Why are 7.62x39 not common in bolt action rifles?

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Aug 24, 2014
Just curious, 7.62x39 is a very common and economical cartridge yet it seems only CZ, Ruger and Win/Zavata makes one. Why is it not more common?
My thought is, if you were Winchester, or Remington, or Savage, and you know there is at least a gazillion rounds of old com-block steel case, steel jacket, corrosive primed ammo squirreled away in the USA?

Would you build a rifle for it, and then set up a second shift in the warranty department to handle all the rusty gun / damaged barrel warranty claims??

what they said, and it just isn't a very powerful cartridge. limited effective range fairly low velocity, light for caliber bullet weights, not a very good option for hunting.
As said, if you had $750 in your pocket, and wanted a new bolt action rifle, would you choose:

A) A 7.62x39, or

B) A 308 that has much more power, but can be loaded down to 7.62x39 if you choose.
If I were the maker of bolt action rifles, I would not make one in 7.62x39 as to avoid customer dissatisfaction that's sure to arise from using cheap surplus ammo
The steel cased stuff is good for blasting with an AK. Most folks shoot bolts for hunting and would prefer brass cased hunting ammo, but if you're going to pay $1.00/round then why not get a .308.
Yeah, I can only imagine the false warranty claims Ruger, Savage, CZ, etc have gotten for bad accuracy in their x39 rifles, due to people using 20cent Tula ammo.
7.62 X 39 or .308

Why not both?



And, truth be told, the "cheap surplus ammo" is the stuff that has been more reliable. Anything from Yugoslav milsurp (Russian stuff) to the contemporary steel-cased loads works well. It's some of the U.S.-made brass cartridges that can be "iffy" in the euro-made chamber of the CZ. Either way, it sure is a light, handy carbine... and very very accurate even with the milsurp.

The .308 Ruger is a peach! Both rifles are amazing.

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Guess this same ".308 is better" ...logic... applies to .223, .243, 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .30-30, etc?

Why would anyone bother making guns in those cartridges when the great .308 exists? And at that point, why does .30-06 remain? After all, the performance gap between the two is minimal, might as well stop making that too.

Not everything comes down to .308.
^^ You just like arguing ^^ Why not answer the question instead of picking a fight?

Yes, .308 IS better than 7.62x39 and it is fairly common in most communist countries in the form of the AK47. Pretty much bet there is very little to no demand for a low power communist cartridge in a bolt rifle or you'd see one.
There are way too many SKS and AK47's on the market and people shoot the 7.62X39. I've seen a few bolt 7.62X39 rifles and they are very accurate. I don't think the market is there.
I want a 7.62x39 in a bolt gun. Preferably in a Savage Model 10 or Axis. I already have .308 (7.62x51) bolt guns. I already have 7.62x39 in Aks, SKSs and Ruger Mini-30s. I WANT a decent bolt gun in 7.62x39. NO I do not want a Cz unless they make it with a flush mount magazine. I like the Zastava and the Remington 799 but they are scarce as hen's teeth around here.
Yeah, just trying to answer the question with a wild guess. Could be a huge untapped market. More shooting options the better imo.
My best guess is because the cartridge has gotten a less than stellar reputation in the accuracy department, due, in my opinion, primarily to the primary platform associated with it. AK's are not known to be accurate guns, and people, especially, outside of "gun people" have a hard time differentiating between the gun and the ammo.

Personally I would LOVE for Mossberg to chamber their MVP rifle in X39!!!
^^ You just like arguing ^^ Why not answer the question instead of picking a fight?

Yes, .308 IS better than 7.62x39 and it is fairly common in most communist countries in the form of the AK47. Pretty much bet there is very little to no demand for a low power communist cartridge in a bolt rifle or you'd see one.
Depends how you define "better."

For the 7.62x39
Plinking ammo is half the price
A comparable bolt action is much shorter and lighter (cz527 is 37" and 5.9 pounds with an 18.5" barrel)
Less recoil and muzzle blast
Will hold 1000 ft-lbs to 125 yards, which is enough for 90% of shots in my area

For the 308
More energy downrange
Greater selection of hunting ammo
Greater loading options
More rifle options

They both have their pupose. If downrange energy is all that matters, then any 30 caliber shooter who takes anything other than a 30-378 Weatherby is under gunned.

As far as the OP's question, I think most Americans use lever action 30-30s in the same role most would use a bolt action 7.62x39, and the 30-30 wins out becausse it's established.
Also the bolt head of the rifle would be unique compared to the vast number of 30-06-based cases. It would cost more and suffer less utility than other rounds.
I think .308 Win / 7.62 NATO is better is a conditional answer. Those conditions are that most companies in Western countries don't make a short short action, a micro length action, true short action, whatever you want to call it. There's too much overlap chambering 7.62x39 in an action that will handle .308 Win. They still chamber .223 Rem, .204 Ruger, or .22-250 on their short action (that's really a medium action) because those rounds fill a significantly different role than .308 Win.

CZ and Zastava are based in former Warsaw Pact nations, where the two primary 30 caliber cartridges were 7.62x54R and 7.62x39. American / NATO mid length cartridges like the .308 Win and its derivatives were almost certainly not a factor when their short action bolt rifles were developed, so their short actions are based around 7.62x39 and are consequently much shorter and lighter than our Western short actions. After the fall of communism it was logical for those companies to adapt this existing action to .223 Rem both for exporting rifles to the West and domestic use of now available imported Western .223 Rem ammo.
At one time the Ruger 77's in 7.62X39 were selling at a premium locally and being threaded for a suppressor. Personally I don't want one.
I really wanted to like my 7.62x39 BA, but just could never really warm up to it. I shoot in the wide open desert and it just isn't very impressive out there. Sure ammo is cheap and that makes missing less painful, but the rainbow trajectory and lack luster accuracy with the cheap ammo ruined it. The .223 shoots much flatter, is more accurate, and fits in the same sized rifles....I have seen some folks do some interesting things with the 7.62x39, but in the end the .223 just worked out better for me.
I like the idea of a x39 in bolt. I've considered the CZ. I guess Im intrigued for many of the reasons some dislike the idea...
-cheap ammo (without effort required to reload)
-reasonably powerful (no, its not .308, we get that. but its no .22 either)
-longest range I frequent is 200 yards anyway
-I can only shoot a few MOA anyway, unless Im shooting a bench. Bench shooting is not why I would buy a x39
Another advantage of .308 in a bolt gun is the odd ball bullet diameter of the 7.62x39 bullet, .313". Bullet selection is rather limited to the handloader compared to .308" bullets. I have loaded .308 bullets in 7.62x39 brass. In an SKS, not the most accurate rifle on the planet, it's hard to tell any difference. I got about 3.5" groups at 100 yards. With Wolf or Tula 154 SP I get 2.5" 100 yard groups, but the handloads were about as accurate as 123 FMJ. In a bolt gun, though, you could do much better with the bullet matching bore diameter. As a handloader, for an accurate rifle, I prefer .308 which is every bit as accurate a round as 7.62x39 in at its best. My hunting load in .308 from my Remington M7 Stainless gets 3/4 MOA from the bench. I'm loading a 150 Nosler BT. It has killed many hogs and deer and I made a 370 yard lasered shot on a coyote with it, once.
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