Reloading for 5.45X39?


Dave R
January 5, 2004, 11:39 PM
Does anybody make brass, dies & bullets for 5.45X39?

I'm wondering if its practical to reload the caliber.

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Dave R
January 6, 2004, 04:55 PM
No one makes dies, brass or bullets for 5.45 X 39? Say it aint' so...

If they do such high-volume cartridges as the 6.5JDJ and the 7mm Rem BR and the 9.3X74R....why not 5.45? There are a lot of them out there...

January 6, 2004, 09:34 PM
There's just no demand. I only know of two rifles chambered for 5.45, AK's and that East German sniper rifle. The AK's aren't accurate enough to benefit from handloading, and the steel-cased stuff is so cheap you couldn't save money either. And those E.German rifles are fairly rare...

To paraphrase that unfortunate 1970's IBM executive, "there's probably a world market for around 4 or 5 sets of 5.45x39mm dies"! :p

January 6, 2004, 10:49 PM
ak with 5.45x39 is a bit more accurate than a sks or ak with 7.62x39.

the round has been around a good while with ak74.

January 7, 2004, 01:05 AM
The ammo is so cheap, what's the point?

Dave R
January 7, 2004, 10:58 AM
The point is better bullets, tailored loads, independence from Surplus sources, etc.

Speer makes a bullet for 7.62X39. Brass is available for that...

But it looks like the answer is no, nobody makes dies, brass or bullets for this caliber.

January 7, 2004, 01:37 PM
There are people who do it.
You have to make the brass from other cases with the same case head, gives the specs of the case to a company that makes custon dies and have them cut. I've read that the folks that handload the 5.45 swage .223 bullets down. If you've got money to burn by all means go for it.
I think Alexander Arms is calling the 5.45 the .21 Genghis and making AR uppers for it, perhaps they will help create a market for precision 5.45 ammo and components.

January 7, 2004, 01:47 PM
dies (,2373.html)
Quality German 5.45 ammo, at the bottom (
5.45x39 cases (,670.html)
I don't know about the Soviet cases but the German ones are most likely brass. You could shoot them and use them with swaged bullets and a load of your choosing.

Dave R
January 7, 2004, 03:54 PM
Thanks for the links, MLC. Naah, I don't think those German cases are made of brass. I think they're made of gold. One piece of brass costs the same as 10 rounds of commercial ammo.

So the brass and dies are out there, they're just horribly un-economic. And you get to swage your own bullets.

January 7, 2004, 07:58 PM
I have been reloading 5.45x39mm for seveal years. I resize new 222 Remington brass in a full length resizing die from a RCBS 5.45x39mm set of dies. Then trim the formed cases to the correct length. If using in a AK rifle you need to prime the cases with CCI #41 mil spec primers or you will get slamfires.
There are no .221" bullets made so .224" bullets will have to be resized. Call Lee up and special order a .221" Lube & size die($25). It will take a month to get it. Use Imperial Sizing Die Wax to lube the bullets. The Lube & Size die screws into standard reloading presses and the punch snaps onto the ram like a shell holder.
The case capasity of the 5.45x39mm is half way between the 221 Remington Fireball and the 222 Remington cartridges. So for any given bullet weight/powder type I use a charge of powder that is half way between the max charges listed for the above cartridges.
I sent 5 cartridges that I made loaded with resized Hornady 68gr hpbt bullets to a guy in Califorina that has a East German SSG82 bolt action 5.45x39mm rifle. He got a 1" group at 100 yards with my ammo.
Once you get to making 5.45x39mm ammo order some M856 tracer bullets from and resize them. I pull the bullets from Wolf 5.45 ammo and load the tracers into the cases.
So I am the only guy in the USA that has 5.45x39mm tracer ammo besides cartridge collectors. But mine is not $5+ a round and is cheap enough to shoot all I want at 28 cents a round.
If anyone needs more info on making/reloading 5.45x39mm ammo feel free to email me at

Dave R
January 7, 2004, 08:09 PM
Thanks, JA. Now that's what I'm talking about! Making brass from a relatively inexpensive parent caliber. Buying bullets in bulk, etc. Do you have to ream your necks after you re-form the brass?

January 8, 2004, 04:12 PM
No neck reaming needed because 5.45x39mm rifles don't exactly have "match chambers" cut with custom made match reamers. Besides the neck of the 5.45 is where the shoulder of the 222 case is after forming and the brass doesn't start to get thicker till you get closer to the base.

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