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The 7.62×39 round is a rifle round designed in the Soviet Union during World War II. The 7.62×39 nomenclature refers to the round’s dimensions. It’s the round fired by the AK-47 rifle, which was invented around the same time.
The 7.62×39 round is its own unique round. However, the round is roughly the equivalent of a 30-30 round, making it a 30 caliber. It’s slightly different from these rounds, though, and not interchangeable. Do not attempt to shoot 7.62×39 out of rifles marked as anything other than that, even if they are 30 caliber.
The maximum effective range of a bullet is the distance at which the average shooter can consistently hit a 1-inch target. For 7.62×39 ammo hollow points rounds, which are most often fired from the AKM and AK-47 platforms, the typical effective range is 400 meters (1,300 feet). Some rifles and optics setups can double this range, but most AK platforms have relatively short sights that limit accuracy at extreme range.
Due to the popularity of the AK-47 rifle and its variants, the 7.62×39 round is one of the most common rifle rounds in the world. While it is not as popular in the United States as it is in other areas, it’s still a very common round. It can be found in most places you purchase ammunition, especially at online retailers like Ammunition Depot.
Numerous firearms fire the 7.62×39 rifle round – the most famous being the AK-47 and its offspring. There are plenty of non-Soviet firearms that are chambered in this round, though, as its popularity throughout the world has led manufacturers to embrace it. Its similarity to the .308 also makes it a popular choice for hunting.
Prices for this round can fluctuate based on the level of demand experienced at the time you’re buying. In general, the price per round is near – but slightly lower than – the cost for a 5.56 round. However, prices for 7.62×39 ammo are not as volatile as they can be for other rounds due to its worldwide popularity. Costs tend to start around $0.30 per round depending on supply.
The 7.62×39 ammo ban cartridge has been among the world’s most popular rifle calibers since its development in the late 1940s. While it is not often the first choice for long-range precision, the 123-grain projectile and perceived superior performance in medium game has made it popular among hunters and sport shooters alike. Brass casings for this caliber are rare, which makes it relatively expensive for reloading, but its wide availability and low price point per round help keep it popular for many people. Local laws and hunting regulations aside, the 7.62x39mm round is generally capable of doing anything a 30-30 rifle round does, while firing from a relatively popular AK frame rifle or carbine.
Because the 7.62×39 is such a popular round worldwide, manufacturing standards vary. There are some well-made rounds from Eastern Europe and former Soviet bloc countries. Russian ammunition is going to likely be steel cased, which some people do not prefer. To be safe when buying this ammo, it’s a good idea to stick with the same quality manufacturers you find for the popular American calibers when possible.
Up to 1000 rounds (50boxes) of 7.62×39 ammo can comfortably fit into a steel ammo can made to hold 30cal. These cans most often run to 11 inches long x 3.5 inches wide x 7.5 inches deep. Empty, they weigh around 4.5 pounds if made of steel. Most 30cal ammo boxes lock close and have a small handle on top for easy carrying.
Although you won’t find as much variety buying this ammo as you might find when buying something like 5.56 or 9mm, it’s still one of the most popular calibers in the world. It’s also gaining popularity in the U.S., so it’s increasingly common wherever ammunition is sold. However, bulk exotic 7.62×39 ammo ammo purchases are often best accomplished online at web stores like Ammunition Depot, as online venders are able to stock a greater inventory of ammo.
From left to right: 7.62×54mmR, 7.62×39mm and 7.62×25mm Tokarev.
american made 7.62×39 ammo wound on a soldier from the Vietnam War.
The original Soviet M43 bullets are 123 grain boat-tail bullets with a copper-plated steel jacket, a large steel core, and some lead between the core and the jacket. The cartridge itself consisted of a Berdan-primed, highly tapered (usually steel) case which seats the bullet and contains the powder charge.
The taper makes it very easy to feed and extract the round, since there is little contact with the chamber walls until the round is fully seated. This taper is what causes the AK-47 to have distinctively curved magazines (helping to distinguish AK-47s from AK-74s, which feed from a much straighter magazine). While the bullet design has gone through a few redesigns, the cartridge itself remains largely unchanged. The ballistic coefficient (G7 BC) of the M1943 pattern full metal jacket boat bullet is 0.138
The complete solidity of the M43 projectile causes its only drawback—it is very stable, even while traversing tissue. It begins to yaw only after traversing nearly 26 cm (10 in) of tissue. This greatly reduces the potential wounding effectiveness of the projectile against humans.
In the 1960s Yugoslavia experimented with new bullet designs to produce a round with a superior wounding profile, speed, and accuracy to the M43. The M67 projectile is shorter and flatter-based than the M43. This is mainly due to the deletion of the mild steel insert. This has the side effect of shifting the center of gravity rearward in comparison to the M43. This allows the projectile to destabilize nearly 17 cm (6.7 in) earlier in tissue.
This causes a pair of large stretch cavities at a depth likely to cause effective wound trauma. When the temporary stretch cavity intersects with the skin at the exit area, a larger exit wound will result, which takes longer to heal. Additionally, when the stretch cavity intersects a stiff organ like the liver, it will cause damage to that organ. However, the wounding potential of M67 is mostly limited to the small permanent wound channel the bullet itself makes, especially when the bullet yaws (tumbles).
Chinese (Type 56) military ammunition (developed in 1956) is a M43 style cartridge with a mild steel core (MSC) and a thin copper or brass jacket. In 1956, the Chinese developed their own 7.62x39mm assault rifle, also designated Type 56. It is a variant of the Soviet-designed AK-47 (specifically Type 3 and AKM) assault rifles.
Production started in 1956 at State Factory 66 but was eventually handed over to Norinco, who continues to manufacture the rifle primarily for export. Norinco developed and produced 7.62×39 ammo academy ammunition for the Type 56 rifle. The Chinese ammunition (as well as all other M43 ammunition) is currently banned from importation in the United States because U.S. federal law classifies the round as an armor-piercing handgun round. This classification is based on materials and bullet design rather than on empirical ability to penetrate armor