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5.8x42 mm
DBP87 round
Type Rifle
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
Used by China
Production history
Designer Chinese Military
Designed 1979–1987
Produced 1987–Present
Variants 5.8×42mm DBP-87
5.8×42mm DBP-95
5.8×42mm DBP-88 heavy round
5.8×42mm DBP10
Parent cartridge None
Case type Rimless, bottleneck[1]
Bullet diameter 6.00 mm (0.236 in)
Neck diameter 6.65 mm (0.262 in)
Shoulder diameter 9.35 mm (0.368 in)
Base diameter 10.40 mm (0.409 in)
Rim diameter 10.42 mm (0.410 in)
Rim thickness 1.42 mm (0.056 in)
Case length 42.2 mm (1.66 in)
Overall length 58 mm (2.3 in)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
4.15 g (64 gr) FMJ 950 m/s (3,100 ft/s) 1,873 J (1,381 ft·lbf)
5 g (77 gr) FMJ 870 m/s (2,900 ft/s) 1,892 J (1,395 ft·lbf)
Test barrel length: 557mm
Source(s): Anthony Williams [2][3]

The 5.8×42mm / DBP87 ("Dàn (弹) Bùqiāng (步枪) Pŭtòng (普通), 1987"; literally "Standard Rifle Cartridge, 1987") is a rifle cartridge developed in the People's Republic of China. There is limited information on this cartridge, although the Chinese military claims that it is superior to the 5.56×45mm NATO and 5.45×39mm Soviet cartridges. Another variant called the 5.8×42mm “heavy round” was designed specifically for squad automatic weapons and sniper rifles. The 5.8×42mm “heavy round” cartridge has the same dimensions as the standard 5.8mm cartridge, but utilizes a longer streamlined bullet with a steel core for increased range and penetration.


China started development of the 5.8×42mm / DBP87 in 1979 and finished in 1987. The 5.8×42mm / DBP87 was designed to replace the Soviet 7.62×39mm cartridge used by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The Type 95 / QBZ-95 (Chinese: 轻武器,步枪,自动, 1995; Pinyin: Qīng wǔqì, Bùqiāng, Zìdòng, 1995; literally "Light weapon, Rifle, Automatic, 1995") 5.8 mm caliber assault rifle, firing the 5.8×42mm / DBP87 or the improved DBP95, is now the standard issue weapon in the PLA.

The 5.8×42mm is an example of an international tendency towards relatively small sized, light weight, high velocity military service cartridges. Cartridges like the American 5.56×45mm NATO, Soviet 5.45×39mm and 5.8×42mm allow a soldier to carry more ammunition for the same weight compared to their larger and heavier predecessor cartridges and produce relatively low bolt thrust and free recoil impulse, favouring light weight arms design and automatic fire accuracy.[2]

In June 2004, an improved version of the 5.8x42mm cartridge entered development as the matching ammunition for the revised assault rifle, Type 95-1. Both designs were finalized in 2010 and production began the same year. This new cartridge is known as DBP10.


The 5.8×42mm / DBP-87/95 cartridge has a muzzle velocity of 930 m/s from a standard barrel (Type 95 / QBZ-95, 463 mm barrel length) and 940 to 960 m/s from the Type 95 SAW (557 mm barrel length), with a 64-grain bullet weighing 4.15 grams. In order to save cost, several compromises were made. In particular, the cartridge case is made of steel, which is cheaper than brass. To reduce the chance of rust, the case is covered in a thin layer of protective paint in dark brown. Steel is less flexible than brass and therefore does not fill the chamber cavity as well when fired, decreasing the performance. Furthermore, cheap but corrosive primer and propellant were chosen for DBP-87 initially. As China's military budget increased recently, the newer DBP-95 variant was loaded with a cleaner-burning propellant and a non-corrosive primer.[4]

The 5.8×42mm DBP-88 “heavy round” cartridge has a 70-grain bullet and a muzzle velocity of 870 m/s from the Type 95 LSW / Type 95 SAW / QBB-95 (557 mm barrel length) and 895 m/s from the Type 88 / QBU-88 (620 mm barrel length). It has an effective range of 800 m and can penetrate 3 mm steel plates at a distance of 1000 m. It is reported to have very good accuracy at 600 meters.[5][6]

A new match round has been designed for QBU-88 to improve the rifle's complained accuracy, though no official information has been given.

The People's Liberation Army claims that the 5.8×42mm DBP87 has better penetration than the 5.56×45mm NATO and the 5.45×39mm M74.[citation needed]

The newest version, the DBP10, having been designed to match all currently serving 5.8mm caliber weapons, will replace all previous DBP87/95 and DBP88 5.8x42mm rounds. Major improvements include a streamlined shape, non-corrosive primer, a reduction in the diameter of the steel core, and a change to copper-based alloy for the jacket (previously copper-coated steel). It has a cleaner burning propellant so as not to leave residue inside the weapon after firing, as well as a heavier 77-grain bullet for better penetration of armor and other hard substances. However, testing of the previous DBP87/95 5.8mm rounds showed that they were less likely to cause serious wounds. The issue was not addressed with the new DBP10 round.[7][8]


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