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Russian ammo in 7.62 X 39 and in .223 why prices are so low?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by stinger 327, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    Why are the Russian brands of ammo cost so much less than the most common USA brands of ammo? Do they jam or ruin the gun?:confused:
    Of late I have been seeing lots of different Russian companies coming out with ammo which is priced significantly less than most of the common made in the USA brands. i.e. Tula, Wolf. They both have a strange clear coating on the shells.
    In these two calibers 7.62 x 39 and in Remington .223 the cases are usually not brass and not reloadable. They maybe steel cased. In this respect are there any downsides to this lower cost ammo since I don't reload?
    I was told never to put the Russian ammo through a Ruger Mini-14 otherwise it will void the warranty.:confused:
    On an AK which has the reputation of shooting anything reliable-goes bang every time, shooting steel cased shells or brass shells shouldn't make a difference in damaging rifle? :confused:
  2. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    You've hit on several of the reasons why Russian surplus ammo is so cheap.

    1.) It's non-reloadable.
    2.) It's a steel case which is much cheaper than brass
    3.) Many times they are Berdan primed
    4.) Sometimes the powder/primers are corrosive so you have to clean your rifle completely after every use.
    5.) They are almost always loaded with FMJ bullets which are much cheaper than most other bullets.

    The coating that you see is a polymer coating so the steel won't gouge your chamber so badly.
    For the price, though, it's fun plinking ammo. Don't buy this stuff to use either hunting or out in the wide-open prairie dog fields as they are NOT frangible so they'll ricochet.

    P.S. Russian doesn't come in .223 Rem. but in it's near-twin the 5.56x45
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  3. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    What does boxer primered mean is this bad? Most of this Russian ammo says Beridan primered? Spelling?
    All of these Russian ammos state on package "Non Corrosive" but I clean my guns always after every shooting session.
    I have seen hollow points in 7.62 x 39 in the Wolf brand.
    Now for the $$$ these should be good to shoot on the range? Unless the range doesn't allow steel core?
  4. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    You caught me just before I edited my reply.

    "Boxer" primers are the most commonly used commercial priming system. The primers itself has a cup and "anvil" and the primer pocket in the case has one flash hole in the center of the pocket. This makes it easy to punch out the old primer with a simple pin punch.

    "Berdan" primers do not use the "anvil", it is formed into the case head and thus there are two flash holes on either side of the anvil. This makes the Berdan much harder to reload. These are the most common primers used in Russian ammo.

    As you are not a reloader, this makes little diff to you.
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    We love this question.

    Most of this ammo is steel cased. Steel is cheaper than brass to produce. The problem lies, in that there is a reason we use brass in the first place. It is very malleable, and when it fires, it balloons up and tightly seals the chamber. Steel is less elastic, it doesn't do this as well, and more gas escapes into the chamber as the cartridge fires, making the process dirtier. And while I'm not an expert in such things, I'm going to guess that the powder they use isn't as clean-burning as what we are used to. This means that the chamber and gun will foul worse and more quickly than with other ammo. The coating on the outside is to improve lubricity to try to ensure reliable extraction. Silver Bear is zinc plated.

    It is also Berdan primed. (This is a process different than modern ammo we use today.) It can't be reloaded. this discourages some American shooters where we have a healthy reloading culture. Most of the rest of the world doesn't care.

    Does it do damage? You will get varying opinions in here. Here's MY rule. I use Russian ammo in Russian guns. AK/SKS? All day long. Makarov? Sure. A beater AR that is just for fun? I will shoot it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it starts to gum up when it gets hot. For a really NICE AR I might thing twice. My heirloom M-1 Carbine? NOT A CHANCE.

    I doubt a Mini would suffer terribly from using it. They are pretty loose. I would try some and see what happens. If it runs well, shoot it all you want.
  6. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Yes I'm not a reloader and don't understand the different primers. I just want to make sure this low cost ammo doesn't damage the guns in any way like on a Ruger Mini-14 as it says the warranty is voided.
  7. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    Most recently made Russian ammo is non-corrosive but there are tons of older milsurp that is labeled "corrosive".

    and you might see some 5.56x45 that is HP but I've not seen it. It's almost all FMJ (which is all that is allowed in war for GIs).
  8. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    This is true of Russian military surplus, but is not true of new production Wolf, Barnaul, etc., which is indeed truly noncorrosive across the board.
  9. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    AFAIK, none of this ammo has used corrosive components for many years. If you have some that's corrosive, it's very old.

    It's no more or less frangible or likely to ricochet than any other ammo.
  10. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    The jackets of a lot of the bullets, not the cores, are sometimes part steel. (An alloy of copper and steel.) These jackets are called "bimetal" on the packaging. Many indoor ranges won't let you fire these in their facilities.

    Steel-core bullets can't be imported.
  11. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    mljdeckard (post #9) :
    Sorry but FMJ is way more likely to ricochet than ballistic tipped or thin-jacketed varmint bullets which are made to blow up on contact with anything. Many ranchers will not allow FMJ bullets on their property due to the ricochets that have hit their cows, houses & out-buildings. The wardens in western N. & S. Dakota warn prairie dog shooters to refrain from FMJ for the same reason.
  12. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    I think I read somewhere that the boxer primer was invented overseas, and is now the most common style in the U.S., while the berdan primer was invented in the U.S. and is now the most common over there.
  13. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    It's not like Wolf is the ONLY FMJ people commonly shoot at all. I shoot all kinds of FMJ ammo.
  14. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    Is there away to tell if the bullet is steel core other than label? I was told they can start fires which is why ranges won't allow them.
  15. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    There are many brands of ammo, both foreign and domestic, that have FMJ bullets and I shoot them also. They are cheap, fairly accurate and fun. What they are NOT intended for, however, is hunting or for shooting in flat areas without a backstop or berm.

    In a hunting situation, they'll just poke a 1/4" hole through the animal with a very small amount of damage. You'll have a wounded animal with little chance of tracking any sort of blood-trail.
  16. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    All Soviet weapons were (and are) designed to use steel component ammunition. You won't hurt your AK by using steel cased ammo in it.
  17. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    That's plenty of damage for pot-guts and prairie dogs. Particularly at 4000+ fps.
  18. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    In war isn't that all they use is FMJ? Why not HP used in war? Reliable feeding problems, Geneva convention etc?
    Wolf makes a 7.62 x 39 in hollow point as well as FMJ.
  19. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    Correct. FMJ is, by Geneva Convention rules, the only type of general purpose bullets that are allowed. I think HPs are ok for snipers but there are probaly more knowledgeable folks in this forum who know about the exceptions to the Geneva rules.

    FMJ bullets have a higher wound:kill ratio than HPs or other mushrooming-type bullets. If you wound someone rather than kill them it takes three soldiers out of battle; the wounded soldier and two more to carry him back to a medic or evac. Not only that but the wounded soldier lives to go home.

    Again, I see that mljdeckard (post #17) is pushing that it's OK to shoot prairie dogs with FMJ bullets. I wish that you'd do the responsible thing and not promote such an unsafe practice. Please admit that you're wrong (or, at least stop with the unsafe wisecracking). Some novice prairie dog shooter may do as you suggest and make access harder for all of us responsible shooters.
  20. stinger 327

    stinger 327 Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of what I heard that the 9mm caliber was created for wounding as to tie up soldiers with carrying their wounded to safety.

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