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The 7.62x39mm cartridge is one of the most common rifle rounds on the planet. If you’ve not heard of the cartridge, you’ve probably heard about one of the rifles that fires it: the AK-47. The popularity of the AK series rifles comes as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the worldwide proliferation of the USSR’s suite of small arms. Today we will be taking a look at this legendary cartridge and what it offers. It’s going to get a bit complex, so let’s dive right in.

The 7.62x39mm is something of mixed bag on today’s market. The old days of $300 AK rifles are over. They’ve been replaced with a glut of AR-15 rifles that have reached a saturation point unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Good AK rifles are now American made and frequently better in many ways than their commie-made grandfathers.

When I was younger I never would’ve imagined a day when I had to pay $1,500 to get a good AK. I also never imagined that I would be able to snatch up an AR for under $400, but I find cheap ones for less all the time. This rifle question is an important part of the 7.62x39mm cartridge as it is, even today, tied to the popularity of the AK rifle system. It’s truly a case of ‘for better or worse’.

This strange future we live in has also resulted in a washout in ammunition price. 7.62x39mm can be had on the cheap end for about the same as .223 Remington; $.20 to .25 per round is what you pay nowadays for stuff from Wolf and the like. That means a case of 1,000 rounds is still in the $200-250 range, so you can stockpile it as easily as you did in 2011.

So why would a person look at the 7.62x39mm instead of other options today? With .223 being pretty much equal in price and 300 Blackout offering nearly identical ballistics in an AR platform, does the old Russian still have a chance? It sure does, but it’s tricky.

Long ago, I wrote an article here titled, AR vs. AK: Why the 7.62×39’s Time has Come. I re-read it while writing this piece today and was surprised by how accurate my youthful self was. My writing quality was a bit iffy then (it still is according to some of you), but that article is, remarkably, still collecting comments six years later. I like that because I know that people love talking about it, regardless if they consider me right or wrong

In the time since I wrote it, we’ve seen the continual explosion in the popularity of the 300 Blackout, the challenges of foreign import shortages, and a gradual decline in the popularity of the cheap AK rifle…all things I somehow predicted would happen. I’ve made some incorrect predictions before as sinless people here love to point out, but my first article on TTAG still holds up after all this time. So why would I believe that an ‘endangered’ cartridge is worth investing in today considering I felt that it’s time had come on the American market back in 2012? Keep reading, my friends.

In that old article I theorized that the driving force behind the 7.62x39mm was cost and cost only. I saw it as a cheap cartridge offering good power that could be fired by cheap and reliable rifles. Today the scene has changed and it has changed for the better.

The quality of the AK rifle has gone up substantially in the last few years, with many being made right here in America on precision machinery. The ammo cost hasn’t changed much in the last six years, not counting inflation, so the affordability is still there.

Today you can get a better $1,000 AK than you can a $1,000 AR. There are, of course, outliers to that statement, but it’s true for the most part. The AR and the .223 has become what the AK and 7.62 used to be: the cheap everyday rifle for the Average Joe on a budget. You need to spend good coin for an AK these days, but the gun you get will outlast any $400 AR.

As I stated earlier, the 7.62x39mm is married to the success of the AK rifle. No AK, no 7.62x39mm. Sure, there are other guns that fire it, but they aren’t in the eye of public in the same way as the AK is. Look at what happened to the AK-74. When the ban hit the 5.45mm ammo, the rifles were all but dumped. (5.45mm 7N6 can still be found out there, but in limited supply, which is too bad. It’s a great cartridge.)

The beginner out there looking at 7.62x39mm rifles has to understand that this relationship is what keeps this cartridge alive. The American shooter who owns an AK rifle rarely fires the good brass stuff through it. There will be some guy reading this who only shoots $2/round ammo, but he’s crazy. The average shooter wants that $0.20/round ammo and he wants lots of it. Unfortunately that means he’s tied to foreign imports, which can stop with no warning, thus spiking the price and decreasing availability of the ammo.

