Know Your Cartridge: 7.62x39mm


7629-KYC_FThis “assault rifle” cartridge was adopted by Russia in 1943. It did not come into general use until after World War II, but the Russians now use it as their principal infantry small-arms cartridge. Original use was in the SKS semi-automatic carbine, later replaced by the AK-47 selective-fire assault rifle. This cartridge was adopted as the result of Russian military experience against German assault rifles chambered for the 7.92mm Kurz. Most military ammunition has a steel case and corrosive Berdan primer, but reloadable cases are now readily available. The M43 is a ¼-inch longer than the German 7.92mm Kurz and will give substantially better performance with newer powders. This cartridge has been loaded commercially by Federal, Winchester, Remington, and Black Hills with Boxer-primed reloadable cases. Better handloads and factory ammunition using soft-point bullets up to about 150 grains place this cartridge far ahead of any reasonable .30-30 load, in terms of delivered energy beyond 100 yards.

Editor's Note: This brief is an excerpt from Cartridges of the World 14th Edition


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  1. I just started loading 7.62×39, for my CZ 527 Carbine. What a sweet little rifle! I have found a few loads that work just okay. I am still looking for that magical recipe though.
    As far as factory ammo goes, I have yet to find anything better (in my rifle) than the Red Army Elite. Brass cased, reloadable and super accurate. A bit pricey though.

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