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Rethinking the 7.62x39mm

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by GunTech, Aug 6, 2007.

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  1. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    I'll start this out by saying I have never been a particular fan of the 7.62x39mm. It rainbow like trajectory and tendecy to drill through things has never caught my fancy when looking at service rifle option. I've always lookt at AKs in 5.56, which in it's military guise is really a better stopper. Even 5.45x39mm does abetter job. The FMJ 123 ball just doesn't do anything. At least the M193 and M855 ball will break up at typical combat ranges.

    However, the recent threads on SHTF rifles had made me rething my position, particularly as I have a 7.62x39 bolt action CZ-527 which does excellent duty as a brush gun. If one thinks of 7,.62x39mm with soft point bullets as a 30-30, comparisons become very different.

    I am starting to think that for general purpose SHTF close in work, ther M43 round may be the better pick than the 5.56, if using expanding ammo.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    I don't know how well the M43 or any other 7.62x39 round actually expands. My understanding is that the currently imported "soft point" and "hollow point" rounds don't really expand at all, but are made solely to comply with regulations many states have that prohibit hunting with spire-point FMJ bullets.

    One of the biggest drawbacks of the 7.62x39, actually, is the lack of high quality projectiles. I'm a hand loader, and it has been frustrating trying to find good bullets. There are dozens of choices in just about every other rifle caliber, but the range of .311 caliber projectiles used in the 7.62x39 is very small, and almost nobody carries what few decent projectiles are available.
     
  3. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I've hunted almost exclusively with 7.62x39 handloads for years now. For anything thin-skinned inside of 200-250 yards and under 400lbs, it's all I need.

    It's trajectory isn't as bad as y'all make it sound. Sighted in at 2.75" high at 100 yards, it'll drop no more than 3" at 225yd (given a Hornady 123gr SP over 2Xgr of H4198 moving out at 2400fps at the muzzle of my AR15) and have just under 1000fpe at that range. That's plenty good for most deer and hog hunting done in the US.

    Use decent bullets and it's a fine performer on game.

    ETA: Brassfetcher did a test of Wolf SP 154gr 7.62x39 - http://www.brassfetcher.com/7.62x39mm Wolf 154gr Soft Point.html
     
  4. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    You're correct; if you're bent on something that would "break up" at typical combat ranges, forget FMJ ammunition.
    If you're considering the purchase of a rifle for SHTF, why not consider a few hundred rounds of decent ammunition for it as well? Three hundred 7.62x39 Ballistic Tips from Georgia Arms should see you through just about anything (unless you intend to thrust yourself into combat at every opportunity and expend thousands of rounds each encounter).

    For this reason, my Springfield FAL clone is loaded with 150gr Nosler Ballistic Tips and there's another 200 rounds of the same in a day pack nearby. If I ever to have to grab and go, I don't plan to engage anyone unless absolutely necessary and even then I don't plan to wage wars... just defend or evade.

    As for the rainbow trajectory of the 7.62x39, I'm sure you're aware that it was never generally considered an ideal cartridge for snipercraft. If you want flatter trajectory from a military .30 caliber cartridge, perhaps you should simply step up to the 7.62x51.

    After several years of searching for the perfect SHTF rifle myself, I discovered it was smarter to simply pick a decent centerfire rifle and become proficient with it rather than mulling over the ballistic attributes of any particular cartridge. I believe the time you spend becoming proficient with a rifle is a far better investment than debating a cartridge's effectiveness.
     
  5. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

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    The Wolf Military Classic (NOT standard black box) hollowpoint round fragments quite well, based on many wet-pack tests.

    It's my current SHTF loadout for my Saiga conversion.
     
  6. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    I've been loading for my 7.62x39mm CZ-527, and yes, there is a very limited range of bullets available. Speer and Hornaday. I've been shooting the speer 123 0.310 SP (My bore is actually 0.3105 according to CZ). I've also used 308 bullets in it, with decent accuracy, but a loss of about 100 fps. Anyone tried 308 bullets in their AK?

    I have to order these as no-one carries any 0.311 bullets locally.

    I've noticed many 7.62x39 dies come with two ball expanders - one for 308 bullets and one for 311.

    I've been thinking of adding another servce rifle, mostly becasue I see a ban being very likely in the next year. I've been leaning towards a 223, as i have a flaming metric buttload of loaded 223 ammo (almost 40,000 rounds). I looks at both an AK and a Galil (Golani).

    But I already have a few 223 rifles, including the obigatory M-forgery with all the goodies. And I do have the CZ-527 carbine, si I need to load for 7.62x39mm anyway. It also looks like a 7.62x39mm with all the trimming is a bit cheaper. With good hunting ammo, it looks like the 7.62x39 could work as a decent brush rifle. Provided I could fine something that would shoot around 2 MOA.

