125mm D-81 line of guns utilizes two-part ammunition that consists of a propelant charge and different projectile parts (APFSDS projectiles have an incremental charge for greater energy).

The propellant case is of a semi-combustible type, consisting of a fully combustible pyroxylin-cellulose, TNT-impregnated tube set in a rear stub made of BV-11 steel, that also incorporates the GUV-7 electric primer.

The gunpowder is of high-nitrogen pyroxylin straw type.

The charges are produced by the State Scientific Research Institute of Chemical Products in Kazan.

Propellant charges

Common properties:
Charge weight 9400g
Stub weight 3400g
Propellant weight 5000g
Charge length 408mm
Stub length 140mm
Flange diameter 172mm
Primer GUV-7, electric/percussion

  • 4Zh-40 (DOI 1962)
    Composition: 15/1tr V/A (1.5mm burning arch high-nitrogen pyroxylin stick gunpowder) + 12/7 V/A (1.2mm burning arch 7-channel high-nitrogen pyroxylin stick gunpowder) + VTKh-20 (flame-supressing gunpowder) + DRP-3 initiating gunpowder.
  • 4Zh-52 (DOI 1976)
    15/1tr V/A completely replaced with improved 12/7 V/A.
  • 4Zh-63 (DOI UNKNOWN)
    New high-energy propellant that allows to increase APFSDS muzzle energy by 5% over the previous charge models.
  • 4Zh-40 charge line drawing
    4Zh-40 charge cutaway and markings: 1 - charge designation; 2 - artillery system designation (caliber and model); 3 - gunpowder composition, batch, year, and gunpowder factory designation; 4 - batch, year, and charge factory designation; 5 - batch, year, and arsenal designation (if present)
    4Zh-52 charge cutaway
    4Zh-52 charge cutaway. Note that single-channel grains were erroneously used in model construction, whereas 4Zh-52 in fact utilizes the 7-channel propellant.

    This page is © 2002-2005 Vasiliy Fofanov,
    with contributions by Varban Peshkov of "Arsenal" enterprise, Bulgaria.