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With a few hundred rounds through the TT-C, the thought came to mind that folks who have a difficult time with this pistol fall into one of three categories; inexperienced with autoloaders, aliens from J1407b or those who have overdosed on gun forums and need something new to offer up. Romanian or not, this TT-C was found to be reliable, accurate and not without a good measure of power.

If a hand was bitten by the TT-C, the owner of that hand needs to learn how to hold a pistol. With trigger finger extended and parallel to the slide, the curvature of the frame shields the web of the hand and the bobbed, spur-less hammer puts no body parts in jeopardy.

A Tokarev design criteria was to exclude any safety device other than half cock. Unfortunately, our federal government insists that all imported handguns possess a manual safety. Subsequently, all pistols of this type are retrofitted with a safety similar to the one pictured below before importation.

The safety, while stiff and located in a truly curious place, always functioned as intended. I like more traditionally located thumb safeties, but I accept that this safety is a necessary evil as a federal mandate. I’ve seen some very funky approaches to addressing this issue, such as leaving the parts out and the pistol with a gaping hole through the frame. Sometimes a solution is worse than the problem it addresses.

Slab sided and all steel, the TT-C is not a lightweight. It feels… substantial. The magazine pops out on demand and locks into position in a positive fashion. The slide locks open on empty and moves solidly into battery when released. Far from a crudely made pistol, the subject TT-C was well finished and uniformly blued. The pistol’s report is loud; a sharp crack followed by a quick muzzle jump. Recoil is not objectionable, perhaps it is even confidence instilling. The 7.62x25mm is not, by any stretch of the imagination a pocket pistol cartridge to be taken lightly or limited to very close range encounters.

The 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge

The 7.62×25 was not the first bottleneck, small caliber pistol cartridge. The 1893 .30 Borchardt, preceded the 30 Mauser, which preceded the 30 Luger, which preceded the 7.62x25mm Russian Tokarev. They are all bottleneck cartridges, with an approximately 30 caliber projectile, with similar dimensions and with some operating near Tokarev pressures. It is the combination of the TT-33 and the 7.62x25mm Russian cartridge that make this and derivative versions unique.

Pictured right and far right, respectively:

Prvi Partizan 85 Grain Full Metal Jacket Muzzle Velocity: 1722 fps Muzzle Energy: 560 ft. lbs. Actual recorded 1449 fps.

Winchester USA 85 Grain FMJ Muzzle Velocity: 1647 fps and Muzzle Energy: 514 ft. lbs. Actual recorded 1498 fps.

Winchester USA Ammunition
Yards 0 50 100 150
Velocity – fps 1498 1238 1065 960
Energy – ft.-lbs. 423 289 214 174
Momentum – lbs-sec 0.56 0.47 0.40 0.36
Path – in. -1.5 1.4 -1.4 -11.8

With a maximum ordinate, trajectory rise or fall, of 1.5″, the Tokarev has a 100 yard point blank range. The 7.62x25mm has greater muzzle energy than the standard velocity 45 Auto round and it retains more energy out to 100 yards than a 158 grain 38 Special’s muzzle energy. 

The 7.62x25mm is a little thin on choice of reloading components. Beyond manufacturer’s empty brass salvaged from range outings, Starline produces a plentiful supply of new brass. Jacketed bullets are generally limited to Hornady 90 grain HP-XTP, Hornady 86 grain round nose and Sierra’s 85 grain Sport Master. The 86 grain Hornady is a bit thin skinned for the Tokarev application. Powder selection is straight forward with some types used routinely for .41 Mag, .44 Mag and hot .45 Colt loads.

The Tokarev case takes a small pistol primer. Readily available die sets are made by Lee Precision. I may make some modifications to the seater die as the Lee die is not all that effective in keeping a bullet in axial alignment with a case.

I have seen some exceptional velocities indicated in handloading manuals for this cartridge, however, most appear a little ambitious. The CIP maximum average pressure for the 7.62x25mm Tokarev is 3200 bar, or approximately 36251 psi. Modern Reloading, by Richard Lee has 85 grain bullet loads listed as high as 1927 fps with an indicated cup of 41,000. I do not know what barrel length or firearm is applicable for this load as it has a calculated psi is in excess of 51,000 psi.

The Hornady reloading manual has a listing for their 90 grain bullet that reaches 1700 fps, however, that load has a calculated pressure of 32,000 psi and 1467 fps velocity. Assembled, the load produced 1441 fps over the chronograph. Sierra puts their 85 grain bullet at a maximum of 1550 fps with Power Pistol, which calculates out to 33618 psi and 1514 fps. A tenth  grain heavier charge than the Sierra listing yielded 1472 fps over a chronograph.

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet material and length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity results. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These data represents maximum loads in our firearms and test equipment and may easily be excessive in other applications. All loads should be reduced by 5%,  and developed following safe handloading practices as represented in established reloading manuals produced by component manufacturers. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

Cartridge: 7.62x25mm Tokarev

 Firearm: 7.62x25mm Tokarev  Max COL: 1.385″
 Bullet Diameter: 0.309″  Primer: CCI 500
 Barrel: 4.6″  Reloading Dies: Lee Precision
 Max case length: 0.984″  Groups: 3 Shots – 25 Yards

 Group size held to 50 yards with military metallic sights


COL and Capacity   Load Data & Performance
Bullet Type Bullet
  Powder Charge
Energy Ft/Lbs
25 Yard
Size “
Hornady XP-XTP #31000 HP 90 1.320 13.4   H110 14.2 1441 415 2.1
Hornady XP-XTP #31000 HP 90 1.320 13.4   Lil’ Gun 14.0 1551 481 1.8
Hornady XP-XTP #31000 HP 90 1.320 13.4   PP 7.5 1456 424 2.4
Sierra Sport Master #8005 SPRN 85 1.350 13.7   H110 14.7 1434 388 2.1
Sierra Sport Master #8005 SPRN 85 1.350 13.7   Lil’ Gun 14.5 1483 415 1.9
Sierra Sport Master #8005 SPRN 85 1.350 13.7   PP 8.0 1472 409 2.7
Chronographed: Prvi Partizan 85 grain 1353 fps Winchester USA 85 grain 1287 fps

If I had my druthers…

The only features of the TT-C that I find less than exciting are the placement of the safety, the shallow magazine release and the spring steel retaining clip that holds the slide stop in place. Weighed against the TT-C’s high level of performance, I would rank them as minor inconveniences. Solid pistol, solid value. We’ll hold onto this one for a while and see if we can work it into some forward projects.