It’s my opinion that the recent ammo shortages and resulting dry spells have actually improved the quality of 7.62x39mm rifles. With fierce competition in price from .223 and power from the .300 Blackout, the quality of the rifles simply had to rise to stand out.

In a world where the gun is $300 and the ammo is $0.78 a round (Federal 124gr at the time of this writing), you won’t sell very many guns. People don’t want cheap guns with expensive blasting ammo. What people want is durable, reliable investments that will stand the test of time and can fire ammo of any quality.

Some of the best 7.62x39mm AK-style rifles made today come from Arsenal, Century Arms, Atlantic Firearms, Rifle Dynamics, Krebs Custom, IWI and many, many more. There is also a market for custom AK rifles, with many being local build clubs.

Popular non-AK rifles chambered in 7.62x39mm include the Ruger Mini 30 (TTAG review coming soon), CMMG Mutant, CZ’s model 527 (a great bolt action rifle), and the SKS. These are all good guns and some are very, very accurate.

While we’re on the topic of accuracy, we need to understand that the 7.62x39mm’s accuracy is in fact, not fiction. The cartridge is quite accurate in an accurate gun. I’ve fired a CZ 527 that thought it was a custom .308 Win at 500 yards. We were using handloaded ammo that day with match brass and it was awesome.

I’ve also fired some junk AKs that couldn’t hold 15” at 100 yards with steel-cased fodder. Today’s milled receiver and custom AKs like the Century C39V2 will hold about 2” at 100 yards with good ammo and about 3-4” with cheaper stuff. It just depends on what quality you want to invest in here.

In regard to power, the 7.62x39mm falls between 300 Blackout and .30-30 Win with some overlap. It’s a very adequate cartridge for deer-sized game and hogs, with ammo like the Hornady SST pictured in the photo above being ideal. This ammo can be expensive relative to other 7.62 offerings, but it shoots great and is very, very accurate in most guns. The Ruger Mini 30 really loved it, but you’ll have to wait to see how it does in the upcoming review.

At the end of the day, I still have mixed opinions about the 7.62x39mm. This is one of those rounds that has so much more going on with it that you may never get the full picture. It’s very popular, but vulnerable to import restrictions. It’s quite accurate, but isn’t often fired from accurate guns. It’s powerful enough for most medium game, but is often a second choice to better-suited cartridges.

To fully grasp the 7.62x39mm is to be a student of history, current politics, mechanical tolerances, and basic economics. It’s a great cartridge and always will be. It has moved and even helped create nations. In a way, it shaped the world map as we know it far more than nuclear weapons ever have. If you pick this as a cartridge, you could certainly do a lot worse. Today is a good day to be a 7.62x39mm owner.

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    • Indeed. My old WASR 10 was a blast to shoot and supremely reliable. My SKS is even more fun and more precise on target. I’ve never had the chance to shoot the Mini 30, but I hear good things from their owners. Long live 7.62×39!

      • This article barely mentioned the SKS. The SKS is hugely important when talking about 7.62×39 (obviously backseat compared to the AK47, but still important). The Mini-30 and the CZ are great but far less common.

        A lot of guys got into the cartridge because they bought an $80 SKS. The SKS was the first non 22lr rifle I ever shot back in the 90s. Sadly, the cheap SKS rifles are no longer available (dang Bill Clinton). I bought mine for $300 a couple of years ago, and was happy to finally get one. I also paid $300 for my Saiga AK back eight or nine years ago.

        I got into the AK platform, and the round because they were both inexpensive and work well. The AR and 5.56 are also great.

        I’m not worried about import issues. We might have a ban on Russian ammo, but can still get it from Romania, Serbia, etc. Besides that, American ammo companies could also produce fairly cheap steel cased ammo if the economic conditions were right.

        • The article also completely ignores Vz. 58 or its Vz. 2008 clone. Lighter, shorter and more accurate than AK47. Ask in Canada, where AKs are banned, if they shoot 7.62×39 and with what they shoot it.

      • Love my Mini 30. Very accurate, but have not shot it past 100 yards. Have never hunted with it, but may give it a shot with my hand loads. Actually never even gave it a thought until reading this post.

