View Full Version : WARNING! Bulgarian 7.62x54r Updated with pics of what century is sending out x54r

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 6:12 PM
had some 1947 7.62x54r Bulgarian ammo come from century arms, BAD to shoot! it's heavy ball, they marked it as Light ball, but the 5 rounds i shot all had cases fail and gas / crud come back at me, only one round hit me in the face, then i just shot from the hip, and sure enough, more gas, more failed brass, broke just about 1/4" from the rim towards the projectile, 2 "gills" opened up, each about the same, so BE WARNED! it has a lion on the head stamp, and 19 47 the bullet is colored a light red, so it may be tracer / ap? anyone have any experiance, i would like to know!

thanks! :)

05-08-2007, 6:16 PM
thats crazy. i hope you are ok and none of it hurt you

05-08-2007, 6:24 PM
got some case/lot/headstamp info for us?

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 6:31 PM
12 o'clock "Lion figure"
three o'clock "47"
nine o'clock "19"
six o'clock "OB" kinda weird script

came in a small tin can, with a cloth handle on it 300rds to a tin, just came from Centry last week


05-08-2007, 6:36 PM
Are you sure it's not a headspace issue?

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 6:40 PM
had shot Czech Silver tip '63 '67 '65 steel case, and '50 and '53 bulgarian light ball brass case, all no issues, (silver tip was the best group on the 1963 lot)
but the 1947 brass cased lion symbol was dangerous

M. Sage
05-08-2007, 6:54 PM
Bulgarian should have a 10 stamp for the nation...?

A 250 round tin sounds like a wierd number.. AFAIK, all the commies loved putting their ammo into 20 round packages in the tins.

Got any pictures of the packaging?

The lion makes me wonder if it's actually Finnish...?

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 7:06 PM
was on 7.62x54r.net that Lion pictures was for Bulgirian, they did'nt have a pic, but here is the link: http://www.mosinnagant.net/b6lgaria.asp guess it was a 300 round tin

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 7:07 PM
O' and the paper wrapping was so weather beat, it just crumbled like dry leaves, so not sure how it was wrapped up

05-08-2007, 7:19 PM
That's really too bad. The 55 dated Bulgarian stuff shoots like a dream. Thanks for the info though. I'll be sure to stay away from that stuff!

05-08-2007, 7:19 PM
When you say the bullet is red are you referring to the case sealant or color of the projectile tip. All the Bulgarian ammo I have received from Century has been in the 1950s date range, the light ball has no proj color and the heavy ball is yellow. Some of the 50's light ball cans have some ammo that has corrosion damage from getting wet. This ammo is similar to the Turk 8mm, you must check for loose projs (split necks). Press on the round with a little thumb pressure and a split case will become readily apparent.

05-08-2007, 7:26 PM
gas / crud come back at me
Are you sure it's not a headspace issue?

thats what it sounds like to me too..

05-08-2007, 7:33 PM
I avoid stuff with red glued primers... that's usually a mark for MG ammo

MG Ammo + Mosin Nagant = VERY BAD JUJU

05-08-2007, 7:35 PM
I just bought 880 rds and it arrived today... mmmm MMMM GOOD!

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 7:38 PM
TIP is red, like a nail polish color, kinda translusent red, primers are dark / almost black color, and i have had some of the '53 bulgarian with loose projectiles, but this stuff is just odd ball ammo 1947 is it's date

M. Sage
05-08-2007, 7:45 PM
O' and the paper wrapping was so weather beat, it just crumbled like dry leaves, so not sure how it was wrapped up

Ahhh. Sounds like a storage issue. The paper wraps aren't going to be in excellent shape, or really strong, you should be able to wad it up. I've got some stuff from '52, you can wad the paper up and it won't crumble, but the ends where the paper is folded are weak. It's wax paper, right? If it's wax paper and it's crumbly like that, I bet the tin wasn't sealed. If you got a tin that'd been sealed the whole time, I bet it'd be fine.

