Worth it to Reload 7.62x39?


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Ohio Rifleman
December 10, 2006, 03:42 PM
I'm considering starting to dabble in reloading. For the time being, the only ammo I'd be reloading would be 7.62x39 to feed my SKS. I don't like Wolf ammo because it is incredibly dirty, and it's painful for a shooter on a budget like myself to pay $9 for 20 rounds of ammo. I don't get out to the range very much, but that might change if I have access to inexpensive ammo. Suggestions? If I do get into reloading, what do I need, and where can I get it? Reloading also sounds like it would be kinda therapeutic too... Any thoughts on that?

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MCgunner
December 10, 2006, 04:08 PM
I got dies, bought some IMI brass, and was reloading my hunting ammo. But, I just shoot surplus. I can get it for about 6 bucks for 20, but I usually order it by the thousand. I have a couple thousand on hand right now, haven't ordered any bulk in a while and it's gone up since I did.

I can't own a center fire rifle and not have dies for it and work up a load or three, just against my nature. :D If you're going to load plinking ammo, though, you're going to be 1) chasing brass and 2) you're going to find it hard to keep up with an auto's diet using a single stage press.

Ohio Rifleman
December 10, 2006, 04:17 PM
At the range once, I saw someone with an AR-15 with some kind of net or something on the side that catches the brass as it leaves the gun. Can you do that with an SKS?

Starter52
December 10, 2006, 04:20 PM
In my opinion it is not worthwhile to reload 7.62x39, 9x19, or .223 ammo.

However, if I was paying $9 for a box of 7.62x39 ammo I would reconsider.

Ohio Rifleman
December 10, 2006, 04:24 PM
Here's the factory ammo I've bought-

UMC Remington-20 round box-$9
American Eagle-20 round box-$10
Winchester "white box"-40 round box-around $20

I don't know about other places, but where I am, it seems factory 7.62x39 is not cheap.

noresttill
December 10, 2006, 04:39 PM
wolf is the only factor that keeps me from reloading 7.62Rus.

Jesse

Nickodemus
December 10, 2006, 04:51 PM
Your paying about $0.50/round while surplus is available, for shame :P

I like Bear ammo for my SKS and if you search you can find it pretty cheap. Silver Bear and Brown Bear from Russia are getting harder to find but people generally still have Wolf ammo. Check out deals on cases and battle packs of military surplus ammo.

I searched and just found this:
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/7_62x39.html
At $0.15/round should make for good plinking fodder.

Ditchtiger
December 10, 2006, 04:56 PM
With prices going up reloading gets more worthwhile on surplus ammo. I picked up a Yugo with granade launcher for my reloadable ammo. You just switch the gas cut-off to the granade slot and the spent shell stays in the gun instead of flying 30ft. to the side.

MCgunner
December 10, 2006, 06:02 PM
At the range once, I saw someone with an AR-15 with some kind of net or something on the side that catches the brass as it leaves the gun. Can you do that with an SKS?

Not sure, might can get some sort of universal brass catcher. Check at http://www.midwayusa.com . If it's made, they probably have it.

I think that Wolf I got, couple of boxes of hollow points I picked up the other day, was five and change. I used to get it for a little over 3 bucks a box in a pack of 100, but it went up a tad, now about 4 bucks a box in a pack of 100 ($20 a hundred). That's just at a local gun shop. I can order it by the thousand a lot cheaper.

thmsfraz
December 10, 2006, 10:09 PM
there is a local gun shop here that has wolf sks ammo for 3.25 a box of 20 i think they have a web site that you can order from bacon creek gun shop

dfaugh
December 11, 2006, 11:44 AM
Could be well worth it depending on the gun you have...While i use the "cheapo" (although not so cheap any more) Russian stuff for plinking, I get much better accuracy out of my SKSs with US factory ammo (and though I don't handload for it yet, I would expect simalr, or better accuracy from handloads.

jlmurphy
December 11, 2006, 11:59 AM
You can load better ammo for the SKS with better components, keep in mind that the bullets have to be .311" or .312" and not .308, which limits the availability somewhat. I have a Dillon progressive, which make it even easier. Another problem is that the SKS, like many semi autos, is really hard on brass, and after just a few firings the cases have torn rims and dinged walls. Interestingly, I could never equal the velocity or the accuracy of factory Lapua FMJ ammo.

ilbob
December 11, 2006, 12:23 PM
Reloading is part of the hobby and I reload for any gun I shoot on a regular basis.

It is true that ammo for certain common calibers can often be purchased for not more than reloaded ammo costs you to make, but there is something about rolling your own that adds to the hobby somehow.

