|Iraq API, Syrian Ball, UAR Tracer, ARE Tracer, Misr Ball, UAR Ball, ARE Blank, ARE Blank|
To decode an Arabic headstamp it is important to understand the way words and numbers are presented in Arabic. Words are written right to left, numbers left to right. The Arabic characters at the top of this page are for the designation "7.62x54". You will find this written on Egyptian and Syrian ammunition boxes. The literal translation of those characters is 54x7.62. Something else which will help is the chart below of the numbers, 0 through 9. Using ths information, I hope to illuminate the mystery of Arabic headstamps.
Egypt (United Arab Republic, Arab Republic of Egypt)
Headstamps for Egypt follow the common standard. Country Abreviation is at 12 o'clock, date code at 6 o'clock. Sometimes factory ID is at 3 and 9 o'clock. During Egypt's history, the country was referred to by several names. With the revolution of 1952 it was refered to as Egypt (Misr). This changed with the formation of the UAR (United Arab Republic) which included Syria. Syria dropped out in 1961 but UAR was still used as an ammunition mark. In 1971 the country was renamed the Arab Republic of Egypt and the headstamp changed once again.
Color coding for 7.62x54R follows the Soviet system as the Soviets were large munitions suppliers during the 50's through the 70's. Ball cartridges have no tip color but packaging uses a unique Blue strip. Brass casings are used. The Egyptians produced a blank cartridge with a hollow plastic bullet. Several colors of the plastic bullet are found, silver, black and red.
|50 Round box of Tracer (Green Tip)|
|50 Round box of Ball|
A cue that the headstamp is Syrian is the inclusion of two STARS in the headstamp. Casings will be made of brass, tip color code follows Soviet standard. The RT in the headstamp is an Arabic abreviation for "Russian Long". This is done to eliminate confusion with the other 7.62 Russian cartridge used by Syria, the 7.62x39. Later manufactured ammunition will be marked "54x7.62".
|15 Round box of Ball|
|Closeup of Label|
Iraqi headstamps include a TRIANGLE in the headstamp sometimes with an Arabic letter inside. The caliber and date of manufacture are also included in the headstamp. Casings will be made of brass and color coding follows Soviet standard.