I avoid stuff with red glued primers... that's usually a mark for MG ammo

MG Ammo + Mosin Nagant = VERY BAD JUJU

How so? I think the Albanian stuff I had was intended for the MG, and I put about 1200 of that through mine.

FWIW, the hottest load I've found is from Ingman. I'm actually kind of scared of it.

Dr. Peter Venkman
05-08-2007, 7:48 PM
thats what it sounds like to me too..

I think it's a big hint if you have **** getting in your face.

Unless it's my .303 Surplus and you are at the next bench to my right.

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 7:49 PM
Well i have another sealed can of this Lion 1947 bulgarian Heavy ball, still sealed, this can had a small hole in it, going to open the other can this weekend, post some pics / findings then, but its still a mystery of the Heavy ball with red tip, the projectile is Very nice FMJ Boat tail and all, so may reuse in another load?

05-08-2007, 7:50 PM
I think it's a big hint if you have **** getting in your face.

Unless it's my .303 Surplus and you are at the next bench to my right.

MMmm that brit crud tasted awesome :p

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 7:51 PM
Thanks to all info i got, I just ordered my "Feild" head space guage from Graf's will have to check it out this way too.

M. Sage
05-08-2007, 8:01 PM
Well i have another sealed can of this Lion 1947 bulgarian Heavy ball, still sealed, this can had a small hole in it, going to open the other can this weekend, post some pics / findings then, but its still a mystery of the Heavy ball with red tip, the projectile is Very nice FMJ Boat tail and all, so may reuse in another load?

It is wierd... I'd love to see some pictures. :D

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 8:15 PM
Pics of the ammo and a pulled bullet will be posted on monday. FYI

Sam Hainn
05-08-2007, 8:31 PM
Are you sure it's not a headspace issue?

I was thinking the same - how are you getting it in the face? If headspace and locking properly even bad ammo should rarely spit out at you. :confused:

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 8:39 PM
Must be the head space, but this is the Only type of ammo i ever had issues with on this rifle, shot lots of other years and countries, will use the new head space guage and go from there, What to do if the head space is too much??

05-08-2007, 9:13 PM
hmm, my Bulgarian heavy ball has a yellow tip...

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 9:20 PM
"Lion and Cyrillic F V" was what the web site called the head stamp of this odd ammo, Has anyone ordered the Light Ball from Century recently? again this tin came with a cloth handle attached.... anyone?

05-08-2007, 9:23 PM
A friend of mine just recieved some Bulgarian 54 from Century and opened 3 tins to find that most of the ammo was falling apart (projos were out of the cases) and the other half has some crud all over the cases.He said it looked like water damage.Check your tins for this if you get some from Century.:eek:

new cal shooter
05-08-2007, 9:34 PM
more code info:

05-09-2007, 3:47 AM
I bought a 250 rnd Bulgarian LB spam can from a gun show (this was just before all the 300 rnd cans started showing up) and easily more than 10% had loose seated bullets and split cases.

05-09-2007, 9:45 PM
I just received my Bulgarian yellow tips from Aim today. It's the 300 rd spam can and it was completely sealed, no holes. Opened her up and all look good so far. Only unwrapped a couple packages. The markings are "10" at 12 o'clock and "55" at 6 o'clock.

05-10-2007, 9:11 AM
How so? I think the Albanian stuff I had was intended for the MG, and I put about 1200 of that through mine.
MG ammo can be loaded beyond the tolerance of your mosin-nagant; if you manage to hit that one lucky round; it's more than potentially hazardous for your health when something decides to give way.

Heaviest stuff I've used is some czech MG round (didnt know it was MG). The case actually expanded and jammed in my chamber, the extractor ripped the rim off and primer wasnt even in the case. tossed the stuff out :eek:

Dr. Peter Venkman
05-11-2007, 1:01 PM
Depends on what your rifles like. It's a bit strange but my 91/30 and my M39 both love light ball. I expected to get better groupings with the M39 with Czech Silvertip, but it loves Hungarian.

