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  #1  
Old 02-03-2009, 2:34 PM
AlexBreya AlexBreya is offline
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Default How do you reload 7.62x39 cheaply?

Hello guys,

So i want to reload 7.62x39, and i want to do it with the lowest amount of money possible, since i don't reload for accuracy.

However, the CHEAPEST i can find the bullets for is around $200 for 1000 bullets.

then $30 for 1000 primers

then about $40 for 1000 rounds worth of powder.

So that would be $270 for 1000 rounds.

so wouldn't it just be better to buy 1000 rounds of wolf for $250 (when its in stock)?

I know that there must be some way better deals on the bullets (I can find good deals on .223s), so can anyone point me in the direction of REALLY good deals on .308, .45s, and 9mm bullets?

thanks
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:39 PM
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Why do you want to reload for 7.62x39? It is still so cheap just to buy the stuff. You're putting in the extra effort and you're not saving any money.
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hybridatsun350 View Post
Why do you want to reload for 7.62x39? It is still so cheap just to buy the stuff. You're putting in the extra effort and you're not saving any money.
I completely agree, but my goal is to be able to reload all the calibers i have, just incase something ridiculous happens (like some kind of ban), and i figured that i want to do it cheaply.

I also reload .308s, and i need more bullets (and since they're the same) i want to get a lot of them so i can reload both.
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:49 PM
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I thought 7.62 x 39 was .311 dia not .308. check into shooting led cast.I think midsouthshooters.com has some in .311 cheap
hear you go http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...p?sku=00051206
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:50 PM
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The price is about the same for .223, except the bullets are $80/1k.

It's quite a bummer to see that reloading won't really save you anything, except for the fact that now your ammo will not be bi-metal jacketed (which is a big consideration for us SoCal guys).
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r08ert209cali View Post
I thought 7.62 x 39 was .311 dia not .308. check into shooting led cast.I think midsouthshooters.com has some in .311 cheap
hear you go http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...p?sku=00051206
i was looking at the .311s, just wondering if they fit, so after your post, i checked on google, they say that 7.62 = .30, not even .308. so then i tried .311, and aparently that is 7.90 mm, so now i'm just getting confused.
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Old 02-03-2009, 2:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r08ert209cali View Post
I thought 7.62 x 39 was .311 dia not .308. check into shooting led cast.I think midsouthshooters.com has some in .311 cheap
hear you go http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...p?sku=00051206
PS, Can anyone verify that these bullets from midsouthshooterssupply.com will work for reloading 7.62? if so, that seems like the best deal ever( especially if they fit .308s too )
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Old 02-03-2009, 3:17 PM
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They are .311 and made for the 7.62x39 round, they are not made for the .308, it requires a .308 diameter bullet. 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and .303 British are all .311 bores. 7.62 NATO, .308 Winchester, and 30/06 are all .308 bores.
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Old 02-03-2009, 3:46 PM
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Something else to consider when deciding whether to reload for an AK is brass life. Ak ejectors beat the hell out of the case,
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Old 02-03-2009, 3:56 PM
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Cheap? I reload my 7.62x39 mags with Wolf that I bought for $89/1000 a few years ago.

If I was going to reload 7.62x39 for percission shooting (OK, I mean better than cheap factory), I would just keep watching for deals on bullets or, cast my own gas checked bullets.

BTW, you do not want to load .308 bullets in a 7.62x39 case. You need .311 bullets!
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Old 02-03-2009, 4:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CSACANNONEER View Post
Cheap? I reload my 7.62x39 mags with Wolf that I bought for $89/1000 a few years ago.

If I was going to reload 7.62x39 for percission shooting (OK, I mean better than cheap factory), I would just keep watching for deals on bullets or, cast my own gas checked bullets.

BTW, you do not want to load .308 bullets in a 7.62x39 case. You need .311 bullets!
yea i still got 5 or 6 cases of sportsmans guide wolf where i used the 10 off 100 coupon

i too am curious as to where and what bullets to get

i cast for 9mm and 45 acp but i doubt my ability to make a decently hard mix to use in a rifle plus them gas checks cost about 3 cents each
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Old 02-03-2009, 5:11 PM
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I bought 1000 bullets for 7.62x39 from Golden West Brass for $100 in anticipation of someday needing to reload that round.

Wideners has IMI brass right now for $176 for 1000 pieces. Seems like a lot of money but maybe buying brass cased loaded ammo occasionally may be the way to go instead.

