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Thread: Practical Dope on the 7.62X39

  1. #1
    Boolit Master robertbank's Avatar
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    Practical Dope on the 7.62X39

    Practical Dope on the 7.62x39

    By C.E. Harris—Updated 3-27-94

    I have reloaded thousands of rounds of 7.62X39 ammunition with both cast bullets and jacketed, in the AK and the SKS. I got frustrated with the AK as accuracy of these seems is generally poor, at best about 5-6" at 100 yards. The SKS is more reasonable, about 3-4" and is still a real bargain these days. Most SKS rifles group better with cast bullets than they do with ball ammunition. If you are new to cast bullet shooting or not inclined to do a lot
    of experimenting, I recommend 14.5-15.5 grs. of Hercules #2400 with the Lee .312-155-2R bullet, cast of wheel weights and sized .312". With this load the rifle functions like the proverbial pony trotting, and dumps the cases right
    at your feet! You can also try 18-21 grs. of 4198 or 16-18 grs. of 4227 with any bullet from 122-125 grs.

    The gas ports on these guns are larger than they need to be for reliable functioning. Lead fouling of the gas port is not a problem, but the gas piston and cylinder will foul, which can affect functioning if neglected. The gas
    piston should be removed and cleaned with Break Free, Marvel Mystery Oil or Dexron IIe ATF and 000 steel wool after each use, and the gas cylinder scrubbed with a shotgun bore brush. Liberally lubricating with Break Free,
    Marvel Mystery Oil or Dexron prior to reassembly eases the fouling problem.

    You can fire several hundred rounds between cleanings if you avoid super heating the rifle with rapid fire so that the barrel becomes too hot to hold in the bare hand. If you do so, and let the rifle cool without stripping and cleaning it immediately it will be difficult to disassemble!

    I have not found lead fouling to be a problem in ordinary National Match Course style firing, but only in factory endurance tests of the Ruger Mini Thirty when I was at Ruger. Ruger does not recommend handloads of any type. Therefore, they don't recommend cast bullets at all. However, in my experience cast loads about 1 grain heavier than the minimum which cycle an SKS or AK will work in the
    Ruger. These pose no real functional problem as long as the gas piston and its recess in the slide handle are kept clean and well lubricated. The only common cast bullet designs which are correct for the my original NEI designs
    for this caliber and the Lee .312-155-2R and TL.312-160-2R. The latter two are adaptations of my original NEI design with minor changes to suit Lee's manufacturing process, and to change the appearance slightly so the Lee version would have a distinct "product identity." Now that NEI is back in business (51583 Columbia River Hwy., Scappoose, OR 97056) Walt Melander can provide my original 52A design with its 1-1/2-degree tapered forepart or a stepped-diameter design similar to Lee's adaption, but with a blunter nose shape which is better for hunting. Accuracy-wise there is no difference between them. I designed these bullets with the intent to have the heaviest bullet which could be loaded without the GC poking into the powder space, and which would be big enough on the forepart to fill the large throats on the AK and SKS, as well as in the 7.62x54R Russian, .303 British, 7.65 Argentine, 7.7 Jap, etc Use of a heavier bullet is also better suited for the typical 10-inch twist rates of 7.62x39 barrels. These bullets have only one grease groove, (which is enough) and a substantial crimp groove .26" from the base. The rear driving band casts .312", the front band .310" and the forepart ahead of the crimp groove is .308." The ogival radius starts from this point in order to maximize bearing length. These bullets have proven very accurate in a variety of military rifles for
    target work at up to 200 yards. They out shoots ball ammo in the SKS or AK with any reasonable load. In a bolt- action target rifle they are capable of 1-1/4" 10-shot groups at 100 yards, and in a 2-groove 03A3 Springfield or M1917 Enfield they average around 2 moa ten-shot groups at 200 yards with iron sights, with refined loads.

    I use 1 part of linotype to five parts of wheel weight metal for competition in my .30-'06 M1917 Enfield and M1903 Springfields up to 200 yards with 16 grs. of #2400, 20 grs. of 4227, 13 grs. of Red Dot or 12 grs. of 700-X. Accuracy of these light cast bullet loads is far better than Ball M2 service ammunition. I use the same charges in the .303 British and 7.62x54R Russian as well. I fill the grease grooves with 50-50 Alox beeswax (Lee brand) then tumble Lee Liquid Alox on for a light golden overcoat. These
    loads don't lead for continuous use over the National Match Course, even over double-strings of rapid-fire.
    Above 1800 f.p.s. I use the same alloy, but cast the bullets "hot" until they are uniformly frosted, then quench them directly from the mould. The heattreated, double-lubed bullets will stand 2000 fps. in wheelweight alloy
    without leading, if shot straight from the mould without sizing, being GC'ed in a .313" die. A caseful (28 grs.) of Accurate 2230, 2460, or H335 gives around 2000 f.p.s. in the 7.62x39.

