7.62x39 5.45x39 9x39
The original Soviet M43 bullets are 123 grain boat-tail bullets with a copper-plated steel jacket, a large steel core, and some lead between the core and the jacket. The cartridge itself is Berdan primed, tapered, and usually steel cased. The taper makes it very easy to feed and extract the round, since there is little contact with the chamber walls until the round is fully seated. This taper is what causes the 7.62x39 AK platform to have distinctively curved magazines. While the bullet design has gone through a few redesigns, the cartridge itself remains largely unchanged. The ballistic coefficient (G7 BC) of the M1943 pattern full metal jacket boat bullet is 0.138.
The complete solidity of the M43 projectile causes its only drawback. It is very stable, even while traversing tissue. It begins to yaw only after traversing nearly 26 cm (10 in) of tissue. This greatly reduces the potential wounding effectiveness of the projectile against humans. 7.62x39 PS - 7.62x39 PS Cross section
- Cartridge weight - 251 gr
- Bullet weight - 122 gr
- Cartridge length - 56 mm
- Muzzle velocity - 2379 Ft/s
In the 1960s Yugoslavia experimented with new bullet designs to produce a round with a superior wounding profile, speed, and accuracy to the M43. The M67 projectile is shorter and flatter-based than the M43. This is mainly due to the deletion of the mild steel insert. This has the side effect of shifting the center of gravity rearward in comparison to the M43. This allows the projectile to destabilize nearly 17 cm (6.7 in) earlier in tissue. This causes a pair of large stretch cavities at a depth likely to cause effective wound trauma. When the temporary stretch cavity intersects with the skin at the exit area, a larger exit wound will result, which takes longer to heal. Additionally, when the stretch cavity intersects a stiff organ like the liver, it will cause damage to that organ. However, the wounding potential of M67 is mostly limited to the small permanent wound channel the bullet itself makes, especially when the bullet yaws (tumbles).
Conventional steel-core bullet is designed to engage personnel and weapon systems. The bullet has a steel core and has a ballistic coefficient (G1 BC) of approximately 0.304 and (G7 BC) of approximately 0.152. The tip has no distinguishing colour. It can penetrate a 6 mm (0.2 in) thick St3 steel plate at 300 m (328 yd) and 6Zh85T body armour at 30 m (33 yd).
Armour-piercing bullet, introduced in 2002. It has a 55.6 gr sharp-pointed steel penetrator made of steel U12A and retains the soft lead plug in the nose for jacket discarding. The bullet has a black tip.
- Cartridge weight - 252 gr
- Bullet weight - 122 gr
- Cartridge length - 56 mm
- Muzzle velocity - 2428 ft/s
Tracer round designed for fire adjustment and target designation. The bullet has a green tip and the tracer burns for 800 m (875 yd). The 57-T-231PM1 is an improved tracer round which initiates at 50 m (55 yd) from the muzzle and burns for 850 m (930 yd).
- Cartridge weight - 249 gr
- Bullet weight - 102 gr
- Cartridge length - 56 mm
- Muzzle velocity - 2379 Ft/s
- Tracing range - 800m
Commercial Russian-made 7.62×39mm ammunition, such as those sold under the Wolf Ammunition brand name, are also available in full metal jacket (FMJ), soft-point (SP) and hollow-point (HP) variety. The SP bullets offer improved expansion but the round still does not offer great expansion. Surplus M43 ammunition is currently banned from importation in the U.S. because federal law classifies the round as an armor-piercing handgun round, because pistol AKs are available on the market. This classification is based on materials and bullet design rather than on empirical ability to penetrate armor.
Type 56: Chinese Mild Steel Core
Chinese (Type 56) military ammunition (developed in 1956) is a M43 style cartridge with a mild steel core (MSC) and a thin copper or brass jacket. Norinco developed and produced 7.62x39mm ammunition for the Type 56 rifle.
|Cartridge designation||7N6||7N6M||7N10||7N22||7N24||7N39||7T3 (tracer)||7U1 (Subsonic)||7Kh3 (training)|
|Cartridge weight||-||162 gr||165 gr||166 gr||173 gr||181 gr||159 gr||-||103 gr|
|Bullet weight||53 gr||53 gr||56 gr||57 gr||64.0 gr||63.3 gr||49.4 gr||80 gr||3.7 gr|
|Muzzle velocity||2887 ft/s||2,887 ft/s||2,887 ft/s||2,920 ft/s||2,756 ft/s||2,789 ft/s||2,897 ft/s||994 ft/s||-|
|Muzzle energy||979 ft⋅lbs||979 ft⋅lbs||1,034 ft⋅lbs||1,078 ft⋅lbs||1,080 ft⋅lbs||1,092 ft⋅lbs||929 ft⋅lbs||176 ft⋅lbs||-|
|Pressure||-||42,061 psi||43,511 psi||42,061 psi||43,511 psi||43,511 psi||42,061 psi||-||-|
The round was developed in the mid 1960s as a direct result of the US 5.56x45 M193. The 7N6 features a long low drag bullet with a mild steel core and a hollow cavity in the nose to promote tumbling in soft targets. The steel case was lacquered coated. The round was officially adopted in 1974 as the 7N6.
(M Russian: Модернизированный - modernized) cartridge was introduced in 1987. In contrast to the original 7N6 unhardened steel rod penetrator, the 7N6M rod penetrator is made of steel 65 and hardened to 60 HRC. The 7N6M 52.9 gr boat-tail bullet which can penetrate a 6 mm thick St3 steel plate at 300 m and 6Zh85T body armour at 80 m. 7N6M bullets have a red identification ring above the cartridge neck. The US Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory measured a ballistic coefficient (G7 BC) of 0.168 and form factor (G7 i) of 0.929 for the 7N6M projectile, which indicates good aerodynamic efficiency and external ballistic performance for the bullet diameter. The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 290.00 MPa (42,061 psi).
