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12.7 x 108 Rimless

Example of a 12.7 x 108 round[1]

The 12.7 x 108 Rimless was a standard heavy machine gun cartridge used by the Soviet Union.


Following experiments with the 12.7 x 108R cartridge, the 12.7 x 108 Rimless was adopted as the main cartridge for the Soviet Union's standard HMG, the DShK-38. The 12.7 x 108 was slightly larger than the 12.7 x 99 cartridge used by US forces, and has a similar performance.[2]

Although intended for HMGs, the 12.7 x 108 was also used in the Sholokov M39 Anti tank rifle. A direct copy of the Mauser Tank-Gewehr M1918, the M39 proved so disappointing that the Soviets switched to developing anti tank rifles capable of firing the more powerful 14.5x114mm Cartridge.[3]

The cartridge has been used in a number of weapons in the post war era,[4] such as the NSV[5] and the YakB-12.7.[6]


The cartridge has a rim and body diameter of 21.8 mm, and is available in three versions - Armour Piercing Incendiary (API) weighing 52 grams with a muzzle velocity of 860 m/sec, Armour Piercing Dispensing Sabot (APDS) weighing 22.5 grams with a muzzle velocity of 1,150 m/sec, and the duplex round, weighing 30 grams and 31 grams[N 1], with a muzzle velocity of 750 m/sec.[7]



  1. The difference in weights for the two bullets is unexplained.[7]


  1. Specialist Auctions
  2. Williams, Anthony G. Rapid Fire - The Development of Automatic Cannon, Heavy Machine Guns and their Ammunition for Armies, Navies and Air Forces. Airlife Publishing. 2000. ISBN 1-84037-122-6 Page 88.
  3. Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Pages 212-213.
  4. Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 287.
  5. Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 100.
  6. Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 197.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 225.

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