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7.62x39 vs 7.62×51

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by .cheese., May 5, 2007.

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  1. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    I'm a bit confused..... I gather they're both the same caliber diamater.... but different lengths is it?

    comparing the bullets... and another one comparing the cartridges (or whatever combination of that) - it would be great.

    Also, if anybody has any links or info on ballistics comparison of the two - I'd appreciate it.

    This is just for my own personal usage as I have the money now for my 2 Colt AR's..... but I'm starting to seriously doubt whether or not I want to go with 5.56 for my defense long-gun.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with 5.56x45 ..... but I do have to wonder if there might be something with a little more marginal effectiveness worth looking at. I wouldn't go above 7.62..... so it's either 5.56x45 or 7.62x39 or 7.62x51.

    And I'm having cold feet about the AR platform and am starting to think about FAL and AK.
     
  2. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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    The longer the case, the more powder you can put in it, which means you can push a heavier bullet faster - which translates to doing more damage to whatever is hit, by going deeper and causing a stronger shockwave.
     
  3. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    x39, x51 refers to the case length in millimeters.

    The answer to your concern about "effectiveness" is what do you intend to use the weapon for?
     
  4. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    A rough comparison:
    7.62X39=30-30 roughly powerwise. But with a little better balistics due to a spire point slug.

    7.62X51= 308 winchester.

    As for exact diameters: A 7.62X39 uses a .311 or.312 diameter slug, while a 7.62X51 uses a .308 diameter slug.
     
  5. M92FS

    M92FS Member

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  6. Mr White

    Mr White Member

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    x39 shoots a 125 grain bullet @~ 2400 fps
    x54R shoots a 150 grain bullet @~2800 fps.

    www.wolfammo.com shows muzzle velocities and energies but not much else as far as ballistics.
     
  7. DougW

    DougW Member

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    One little known aspect is that the 7.62X39 bullet itself measures .310 while the 7.62X51 (.308) is an actual .308. I have reloaded for .303 (actual .311) British using the X39 bullet, but it is NOT recomended for reloading in a .308.
     
  8. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    Of the three, and I own a number of all three, I like the 7.62x39 the best for a combative type rifle. I like to call it a .308K. Its got more punch on heavier things than the 5.56, and works as well out to 300 yards. I consider both rifles to be 300 yard guns.

    Compared to most .308 rifles, the 7.62x39's come in a much handier package, and usually carry 1/3 more ammo in the mag. They are generally easier to shoot well with, especially quickly at close range.

    The .308 is a great round too, but the rifles for it are generally larger and heavier, and realistically, anything past 300 yards is a stretch, especially for open sights on realistic targets.( bullseyes on a nice opaque background at a known distance dont qualify as "realistic" ;) ) For longer range, more precision shooting, I personally prefer a bolt gun. But if you just have to have an auto, I'll take an HK91/G3 for an overall gun, or the M1A's for a target rifle. I've had FAL's, and I'll just leave it at that, I had them. :)


    Contrary to what you usually hear,(although thats changing somewhat) the AK's are actually a great little rifle. Some schools are even now beginning to accept them as so and promoting them, which I think is a good thing. I think most of the bad mouthing comes from those who never actually used one, or really spent any quality time with one to learn it. For the most part, leave it as it comes and play with it awhile and you'll understand. The only thing that really is worth adding is an Ultimak mount and an Aimpoint. In that configuration, they are every bit as fast and easy to shoot with as a dot sighted AR, or anything else for that matter.
     
  9. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    good info guys.... keep it coming.... I have a feeling a mod will come along and see that I accidentally posted this in GGD and move it to Rifle Country, which is where this was meant to be..... but in the meantime great info. :)

    as for intended usage.... as with most of my guns, aside from .22's, they're for HM/SD, but I want them to be powerful enough and usable enough for a SHTF situation (I haven't a clue what that would be.... but it never hurts to be prepared). However, assuming that never happens, they'll probably be used at the range and eventually passed down to my children should I have some in the future so that they could protect themselves.

    I'm just looking for a good defensive rifle for just-in-case, and if it's fun at the range, that's an added bonus.

    Something around the lines of either an AR, AK, FAL, etc...... I figure I have until probably the end of this year to buy them.... because I think AWB's are going to start becoming a real possibility soon.
     
  10. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    AK103K - that's more or less what I've been hearing....

    btw - what is the availability of 7.62x39 ammo both now and forecasted long-term?
     
  11. JWarren

    JWarren Member

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    I'm in the 30 caliber club. I use 7.62x39 for a general purpose round/brush gun/home defense/etc. I use a 308 for heavy hitting/hunting/etc.

    I have to agree with AK103K. Aks have a strong, loyal following that is rightly deserved. I even use the AK platform for my .308 choice-- the .308 Saiga.

