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Author Topic: 7.62x39 ammo questions
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It has been a while since I purchased this ammo... My last purchase was in the late 90's.

Back then there was not cheap commercial Russian ammo on the market. Any Russian was "soviet surplus" and valued rather highly. The most common was Norinco sold in 20 round boxes, with the rounds packaged in a styro foam block in a cardboard box.

I had a large stash (which was recently shot up) of East German ammo. This was an odd flat gray/field green color, with long rounded bullets. These were 63 grain plastic core "training rounds", packaged in 10 round square yellowish plastic see through boxes. These light rounds were great for rabbit and coons!

Anyways, the market has changed.

What are the good makes? Good prices? Makes to avoid? The two I see the most are Wolf and Herter, followed by Tula.

What about the grain of the bullets? I see you now have a choice. I have a regular length Norinco SKS if that makes any difference.

Thanks for any advice.

"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at it’s worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)

Posts: 860 | From: Omaha Nebraska | Registered: Nov 2013  | Report this post to a Moderator
Not GunnFixr
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The best is going to be Golden Tiger. It is the most consistent and accurate. However, it is hard to find. A bit more expensive. Non-corrosive.
Sellier & Bellott is very good as well, but expensive. Reloadable brass cased. Now not as common. Non-corrosive.
I think it's pretty much dried up, but the Yugoslavian surplus is also very good. Clean, accurate, also brass cased, but Berdan primed. Mildly corrosive, meaning you could wait a week in a fairly dry environment to clean. Very good ballistically, tumbles early, like Chinese, and the Russian bullet that I don't believe is available anymore here in the US.
You still see some of the German stuff from time to time, and small amounts of Chinese show up from time to time.
After that it's Wolf, Tula, Silver Bear, Brown Bear. The Wolf and Tula are usually cleaner than the Bear rounds, all non-corrosive.

For terminal performance of FMJ rounds, there is a bullet produced by the Russians that tumbles at about 2" of penetration, while the Chinese bullet tumbles at about 2"-2 1/2". The Yugoslav bullet tumbles at about 3", everything else is about 5" or later. However, the Russians changed bullets, and while Wolf was being sold here with the good bullet, it no longer is.

I miss the old German training rounds, those were fun. Made good street fighting ammo, as the light plastic core didn't go real deep on hard targets, and dropped off quickly after 100-125yds. No recoil for quick followup shots.

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Liberty is a Man-of-War, and we are all crew.

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Posts: 248 | From: VA | Registered: Jan 2008  | Report this post to a Moderator
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Many a "long eared rat" (aka rabbit) met its end with those East German round. I have just 10 rounds of early 90's soviet AP... Saving those for an emergency😉

"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at it’s worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)

Posts: 860 | From: Omaha Nebraska | Registered: Nov 2013  | Report this post to a Moderator
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Where does Herter fit in the picture? Cabelas has a lot of this Russian made stuff. I've read that this is simply Tula made ammo in a fancy packaging...

Thanks for the info.

[ 07-28-2014, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: Huskerpatriot ]

"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at it’s worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)

Posts: 860 | From: Omaha Nebraska | Registered: Nov 2013  | Report this post to a Moderator
Texas Resistance
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There is not much difference in any of it now but be sure to only get lacquer coated ammo. The polycoat is junk. The polycoat rubs off just from the box moving in a vehicle and it rubs off from loading into a magazine and then the steel case rust. If you already have polycoat shoot it in target practice and save your lacquer coated ammo for combat.

www.TexasMilitia.Info “Seek out and join a lawful Militia or form one in your area. If you wish to remain Free you will have to fight for it...because the traitors will give us no choice in the matter” William Cooper

Posts: 2562 | From: Angelina County, TX | Registered: Jun 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
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Golden Tiger is that "African" stuff which is actually Chinese repack. All of the Chinese ammo was pretty good stuff and you can still find stashes of it hidden here and there in some "crazy uncles gun room", but most people who have it know what it is worth, usually, not always, since most gun shops will refuse to take it, it often ends up around flea markets and garage sales until some sharp eyed picker grabs it, triples the price and sets it on the table at a gun show. If you have a logistics guy in your group who is scouting for deals on material for your group, he knows to keep on constant lookout for Chicom spam can ammo.