    BTW, my goto rifle is M1A.
     
  7. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    If I don't opt for 7.62x39mm, the CZ-527 is going to get 'Grendelized'.

    I wonder how an AK would run in 6.5 Grendel. It wouldn't be cheap, but it might be pretty interesting.
     
  8. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    just picked up a box of these last weekend for my first x39 reloads.

    they're not cheap....but nothing is these days.
     
  9. dodging230grainers

    dodging230grainers Member

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    For SHTF remember that the most important factor is that you have a gun, and that it actually works.

    Most AKs are extremely reliable, which make them good SHTF guns. Its true that at close range the 7.62 Soviet's wounding capabilities aren't as strong usually as say a .223. However if the target is wearing body armor (which is likely in a SHTF), or is behind cover, the 7.62 Soviet is much more promising.

    If you find yourself needing to make a shot past 300 yards-ish, you probably shouldn't be using an assault rifle in the first place. Use a FAL, Garand, or your favorite bolt action. Scopes help too.
     
  10. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    Don't forget that not all 7.62x39 FMJ ball rounds are equal. Some are available with lead cores rather than the standard steel (the Yugoslavian military loading being one, I believe) and this alters the balance of the bullet so that it tumbles much more rapidly on impact.
     
  11. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Actually, I cut open one of my Wolf FMJ bullets and found a lead core inside a steel jacket.

    I don't pretend to know much about reloading and all that, but I think the Brassfetcher gelatin picture pretty much says it all.

    BTW I also have a CZ carbine in x39. Great gun.
     
  12. Ithaca37

    Ithaca37 Member

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    There is all of this talk of gelatin testing and fragmenting, wounding potential, etc. What a load of BS. The 7.62x39 works. So does the 5.56. The only reason people don't respect the x39 is that it is russian and therefore assumed to be communist crap.
    If you hit someone in vital organs, they will die with a 7.62x39, 5.56, whatever. If you do not hit the in the nervous or cardiovascular system they might not die or may take time to do so. The heart and lungs don't give a damn how big of a "temporary cavity" your bullet makes they don't work well with any kind of hole in them.

    Think about it, you are talking about "wounding potential"!! If I am in combat, I want killing potential, not wounding potential, wounded people can still pose a threat.
     
  13. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    Actually, actual combat result confirm the paucity of wounds produced by the 7.76x39 compared to say the 5.56x45. After being on the receiving end (by proxy) of the 5.56x45, the Soviets developed and started to deploy the 5.45x39. Not saying the 223 is the ultimate round, but within the normal operation range its a more effective round. Indeed, after action reporting in Vietname showed that the 5.56x45mm was 11% more lethal than the 7.62x51. Both the M43 and M80 ball round tend to flip over and travel base first through the target. In contrast, the M193 tended to breal along the canneleut creating multiple submissiles and producing a disproportionate wound compared to caliber size.

    European countries were particularly concerned about this characteristic when NATO began discussion the adoption of the US 5.56 as a NATO standard, and many nations considered the 5.56 to be in copntravention of the Hague convensions regarding rounds that increase suffering. The SS109 was favored in part because it was seen as less lethal than the existing M193 round and thus more palatable by countries such Sweden with a concern for humanitarian reasons.

    The debates at the time about SCHV rounds are well documented in publications like "antipersonnel weapons" published by SIPRI (Stokholm International Peace Research institute).

    The argument that the AK round was ignored because it was foreign hardly seems likely, as almost all users of early M16s considered the AK to be the superior weapon, pretty much killing the NIH argument.

    It should be noted that in this case we are talking about ball ammunition.
     
  14. dodging230grainers

    dodging230grainers Member

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    You misunderstood; by wounding potential I mean blood loss potential which equals killing power. Before someone dies, they have to be mortally wounded.

    I have a book called "Gunshot Wounds" by Dr. Vincent Dimaio who is a famous forensic pathologist, and he notes in the book that often times wounds caused by 7.62x39mm FMJ russian surplus would resemble those of handgun wounds, provided it didn't break up or tumble when it hit the target, but rather passed straight through.

    The reason is simply because the x39mm has more mass, it requires a longer distance inside the body before it can begin to tumble. As someone said the yugos made an air pocket round that was designed to defeat the this, and enable the slug to tumble earlier.

    That said, I'd still think the x39mm is the better combat round due to its ability to defeat armored targets more easily than say the .223.
     
  15. dstorm1911

    dstorm1911 Member

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    "Tony Williams. Don't forget that not all 7.62x39 FMJ ball rounds are equal. Some are available with lead cores rather than the standard steel (the Yugoslavian military loading being one, I believe) and this alters the balance of the bullet so that it tumbles much more rapidly on impact."