    Accurate Arms 1680 is very similar to the Olin 680 Ball powder, though slightly slower. Both of these powders are used in 7.62x39 ball ammunition, with a charge of 24 grs. being correct for service velocities with 123-gr. jacketed bullets using the Accurate-IMI propellant, and 23 grs. for the slightly faster Olin powder. For a full-power load approximating service ammunition you can also use 26.5 grs. of RL-7 or 25.0 grs. of IMR or H4198. With cast bullets the minimum load with 1680 which functions the SKS with the Lee .312-155-2R is 16 grs. In the SKS this produces about 1420 f.p.s. and 3" groups at 100 yds.; 18 grs. gives 1630 f.p.s. and 4" groups in the SKS. I did two strings with the Olin 680 for comparison with the NEI 155-gr. cast bullet at 18 and 19 grs., respectively, which gave 1810 and 1930 f.p.s. I would not exceed 19 grs. of Olin 680, or 20 grs. of Accurate 1680 with the 155-gr. cast bullet, as these are both full loads.

    The following tables provide additional test data on the 7.62x39. Jacketed bullet handloads for 7.62x39- Lapua cases, Fed. 210 primers, Ctg.OAL 2.19" from CEH article in Handloader's Digest 12th. Edition, 1990, p.125.

    20" P/V on Univ. Receiver. Vel. 24" Sako
    123-gr. FMJ
    24.5 H4198 2264 fps 48,170 cup 2377 ;
    26.5 RL-7 2325 fps 52,000 cup 2451 ;
    28.0 H322 2180 fps 42,300 cup 2287 ;

    150-gr. SP
    28.5 BLC2 2030 fps 40,000 cup 2140 ;
    23.0 RL-7 2050 fps 52,000 cup 2162 ;

    Accurate Arms 4th Edition for 7.62x39, SKS with 20.5" barrel
    START MAXIMUM ;

    123-gr. FMJ
    24.0 A1680 2233 fps
    26.5 A1680 2350 fps
    26.5 A2230 1840 fps
    29.5 A2230 2086 fps

    PS Ball for comparison, velocities from SKS with 20.5" barrel Chicom 101-71 2415, 11 Sd East German 04-77 2448, 11 Sd
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  2. #2
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    Bret4207's Avatar
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    Thanks Bob. Great article. Having just picked up an SKS I was interested in Ed's thoughts. Looks like it can work!

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    Great info! What top punch for the RCBS/Lyman sizer, would work with the Lee 312-155-2R bullet? Thanks-

  4. #4
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    Smile 7.62x39mmm "Whisper" Loads?

    I agree with Ed. I read his article in the American Rifleman on loading cast isn SKS. I would like to know of any "Whisper type" loads for 7.62x39mm Also thanks for Eds Red bore cleaner. It costs me 80% less than store bought cleaner. Great for all but bad copper fouling(Shooting cast in my 32 mag,41 mag, 7.62x39,45-70 ,45 acp and 12 ga shotgun it works just great!! Rick

  5. #5
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
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    7.62x39 loads

    Robert;

    A nice aritcal of course but I do have to say that there ARE other bullet designes that work and work wonderfully well in the SKS in addition to yours.

    My SKS (for example) shoots the old Ideal 311466 into the typical 5x2" groups at 100 yards all day long AND! as compared to the Lee 312-155-GC it doesn't have to be loaded to an overall cartridge length over 2.200" at all, as does the 312-155-GC in order to achieve this level of accuracy.

    Good morning,
    Forrest

  6. #6
    Boolit Master robertbank's Avatar
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    Hi

    Your comments are appreciated, however, the article is not mine, all I did was post it. Mr. Harris is the author. Glad you had sucess with other bullets. Perhaps you can post some loads with those bullets.