Some guns beat the heck out of brass making reloading less attractive, as another poster mentioned.

ocabj
December 11, 2006, 12:30 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=18821&highlight=worth

Smokey Joe
December 11, 2006, 12:48 PM
some kind of net or something on the side that catches the brassI reload for my SKS. The hardest part of that is when you play "Find All The Brass." IMX, you'd have to have quite a sizeable net to catch the empties. Never seen such a gun for flinging its brass All Over The Place--Straight up, hard right, out-to-the-front-right, straight forwards, even occasionally downwards, and I have actually had it fling brass up and to the left 1 or 2 times! Such enthusiasm!

I simply plan on a brass recovery rate of 80-90%, and if I get more than that back it's a bonus. But short of completely surrounding the shooter and firearm with mesh, a net is not the solution.

Ohio Rifleman
December 11, 2006, 04:55 PM
Alright, there's a good possibility I'll get into reloading, so I'll ask this, point-blank: What exactly would I need to get started reloading ONLY 7.62x39? I can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars, so keep it cheap.

pkm
December 11, 2006, 06:06 PM
I definately recommend making handloads for 7.62x39.
I started it myself last year with a Lee anniversary kit wich was around 150$ and is the cheapest starter kit available here in Finland.
Brass i bought at first but after the first winter i lost 60% in to the snow.
Nowadays i use the brass that i find from the range. Its safe when one follows common sense on what to use. Vihtavuori N130 and N135 costs around 57$/kg here and you can make around 550-580 rounds from 1kg (2pds).
Boxer primers 5-6cents a piece and berdan 7-8cents a piece.
RCBS has an excellent hand tool for decapping berdan primers around 100$.
When i load for accuracy and not for action shooting i use
26,5grains of N130, lapua brass and lapua S405 123grain bullet in .311" diameter.

With these my friends Sako RK92 (AK variant used here) always shoots 3" or less from 150yards and my bulgarian Arsenal Sar-M1 always under 5" from 150 yards using open sights- we don't believe in optics ;)

The main reason i totally dropped wolf and other commercial cheap dirt was the time i bought 500rnds of faulty wolf. When you shook a round you could hear something rattling inside the bullet. 1 or 2 out of 5 would hit in the 12" area typical to wolf. Rest would hit 1yard from the aimed point at random.

gandog56
December 11, 2006, 06:21 PM
I don't think I would advise any new reloader to start right off with a progressive press. Too many things can go wrong. A single stage or rotary turrent press is what I would advise just so the reloader can get used to the steps and get a better understanding of what each step is actually doing. That said, I find too many surplus deals on that particular round to bother reloading it, even though I have the dies for it from when I had my old SKS. Too much time is spent looking for the empty cases, and an SKS can fling them anywhere and everywhere.

GaryL
December 11, 2006, 11:11 PM
Vihtavuori N130 and N135 costs around 57$/kg here and you can make around 550-580 rounds from 1kg (2pds).
Boxer primers 5-6cents a piece and berdan 7-8cents a piece.
...
The main reason i totally dropped wolf and other commercial cheap dirt was the time i bought 500rnds of faulty wolf.

Wow, you really pay for the privaledge of reloading, don't you?
At the local gun show Saturday, I picked up a box of 1k rifle primers (WLR) for < $20, including the tax. IMR4895 was < $20/lb at a local mom & pop gun shop, and I paid too much for a box of 50 30cal Nosler BT @ ~$17 (could have picked those up at the show Saturday for < $14).

I haven't experienced any trouble with the Wolf grade ammo here, but lately the price has about doubled from a couple years ago.

highlander 5
December 12, 2006, 12:50 AM
i reload 7.62x39 on a 650 using Accurate Arms 1680 and 125gr jacketed or cast and for giggles I use sabots to shoo t62 gr 223 bullets BUT I have a Ruger M77 MKII bolt. BTW the ball of fire from the sabot rounds is quite impressive and decently accurate

Frog48
December 12, 2006, 01:03 AM
I get 7.62x39 for under $3 per 20. Its the Monarch brand that Academy sells.

CheaperThanDirt.com has Wolf for $3.69 per box, which is also pretty reasonable.

Smokey Joe
December 12, 2006, 01:52 AM
What exactly would I need to get started reloading ONLY 7.62x39? I can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars, so keep it cheap.A classic Lee Loader, the hammer-it-in, hammer-it-out kit, which many of us started on (myself included) now runs $22-24. (It was $10 when I bought mine--alas, time flies when you're having fun!)

Edited to add: PHOOEY! I Just checked the Lee Precision website, and they don't make the Classic Lee Loader in 7.62x39!!! Well, there goes that great idea! :-( Guess you'll have to scrounge up used equipment from friends and E-bay to keep it cheap. But now you REALLY need The ABC's book to tell you what you need and don't need. (See below for The ABC's of Reloading.)

You'd also need powder, $18-$20/lb, primers, $18-20/M, bullets (which vary quite a bit in price,) and brass you scrounged free.

