I can’t remember the last time we’ve written about 7.62×39 ammo or even the guns that shoot them (AK-47). With new technology coming out daily in regards to ballistics, an update on some of the new ammo is needed.
There are so many different brands that sell 7.62x39mm ammo that it can be very difficult to determine which is the best for your gun.
It comes down to the primers, powder, casing, and bullet quality. This blog is dedicated to the top brands that sell 7.62x39mm ammo in the American market for AK-47 style rifles.
Brass Vs. Steel Case?
Before we get into which ammo we feel is the best, you need to ensure you’re clear on the difference between brass and steel casing for the AK-47. Everyone knows by now where the AK was invented (Russia) and how popular it’s become around the world (most popular gun worldwide). What a lot of people don’t understand is the AK-47 wasn’t meant to shoot high-end brass ammo with aftermarket primers and clean-burning powder.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I’ve seen AK-47 rifles dug up from feet in the Iraqi deserts only to be fired within seconds. The loose-fitting action inside the upper receiver ensures that no amount of dirt, grit, water, or blood will stop it from firing. This same action also provides a less accurate rifle with more power than most people can handle. In short, the AK-47 wasn’t meant to be a premier rifle, it’s meant to work in any environment on Earth and is in fact used in every corner of the Planet.
The reason I mentioned the importance of understanding the point of the AK-47 is it was designed to shoot steel-cased bullets. Steel is much easier and more importantly a fraction of the cost of using brass ammo. Since I started reloading my own ammo, I’ve also learned that nobody ever tries to reload steel cases because of the quality of the case. Modern gun manufacturers of AK-47’s have been trying to figure out how they can achieve the durability and reliability of the AK, without recoil and inaccuracy. I believe that there are a handful of companies that produce incredibly reliable and high-performing ammo.
Maxim Defense 7.62x39mm 117 Gr Short Barrel Ammo
Many people have at least heard of Maxim Defense, but not many people even know they sell ammo. The Maxim Defense PDX is the gun that steals the show every time it’s unveiled and reviewed by the public. Recoil Magazine named it Best of Shot 2019 due to the impossibly light recoil with only a 5.5" barrel. I don’t have to tell anyone that shooting a 7.62x39mm bullet in a 5.5" barrel sounds like it’s going to snap out of your hands as you pull the trigger. Maxim Defense leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the quality of their firearms and with the addition of a state-of-the-art pistol brace, you barely feel a recoil at all.
When it comes to the ammo used in the PDX and other short-barreled AK-47 style rifles, the combination of powder and components matters. One of the reasons Maxim Defense won Best of Shot 2019 was because they used their own ammo that’s meant for short-barreled rifles. Since Short Barrel rifles tend to lack the velocity and terminal ballistic of an AK-47 with a 16" barrel, Maxim Defense had to create ammo meant to make up for that velocity and still keep the 7.62x39mm size.
The Maxim Defense 7.62x39mm is built with copper, instead of brass because as we all know, copper can handle heat better than almost any metal on Earth. By using copper, Maxim Defense was able to ensure the added velocity is safely contained inside the copper case. The Tumble Upon Impact™ (TUI™) technology used in the Maxim Defense ammo makes me think of our M16 (Musket to the younger generation).
One reason the M16 was so effective was the tumbling effect of the bullet that causes extreme damage upon impact. It creates a wider wound cavity and the bullet tears through soft tissue like a boulder rolling downhill from a mountainside. This tumbling effect has given our soldiers an advantage to have an arm shot turn into a heart shot with all credit to the advanced ballistics. Simply put, there is no better ammo on the market for SBRs, especially the high-end rifles like the PDX that cost over $2,000.
Winchester Ammo 7.62×39 123 Gr Power-Point
Winchester is a premier ammo company in the United States that produces great ammo in almost every caliber. Their Deer & Wild Boar 7.62x39mm ammo is a little heavier than the Maxim Defense ammo at 124 Gr (117 Gr for MD) and features a brass case instead of copper. This ammo is a great choice for any style AK-47 you might have and will work great on the range and in action, if need be.
The Winchester 7.62x39mm ammo is number 2 on this list because it uses premier components, such as primers, cases, and powders.
Similar to the Norma Tactical ammo, Sellier & Bellot use the best components available when loading creating their brand ammo. This specific ammo is designed for more stability to create better accuracy for target practice or hunting applications.
Personally, I’ve always shot well with Sellier & Bellot ammo in my pistols and AR, so I have no reason to assume the 7.62x39mm ammo won’t be great as well.
The standard for Russian 7.62x39mm ammunition known the world over. Perfect for your AK47 or SKS. Don’t want to mess around with 20-round boxes? Then take advantage of the 1000-round case for only $349.99.
Believe it or not, I regard PMC Bronze ammo higher than Fiocchi and Norma, but those companies are offering a slightly better deal at the moment. Precision Made Cartridges or PMC makes some of the most underrated ammo on the market. Most people look at them as “budget ammo", but that’s probably because some of the main manufacturers have more money for marketing (assumption, not proven).
The PMC Bronze 7.62x39mm ammo is made specifically with increased accuracy and a consistent burning powder for the ultimate precision shooting. The boat-tail design in the brass casing allows for a tighter fit in the action and subsequently improves the accuracy of the round by ensuring the physics are optimized.
The PMC Bronze isn’t PMC’s high-end cartridge and that’s why it’s listed at number 5 on the list. It does, however, provide any shooter with the ability to practice with a high volume of ammo without sacrificing ballistics and performance.
The AK-47 is a beast that just won’t die, it’s legendary and rugged, and as dependable as the sunrise. If you feed the beast with the right ammo, not only will it extend the barrel life, but you’re going to get much better accuracy, and bring a smile to your face every time you squeeze off a round.
What are our recommendations? Well, if you’re running an AR platform chambered in 7.62×39, then we recommend the Maxim Defense ammo. If you’re rolling with a more traditional AK47-style platform, then the Global Ordnance ammo is going to treat you pretty well.
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