The 7.62×39 ammo (aka 7.62 Soviet, formerly .30 Russian Short) round is a rimless bottlenecked intermediate cartridge of Soviet origin. The cartridge is widely used due to the worldwide proliferation of Russian SKS and AK-47 pattern rifles, as well as RPD and RPK light machine guns.
The AK-47 was designed shortly after WWII, later becoming the AKM because the production of sheet metal had issues when first initiated. This weapon is now the world’s most widespread military-pattern rifle. The cartridge remained the Soviet standard until the 1970s.
It was largely replaced in Soviet service by the 5.45×39mm cartridge, which was introduced with the new AK-74 rifle, and continues in service with the modernized current-issue Russian Armed Forces AK-74M service rifle, as well as the AK-12 rifle. In the 21st century the 7.62×39 surplus ammo crate remains a common service rifle chambering, including for newly developed rifles like the AK-15.
On July 15, 1943, the Technical Council of the People’s Commissariat for Armaments (Russian: Техсовет Наркомата Вооружения) met to discuss the introduction of a Soviet intermediate cartridge. The Soviet planners also decided at this meeting that their new cartridge was to be used in a whole range of infantry weapons, including a semi-automatic carbine, a selective fire rifle, and a light machine gun.
The job of designing the Soviet intermediate cartridge was assigned to a committee led by chief designer N.M. Elizarov (Н.М. Елизаров), assisted by P.V. Ryazanov (П.В. Рязанов), B.V. Semin (Б.В. Семин), and I.T. Melnikov (И.Т. Мельников). Elizarov collaborated closely with some leading weapons designers, including Fedorov, Tokarev, Simonov, and Shpagin. About 314 cartridge designs were considered theoretically, before narrowing the selection down to eight models that were physically constructed and tested.
The 7.62×39mm has 2.31 ml (35.6 grain H2O) cartridge case capacity.
A first variant of the new cartridge was officially adopted for service after completing range trials in December 1943; it was given the GRAU index 57-N-231. This cartridge actually had a case length of 41 mm, so it is sometimes referred to as the 7.62×41.
The bullet it contained was 22.8 mm long and had a core made entirely of lead. This bullet has a somewhat stubbier appearance than later 7.62×39 ammo, with its maximal radius being attained after only 13.01 mm from its tip, and it was lacking a boat tail. After some further refinements, a pilot production series of this cartridge began in March 1944.
7.62×39 ammo, also known as 762 Soviet AK-47, is a rimless rifle cartridge that originated during WWII and has remained a popular choice for target practice due to its lower cost than comparable calibers. However, this ammunition is also used for hunting whitetails and other small to medium-sized game.
Most deer hunters turn to Hollow Point (HP) or Soft Point (SP) bullets, while competitive shooters and range aficionados usually go with Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammunition.
We have some of the best 7.62×39 ammo academy rounds on the market, and you can shop online from trusted ammo brands including Hornady, Wolf Ammo and Winchester to ensure your AR, AK or other compatible rifle variant performs to its fullest potential. If you need help deciding what ammunition to purchase, check out our helpful How-to-Guide that’s all about How to Buy Ammo Online.
7.62×39 hunting ammo
Since approximately 1990, the 7.62×39 Brass has seen some use in hunting arms in the U.S. for hunting game up to the size of whitetail deer, as it is slightly less powerful than the .30-30 Winchester round, and has a similar ballistic profile. Large numbers of imported semiautomatic rifles, such as the SKS and AK-47 clones and variants, are available in this caliber. Romania produces a 7.62×39 ammo midway AK-style WASR-10 Modern sporting rifle designed for the sporting market.
The lower cost and higher availability of military surplus ammunition makes this cartridge attractive for many civilian hunters, plinkers, target and metallic silhouette shooters.
In addition, several AR-15 manufacturers have produced the 7.62×39 ammo ban option. Some current and past companies include AR-Stoner, Armalite, Colt, Rock River Arms, Olympic Arms, DPMS, Del-Ton Inc, and ModelOne Sales. Custom builds and conversion kits are available as well.
Wide availability and low cost ammo with a wide variety of manufacturers make it a much lower cost of operation compared to other 5.56x45mm alternatives. Conversions include a new bolt, firing pin, extractor, barrel, and magazine. On December 1, 2014, CMMG introduced the Mk47 Mutant (later rebranded to Resolute line) rifle in pallet of 7.62×39 ammo, using a cut-down AR10 bolt.