    I'm not trying to go down the road of a AR vs. AK debate, or even a 5.56 vs 7.62x39 vs .308 debate. That is like trying to nail jello to the wall-- a lot of hammering, but no getting anywhere. The choices of my calibers/platforms are based on personal preference and work for me.


    All the best!


    john
     
  12. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    nope.... I'm not even really wanting to compare 5.56 to 7.72 right now.

    I was more interested in the difference between the two 7.62's.... seems that's been covered, and actually for the most part, my question has been answered.

    btw - anybody have both 7.62's and can take a photo of them side by side for me?
     
  13. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    [​IMG]

    Is this it? The caption on the site says:

    is the 7.62 "intermediate" the 7.62x39?
     
  14. JWarren

    JWarren Member

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    I think you just nailed it with the photo, TheEconomist.

    That's actually a pretty good description, in my opinion. That has always been the mindset I've used in applying the 7.62x39 round to my needs/wants.

    -- John
     
  15. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Personally, if you have the money, I'd go with an AR in .223.

    More accurate, less recoil, and a good FLAT shooting cartridge - you don't have to consider bullet drop as much - a lot of folks leave that out when talking about the AK...

    Probably cheaper to shoot than a .308, but more expensive than an AK, at least as long as we have cheapo comblock ammo.

    You could ALSO get an AR-15 with two uppers - one for .223 and one for 7.62x39... You're probably not going to fit a .308 in a (standard construction) AR very easily... And when you get into non-standard construction, you get into some expensive magazines, etc., etc.

    Why Colt?

    Suggestion: Save a LITTLE bit more, and buy one Bushy AR-15 with both .223 and 7.62x39 uppers, AND a Savage 110-variant bolt action in .308.
     
  16. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    this may sound stupid, but when factoring ammo costs, keep in mind I only buy brand new factory-fresh ammo if possible.

    If I went with an AR, I'd probably stock up on Hornady TAP 60 or 75 grain.

    Same for .308

    for 7.62x39 though.... I have no idea where to look. The only stuff I see is that Federal produces it in their American Eagle line.
     
  17. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    bogie - originally I was saving up for Colts for two reasons:

    1) I've heard they're fairly reliable.
    2) At some point they'll have collector's value.

    although, I have to admit, lately, if I was to go with .223, I'd probably go with the new Sig 556 if it's available yet. I haven't seen it in any store so far. The gas-piston was the deal-breaker.
     
  18. Lucky

    Lucky Member

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    Economist, the pictures are OK, but you have to hold the cartridges in your hands to feel it. Ok that's how I learn, others might have better imaginations.

    I tell you, there's nothing so humbling as the other day when I was pulling 210gr Swedish 7.92mm bullets out of old cartridges, and picked up a 55gr 5.56 for comparison. I attached a 5.56 ballistic chart, but don't have an M43 one.

    That said, imo the benefits of 5.56 are that you zero once and you're good to 300+m (350 with a 20" barrel), never worry about it again. Likewise you can go farther ranges than M43 (7.62x39) before it becomes a problem. For SHTF fragmenting distances are 100 or 150m (20" barrel), and past that the bullets, in theory, make small wounds. But I sort of figure that if you were deterring looters or something, a little hole would still do it. If you were in the mountains and stranded, and had to use the rifle to hunt, I guess the 5.56 might give some problems at close range by maybe not penetrating enough. And if you saw a deer through some bushes, the bullet would fragment in mid-air if it hits a twig, so that's a bad aspect too.

    M43 has better terminal ballistics once 5.56 passes fragmenting range, and almost always penetrates deeper. So in bushes and the 'bear defence' threads you'd be better off.

    On AKs and SKS in general, I like the feel of the SKS, but I don't like the open sights, I'm not old but my eyes aren't perfect, and the SKS open sights are unforgiving if you can't see clearly.
     

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  19. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    I agree pretty much entirely with AK103K (down to the G3 as my overall choice in 7.62x51).

    When using my AK in a carbine course, I noticed a couple of things that put it below the AR-15 platform. The sights on mine are standard iron, I really need an aimpoint or cobra or some such. The mag reloads are slower, they just are. Yes, I know you can pick up the speed with practice, but I don't think it'll ever be to the speed of the AR. Then the bolt hold open/release of the AR. Finally, the recoil on the 7.62x39 (I didn't have enough ammo for my 5.45 variants that day) was significant. Or more accurately, the muzzle climb was noticable. That ak had no muzzle device at all, not even a slant break--i'd like to see that caliber running with a sail brake of the '74 style. Oh, and the safety manipulation was a PIA. I'm going to order one of those fancy blackjack extended safeties soon, I swear (but that's not the caliber, that's the platform).

    Now, all that is just off of a carbine course with a long shot being 40 meters, if that. One guy was running a FAL carbine, and that little boomer was a hoot to watch. We both trailed in the times, but it was my first time, and um, i got some sand in my eyes and my shoes wouldn't stay tied...

