Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > General Ammo, Reloading, Bullet Casting, & Ammo Craft

7.62X39 best load for hunting / defense ???

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9mmMaster let me start of by saying I've reload this cartridge for the past 12 years and have experimented with many different bullet types and powders that are commercially available for handloading as well as my own cast lead bullets which are pretty much what I shoot the majority of the time for just every day shooting in all my rifles and handguns regardless of action type.

A couple of points about the steel jacket bimetal bullets.  All are great for putting holes in stuff an some do it more accurately than others depending on what your rifle likes best but as far as preforming like the traditional SP or HP bullets were all accustom to they fall way short in the performance dept. consistency form one rd. to the next is really just hit and miss as some preform as intended and some just act like FMJ bullets.  Another thing is that the way bimetal bullets are mfg. the core is not bonded to the jacket so often time when you do get expansion the jacket and core separate which gives you fragmentation but you loose penetration.  About the only bimetal HP ammo I put any faith in to give reliable expansion,fragmentation and penetration is the TulaAmmo imported 8M3  made by Ulyanovsk Cartridge Works if you going steel case bimetal bullet it's what I would go with otherwise I would just buy FMJ.

As to commercial loaded 7.62 x 39 the Hornady SST stuff is good ammo if you don't handload.  A box of Hornady 100 component SST or V-Max or SP bullets cost about the same or slightly less as a 50 rd. box of the Hornday steel case SST factory loads.   I've never loaded or shot any of the SST bullets but I loaded and shot quiet a few rds, using the Hornady .310 FMJ,SP and V-Max bullet and they all preform and shoot very accurately in my SKS rifles.  There are a few other component bullets in .310 & .311" dia. out there as well for handloading made by Speer,Sierra,Winchester and Barnes and I believe Nosler is trying to get in on the act as well with there ballistic tip version bullet as well although they only show up in limited run at the moment,

As to the PPU ammo shaving off lead is this the old style RN bullet with the large exposed LRN or the new style that designed like the traditional pointed soft point.  It's pretty common for lead to be shaved off the old style bullet but I haven't heard much talk about the new style SP PPU ammo having that issues.

Back to handling the X39 cartridges I loaded and tested many but not all of the available component bullet in .310 & .311 including the Horandy 123 gr. .310" FMJ,SP & V-Max all three can be loaded with the same powders and all shoot the same it just really depends what purpose in mind you have for the bullet used.  I've also loaded and shot the Sierra .311" 125 gr. SP bullet and they shoot well but not as accurately as the .310" Hornady do but  most people want complain when they compare it to the run of the mill steel case ammo accuracy as they are miles ahead.  For heavier jacketed bullets I like the Speer .311" 150 gr. Hot-Cor or the PPU 150 gr. BTRN bullet  Both of these bullet will shot 1" groups all day long at 50 yds. with the iron sights although I don't load many of the 150 jacketed bullet I keep about 50 loaded up for up close bush busting loads and they are great for that.

As I mentioned I shoot lots of cast lead in all my rifles including both my Yugo and Chinese SKS they eat these loads like candy and shoot them vary accurately I have three bullets I cast and load in these rifle one is the Lee .312" 160 gr. tumble lube gas check bullet which drops from the mold right at .314" which is ideal for the groove dia. of my SKS rifles and it also works great in my Mosins as all those rifles share the same groove dia. as barrel twist rate.  My other mold is an NOE 155 gr. RNFP gas check bullet which is more ideal for hunting as it has a blunt nose and lst but not least is the Lee90 gr. .314" 32 cal. SWC which is designed for the 32 cal pistol rd. however it makes a great little sub load for just about any 30 cal. rifle  I cast it for 50/50 Lead/wheel weights and shoot it in my SKS,Mosins,30-30,and 300 Sav. but it will work just fine in any 30 cal. rifle up to 30-06 if you want to keep it in the subsonic range for plinking and small game.

For brass I use all the major brands in cluding Remington,Winchester,PPU,IMI as some once fired South Korean stuff I just recently picked up a couple hundred pieces at the LGS.

For powder there are many that will work well AA-1680,IMR or H-4198,Hodgdon CFE Black which is a new powder are just a few.  My personal favorite powders are Reloader #7 which is excellent for jacketed bullet loads an works just as well with the cast bullet loads.  For the little 90 gr. sub cast load I use Bullseye.

