Back to Kalashnikov Web site

Anyone who owns an AK47, SKS, or Mosin Nagant is familiar with any number of these bottles. The focus here is Communist and former Communist countries. Generally speaking, each bottle design can be found with any model rifle, though it is possible that a given bottle was intended for a particular rifle. Most countries have more than one bottle type, but China has a truly astounding number of designs and color variations. The next most prolific country is Russia. The reason for China's variety is a mystery to me, but if anyone can shed light on this please contact me.

Some of the bottles are of the two spout design - one side containing oil and the other some type of solvent. Most are of the single spout design, either metal or plastic, plain or embossed, and probably contained only oil, though it is possible some contained bore solvent, which might partly explain the array of colors.

I am uncertain as to the country of origin of many of the bottles, and have placed them in the country they seem most likely to have originated from. If you know, or even think, a particular bottle has been misplaced, please contact me with that information. It's simply impossible for me to do this alone and I need your help.

Under some of the bottles you will see a country name in BLUE. That indicates another opinion as to the bottle's origin, but an unconfirmed one. No doubt there will be a bottle or two that will remain a mystery, but it is my hope that over time we will be able to identify most of them.

NOTE: Not all of the bottles shown here are mine (those that are mine have an asterisk * after the number. Many have been borrowed from the AK Forum: I would like permission to keep them on this site. If you see one of your images here, and would be willing to give me permission to use it, please let me know how you would like to be credited. If you would prefer it removed, just let me know. If you have any bottles that I do not, and would be interested in selling or trading them, please contact me. Eventually I will have a section for my duplicates for trade. I have also borrowed some images from old troop at I have tried to reach him for permission but the E-mail address listed is no longer valid. If anyone has a current address for Old Troop would you please pass it along to me?
1*                                                  2*                                                               3*                                                            4*                                                 5*
1*                                                           2*                                                                   3*                                                                     4*                                                               5*
  6                                                            7*                                                                           8*                                                9*                                        10*                                            11*
 12*                                                    13*                                                     14*                                                          15                                                  16
 17                                                       18*                                                       19*                                                     20*                                                      21*

The bottle at left is something of a mystery. Perhaps one of you may know something about it. It is 3" across, slightly larger than the 2 1/2" of the more typical oiler such as #12 above.

It is made of steel which is not galvanized. Some of the original olive drab paint remains. Instead of a screw cap it has a steel cap with a small slot in it. I added the cork and brush to show what I believe to be the original configuration. I would guess this to be a grease container. There is a loop on either side, presumably for a chain or lanyard.

This bottle may have nothing whatsoever to do with firearms, but I include it here because it has some of the characteristics of a rifle oiler.

If you know anything about this, please contact me .

Instead of the usual plain back, this varient
has a sunken panel with a split divider.
Contributed by Chris M.
Tule arsenal
The interior of the ringed panel on #4 is textured. On #5 it is plain. The basses differ slightly.
Imperial Russia period brass twin spout bottle. It is part of the cleaning kit M95 Steyr Mannlicher Rifle. To see the cleaning kit, click here.
  3*                                                               side 1                          4*                           side 2                                                   side 1                          5                           side 2     

The same as #1, but without the brush, and containing a plastic insert to seal the bottle.

The star with characters is the badge of the PLA. Inside the star are the characters "8" over "1". This stands for August 1st (1927), the founding of the Red Army.
The text is the Maoist slogan "Serve the People", which may date these bottles to the period of the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1979.
The caps are cork lined. Contributed by Phil J..
Plain back.
14*                                                                                                       15*                                                              16
16*                                                           17*
IzhMash ?
Originally listed in the Unknown section, the graphic on the cap of this bottle has been identified as Chinese, perhaps state factory 916. Thanks to miner1426 for recognizing this bottle as Chinese.
42*                                               43*                                             44                                                        45* factory number on cap
large star

22*  small star                                        23                                                   24*                                                              25*                                              26* large star  

 27* small star                                         28*                                                   29                                                    side 1                   30*                      side 2  
 33* star on cap                                            34*                                               side 1                      35*                  side 2  

33&34 show slight difference in the tops and the execution of the characters.

1*                                                                                                   2*                                                                      3*
 (2 3/8" wide)
These two oil bottles are the largest I have found, 3" wide
compared to the usual 2 1/2" average size for the steel bottles.
1                                                                                          2*                                                                                    3
1                                                                      2                                                          
1a*                                                                      1b*                                                                  2*
(1b is the same as 1a, but with phosphate finish)
1*                                                                                  2*                                                                      3*
4*                                                                      5*                                                                   6*
                                 6*                                                                 7*                                                                           side 1                          8                           side 2                                                         9*
9                                                                      10                                                                                                      11*   
 side 1                      36*                  side 2                                                                37*                                                   38*                                                     Lid
  39* Translucent                                 40* Opaque                                                                   41 factory number on cap
black plastic w/ metal top
black plastic w/ plastic top

This bottle was purchased from a seller in Vietnam
who said the A & O stood for Alkaline and Oil.
     Contributed by Alessandro Sergi

4 3/8" tall with brush in cap.
12*                                                                                                                    13*   
WWI Russian Imperial oilers with the Romanoff eagle on one side and CO3 plus arrow on the back. CO3 is cirillic for Sestroryetsk which is a northern suburb of St. Petersburg that was a location of Mosin Nagant production from 1892 to 1918. Both are 2 3/8" wide.
Large caps
Early US with cork lined small caps
Plain with embossed cap. Contributed by Alessandro Sergi
Contributed by Alessandro Sergi
More Details
Click on image at right to find
out more about these bottles!

Earlier paper lined cap.
Cork lined top indicates an older bottle.
This is where I really need your help. Any thoughts on what country these come from? Contact me.
WW2 Mauser
Hungarian AMD
Early - cork lined top. Contributed by P.J.
This screw cap was on a twin spout Russian bottle, but the ring impression inside this cap didn't match the smaller lip of the bottle. This leaves me with no real connection with a known bottle. This is the only cap I have ever seen with an embossed number inside a circle.
side 1                       1*                        side 2                                                       side 1                       2*                        side 2   
A Soviet era oil bottle with the hammer and sickle on one side. Slightly smaller than the usual 2 1/2" wide oil bottle, this one is 2 3/8".
1                                                                                                                       2*

It's unusual to find an integral brush in one of these round oilers. Even more
unique is the fact that the brush is detachable and fits the standard cleaning rod.

Contributed by Chris M.

#7 has very distinct inset panels and the right vertical leg of the "W" is straight and without the typical dog-leg at its bottom.
Sestroryetsk arsenal.
Standard Russian twin spout.
#9 has no sunken panel or center line.

10                                                                                                                                  11*     

This bottle is made of two pots soldered together.
Izhevsk arsenal.
#8 - Izhevsk arsenal, plastic bottle with metal cap.
Izhevsk arsenal, all plastic.
1*                                                                      2*                                                          3*  
UNMARKED - Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, etc.
4*                                                          5*
1                                                                               2*                                                       3*                                                    4*
Embossing on # 2 & # 3 is the number 20 within two concentric rectangles. Do you know what country this is?
No embossing, but identicle to numberss 2 & 3.
5*                                                       6                                                          7*                                                        8
#5 closure is similar to the
Yugoslavia bottles numbers
1 & 2.
6                                                                   7
side 1                       31*                     side 2                                                   side 1                      32*                  side 2