    • I’ve got a Hungarian AMD 65 I paid a little bit over $400 for it back in the day and she is reliable as can be and very accurate that gun will be in my son’s one day the funny thing is I bought it because I wanted a folder before the market dried up for them I didn’t want to side folder I wanted and underfolder they were nowhere to be found today I’m glad I found what I have because the old school AMD 65 cannot be found and it’s a great firearm

      • I too bought an AMD back in 2008. I only paid $399 for it from JGSales. It’s the FEG one with the original chrome lined Hungarian barrel. The dang muzzle brake weld broke on it because TGI half ass welded those things on. I SBR’ed it because of that instead of getting it rewelded. I love the rifle. Best $400 I spent on any firearm I own. You can’t find the original FEG builds from TGI anywhere nowadays, just those knock offs with the 16 inch barrels and the wrong gas tubes and the front sight posts being way up at the front of those 16 inch barrels. Glad I got mine when I did.

        • I have one of those AMD63 frankenbuild rifles from Clearview and. Classic…fEG(SA2000) receiver, trunnion and bolt group. American (Green Mountain?) barrel. I’d prefer an original FEG barrel, but so far it’s been an accurate (surprisingly so)rifle, runs with all magazines (Korean KCI 20 rounders, Hungarian tankers, Romanian, Yugo and post Yugoslavian Croatian &Serb magazines).
          Oddly enough the Hungarian 30 rounders may require a bit of fitting/sanding (the front of the well is a bit tight around the sides) but a little polishing with a mild abrasive cloth will fit.
          Got it two years ago in a private/FTF sale in my state (NH). It’s grown on me

  1. Century Arms makes good AKs? I can’t stop laughing….
    Arsenal or Molot. That’s the only thing I would buy. (Rifle Dynamics doesn’t count as those aren’t production guns).

    • Century Arms makes good AKs? I can’t stop laughing….

      This is what happens when noobs, who know just what the wikipedia page regurges for them, are allowed to write without editorial supervision.

      The only “good” reviews on Century junk I’ve ever heard/read are from shills, who put less than 1K rounds downrange.

        • Why you got to be an asshole here swearing for no reason everyone is entitled to thier opinion ,who made you the expert hmmm. You I suppose !used to have these badass types on the cb all the time radio Rambo’s when you got in thier face for real these chicken shits shut up or pissed thier pants !well any way the little 762×38 is fine in some ways better the the 5.56 in jungle warfare it would shoot through trees that our m16 would not!I’ve had some experience with Ruger mini14 s and can say the newer 180 series are great shooters !the accurizer rod is definitely worth the money some will shoot moa after installation I’ve found!

        • Cast Trunnions, its trunnions that you are looking for. The receivers are either milled (C39V2) or stamped (ras47). But its the trunnions that are cast and cause issues by stretching or cracking. I love the internet where people can be obnoxious without even knowing what they are talking about.

      • I own a century arms wasr-10. Bought it about 7 years ago for the dirt cheap price of 379.00 +tax. I’ve put more than 3000 rounds through it. So I not a hack or a noob. And while I would be remiss to say it’s a great gun on the quality side I can say it’s a good gun. I’ve never had a misfire or a FTE, or FTL and that is with the double stacked magazines. There is no mag wobble and the front sight isn’t canted. Yes I’m not hitting 1″ groups at 100yards but I can hit a man size target center mass at 100 with irons. For just over 400 bucks and using cheap Tul ammo what else could you ask for. Granted with one costing you roughly double that maybe you are looking for more but with what I paid and what I’ve gotten out of it I can easily say it’s a good gun.

        • So, what’s your current headspace? That’s a pretty much universal issue with those “guns”, so, since you’re not a hack or noob, you surely know what it is.


          Just curious…

        • 16V, the headspace is not a universal issue with the WASR’s. It is an issue with the Ras47, and the C39V2. Maybe before you become insulting it would be prudent to actually know what you are talking about.