For primers in Mil Spec rifles with free floating firing pins I use either the CCI #34,Wolf LR or LRM or WInchester LR primers probably be a good idea to read this thread on primers as it denotes which primer are best for these type rifles

Man that's awesome thanks!!!

Question? Do you find that the heavier billets shoot as accurately as the traditional 123 gr ?

Do you hunt ? Do you have a preferred load I see you mentioned Hot Core I also really like those and load them for my .308

Also hard cast I have done in the past for pistol. Do you get leading with that I know you get some but let's say after how many thousands of rounds is it a problem ?

Thanks for all the info?


--- Quote ---Question? Do you find that the heavier billets shoot as accurately as the traditional 123 gr ?
--- End quote ---
Here is one of my test target from years ago when I worked up some test loads with the two 150 gr. .311" dia. bullets in the pic.   I was basically trying to mimic the 154gr. Russian ammo that was around at the time but wanted to use a better quality bullet as the Russian 154 gr. SP bullet is bimetal and tends not to expand if any especially as the velocity decreases and range increases.  I would keep the range for the 150 gr. Hot-Cor or Prvi bullets under 100 yds. as they are designed to expand at around 1900 fps. the loads I worked up are around 2K plus fps. so the closer the better.

Here is a pic of one of the Russian 154 gr. bullet recovered for a deer not shot by me at around 80 yds.  The deer was hit in the chest if I remember correctly and the bullet was recovered from the opposite rear hind quarter.

Back in the day I used to hunt all the time,I actually lived in a time when it was to put food on the table to survive rather than something you choose to do as a pastime but with lots of life changes going on I don't get to hunt like I used to  but I still get out a few times a year but mostly small game.  I hope this year will be different as I want to get back to doing some big game hunting with my Mosin rifles,I have a couple new bullets that I'm casting one a Lee and the other a custom mold I had cut that should work very nicely in the Mosin rifles.  For the 7.62 x 39 in jacketed bullets I like the V-Max as in V for varmint or SD otherwise I go with the 123 gr. to 150 gr. soft points for larger game hunting but it wouldn't be a surprise to find me carrying  155 to 185  gr. RNFP cast bullets either.  Truth be known I just prefer the cast loads over jacketed bullet anyways.

Leading can be caused by multiple issues but in general most leading issues are caused by a bullet to small in diameter or the bullet is to hard BHN wise to obdurate under the load pressure or a combination of both.  There is much information to be had on the subject at but some good info can be found here as well the reference's are mainly for handguns but the principles apply to rifles as well.  Lots of other good reading on there as well so browse around.

Here is me back in the early spring it was kinda cool only in the mid 60's so it was a good day to make ingots from a bunch of wheel weights and scrap lead of various kinds I had accumulated over the year.  It enough to make about 8K 158 gr. bullets of average weight.

I've been casting and shooting lead bullets in rifles and handguns off an on for almost 40 years the only time an it was early in my cast bullet shooting experience before I started casting my own that I had leading issues was with a commercial cast lead bullet.  The dia. was just to small for the cylinder throats which is what your bullets should be sized to for revolvers anyways not the groove dia. of the bore.   Other than that one instance I've never had leading issues,knowing what causes the leading is the key to not having it,leading doesn't ever have to be an issues as long as there is not some issue with the gun itself that causes it that can't be fixed. 

Fellow I know was having pretty good luck with the 110(I think) grain V max out of a 10" barreled AR on hogs. Probably didn't work as well as his .50 BMG, but he said it worked a lot better than other bullets and cartridges he'd tried. Last time I was in his shop, they'd been out shooting hogs the night before with a full auto RPD. They were probably "cheating" with both NV and thermal optics too. LOL

I shot a small hog with a Wolf hollowpoint out of a standard 16" barreled AK at about 12 foot. I saw no evidence of expansion, but there was evidence of bullet yaw and it made a pretty good mess of his off side shoulder. I've got pictures, but I'll have to move them off of photobucket before I can post them.

I also cast bullets and find it rewarding. I just wish I could get more of the zinc washers for swedging bullets. At one time it was cheaper then gas checks.


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