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7.62x25 Tokarev

  This pistol cartridge packs a real punch. Surplus ammunition can have velocities ranging from 1450 fps up to 1650 fps from pistols and Sub-guns/rifles can have velocities higher then that do to longer barrels. I’ll get into that further down with my Chrono data. Shooting 85 grn projectiles in the surplus ammunition gives a energy level of 397 ft lbs up to 514 ft lbs of energy from a pistol. To give you a comparison using new Winchester ammunition:

7.62x25  85grn       velocity: 1647 fps   energy: 512 ft lbs.

9mm     115grn       velocity: 1190 fps   energy: 361 ft lbs.  

40S&W  165grn       velocity: 1060 fps   energy: 411 ft lbs.

45acp    230grn       velocity:   880 fps   energy: 396 ft lbs.

  I have been playing with this cartridge for over 15 years. My first firearm in the Caliber was a Chinese type 54 pistol which is a copy of the Russian tt-33


  My next firearm in this caliber was a AR-15. At the time, everyone rolled there eyes at my idea to build a AR15 in this caliber. I finally persuaded Marty at Teppo Jetsu to chamber a 308 barrel in this caliber for me. This was around 2002 and at the time, I do not think even Marty knew what a hit this AR-15 caliber conversion would eventually become. I was using a Sten Style magazine block and CZ 24/26 magazine with a Cavalry Arms lower receiver and a ASA 9mm Blowback AR bolt. While this was fun, the Ammunition I was using was dirty and corrosive. It would get into every little crack in the fire control group, along with every other part of the upper and lower receivers. Blow back 9mm AR rifles are notoriously dirty, so running surplus ammo that is even dirtier then commercial 9mm in a blow back setup just compounded the dirt and carbon buildup.

   In early 2010 I decided it was time to take it to the next level, an AR-15 Gas Piston design. Since I was working as a Machinist for a Machine Shop, I had access to some very nice equipment. I used a 308 Mike Rock barrel blank. I cut the barrel blank down to 12.5” in length, profiled it and threaded the end. I then contacted Marty to do the Chamber for me. I had several long discussions with him about what I wanted to do. I did not just want to shoot cheap surplus. I wanted to use this cartridge for Sub-Sonic heavy weight projectiles. With a little extra throat work, this could be achieved.

  During the time the barrel was at Teppo Jetsu I contacted a company that was producing a mag well adaptor designed by Marty. Heavy Metal Co had taken up producing the adaptors for the AR15 mag well to allow the use of PPSh 43 Magazines. Tim at Heavy Metal Co is making a great product and I owe him a big thanks. If it had not been for the production of this adaptor I would probably not have been as motivated to go from the drawing board to cutting metal on this project.

 After Marty finished chambering my barrel and sending it back to me, I then had to mount the gas block and drill a Gas Port. I had decided to try and make this work with as many off the shelf parts as I could use from Hogan Manufacturing. This put me having a gas port that is between a pistol and Carbine length. It leaves the front of the gas block I used even with a Carbine Rails system from Hogan Manufacturing. I have been fortunate enough to get in touch with a few people that have been playing with this caliber in the AR-15 platform, trying to get it to run as a Direct Impingement. Using what they had told me, I had a good idea of where I needed to be on the port size. So using a few custom piston parts, I nailed to the port size on my second attempt. I had it almost running. I realized my problem was gas bleed off from the piston tube. After making a quick aluminum clamp I tried again. No go, but real close. I then decided to use a Wollf 50% buffer spring and a buffer with no weights in it and a couple other little machining tricks on the carrier.


  Here is some video of the first time test firing with everything assembled....

  Each one of these videos was filmed during test firing sessions. The last one was the first time I had taken it out to test a brand new full auto carrier design.

   I mentioned earlier about getting higher velocities from a sub-gun/carbine due to the longer barrel. I have ran a lot of rounds through my Chronograph and here is a list of what I came up with for velocities from Surplus and Commercial ammunition.

Commercial Ammunitions:

Norinco Yellow Box  Projectile: 86 grn FMJ

High: 1874 fps Low: 1798 fps Avg.: 1834.9 fps

 E.S.: 76  S.D.: 22.2

great ammo, pretty hot, runs fairly clean considering age and origin…not corrosive

S&B  Projectile: 86 grn FMJ

High: 1878 fps Low: 1845 fps Avg.: 1857.7 fps

 E.S.: 33  S.D.: 10.4

Functioned fine, cycled great. Very consistent.

Wolf Gold  Projectile: 86 grn HP

High: 1671 fps Low: 1584 fps Avg.: 1635.8 fps

 E.S.: 87  S.D.: 22.1

Does not cycle action enough to catch next round. Would love to be able to buy these projectiles for hand loading a defensive/hunting ammo.

Surplus Ammunitions:

Romanian Surplus Projectile: 86 grn FMJ

High: 1869 fps Low: 1798 fps Avg.: 1847.7 fps

 E.S.: 71  S.D.: 21.9

not to smokey, hottest surplus. Stock up on more of this.

Chinese Surplus Projectile: 86 grn FMJ

High: 1848 fps Low: 1806 fps Avg.: 1831.7 fps

 E.S.: 42  S.D.: 14.1

Ran fantastic. Not very smokey, VERY consistent

Polish Surplus Projectile: 86 grn FMJ

High: 1761 fps Low: 1669 fps Avg.: 1723.1 fps

 E.S.: 92  S.D.: 28.5

Corrosive. Really dirty and smokey

  I have also enjoyed reloading some hot little rounds for this carbine. I have found that the wolf/privi brass can handle higher chamber pressures. While starline brass is plentiful, it is a little softer, even though, with my supper sonic loads, I have yet to have any real pressure signs with either brass. I have loaded Sierra 85 Grn FMJ, 110 grn FMJ and HP projectiles. If anyone knows a source for the Wolf/Privi 86grn HP projectiles, please let me know.

  The real challenge with this cartridge was finding the Sub-Sonic loads that would run the rifle in Semi and full auto. With a small amount of case capacity and a case that is not designed to handle higher pressures. I have run a wide assortment of projectile shapes and weights, from 180 grn to 220grn, HPBT, ballistic tips to FMJ round nose. The 220 grain Round nose projectiles create a higher amount of drag/friction in the barrel which lead to serious pressure issues. I quickly decided to drop these projectiles and stick with standard HPBT and ballistic tips.

  But of course I could not just leave it alone........

  Now that I had it dialed in. It was time to take it apart. Barrel and gas block went out for heat treat. I went with this since I am going to run corrosive ammo. This was a very fun project to put together and has drawn a lot of interest from many people.

   But it does not end here. Now that it was finished and re-assembled, there was more work to be done. Remember earlier I mentioned wanting to shoot heavier projectiles at subsonic velocities......

  This powerful little bottle-necked cartridge is a direct relation of and an improvement on the 7.63x25 Mauser cartridge. They are so close the you may use the 7.63x25 Mauser ammunition in firearms chambered for the Tokarev round.


  Surplus ammunition is available from an assortment of Russian Allied countries. The cost of this ammunition for now (2009/2010) is rather inexpensive, ranging from 7 to 10 cents a round for corrosive ammunition. Reloadable brass cased ammunition is also available from Wolf, Sellier & Bellot and Winchester. New brass is available from Starline.


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