    • I wholeheartedly agree! I couldn’t believe I was seeing the word ‘quality’, used without a modifier along the lines of poor, lousy, non-existent, laughable (you get the point), in reference to Century Arms. I once owned a Yugo M70AB2 underfolder slapped together by Century Arms, and it wouldn’t cycle the bolt on its own. The receiver was misaligned such that the bolt carrier was binding, effectively making it a straight-pull bolt action rifle. Century refused responsibility for the problem because it was two months out of warranty. Lesson learned!

  2. I first learned about the 7.62x39mm and the AK family of arms thanks to a trip to Vietnam courtesy of the USMC back in 1968. I learned that the round was not for precision shooting, since the commie forces (from Russia down to the Vietcong) practiced “spray and pray” style shooting, whereas we were taught marksmanship skills in boot camp in practice for a much longer-range war than was going on in southeast Asia. As some of you know, the petite guerre there was usually pretty short range. One thing I learned was that the 5.56mm round and M16A1 rifles we were armed with had some deficiencies. As far as the round was concerned, those included a lightweight bullet that was easily deflected by grass, twigs, bamboo and so forth, whereas the 7.62x39mm round didn’t have those deficiencies. Like the U.S.’s 7.62x51mm NATO round, it could punch through all of that stuff, no problem. While the 5.56mm round had the ability to create spectacular wounds due to having most of its weight toward the bullet base, the 7.62mm rounds just punched nice clean holes in their victims. One thing I learned was that in war it’s actually more desirable to wound your enemy than to kill him (creates a logistical mess for the enemy), and both 7.62mm rounds did that admirably.

    So, many years later, when it came time to get a rifle for a “when the zombies come” scenario (or a civil order breakdown) and based on my experiences with the “made by Mattel” M16 rifle family during my career in the Marine Corps and what I’d observed in Vietnam, I chose a Bulgarian civilian AK ($600) and Russian ammo (about 2K rounds), plus ten magazines. In my view, the combo will do the job out to 300 yards if needed, and in a suburban combat situation (it’s where I live), that’s all that’s required. I intend to upgrade that soon to a Ruger Mini-30, which will have the hammer spring upgraded to handle hard-primer Russian ammo, and I’ll sell the AK (or maybe keep it for a backup, who knows?).

    • 50yr last and idiot NCOs )and former NCOs) are still yapping about “Mattel toys”. I wonder if the NCOs of today continue to parrot the drivel?

    • The difference between a fairy tale and a war story is that a fairy tale starts out with “Once upon a time….” and a war story starts out with “No $hit, there I was….” or in this case “I first learned about the 7.62x39mm and the AK family of arms thanks to a trip to Vietnam courtesy of the USMC….”

  3. Josh – I could not agree more. I regularly shoot steel case 7.62×39 ammo out of an AR -15 upper with little or no problems. This fall I will be deer hunting with Hornady 7.62×39 steel case SST ammo which runs about $.55 per round which means I can shoot a good 50 practice rounds at the range without spending a ton of cash.

    At 200 yards or less this round has enough energy and accuracy to take down a deer.

    • James….. I usually shoot lever or bolt action rifles but with the infestation of wild hogs tearing up everything, I chose the A R 15 in 7.62 x 39 . Much easier to make a showing on a group of hogs with what I call my 30 – 30 semi auto. While the 300 has more bullet weight choices, this 7.62 fits the bill nicely for the usage I intended it for. The hydraulic buffer makes it even sweeter.

  4. The quality of the AK rifle has gone up substantially in the last few years, with many being made right here in America on precision machinery.

    Exploding C39’s, Riley Defense’s, PSA AK’s and failing DDI’s beg to differ. Hell, even the bubbling and peeling Arsenals aren’t up to snuff anymore. That leave Khybers and……?

  5. ” Good AK rifles are now American made and frequently better in many ways than their commie-made grandfathers.”

    You lost me here.

    • You don’t expect him to actually know what he’s talking about do you? You have read his other Caliber essays right?

      • You’re witnessing the (inevitable) decline of TTAG, sans Robert.

