Ok,so I've been interested in the caliber 7.62x25 Tokarev for quite some time now. I've come across lots of info on the internet,and lots of myth,rumor,and debate about what this cartridge can or cannot do. So,I decided I'd like to collect all the stuff I've learned and come across in one post. For starters,this isn't the same old,same old "my caliber is better then yours" post.In any comparisons I make with other calibers,this is not to denounce or disdain anyone's pet handgun or caliber,its for informational purposes only. Speaking of informational purposes,thats pretty much what this entire post is about.I'll be delving into one of the particular strengths of the 7.62x25 Tok,and thats penetration- specifically,armor penetration. This is not because I have a particular need or desire to penetrate body armor.This is merely because its a particularity of the cartridge,something it does well. Any information about this aspect and any other of the 7.62x25 Tok is for informational purposes only. First,a little bit of history. 7.62x25 Tokarev was created by Fedor Tokarev for his TT-30 and 33 pistols around the late 1920's to 1930.It is the progeny of the 7.63x25 Mauser (itself the progeny of the 7.65x25 Borchardt),which was the preeminent cartridge chambered by the Mauser C96 "Broomhandle".AFAIK,the Russians acquired and liked the C96,with a distinctive version of it being nicknamed the "Bolo" Mauser,for the Bolsheviks that favored it. 7.63x25 Mauser,in normal trim,is usually an 85grain bullet going 1300-1400fps from a pistol barrel. While some sources assert that the Tok is an improved version of the Mauser,its more likely that the Soviets decided to adopt and adapt it for their own munitions program which,at the time, predominately favored a single caliber -7.62,or .30- for all small arms,and there was really no "improvement" made to the overall and ballistic characteristics of the Mauser. However,the Soviets did produce a few specialty cartridges,including AP,Trace,and Incendiary. The early Soviet 7.62x25 Tokarev is still listed as an 85grain bullet with a muzzle velocity between 1300-1400fps from a handgun. Of interest,is that the Germans used captured Soviet weapons on the Eastern Front,most notably the PPSh series,and fed them with 7.63x25 Mauser ammunition produced in Germany. I cannot find any historical anecdotes of the reverse- of 7.62x25 being used in Mauser pistols.....although it seems to go without saying that in a nation like Soviet Russia where the government produces or procures all sources of ammunition and arms,that someone with a C96 variant chambered in 7.63x25 did at some point fire Soviet loaded 7.62x25 tokarev ammunition in their weapon. Along the same vein,it would seem to me that the Soviets,with a large amount of C96's in inventory at the time,wouldn't do something as baldly detrimental to their ability to utilize those weapons as field a dangerously loaded bastardized version of the cartridge they are chambered for. I believe that Fedor Tokarev intentionally designed the Tok to be compatible with the Mauser,and the only reason why Tok is "7.62" rather then "7.63" is because of the Soviet small arms standardization program to 7.62. In fact,given the ballistic similarity between Soviet loaded tok and the 7.63 Mauser,I would assert that firing the Soviet load in a C96 would be fine. But here is where things get "interesting" and there are some "caveats". Sometime around the 50's the Czechs got around to utilizing 7.62x25 Tokarev in their weapons,as they were made part of the same small arms standardization protocol as the rest of the WARSAW nations. So,basically while the original Tokarev load was created for the Tokarev pistol and was then used in SMG's,the Czech M48 Tokarev load was cooked up for Czech submachineguns -hence it is actually SMG ammo- and was intentionally loaded with slow burning powder to give more velocity in longer barrels,and then the CZ52 was adapted to fire it. So,in fact,the Czechs DID make the ammo for the subguns first,then made the pistol to digest the "special SMG ammo" who's existence has been debated in forums for like 10 years now...... So,in fact,the "Czech M48 SMG ammo" DOES EXIST. And interestingly,it seems as though modern loaded 7.62x25 Tokarev ammo is along the same lines of the Czech load in terms of velocity.Whether or not they are using the same powder concept -slow burning primarily for use in longer barreled SMGs- or whether they are just increasing pressure,I can't say. I do know that Sellier & Bellot,the same Czech manufacturer that made the M48,makes a standard lead core ball load that does and average of 1500+ fps at the muzzle from CZ52's. And,in fact,the TT30 and 33 pistol can fire it,along with the M48 ball. BUT I WOULD NOT FIRE THIS STUFF,OR ANYTHING LOADED LIKE IT,IN A C96. Whether I'm correct or not,the best place to err is on the side of caution,and while I've recently read in one forum where Clark is testing C96's and believes them to be just as strong if not stronger then the CZ52,I'd still not try it myself. Heres where Clark talks more about this issue- Broomhandle Mauser Ammo I know this doesn't make any sense that you can fire a cartridge out of one specific gun that was developed for about the same cartridge as the other,but you shouldn't try it in the said other gun- but there it is. Thats the extent of the matter AFAIK,and is certainly subject to change with updated information. So,now we have the historical foundation for the 7.62x25 Tokarev all laid out,we know who invented it,why,and what it was used in,and we know who came along and changed it into the typical modern load we find today. Now lets get to practicalities. 