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The other day, John Farnam opined that the 7.62mm x 39 cartridge was, damn-near, an optimum military rifle cartridge. He feels that the 7.62mm x 39 is an honest 300M round [even if the AK is a 150M gun], whereas the 5.56mm x 45 is a 150M round.

I've always held that sometimes 'you just need a gun to shoot through cars with' and the 7.62mm x 39 AK does that in spades but I'd never really looked at it in the context of its general military attributes.

What do you think?
 

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I think the 7.62Russian is the worst of both worlds.
(That being said...it isn’t a complete joke either...hear me out...)

Meaning it cant punch like .308, but isn’t as light and AP (on soft armor and sheet or plate metal) or flat shooting as 5.56.and most Aks out of the box cant do AR/5.56 accuracy.

I have shot all three rounds extensively and the 7.62x39 always comes out mediocre in all areas. Especially when I shot up cars. Doors, windshields, etc.
Wasn’t impressed.
M193 ball often did better.
After testing what I have, I have trouble understanding where people are coming from when they say the 5.56 will fragment and pepper targets after passing thru metal or glass, or be knocked of target by tree branches and etc.
Everything I tested (SS109,M193,55gr plain jane,etc) punched everything at all sorts of funky angles and still remained in tact and showed little if any deflection.
This was out of a 16in/ 1:9.

AK rounds cannot achieve the level of fragmentation the 5.56 or thin jacketed (E.German) .308 does on personnel. At least in terms of comparing ball.

Maybe I just had the magic guns..but my AKs shot well enough, but wouldn’t provide much of an advantage ballistics wise over 5.56.
I like the AK sites, simple and effective. The guns are tuff, reliable.
One thing that always pissed me off was the poor finish on even well made AKs.
Blued guns suck. Park it or through a Teflon coating on it. I hate scrubbing surface rust off my AKs from fingerprints...5min after I take them out of the box.
When was the last time you saw a blued AR15?

I like the fact 7.62x39 is cheap and plentiful, can take deer, etc.

I own and shoot AKs, SKSs, etc.
I love em, but I don’t find them to be the end all be all they are often made out to be.
I wouldn’t necessarily feel helpless if it was all I had either.
 

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I think the .30 Ak round would be better if fired from a different platform.

But what I see more as ideal would be something like a 6.8mm with a dual core.
The front core being a hardened steel penetrator, then a deep cannelure, followed by a lead core with the rear of the jacket crimped over it.

My thinking is, if the round encounters armor, the steel core will enable it to punch right through, aided by the smaller frontal area than a .30 cal, and in soft tissure, it would upset quickly (rear lead core being denser than the forward steel core) and breaking at the cannelure, providing two wound tracks, both of which would probably exit the body.
 

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Both 5.56mm and 7.62x 39mm are excellent jungle and urban cartidges, but in the land where trees can be 10 miles apart, something a little bigger is required!
 

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STEEL cored 30 AK punches thru cars MUCH better than 223. 223 55 gr ball, fired at rear of car, went to pieces and poked little holes in the rear seat, barely marked the back of front seat. at 45 degree angle, same 55 gr ball would not go thru both doors. Not that there's any reason to bother with shooting thru cars, just saying what 223 does. The Steel capped stuff does a bit better, especially at longer ranges. the .30 ak drops off WAY too quickly to be a 300m rd. It's doing well to handled head on prone men (10" circle) at 200m. just THAT requires a lot of holdover and skill.
 

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if u put the 75 gr HOLLOWPOINTS in the 223, it does fine to 300m in the M4, 400m in the 20" barrel, and that's as far as any infantryman does jack crap with an iron sighted rifle. Just change the ammo, and screw the Hague Agreement. we never signed it anyway, and we will NEVER again fight a declared war, against a s"gnatory nation" of the Hague Agreement. So why wasted billions of $ on a gun and ammo change up, lose the .22 unit practice, etc, over what amounts to NOTHING in the way of increased capability? Why make the guys carry ANOTHER 5 lbs of pointless extra wt? They are ALREADY buried in wt that they have to carry.
 

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The JAG has already ruled that hollow point bullets cab be used against terrorists and the Army is using them today.
 

