Last updated
A 12.7×108mm cartridge
Type Heavy machine gun
Anti-materiel rifle
Place of origin USSR
Service history
In service1935–present
Used bySoviet Union and successor states
Wars Winter War
World War II
Korean War
Portuguese Colonial War
Vietnam War
Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Six-Day War
War of Attrition
Yom Kippur War
Soviet–Afghan War
Iran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Chechen War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
Bullet diameter12.98 mm (0.511 in)
Neck diameter13.95 mm (0.549 in)
Shoulder diameter18.90 mm (0.744 in)
Base diameter21.75 mm (0.856 in)
Rim diameter21.70 mm (0.854 in)
Rim thickness1.90 mm (0.075 in)
Case length108 mm (4.3 in)
Overall length147.50 mm (5.807 in)
Case capacity22.72 cm3 (350.6  gr H2O)
Maximum pressure360 MPa (52,000 psi)
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
48.3 g (745 gr) API B32 57-BZ-542820–860 m/s (2,700–2,800 ft/s)16,240–17,861 J (11,978–13,174 ft⋅lbf)
55.4 g (855 gr) API-HC BS820 m/s (2,700 ft/s)18,625 J (13,737 ft⋅lbf)
56.6 g (873 gr) API-HC BS 7-BZ-1820–825 m/s (2,690–2,710 ft/s)19,029–19,621 J (14,035–14,472 ft⋅lbf)
59.2 g (914 gr) Sniper SN 7N34770–785 m/s (2,530–2,580 ft/s)17,549–18,240 J (12,943–13,453 ft⋅lbf)
44.1 g (681 gr) Tulammo 680gr hunting cartridge916–923 m/s (3,010–3,030 ft/s)18,501–18,785 J (13,646–13,855 ft⋅lbf)
Test barrel length: 1000 mm

The 12.7×108mm cartridge is a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the former Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, China and other countries. It was invented in 1934 to create a cartridge like the German 13.2mm TuF anti-tank rifle round and the American .50 Browning Machine Gun round.


It is used in the same roles as the NATO .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) cartridge. The two differ in bullet shape and weight, and the casing of the 12.7×108mm is slightly longer, and its larger case capacity allow it to hold slightly more of a different type of powder. The 12.7×108mm can be used to engage a wide variety of targets on the battlefield, and will destroy unarmored vehicles, penetrate lightly armored vehicles and damage external ancillary equipment (i.e.: searchlights, radar, transmitters, vision blocks, engine compartment covers) on heavily armored vehicles such as tanks. [1] It will also ignite gasoline and—since 2019—diesel fuel. [2] Armor-piercing ammunition will penetrate around 25 mm of armor. Normal full metal jacket ammunition will only dimple tank armor, causing no damage.

Cartridge dimensions

The 12.7×108mm has 22.72 ml (350 grains) H2O cartridge case capacity.

12,7 x 108.jpg

12.7×108 maximum cartridge dimensions.[ citation needed ] All sizes in millimetres (mm).

Americans would define the shoulder angle at alpha/2 ≈ 18.16 degrees.

According to guidelines the 12.7×108mm case can handle up to 360 MPa (52,213 psi) piezo pressure. In C.I.P. regulated countries every rifle cartridge combo has to be proofed at 125% of this maximum CIP pressure to certify for sale to consumers.

Incorrect interchangeability claims

It is often claimed[ by whom? ] that the US .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) cartridge can be fired in Soviet/Russian 12.7×108mm machine guns. The 12.7×108mm was even called a ".51 caliber". This often claimed interchangeability is an assumption made from[ dubious ] the 12.7×108mm being listed as ".511 caliber" in US intelligence publications during the Vietnam War. The bullets used for both cartridges are ~.51 inches in diameter. .50 caliber, 1/2 of an inch, is the diameter of the hole bored down the barrel of the gun first. Then rifling is cut all around the bored hole to a depth of .005". Thus, .500 + .005 + .005 = .510." Upon firing, the bullet engages the rifling, and .005" grooves are pressed into the surface of the bullet to impart spin to stabilize the bullet. Despite the similar bullet diameters, the dimensional differences between the two cartridges prevent either being correctly chambered in a firearm designed for the other.

Use by other nations

Anti-tank and anti-materiel rifles

Heavy machine guns

See also

Related Research Articles

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.50 BMG Rifle cartridge designed by John Moses Browning

The .50 Browning Machine Gun is a .50 in (12.7 mm) caliber firearm cartridge developed for the M2 Browning machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard service cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. The cartridge itself has been made in many variants: multiple generations of regular ball, tracer, armor-piercing (AP), incendiary, and saboted sub-caliber rounds. The rounds intended for machine guns are made into a continuous belt using metallic links.

