5.56 Nato vs. 5.45 Russian


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Cascade Man
January 14, 2007, 01:29 AM
Hi there,

Somebody that I work with said that the Russian military designed the AK47 to shoot our NATO ammo. I laughed at him. But, I was thinking about the smaller round they designed. A 5.45 rifle chambering and firing a 5.56 round just doesn't sound right. Does anyone have any experience with this tale?
Is it, by micrometer measurements alone, possible?

-Cascade Man

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Don't Tread On Me
January 14, 2007, 01:40 AM
Well, yes,

the Russians have developed AK's that are chambered in .223 Rem.

These are newer 100 series AK's. The 100 series is chambered in 5.45, 7.62x39, and 5.56...

If he's referring to the AK-74, then no, that was chambered in 5.45x39mm. It was intended to have the same benfits as the .223 Rem. Benefits such as, greater quantity of ammo for any given weight load, lower recoil, flatter trajectory, severe terminal effects (rapid yawing bullet inside of flesh). But is a very different cartridge in form.

JWarren
January 14, 2007, 01:42 AM
"...that the Russian military designed the AK47 to shoot our NATO ammo."

You mean the AK-74, which shoots the 5.45x39.

I've heard this before, too. And frankly, it sounds exactly like something that I'd expect to see from the Soviet mindset during the Cold War. I don't think I'd experiment with this myself.

Its been a long time since I've dealt with a 5.56 NATO but I think its case is 5.56X45 (I could be very wrong on this.) If that is the case, then a 5.45x39 Would possibly fit in a 5.56X45 chamber, but I'd think that a chamber adapter would be needed.

Unless...

I've always thought that the bullet on the 5.45x39 seemed to be set rather high. Perhaps this makes a difference in making sure the cartridge lines up within tolerences.

That said, I don't understand how the 5.45x39 Case would not slip too deep into the chamber of a 5.56x45. Goes back to needing a chamber adapter, in my mind.

I anxiously await a response from someone with far more knowledge on this subject that I have. Again, I am not gonna be the one to try this and give a range report.


-- John

Dr. Dickie
January 14, 2007, 06:06 AM
You are correct that the 5.56 NATO is 5.56 x 45 mm, while the Russian AK 74 is 5.45 x 39 mm.
I suspect that the newer cartridge for the Soviet Union (at the time) was in response to the US adaption of a smaller, lighter, fast round. They saw the benefits of the more controlled rapid fire, the ability to carrying more ammo, and the lethality of the round (of course, this leads to an endless debate on that--don't tell me, tell the thousands of Vietnamese). Remember, the Vietnam war was one battle in the real Cold War being fought. Both the Americans and the Soviet Union were testing and improving on military hardware based on how it preformed in actual combat.
My $0.02 without any credentials to give further change. Make no mistake, this is just a WAG off the top of my head. There are more than enough well informed, historically correct folks here to give you the REAL reason (I just want to add some fuel to the discussion, as that is how I learn more:evil: ).

SDC
January 14, 2007, 12:07 PM
The case diameter is too large for the 5.45x39mm to fit into a 5.56x45mm chamber, and the 5.56x45mm round is too long to fit into a 5.45x39mm chamber.

MechAg94
January 14, 2007, 12:13 PM
Regarding the AK47, it shoots a 7.62X39 cartridge. The .308 round is 7.62X51 NATO. You can reload 7.62X39 cartridges with .308 bullets, but the overall cartridge is completely different. I am not sure if the reverse is true. I think the .308 barrel is 0.308" in diameter and the russian AK47 barrel is .311" or so.

However, as far as design goes, the AK47 I believe used the same bullet as the 7.62X54R of the bolt action rifle that was used in WWI and WWII by the Russians and Soviets. So it wasn't "designed" to take NATO ammo. It was designed before NATO existed.

This was the myth I had heard from my Dad. He didn't believe it, but was told it by someone else. However, it was likely a misunderstanding of people talking about the bullets, not the cartridges.

DMK
January 14, 2007, 12:15 PM
While certainly the NATO 5.56x45 influenced the 5.45x39 Soviet cartridge, they are not the same.

What I've always wondered is how do these compare ballistically and terminally?

What is the bullet weight and velocity of the 5.45x39? Is it roughly equivalent to the M193 or M855 5.56?

DMK
January 14, 2007, 12:19 PM
I am not sure if the reverse is true. I think the .308 barrel is 0.308" in diameter and the russian AK47 barrel is .311" or so. Yes, that is correct. US .30 cals (7.62x51, 30-06, .30 carbine) use a .308 bore. Soviet .30 cals use a 3.11 bore. The Mosin Nagants used a .311 bore too (as did the brit. .303).

