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Part Three: Less Familiar Factory Loads

By:  P. T. Kekkonen  (1999).
Continued from Part 2

ptk.jpg (16250 bytes)"Are we still again SENTENCED TO READ all this DULL HISTORY ??!" >JESS, dear fellow Hard-Core Handloader, you are ! Love it or leave it ! The history is the very best teacher, even for those researchers who are learning some new findings. Or ESPECIALLY for those "Gyro Gearlooses"..! This author has learnt something every day, and if somebody boasts: " I know everything about the firearms !", he/she is a liar. The true authorities are humble men, recognizing their shortage of the knowledge.

Since the Second World War we have - actually - FORGOTTEN more useful knowledge than is OBTAINED during the second half of 20th century. Re-inventing of some old discoveries seems to be easy, but actually it is a toiling, like gold-washing from the bottom-sand of a chilly stream - for the life-size equestrian statue of the solid gold. And that Gold of the Knowledge is not nugget-sized, but like a fine sand, scattered sparsely on the bottom of that river.

Has this demented author truly forgotten to mention use of the VIHTAVUORI's powder N 14 for reduced charge rifle loads since 1935 ? Today the product number of this propellant is N 310, and in the Armed Forces nomenclature also the " VRT Paukkupanosruuti", id est: "The blank cartridge powder".

The first lots of N 14 were sold to the cartridge manufacturers. VPT, or today's LAPUA-PATRIA loaded rifle blank cartridges - although these were loaded also by the Army units and local Civil Guard units for their own use. The Arms and Engineering Works of the Civil Guard, S.A.K.O. Oy loaded primarily the pistol cartridges, charging presumably the small caliber handgun cartridges with N 14 powder. (SAKO Oy has abstained from delivery of any information to this author since mid-1980s. His quotation may so be incorrect, but the possible error is insignificant).

Many "Cat's Sneeze" handloads were presumably boosted with tiny charges of the VRT N 14, also known as "PaPP" powder. VRT means Valtion Ruuti Tehdas = the State-owned Powder Manufacture, built in 1926 to Vihtavuori, Laukaa, Finland. Abbreviation "PaPP" is warded off, but used by those social outcasts like this author. "Pap" is a nice and short word of the special terminology, made known to handloaders dedicated to an Arcene. (These monosyllable words are unable to trigger the phone listening recorders of the P.I.G.s of the TaTuPo or KRiPo).

Handloading of the rifle cartridges has always - since those days of Russian administration in 1809 to 1917 - been a hobby of some peculiar persons. Outdoor hobbies like hunting or target shooting are accepted with a narrow margin in Finland, but a handloader is still an exceptional individualist even in some hunting associations.

There were actually - RISUM TENEATIS, AMICI ? - the constraint for use of the factory-loaded ammo for moose hunting in the Finnish Game Act, since 1962 until 1993, and for the whitetail-deer hunting since the late 1960s, and, finally, for the bear hunting in some years before a famed Thorough Amendment of the whole Game Legislature in 1993.


An interest in the reduced charge rifle loads may still bring the poor handloader under suspicion: " A would-be POACHER ?!" if not: "A potential ASSASSIN..??!" Handloading of the SUBSONIC rifle cartridges is a yet more doubtful bustle. So it was in early and mid-1930s too. Hazard of the poaching with the rifles of a Civil Guard was "found to be imminent." All of the Guardsmen were not opulent and haughty landowners, although the lampooning propaganda (written by Soviet and Finnish communists or socialists; the REDs) has told since 1906 about "the club of wealthy estate-owners and other aristocrats".

In the countries suffering from a High Hunting Culture belongs all the game and all preserves to wealthiest minority of citizens or the aristocracy. This Hunting Culture was once offered to Finnish hunters by An Official Education or alternately by compulsions and refusals of the Game Legislature. Use of a military rifle for hunting was strictly banned, but after the published hints for production of the "Cat's Sneeze" loads, the denial lost a sense: There was no more a loud report, alerting the estate-owner or a game-keeper in the preserves of the estate.

Nobody knows - especially today, 65 or more years later - whether these suspicions were justified, or signs of a paranoia, but in the late year 1935 was made a plan to factory-load the cartridges for Civil Guard with leaden bullets and as small charge as possible, for the target practice ONLY. These cartridges were directed to keep behind the bolts and bars in the depots of Civil Guard Districts. They were issued to Guardsmen just before each practice or competition-shooting session, and each of those possible surplus cartridges were cathered back to the depot.
Empty cases were counted also and sent to the factory for reloading

Loose lead alloy 7.62 mm rifle bullets were never more offered for sale to the handloaders. This dictation is valid STILL, ON THE EVE OF 21st CENTURY !! Commercial Finnish bullet-casters are also reluctant to yield bullets for the most popular calibers 7.62 mm and .30". Supply and assortment of .45 ACP cast bullets is overflowing, although this caliber is rare here, despite of increasing popularity of Practical Handgun Shooting. Sales of the bullet moulds is, fortunately enough, not YET banned..!!


In the Imperial Russia were loaded low-pressure 7.62 mm cartridges for the preparatory training of Army recruits just before the First World War. Lead bullets of them were made by an American patent with so called "auto-lubrication" or "inside lubing". The round-nosed lead alloy bullet was 15.2 mm in length (.60") but weighing mere 3.90 grams/ 60.2 grains. The deep base cavity was filled with the lubricant wax mixture.

There were four tiny crosswise apertures through the bullet skirt. When the powder gasses pressurized that lubricant and melted it, the wax & tallow mixture oozed out through the apertures, lubricating the forcing cone and rifle bore more efficiently than any other "tidy" lubing method. The powder charge was huge, compared with a weight of the lead bullet: Nominally 0.78 gram/ 12 grains of smokeless "revolver Piroksilin". The WW I ended production of these cartridges as well as loading of the revolver cartridges with "inside lubed" bullets in U.S.A.

"Inside lubrication" is somewhat confusing term, meaning usually a lead alloy bullet with the lube groove(s) hidden inside the cartridge case. The U.M.C. Co. called their inside lubing revolver bullets as "Self Lubricating" on the cartridge box labels.


Lead alloy bullet 7.62 mm SAKO 110A (LYIJYÄ) was made with the swaging tools and dies of jacketed 7.65 mm LUGER bullets. The bullet base was convex - not concave - for facilitation of the mechanical bullet seating. Dimensions of 110A (L) bullets were similar to the contemporary 7.65 mm Luger bullet because of the lead alloy used. It was an "eutectic alloy" of lead and antimony: 90% Pb + 10% Sb. ( "Eutecticum" means the lowest melting temperature of the metal alloy or "mixture".) The cylindrical bullet blanks were presumably chopped from the cast lead alloy bar and fed into a swaging (= cold moulding) die. There were no lubricating or crimping grooves around the shank of 110A (L).

It was essential to keep the manufacturing costs as low as possible. Today are even the cheapest .22 Short rimfire lead bullets "cannelured" by knurling, if not plated with a copper alloy, but the early year 1936 was still an era of the Great Depression. Stinginess was a virtue.!

Because these bullets were swaged in the existing dies of jacketed handgun bullets, they became too thin for the vast majority of 7.62 mm Mosin & Nagant rifles issued to Guardsmen. Nominal bullet diameter was mere 7.83 millimeters or .308". Bullet weight was 6.0 grams or 93 grains; the very best choice for the low-pressure target practice cartridges.


