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Old February 20, 2013, 12:21 PM   #1
WWWJD
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

What's the deal with these and bullet diameter? An acquaintance of mine here at the office is putting together his first reloading rig. He's down to needing some bullets. I offered to help him find something (or at least a decent source) for bullets. He's got everything else.

Will .308 work? Or do they not offer enough of a gas check for a .311 barrel? As far as I know, it's an AK-47. Not sure what variant or of make (if that matters). Barrel hasn't been slugged (probably never will be). So.... what's the general consensus on such a thing? Should we only shop for .311 bullets? In my brain 0.003" shouldn't matter.

Thanks,
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Old February 20, 2013, 12:29 PM   #2
WWWJD
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

Further thought... May have answered my own question in the process. The sizing die might not even allow for enough neck tension on a .308 bullet even if its not a problem in the barrel. Hmm.
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Old February 20, 2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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7.62×39 is made in both .311" and .308", the latter being an effort to try to standardize a little better. If you want best accuracy, you'll have to slug the barrel to see which he has. You can shoot the ammo for either in either without damage, AFAIK, but best accuracy requires you to get it right.

You'll also need to measure his loading die set. Check the expander ball. It will be a thousandth or so under the bullet diameter it is meant for.
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Old February 20, 2013, 01:06 PM   #4
WWWJD
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

Thanks Nick.
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Old February 20, 2013, 01:14 PM   #5
Joker0370
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The beauty of reloading. Buy some of both, see which ones the rifle likes best. A lot more choices with the .308 bullets though.
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Old February 20, 2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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I skipped slugging in my Mini-30 and simply tried both. A large difference with .311 coming out far better. I use H-322 and Benchmark fwiw.
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Old February 20, 2013, 04:14 PM   #7
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My x39 Lee die set came with two decapper mandrel sizes, 308 and 311.
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Old February 20, 2013, 04:19 PM   #8
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Make sure you seat the primer properly. If you are firing an SKS beware of slam fires with reloads. It was a long time ago and I do not recall what the primers were, either CCI or Winchester. As I recall it was 3031 powder and the bullet was the same that is used in a British .303. Like I said it was quite some time ago. Lapua brass.

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Old February 20, 2013, 06:42 PM   #9
WWWJD
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

Would you recommend using the harder CCI primers? Wolf is considered to be harder than others too, right?
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Old February 20, 2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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I've reloaded for two SKS rifle for a little over seven years now. Both the bores on my Yugo and Chinese SKS slugged out at .312" across the grooves.

I've tested out many different weights and dia. bullets over the years so I know what shoots best in my rifles and I've found they both pretty much like the same bullets and loads. With J bullets I found that .308 dia. bullets didn't shoot all that well in most cases they shot worse than any steel case import ammo and it actually shoots pretty darn good in my SKS rifles I would consider the .308" dia. bullets to be last ditch bullets in my rifles.

I get the best results with any of the 123 gr. .310 Hornady bullets FMJ,V-MAX and SP haven't tried the new Z-MAX but I assume they will shoot about the same. .311" bullets in 125 to 150 gr. were the next best performers although they opened up more over the 123 gr. Hornady bullet it was still possible to keep groups around 1" at 50 yrs. with the irons on a regular basis.

I've also shot several surplus pulls in 147 to 187 gr. weights that I pulled for surplus 54r ammo. Bullet diameters varies form .310" to .311" I generally use those for backyard plinker and save my good quality bullets for a rainy day.

I also started shooting cast loads in my SKS rifles a couple years ago and it pretty much all I shoot now days as there much cheaper to produce,drop my brass right next to me and are less abusive to the brass. I shoot the Lee Tumble Lube gas check bullet cast form straight wheel weight alloy,bullets drop at around .313.5" from the mold and GC's are applied with the Lee .314" push through sizer. Bullets are TL'ed once before and once after sizing. They shoot as accurate as you can hold them.

Reloader #7 is my favorite powder for all weight of J bullets and it works well with cast loads also,although I prefer Alliant 2400 for my cast loads as it takes less to get the same results. There are other powders that will work but I find Reloader #7 and 2400 easy to get about anywhere and I use them for other applications as well. For primers I use the CCI #34,Win.LR and WOLF/TULA LR with no issues as they all pass the bolt drop dimple test in my rifles.

Last edited by res45; February 21, 2013 at 08:08 PM.
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Old February 20, 2013, 10:17 PM   #11
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No question that the undersized bullet is worse for accuracy than an oversize one. The reason is that the loose bullet seldom centers in the bore so it is not often evenly engraved by rifling all around. This unbalances it so that it spins eccentrically, or wobbles in flight. Worst case they can actually fail to stabilize properly and tumble.

WWWJD, If you have a floating firing pin model, I would use either CCI #34 or TulAmmo KVB762 primers if you can find them. Both conform to the less sensitive military H-test spec. The TulAmmo, in particular, seat hard, but are good, consistent performing primers. With either one you want to check every single round to be sure they are seated below flush with the case head with a floating firing pin.

If you have a spring return firing pin model, then I'd go with any primer except Federal and Winchester, the former tending to be a little softer and more sensitive that some other makes, and the latter having been so some years and not others.
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Old February 20, 2013, 10:52 PM   #12
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Been using standard Remington 9.5 large rifle primers in my 7.62x39mm rifles for some time now, work just fine with the vz-58 and CZ 527M. I use cast in the 527M, and the NOE mold with those sharp 129 grainers works pretty well - the Lee 160s aren't bad.
Favorite bullet for jacketed is the Hornady 123 grain Spire Point, powder is Accurate Arms #1680.
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Old February 20, 2013, 11:54 PM   #13
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

Good stuff. I'll pass it along guys. Thanks!
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Old February 23, 2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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I have been using both .311 bullets and also using 150G .308 bullets as well. I haven't noticed and reduced accuracy using 308 bullets in distances less than 100 yards
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Old February 23, 2013, 10:30 PM   #15
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Have you slugged your bore? If it's .308, you wouldn't expect an accuracy reduction shooting .308's. A gun can squeeze down a surprising amount of excess diameter.
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Old February 24, 2013, 11:27 PM   #16
WWWJD
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Reloading 7.62x39 Russian...

No. Not my rifle. I was just gonna see if I could help him track down some bullets, but wasn't sure what to pick.
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Old February 25, 2013, 12:20 PM   #17
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Actually I was addressing the comment by Boostedtt91. You'd already said your friend's gun hadn't been slugged and wasn't likely to be, though I'd encourage you to try to make it happen anyway, for best results.
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