However, as far as design goes, the AK47 I believe used the same bullet as the 7.62X54R of the bolt action rifle that was used in WWI and WWII by the Russians and Soviets.Same diameter, but not the same bullet. While you could reload 7.62x54R using pulled 7.62x39 bullets and fire them in your Mosin Nagant, the military rounds mostly used about a 172gr(earlier), or 147gr(later) for 7.62x54R. 7.62x39 uses about a 125gr. bullet.

MachIVshooter
January 14, 2007, 05:47 PM
While certainly the NATO 5.56x45 influenced the 5.45x39 Soviet cartridge, they are not the same.

Correct. The limited involvement of the Soviets in Vietnam put them on the receiving end of the 5.56mm NATO (mostly witnessing it's effects on NVA and VC). No one can argue the benefit of being able to have accurate, controlled full auto fire as the result of lighter projectiles.

What I've always wondered is how do these compare ballistically and terminally?

Velocity and trajectory are not that different when comparing original Russian 54 gr. ball with modern M855A1 62 gr. 5.56mm (the M193 5.56 ball was much faster). Kinetic energy of the 5.56mm is higher, but actual wounding capability is similar.

It is the unique bullet design of the 5.45mm that makes it so devastating; it has a hollow nose that folds over on impact and causes the bullet to yaw severely.

hagar
January 14, 2007, 07:14 PM
The US went from a light and fast bullet that caused devastating wounds but was a poor performer at longer ranges, to a heavier bullet that had much better long range capabilities, but had poor wounding and killing performance. The russians watched in interest, and developed a round that had both good long range performance and adequate wounding and killing performance at all ranges. They definitely came in first place on this one.

highlander 5
January 14, 2007, 07:24 PM
the 5.45x39 empty "brass " I've found at the range look like the 7.62x39 only difference is the neck is .22 cal and a different shoulder angle IIRC

Vern Humphrey
January 14, 2007, 07:26 PM
No one can argue the benefit of being able to have accurate, controlled full auto fire as the result of lighter projectiles

I have to say I never found any benefit -- in more than two years in combat -- from full auto fire from hand-held weapons.

slzy
January 14, 2007, 09:06 PM
i have looked for the right place to say this;a m16 on full auto is like doing precision work with a hatchet;an m60 is much closer to a lathe.

buzz_knox
January 14, 2007, 09:21 PM
5.45 is roughly equivalent to M193 (according to Dr. Fackler). However, the 74 cannot fire the 5.56.

I believe this urban legend began with the myth that the Sovs had designed the AK-47 to fire the 7.62 NATO. This ignores, of course, the proven fact that the AK and the 7.62x39 cartridge both predate the NATO round.

iamkris
January 14, 2007, 11:08 PM
Most of the crap that comes out of "gun shop experts" mouths could be solved by the liberal application of a reloading manual.

Anyone with even a public school education can spend 2 minutes and see that the rounds are quite different dimensionally.

MechAg94
January 14, 2007, 11:55 PM
Anyone have a pic showing the 5.56 and the 5.45?

The 5.45 import ammo being sold is 53 or 54 grain. I am not sure if it comes in other weights. The case is shorter than a 5.56, but the bullet is much longer at least outside the case. I haven't tried to pull one.

Thanks for the corrections DMK. :)

Vern Humphrey
January 15, 2007, 12:10 PM
i have looked for the right place to say this;a m16 on full auto is like doing precision work with a hatchet;an m60 is much closer to a lathe.
Amen!

Rifleman 173
August 8, 2007, 05:43 PM
Where the ammo thing, "Their weapons will shoot are ammo..." actually refers to and started off with mortars. Our army uses an 81 millimeter mortar. The Russians/ComBlock nations have an 82 millimeter mortar. The shells from our mortar WILL fire from a Russian/ComBlock 82 millimeter mortar BUT they are not as accurate as they should be. That .01 difference makes shooting our shells out of their guns just a little bit sloppy. As for rifle cartridges and such, most foreign military services look for ways to sometimes use an enemy's guns, tanks, artillery pieces and so on to their advantage. Both the Russian Army and the German Army in WW2 adopted each other's rifles, guns and even clothing for use by their own troops. The Isreali Army in the 7 Day War would take in slightly damaged Arab tanks, recondition them and remark them with Isreali markings and send them back into battle against the Arabs. One of the other things that caused a bit of confusion was when the Russians planned ahead for war against the NATO forces and actually made their own type of rifles and such that REALLY DID use our ammo. Their idea for their guns using our ammo was that if we did get into a fight, then their special units deployed BEHIND our lines would HAVE to use our ammo scrounged from our forces. Hence the AK rifles that were designed to use .223/5.56 NATO cartridges. Our idea of the same thing is when we arm our Special Forces/Ranger/Airborne soldiers with their guns. We don't normally bother to redesign our rifles, except for the AR-47 used by the SEALS, to use the enemy's ammo. We use their own rifles AND ammo against them when we put our elite forces behind their lines. So, the old saying that their rifles will shoot our ammo is NOT a myth. It's just something that was never really FULLY understood by most people.

