7.62x39 ammo is an intermediate rifle cartridge closely associated with the famously reliable SKS and AK-47 rifles that use it, this caliber is one of the most popular in the world despite its replacement in Russia by the 5.45x39mm in the 1970s. The first gun chambered for this cartridge, however, was actually the RPD light machine gun.
7.62x39mm ammo fires a 122 or 123 grain full metal jacket bullet at about 2,300 feet per second. These specifications produce excellent results at close to medium range while generating manageable levels of recoil.
Most 7.62x39mm ammo available in the US is imported from Russia; brand names to look for include Tula, Wolf, and Barnaul's Bear series. All three of those manufacturers offer cheap bulk 7.62x39 ammo that'll have your AK asking for more. Today's Russian-produced rounds are typically non-corrosive but steel-cased and non-reloadable. Shooters looking for a brass-cased load should check out Fiocchi, PMC, or Prvi Partizan's offerings for sale which offer reloadable cases for precise loading at your convenience."
Red Army Standard 7.62x39 122 Grain FMJ – 20 Rounds$9.55
Manufacturer Red Army Standard Condition New Bullet Weight 122 Grain Bullet Type Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Use Type plinking at the range Casing Type Steel Quantity 20 Ammo Caliber 7.62X39 Manufacturer SKU AM3092 Primer Type Berdan Magnetic Yes UPC Barcode 787450579873 Cost Per Round 47.8¢ per round
Red Army Standard is genuine, bona fide Russian-made ammo. If you’ve got an AK-47 or SKS, and its barrel is too cold or its trigger misses your index finger, then Red Army Standard has got the fix in the form of 20 rounds of 7.62x39.
The first phrase that should enter your mind when you see a steel case is “bimetal jacket.” That means this round’s 122 grain bullet has a copper-coated jacket fortified with steel, thus lowering its production cost while simultaneously rendering it magnetic. Otherwise this round’s FMJ performs more or less the same as any other round’s FMJ, promoting positive functionality within a semi-auto before continuing on to not expand within soft tissue.
This round’s steel case begs explanation too. Red Army Standard helps to keep your overhead low by loading economical steel cases instead of brass ones, and they coat them in polymer to reduce metal-on-metal friction within a semi-auto. That heat-resistant polymer does a good job avoiding melting off in the action, and also offers protection against corrosion.
The downside to steel cases? They’re non-reloadable, for one, and their inelasticity means they generally permit more carbon fouling into the action. Not a problem for the shooter who doesn’t reload and doesn’t mind cleaning anyway. Plus Red Army Standard’s non-corrosive Berdan primer doesn’t blast caustic salts into the bore where they could cause rust.
Prvi Partizan 7.62x39 123 Grain FMJ – 840 Rounds$557.50
Manufacturer Prvi Partizan Condition New Bullet Weight 123 Grain Bullet Type Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Use Type plinking at the range Casing Type Brass Quantity 840 Ammo Caliber 7.62X39 Manufacturer SKU PP76239B Primer Type Boxer Magnetic No UPC Barcode 8605003819707 Cost Per Round 66.4¢ per round
Do you need 7.62x39 ammo? Does the bear do something unmentionable in the woods?
This AK-47 and SKS ammo by Prvi Partizan is a versatile fix for all your range needs. Its bullet wears a simple gilding metal jacket, so it feeds and fires through semi-autos without leaving too much fouling in its wake. It’s also poised to do accented damage to a threat. This particular round’s FMJ won’t expand, but it has a good likelihood of yawing within soft tissue to tear a wider wound channel than its 0.31” diameter alone could account for.
At 123 grains this bullet exits a 24” barrel at a velocity of 2,461 fps. Trajectories are decent at a ballistic coefficient of 0.204, so you can peg nearby targets with negligible bullet rise, 250 yard targets with less than 7” bullet rise, and 400 yard targets with about 25” bullet rise. A bullet like this will remain supersonic until the 420 yard mark when fired through a 24” barrel, and retain sufficient energy with which to neutralize a threat throughout an AK-47’s effective range (despite its shorter barrel).
Prvi Partizan makes their own reloadable brass cases. Their bullets contain no steel that could run afoul of a range’s magnetic bullet ban, and their non-corrosive primers are sealed for added longevity on the shelf.