Wideners also has .311 bullets 147grain advertised for .303 rounds, 2000 for $152 shipped. I was wondering if these would work for 7.62x39.
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Old 02-03-2009, 7:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
yea i still got 5 or 6 cases of sportsmans guide wolf where i used the 10 off 100 coupon

i too am curious as to where and what bullets to get

i cast for 9mm and 45 acp but i doubt my ability to make a decently hard mix to use in a rifle plus them gas checks cost about 3 cents each
I haven't used gas checks yet but, $30/1000 is a lot cheaper than $200/1000 as long as the lead is free!
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Old 02-03-2009, 7:31 PM
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'worth it'?

I think it's worth it to be able to reload for any of my centerfire firearms. Things keep going the way they are, it'll be the only way and certainly the cheapest.

But I agree, you realyl can't beat the price, hardly.

The concession I make to both is seeking out reloadable brass when buying 7.62x39. But then the price is so much higher it's worth reloading
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Old 02-03-2009, 7:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rayra View Post
'worth it'?

I think it's worth it to be able to reload for any of my centerfire firearms. Things keep going the way they are, it'll be the only way and certainly the cheapest.

But I agree, you realyl can't beat the price, hardly.

The concession I make to both is seeking out reloadable brass when buying 7.62x39. But then the price is so much higher it's worth reloading
yeah, i bought a 1000 rounds from SG on back order, and in the meantime got 400 rounds of fiocci brass, just so i'll at least have some way of always having ammo. i might try to even reload the wolfs when i get them, assuming they're box primed.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r08ert209cali View Post
I thought 7.62 x 39 was .311 dia not .308.
Although technically correct, in the early Ruger Mini-30's were manufactured with 0.308" bores. That was the American standard 30cal bore diameter, so those were what was used. 0.311" bullets in these old rifles is not a great idea.

That being said, you can successfully get 0.308" bullets to shoot accurately out of a 0.311" bore. You just need to try to experiment and see how it goes.

Here is a good article I ran across last year:

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Sat..._C/The+7.62X39

It inspired me to try loading 125gr Nosler Ballistic Tips in 7.62x39. With it's 0.366BC, if I can get them to shoot half way accurately, they will be a big step up from most 7.62x39 bullets...for comparison, the 123gr Hornady SP for 7.62x39 has a BC of only 0.252. So far, I've had the best luck with RL7 velocity-wise while working up pressure loads, but I have to see how it shoots for accuracy. If it works out well, I think I can squeeze close to 6.8SPC performance out of the ole' Russian (not exceed it or even match it maybe, but knocking on the doorstep)....
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBreya View Post
i was looking at the .311s, just wondering if they fit, so after your post, i checked on google, they say that 7.62 = .30, not even .308. so then i tried .311, and aparently that is 7.90 mm, so now i'm just getting confused.
Nobody actually explained where your confusion is coming from, so maybe I can confuse you further. There are actually three diameters involved, bore, groove, and bullet, and if you don't know the code it can be confusing. The custom used to be to specify the bore diameter, which is the diameter from land-to-land, because this is the only thing that really made sense in the pre-metallic cartridge era. When we standardized we made sure they were nice round decimal fractions of an inch in bore diameter. Thus thirty-caliber cartridges .30-40 Krag, .30-06, etc. are made for a bore diameter of .3". The Europeans also standardized on bore diameter, thus they call .30 cal. 7.62mm (7.62mm = .3").

The problem is that once we have mass-produced factory cartridges in standardized calibers, it is really bullet diameter that matters. The bullet has to be larger than the bore diameter, roughly (but not necessarily exactly) the groove diameter, and what truly matters is that the gun maker knows that he has to install a barrel designed for that bullet diameter. For example, Marlin likes to make "micro-groove" barrels with shallower but more numerous grooves. While I don't know precisely how micro-groove is sized it's clear that either the bore or the groove diameter, or both, must be different than a regular (Marlin calls it "Ballard") rifled barrel (my guess is that the groove diameter changes little but the bore diameter is increased). They can do this because they know that the bullet diameter will be the same for any factory load for each cartridge.