    Take Care

    Bob
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=#ff0000]Je suis Charlie

    "If the human population held hands around the equator, a significant portion of them would drown"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
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    7.62x39 loads

    Robert;

    I'm glad you were watching. A few loads here;

    A load that works well and will not operate the action (saving lots of time hunting brass) is: Lyman 311466 over 11.5 gr Blue Dot @ 2.235" overall lengh.

    I shoot a lot of surplus powder, like w/c 844 which was intended for the 5.56mm military cartridge.

    This gives ideal performance in the 7.62x39 under the Lyman 311466 and Lee 312-155-GC at the 23 gr level. The Lee works best if loaded to overall 2.325" and the 311466 at 2.220" in my rifle. Anything over about 2.220" will not function through the magazine so I favor the Lyman design regardless of the design showing lube grooves exposed to dust & dirt ~ I just keep them in the box until on the firing line. This combination provides 1830 ft/sec over the chonograph.

    w/c 844 is about the same stuff as H322 or AA2230.

    Another powder I have used is IMR 4198 under both of these bullets. I get wondeful results at times but the performance is marred by the occasional wild group as well. I like 21 gr of 4198 in this rifle.

    Be sure to measure the bore as well as the groove diameter of these rifles. Mine goes to 0.312 groove and 0.301 bore. This has led me to shoot the older Ideal 311466 which casts oversize at 0.312 and I use the sizer die of 0.314 to seat Gas Checks and lube the bullets. Bore size is useful to know for selection of a bullet mold that will cast the bore-rider (if necessary) at the proper size.

    I think the Lee 312-155-GC as designed by Harris with tapered noze is designed with these factors in mind.

    For use with jacketed bullets (shudder) I find that bullets designed for the 303 British or 7.65x53 Argentine work best, certainly better than the typical 0.308 thirty caliber fodder usually recommended.

    Forrest

  8. #8
    Has anyone done much work on heavy bullets? I'ld like to do some 170gr .310 unsized from a Lee mold.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    Lee C309-200-R in 7.62x39 AK Platform

    I have been playing with the Lee C309-200-R in 7.62x39. The plan is Subsonic in a AK Type rifle. Have had some success.

    Seated to the crimp groove the OAL is 2.20 and fits in the magazines.

    14.5g of Ramshot X-Term in Remington brass with small rifle primers. Give me about 1080fps and will cycle my Romanian AK. Also have had luck with similar charges of AA2230 and DATA 68

    The brass with small rifle primers seems to be critical in keeping them subsonic and cycle the gun.

    These have been close range accurate and stabilize fine out of the AK.


  10. #10
    Boolit Master armoredman's Avatar
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    ACK! I still haven't got mine cast and loaded for this caliber, had the mould for a year, to tied up with other things. Thanks for the reminder to get moving, see if cast works well in a vZ-58. Finally got some gas checks, too.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Hit the gun show jackpot today!

    Today I found a a jackpot at the gunshow. A guy I buy brass and stuff from had a bunch of once fired Lapua 7.62x39 brass for $12/100. I of course bought all he had! I think I have just about enough of this brass to keep loading this caliber for the rest of my life!

    By the way I'm still loading my subsonics with the lee mold and still functioning my AK perfectly, hell I dont even clean it and I'm probably 500 rounds into this load.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master armoredman's Avatar
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    Oh sweet find, I am still buying my brass from Midway at $OMG per 50.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by FAsmus View Post
    Robert;............
    A load that works well and will not operate the action (saving lots of time hunting brass) is: Lyman 311466 over 11.5 gr Blue Dot @ 2.235" overall lengh.
    .......
    Forrest
    A word of caution with light loads in some gas operated rifles. It is probably not a problem in AK, I did not check the SKS. A friend of mine was shooting if I remember correctly an arab version of a swedish autorifle with an adjustable gas porting system. He used too small a gas port setting and the rifle doubled with the second round slam firing and exploding. He was not hurt. What had happened was the carrier and bolt recoiled only far enough to eject and feed a cartridge to the chamber, but without the sear engaging the hammer. Hammer followed the bolt and carrier down and KaBoom. The AK hammer cocks long before the bolt and carrier get past the magazine so a short stroke will not stripped a round from the magazine.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Ok... I decided to try some more cast bullets in my SAR-1 First I tried 7383 with a 311291 sized .312 and GB 311041 size to .314. Why 7383? Well like many many of you I have a bunch of it. 22.2 grains resulted in the powder slightly being slightly compressed when the bullet was seated. Accuracy with the issue military style sights with either bullet was in the range of 3" at 50 yards and the action did function and chamber the next round from the magazine.

