Prior to the First World War, the 7.63×25mm Mauser caliber Mauser C-96 pistol gained in popularity worldwide. In 1908, the Czarist army placed the C-96 on a list of approved sidearms that officers could purchase at their own expense in lieu of carrying the Nagant M1895 revolver. Between 1914 and 1917, more Mauser pistols and ammunition were obtained as captured arms from German and Turkish forces. The Mauser and its cartridge were used on all fronts of the Russian Civil War and in the 1920s, during a period of relatively close cooperation between Soviet Russia and the Weimar Republic, the Red Army purchased batches of the smaller Bolo version as well as ammunition for use by its officers. Although a copy of the cartridge was being produced at the Podolsky Ammunition Factory, the Soviets eventually purchased a license and manufacturing equipment from DWM in Germany to produce the cartridge. In 1929, the Soviet Artillery Committee made a proposal to develop a domestic pistol chambered for the Mauser cartridge. After considerable research and development, it was decided that the "Model 1930 7.62 mm Pistol Cartridge," essentially the Mauser round with minor modifications, was to become the standard caliber for Soviet pistols and submachine guns. Early versions of the Vasily Degtyaryov-designed PPD-40 submachine gun were marked "For Mauser Cartridge Caliber 7.62 mm".
The cartridge is in principle an enhanced Russian version of the 7.63×25mm Mauser. The Russians produced a wide array of loadings for this cartridge for use in submachine guns. These include armor-piercing, tracer, and incendiary rounds. This cartridge has excellent penetration and can easily defeat lighter ballistic vests (class I, IIA and II) as well as some kevlar helmets, such as the American PASGT helmet. Although most firearms chambered in this caliber were declared obsolete and removed from military inventories, some Police and Special Forces units in Russia, Pakistan and (mainly) in China may still use it because of the large quantity of stored ammunition available.
There is a common misconception that 7.62 Tokarev surplus ammunition in the United States uses copper-coated mild steel bullets, and that this increases the chance of dangerous ricochets when fired at hard targets and can damage bullet-traps often used on shooting ranges. While steel-core ammunition in 7.62×25 is available internationally, in the United States the importation of 7.62×25 cartridges loaded with copper-coated steel bullets is illegal; federal law defines these as armor-piercing pistol ammunition. The so-called steel bullets sold in the United States are generally lead-core bullets with copper-washed steel jackets, and these do not present a significantly greater risk of ricochet than a standard copper-jacketed projectile.
Reloadable cartridge cases can be produced by resizing and trimming 9mm Winchester Magnum brass, or alternately by reforming 5.56x45mm NATO. The cartridge case is inserted into the open-topped die, which produces a shoulder in the correct position, and one saws off the portion of the case projecting through the top. Afterward, one uses a reamer—which fits a tap handle—to ream out the new case neck to an acceptable thickness. This is necessary because a powerful rifle cartridge has just been cut back to where the brass is relatively thick—this must be thinned if excessive chamber pressures are to be avoided in the pistol. Alternately, reloaders in the USA can purchase proper, new cases from Starline Mfg. Use .308" or .309" bullets for reloading for the Tokarev TT-33 and Czech CZ-52. Mauser C-96 and C-30 "Broomhandle" pistols typically have oversized bores, and .311" bullets may be needed to produce acceptable accuracy. Hornady makes an 85-grain .309" "XTP" bullet that functions well in all these pistols. On the Starline website, at the 7.62×25mm section, information is given about using ammunition intended for the Mauser pistol in pistols chambered for the Tokarev round.
In 2012, 7.62×25 ammunition was available for importation, from Romania, Bulgaria and Russia.
The pistol-fired bullet has various muzzle velocities around the range of 1300 to 1800 fps. A common velocity would be around 442 metres per second (1,450 ft/s) with about 544 joules (401 ft·lbf) of energy. Given the wide disparity in ammunition manufactured in many different nations, ammunition will be encountered that yields higher and lower velocity. Some newly manufactured ammunition intended for commercial use has a velocity of approximately 1,560 feet per second (480 m/s). Wolf Gold FMJ tops out at 1,720 feet per second (520 m/s) with 570 foot-pounds force (770 J) as does PPU ammunition. Some of this ammunition, such as the Wolf Gold and Sellier & Bellot, uses boxer primed, brass cases that are reloadable.
The Soviet P-41 was a 74 grain, steel-cored, incendiary variant produced for use in the PPSh-41 and PPS-43 during World War II. This ammunition would achieve a velocity of 1,600 feet per second when fired from these weapons.
The Chinese 7.62mm Type P is a special subsonic, heavy, pointed (spitzer) loading of the cartridge, designed specifically for use in suppressed firearms. The Chinese-produced standard loading of the cartridge is designated as the Type 51.
Weapons and service useEdit
The most notable use of this cartridge was in the Tokarev TT-33 pistol, which was the Soviet Union's standard service pistol from the early 1930s until the mid-1960s. It was also used in the Czech ČZ vz. 52, which was the standard Czech service pistol from 1952 until 1982. The cartridge was also used in several submachine guns, including the Soviet PPD-40, PPSh-41, and PPS-43, the Russian PP-19 Bizon, the East German WG66, the Czech Sa 24 and Sa 26.
Outside COMECON countries it is not so common; however after the Cold War, many weapons, especially pistols, were exported and the round is still in production. The cartridge was also used in the Russian OTs-27 Berdysh and OTs-39 submachine gun, the North Vietnamese K-50M and VPA/Viet Minh modified MAS-38 (MAS Mle 1938) and MAT-49s, and the Yugoslav M49 and M56, the latter gun being developed from the design of the German MP40. Aftermarket conversion sleeves are also available that enable this round to be fired using the Mosin Nagant family of rifles