, I was just about to reply that bottlenecked cartridges tend to feed much more reliably than straight walled, so from that perspective reliability of feed should be decent provided that gaping maw of a “hollow point” section might catch up depending on the gun, and especially on the magazine geometry.

  • Giolli Joker

    They look quite cool!
    Nice packaging as well.

    • PK

      Agreed. The iconic PPSh on the box really does look slick.

    • nanoc

      On the bottom it says PPSH – The firearm of our fathers, I thought that was pretty neat.

  • Vhyrus

    Do they work? I got a CZ 52. Send me some and I’ll tell you.

  • PK

    They seem to be thinking along the lines of a LSWCHP. It was also an older trick to load FMJ backwards to give some decent terminal ballistics while hunting, if you had nothing better.

  • 1911Junkie

    “It’s like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, “Why?” He said, “It seemed to be a good idea at the time.”

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    I’d like to see some gel testing, please. Not that I expect much, I just want to see what in the world will happen.

    • Hrachya H

  • iksnilol

    Old trick, was usually done in rifles to make hunting ammo outta FMJs.

    AND NOW THEY’RE MAKING THEM AS FACTORY PISTOL AMMO IN TOKAREVS, AWW YISS!

    • PK

      I’m starting to feel like the backwards bullet trick isn’t that well known!

      • iksnilol

        Them youngin’s, ain’t no respect for tradition and cheapskatery.

        • rjackparis

          someone took a .50 bmg bullet and made .50 alaskan the same way.

          • iksnilol

            And whoever that was, they are an amazing person.

            (For real, I want a Ruger No. 1 in that cartridge, only way to harvest moose legally with a subsonic round here in Norway).

          • Benjamin Goldstein

            I have a 50 Alaskan reamer made up so i could run my 900 grain 50 cal projectiles , mine is on a Number 3 Ruger , And yes , they work wonders.. Mind you, even with the short 13 inch barrel, you know you pulled the trigger…

          • iksnilol

            That sounds like a fun rig. SBR single shot in that cartridge is like the flare gun from hell.

            I honestly just want one so that I can integrally suppress it and run some heavy bullets like you do. Goal was something lightweight and quiet that can be used to (legally) harvest Norwegian Moose at ninja noise levels.

            How is the drop with the 900 grains? And what velocities/pressure are you running at? I’ve heard the Number 1/3 action is brutally strong.

          • Benjamin Goldstein

            Hmmm looks like they wouldnt let me post links ….

          • Benjamin Goldstein

            Aussie company Cast Bullet Engineering make a 975 grain 50 cal mold. And i had mine Hollowpointed by Hollow Point Bullet Mold services.
            Zero @100 meters… Drops 30 inches @200 meters.. I use ADI Trailboss powder. Velocity is kept @ 1050 fps. Couldnt tell you pressure, but havnt seen any signs of it. Accuracy is around 5 shots into 5-6 inches @ 100 meters. But i also use a Armson OEG sight. And yes, the action is bomb proof. Mate runs a 375 Cheytac on his.. Sorry, they wouldnt let me post all the links.

          • Adam D.

            LOL, I imagine…
            That cartridge puts out more energy than a 30-06,
            but with four times the bullet weight.
            I wouldn’t even want to look at the darn thing, let alone fire it.
            It looks huge even next to a .500 S&W cartridge.

    • Glory

      I disagree

      • iksnilol

        You can’t disagree with facts. Like; “moon landing was real” -nah, I disagree.

        That just sounds silly, you silly goose.

        • Tassiebush
          • CountryBoy

            Reminds me of Monte Python’s Argument Clinic.

          • Tassiebush

            “It’s just contradiction!”
            “no it isn’t “

          • CountryBoy

            “Yes it is!

            No it isn’t!”

            One of my favorite sketches!

          • Tassiebush

            Definitely a good one. In my teens I had a casette copy of a Monty python record with that and Dennis Moore and Are you embarrassed easily as well a bunch of other wonderful skits. Great stuff!

    • Eugene Gwynn

      An old US Forestry guy used to do that with 7.62 NATO ammo.

      • iksnilol

        And folks during the depression did that with 30-06 and the like.

        Again, hella old trick. Am surprised not many people know of it.

        • Hrachya H

          Yeah, but it was never been factory loaded, right?

          • iksnilol

            Not as far as I know.

            Only handmade to my knowledge. So really cool to see it being a factory item. Wonder if it performs in gel?

          • Hrachya H

            Neva been dun befo …LOL

          • No one

            Also the Box o truth did an expansion/fragmentation test in water and an accuracy test compared to the same cartridges only one 5 shot group loaded forward and the other backwards.

            The difference in accuracy was surprisingly really small actually.

          • No one

            Not that I’m aware of, just something Elmer Keith made popular because no good hunting rounds could be found in gun stores.

            Also as mentioned above, the Germans would do this before the K-Bullet and Tankgewehr came out as they literally had no dedicated counter to newly fielded tanks.