But the M39 rocks anyways and it's more accurate than I am. :p

new cal shooter
05-16-2007, 10:31 AM
Pics of the stuff i've been getting, some good, some not so, but some with clips!

05-16-2007, 10:39 AM
Pics of the stuff i've been getting, some good, some not so, but some with clips!

Marking on can do not look familiar, my cans are different? No handles on mine. I have some 50's LB in the 250 round can and the HB in the 300 round can.

How are those bonus clips? Nice find, worth the price of admission

new cal shooter
05-16-2007, 10:44 AM
i have gotten 3 different types of "bulgarian light ball" some of it was heavy ball, some came on clips, and some with the lion crest from centry, same part number 250rd cans, Clips stamped "10"

new cal shooter
05-17-2007, 10:23 PM
Well, my Field head space gauge came today! My rifle passed the field gauge with no problems, so it must be the ammo, finally! so just keep an eye out for that 1947 stuff. Use caution and test some rounds by the hip before you put them up to your face.

05-17-2007, 11:07 PM
Great that you got the stripper clips, what is the finish on the clips? The ones I have seem to be chromed. Yours in the picture look like they have a dark finish, or is it just the lighting in the picture?

On another note I hear that Century and Aim both have raised the price on their Mosin ammo, I've got plenty, but hate to see the price go up nonetheless.

new cal shooter
05-21-2007, 8:08 AM
just blue steel clips,

06-28-2007, 11:09 PM
I have some Bulgarian LB ammo from 1952 that has about 10% cracked cases, other years are good. I read on another site that there is some bad Bulgy 7.62x25 Tokarev ammo also from 1952.

Headstamp from bad x54r ammo:

06-28-2007, 11:47 PM
I wonder what happened in 52 to give the bulgarians crappy ammo... :confused:

06-28-2007, 11:57 PM
I just finished one tin on range. Out of my SSG-97 casing going as far as 15-20 yards. No over-pressure signs, though.
First two shots on cold barrel get 0.5 MOA. After barrel warmed-up a groups open.
I guess I am got lucky with this buy. It seems they out of stock already.

Below are the pictures.



06-29-2007, 7:30 AM
I shoot x54R almost exclusively. I go through 400 each month. I have 6000 rounds of bulgarian and have been shooting it.

Bulgarian in general is loaded hot. If you look at the primers after firing you will see the the primer melted, extruded into the FP hole, then cooled, leaving a crater where the FP struck. In my opinion it is very near the limit of what can be shot safely in a MN.

Bulgarian ammo frequently has cracked necks, pinched cases, and chipped case mouths. The rounds should be discarded or shot with a great deal of caution. I shoot split necks, but not pinched or chipped. I also wear quality safety glasses.

If you have a red TIP that is very bad as that is most definitely not LPS. I would avoid shooting that if at all possible.

Red primer sealant doesn't mean all that much.

Headspace all your guns. If anyone needs help with that just let me know.


50 Freak
06-29-2007, 9:24 AM
I picked up some 7.62x54 from Century. I think it was Czech light ball. Came in plastic bags. I've shot pretty much all of it, but did notice that maybe 1 out of every 100 round was a tracer. Can't tell which ones are as the colored tips have had the coloring worn off. But every now and then I'll see a bright red streak shooting out of my rifle, and a red hot projectile bouncing at the dirt backstop.

05-21-2008, 10:07 PM
Sorry to bring back such an old thread but this is the only info I have been able to find on this ammo I bought today. I shot about 40 through my MN M44 and about 25% of the rounds were bad. For example 5 were duds and never even fired and 5 split the casing and sprayed junk in my face. I have read the whole thread and I agree with the other guy, its not a head space issue because I have put a good 1000 rounds of various types of ammo and never had a problem.

Just wondering but what is so bad about it if it has the translucent red marking at the tip of the bullet? Because I bought a 100 of these and have 60 left and they all have the red tip.

These are some of the splits in the casings. One casing even split twice and they all had pretty good sized splits and sent stuff flying into my face.


