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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

7.62x39mm (M43) Soviet

Author: Brian Pearce
Date: Apr 24 2020

The 7.62x39mm Soviet has been the official Russian military cartridge since 1943 and is used in a variety of firearms including the SKS and AK-47 rifles and carbines. Most import and surplus ammunition features a steel case and is corrosive primed, but Federal, Remington and Winchester now offer factory ammunition with boxer priming and reloadable brass cases. Military loads generally utilize a 122-grain bullet at around 2,329 fps, while U.S. manufactured factory loads push 120-, 123- and 125-grain bullets to around 2,365 fps.

Standard bullet diameter is .311 inch to match rifles with similar groove diameter. Although .308 inch bullets can be used for reloading (which requires a smaller neck expander ball), they work less than perfect in rifles with the .311 inch groove diameter. Most bullet makers are now offering .311 inch bullets in suitable weights designed specifically for this cartridge. Incidentally, Winchester is currently using bullets that measure .310 inch in their factory loads.

Beginning in 1987, Ruger began offering the Mini-30 (similar to the Mini-14) rifle with .311-inch groove diameter; however, in 1990 the barrel diameter was changed to .308 inch, which was the version used to develop the accompanying load data. In various tests there was very little if any difference in accuracy when using bullets of .308, .310 and .311 inch.

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