    Actually unless ya have a ton of old Chicom steel core imported prior to 1989 then ALL 7.62X39 imported in the USA is lead core its against the law to import or for a dealer to sell steel core 7.62x39 just as it is for 7.62x51 because it is considered a handgun round cause a company back then decided it would be really cool to build an AK pistol.............



    Off topic, why doesn't my quote message in reply button work? its blue and does nothing if I click on it after blocking text etc...
     
  16. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    I'm not aware that the Soviet decision to switch from 7.62x39 to 5.45x39 had anything to do with lethality: lighter and more compact ammunition, plus the greater controllability resulting from reduced recoil, would seem reason enough.

    I've read that some experienced Russian units prefer to keep the 7.62 guns, because they find their effectiveness more reliable. The SCHV ammo seems to be more erratic; sometimes it's devastating, sometimes it does little.
     
  17. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Boy, does that sound familiar. ;)
     
  18. TOU

    TOU Member

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    I'm actually looking to trade for CZ 527 Carbine 7.62x39.

    Back to the OP topic...I too have been rethinking the 7.62x39 round. IMHO it is a great kids first or small women's dear rifle as well especially in the 100-150 yard range. Anyway I have had my eye on the CZ 527 carbines as well and just posted an add in the classifieds with a desire to trade for one. I WTT a CZ 12 Ga Mallard Shotgun or CZ 40P Pistol for CZ 527 Carbine 7.62x39.

    Let me know if you all hear of something. Thx!
     
  19. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    The CZ-527 carbine is a super little rifle, particularly in 7.62x39. Mine weigh just under 6 pounds, and I have a Burris fixed 4x on it. You can mount the scope much lower than the factory rings with a simple mod to the bolt.

    With handloads, I can get about 1.5 MOA at 100 yards - minute of deer. Not bad when you consider this is a sporter barrel. The iron sights were dead on.

    Some early carbines had occasional misfired with surplus militay ammo thanks to extremely hard primers. CZ will send you a replacement strtiker spring that corrects this.

    I got my CZ for $399 NIB because it had been sitting on the rack for a long time. Some people just don't appreciate 7.62x39 as a useful hunting round, but with modern spitzer bullets it's basically a 30-30.

    Winchester 7.62x39 brass is very good, and you can safely load much hotter than you would want top use in the AK. Use common sense, and watch for excessive pressure signs. The receiver is designed for 223 pressures, which can run as high as 60,000psi vs 45,000 for the 7.62.
     
  20. woof

    woof Member

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    What exactly is the simple mod to the cz carbine bolt for lower scope mounting? What's involved and who can do it?
     
  21. Kilgor

    Kilgor Member

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    I'm interested too.
     
  22. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Member

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    Ithaca37
    Good point (about small holes) the situation is this I have seen so many different wounds and you wonder why they died or did not. Shot placement and even if it is correct sometimes it is still not going to kill or it might.

    Bottom line is get what you want and like.

    The 223 should not be mentioned if you are talking 5.56 and vice versa.

    One is one and one is the other. Respecting pressures.

    I have seen through and through vehicles with the 7.62X39 I have not seen the same with the 223.

    The 223 will go through some things a 7.62x39 won't but, by and by the 7.62x39 is a very efficient dude.

    HQ
     
  23. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Before you read this... realize I am a bored teenager sitting at his computer on a 100 degree day listening to lethargic Gen- X grunge music... mmmm, Nirvana.

    Anyways...

    Hell... shoot the thing enough in a short amount of time or in the head, and it really doesn't matter how big the bullet is past a certain point... which is at about 5.56 mm. 7.62x39mm Soviet or 5.56x45mm NATO... either way it doesn't really matter. The "insurgents" in Iraq don't seem to be bitching about the "lack of wounding power" in the 7.62mm Soviet. Seems to work great for them... 5.56 isn't a slouch, either. In fact... it works pretty damn well.
     
  24. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    Quite true. In Africa poachers use mass numbers of Ak47 to take down elephants for the Ivory trade.
     
  25. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    CZ-527 bolt knob

    For those who asked, the bolt handle on the CZ-527 ius much thicker on the root than it has to be. Anyone with a belt sander can slim up the root of the bolt handle and gain another 1/4 inch or more of clearance, allowing the use of Warne, Talley, Lynx or similar low mounts, rather than the tall factory rings.

    If you are uncompfortable making this mod, or can't reblue and don;t ewant to polish the whole knob, you can get a modified knob from James Calhoon http://www.jamescalhoon.com The cost is $40 plust you knob. They will send you a modified and reblued knob.

    I will take some photos and post them as soon as I get my web server back online.
     
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