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Lead 170gr .30-30 bullets through my AK - a hand-load experiment

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by waffentomas, Mar 15, 2013.

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  1. waffentomas

    waffentomas Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Blue State
    I've gotten the impression, as a newer AK owner, that one of the allures of the platform is cheap, readily available ammo. Alas, that is not so much the case any more. Moreover, it seems AK owners don't reload as much as, say, .308 semi-types like me. Still, I decided to try and see how cheaply I could load up a good AK load for anyone out there who might be interested.

    As the steel cased 7.62x39 ammo has dried up where I live, and my refusal to pay HAZ-MAT and shipping fees, I have been forced to experiment.

    Ammo is expensive and/or scarce right now, so I decided that for those of you who reload, and maybe have been reluctant to try new recipes, that I'd try one and report.

    I saw some Laser-Cast .310 bullets, 170gr RN FP, OAL .948 at Cabelas. These bullets have a place to install a GC, but I don't have a way to do that, nor do I have any gas checks. They have two lubed grooves, and a place to get a crimp in there above them. Not sure if these are going to work...So, I go back to the mantra...It's an AK, I'll just try them.

    These bullets were about $56 for 500 out the door. Call it 11 cents each.


    Laser Cast are high-antimony, but I am still worried about leading up the barrel and piston and gas hole without a gas check on the bullet. I thought about loading it to subsonic velocities to reduce this, but...It's an AK.

    I decided to try a slower burning powder with the heavy bullet, and I am using a NHM-91, so the longer barrel should also be conducive with the slower powder. I chose AA 2520, 24.5gr. AOL was 2.45 inches.


    As this was just an experiment, I only loaded up 30 rounds.

    I also loaded up a some rounds with no powder or primer just to check function and worked them last night. No problems, but the nose did get a skid mark on the tip, but repeated cycling did not impede function, nor cause any alarming bullet set-back.

    Here is the report.

    Accuracy was good, but since I was more interested in velocity and function, I only fired three rounds at 50 yards for accuracy. My AK is not very accurate, but these 3 rounds did post a 1" group.

    Velocity was a decent 1775 fps average with a SD of 22, KE of 1189. A total of 12 shots were fired through the Chronograph at 15'.

    With only 15 rounds left I loaded up and cut loose. All rounds fed fine...no issues in rapid fire.

    When I broke it down to see if there was lead fouling in the bore or lead shavings on the piston, I was pleased to find the barrel did not have any lead fouling that I could see, and a patch down the barrel came out looking like a 70-100 round range session. A little dirtier than normal, but not bad at all. No lead shavings were found on the piston, or anywhere else.

    All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this experiment.


    Bullet 11 cents
    Primer 3 cents
    Powder 8 cents
    Brass - free

    That is 22 cents a round (excluding labor)

    If you are trying shoot your AK or SKS cheaply, in these trying times, this recipe may be an option for you.

    Not sure, though, what an extended range session, or blasting session would do to the rifle, however.

  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Happy Valley, UT
    Cool, thanks!
  3. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

    Oct 6, 2012
    Central of the Commonwealth of PA
    Nice!! Some issues are trying to get7.62 x39 brass caseings. I know some guys are experimenting with steel cases and reloading them, at least from what I heard.
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