PercyShelley
August 8, 2007, 08:25 PM
http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:qaXyowDWC81QnM:http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Service%2520Carts.jpg


From Tony William's site.

Right to left:

6.5 Arisaka (as used in the Federov proto-assault rifle), 7mm medium (obscure experimental cartridge), .30 carbine alias 7.62x33 (as used in M1 carbine), 8mm kurz (as used in STG-44), 7.62x39 (as used in SKS), 7.62x45 (as used in early VZ-52), 9x39 (Russian special purpose subsonic cartridge), 5.56x45, 5.45x39 and Chinese 5.8x42.

As you can see, while the 5.56x45 and 5.45x39 have a similar overall length, they are nowhere near similar enough that one would chamber in a weapon intended for the other. Redesigning an AR for the soviet round or an AK for the NATO one, however, would not be difficult, and has in fact been done.

Note also that 5.45x39 is not just a necked down M43. It shares little except overall length; it has a different case diameter and was designed from the ground up.

EDOGZ818
July 21, 2008, 07:09 PM
The AK -47 wasn't designed to fire 5.56 , because , obviously the AK - 47 came first , or it would have been in 5.56.

Will the AK-47 actually fire a 5.56 round? Yes , the extractor will hold the round in place enough , for the primer to be struck , but the case will expand after firing & get stuck in the AK-47.

It's a one shot deal , so when you try it , have a gunsmith on call to clear your AK- 47 ( 7.62 X 39MM )

KBintheSLC
July 21, 2008, 07:13 PM
obviously the AK - 47 came first , or it would have been in 5.56.

Talk about a highly subjective comment...

A 5.45 rifle chambering and firing a 5.56 round just doesn't sound right. Does anyone have any experience with this tale?

You are right, a rifle made for 5.45 is not compatible with 5.56 NATO. The 5.56 and the 5.45 chamberings are not compatible. There are however AK variants chambered in 5.56 NATO.

EDOGZ818
July 21, 2008, 07:19 PM
Ok, that was just my opinion , & I admit I could be wrong on specifics , I was referring to it in the sense of AR / M16 , accepted as standard arms of the respective military in discussion.

I concede that point , that the .223 may have been designed before 1945 / 1947 , but in terms of adoption in military conflicts , which I was referring to , the AK , was designed before the M16.

Z-Michigan
July 21, 2008, 09:28 PM
The US went from a light and fast bullet that caused devastating wounds but was a poor performer at longer ranges, to a heavier bullet that had much better long range capabilities, but had poor wounding and killing performance. The russians watched in interest, and developed a round that had both good long range performance and adequate wounding and killing performance at all ranges. They definitely came in first place on this one.

Apparently the Soviet Union had a time machine, since they introduced the 5.45mm in the early 1970's, and the west didn't field the SS109 (62gr) bullet (US M855 spec ammo) until the late 1980's.

5.45mm doesn't normally fragment at close range, while both US 5.56mm rounds (55gr M193 and 62gr M855) do reliably fragment at shorter ranges, typically 100 yards and less depending on the barrel length it's being shot from. Within fragmentation range the wounds are devastating, more like a hunting bullet than any other FMJ. Beyond that range wounds are less serious - but still can easily kill you, and the bullet does tumble just as most spitzer-type rifle bullets do. The 5.45mm is tumbling on impact at all ranges, not fragmenting. I don't want to get hit with either one, but the fragmentation at short range is quite devastating. Incidentally, the British .303 is probably the first military cartridge where the bullet was specifically designed to tumble on impact, using basically the same concept (light and/or hollow nose area but still FMJ design) that the Soviets used almost 70 years later in the 5.45mm.

Kurt_D
July 21, 2008, 10:59 PM
Here's a larger pic of the ammo:

LC XM193 5.56, Win Q3131 5.56, IMI M855 5.56, Bulgarian 5.45

jjbduke2004
July 21, 2008, 11:12 PM
I've heard many years ago that AK's (never knew if it was the 47 or 74) had a "floating bolt" that allowed firing NATO ammo. Even if something like this were true, it would be a single shot as I'm sure the longer NATO rounds wouldn't fit in the magazines.