A designer of bullet 110A (L), Mr. NIILO TALVENHEIMO of SAKO Oy, was completed bullet drawings in February 1936. He developed presumably also the method of bullet lubrication, following the suit to lubing of all the outside-lubricated bullets since 1857. Cartridges were charged with a powder and bulleted with "dry" bullets. Then a bundle of them, placed in the holes of a metal plate, hanging bullets downwards, was dipped into melted beeswax & bovine tallow mixture to the case mouths. After 30 seconds the bundle of 48 or 96 cartridges was lifted up above the lube pan, and when the excessive lubricant was dripped down, the cartridges were removed from hinging plate and they were moved to a more cool place.

Lubricant was solidified on the bullet points and penetrated into the case neck, sealing the joint between the shell and bullet. This sealing was beneficial, as the porous propellant powder may absorb the moisture from an ambient air, or become too dry in the room temperature.


This author has shot in 1993 several low-pressure cartridges loaded in the late 1930s. Functioning of them was perfect, and the accuracy was very satisfactory, despite of the age of a CHATELLERAULT-made Mosin & Nagant rifle used (full 100 years) with the open iron sights, and already deteriorating eyesight of the shooter. The charge of these cartridges was 0.6 gram (9.3 grains) of N 14 powder. (Printed on the label of a cartridge box - as usual).

Recoil was very mild and the reports were not much more noisy than those of a .22 LR rifle loaded with CCI Stingers, despite of a double-charge . Unfortunately we had not a chronograph with us, but there were more than twenty eye-witnesses to look at that shooting with some cartridges "which are never existed" according to their loaders.


.22 rimfire rifles were otherwise fine and popular target practice and shooting contest arms for Civil Guards, but in the mid-1930s they were underestimated class of weaponry in actual fighting operations; including the counter-insurrection commissions. All the .22 rimfire cartridges were imports. In Finland was loading of .22 ammo started after the Second World War. Imported cartridges were found to be expensive goods in the country just recovering from the Depression.

Advantages of 7.62 mm "Matalapainepatruuna" were: The price was about equal to that of .22 LR cartridge - or lower than a price of "GeCo" Match Grade .22 LR, and possibility to shoot low-pressure cartridges with a REAL military rifle on the short shooting ranges, in the vicinity of settled area - or even indoors, in the galleries, during the winter-time or rainy days.

It was possible to sustain an "acquaintance" with an issued real military rifle, around the year - also by shooting of the live cartridges without the loud "BOOM !", a painful "KICK" and all the down-range hazards of full-power bullets. The first lot of MpP cartridges was loaded to become substitute of a .22 LR cartridges (but less noisy) for the target practice to 50 meters range outdoors or 10 to 25 meters ranges indoor.


The General Staff of Civil Guard ordered ca. half million rounds of MpP cartridges from SAKO Oy soon after an approval of the bullet drawing. No more improvements of swaging die were necessary, but a grinding of the existing swage plunger to make a convex bullet base. SAKO Oy had not the production line for rifle cartridge cases before the year 1937. Machinery of S.A.T. (Suomen Ampumatarve Tehdas) was moved to Lapua after the liquidation of S.A.T. and before the sales of the industrial area , including buildings in Riihimäki, to Civil Guards arms & ammunition plant SAKO Oy in 30th September 1927. It was, however, possible to load and reload rifle cartridges into the shells made by other manufacturers, including those captured during the First Finnish Independence War in 1918.

Use of the Russian 7.62 mm cartridges with a large primer was banned since January 1st 1932 by the "A.H.O.I." = Aseen Hoito Ohjesääntö I" = "Rules on Firearms Care, part I" but this refusal did not referred to the use of primed or reprimed shells for blank cartridges, "Cat's sneeze" loads, or "MpP" loads with reduced powder charges. Use of P-17, L-917 and T-17 headstamped Russian factory-loaded 7.62 mm cartridges was also found to be risky, as there were "booby-trap loads" among them. Powder charge in the first lot of MpPs was "homeopatic": 300 milligrams or 0.30 gram / mere 4.6 grains of powder N 14, a.k.a. PaPP.

A levelled .7 CC dipper of VIHTAVUORI N 310 powder is about the correct charge behind the cast bullet LEE 311-93-1R, which is the best available substitute of SAKO 110A LYIJYÄ bullet, when cast from the wheelweight lead alloy. Point shape of this cast bullet is more expedient than that of original 110A lead bullet.


The first lot of "Matalapainepatruuna" (MpP) cartridges was issued to the Civil Guard Districts in the spring and early summer 1936. Finnish spring starts usually in April and the summer in June, but in the Finnish Lapland are the last skiing competitions usually in the Midsummer Night, 21st June of each year..! Or most...

After the 1936 outdoors season shootings were the comments of users collected from each Civil Guard District about the needed improvements of low-pressure cartridges. Some riflemen were satisfied: Those Guarsdmen wealthy enough to get a "Swiss grooved" barrel mounted to their rifles at the own cost for shooting with Western-made match bullets in the contests.

Majority of the Guardsmen had a Government Issue rifle, an original Mosin & Nagant m/1891 with a Russian rifling and a long forcing cone between the bore and cartridge chamber. Nominal bore diameter of Western and Russian rifles is equal: 7.62 mm or .300" but the rifling groove of the Russian (or originally Belgian) bore is at least 1½ times as deep as that of Western bore; designed for the slow muzzle-velocity paper-jacketed soft lead bullets of WESSON target rifles in 1879.

Caliber .308 is actually 120 years old in the time of writing, and it was teenager when adopted to .30-40 KRAG & JÖRGENSEN military rifle. Belgian bore dimensioning was designed ten years later for shooting of contemporary jacketed military rifle bullets of Argentine Mauser m/1889, used also in many other South-American countries and Turkey. Russian bores had many times the groove diameter 7.90 mm (peace-time maximum size) or 7.92 mm (war-time allowance added) but some worn-out rifles might have a groove diameter as big as 7.95 mm..! The "hard-lead" bullet, good in .308" bore, was less suitable for the bore with .311 - .312 -.313" groove diameter.


The lead fouling of a bore was predicted when the MpP cartridges were issued to the Civil Guard Districts. There was a general instruction to brush the rifle bore with a brass-bristled brush or "triple-zero steel wool" after each ten shots. It was not sufficient care for many Russian rifles with excessively wide and corroded bore. The powder gas blow-by could fill the grooves with a molten lead alloy, and the bore friction could also cause the lead fouling on the rifling lands. After just five to six shots the shooting accuracy was all gone, if the bore was not cleaned after each fifth shots.

Some old Guardsmen recalled languishing for the old BERDAN cartridges with paper-patched lead bullets and that 1/4 inch thick wax plug behind the bullet. Feedback from some Districts was: "Give to us LOOSE BULLETS, resized primed SHELLS, and canned PaP POWDER!! We shall load our own cartridges, and WE CAN DO IT CORRECTLY !!!"

The agreement between General Staff of Civil Guards and some wealthy, arrogant owners of large preserves was, however, made to be ETERNAL. Those "confounded poaching bullets" were never issued or sold to handloaders in Finland.


The story of SAKO 110A (L) bullets or MpP cartridges was not yet ended. Just the 7.62 mm Finnish "silent without silencer" factory loads were found to be unfit for the Russian rifling. This author do not know, why the producers of MpP cartridges never tried to use somewhat thicker bullets (dia. 7.95 mm ahead of the case mouth) with at least one lube groove behind the thickest "equator" of the bullet point and a short plug of a solid lubricant in the case neck, behind the bullet base. This is not a "wisdom after the event" ! All of these suggested improvements were known in the late 1860s.

One of these old inventions was adopted: The compression bullet functioning of the BERDAN rifle. Powder charge of 7.62 mm low-pressure cartridge was DOUBLED to 600 mg or 0.6 gram or 9.6 grains of PaPP N 14 (VV N 310). Chamber pressure was still ca. half from the pressure of "fighting cartridges" but high enough to set up the bullet SAKO 110A (L) and expand it to fill the grooves of even the badly worn rifling.