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The 7.62x39 is not a very good round for anything beyond 300. The 5.56x45 is good on live targets to about 450 yards. One thing to look at is that this is dependant on barrel length and twist. I have a 26 inch 223 custom target AR that will punch groups quite nicely at 600+ yards BUT, it does not have the consistant capability of taking a live target at that range.

Both the M16 and the AK are perfect rifles... for what they were designed to do. They are close to intermediate range weapons only. The shorter the barrel on both of them shortens their effective range greatly.

Personally, I am very fond of the .223 for brush work. I also like the AK for it's reliability but the accuracy sucks. I have a bolt action 7.62x39 that groups less than 2 inches at 200 yards. I've used it on deer quite effectively. I prefer a round with a longer range for SHTF though...

Mike
 

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Well I hope the 6.8RemSPC ends up as the next military round.
 

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Im in favor of 6.8 as next mil round. But I am concerned that less experienced shooters will not be able to use its benifits. This is where weapon selection would be nice in the military, but impractical.

But the benifits outweigh the risks, I have to vouch for 6.8
 

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andy said:
STEEL cored 30 AK punches thru cars MUCH better than 223. 223 55 gr ball, fired at rear of car, went to pieces and poked little holes in the rear seat, barely marked the back of front seat. at 45 degree angle, same 55 gr ball would not go thru both doors. Not that there's any reason to bother with shooting thru cars, just saying what 223 does. The Steel capped stuff does a bit better, especially at longer ranges. the .30 ak drops off WAY too quickly to be a 300m rd. It's doing well to handled head on prone men (10" circle) at 200m. just THAT requires a lot of holdover and skill.

andy taking a step into reality, the reason that the military is using the ss-109 round to this day is two fold.
1. m855 has a bad habit (according to the military) of breaking into 2 pieces after striking a soft target (ie:a man) causing and unduly large and generaly fatial set of wound tracts. ( the hauge complained about this also)
2. it did not have the penatration that the standard 7.62x39 russian military round did at 800 meters.

so what we have today is the ss-109 steel penatrator round, it has the same capabilities to penatrate as the 7.62x39 russian round.
 

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I like the 6.8, and support it, but I think something like a slightly longer .280 British would be a better cartridge.

IMHO: The best military rifle/cartridge combo would be something like a caseless .280, fired from a bullpup rifle with a calico style magazine. Everything I just listed have a fair number of problems, some very critical ones, but I think that they may be worked out rather successfully if someone put on a thinking cap and used a little elbow grease. Won't happen anytime soon, as thinking caps and elbow grease are hard to come by these days.
 

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Factors that IMO should be primary:

- Short-action; preferably no longer than .223 oal, (logistics issues)
- Light- to medium-weight (physical weight; logistics as well)
- Moderate recoil (most ‘modern’ soldiers aren’t experienced shooters)
- Flat trajectory (simplifying things again for the ‘non-shooter’ soldiers)
- Decent performance on personnel armor (likely to become more common)


Caliber could probably be anywhere from 5 to 7 mm. Bullet configuration would be important for trajectory and terminal performance. Any longer cartridge such as .308, .30-06, etc, isn’t size-efficient enough for general infantry use (my opinion, obviously).

I personally prefer the 5.56, in large part because of the .22 conversion issue. This is relevant to me as an individual user, but I doubt that it’s a real big concern for the military, so the 6.8 may be a better “all-around” military choice. Only time will tell how well it works.

As far as weapon platform, a gas-trap AR configuration would be close to ideal, but some others are good as well. A major improvement I’d like to see them make is in the gun’s barrel itself. Instead of standard rifling in the barrels, go with polygonal progressive-gain rifling, as ArmsTech uses. This increases velocity, and therefore power, dramatically. For comparison, their 9-inch 5.56 barrel gets slightly more velocity than a 14 ½ inch ‘normal’ barrel on an M4. So a gun with a compact 14-16 inch barrel could offer the same velocity as a 21-24 inch “normal” barrel does now.

Use a gas-trap upper with a 16” ArmsTech style barrel, and you’d have a gun with lower maintenance requirements, compact CAR-15 handling characteristics, and varmint-gun velocity and range. Heck of a deal, regardless of caliber.
 

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Chippathingy said:
Trenchard,

Which rounds did you use in A-stan ?
I carried a M4, so to answer you question, .223 ball.

If you're asking everything I fired over there.... .223, .45, 9mm, 7.62, .50, .308

-T
 
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