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Picture Page

October 2010

An unusual 7.62 x 54R Russian cartridge.......

Here's a seldom seen variation of the 7.62 x 54R Russian Mosin-Nagant cartridge, this one is the Tarasov cartridge, a gallery or practice load with a self-lubricating bullet. This cartridge was adopted by the Russian army in 1906 and used until shortly after World War 1. The cartridge was discussed on the IAA cartridge forum recently. The following comments regarding the cartridge were gleaned from that discussion. The lubricant, consisting of tallow and potash, was contained in a cavity in the nose of the bullet. The purpose of the lubricant was to prevent the buildup of lead in the rifle barrel, as well as to prevent rust.  There are 4 equally spaced holes leading from the cavity through the sides of the bullet; the lubricant was forced out of the holes as the bullet passed through the bore.

The illustration to the left is included here courtesy of Pavel Efimchenko, who also sent me the cartridge; it shows the sectioned cartridge with its hollow base bullet and lubricant filled cavity, as well as its small powder charge.  According to Pavel, in order to maintain consistent accuracy, the shooter was encouraged to raise the barrel of the rifle prior to taking aim to ensure that the small powder charge was in the rear of the case next to the primer at the time of ignition.

The headstamp on this cartridge is X  06, indicating that it was produced in 1906 on contract for Russia by the Austrian ammunition manufacturer Hirtenberger.


A full box of .30-40 Krag multi-ball cartridges.....

This is a full box of .30 Krag multi-ball cartridges, loaded at the Frankford Arsenal in August of 1903. Per Hackley, Woodin & Scranton (History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Vol 1), this cartridge was the result of tests conducted by the Ordnance Department beginning in late 1900 to develop a suitable cartridge for guard and riot control use. After first testing loads with two and three jacketed bullets, it was decided in November 1902 to adopt a variation of the Model 1896 gallery cartridge. The gallery cartridge was loaded with a single 42 grain round lead ball, whereas the new guard cartridge had two of these lead balls.

While the number of balls that are in the case may not be obvious externally, the neck cannelure that holds the balls in place is lower down on the neck of the guard cartridge, just above the shoulder, while that on the gallery load will be only about half way down the neck. The two-ball guard cartridge was short lived, having been replaced in May of 1904 by a load with a round nose lead bullet and a high neck cannelure about 1/8" below the case mouth against which the bullet was seated. 

The cartridges in this box are a mix of F A 7 03 and F A 8 03 headstamps.


The top of the box is stamped AUG 17, 1903.