Reach of the accurate shooting was extended to 100 meters or 150 meters, if the rifle barrel had a premium-quality bore - even the Russian one. Now it was necessary to clean the bore after shooting of 40 to 60 shots, but something was lost: The "silent without silencer" shooting was over. Next two lots of MpP cartridges were loaded with either 0.5 gram / 7.7 grains or 0.6 gram charges of VRT N 14 PaPP powder, depenting on the calorimetric energy of the powder-lot used.

Those powders, sold to cartridge loading factories, may be less uniform than the "canister powders" for sale to the handloaders. Cartridge manufactures have chronographs and pressure measuring equipment. They can adjust the powder charge by increasing or decreasing the charge weight, to get a desired muzzle velocity within the certain limits of chamber pressure.

Handloader must rely on the uniformity of a "canister powder" and published handloading data. Many handloaders have chronoraph but not the pressure measuring test barrel, or a calorimeter. The VIHTAVUORI N 310 "canister powder" is ABOUT similar to the old N 14 PaPP, but made still more carefully, to become more uniform, with minimal lot-after-lot variations of energy and the rate of burning. The "bang" and "kick" of low-pressure cartridges with doubled charge are not bad, but the "silence without a silencer" is impossible to achieve if the bullet velocity is supersonic or transsonic in the ambient air temperature.


Muzzle velocity of SAKO 110A (L) bullet is impossible to find from any printed sources. "Classified information ??" Presumably not.! The firearms chambered for 7.62 x 53 R cartridges have simply so much varying bore dimensions that the bullet velocities measured with a standard test barrel are valid just accidentally. These cartridges were reloaded into many different cases: Finnish (with VPT and SAT headstamps), captured Russian, British (KYNOCH) and American shells, along with German cases. On the cartridge box label was usually printed name of the case producer and a text: "Jo useammin uudelleenladattu" = "Many times reloaded".

There were also three or four differend kinds of primers used. Only constants were the shape and weight of the bullets, along with the lead alloy used, and the powder charges 300 mg, 500 mg or 600 mg. It is possible to say certainly that the bullet velocity of the very first lot of MpMs was subsonic, and that of double-charged lots was supersonic in the all imaginable weather conditions. In the experience of this author, the "ballistic crack" or bullet flight noise was a dominant shooting signature.


Each and every Guardsman possessed at least five full-powered rifle cartridges at home; the "Rautaisannos" or an "Iron Ration" in the sealed cardboard box with the name of the possessor written on it's lid. Most of Guardsmen had still more cartridges, especially those who were interested in the handloading. Most of handloads were 7.62 mm rifle cartridges, loaded to the full power with rifle powder issued from stocks of the General Staff by Districts.

Those low-pressure cartridges were "much more dangerous" despite of their low energy: They were issued in the shooting range during "rigidly supervised shooting sessions". Each and every excess cartridge was collected back to the depot of District. Especially the youngest Civil Guard Boys were sometimes searched after the shooting sessions (or sometimes BEFORE them), as it was a suspicion that those yongsters carry some empty cases to the shooting range and pilfer the MpP cartridges for "some more sensible purposes" (read: "for hunting").

Number of empty shells of each shooter was counted, but because the shells of MpP cartridges were not exclusively headstamped or color-coded, it was easy to say: "Sorry; I have missed some shots" and show as many empty cases as was the number of cartridges, issued by shooting supervisor. "PUERI PUERILI SUNT..!"


In all probability were MpP cartridges misused for hunting or poaching, as well as the rifles of Civil Guardsmen - despite of repeated severe reproaching announces from the General Staff. Starving hungry was more strict commander than the General Staff, and there was a lot of meat or venison in the backwoods or fields.

One hilarity-arousing circular letter contained a sermon as follows: "Once again The General Staff of The Civil Guards is constrained to point out that All kinds of Hunting with the Low-pressure Cartridges is strictly banned, because that kind of Mis-use is able to damage the Glory of Civil Guards !"

A percentage of ca. 1½ million rounds of cartridges, loaded between the early 1936 and the late 1939, was inevitably carried outside the shooting ranges "for the some more sensible purposes". Those one-and-half million MpP cartridges of three lots were presumably not the last or only products of this kind. The loading records available to this author simply ends to the October 1939.

Matalapainepatruuna luodilla SAKO 110A (LYIJYÄ) was loaded for the Civil Guards only and exclusively. None of them were used in wars 1939 - '44. They were left outside the listing of the war-time ammunition production. So the "grand total" number of these cartridges remains on the "blank lines" of history until the end of this World...


Low-pressure cartridges, caliber 7.62 x 53 R alias 7.62 mm MOSIN-NAGANT were loaded for Finnish Army by VPT, which was not since the 2nd Finnish Independence War (a.k.a. The Winter War 1939 - '40) only the LAPUAN PATRUUNATEHDAS but also the CARTRIDGE PLANT of KANAVUORI, in the hollowed Chicken Mountain, close to the town Jyväskylä. Because these cartridges are supersonic in all imaginable weather conditions, and the bullets for them are impossible to get, the short description is enough for the readers of "ARCANE". (Both of them).

Bullet is hollow: just an empty jacket of a hollow-point rifle bullet with a convex base (similar to the base of SPEER "PLINKER" or SAKO 110A LYIJYÄ bullets). Point is almost closed. It is necessary to drill the opening of it wider, if someone is trying to fill the bullet cavity with some liquid with a thin 29 G or even a Micro-Fine 31 Gauge injection needle. The mercury is possible to pour through 31 G needle.

Bullet weight is mere 3.45 grams/ 53.2 grains. Slightly more than the weight of bore-sized spherical cast bullet of wheelweight lead alloy. The charge was usually 800 milligrams/ 12.3 grains of VRT powder N 22, alias VIHTAVUORI N 320; a porous tubular-kernelled single base shotshell powder, used by this author for reduced charge handloading tests since 1980, more than the other brands added together. Shooting noise of these cartridges is just a little louder than noisiness of the SAKO MpP with double charge. History and ballistics of this cartridge are unknown to the author.


lahpuolp.jpg (8391 bytes)These were somewhat failed Soviet-Russian and Finnish 7.62 mm loads for rifles model 91/30 and Finnish m/-39 with a silencer or suppressor S-40 or Finnish copies of this apparatus. Finnish cartridge, known as the "S - ½-panospatruuna A 0230 siteissä" was a copy of Russian "Chorniy Patron." (Marked so on the silencer jacket, below the engraved table for the sight adjustments: "Do not shoot fighting cartridges ! Use only the black cartridges !")

Finns copied, unfortunately, also the ballistics of Russian cartridges, getting the supersonic muzzle velocity. With a silencer the nominal velocity was ca. 430 meters per second, but without the muzzle can, when shot from a shorter-barreled rifle m/-39, it could be 460 or even 480 m/s. Finnish nomenclature line means: "A semi-charge cartridge with a pointed flat-based full-metal-jacketed bullet, officially adopted as an infantry ammunition with a storage code number 0230, in the stripper clips". So simple explanation.! ("sit" = "in clips" means on the cartridge boxes the ammunitions for the bolt action rifles only ).

A 0230 was adopted officially in 20th February 1942. Half a million rounds of cartridges were loaded before the summer 1942. Finnish ballisticians were to a certain extent forced to copy ballistics of the Russian predecessor, as there were many captured Russian suppressors in hand along with the sight adjustment "tablitsa" engraved on the jacket. Use of the high-quality bullets D-47 or D-166 was presumably considered, but not allowed. "Befehl ist Befehl..!" (Germ: "Order is an order !") There was an illusion that Finnish rangers needed urgently the silenced rifles for the reconnaissance & ravage excursions to the objectives behind Russian lines.