    Next up was the 311466 sized to .314" and pushed with 14.0 of 2400. Accuracy was again in the 3" range and the cycling was solid pitching the brass 10 to 15 feet.

    Next up was the 311356 and 15.2 grains of WW296. My mold drops a nice fat bullet such that a .314" die just touches. The action function was solid and accuracy was pretty good, at about 2.5 inches.

    The last load down the barrel was 25.0 of BLC-2 and the GB 31104 sized to .314". First thing I noticed was that this load generated a lot more recoil as compared to the previously loads tested. Accuracy was the best, in the sub-2" range and the brass flew a long ways.

    These loads used CCI 350 Large Pistol primers and I noticed that the heavy hammer strike perforated the cup on some of the loads. I'm going to see if I can lighten the hammer strike or possibly see if polishing the firing pin tip will eliminate the issue.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Question Foolish question

    Why did you use large pistol primers?AFAIK,rifle primers have harder,thicker cups..I used to have to use small rifle primers in my IPSC Open class 38 super loads

    Of course not having ANY large rifle primers is a current logical reason

  16. #16
    (ignore diatribe and read the bottom sentence for the actual question to skip the background)
    I hate to resurrect an old thread on a board that I'm not a member of for a first post. But this seems like the only thread or forum after searching that knows what they are talking about for reloading 7.62x39.
    I've been reloading many different calibers for a long while, and I love shooting this round.
    I'm tired of the extra-lengthy cleaning process I go through to clean my weapons above and beyond after firing corrosive military surplus ammunition (specifically Yugo 7.62x39 Corrosive M67), and wanting to tailor the loads so they operate the firearm a little better as well, to say nothing of better accuracy.

    So, because budget is always my most important reason to reload (so the wife doesn't yell at me for spending too much), I have been wanting to reload the nice brass cases spent from military surplus, trouble for most people is, its berdan primed.
    I have been obtaining perfect results by taking a spent round, a drill bit one size larger than my reloading die's primer extractor pin and a drill-press and punching out the base of the brass along with the old primer, tumbling and polishing, seating a boxer primer and going from there using some of these load tables:
    http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Sat...gs=pagenum%3D2

    My problem is, this process is painfully slow, and I'm trying various methods for gripping the base of the case without destroying it. Is there a method for doing this that one of you might be aware of?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master armoredman's Avatar
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    I have never heard of that process, and would be REALLY hesitant about doing that!

    I came back to post that I should be getting a CZ 527 carbine in 7.62x39mm to try cast loads in, looking forward to that!

  18. #18
    Boolit Man

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    I've seen several posts on this scattered across multiple boards. This is gaining popularity among those shooting surplus ammo.

    Here's the best article I've seen so far on converting berdan to boxer:

    http://users.ameritech.net/mchandler/primer.html

    This article is for the 7.5x55, but the principles are exactly the same. He uses a collet to hold the brass.

    BTW, I've even seen some people do this with steel cases to save on reloading costs, although I can't say I'd recommend doing that.

    Hope this helps,

    Carl
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not" - Thomas Jefferson

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy O.S.O.K.'s Avatar
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    Nobody has an NEF or a Cz527 in 7.62x39? I have the Cz and its the ideal cast boolit shooter for this cartridge. Its also ideal for heavier than standard jacketed loads for deer hunting if you're inclined. Shoots a 150 grain sp around 2100 fps - just a tad slower than a 30-30. I know this is the military rifles forum but just thought I'd mention it.

    I also own an SKS and several AK's in 7.62x39. They eat inexpensive rusky ammo (well, it used to be inexpensive....) exclusively.
    Endowment Life Member NRA
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  20. #20
    Hello guys,

    So i want to reload 7.62x39, and i want to do it with the lowest amount of money possible, since i don't reload for accuracy.

    However, the CHEAPEST i can find the bullets for is around $200 for 1000 bullets.

    then $30 for 1000 primers

    then about $40 for 1000 rounds worth of powder.

    So that would be $270 for 1000 rounds.

    so wouldn't it just be better to buy 1000 rounds of wolf for $250 (when its in stock)?

    I know that there must be some way better deals on the bullets (I can find good deals on .223s), so can anyone point me in the direction of REALLY good deals on .308, .45s, and 9mm bullets?

    thanks

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check