        Like the TTAC fall before, once RF is not at the helm, the new powers-that-be look to the cheap/free labor of the marginally informed as “writers”.

        The ‘best and brightest’ of the commentariat will start to peel off as they already have, but some diehards will remain for a variety of reasons. That won’t last forever.

        • I became a TTAC forum member when Farago first started the forum. After he sold it the quality suffered and I left. I popped back over there a few weeks ago and it’s a hot mess.
          The ads here are starting to annoy too much. That and the loss of key writers. RF knows how to startup and run a blog and it’s paid him well over the years.

        • That’s what I thought as well. This site has declined since Robert left. Now we have people writing articles on 7.62×39 that barely mention the SKS, and denigrate Eastern block AKs. Pretty sad😡

      • Is Century Arms cast trunnion. Is good, like entirely outsourced parts of Century Arms Kalashnikov rifle. Is maybe you want forged trunnion so that trunnion does not suffer catastrophic failure after 1000 rounds. You do not appreciate 45 cents American saved by using cast trunnion. Chrome plated barrel is not so necessary perhaps. Now is time of so-called keyboard warriors. They know better. Cutting corners is good. Maybe next have barrels in the white. Make rifle very accurate. When Kalashnikov rifle break after 1000 rounds, wonderful Century Arms 1 year warranty will replace. Repeat process until either death from age or death from stress related to Kalashnikov replacement.

  6. We bought into Russian guns when sks’s, mosin nagants and makarovs were under a hundred bucks and the ammo was practically free. I’ve owned and used all of them and still own a couple.

    But there are more modern designs that are better weapons and since the price tags on the commie guns is going full retard there’s no sense in buying them anymore. Unless you’re a history buff. There’s a lot of history there.

    At one point I was getting x54r for less than $1.25 per 20 rounds. What’s not to like?

    • Agreed on the quality of the older made com bloc weapons and the escalation of prices based on stupidity and prejudice. These designs work and have a long track record of reliability but there is nothing special about the newer manufactured ones as they are built on the same designs with very little changes. The foreign makers started making rip off knock offs for the American market and the shortcuts they chose to maximize their profit margins are the same parts that people complain about. They had a winning formula and cheapened it and they have hurt the reputation of their products. I have a Chinese SKS surplus issue rifle and an MAK 90 – minus the ugly General Urko Planet of the Apes stock. Both shoot well and accuracy is as good as it gets with this caliber with commercial ammo. Both are approaching 30 years old and there is very little in the way of wear other than the polishing that occurs when a semiauto rifle has a couple of thousand rounds downrange.

      As for BASHer’s sight complaints go, it is more the short sight radius, and not whether the sight is a peep or not that makes the accuracy of a particular rifle. Many an accurate rifle has had open sights, but nearly every major manufacturer’s rifles have a much longer sight radius than the stock AK has.

  7. short and fat is never my first choice, but there is alot to be said for noticeably tapered. this is what the commie genius came up with. it’s like zippy the pinhead of cartridges; doesn’t often make sense, reliably difficult to restrain.

  8. A friend of mine built a custom 7.62×39 Lee-Enfield No4 with a match grade heavy barrel. It is a real tack driver in service competition. The best ammo? Try the copper-wash Chinese! Unfortunately this ammo is going for over a dollar a round down under as none has been imported since the late 1990s.

  9. I miss the days of the old Soviet imports. You could literally buy the guns by the crate and ammo by the pallet, and still have enough left over for a couple cases of beer. The ammo is still cheap but the guns are gone, or outrageously expensive. An AK costing 1,000$+ will never be justifiable to me. It’s not a 1,000$ gun. Never has, never will be. Same with mosins and SKS’s. I’m glad I got a few back when they were a dime a dozen.

    • Local Woolworth $59.00 for an sks. In box , cosmoline filled ,bayonet , unfired. I bought about half a dozen. I did love the rifle . I did not care much for the stripper clip.

        • I recall Big-5 having garbage cans full of SKS rifles for sale for about $50 per back in the 90s. After the USSR collapsed, the Russians were selling off their military surplus to get convertible currency. They had a lot of it, and they were selling it cheap.