That'll get you started for under $100. Check Lee's website, www.leeprecision.com for ordering the kit, or get it mebbe cheaper at Midway www.Midwayusa.com

Bullets you get locally or @ Midway (bullets are heavy; runs up the shipping) and powder/primers you get locally if at all possible to avoid the Hazmat shipping charge.

And you're off and running. READ AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS IN THE KIT!!!

You also want some knowledge about reloading--the standard textbook on the subject is The ABC's of Reloading which you get locally, off the I'net, or from the publisher, Krause Publishing, www.krause.com The ABC's will explain A LOT to you about the process.

Good Luck. Be careful and enjoy.

Odnar
December 12, 2006, 10:07 AM
I'd definitely inspect some of the cases your SKS has spit out before you buy any reloading gear. Both my Yugo SKS and my Norinco Mak-90 are very hard on 7.62x39 cases. The Mak leaves a deep gouge in the side of every case, the SKS dents the neck.

I never noticed Wolf being overly dirty, though. I started with a case of S&B before I switched to Wolf. They seemed about the same to me except for price.

Ohio Rifleman
December 12, 2006, 06:57 PM
Odnar, I have five spent cases from my SKS, one of which is steel, from when I used Wolf, and the other four are brass. Only one of the brass cases has dents in the neck, the rest look alright to me.

I do think I'll check out that book, maybe I can find it at the library? (yes I know, I'm cheap...that's why I want to reload in the first place!)

GaryL
December 12, 2006, 07:25 PM
Odnar, I have five spent cases from my SKS, one of which is steel, from when I used Wolf, and the other four are brass. Only one of the brass cases has dents in the neck, the rest look alright to me.

Throw away the steel case, you can't reload that.

Smokey Joe pretty well covered the basics, but are you thinking about reloading any other caliber? That would definately be a consideration for what equipment to get.

And I agree with the others about some of the cheap surplus out there - it's hard to beat even at current prices, but accuracy isn't what it's known for.

Smokey Joe
December 12, 2006, 08:00 PM
Thx, GaryL, for the endorsement!

Re SKS brass: Any autoloader is going to be somewhat rough on the brass it ejects; it's the nature of the beast.

The SKS is even rougher than most. Almost all of my SKS brass is dented when I recover it. The body dents fire-form back out next time I shoot it. The neck dents get ironed out by the resizing die. I just don't worry about it, except for really major dents in the case shoulder area, where the round headspaces. If the shoulder is badly dinged up, I consider scrapping the case. Oh, or if the rim of the case is actually bent back where the extractor grabbed and yanked it, to the point where the bolt might have trouble closing all the way on the case next firing--those I scrap, too.

Aside from that, I just FL resize 'em, load 'em up, and shoot 'em again. What with getting flung hither and yon and getting lost, and with getting dinged on every ejection, the life of an SKS case can truly be said to be short and brutal.

BUT--No reloaded SKS case has ever actually malfunctioned on me.

Ohio Rifleman
December 12, 2006, 09:29 PM
I'm not really thinking about reloading any other caliber in the near future. I only personally own two guns, the SKS and a Ruger 10/22, and you can't reload 22LR. My dad shoots 9mm, but it's so cheap and plentiful, why bother? And money, not accuracy, is the main reason why I'm considering reloading. I can't afford to pay $150 for ammo, even if you get a thousand rounds or something. If I reload, I can get exactly as much ammo as I want or need for cheap.

Joe in KY
December 13, 2006, 11:46 AM
Another plus with reloading is that you can "tailor" your loads to do what you want to do. Most 7.62x 39 ammo seems to be loaded pretty hot and this will contribute to dinged up cases. You can work up from the minimum load listed( which you should ALWAYS do anyway)just until the load functions the action and don't go any hotter, this way you usually have less violent extraction and ejection. I have found this to be true with most semiautos I have reloaded for. Joe

Matt Dillon
March 10, 2007, 10:16 PM
If you have a Yugo SKS, you can turn off the gas port, which turns it into a bolt action rifle, then your brass doesn't get dinged up nor lost.

FieroCDSP
March 11, 2007, 12:32 AM
Lee Anniversary Kit w/Lee Reloading book:$90 at Midway. $65 without book
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=820810
They're out of the three-die sets, but figure $20
$15-22 for powder
$20 for primers
$26 for 100 bullets FMJ


$160 give or take, not including any other books which you might need. Surplus is cheaper, but I understand the cleaning hassles. Reloading keeps me shooting for cheaper, but it'll be a very long time before I break even with my investment. Sometimes you have to weigh the component costs against your cleaning supplies for using the cheap stuff. If you're looking to go accuracy, then reload. If you just want to shoot cheaper, save up and get a crate of surplus steel case. That'll keep you going a while. I have a yugo SKS, and I know how that brass flies out everywhere. At least I can set it on bolt-action and save the brass.

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