The rangers did not need the bolt action rifles at all, because captured TOKAREV selfloader rifles were plentily available in 1942, and a SUOMI m/-31 submachine gun was actually less noisy than a "silenced" rifle with SUPERsonic cartridges - either Russian or Finnish loads. The world-famous ranger-chief LAURI A. TÖRNI (later known as LARRY A. THORNE in the U.S., alias STEVE KORNIE in the book and movie "THE GREEN BERETS") - see also an appendix below - got a "silenced" Mosin & Nagant m/91-30 for the battlefield test in early November 1942.

He found soon this rifle more noisy and less accurate than were his SUOMI subgun or Russian PPSha m/-41. But: "Befehl ist Befehl..!" Lauri Törni went to the firearms workshop of his unit and commanded: "Reload to me these cartridges less noisy ! Accuracy does not matter !" The non-commissioned ordnance officer removed the bullets and charges from the cartridges, unloaded some 7.65 mm LUGER cartridges, poured the powder from them to 7.62 mm shells and re-seated the rifle bullets.

The rifle was now at least suppressed, if not silenced. The accuracy was yet more poor, due to the construction of a Russian "Sestoryetskogo-40" suppressor: Bullet was shot through two rubber discs or "wipes". L.A. Törni estimated the maximum effective range to be ca. 25 meters. In the actual military operation it was - fortunately enough - less than ten meters.


Somewhere "over there", far behind Russian trenches, ambushed L. Törni and his rangers the Russian truck, carrying soldiers. "POOH !" said the rifle. The bullet hit a truck driver through the windshield. Truck stopped into the roadside. Russian soldiers jumped down from the shed platform. They were superior in numbers and very angry or scared. During the life-and-death struggle Törni ran out his subsonic rifle cartridges. He broke his rifle on the head of one assaulting Russian and continued the fighting with a pistol.

Each and every Russian became K.I.A. Some Finnish rangers were wounded but able to carry out their commission and return to Finnish trenches. Lauri Törni dumped remnants of his suppressed rifle into the swamp. The rifle was broken to three pieces. It was listed as: "Destructed In Action". This was the ONLY documented occurrence when some Finnish ranger patrolman used a silenced rifle for the actual battle.

The ½-charged cartridges were shot with unsilenced rifles, usually to the hunting of forest birds for the pot. "Blue-neck/ blue-ass" cartridges are today extremely rare collector-items but those Russian "Black rounds" are still more rare curiosities. This author do not possess any of them, but just a powder-dipper made from an unused blackened cartridge shell. It bears a headstamp: "KAYNOK-17" with Cyrillic letters. (= KYNOCH 1917).

The Finnish ½-PPs were color coded with a 13 mm wide blue lacquer band around the case neck, partially reaching on the bullet point and the cartridge head lacquered entirely blue. This code color was also a sealing of bullet and primer. N 14 powder - like all the porous powders - is hygrascopic: It has a tendency to absorb the humidity from ambient air, or became too dry in the warm place. Germans called their own sealed cartridges as "Tropenpatronen" = "Tropical cartridges".


lahglus1.jpg (12007 bytes)Soviet-Russian rifle suppressor or "GLUSHITEL S-40" was designed after the "Infamous War" against Finland in 1939 - 40. (Finns call this same war as "105 Glorious Days" or "The Winter War"). First Russian suppressors were captured in the late fall 1941 by Finns and in the early (20 days TOO EARLY) winter by Germans. According to faint recalls of Winter War veterans there were captured some "very old patinated Russian cartridges with a deteriorated powder. Some foolhardy Finnish boys shot some rounds of them. They developed a very weak shot. Cases had early year stamps on their heads, 1916 or '17. We dumped those verdigrised cartridges to the hole of an ice.."

So called "booby-trap cartridges" were loaded during the First World War in Russia by the workers of ammunition plants. Some socialists were infiltrated in 1917 to the manufactures of LUGANSKIY, TULSKIY and PETROGRADSKIY PATRONNIY ZAVOD, especially to the rooms where the machine gun belts were filled. They placed one explosive cartridge to the each belt. Those cartridges were charged with a blasting cap Nr. 8 and dynamite. The plan was to wreck as many MAXIM guns of Imperial Russian Army, as possible. Finns had a reason to be suspicious, if some extraordinary ammunition were captured.

Soviet-Russian literature, in hand, is taciturn about the special 7.62 mm cartridges. Knowledge on them may be still classified ? Guessworks of the author may be misdirected, but some knowledge is better than the total ignorance. What says my friend, Mr. HARD-CORE HANDLOADER ? < "NEVER more a history ! I needs nothing but a handloading data !!" JESS; this author knows your wishes, but these cartridges were SUPERsonic and this article try to teach how to handload SUBsonic rifle cartridges.

The Russian cartridges with chemically blackened cartridges were probably loaded for the elementary training of the "tyro riflemen" - just like the Finnish Civil Guards MpP cartridges, or the Army cartridges with hollow bullets and 800 milligrams charge of the shotgun powder.

lahglus2.jpg (9184 bytes)The "Operation Barbarossa" or German invasion to Soviet-Russia in June 22nd 1941 came as a lightning from the blue sky (although ADOLF HITLER was written about a conquest war to East in his book "MEIN KAMPF" already in 1925. No other Allied leader but JOSIF V. STALIN was actually read this foreshadowing book: "MY STRUGGLE"). Russians had a "Glushitel S-40" suppressor designed and ready for the production, but SUITABLE SUBSONIC CARTRIDGES WERE NOT YET !? Russians were constrained to use those inconvenient "Black cartridges" in their suppressed rifles in the absence of anything better, and when the suitable cartridges were evolved, the suppressors were found to be unnecessary at all...

But why the Russians brought the elementary training cartridges to Finland... to the country of proficient riflemen ? Russians didn't know the truth about Finland. They knew just that what the herds of Finnish communists were ready to tell: "Finland is a dictatorial country like Germany, Italy or Spain. The majority of working-class youth is put in the concentration camps. Just the sons of wealthy estate-owners and aristocrates are taught to use of firearms in Civil Guard or Army. A vast majority of Finnish people shall welcome the Red Army with sings and flowers, as the liberators of the working class..!"

Russians had truly the illusion that these boys of Finnish working class may become a supplement of Red Army, when released from the concentration camps and trained to become the soldiers. The black cartridges were intented for the preparatory training of the Finnish Red Guard recruits. But the truth was ruthless: These working men's sons were already trained warriors and in the Finnish trenches. The sings came from the muzzles of their firearms and the flowers thrown on the tanks of "liberators" became known as "MOLOTOV's COCTAIL."


Finns used recycled "many times reloaded" shells for SAKO MpP cartridges and at least once-shot VPT cases for the Army low-pressure cartridges. The headstamp of hollow-bulleted cartridges were four concentric arched lines like parenthesis () covering the original headstamp, which could be "VPT 39...44" on the cartridges loaded in 1958. Russian black cartridges were also reloaded. But why into the British or American "Anglishkiy Zakaz" cases ? The metallurgical explanation is simple and plausible: The chemicals used for blackening of the shells were more quickly-acting, and they made a more lasting black color on the Western brass (72% Cu + 28% Zn) than on the Russian brass (67% Cu + 33% Zn), used also in Germany since the last years of WW I as "K 67" alloy.

