Saturday, December 19, 2020

Reloading 7.62X39mm


A bucket of spent steel-cased ammo. The interesting thing about this photo is that a wasp decided to lay eggs in the casing near the very top of the photo. The mouth of the casing is sealed with a clay plug. It was not the only casing that was like that.

"Hey, Uncle Joe, do you have reloading dies for the 7.62 Commie?"

As a matter of fact, I do NOT have dies for the 7.62x39mm round commonly used in the SKS and AK variants. There are several reasons for that.

For one thing, when ammo is available I cannot come close to the cost of Eastern Bloc imported ammo.

Another reason is that almost all of the ammo is steel-cased and lacquer-coated. The brass is not brass. Even if you clean up the cases the lacquer will gum up the dies and the steel is less forgiving of multiple resizings.

A third reason is that all of that cheap Eastern Bloc ammo uses Berdan primers rather than Boxer primers. The Berdan primer incorporates the primer's anvil in the case rather than being integral to the case like the Boxer primer. You need to use hydraulic methods to remove the spent case. That is a slow and messy process.

A fourth reason is that the ejectors for the SKS and AK varients smack the side of the case where the wall is thin. It is a very robust ejector but it knocks the snot out of the case. Nearly all US designed arms have the ejector striking the base of the case where the metal is much, much thicker.

A fifth reason is that the bores of rifles chambered in 7.62X39mm vary a great deal. Some rifles manufactured in the US have 0.308" groove diameter. The standard is 0.310" but they can be as large (or as eroded) as 0.313".

And finally there are the shooters...Conditioned by the incredibly cheap ammo most of them are spray-and-spray some more shooters. They can go through 200 rounds of ammo in a single session. Compare that to somebody who shoots woodchucks with a 22-250. Two hundred rounds will  last him two years to a decade.

The round itself

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the round itself. Frankly, it is far more versatile than the .30 Carbine round the US fielded in WWII. It holds about as much powder as a 30-30 Winchester in a more compact round.

Expanding projectiles

Tumblers. The hollow-point is not designed to initiate expansion. The mechanics of the hollow-point are to make the front end of the projectile "fluffy". When it hits flesh, the dynamics of the projectile are like a badminton birdie thrown ass-end forward. It wants to swap ends or tumble.

Shoot a home-intruder in the thoracic region with 7.62 Commie and an expanding projectile and call it good. That might be the only valid reason to reload the 7.62 Commie; the Eastern Bloc projectiles are tumblers rather than expanders.

So even though I was asked by a family member, I don't plan to start reloading the 7.62 "Commie"


  1. Thanks for all the information you provide. The closest I have to that round is 30-30.
    Also I saw this and thought of you.
    Nursery stock from long ago.

  2. Thanks for all the information you provide. The closest I have to that round is 30-30.
    Also I saw this and thought of you.
    Nursery stock from long ago.

  3. The only reason I could see is if you have a domestic gun chambered for it. CZ makes a sweet little carbine for it, and I wouldn’t want to run milsurp garbage through a gun like that...

    Is that stuff corrosive, Joe?

  4. Ruger mini 30 shoots the russian caliber, and doesn't do well with cheap ammo. I wanted one cause I love my mini 14, so how about spend 300$ for a thousand rds starline brass. After the cost of brass, it's now not to expensive load? Didn't do it because I already have 308. Would be nice to have infinite money, but nope.

  5. Nope, not worth the time and trouble...

    1. If that were my nephew's only functioning firearm and he was completely dry, that would be one thing. I can put up with a lot of pain if there are no other viable choices.

      But I don't think that is the case.

  6. You can do it, if you want to. I invested in some Boxer-primed brass for it even and a cheap set of dies.
    The hard part is finding the right size 0.312" IIRC bullets.
    It's also not easy to find the brass after you shot it, at least the SKS really launches that stuff on out there and I never get it all back.
    Just as something to try (since you mentioned casting), you can cast ok 0.323" boolits and load them, especially if you use gas checks or a case filler.
    I felt better knowing if I was stuck on a desert island with the stuff in my shop, I could make more ammo for the 7.62x39, but doing it is a chore even for someone who likes the casting and reloading hobbies.
    Better to buy the steel-cased commie stuff even at what they're charging now-a-days.