The 7.62x39mm, a centerfire rifle cartridge, was first introduced in 1944 by the Soviet Union as the standard ammunition for the iconic AK-47 and SKS rifles. Known for its reliability, affordability, and widespread availability, the 7.62x39mm has become a popular choice among military forces, law enforcement agencies, and civilian shooters around the world. The cartridge’s versatility makes it suitable for various applications, including hunting, self-defense, and recreational shooting.
The 7.62x39mm features a rimless, bottlenecked case and utilizes a .311-inch (7.9mm) diameter bullet. The cartridge typically employs bullet weights ranging from 120 to 125 grains, with muzzle velocities between 2,300 and 2,400 feet per second, depending on the specific load and bullet weight. The 7.62x39mm offers a good balance of power, trajectory, and manageable recoil, making it an appealing option for shooters seeking a dependable intermediate-range cartridge.
One of the primary advantages of the 7.62x39mm is its moderate recoil, which contributes to its popularity among new and experienced shooters alike. The cartridge is well-suited for taking down medium-sized game, such as deer, wild boar, and coyotes, at distances up to 300 yards. Its performance can be further optimized with the use of modern, expanding bullet designs, which provide improved terminal ballistics and accuracy.
Factory-loaded ammunition for the 7.62x39mm is widely available from various manufacturers, offering different bullet types and weights to suit different hunting, self-defense, and recreational shooting applications. Additionally, handloaders can find an extensive selection of .311 caliber bullets, brass, and reloading data to customize their ammunition according to their specific needs and preferences.
In conclusion, the 7.62x39mm is a versatile and reliable cartridge that offers military forces, law enforcement, hunters, and recreational shooters a practical and effective option for various applications. Its moderate power, trajectory, and manageable recoil have earned it a place among the most popular and enduring intermediate-range cartridges worldwide, particularly due to its association with the legendary AK-47 rifle.