Still one Arcane: A recipe of the Brass Blackening Mixture:

Mix in the enamelled, stone-ware or stainless steel kettle:
2 parts by weight COPPER SULPHATE (Copper vitriol)
1 p.b.w. WINE STONE (Cream of tartar; Potassium bi-tartrate)
40 p.b.w. SWEET WATER (preferably distilled).

Heat the mixture boiling. Add the cases. Cook them until the color is glossy black through the colors: rose-red > blue > bluish black. Cases must be carefully degreased before blackening: No "master's fingerprints" are allowed ! Chemicals used are not the strong poisons, but the mixture is not suitable for seasoning of the celebration punch: It may cause a condition called as the "hyper-emesis", when used internally: "per os" !

Russian cartridges were loaded with bullets "Lyohkaya Pulya obr. 1908/10 goda" or pointed flat-based (actually hollow-based) balls of year's 1908 pattern with a shallow broad crimp-groove, weighing 9.6 grams or 148.1 grains Avoirdupois. (Nominal or allowed maximum weight was 9.65 grams or 148.9 grains, but the actual wt. was usually minimum allowed). Jacket was of plated mild steel.

Maximum diameter of these projectiles measured by the author is 7.80 mm or .307". They are undersized even for the Western .308" bores !! An absurd choice for the cartridges of the rifles, equipped with silencer like SYESTORYECHKIY-40, with two 25 mm (later 15 mm) thick solid rubber "shoot through" discs a.k.a. the wipes.


According to the most fresh source of information (arrived at this author in 16th April 1999), the copy of a French magazine "L'AMATEUR D'ARMES", told about factory-loaded SUBSONIC cartridges for the rifles with a suppressor. All the knowledge this far has been that all of these rifle cartrdges were handloads with pistol bullets. The table engraved on jackets of S-40 suppressors and their Finnish copies was calculated for the Russian or Finnish 9.6 grams L or S bullets with a muzzle velocity ca. 450 meters per second or 1476 fps.

According to PHILIPPE REGENSTREIF those factory-loaded "munition pour armes à silencieux dite PARTISAN" were loaded like previous black cartridges but with 0.50 gram charges of the nitrocellulose powder, to get a muzzle velocity "subsonique 262 m/sec." Seems to be correct !

This author has advised handloaders of subsonic 7.62 mm M & N cartridges "Try first ½ gram of VIHTAVUORI's N 310 or N 320 and a bullet with weight ca. 150 grains." No handloader has complained of "misinformation". Color code of pre-1941 subsonic cartridges was: The bullet and a third of case neck, along with the case head, were lacquered green. Post-1941 loads had just 5 millimeters length of bullet point (tip ?) and the primer (annulus ?) lacquered green. There was a possibility of mix-up, because the Russian tracer cartridges were also coded with a green bullet tips since 1930.

According to Philippe Regenstreif there are a lot of fake "Partizan cartridges" for sale to the collectors in Russia. This author is unable to say, whether the factory loads were ever fell into the hands of real partizans. If the pre-1941 loads actually existed more than half a year before the German "Operation Barbarossa", they were test-samples of cartridge designers: Presumably not for sale to the casual tourist as "a rare collector item". The warning re fakes is well-founded. Notre merci, Philippe !

The Partizan Movement was actually established in Soviet-Russia during the Spanish Civil War 1936 - '39 but it was abolished by the order of Supreme Police Chief LAVRENTIY BERIYA after the notorious non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia in 23rd August 1939. All the stocks of firearms, munitions, explosives, provisions and wireless means of communication, hidden on the forests and swamps along the foretold German attack routes, were exhausted just before the "Operation Barbarossa" of Germans.


The Finns took "L" bullet as a pattern: Finnish bullet S-30, weighing 9.6 grams, was presumably slightly more fit for the groove diameter 7.90 of the Russian rifling than was the Russian L-1908 bullet, but the sight re-adjustment table engraved on the suppressor jacket was ridiculous ! Maximum range was 300 meters ! The actual maximum shooting distance with a suppressor might be some 50 meters.

The only known Finnish user of a suppressed rifle with S-40, L. A. Törni, estimated it to be ca. 25 meters, but in his "battle-field test" it was less than 10 meters. The charge of N 14 powder was about ten Avoirdupois grains or 0.65 gram. With the bullet VPT D-166 (weight 13.0 grams/200.6 grains) is this load O.K. = certainly subsonic. There was DEFINITIVELY some information-link break between highly competent ballisticians (like EINO MUUKKONEN of VPT) and those authoritative Finnish Army General Staff officers, who were ordered VPT to repeat the error of Russians, adoptment of a supersonic load for a silenced rifles despite of the well-known existence of those many subsonic alternatives.


arceisfe.gif (3170 bytes)The suppressor S-40 dates from Germany and WW I era. The German "copy" of this Russian "invention" was so actually not a copy. The greatest Russian inventions, like a spark-telegraph and wireless telephone of POPOV, the helicopter of SIKORSKY and an "Ikonoscope" television camera of ZVORYKIN were invented by the Imperial Era Russians or Russian exiles in the West. The most successful swindler of the history , an Academician LYSENKO, was an "Archetype of HOMO SOVIETICUS"... (Mentioned as an other extreme).

Germans could use the suppressors similar to S-40 even for the sniping, because the MAUSER m/-98 k rifles had very uniform bore dimensions and the bullet diameters closely matching with them. A German manufacture FINOWER INDUSTRIE G.m.b.H. loaded the famed "NAHPATRONEN" (= Close Range Cartridges) for the suppressed 8 mm Mauser rifles since the early 1943.

Finower GmbH was known as the loader of Match-Grade 8 mm cartridges and many other special loads. The Nahpatronen were loaded into steel cases, lacquered bright grass-green from the head to the mouth. Bullet was lead-cored, with a copper-plated iron jacket, shape "sS" or a pointed boat-tail, weight 12.75 grams (nominally) or 196.7 grains Avdps.

arceisf2.gif (3196 bytes)The powder charge was 0.55 gram of Nz. Pl. P. RP. 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.75. (Finnish readers: Please, do not tell this "Arcane" to personnel of VIHTAVUORI Oy..! They may stop the production of the N 320 powder just as they ended the yielding of those lovely primers Nr. 28, when some gunwriter told about the misuse of them as "the Poor Man's Pressure Gauges" in the early 1980s). The average muzzle velocity of Finower Nahpatronen bullets was the even 300 meters per second - presumably from a test-barrel without a silencer. Bullet velocity with a suppressor was subsonic in all the weather conditions, with some exceptions: The Antarctic or Siberian winter.
Once again "pillerit Saksan oli parhaita" (= " German pills were the very best drugs") as a remedy of the "Socialismus Incurabilis" malady..! The headstamp of Finower is "cg".


The Russian best known "Partizanskiy Patronniy" ("partizan cartridges"; so called by Germans) were a confused assortment of 7.62 mm Mosin & Nagant ammo. Soviet-Russian arms & munition literature (in hand or reach of author) do not know existing of them. German research institutes, DEVA in Altenbeken and institute of Ulm, were sometimes examined some captured "partizan cartridges" with the short round-nosed bullets; all of them handloaded: There were new bullets in old cases or vice versa. Sometimes the bullets were removed from handgun cartridges with a pair of pliers. Sometimes the rifle cartridges were taken apart with similarly brutal methods for the re-charging and seating of less heavy bullet.

Partizan handloads had some common features: Short round-point HANDGUN bullets, reduced charges of fast-burning (handgun or shotgun) powder and the green code-color on the cases. Sometimes the case was lacquered or painted (SIC !) entirely green, imitating German practice. Some other cartridges had just the head colored green.