The ATF classified the 7N6 cartridge as "armor piercing handgun ammunition" on 7 April 2014, which made it is illegal to import from Russia to the United States despite it being smaller then a .22 caliber diameter which would have it exempt much like 5.56x45 is.
The 7N10 "improved penetration" cartridge was introduced in 1992. The 7N10 boat-tail bullet weighs 55.6 gr and the weight of the lengthened sleeker steel (high-carbon steel U12A) penetrator made of steel 70 was increased to 27.8 gr and the lead plug in front of it was discarded. The hollow cavity at the front of these projectiles was reduced significantly compared to previous 7N6M projectiles. In 1994 the 7N10 design was improved by filling the remaining hollow cavity in the projectiles front with lead and reducing the weight of the penetrator to 26.5 gr resulting in a bullet weighing 55.9 gr. Upon impacting a hard target, soft lead is pressed sideways by the steel penetrator, tearing the jacket. It has a ballistic coefficient (G1 BC) of approximately 0.351 and (G7 BC) of approximately 0.176. The 7N10 cartridge replaced the previous variants as standard Russian service round and can penetrate a 16 mm thick St3 steel plate at 100 m and 6Zh85T body armour at 200 m. 7N10 bullets have a violet/purple identification ring above the cartridge neck. The 7N10 and 7N6M cartridges have practically identical external ballistic characteristics, meaning they can share identical sighting lines and optics on firearms. The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 300.00 MPa (43,511 psi).
Armour-piercing bullet, introduced in 1998, has a 27.0 gr sharp-pointed steel penetrator made of steel U12A and retains the soft lead plug in the nose for jacket discarding. 7N22 boat-tail bullets weigh 56.9 gr and can be identified by their red identification ring above the cartridge neck and a black tip. It has a ballistic coefficient (G7 BC) of approximately 0.180. The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 290.00 MPa (42,061 psi).
Super-armor-piercing cartridge, introduced in 1999, has a stub cone nosed penetrator made of tungsten carbide (hard alloy VK8). The 7N24 round is loaded with a 64.0 gr projectile containing a 27.8 gr penetrator which is fired with a muzzle velocity of 840 m/s (2,756 ft/s) yielding 1,464 J (1,080 ft⋅lbf) muzzle energy. The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 300.00 MPa (43,511 psi). 7N24 bullets have a black identification ring above the cartridge neck.
Armor-piercing cartridge, introduced in 2013, has a penetrator made of a tungsten carbide (92%) and cobalt (8%) alloy. The round is loaded with a 63.3 gr bullet containing 29.3 gr penetrator which is fired at a muzzle velocity of 850 m/s (2,789 ft/s) yielding 1,481 J (1,092 ft⋅lbf) muzzle energy. The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 300.00 MPa (43,511 psi). 7N39 cartridges have a black identification ring above the cartridge neck.
Besides that the tracer cartridges 7T3 and 7T3M were developed. The 7T3 production bullet length was 26.54 mm (1.04 in) long and weighed 51.9 gr. After 1976 a new lighter 49.4 gr and shorter 25.32 mm (1.00 in) long bullet was selected as a replacement for the original bullet. These bullets can be identified by their green marked tips. The tracer projectile has a shorter ogival profile and for 7T3 ammunition burns out to 800 m (870 yd) and for 7T3M ammunition ignites at 50 m (55 yd) burning out to 850 m (930 yd). The rounds are loaded to produce a maximal pressure of 290.00 MPa (42,061 psi).
Training and instruction cartridges
For training purposes the blank cartridges 7H3, 7H3M and 7Kh3 were developed. These rounds have a hollow white plastic imitation projectile. When these training rounds are used, the barrel of the gun is fitted at the muzzle with a Blank Fire Adapter to produce a gas pressure build-up for cycling the gun, as well as a breakup aid for their plastic projectiles.
For instruction purposes the 7H4 training or dummy cartridge (which has longitudinal grooves) was developed.
Special purpose cartridges
For special purposes the 7U1 subsonic cartridge with a black and green painted meplat and CAP cartridge for underwater were developed.
The 7U1 subsonic cartridge weight is 170 gr and is loaded with a 80 gr projectile which is fired with a muzzle velocity of 303 m/s (994 ft/s) yielding 239 J (176 ft⋅lbf) muzzle energy. Accuracy of fire at 100 m (109 yd) (R50) is 35 mm (1.4 in)
The SP-5 (SP: Spetsialnyj Patron - special cartridge) was developed by Nikolai Zabelin. It is a conventional lead core FMJ bullet, developed for accuracy.
The SP-5UZ is an SP-5 variant with an increased charge intended for a factory-specific strength testing of the weapons.
7N9 - The SP-6 was developed by Yuri Frolov. It has a hardened metal armor-piercing core. It can penetrate 2 mm (0.079 in) of steel at 500 meters or 6 mm (0.24 in) of steel, 2.8 mm (0.11 in) of titanium or 30 layers of Kevlar at 200 meters. At 100 meters it penetrates 8 mm (0.31 in) of steel, while retaining enough power to inflict damage to a soft target behind it.
The SP-6Uch is an SP-6 variant intended for training.
7N12 - The SP-6's bullet is expensive, so an attempt was made to make a lower-cost version of the cartridge. The PAB-9 used a stamped rather than machined steel core. It sacrificed too much performance to be usable. As of 2011, its usage is prohibited.
The SPP (SPP: Snaiperskie Povishennaya Probivaemost - sniper - increased penetration) is a sniper round with increased penetration.
The BP (BP: Broneboin'ie Pulya - armor-piercing bullet) is an armor-piercing round.