So at some point American cartridge makers started using the bullet diameter instead of the groove diameter to label their cartridges--while it is true that this is the more fundamental quantity, I suspect that the ability to get some different numbers for the labels was a motivation (look how bad it is in .22 caliber; off the top of my head there are cartridges labeled every thousandth from .218 to .225 at least, all using industry-standard .224 bullets--they needed all the different labels they could get). That's why the 7.62x51 NATO round, which is obviously .30 caliber since 7.62mm = .3", is called .308 in the civilian world. A .30 cal. bullet has to be a bit bigger than .3" to swage into the rifling, in fact it is .308", and the civilian round was labeled by bullet diameter instead of bore diameter. Since groove diameter is pretty close to bullet diameter, that tells you the handy fact that rifling in .30 cal is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 thousandths thick. Now there's a handy fact at cocktail parties. :-)

The Europeans seem to have stuck with their bore-diameter standard, but there *is* some guy (Lazzaroni?) who has proprietary cartridges in Cartridges Of The World who uses metric measure but rates based on bullet diameter; I don't have it handy to check but presumably *his* .30-cal cartridges are called "7.82" or something unnatural like that.

So much for the reason why .308" is NOT equal to 7.62mm. But why .311" bullets for 7.62x39? I imagine someone will chime in with the real story, but I seem to recall that the Russkies may have cut their grooves pretty deep, and it may be that the bore diameter really is .3" but the grooves are, say, .006 deep instead of .004. That would give a groove diameter of about .312, and I think some of my reloading manuals say they've seen Russian barrels as deep or deeper than that. That's why it wants .311 bullets, to match the groove diameter and not the bore diameter. But it might not be a bad idea to actually slug the barrel and size your bullets accordingly; those same reloading manuals usually say something like "groove diameter varied considerably in the barrels we measured, from .308 all the way to .314". According to them, there is some chance that your bore will actually want .308 bullets even though most want .311.

The real truth is that cartridges are not really named according to physical properties like bore or bullet diameter; the names are just arbitrary labels. The fact that we have a tendency to put such measurements in the labels is convenient, but if you know that this is just a suggestion that is regularly broken you won't be surprised when you find fun facts like .223 takes .224 bullets, or .38 special takes .357" bullets, or .454 Casull takes .451 bullets, or that 7.5mm Swiss takes .308 bullets just like 7.62 NATO. You can design a cartridge and name it "Fred" and the label is just as valid as something precise sounding like 7.62x51. Your label isn't "wrong," it is just unfriendly and non-standard. As badly as some cartridges are labeled (.38 caliber for pistol rounds just because they took heeled bullets a hundred years ago, or ".20 tactical" for a varmit round too weak to be of any tactical use unless perhaps one prairie dog town declared war on another), it would be hard to say what "wrong" means.

Have I really confused you yet?

7x57
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Old 02-10-2009, 5:00 AM
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^ pretty good write up.thanks bud.I was wanting to try .308 and .311 in my chinese sks to see what difference it made. just havent gotten around to it yet.
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Old 02-10-2009, 9:52 AM
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Wow! Great read. I always learn something here.

I've got one of those .308 bore Mini 30's and I reload jacketed and cast for it.

Due to the taper it is designed to shoot both .308 AND .311 bullets. I load .308 and get excellent accuracy of 2" @ 100 yards with 150g bullets.

I would try .308 bullets in any 7.62x39 by way of experimentation. I've heard that it can be eye opening in terms of accurate shooting, but it does take experimentation.

Using .308 bullets opens your opportunities to inexpensive purchasing. I bought some bulk bullets from Midway for a song. They do this every so often with Core-Lokt or Speer bullets. They repackage them and discount the heck out of them. There's also the blem bullets from Nosler, etc that can be had for cheap. You won't find anything wrong with them, but they don't met mfg. spec somehow and get discounted heavily.

Reloading offers something you are not mentioning that IMO is worth much more than low price - QUALITY.

Even if you can buy rounds for s few dollars less than you can reload them, you must recognize the fact that what you reload mirrors the finest in premium ammo. No steel cases with lacquer to gum up your chamber, a consistent load of premium powder designed to burn slow or fast as needed, a bullet that will get the job done down range - accurately.

I like Nosler ballistic tips in 150g for this cartridge. They have a reputation for massive expansion in a .308 or an 06, but shave off the velocity and load them into a 7.62x39 and they're moving at 2100 fps at the barrel and that's perfect for taking pigs and deer out to 200 yards.

My load is a 150g bullet and 23.5g H4198 - try it, you'll like it.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:54 AM
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Shooting 308 bullet in a 311 groove-DIA barrel.

What about the issue w/ 'gas-cutting': is it real? I've no first-hand knowledge.