My experience with the East German ammo is that it was trash. Slob shooting at the riverbank type stuff.

The way all of this is working out, you need your personal rifle inventory to be caliber flexible. You get with your people and figure where you want your compatibility to be. Usually that means you can at least agree on magazine compatibility, rifles that take AK mags, rifles that take AR mags, then it gets more difficult on the .308 mag world, whether you go FAL, AR10, M14 or G3 platform, or are with the rich guys and go FN SCAR or something like that (which I think takes one of the AR10 mag variants).

It is valid that if you all run good ARs and don't see yourselves really going AK unless it is what some guys call a "Vulture loadout" using captured material, running SKS as a backup when there is a .223 ammo shortage, and making your own decisions on whether you want SKS with Tapco hicaps or just stripper clips as your 7.62x39 option. Thing about that now is that any serious national invader nation has moved beyond that caliber. The Chicom QBZ rifle uses its own ammo, Russians are now married to 5.45 but are experimenting with other stuff. Europe is on STANAG magazines and unlikely to change for another 30-50 years.

Just like with your handgun situation, you need a 9mm and .45, then probably a .40. Sometimes you can accomplish that with conversion kits to save cost. Rifle conversion kits are not nearly as cost effective, you can get an entire AK or SKS for the cost of a 7.62X39 AR upper.

You have two potential serious sources of captured X39 ammo in the real world in the next 20 years, and I am calling that potential, with the likelihood being speculative:

International drug cartel safehouse stockpiles;
Alliances between international drug cartels in Latin America and upstarts in Africa will mean more Soviet era weapons dumped in Africa will be available in Latin America, and while never being primary merchandise heading north, the weapons will accompany narcotics shipments both in the hands of security personnel and as bonus items to midlevel narcotics wholesalers so that they can arm their neighborhood security and enforcement personnel. Those weapons and ammunition for them are likely to be kept at safehouses separately from narcotics transactions and then distributed from those safehouses to the narcotics distribution locations. The Zetas tend to favor different people for the roles of drug pusher vs enforcer vs business manager, and they are sane enough to know that drug addicted pushers should not be sitting on their warfighting stockpiles. That wisdom is spreading throughout the other cartels and is likely to be taking hold and not changing any time soon. Clandestine militia groups and rival cartels constantly work to locate and identify such tactical, training and logistics safehouses, usually located at remote properties in the southwest border states.



Other stockpiles of such weapons are going to be in the hands of hostile groups which also either set up their own smuggling operations to bring in conflict zone merchandise, or had their own long term stockpiles. Personally, I place the most likely candidates to be Muslim extremists with connections to ISIS and more established outfits which have morphed in with Al Queda (which I contend does exist at this point, whether or not they were a creation of the CIA that got away on them). They are competent at weapons smuggling but not weapons production, so world market Soviet pattern stuff from Africa and the Middle East is likely to be found in any stockpiles and or safehouses they have. That said, every single one actually raided and inventoried that I know of has been a bit of a let-down, and vastly overrated prior to being hit, at least among ones in the USA. In either event, they favor AK stuff. If they ever expand their smuggling networks, they are most likely to be importing AK stuff from conflict zones, but the high priority weapons to be obtained on any raids would be their PKMs, RPGs, and any more advanced weapons they have obtained from sources in Iran and Pakistan, both of which now have fairly advanced weapons production capabilities, with Pakistan in particular able to make ammo for just about anything along with copies of all popular world small arms. My personal guess is their smuggling conduit of choice will be Canada, not Mexico. Easier customs and more lax port security would mean one advantage, not having to share or compete with drug cartels is another. They would likely go through some elaborate measures to conceal the nature of shipments, sources and end users, with Canadian intermediaries doing all of the work and delivering to other intermediaries who may be unaware of who and what they are actually dealing with.

[ 07-30-2014, 02:46 AM: Message edited by: Breacher ]

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Posts: 6705 | From: Western States | Registered: Sep 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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