          I should have grabbed a couple.

  10. I’ll keep my late dads .300 Savage thankyou. It has considerably more shocking
    and killing power over the AK-47/SKS 7.62×39 M-43 round. So does the 7mm
    Mauser (7×57) which originated as a military caliber in 1892 and was formerly
    adopted by the Governments of Mexico, Spain, Central America, and half of
    South America. I realize we are comparing apples to oranges here. The AK-47/
    SKS really comes into it’s own in modern urban warfare from lessons learned
    during World War II (1939-1945). Especially from cities like Leningrad and Stalingrad.
    But for putting fresh venison or elk meat in the family freezer, I’ll take the .300 Savage
    and 7mm Mauer or 7×57.

  11. My favorite AR to blast away with is my 7.62×39. Cheaper to shoot than 223 since neither of my 223 ARs like steel cased ammo. 223 also just feels downright wimpy after shooting 7.62. I like the modularity of the AR platform, so a 7.62 in that platform is the best of both worlds for me.

  12. You lost me in the second paragraph; no need to read further.

    If you think I.O., the RAS47 and C39v2 are better than Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Hungarian, E.German, Romanian, Polish (etc) AKs then you have no clue about what a good AK is.

  13. CZ527, even with steel cased ammo, is accurate enough for 1/3 scale steel silhouettes at 500M. Every time I take it out I am purely amazed at how well it shoots, as is anyone else that happens to be at the silhouette range at the same time.

  14. Good article in terms of talking about the cartridge itself. But I think the author may be underestimating the number of SKS rifles in the wild. And as long as those rifles are out there, we’ll see very solid levels of demand for the steel case ammo that feeds them. Not worried about supplies dwindling anytime soon.

  15. 35 years ago I had an AK-47 , I lived in the middle of nowhere , with a minimum security penitentiary about 200 yards from my home. One evening my wife looked out our kitchen window & there stood an escaped inmate , looking in the window at my wife. Lucky for him my neighbor ” a guard at the penitentiary ” apprehended him. After the incident , I set up an old water heater on my property & put many a round thru it daily. I’m sure the inmates at camp Georgetown heard me blasting away at the old water heater. Needless to say , I never had another incident after that. Great rifle & 7.62×39 is a great round. My next rifle will be an AK-47 to replace the one I should have kept all those years ago.

  16. I bought a Mini 30 about 6 years ago. I’ve put several thousand rounds through it and couldn’t be happier. I also live in the People’s Republic of California, so it is a definite bonus not having to install a “paddle” to neuter the “evil” pistol grip of an AK.

    I have had no trouble shooting steel case ammo through it, as well as the round-nose soft-points from Prvi Partisan. YMMV and I may have simply won the manufacturing-tolerance lottery. Nonetheless, it feeds everything reliably.

  17. ” Quality” and ” Century C39 V2″ in the same sentence with a straight face?? Admittedly not EVERYTHING marked ” made by Century” is bad,but the good stuff by them(like the old M70 AB2 ,the VZ2008 and the Hungarian AK63/AK63 DS)are/were subcontracted out.
    If they’re eventually going to get their build quality/QC/QA and metallurgy right, good. But in the meantime I wish to hell they’d stop using their ” exclusive importer agreement” with Cugir/ROMARM to get more IMPORTS rather than funneling the uninformed towards their pot metal abortions like the RAS47.
    How about some more standard Dracos,dammit?

  18. “Good AK rifles are now American made and frequently better in many ways than their commie-made grandfathers.”

    All credibility lost right here.

    • And “Today you can get a better $1,000 AK than you can a $1,000 AR”

      Some serious dumbassery right thar.

  19. You forgot to add in the Ruger American Ranch 7.62×39!

    Cheap, durable, accurate, shoots all types of ammo and uses the Mini 30 20 round magazine.

  20. It’s been a mentioned but I love my VZ58. Thank you czechpoint. I’d lose it if they ever offered a VZ58 in 5.45…………. a man can dream can’t he?