The headstamp looks like the one on the right. Identical top and bottom except it has black glue around the primer and it says 19 47 on the left and right.


05-22-2008, 7:44 AM
Nice pics there. definitely good to know. I've been shooting usually Bulgy heavy, Hungarian Silver Tip and I have about a 1000 rounds of the 7N1 stuff (very, Very nice....). All have performed flawlessly.

The mosins do have their favorites, but everything seems to work just fine.
good luck and keep it safe.

05-22-2008, 12:07 PM
http://www.mosinnagant.net/t3p.asp for info on eastern bloc tip colors.

Much commercial ammo uses red primer sealer, military seems to use red or black to seal primers and bullets. Sealer color doesn't relate to cartridge pressure or anything else.


05-22-2008, 12:10 PM
I shoot that Czech stuff that's lacquered green, with the silver tip bullet. Works great. Thanks for the heads up.

05-22-2008, 7:49 PM
I had a similar problem to the OP. I determined that it was weak brass. Some of the case necks were split right out of the packaging. I think that overpressure symptoms may be caused by the bullet being pushed back into the case, as the case crimp was really weak in my lot. I could literally pull some of the bullets out by hand.

05-22-2008, 10:10 PM
The tips of my bullets look like they have been dipped repeatedly in some dark colored lacquer or something similar to that because there are lighter and darker spots in the "thin line" from where the dipping depth was varied. I didn't know if this was just some random anomaly in tip coatings since mine didn't look like any of the ones in the pictures.

Thanks for the help guys.

05-22-2008, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the heads up, and for resurrecting this old post.
Yeah, the "search" button works :D

11-21-2008, 3:57 AM
I know that this post may seem to be a bit late, but I am new to this site and just noticed the post from last year on the "Bulgarian Heavy Ball" that one member was having problems with. I guess I should begin by saying that if you are going to shoot military surplus ammo out of ANY rifle, the shooter must be able to identify the type of ammo he or she is buying. The Soviets and Warsaw Pact nations (like NATO) used a standard bullet tip color scheme to identify different types of ammunition so dangerous mix-ups would not occur in combat. Heavy ball ammunition is identified by a YELLOW tip. Ranging incendiary ammunition (designted "PZ" ammunition by the Soviets) for machine guns is identified by a RED tip. Although this ammo can be fired from Mosin-Nagant rifles, it should be avoided at all costs because the bullet design is unstable. It has a small striker assembly built into the center of the bullet to ignite the incendiary compound, and it may EXPLODE at a really bad time. Machine gun ammunition MAY also have a larger powder charge than a standard ball round and may overpressurize the chamber, (again bad news for the shooter). All this information can be found in Terrence Lapin's book "The Mosin-Nagant Rifle" (4th Edition) pages 199-204. Be careful out there and have fun shooting while you can!

11-21-2008, 6:21 AM
If you are firing incendiary ammo in California you would be in serious danger even before you pulled the trigger! Each and every round would be a felony.

11-21-2008, 8:11 AM
I've used 55 dated Bulgarian heavy ball as well. Out of a can of 300 rd, only 2 failed to fire and 1 crack case. I can get it on paper (8 in target) at 100 yards with Mosin 91/30 about 80% of the time. At 200 yards, it's close but pretty erratic. For ammo that is more then 50 years old, that's pretty good! I am going to try Czech light ball next. Anyone ordered Czech ammo from Century? The picture they have on the Century website does not match the picture in 7.62x54r.net!?

11-21-2008, 11:10 AM
Over on Gunboards, there was a similar experience with this old dated, Lion stamped Bulgarian ammo. Everyone there agreed that it is really bad stuff, possibly due to poor storage and should be avoided. So it's not a headspace issue.
I'd pull the bullets for reloading, chuck the powder and take the brass to your local recycle plant for a few bucks.

11-21-2008, 11:35 AM
had some super cheapo yellow tip heavy weight stuff that shot, fine pretty sure it was Romanian, anywho dont yall be scared of that cheap ammo