      • noob

        I wonder if the JAG would claim these are Open Tip Match. After all the projectile was never intended to expand.

        • majorrod

          Doubtful since they are purposefully being manufactured this way to be shot backwards but the irony is a good point.

    • William Elliott

      I did that with 150 grain FMJs so I could make some subsonic loads…right at 150 FPS out of a 10″ barrel

      • iksnilol

        150 fps? Isn’t that hella slow?

        Or did you mean 1050 fps. If so, that sounds like a fun load.

        • William Elliott

          I meant 1050 fps…damn fumble fingers.
          I was using a compressed load of 2400, no pressure signs. Point forward they were getting about 50 fps slower…still, 1000 fps with a 150 grain bullet is not bad.

  • JD

    The only reasonable explanation is someone was looking at a HK catalog.

    • BaldEagle

      TechRim. Because you suck. And we hate you.

  • Jai S.

    I imagine they had a very cheap supply of 123gr bullets (Russia, of course they did). Making do would probably be much cheaper than buying more 85gr-90gr bullets.

    These look like they would work. Cutting down the bullet would solve COAL (cartridge over all length) issues and would bring down the weight of the projectile to the Tokarev range.

    While the shape and probably some rough edges on the base of the bullet won’t help accuracy, I don’t think I matters for pistol plinking rounds.

  • GlennG

    The official designation for that bullet style is ABB – “Ass Backward Bullet”

    • noob

      If you asked the JAG if these were hollowpoint under the laws of war they’d probably say “hell naw, these are Open Tip Match”

    • CountryBoy

      BFP – Butt-first Projectile

      • Whiteguy

        your nick name?

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    Although it is not what is going on here, backwards loaded bullets go all the way back to WW1. Not in the way that you might assume though, as they were actually anti armour weapons. Obviously they would have worse penetration, but the point was that the backwards bullet would hit with more of a thump and be less likely to be deflected when hitting at an angle so it would cause a greater concussion and burst rivets on armour plating.

    • Amplified Heat

      They were also loaded a lot hotter

  • 日本のゴリラ
    • Matt Taylor

      I wonder if the cast rear section is more uniform than the cut front section…

      • 日本のゴリラ

        Possibly, depending on how these were modified. I wanna shoot these out of 7.62x54r the right way around with that huge new meplat. That would be a neat ballistics gel test.

  • SPQR9

    A backwards loaded FMJ would make an expanding bullet of a sort. (Because most FMJ have exposed lead on the base, which when loaded backwards becomes the new “nose”.)

    However, they were pretty lousy expanding bullets as the core would shed the jacket pretty fast upon striking an animal. And if the original FMJ nose is cut off as it appears, the jacket would shed instantly and spit out the core, I would guess, even at pistol speeds.

  • Sean

    Call them a “Soviet Surprise”

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Heard about this as an old reloading trick years ago. New technology outperforms it but back in the day it was a little more effective from what I hear.

  • Smedley54

    Junk?

  • Tom Currie

    Excuse me, but “these are actually not 7.62x25mm bullets, but 7.62x39mm ones (both cartridges have the same bullet diameter)” — what universe is this in?? 7.62x25mm Tok bullets are .308 but 7.62x39mm bullets are .311 or .312 (unless being loaded by US companies that use .308 bullets because its cheaper than finding the right ones).

    • Amplified Heat

      While ‘shady,’ it isn’t uncommon for US-made barrels chambered in Soviet rounds to actually mic at .308 bore. At least before .312 blanks were quite so common here. The extra three thou *generally* isn’t a problem if steel-core isn’t at hand (and in a pistol I’d think the pressure effects are even more moderate)

      • Ken

        One way to reduce chamber pressure is to have a shallower angle on the chamber throat so the bullet can speed up faster before it hits rifling. Squeezing a 0.310″ bullet into a 0.308″ bore is not an issue with the appropriate throat dimensions.

    • mosinman

      from what i understand 7.62×25 and 7.62x38R are .311 diameter when produced in Russia or is military surplus

    • iksnilol

      7,62 is 7,62.

      The 0.1mm difference isn’t an issue. Just a .308 bore and shoot both.

    • Raven

      All the Russian 7.62mm rounds (x25 Tokarev, x38R, x39, x54R) use a .310-.312 bullet, just like how .308 Win, .300WM and .300 Savage all use .308 bullet. IIRC, during WWII the Soviets actually made PPSh barrels from the same blanks as Mosins.

      • iksnilol

        And wasn’t unheard of making PPSH barrels and Tokarev barrels out of rejected Mosin blanks (since SMGs obviously need less precision than a rifle).

    • Hrachya H

      Tom, one of the key ideas of Soviet/Russian arms industry back then was to have rifle, SMG and handgun calibers the same. So they could rifle the barrels on same machinery. Reportedly, they even used salvaged Mosin-Nagant barrels to make PPSh and Tokarev ones. Here are the CIP specs for the 7.62x25mm:
      http://www.cip-bobp.org/homologation/uploads/tdcc/tab-iv/tabivcal-en-page9.pdf

  • USMC03Vet

    This is what happens when Ivan wins employee of the year and actually reads what goes in the suggestion box instead of burning the contents.

