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7.62 x 39 mm Russian (Soviet)

Cartridge Drawing

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Developed and introduced for military use by Russia in 1943, the 7.62 x 39mm is the world`s most popular assault rifle cartridge. Thirty to fifty million Kalashnikov rifles have been made in this caliber in about a dozen countries, and close to 55 minor and major nations use it. Even though Russia has now adopted its version of the U.S. 5.56 x 45mm called the 5.45 x 39mm, it will be a long time before we see the last of the 7.62 x 39mm. The 7.62 x 39mm is also the parent cartridge of the .220 Russian, .22 PPC, and 6mm PPC cartridges.

Standard groove diameter of foreign military rifles in 7.62 x 39mm is .311", and most factory ammunition is loaded with bullets near that diameter. The Ruger Mini-30, the first U.S. commercial rifle to be produced in this caliber, has a groove diameter of .308". The design of it`s chamber throat enables it to handle bullets of .308" and .311" diameters.

Some say the 7.62 x 39mm is equal in power to the .30-30 Winchester but this is not quite true. Although heavier bullets can be loaded in this cartridge, velocity is quite low since it was designed to push bullets from 120 to 125 grains to just over 2300 fps. In other words, no 7.62 x 39mm load can equal the .30-30 when its loaded with a 170 grain bullet.

Some foreign made rifles in 7.62 x 39mm have a reputation for accidentally firing when the bolt slams forward against the cartridge in the chamber. Such rifles are for collectors only and should be deactivated by removal of the firing pin.

7.62 x 39mm Russian

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