The author is writing the word "partizan" by Russian way, as the "partisan" means an "active party member". Most of Russian partizans were, of course, communists or the members of a communist youth association KOMSOMOL. There were, however, much more peoples willing to join the partizans. The jews, threatened with "A Holocaust" or "The Decisive Solution of a Jew Problem", were the most eager ethnic minority.

The occupation was foud to be the threat and not a liberation: Germans started their oppression too early, and they directed it to most of the Soviet citizens. They lost soon many potential friends like a majority of Ukrainians (= congenital enemies of Russians and the Socialism) who formated soon their own partizan units. In the summer 1941 they were welcomed Germans as the liberators, as the Imperial Germany was assisted them to establish an independent Ukraine during and after the First World War, but the honeymoon was over very soon.


"Who loaded these partizan cartridges ?" asks Mr. Hard-Core Handloader. >Some individuals like you !! Handloading was not an uncommon hobby in the Soviet-Russia. (A surprising statement ?) Hunting was a popular pastime even during the regime of J.V. STALIN. No rifled firearms were allowed to the possession of a common people, but reloading of the shotgun shells - usually into the "everlasting" brass cases - was a familiar bustling to the many Russians and Ukrainians, living under the German occupation. If somebody is able to handload the shotshells into brass cases with a smokeless powder (this author isn't), he/she is a prominent handloader of the rifle cartridges too... The powders used were well-known; usually the revolver Piroksilin or "SOKOL" shotgun powder (or it's predecessor).

Cartridges were loaded usually in the remote "backwoods manufactures". Germans were rulers in the streets and fields. Primeval forests were horrible regions to the army of occupation. To the partizans the forest was a friend, a home, and a shelter - "the Partizan Country". Many urban would-be partizans, especially jews (accustomed to the sweet life in some metropolis) could never learn to "live like some sweaty lumberjack or a sooty charcoal-pit burner." The Darwinian natural selection removed those snobs very soon from the gangs of partizans.

Some scientists were, however, very profitable friends of the resistance movement. Unlike those Communist Party officials, they learned soon to live in the primitive conditions. Presumably just they designed and loaded the partizan cartridges. Those men and women are still unknown - unlike the celebrated ammunition designers, YELISAROV, SYEMIN and some other "Heros/Heroines of the Socialistic Work" who made their mark in the cosy laboratories - by copying some foreign inventions.


Presumably the most usual bullet of 7.62 mm partizan cartridges was a Russian 7.62 mm TOKAREV ball, sometimes new, but many times pulled from a handgun or submachine gun cartridge 7.62 x 25 mm Tokarev or MAUSER. Bullet diameter was 7.83 mm (.308") and weight 5.5 grams/ ca. 85 grains. Jacket was usually of mild steel, plated with cupro-nickel (silvery) or copper; sometimes the copper alloy "Tombak" or Gilding metal (red brass). 7.63 mm Mauser bullets were usually pulled from the old cartridges. Mauser C-96 pistols were common warfare tools during the Russian Civil War 1918 - ca. '23 and the war-surplus cartridges were not difficult to find from Ukraine or domiciles of the Cossacks.

Some partizan cartridges were bulleted with the brand-new or "mint" 7.65 mm LUGER bullets. They were not captured from Germans, as this caliber was not officially adopted for the use of Wehrmacht or SS. Analysis of the jacket metal ("melkhyor" or cupro-nickel) told to the Germans about British and American origin of these projectiles. The "Internazionale Judentum" was paid for these bullets, embarked to Red Russia by the convoys to Murmansk and Archangelsk, and forwarded by the air lift to partizans of the Russian regions occupied by Germans. The author is unable to think of more logical explanation ! If some reader has a better knowledge, he/she may feel free to tell..!!

The plot, how to evade U.S.A. legislature against the export of war material to the foreign belligerents, is known as "Lend & Lease System"; presumably an idea of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, HENRY MORGENTHAU. President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT was already (in the late 1941) no more responsible for his actions but fully tractable by his Main Counsellor.


The Russian partizan cartridges were loaded with the charges of "hot" powders, reduced enough to give subsonic muzzle velocity for 7.62/7.63 mm bullets and the Western 7.65 Luger bullet, weighing six grams. The exact Avoirdupois weights of British bullets was 92 grains and the American bullets weighed 93 grains. This trifling difference guided the Germans to analyze the jacket metals and find out the manufacturers of these projectiles captured from K.I.A. or arrested partizans (which were "hung by the neck until death"; sooner - or female ones - later).

The powder charges gave muzzle velocities ca. 250 to 270 meters per second from the old Mosin & Nagant rifles with a barrel length 800 millimeters. Suppressors were unnecessary. The noise of a shot was mild, like a snap of a dry sprig broken under the boot sole. Many or most of the partizan handloads had some kind of over-powder wad to set the pinch of powder close to the case bottom, reach of a priming flash. This wadding was sometimes just a piece of a pulp paper from the "PRAVDA" newspaper, crumpled and rammed on the powder charge. Cotton was also a popular wad material. Sometimes it was carded to a fluffy swab, filling whole free space in the case but cotton wadding might also be impregnated chemically to become self-consuming like the German tinder, presumably for use in the suppressed rifles. Chemicals used were potassium or lead nitrate, or similar oxidizers. Some most miserable fabrications had a reduced charge of usual rifle powder (ca. one gram/ 15½ grains) topped with a rammed cotton wad, impregnated with the moistened black powder.

RISUM TENEATIS, AMICI ? Germans factory-loaded similar cartridges without a wadding at all, using the one gram charge of usual square-flake rifle powder. These products of MÄRKISCHES WALTZWERK had also an inherently inaccurate S.m.E. bullet with a mild steel core. All the German "Nahpatronen" were not of Finower quality, despite of similar color code: Entirely green case. The case headstamp of MWW is "eej".

Some Russian loaders were bound the powder charge close to the case bottom with a "crust" of nitrocellulose lacquer; a dissolved powder. They were presumably sprayed a solvent like acetone or ether-alcohol into the charged cartridges with a perfume sprayer. (Just a short puff: Excessively moistened charge could took several weeks to become dry enough for the seating of a bullet. Solvent could also deteriorate the primer pellet). The clever scientists or inventors were in very truth more useful persons in the partizan camps than the "politruks" or "commissars" of The Party.


lahohotn.jpg (6629 bytes)Russian "Ohothichye Patronniy" were factory-loaded ammo of a late Second World War, also a species of 7.62 mm Mosin & Nagant cartridges still more or less unknown in the West. At least two variations of these "Hunting Cartridges" were actually issued to the professional hunters, employees of the Soviet State, privileged to possess the rifled firearms. Before The Great Patriotic War those rifles were 6 mm or 7 mm muzzleloaders (SIC !). Production of .22 rimfire rifles and cartridges was started in the Soviet-Russia sometimes in late 1950s 7.62-mm "Ohotnichye" cartridges were packed in the boxes of 20 rounds with the labels like those of "commercial" cartridges. They were, however, never exported outside the Communist Block countries - even to the "pink" Finland.

War-time "hunting cartridges" were developed presumably ... (hand of this author is always somewhat hesitant to write those DAMNED words "presumably" or "probably", but there is simply not yet a reliable information available from "The Country of a Red Dimness," although the Socialism fell there in 1991) ... along with the evolution of a Mosin & Nagant carbine model 1944. The folding bayonet of this carbine was a "more useful piece of the equipment" than a suppressor with a nice & easy mounting possibility on the muzzle. It took about three seconds to mount or dismount a suppressor S-40 of a rifle model -91/-30; usually fitting also to an original Mosin & Nagant 1891. This option was lost. But the valiant fighters of the Red Army: "ended always their assaults with a hand-to-hand combat with their spike bayonets," according to the Soviet War Doctrine - written in 18th century...!