Anti-personnel weapon

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Sniper rifle Type of rifle used for long-range engagements against enemy personnel

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Anti-tank rifle

An anti-tank rifle is an anti-materiel rifle designed to penetrate the armor of armored fighting vehicles, most commonly tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles. The usefulness of rifles for this purpose ran from the introduction of tanks in World War I until the Korean War. While medium and heavy tank armor became too thick to be penetrated by rigid projectiles from rifles that could be carried by a single soldier, anti-tank rifles continued to be used against other "soft" targets, though recoilless rifles and rocket-propelled grenades such as the bazooka were also introduced for infantry close-layer defense against tanks.

Anti-materiel rifle

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25 mm caliber

The 25 mm caliber is a specific size of cannon or autocannon ammunition. It has also been recently used for the Barrett XM109 anti-materiel rifle. Such ammunition includes the NATO-standard 25×137mm and 25×184mm rounds, Soviet 25x218mmSR, as well as the World War II-era French-designed 25×163mm and 25×193.5mmR rounds.

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7.62×54mmR Russian military rifle cartridge

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Heavy machine gun Machine gun capable of relatively heavy sustained fire

A heavy machine gun or HMG is a belt-fed machine gun that fires full-powered/magnum cartridges and is designed to be significantly more massive than light, medium or general-purpose machine guns. As the name implies, heavy machine guns are typically not man-portable by infantry and thus require mounting onto a weapons platform to be operably stable or tactically mobile, have more formidable firepower, and generally require a team of personnel for operation and maintenance.

7.92×57mm Mauser German military rifle cartridge

The 7.92×57mm Mauser is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. The 8mm Mauser cartridge was adopted by the German Empire in 1903–1905, and was the German service cartridge in both World Wars. In its day, the 8mm Mauser cartridge was one of the world's most popular military cartridges. In the 21st century it is still a popular sport and hunting cartridge that is factory-produced in Europe and the United States.

PTRS-41 Anti-tank rifle

The PTRS-41 or Simonov anti-tank rifle is a semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle chambered for 14.5×114mm.

14.5×114mm Heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge

The 14.5×114mm is a heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, and other countries.

Gepárd anti-materiel rifle Bullpup anti-materiel rifle

The Gepárd anti-materiel rifles are a family of Hungarian weapons designed to destroy unarmored and lightly armored targets. These long range, large caliber rifles have high accuracy as well as high muzzle velocity. In 1987 the Hungarian army sought to obtain a compact, mobile weapon that could damage lightly armored targets. The project, led by Ferenc Földi, culminated in the creation of the Gepárds.

The 5.8×42mm / DBP87 is a military rimless bottlenecked intermediate cartridge developed in the People's Republic of China. There is limited information on this cartridge, although the People's Liberation Army says that it is superior to the 5.56×45mm NATO and Soviet 5.45×39mm cartridges. Another variant called the DBP88 "heavy round" was designed specifically for squad automatic weapons and designated marksman rifles. The 5.8×42mm "heavy round" cartridge has the same dimensions as the standard 5.8×42mm cartridge, but utilizes a longer streamlined bullet with a heavy steel core for increased performance at extended ranges and penetration. As of 2010 all 5.8×42mm cartridge variants have been succeeded by the DBP10 variant.

The 7.5×54mm French, 7.5 French, or 7.5 MAS is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It was developed by France as an update to the 7.5×57mm MAS mod. 1924 cartridge. It replaced the obsolete 8×50mmR Lebel round used during World War I.

Zastava Arms Serbian firearms manufacturer

Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery, based in Kragujevac, Serbia. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannon. It is the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defense industry. Zastava Arms produces and exports a wide variety of products to over forty countries, including the popular Zastava M70, a Kalashnikov rifle.

OSV-96 Type of Anti-materiel rifle

OSV-96 is a Russian heavy semi-automatic precision rifle chambered for the 12.7×108mm.

7.62×51mm NATO Rimless, centerfire, bottlenecked rifle cartridge

The 7.62×51mm NATO is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries. It is sometimes confused with the similarly named Russian 7.62×54mmR cartridge, a slightly longer, rimmed cartridge.


  1. Technical Intelligence Bulletins May - June 2003 Archived August 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "ЦАМТО / Новости / В России создали новые зажигательные патроны калибра 12,7 мм". armstrade.org. Retrieved 2021-05-07.

Further reading