ak-ammo-mainThere is no doubt the AK-47 platform is one of the most reliable rifle platforms manufactured. It can run in the worst environments—hot, cold, dust, humidity. Part of the reason the AK-47 runs so reliably is because of its 7.62x39mm cartridge. The cartridge has been in use with the Soviet/Russian military and those under Soviet influence since 1944, first in the SKS rifle and later to the present in the AK-47 rifle.

A 123-grain boat-tail bullet with a copper jacket and lead and steel core was the first military bullet loaded. It has been loaded in brass, bimetal (steel and copper) and steel cases. The best way to describe the 7.62x39mm is by comparison. It has similar power and range as the venerable .30-30 Winchester, making the round suitable for defense as well as hunting out to medium ranges.

There are a lot of ammo options to keep your AK running from foreign manufacture for defense and training to made-in-the-U.S.A. ammunition suited for hunting, practice and home defense. Here’s a rundown on some of the better ammo available. Most factory ammo is either out of a 20- or 16-inch barrel.

Bear
Barnaul Machine Plant in Russia has been manufacturing cartridges since 1869. DKG Trading imports two lines of Bear ammo: Brown Bear with lacquered steel cases, Silver Bear with zinc plated cases and Golden Bear, a brass coated steel case. Bullet types range from Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and Hollow Point (HP) to Soft Point (SP). All Bear ammo is non-corrosive and new production. (DKGTrading.com)

golden-bearBrand: Golden Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. HP

Case: Brass coated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,404 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,579 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Golden Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass coated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Golden Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 125-gr. SP

Case: Brass coated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs

 

silver-bearBrand: Silver Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. HP

Case: Zinc plated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,404 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,579 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Silver Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Zinc plated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Silver Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 125-gr. SP

Case: Zinc plated steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs

 

brown-bear-125Brand: Brown Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. HP

Case: Lacquered steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,404 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,579 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Brown Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Lacquered steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Brown Bear

Bullet Weight/Type: 125-gr. SP

Case: Lacquered steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,401 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,575 ft-lbs


corbonCorbon
The 123-grain DPX bullet—DPX as in Deep Penetrating X-panding—is a round designed for hunting and self defense. It uses a solid copper bullet that offers consistent expansion and 100 percent retention. Made in U.S.A. (Corbon.com)

Brand: DPX Rifle

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. DPX

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,300 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,445 ft-lbs


double-tapDoubletap
With a reputation for accurate, consistent and powerful ammunition, Doubletap loads 7.62x39mm Russian for defense and hunting scenarios. All cartridges are loaded in reloadable brass and are loaded with a variety of bullet types and weights. The 123-grain DT Defense round is good for defense work and is accurate and hard hitting. For hunting, the 123-grain Barnes TSX all-copper, lead free bullet and 150-grain JSP are good for up to medium-sized game. Manufactured in U.S.A. (DoubletapAmmo.net)

Brand: DT Defense

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. Polymer Tip

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,280 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,420 ft-lbs

 

Brand: DT Hunter

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. Barnes TSX

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,280 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,420 ft-lbs

 

Brand: DT Hunter

Bullet Weight/Type: 150-gr. JSP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 1,850 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,140 ft-lbs


Federal Premium
Federal manufactures 7.62x39mm under a number of brand names including Fusion, Power-Shok and American Eagle. The Fusion line offers a 123-grain Spitzer Boat Tail load that features an electrochemically bonded lead core to copper jacket and is perfect for deer-sized game.

Their 123-grain SP Power-Shok is also designed for hunting with a muzzle velocity of 2,300 fps. The American Eagle brand is design for high-volume practice and uses a 123-grain FMJ bullet. Manufactured in U.S.A. (FederalPremium.com)

federal-fusionBrand: Fusion

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. Spitzer Boat Tail

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,350 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,508 ft-lbs

 

federal-power-shokBrand: Power-Shok

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. SP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,300 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,445 ft-lbs

 

Brand: American Eagle

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,300 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,456 ft-lbs

federal-american-eagle


fiocchiFiocchi
Fiocchi ammunition has a reputation for superior accuracy and clean burning. Their 7.62x39mm is loaded in brass cases with a 123-grain FMJ bullet in their Shooting Dynamics line and is well suited for training and self defense. It also uses reloadable brass cases. Manufactured in Italy. (Fiocchi.GunsAmerica.com)

Brand: Shooting Dynamics

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2375 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1540 ft-lbs


Hornady
Hornady loads their SST bullet in polymer-coated steel cases to offer good reliability at a low cost. I have personally used this ammo frequently because it is consistent and gives good accuracy. The 123-grain SST bullet uses a polymer tip for rapid expansion. This round is well suited for hunting applications, as it is for defense and training. Manufactured in U.S.A. (Hornady.com)

hornady-steel-match-2013-rockBrand: Steel Case

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. SST

Case: Steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,350 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,508 ft-lbs