Due to the short barrel length of M/44 carbine and a "silent without suppressor" demand of cartridges, the designers of "Ohotnichye Patronniy" were constrained to adopt some major improvements of bullet shape and the other ways to get as uniform chamber pressure as possible. Bullet of the original "Hunting Cartridge" was dimensioned ultimately to be bore-sealing; 0.20 millimeters thicker than a "LYOHKAYA PULYA obr. 1908 goda" or the L bullet. That diameter 8.0 mm went around the equator of a hemispherical bullet point at ca. 2 millimeters ahead of the case mouth. The bullet was actually "heeled" like a .22 rimfire bullet, but the diameter of it's cylindrical rear end wasn't much less than the maximum point diameter. It was 7.88 to 7.92 millimeters, but somewhat less just behind the case mouth.

Bullets were crimped by the "Yelizarov's method" like projectiles of so called ShKAS cartridges, loaded for the 7.62 mm aircraft machine guns with a cyclic rate of 1800 to 2000 rounds per minute from a single barrel. The bullet weight was, according to Czechian VLADISLAV BADALIK, 4.7 or 4.8 grams and the weight of a powder charge was 1/10 from the projectile weight; id est 0.47 gram of smokeless "SOKOL" shotgun powder. The nominal muzzle velocity from a carbine barrel was 290 meters per second (the ballistics similar to 7.65 x 17 mm Browning or .32 A.C.P.) but from the more long barrel of Mosin & Nagant -91/-30 ca. 270 m/s and from the still more long model 1891 barrel 250 to 270 m/s.


The original jacket material may remain a mystery until the end of this world. Most of the cartridge researchers NEVER remember the direction: KEEP ALWAYS THE LITTLE MAGNET IN YOUR POCKET ! An example given on the experience of this author: The shotshell head "ferrulé" is called as the "brass" and it looks like brass, but on the modern shotshells it is actually of iron or mild steel, plated with brass - or zinc-plated and "yellow passivated" with a hot bichromate brine. These coatings are able to delude the eye, but not the magnet. The "nickel jacketed" bullets are also usually (but not always) just iron jacketed projectiles, plated with nickel or cupro-nickel. The eye is also unable to find that mild steel or iron below the plating of copper or Gilding Metal, but the magnet clings easily on the jacket.

The alternatives of jacket/plating of war-time "Ohotnichye" bullets are: Solid mild steel; electroplated. Solid brass. Lead alloy; plated. Mild steel-jacketed; plated. Lead alloy; copper/Gilding Metal-jacketed. Brass-jacketed. Solid iron; plated & passivated to look like the brass. Which one ? Nobody knows - or is inclined to tell !!


The original bullets were intented for the use in war. They were full-metal jacketed, if not of a solid metal other than the un-plated lead. Post-WW II Russian hunting cartridges had the half-jacketed bullets with a lead core, according to P. Regenstreif. Jacket material was brass (if not the mild steel, brass-plated or zinc-plated & passivated..? The magnet-test was once again neglected.?)

The Swedish NORMA cartridge plant produced in the mid-1980s full-metal jacketed 9.3 mm bullets with the mild-steel zinc-plated & passivated jackets. They were very fine projectiles for the subsonic 9.3 x 74 R handloads designed by this author. Germans made also use of the zinc-plated mild steel jacketed bullets for 7.9 x 57 mm JS cartridges with a success during WW II but the cadmium electroplating is a best process, if the very most consistent muzzle velocities are needed for the jacketed projectiles or plated lead bullets with the reduced charges. Cadmium-plating is, however, somewhat problematic process due to the environmental activists, until those zealots are eliminated physically until the total extinction - all simultaneously in all countries.


An interesting new method is a tumbler coating with the powdered Molybdenium Bisulphide; a well-known admixture of the grease lubricants or a dry lubricant itself. MoS 2 lubrication of the Gilding metal jacketed bullets may allow the use of over-sized projectiles in the suppressed firearms without the enhanced bore fouling, and so rise the chamber pressure even when the very small powder charges are used along with the light bullets.

The Russian Hunting Cartridges bullets are very exemplary, being HEELED. The oversized portion of the bullet point MUST be at the front of cartridge case mouth, because it is impossible to squeeze (say) 8.23 mm bullet into the .308 case neck, chamber this cartridge, to shoot it and to survive or even escape without physical injury and a wrecked rifle.


Not only the handloading economy but also the POWDER GAS VOLUME, AS SMALL AS PRACTICABLE, was an aim of the Finnish, Russian and German designers of the cartridges for suppressor-equipped military rifles. Those "Gartridges, Guards" were, of course, loaded still earlier in many countries before the existing of the first practicable suppressors. Amongst the many American .30-03 and .30-06 Guards cartridges was a very interesting combination of LAFLIN & RAND's "dust BULLSEYE" pistol powder and a "New Springfield" bullet, weighing 150 grains. (It was truly new in 1907). Powder charge was 8½ grains/ 0.55 gram, developing the nominal muzzle velocity 1200 feet per second, i.e. 366 meters per second.

Supersonic, of course, but after the short flight it was subsonic. The inventor of first mass-produced "silencers", HIRAM PERCY MAXIM, used these and still more reduced loads for test-shootings with suppressed rifle model 1903. The dust-Bullseye powder was a punching waste of disc-kernelled "INFALLIBLE SHOTGUN POWDER" production. Kernels of Bullseye were very small in size and triangle or ace of diamonds-shaped. These round-flake powders are made like cookies by rolling or extruding the gelatinized powder "dough" to a thin sheet. The tiny powder discs are then cut from this sheet just like the cookies or ginger breads. Discs may be perforated or cup-shaped.

A century ago it was possible to get this waste material free or at nominal price from the HERCULES DYNAMITE And POWDER PLANT, if some daring reloader of revolver cartridges was diligent enough to sweep the floor behind the powder screening machines and shovel the punching waste into his bag. In 1898 the firm LAFLIN & RAND bought most of this waste and canned it for sale all'round the U.S.A.

"Those were THE days, my friends..!!"

There were not yet too many handloaders, daring enough to use smokeless powders for the handgun cartridges. They called this punching waste of an "Infallible" as a "Bullseye powder", because the very mild loads of it were able to throw the bullets in the bullseye of a target. To the Finnish readers: "Bullseye" on suomeksi "napakymppi" tai ainakin osuma pistooli-koulutaulun mustaan disipliini-ammunnoissa.

In 1904 the popularity of a dust-Bullseye was increased so much that the punch-waste could no more meet the demand. Hercules re-named the "Infallible" powder as "Bullseye". The good old dust-Bullseye was soon never more available, because that punch-waste was re-gelatinized and rolled once again to sheets for punching of the new disc-Bullseye. Revolver cartridge handloaders were angry, because the needed charges of a new disc-kernelled powder were ca. 25% heavier than those of original "dust powder", which was easy to ignite and burned away entirely before the bullet of an usual revolver target-load was jumped from the cylinder to the barrel. A price reduction of disc-Bullseye was enough to calm the hard feelings down: Not many handloaders declined to the use of a sooty black powder or the mixtures like "KING's SEMI-SMOKELESS".

The Bullseye powder is a kind of BALLISTITE, or a double-base powder with a high percentage of nitroglycerol. It developes a moderate volume of powder gasses, but a very high contemporary burning temperature, which is able to expand that gas volume according to the Law of AVOGADRO or the more accurate Equation of van der WAALS. The double-base powders are good for the cartridges of those firearms with a suppressor able to COOL the powder gasses efficiently.