  21. I have a War Prize AK~47, I’ve shot thousand of rounds with out so much as a patch down the barrel, If we enter a Civil War or Up rising my AK~47 will be at my defense. It’s hard to beat GOOD!!

  22. If you want quality AK for cheap, get them from Palmetto State Armory. I say cheap but costs a little more than their MilSpec $449 AR-15. Way better than Russian, Chinese, and other makes. But it won’t cost you $1,000 for their quality machined AKs. You can get TWO for $1,000.

    SKU: 5165448825B

    UPC: 5165448825B

    MFR#: 7792939

    Melonite 4150 steel treated barrel
    Stamped steel receiver
    Billet Barrel Block (front trunnion)
    Forged Carrier
    Billet Bolt
    7.62×39 Caliber
    1 in 9.5″ Twist
    Std. 800-yard rear sight leaf
    Polished American Hardwood furniture in Blonde
    Magpul 30 round magazine (1)

  23. I’m a huge AK / 7.62×39 fan, and I’m not even buying what you’re selling here.

    Foreign AKs have always been the best AKs… the only exception to this are premium companies like Rifle Dynamics, who incidentally on top of their top level knowledge use a lot of quality foreign parts whenever possible.

    Made in America AKs are a joke – to keep costs down, they use subpar materials that generate a host of issues as the round count accumulates.

    I would take a $400 AR-15 over any of the “made in America” $800-1000 AK variants out there. At least when that $400 AR craps out on me finding replacement parts is viable and it won’t be a “get new rifle” level of catastrophic.

    If you want the best production rifle – the Arsenal SLRs are top notch. I wouldn’t bother buying anything else in the current market unless it was steeply discounted (a wasr 10 you can hand inspect and found good is an excellent entry level AK, but again primarily foreign made). I would pick an SLR over a Colt 6920 every single day.

    My go-to rifle is an SLR-107 that Rifle Dynamics concerted up to what amounts to their 700 series rifles (before the 700 series was a “production” gun for them). I also paid a lot less than what they go for today.

    The only other semi-automatic rifles on the market that catch my eye are the IWI ones – and if you look carefully you’ll see AK heritage in them (or not carefully at all if you’re looking at the Ace).

    But to circle back to the beginning — if you want an x39 rifle, please do NOT buy anything “made in the USA”. Buy Arsenal. Be happy. Or splurge a little and buy the Ace if you want the rails and all the modern whiz bangs.

  24. Cheap Ammo and cheap guns, was true when a SKS was $59, ( I am old, but not that old). Now SKS and AKs are up there in price.
    Always said we should have cheap rifles firing cheap ammo. Great to see Ruger selling their Ranch rifle in 7.62×39. Hopefully others will follow with their budget rifles.
    Great combo for an inexpensive hunting rifle good for most game.

  25. IMHO the SKS is just as good a rifle as the AK – so long as it is the Yugo version – Once the cosmoline was off of it – it will chew through any round in any environment… Kinda miffed that the article was titled about the round, when it really was about the AK … Feel cheated/mislead.

  26. I’ve got a $1,000 AK that I shoot dirt cheap ammo through.

    Accurate, reliable, and mechanical – wood and oil. I love the sound and the feel.

    As long as I can still get cheap 7.62×39, I will keep shooting it.

  27. “Good AK rifles are now American made and frequently better in many ways than their commie-made grandfathers.”

    Saw this and knew the entire article would be stupid.

  28. Stopped reading @ “American made AKMs>Com-Bloc AKMs” Get a clue dude. You’re doing a major dis-service to the newbies.

  29. I have both a Ak and AR in 7.62×39 the AK being the Century Arms C39v2-moe and the AR being Radical Firearms RF 16in 7.62×39 both great guns but if i had to choose only one the AK by far feels better with the 7.62 then the AR and both were just over 500 new when i got them from my local gun store so i would recommend them for first timers for the round and platform

  30. Such a complicated round… That’s why the U.S. military shortened its rifle’s barrel, went to 30-roud magazines. Finally after 50 years arrived at a true carbine. Then we have people converting it to a short-cartridge .30-caliber round (.300 Blackout). An attentive shooter will notice that all we did was reinvent the AK, but 60 years too late.