Gas-cutting: groove-dia is bigger than bullet-dia, as result high-pressure gas is forcing thru the space, thus cutting the barrel.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:53 PM
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Depending on weapon the groove diameter for cartridges with .311" bullets can run from .3105" to as large as .314"

Can you get .308" to work in a .311" barrel? yep it will engage the grooves fairly well and the kinds of things that will cause it to not work well (say an off-center chamber) will cause inaccuracy with any kind of load (it might just get more pronounced with the smaller bullet)

The Gas-cutting issue? I remember reading somewhere that it wasn't the primary cause of barrel wear (throat erosion will kill you first) besides 7.62x39 isn't exactly a exceedingly high-pressure or high-velocity round. Besides the cartridge doesn't have the capacity to push the heavy rounds that will have long bearing surfaces anyway.
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Old 02-10-2009, 4:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBreya View Post
Hello guys,

So i want to reload 7.62x39, and i want to do it with the lowest amount of money possible, since i don't reload for accuracy.

However, the CHEAPEST i can find the bullets for is around $200 for 1000 bullets.

then $30 for 1000 primers

then about $40 for 1000 rounds worth of powder.

So that would be $270 for 1000 rounds.

so wouldn't it just be better to buy 1000 rounds of wolf for $250 (when its in stock)?

I know that there must be some way better deals on the bullets (I can find good deals on .223s), so can anyone point me in the direction of REALLY good deals on .308, .45s, and 9mm bullets?

thanks
You are not comparing equal quality ammunition.
Your $270 reloads would be brass cased and non-magnetic.
They could be used at any range without restrictions.

The $250 wolf will most likely have steel jacketed bullets and won't be usable at many ranges.

Re-run your cost calculations against brass cased and copper/lead bullet ammo and you will see more savings.
That's not to say that you NEED copper bullets...
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Old 02-25-2009, 8:51 AM
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It should cost you closer to $60.00 per 1,000 rounds of 7.62x39 reloads if you are shooting cast, scrounging free lead at tire shops, saving range brass and investing your time learning the skills involved... And you will learn a lot of things with applicability far beyond feeding your AK/SKS.

There are a couple of substantial threads on reloading 7.62x39 over at cast boolits.

Practical Dope on the 7.62x39
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=13453

Cost can be lowered with a group buy. These folks do this a LOT.

They are starting a group buy on 6 cavity bullet moulds for a bullet suitable for this caliber. It's the 3rd time they have done such a group buy, which should tell you how effective this bullet is deemed to be. If you are interested, you must indicate it by the end of February to get in on the buy. See the link for details.

7.62x39 shooters take note!
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=46499

Beyond that, search the cast boolits site for other referances to the Lee C312-155-2R. It has been found useful in K-31 Swiss rifles, 30-06 Springfield, Moisin Nagant and others. Sometimes sized down, sometimes as cast-

Additionaly: If you don't want to pay for gas checks- Make them yourself out of Aluminum cans & bottles or rolls of cheap roof flashing.

30 caliber Checkmaker Group Buy Starts Here!
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=37943

If that's not to your taste, there is also a group buy going on for gas checks.
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=20238

Last edited by Ber; 02-25-2009 at 8:56 AM..
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Old 02-25-2009, 3:52 PM
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As stated above if you want cheap, cast is the way to go.

alliant 2400 15.5 gn = $.05 ea
.30cal gas checks = $.03 ea
Wheel weights = FREE
7.62x39 Brass = FREE as most people don't reload it, and will give it to you if you just ask.

I feed my ak's for 8 cents a round.

Of course you do have to make the initial investment in mould, sizer, and a way to melt your lead. A camp stove, or even a good hotplate will work. But it pays for itself real quick like.

toes

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Old 02-25-2009, 8:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tujungatoes View Post
As stated above if you want cheap, cast is the way to go.

alliant 2400 15.5 gn = $.05 ea
.30cal gas checks = $.03 ea
Wheel weights = FREE
7.62x39 Brass = FREE as most people don't reload it, and will give it to you if you just ask.

I feed my ak's for 8 cents a round.