The another kind of powders fit for handloading of the subsonic rifle cartridges are the porous nitrocellulose powders or single-base powders for handguns or shotshells. Many of them are burning by the "MENDELEYEV's Principle", having less than the needed percentage of oxygen to burn the carbon of cellulose for developing of carbon dioxide (CO 2) but just enough for production of carbon monoxide (CO) and un-burned hydrogen.

The carbon dioxide is a thick and heavy gas. Carbon monoxide and especially the hydrogen are more light and expansive or "elastic" gasses. They are able to occupy the same volume than the gasses of burned double-base powders even when heated to the considerably lower chamber and bore temperature. The most famed military rifle cartridges with reduced charges were loaded with the single-base powders: The very best German Finower Nahpatronen. The Finnish MpP and ½-PP cartridges. The Russian Black Cartridges, Partizan loads (including the possible factory-loads) and 7.62-mm Hunting Cartridges with at least three kinds of bullets.

This badly demented author forgot, of course, to mention that third variation with a spherical lead alloy bullet; 8.0 mm in diameter. Author has shot more than a hundred 8.0 mm soft-lead sphericals from a .308 Win. rifle, achieving a very satisfactory accuracy to a hundred meters..! His eye was still keen, hands were steady and a LEUPOLD scope-sight with 24 x magnification might also assist...).

Why the Europeans preferred those nitrocellulose powders like PaPP, Sokol, revolver Pyroxyline or Nz.Pl.P.P.Rp. Sorte 33 ? > We have a scourge, a season known as a WINTER. During that winter we may have a FROST in the Northern Europe. In the January 1999 there were 51.5 degrees Centigrade of cold in Finnish Lapland. The double-base powders may produce very nasty surprises in the cold climate, especially when the charge is "marginal."

The end of ARCANE Part 3.  To be continued...


And if you don't know who Major Larry Thorne [Lauri Törni] was....

Comment to Gunwriters' readers, posted by Archy on April 30, 1999:

Captain Larry Thorne was a genuine hero of at least three wars; the Finnish *Winter War of 1939-40 that began with a Russian attack on Finland, the *Continuation War* into which Finland was dragged with the rest of the world as the Second World War began picking up speed, and the period of the oft-misnamed *Cold War* that included the US operations in Vietnam in which Captain Larry Thorne, one of the first officers picked to lead the US *Special Operations Group* activities of that conflict became the first casualty of that unit: MIA and now presumed dead. He received his promotion to Major posthumously, I believe.

Anyone who ever read Robin Moore's novel The Green Berets was introduced in that book to the exploits of *Captain Kornie* an unconventional ex-Finn Special Forces officer with witt and imagination. Those in and around Special Forces then knew exactly who *Korn* was modeled after and were in on the joke.


Name: Larry Alan Thorne
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: HQ MACV SD5891
Date of Birth: 28 May 1919 (Viipuri, Finland)
Home City of Record: Norwalk CT
Loss Date: 18 October 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 152558N 1074744E (YC895105)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH34
Other Personnel in Incident: none missing, all others, remains recovered
Refno: 0174


Source: Compiled in 1989 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.  SYNOPSIS: Larry Alan Thorne was born Lauri Allan Torni on May 28, 1919. As an adult in Finland, he joined the Finnish army where he attained the rank of Captain. His valor earned him the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Mannerheim Medal." He was so successful as a ski troop commander that the unit patch carried his initial "T" with a lightning bolt through it.

At the end of the Winter War, Torni joined the German "SS" to fight the Russians. When the Continuation War began, he returned to Finland and again commanded his ski troops.  Following Finland's second defeat to the Russians, Torni was imprisoned by the communists as a war criminal. He escaped prison three times and made his way to the United States where he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private.

Throughout the late 1950's, the budding U.S. Army Special Forces had been building a controversial force to conduct unconventional warefare. These unconventional warfare warriors had to be able to master critical military skills needed to train and lead guerrilla warriors, to be inserted anywhere in the world by any means of transportaion, to survive the most hostile environment, and to take care of themselves and others under the pressures of harsh combat conditions and isolation. At the same time, these individuals had to be independent thinkers, able to grasp opportunities and innovate with the materials at hand. In order to control and lead irregular fighters, they had to understand people, languages, and foreign cultures. Most important, the Special Forces warriors had to posses the intelligence, knowledge, tact, and acumen to successfully transform ordinary civilians into an effective military threat to a strong and cunning occupation army.

In addition to recruiting rugged individuals possessing these attributes from regular army formations, the Special Forces attracted a proven lot of hardy, versatile volunteers from Finland and other European countries through the Lodge Act, Public Law 957 of the 81st Congress, sponsored by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Regardless of his background, each SF volunteer underwent strenuous physical conditioning, including paratrooper training, and was extensively tested to determine his best skills and abilities. He then received comprehensive instruction in his specialty area.

Thorne was selected for the Special Forces and ultimately led an important mountain rescue mission to a crashed USAF plane in the middle east. The plane was carrying classified equipment and three earlier attempts to reach it had failed. Next, he went to Vietnam, he and his 7th Special Forces A-734 established the camp at Tinh Bien in April 1964 near the Delta's Seven Mountains area, which bushwacked so many Viet Cong that it becamse a serious thorn to the VC lifeline into Cambodia.

In a second tour of Vietnam, attached to Headquarters Company, MACV, Special Detachment 5891, the Vietnamese Air Force CH34 helicopter on which Thorne was a passenger crashed about 25 miles southwest of Da Nang. When rescue workers went to the site, they recovered the remains of the Vietnamese crew, but found no sign of Larry Thorne. He had simply disappeared.

Thorne's photo is maintained in a pre-capture photo group shown to defectors for POW/MIA identifications purposes, yet Thorne was classified killed in action the day after the crash. His remains were never found. Men who served with him believe that Larry is still alive. They gather to toast his health every year. No one, they say, is better equipped to survive than Larry Thorne.

In Finland, Lauri Torni is a national hero. In the United Sates, Larry Thorne is forgotten by all but a few. His family believes he is still alive, even considering he was 70 years old this year (1989). Lauri Torni hated the threat of communism so much that he was willing to join any army to fight it. We must never forget men like Thorne. It is to them that we owe our freedom. We also owe them theirs.


In June of 1998, the book THE SOLDIER UNDER THREE FLAGS was made available by Pathfinder publishing. The author, H.A. Gill, III is a graduate of the Citadel. He served as an infantry offcier in the U.S. Army and currently works for an aerospace corporation. The book about Larry Thorne has 208 pages and 37 photographs, and is available for 14.95. ISBN : 0-934793-65-4

Pathfinder Publishing, 1-800-977-2282, 458 Dorothy Avenue, Ventura, CA 93003
•Lauri Alan Torni, Mannerheimkreuz Nr. 144 [Major Larry Thorne, USMACV-SOG]

When then-Capitan Thorne's Kingbee helo went down, the old trooper was carrying a US M1903 Springfield rifle as had been supplied by the US to Asian villagers for Regional Defence/Popular Forces *Civic Guard*-type units more conveniently known as *Ruff-Puffs*

Whether Captain Thorne wanted our Asian counterparts to know that they had not been given obsolete junk by their American supporters, or he was simply happy with the power, reliability and his own familiarity with a bolt-action rifle is now only a matter for speculation. Even discounting snipers though, he was not the last to do so, but surely one of the last.

Here in Memphis, USA there will be a small gathering of a few who knew of him, a kippis! at a table with an upside-down glass in his memory, and the singing of some odd old songs other customers will not understand. That is all right. We do.


See also: Gunsmoke No 6,  "War In A Cold Place".

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