PPU (Prvi Partizan)
PPU offers a 123-grain Full Metal Jacket and 123-grain Pointed Soft Point Boat Tail bullets loaded in reloadable brass cases. This FMJ round is well suited for extensive training, while the Pointed Soft Point (PSP) is a good hog and deer round. Manufactured in Serbia. (PrviPartizan.com)

ppuBullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,460 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,659 ft-lbs

 

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. PSP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,461 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,653 ft-lbs


Remington
The economy UMC ammo line is designed for practice and high-volume training and features a 123-grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2,365 fps. Green box Remington cartridges are many hunter’s go-to ammo, and the 7.62x39mm round is loaded with a 125-grain PSP with a muzzle energy of 1,552 ft-lbs. Manufactured in U.S.A. (Remington.com)

Brand: UMC

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,527 ft-lbs

 

coreloktBrand: Core-Lokt

Bullet Weight/Type: 125-gr. PSP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,552 ft-lbs

 


 

Sellier & Bellot
Seller & Bellot offers two 123-grain bullet cartridges in reloadable brass cases. The FMJ round is designed for plinking and training, and the rapid controlled expansion JSP is a good hog and deer round. Manufactured in Czech Republic. (SellierBellot.us)

sellierbellotBullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,421 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,601 ft-lbs

 

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. JSP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,437 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,622 ft-lbs


Tula
Russian-manufactured Tula is some of the most inexpensive ammunition available. A number of bullet types are available from FMJs to HPs. It is loaded in polymer-coated, bi-metal, non-reloadable cases and uses a Berdan type primer. Tula ammo in Full Metal Jacket and Hollow Point bullets is perfect for practice and plinking. The 154-grain JSP is an option for hunting. Tula ammo is all new production. (TulammoUSA.com)

tulaBullet Weight/Type: 122-gr. FMJ

Case: Polymer-coated bi-metal

Muzzle Velocity: 2,396 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,555 ft-lbs

 

Bullet Weight/Type: 124-gr. HP

Case: Polymer-coated bi-metal

Muzzle Velocity: 2,330 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,425 ft-lbs

 

Bullet Weight/Type: 154-gr. JSP

Case: Polymer-coated bi-metal

Muzzle Velocity: 2,104 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,513 ft-lbs


winchester-defenderWinchester
Winchester offers defense, training and hunting cartridges in 7.62x39mm. The white box brand features a 123-grain FMJ for practice sessions. The Power-Point line loads a 123-grain SP so it is deadly on deer-sized game. Got pigs? Razor Back ammo is specifically designed for hog hunting to drive through tough hide and bone and then expand. For defense, the Winchester PDX1 line was tested by the FBI to see if it can stand up to real world, life-threatening situations. It uses a 120-grain bonded jacketed hollow point that expands up to 1½ times the size of the original bullet diameter using a notch in the bullet to create six equal segments for maximum expansion on impact. All Winchester ammo uses reloadable brass cases. Manufactured in U.S.A. (Winchester.com)

Brand: Defender

Bullet Weight/Type: 120-gr. JHP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,490 ft-lbs

 

winchester-fmjBrand: White Box

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. FMJ

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,515 ft-lbs

 

Brand: Power-Point

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. SP

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,527 ft-lbs

 

win-razorbackBrand: Razor Back

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. HP lead free

Case: Brass

Muzzle Velocity: 2,365 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,527 ft-lbs


Wolf
Wolf ammo is made in Russia and offers three lines of 7.62x39mm ammo for a range of shooting scenarios: plinking, training, hunting and home defense. All Wolf ammo uses a non-corrosive Berdan primed non-reloadable steel case. This is inexpensive ammo for high-volume shooting. The Performance line is mil-spec style ammo with a lacquer finish that uses a bullet with a bi-metal jacket. PolyFormance uses a special coating designed for smoother feeding and extraction. Affordable Military Classic ammo uses steels cases. All Wolf ammo is non-corrosive. (WolfAmmo.com)

wolf-classicBrand: Military Classic

Bullet Weight/Type: 124-gr. SP

Case: Steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,330 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,495 ft-lbs

 

Brand: PolyFormance

Bullet Weight/Type: 122-gr. HP

Case: steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,396 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,555 ft-lbs

 

wolfBrand: Performance

Bullet Weight/Type: 123-gr. HP

Case: Steel

Muzzle Velocity: 2,362 fps

Muzzle Energy: 1,555 ft-lbs

 

 

 


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