  31. “Good AK rifles are now American made and frequently better in many ways than their commie-made grandfathers.”

    Thank you for explaining that you don’t know anything about AK’s this early in the article so I didn’t need to waste my time taking the rest seriously.

  32. Meh, there are enough non-Russian steel cased 7.62×39 manufacturer’s all that would happen is a shift in where it gets imported from and an increase in price (AFAIK there are Hungarian and Romanian manufacturers of steel 7.62×39). You’d also probably see an eventual decrease in brass cased 7.62×39 given a few years and ramped production. It would be more than .223 as it likely wouldn’t see the same sales volume in the US and it is more brass in the casing and lead in the bullet. But right now you can get Geco target x39 brass cased for $7 and change for 20 rounds. PPU FMJ brass cased is often $10 a box or sometimes a little less.

    I disagree that a $1000 AK is as good as a $1000 AR. Sure we are talking home built VS off the rack, but my $850, including optic, 20” .223 Wylde HBAR does 2-2.5” 100yd groups with .223 55gr and M193. With cheap match ammo it holds .75-1MOA 5 shot groups with ease and with some of the nicer match ammos it’ll go .5MOA.

    And it can turn in groups like that for 40, 50, 60+ rounds firing a round every 10 seconds. I’ve yet to see ANY AK that can do that. I’ve seen some really nice ones that can turn in groups about that small with handloads, slow firing for a 5 shot group and then letting it cool for a few minutes before attempting to repeat. Free float handguard or no on an AK I’ve never personally seen a cheap, moderate or ridiculously expensive one that didn’t open up groups a lot if fired repeatedly for 10, 20, 30 rounds without letting it cool a lot between groups. Maybe not a 3MOA rifle after 30 or 40 rounds aimed, but rapid, but never seen one hold less than 1.5MOA and almost always has a couple of inch shift as part of that. My AR shifts less than an inch and can hold under 1MOA with most match ammos even after 60+ rounds fires over just a few minutes.

    7.62×39 is a fairly fat, short round. It can take basically any medium game, but it is .30-30 or worse in that respect. It’s maybe a 150yd deer cartridge and not because of accuracy. Though the drop is large on it because of the relative slow speed and low BC if the round. Trying last 200yds just isn’t ethical. It loses too much energy and has too much drop. Which doesn’t mean you couldn’t. I can accurately hit man sized targets at 300yds with my SKS and 600 with my AR, no problems. But neither would be ethical against game. My 6.5 grendel is way accurate enough (3” groups or smaller at 300yds and drop is still small) and still has plenty of energy. Heck, 350yds could be fine. 6.5 Grendel has similar energy/recoil to 7.62×39…

  33. Its funny… The only reason the AK has universally risen in quality is because the US embargo on russian arms turned off the tap to the cheap crap. It suddenly became cost effective to make good AKs locally.

  34. I bought a SKS early this year for $240
    I would use it on zombies and i also got 40 round reliable duck bill mags for it.
    Ive a 243 with scope i primarily hunt with. Would like a AR15 shooting 7.62 ammo or in 308
    The 5.56 round is decent but it is imo a tad weaker like a 10oz claw hammer and i want a sledge hammer. I used a 5.56 and ive gradually have got better calibers i do wish i kept my browning 30-06

    • AR15 can’t shoot .308 Win, it was intentionally made smaller and lighter for 5.56. If you want the same ergonomics and operating system, see AR10 or LR308. You can even shoot 6.5 Creedmoor with one!

  35. On the accuracy side of the things what holds most Russian guns like the SKS and AK back is not the round but the rear sight being a leaf on top of the barrel. Getting a peep sight on the back of the RECEIVER creates a longer sight plane and will tighten up your group by 50% in my experience. Tech Sights are probably the best but Williams offers a cheaper option that just goes in the place of the existing leaf.


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