Let's not get started on the headspacing issues if such a contraption were to exist.

HorseSoldier
July 21, 2008, 11:45 PM
Will the AK-47 actually fire a 5.56 round? Yes , the extractor will hold the round in place enough , for the primer to be struck , but the case will expand after firing & get stuck in the AK-47.

As unattended soldiers firing both AKMs and Galils on the same range have discovered at least once, in my experience. :what: Trouble shooting that was nicely complicated by removing the Galil mag before calling for help. Some headache and a cleaning rod later, problem solved . . .

paintballdude902
July 21, 2008, 11:48 PM
since most us troops were pulled out of vietnam in 72 i doubt they the nv army would have a rifle put into service 2 years later

i know the story very well my father a vietnam vet was the first to tell me it

i saw a pic of an sks(7.62x39) fire a 5.56 and it worked the casing split i believe or atleast was very bulged but it did work i dont know if it cycled the action but in a last ditch effort it would work

sarduy
July 21, 2008, 11:56 PM
Saiga .223 ;)

RP88
July 22, 2008, 02:31 AM
What I've always wondered is how do these compare ballistically and terminally?

you'll hear many different things from many different studies and 'experts' and opinionists.

the 5.56 vs. 5.45 vs. 7.62 arguments have a pro and con side for each. These arguments always end up going down one of the following roads: either "okay, but how does the Grendel or SPC rounds compare?", or "what happened to the good ol' days of the Garand and M14?"

Good luck on finding an answer.

LaEscopeta
July 22, 2008, 09:22 AM
I heard the design-your-own-rifle-to-fire-enemy-ammo story about the Japanese switch from 6.5mm to 7.7mm Arisaka rifle just before WW II. Supposedly the new rifles were designed for a 7.7x58 round that was slightly bigger than the US 30-06 and British .303 rounds, and could fire both US and British rounds. Quite a trick if it could actually be done, which it wasn’t.

elmerfudd
July 22, 2008, 01:55 PM
There are a handful of cartridges which will fire in firearms which are not chambered for them. A 7.62x51 NATO will fire if loaded into a 7.62x54R for example. It's generally not safe, yields minute of barn accuracy, and causes jams and parts breakage however. It's basically a matter of jamming a square peg into a round hole and then subjecting it to around 50,000 PSI.

As to shooting 5.56 through a 5.45 rifle, I'm extremely dubious about whether it could be done. Look at the pictures in Kurt D's post and you'll see just how much larger the 5.56 case is. How's that going to fit in a 5.45 chamber?

I have heard that 5.56 will chamber and fire in a 7.62x39 rifle however. It sounds much more plausible.

-v-
July 22, 2008, 04:40 PM
Here's a few observations of mine, date-wise they make sense. The Yugo's introduced the M67 round to remedy the poor wounding of the M43 round. The M67 had a large hollow space in the nose, similar to the 5.45 round, with the same design intention of tumbling upon impact. The M74 round was introduced 7 years later, and likewise shared the same construction characteristics. All commercially available 7.62x39 ammo now a days is built to the M67 standard.

Although they say that temporal cavity is irrelevant, I will also say at the same time, you can only stretch things so far before they rip. Plus, the 5.45 shot on brass-fetcher didn't produce impressive permanent cavity, but it did detach a piece of the ballistic Jell-o from the rest of the block, FWIW.

Clean97GTI
July 23, 2008, 06:06 AM
the 5.45x39 empty "brass " I've found at the range look like the 7.62x39 only difference is the neck is .22 cal and a different shoulder angle IIRC

The 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 are more dissimilar than that. About the only measurement they share is length and even that isn't exactly the same. The 5.45 case has noticeably less taper than the 7.62. Probably to reduce the curve in the magazines of the new rifles.

SDC
July 23, 2008, 12:31 PM
There IS at least one 22-calibre round based one the 7.62x39 round; the 5.6mm "Running Deer" cartridge used for simulated hunting competitions; maybe highlander found one of these, as unlikely as it may be.

Z-Michigan
July 23, 2008, 02:05 PM
To make life complicated, in the 1950's someone created the ".220 Russian" cartridge for hunting. It is a 7.62x39mm case necked down to .22. It is different from the later 5.45mm military roud, but there's plenty of room for confusion.

PercyShelley
July 23, 2008, 04:27 PM
The .220 Russian is also the basis for the PPC series of competition cartridges, as well as the 6.5 Grendel, which is why the Grendel shares its case head with the 7.62x39.

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