7.62x25 caliber pistols are generally frowned upon as civilian defensive weapons,and despite the caliber size issue which I find to be irrelevant,this is not entirely unfounded. Tokarev is probably one of the best pistol calibers for sheer penetration,if not THE best,thus making it pretty much unsuitable for common self defense in FMJ format. But one could argue that other calibers such as 9x19 Parabellum,with ball ammunition,could also be highly penetrative. In either case the answer is good hollow point ammunition. To give some idea of what a JHP load of Tokarev can do,I compared it with a commonly known .357 Magnum load in another one of my posts.I also go into the CZ52 a little bit,as its my preffered weapon chambered for 7.62x25 tokarev. Something else I wanted to add is that the Sellier & Bellot ball,when tested in gelatin,tumbles about 7 inches in. 85gr Sellier & Bellot FMJ If you ascribe to energy transfer,this gelatin block test should look pretty impressive to you. Now,speaking about penetration,the issue of the Tokarev and Kevlar cannot go un-addressed. In fact,several tests,including one that can be scientifically reproduced,have been done,with the results available on the Internet. Over at box o' truth,they busted a PASGT Kevlar helmet- The Box O' Truth #29 - The Helmets O' Truth - Page 1 And over at BrassFetcher,they busted a level II Kevlar vest,one step below level IIIA.This is the "scientifically repeatable test" I mentioned- AP 3 (7.62x25mm FMJ) Now,whats interesting,is that theres a guy on Youtube who shoots some Level IIIA panels. This guy shoots IIIA rated kevlar "trauma plates" (like the ones here under "Higher Protection Level Inserts" BulletProofME.com Body Armor - Accessories for Concealable Vests ) with whats most likely lead core,steel gilded (jacketed) surplus ammo,which is NOT the Czech M48 ball or modern loads,meaning its most likely a bit lower in velocity then the Czech and modern stuff,and loaded to the old soviet specs. [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNEi7NrAtqo]Tokarev vs Body Armor - YouTube[/ame] [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTg-TgEpUm0]Tokarev vs Body Armor and Ballistic Gelatin - YouTube[/ame] Considering that the M48 ball is 20% hotter then the "standard" soviet recipe,and that most if not all modern loaded ammunition for 7.62x25 Tok is loaded around the same velocities: This stuff will eat soft Kevlar for lunch,simply based on velocity and sectional density. Unless,of course,its specially "tokarev rated",which is the RUMOR(All I've found are special inserts,not whole vests) I keep hearing about soft body armor in Asia and the former WARSAW pact nations because of the proliferation of 7.62x25 Tokarev and guns chambered for it. Now,on to the highly debated steel core of the M48 ball. First of all,YES,it exists. It is legal to own what amounts were imported before the BATFEces decided it was "armor piercing". I,myself,own a few boxes of it,and have cut a couple of the projectiles -one form each box- apart to find a steel core. You can also see some for yourself on a gunbroker add here- http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=262425567 The million dollar question,is does this increase armor penetration? Considering that a Brinell hardness test on lead alloy from projectiles was done here and resulted in a hardness of 10.81- http://leadandbrass.com/hardtest/hardness.html And in comparison,the Brinell of mild steel,which is what it is said the core's of steel cored M48 are composed of,is around 80-100 Brinell in most common applications(as far as I can tell)- http://www.onlinemetals.com/steelguide.cfm And armor plate or hardened steel,which is what a true AP projectile would also be composed of, is usually up in the several hundreds on the Brinell scale,and given the penetration of lead core copper jacketed projectiles in 7.62x25 Tokarev,I'd say that the BATFEces might actually be right for one in their constitutionally illegitimate existence. Are the steel cores of M48 ball specifically designed to defeat kevlar? No. Kevlar wasn't even around when this stuff was engineered and produced. The velocity and sectional density of the common lead core Tok round is proven enough to penetrate at least level IIA. But considering this stuff has a core that is quite a bit harder then lead.........I'm guessing it certainly doesn't hurt its ability to penetrate. So there we have it. Thats pretty much all I've got so far on the 7.62x25 Tokarev. I hope this post has provided some insights into this caliber that is surrounded by myth and misconception.