  • Amplified Heat

    Wouldn’t trimming the nose make it possible to squirt the core out, leaving the jacket behind? Not likely for a properly bonded jacket, but possible

    • Devil_Doc

      This is exactly what the Hornady ELDx rounds do. I complained to Hornady about it, and they said it’s what they’re supposed to do.

    • Phillip Cooper

      No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s not a blowtorch.

  • jerry young

    I’ve heard of people hand loading different ammo like this before but I still cant figure out why, I can see no practical reason unless you want to cut down distance and accuracy.

    • iksnilol

      The new tip has a hollow point due to the exposed lead base.

  • ozzallos .

    Stalin approves, is now self defense ammunition.

  • ToddB

    Seems like they would work, can’t be worse than the FMJ when it comes to penetration. I know they sell HP Tokarev ammo, just never actually seen any. So it would be worth trying.

  • Gary Kirk

    Is this for some new H&K variant??

  • Flight Er Doc

    Good old soviet era quality control..

  • aka_mythos

    As someone else pointed out this modified round makes something more typically seen when making hunting rounds out of fmj. .366 tkm is for a hunting shotgun… it really sounds like one more of these strange offerings meant for export to one of the many European countries that regulate arms based on the typical military use of a cartridge.

    Exportable to the greatest number of countries with only a minimal investment into smoothbore barrels and some fixtures for flattening the nose.

  • jonp

    Pretty standard trick in revolvers

  • ozzallos .

    TTAG has a short memory. And loose contribution standards. And a marked inability to proof their own stories.

  • Dr. Obvious

    Boat tail hollow point?

  • gun club member

    This is the result of the big party at the vodka harvest ,where Boris said “Hold my glass Natasha ,I have an idea .”

  • Chelovek RuBear

    The main reason was that TechKrim was given a large lot of 7.62×39 to process out, and they converted the shells to 7.62×25 and used the cut down bullet. It works quite well, they say, for hunting purposes in the PPSh carbine.

    • iksnilol

      There’s a civilian PPSH carbine for hunting? … I must see this monster.

      Also, can you make 7.62×25 out of 7.62×39? I thought the rim diameters were different? I know I’ve heard you can make Tokarev out of 5.56 brass.

      • Chelovek RuBear

        There are even semi auto Maxim and DP… Russia is weird on some areas.
        As for ammo, I was told they cut down 7.62×39 – maybe they meant the bullets, but then I would not put past them to make bad ammo. Rims are indeed different – 10.05 vs 9.95

  • HubbaBubbaD

    Nice, where can I get some

  • rjackparis

    never heard of the .50 alaskan?

  • frederick herring

    Somebody may have already said this but one has to be careful not to have both ends of a jacketed bullet open. Otherwise the lead core could blow through leaving the jacket in the barrel to obstruct the next bullet. People would sometimes try to convert military ball ammunition into soft points for hunting, only to destroy their rifle this way.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Sounds like bad science. Powder doesn’t burn as hot as a blowtorch.

      • Ken

        The pressure alone can push the lead core out the other end. It doesn’t get melted out. Smokeless powder actually burns around 3300 degrees Fahrenheit, so that does greatly exceed the melting point of lead, but it’s only momentary. Burning powder is usually sufficient to make some lead vapor out of the exposed base of a bullet.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Excellent points! Thanks for posting, I knew it was hot enough to melt the lead but figured it was such a short duration before the pressure/heat was able to escape outside the barrel it wouldn’t cause blowout.

          • Ken

            You’re welcome. I have no idea how prevalent the issue actually is with ghetto hollow points made from FMJs. I’ve only heard a few old timers say that it used to happen with .30/06 M2 Ball that people converted. A friend of mine does have a few rounds that were done at least 50 years ago, so I guess we’ll see when he fires them. Interestingly enough, most if not all Russian 7.62×39 hollow points are just FMJs with the tip gone, and still have exposed bases. Even the sought after 8M3 has an exposed base.

  • Seth Hill

    Sooo they made wad-cutters.

    • jcitizen

      That’s what I was gonna say! Wad-cutters with a jacket!

    • iksnilol

      Not even close. Was cutters are just flat. No hollow point in them.

      Though good you mention wad cutters. Since loading wad cutters backwards has also been done for the same reason (to aid expansion due to the hollow base).

  • Jimmy Carter

    We subsonic shooters with our suppressors load our bullets backwards which helps them with stability & accuracy.

  • Benjamin Goldstein

    And i thought they were going to be playing with subsonics…

  • Nick Salva

    WW1 303 ammo was loaded backward, as armour piercing. Snipers put a steel plate up in the trenches, and shot from behind it. The tommies use the backwards bullets to nail the snipers. The lead in the bullet would dent the plate an act as a lube for the core to pass thru the plate.

  • What name? “BLJHB” …… Backward Loaded Jacketed Hollow Butt.