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Gettin' loaded

Why Reload 7.62X39?
Case Preparation
My Recipes


The 7.62X39 was introduced around 1943 by the Soviets. It was used in the SKS and later in the AK-47.
It was the chambering of choice in many non-NATO countries. It became more popular in the United States
with the importation of new or military surplus rifles chambering this round. Due to the availability
of cheap surplus ammunition, reloading for this cartridge took a while to take off. (If I can say it
"took off" yet) Any percieved shortcomings of this caliber is mostly a result of low quality rifles or
oversize foreign barrel bores. The last time I measured some factory ammo, it was .308 diameter. If using
a .311 diameter bore, .311(ish) bullets can help accuracy. Of note, Ruger's Mini-30 has been issued with
.308 bore and reloaders for that rifle should be careful about overpressures when using larger diameter
bullets. As far as hunting goes, the 7.62X39 is a little underrated. It can be loaded within 100fps of a
30-30 with the same weight bullets. (Yes, above 150gr bullets the advantage goes to the 30-30 due to the
small case volume of the 7.62X39) If you avoid FMJ bullets and keep your shots within 200yds., you should
have little trouble hunting the same animals that you would hunt with the 30-30 (150gr and less). The
7.62X39 has a wide range of bullets available if you can get .308 diameter to shoot accurately. Somewhat
less selection is available in the .310-.313 range. Again, be careful of overpressure with the larger diameter

Why reload .7.62X39?

The cheapest surplus ammunition seems to be getting scarce. I can reload with bullets that
are a better fit to my bore size. I can also use bullet types that are not available from
most ammunition manufacturers like round nose and even cast bullets.

Case Preparation

As I am using an AK variant, I usually have a lot of battered and dented brass. If the
dents are minor and the case mouth is not damaged, my AK will be fine with it. Once all the brass
is tumbled clean, it is set up in the loading block.
Cases in tumblerCases near tumbler in loading blockCases set up in loading block
Here, they can be spray lubed. I use a lube pad though.
Cases on lube pad
If I plan to use .308 diameter bullets, I make sure to use the .308 expander with my sizing
die. The sizer die is then screwed into the press per manufacturers instructions and the lubed shells
are sized and decapped.
Screw in sizerCases ready for sizing
The tumbler, then, does a great job of removing all traces of lube. As the shells are brought back to the
loading block, I check for Remington brass. Remington brass uses small rifle primers and I use the Winchester
brass that takes large rifle primers.
Left: Remington with SR pocket. Right: Winchester with LR pocket
I don't want to accidentally try to seat a large rifle primer in a small rifle seat. The cases are then
trimmed to specification. Ideally, I want them to be all the same length so as to result in an even amount
of crimp for the batch.
Case being trimmedTrimming assembly
The case mouths are lightly chamfered inside and out to remove any burrs caused by trimming.
Inside chamferOutside chamfer
A drill can be used to speed up the process.
Drill with case in shellholder


First I put on my eye protection.
Goofy lookin' eye protection
As pointed out in the case prep section, I have set aside the cases that have small rifle primer seats.
I prepare my tray of primers.
Primers going onto trayShaking primer tray
I swage my primer pockets. (if necessary)
Swage 'em
I proceed to seat my large rifle primers in the requisite cases.
Placing primer on seaterSeating primer
Others may disagree, but I think BR primers are a waste of money; especially if one has an AK or SKS.
I use a flat surface to test seating. No wobble = no protruding primer.
No wobble?Nicely seated
This is very important as protruding primers can cause some rifles to have a slamfire condition, setting off the primer
as the round is being chambered. That is not good.


I then select the proper powder volume on my auto-disc powder dispenser and fill it with powder. This
goes on top of my rifle case charging die.
Filling powder chargerPowder measure goes on the charging die
Each case is upended before charging to avoid potential overcharging. I tare my scale with a case on it and when I
bring the charged case back to my scale, the powder's weight is shown.
Tare the caseWeigh the charge
I look over my cases before proceeding. I re-weigh any questionable charges.
Cases full of powder


I place a case in the shellholder and raise the ram all the way up. I screw the seater die in until it touches
the case mouth, then back the die off slightly.
Adjusting seater die
I then lower the ram and place a bullet on the case mouth. The round is slowly moved into the die until I feel the bullet
just start to seat. (Seater plug adjustment in small increments may be necessary to get the seater plug to
touch the bullet)
Place the bulletJust starting to seat
I adjust the seater plug in (1/4 or 1/8th turns) and run the round through until my target OAL is reached.
Adjusting seater plugSeated bulletMeasuring OAL
Before crimping, I make sure my OAL fits my application, especially if I am seating long.
Fits my magazineFits my pre-ban (Kalifornia) magazine
If I am using the crimp concurrently with seating, I will need to back the seater plug off the bullet and
screw the die body in by 1/4 turn increments alternated with running the round through the die until I have
the desired crimp. Then I move the seater plug down to touch the bullet and I'm ready for the next round. I
make sure to check OAL after the second round to be sure the crimp isn't causing the bullet to seat too shallow. I
crimp as a separate operation because I feel this yields a more consistent OAL and a firmer crimp.
Screwing in crimp dieView of crimping collet
Crimped roundBeautiful sight
Future reloader?
Future reloader?
Left to right, Speer 110gr RN, Hornady 123gr FMJ, Hornady 123gr Spire point, Sierra 150gr spitzer.
Gettin' loaded

My Recipes

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 24.6gr. Hodgdon H110
Bullet: 55gr fmj .224 bullet in a .308 Sabot
OAL: 2.102
May not function in certain magazines. Distinctive *boom*.

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 26.5gr. Alliant Reloder 7
Bullet: 110gr RNSP .308dia. (non-cannelure; crimp well w/ Lee FCD)
OAL: 2.075
May not function in certain magazines.

Case: Winchester
Primer: CCI LR OR Winchester LR
Powder: 30.6gr. Hodgdon H335
Bullet: 123gr SP OR FMJ Hornady .310dia.
OAL: 2.19

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 18.5gr. IMR4227
Bullet: 123gr SP .310dia.
OAL: 2.19

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 27.0gr. Hodgdon H335
Bullet: 150gr SP .311dia. (non-cannelure)
OAL: 2.232

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 16.6gr. IMR4227
Bullet: 150gr SP .311dia. (non-cannelure)
OAL: 2.218

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 24.5gr. Alliant Reloder 7
Bullet: 150gr SP .311dia. (non-cannelure)
OAL: 2.2

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 21.3gr. Alliant Reloder 7
Bullet: 160gr Lead gas-checked tumble-lube .311dia.
OAL: 2.2

Case: Winchester
Primer: Winchester LR
Powder: 15.3gr. IMR4227
Bullet: 160gr Lead gas-checked tumble-lube .311dia.
OAL: 2.2

Last Modified: Tuesday, 27-Oct-2009 20:44:13 EDT

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