Of course you do have to make the initial investment in mould, sizer, and a way to melt your lead. A camp stove, or even a good hotplate will work. But it pays for itself real quick like.

toes

Yeah, finding brass will be no problem at all. I'd love to get into casting, but i for some reason don't feal safe working closely with melted lead. I'm going to buy some cheap powder, some cheap bullets and do some recalculating. but there's no way i'll make it for $.08 per round. thats like 3 .22lrs. But if prices don't go down, i may just have to go get some molds!
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Old 02-25-2009, 8:25 PM
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I'm going to buy some cheap powder, some cheap bullets
Let me know where you find these.
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Old 02-25-2009, 8:32 PM
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Let me know where you find these.
well, the powder isn't to hard to find (preordered dome from cabelas), but i'm having trouble finding bullet. every single one of the .311 bullets i find are either really expensive, or they're .32 pistol bullets. i wonder if these will work?
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Old 02-25-2009, 8:34 PM
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well, the powder isn't to hard to find (preordered dome from cabelas), but i'm having trouble finding bullet. every single one of the .311 bullets i find are either really expensive, or they're .32 pistol bullets. i wonder if these will work?
Like I was saying, let me know when you find the cheap powder and bullets...
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:48 PM
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well, the powder isn't to hard to find (preordered dome from cabelas), but i'm having trouble finding bullet. every single one of the .311 bullets i find are either really expensive, or they're .32 pistol bullets. i wonder if these will work?
AB, what firearm are you loading for? I've read the thread, but nowhere can I find a reference from you as to what gun your loading for. I found some .310 Vmax's for 18.00/100 if that's cheap enough. Let me know. I can either PM or post the info.

Your biggest benefit will be in accuracy, and consistency, then cost. I picked up the Lee Turret Kit for $99 from MidwayUSA. It's just about got all you need for starters. RCBS, Hornaday, etc. are make great equipment but are expensive for a start-up low volume reloader IMHO.
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Old 02-26-2009, 7:28 PM
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I'd love to get into casting, but i for some reason don't feal safe working closely with melted lead.
Aww c'mon. I'm a complete moron, and I haven't been poisoned or tragically burned.....yet.

But yes there are definitely some safety concerns. If you decide to give it a try, I'd recommend getting a copy of lyman's cast bullet handbook, and checking out http://castboolits.gunloads.com. Also it can(for me at least) be frustrating, as sometimes I have more than a few ugly bullets to re-melt. But it's less and less every time.

toes
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Old 12-28-2011, 2:20 PM
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Thumbs up 7.62 x 39

I just recently obtained a SKS and had the same question. I just read a article stating that some barrels are .311 and other could be .308 also. I looked at casting my own bullets and the dia. is stated as .312 so this may present some problems. I will put the link for the article, it also has some great reloading data.

http://archives.gunsandammo.com/content/the-762x39
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:44 AM
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Your SKS is almost certainly at the larger end of the spectrum- Ruger put out the Mini-30 with .308 groove Dia., and RCBS 7.62x39 die sets come with 2 different expander balls depending on which groove Dia./bullet Dia. you might need for this reason. Soviet and Chinese guns are around .311-.312-.313 or even bigger in my experience. My CZ-527 in 7.62x39 is .310, tightest Eastern Dia. I've seen.

Slug your barrel to find out for certain- I use a SOFT Lead ball or egg shaped sinker, if it's a little too small, just squeeze it in a vise a bit untill it widens out to just a bit more than the groove Dia. in width. Lube it well, I start it into the muzzle with a plastic hammer and a 4" length of 1/4" hardwood dowel, and have several more 6" approximate lengths of hardwood dowel that I keep adding to the stack and pushing/tapping the ball through untill it falls out into the chamber. Don't use one long rod or dowel, you'll bend it or snap it. Don't use any material that can damage the bore!

Take a micrometer or calipers and (gently!) measure the groove Dia. from the ball. Easy to do for an even number of grooves, you'll need to talk to a machinist or gunsmith with a fancy tool for 5 groove barrels...

Last edited by Ber; 12-29-2011 at 10:47 AM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 3:24 PM
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talk about resurrection....
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Old 12-29-2011, 6:46 PM
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My old Mini 30 loved the yugo m67 with the good lead bullets. Norinco primers were too hard and pretty dirty powder. I think the steel jackets made me think twice too knowing it was .308.

Great info!

$270 seems like a small price for as stash of some good ammo you work up to better than surplus quality.... isn't it about $ +600 for factory loads iirc.
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Old 12-29-2011, 6:58 PM
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When shooting lead bullets from a SKS or an AK, you need to keep your gas port clean or it will fill in with lead fouling. Also, after you cast bullets at, you need to size, lube and probably install gas checks on them. If your gun shoots jacketed .311 bullets, you'll probably want to shoot .312 lead bullets.
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