    A FAL or a G3 isnt as handy and the ergo's on a G3 leave a lot to be desired.

    I take deer with all three calibers and and the consistent "drop 'em where they stand" rifle is the 308.
     
  20. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    Ok, so far I've found that ammo availability for 7.62x39 is:

    Federal American Eagle

    and

    Wolf Ammunition (they make two variants actually - a 122 grain HP and a 154 grain SP) - although with all the problems I've heard about steel-case damaging pistol extractors.... how does this work with rifles? Same issues?

    and here is Wolf's side by side of 7.62x51 and 7.62x39

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    obviously on the right it looks bigger because the pic is closer up.
     
  21. Erinyes

    Erinyes Member

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    I'm pretty sure there's WWB 7.62x39. I seem to recall seeing some at the local Wally-World.
     
  22. .cheese.

    .cheese. Member

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    I resized the individual pics to make it a level playing field for comparison:

    [​IMG]
     

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  23. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    There are a couple of schools of thought regarding the proponents of using steel-caseed ammo.

    One is "commie ammo for commie guns". This camps believes that the Eastern Bloc weapons were designed for steel cased ammo and therefore it runs fine in them.

    The other is the one that may appeal more to you. I would call them the "cost/benefit crowd". This group figures that if you should enough steel-cased ammo to damage your gun, you've saved enough on ammo that you can have the gun repaired/replaced and still be ahead over brass-cased ammo.
     
  24. M92FS

    M92FS Member

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    Last edited: May 5, 2007
  25. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    The reason I like the HK91/G3's is, they are the most versatile as they come and have what I think are the best "combat" iron sights going. Accuracy wise, they will hold there own with all but the match grade M1A's, and even there they arent all that far off. They are readily scoped or red doted with a claw mount and have a sling system most everyone else tries to copy. Everything has something that isnt great, and the HK's are no different, the charging handle being probably the biggest annoyance for most. They can be modified with a winter knob to make them a little easier.

    A couple of things on the AK's. With familiarization and use, 99.9% of the complaints go away.( unless of course, you just want to bitch. :) ) The stock is not to short, and the safety and mag release can be manipulated with your hand still on the grip. The iron sights are really not all that bad, and I actually prefer them for fast, close shooting. They can be a little tedious for longer range precision shooting, but they will still hit what your shooting at if your up to it.

    Two things you will most likely want to do right off when you get your rifle is take five minutes with a jewelers file. The safety and mag release are your victims. The mag release is a stamping, and every AK I've owned, and most of the new guns I've handled, have this problem. The edges are sharp from the stamping process and due to this, tend to "grab" the mag at the contact point, making it hard to release the mag. If you lightly "break" the edges of the release, the problem goes away.
    The safety also can be stiff and/or feel hard to sweep off. They all have a little, pointy nub that makes the "arc" in the finish on the receiver. This nub usually rests in some sort of detent in the receiver. This can differ from maker to maker and can be more of an issue with some rifles. If you flatten the nub with a file, and sometimes relieve the detent a little at the bottom, where the nub leaves it, so the nub doesnt hold on to it as tight, the safety should smooth right up. I dont recommend bending the safety, it shouldnt be necessary.

    Doing those two little things, all my AK's safeties are easily swept off using the middle finger of my hand on the grip (I dont have big hands) if I want it off in a hurry. I can also release the mag the same way using the same finger, and most all my mags will drop free (especially from standing) if I want to do that type of reload.

    The bolt hold open thing is also really a non issue. When the AK stops going bang, you reload. How simple is that? Every time you reload, be it an empty mag, or a tactical type reload, you ALWAYS work the charging handle at the end. That way, the rifle is ALWAYS loaded after a mag change. As for speed of doing a change, no, it will never be as quick as an AR in a race, but its really not all that much slower, and I think to much is really made about the speed thing anyway. If the target is close, thats what your pistol is for, if its farther away, I'd be worrying about getting somewhere there was cover first.

    Economist,

    I still have a decent supply of 7.62x39 I bought when it was cheap. It has gone up a good bit of late, but then again, so has everything. If your going that route, I'd buy as much as you can afford. Personally, I wouldnt waste my money on Federal or any of the American makers stuff. I like Barnaul (Silver and Brown Bears now) the best, as its always been the most consistent of the Russian stuff. The soft points are my favorite. Wolf works, but its quality can vary and I usually get one or two "fail to fires" per case. The last couple of cases of Wolf 154 grain SP's I bought was very good, both in accuracy and reliability. Using open sights from my old SAR, I was getting about fist size groups from a rest at 200 yards with it. If you find a lot of ammo that shoots good in your gun, buy as much as you can and squirrel it away. Shoot everything else for fun.
     
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