The Mental Militia Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: .308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?  (Read 13211 times)

RN/MEDIC

  • Guest
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« on: May 08, 2005, 11:11:37 pm »

Friends,  My thanks to so many of you for the fine posts and great information on the previous two threads with my questions.  Now, I am considering whether to go with something in 7.62 X 39 or go on to the .308   Actually, were the cost of most of the .308's so much greater, I might opt for something in that round just because of greater reliability ( ie; so far, nobody here has posted news of the .308's self destructing as was reported by the Romanian AK 47's).

I know the AK is less expensive though the ammo for both, in the military surplus, is priced very reasonably for both.  Also, the .308 is more powerful, offers greater range and accuracy, reliability.  

Cost, carry weight, magazine cost/price, etc. varying factor to be considered.  Several of you have no doubt already been through these decisions and many others are yet to make the decision.  As with the other threads, your thoughts and experiences will help greatly. Hope I can return the favor sometime.  

     Gratefully & Respectfully,  RNMEDIC
Logged

F42

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 342
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 08:01:17 am »

Quote
Friends, My thanks to so many of you for the fine posts and great information on the previous two threads with my questions. Now, I am considering whether to go with something in 7.62 X 39 or go on to the .308 Actually, were the cost of most of the .308's so much greater, I might opt for something in that round just because of greater reliability

You have beaten this topic to death. If you are looking for a "BATTLE RIFLE" it has to be a M!A.
As BTP would say "only YOUR LIFE depends on it",.

F42
Logged
People who think they know everything, are particularly annoying to those of us that do.

Joel

  • Just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5530
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2005, 08:08:52 am »

Quote
If you are looking for a "BATTLE RIFLE" it has to be a M!A.
Actually, I'm pretty sure BTP wouldn't agree with this statement.  I don't even agree with it, and I carry an M1A.

It really just depends on what you want.  A lot of people think, with some justification, that a small, handy rifle you've got with you is better than a big, heavy blaster that's leaning against a tree over there.  I don't argue with them.

100 rounds of .308 in magazines on a load-bearing rig adds significantly to the weight of the rig, but is not by any means an oppressive load.  Range and accuracy are far superior.  It's been my choice for years, but I don't sneer at the guy next to me with the AK or AR.
Logged
Yet another Freedomista blog: The Ultimate Answer to Kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.

Alton Speers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1869
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 08:21:14 am »

In some ways there is no way to get an actual comparison of costs. In some ways you can. This is because the 7.62x39 was/is produced in massive quantities in former soviet block countries.  Hard to get costs from countries that used bureaucrats to check the foreign newspapers for the prices of goods then set similar levels for their own products.

On a more current and realistic or market-based level it is the components of the cartridges as well as physical size or quantity that makes the cost difference seemingly so large today.

7.62x39 components:
steel case
berdan priming
low quantity of gunpowder (generally smokier and dirtier)
copper washed bullets
lacquer coating
significantly lower wages paid to employees

.308/7.62x51NATO components:
Brass case
boxer (commercial) priming and berdan (military-non-US) priming
larger quantity/higher quality gunpowder (additives to reduce flash/smoke in military production)
copper plated/jacketed bullets which are longer in length and higher in weight than 7.62x39
higher wages paid to employees in US

The differences may seem minor but are adequate to justify differences in costs. The metal cases are made from commodity materials. The bullets are made from commodity materials. Gunpowders of all types are expensive and dangerous. Primers of all types are dangerous. These last two increase the costs associated with the risks production, handling and storage. Then, of course, the differences in wages paid. The risks and wages are what have driven most production overseas. This has helped reduce costs somewhat in America. The final consideration is the limited market. Your customer base is the militaries of the world with the civilian consumer base being a distant second and one which demands more variety and options in components as well as engaging in assembling it's own cartridges. Furthermore, the slight differences between the NATO cartridge and the civilian .308 are such that they cannot be produced together on the same line. Last of all the .223/5.56 is the favored cartridge of NATO militaries with the 7.62x51 running a very distant second place.

As to performance differences, they are rather obvious.

I'm blessed in that I have lots of different firearms in lots of different calibers. However, if a time comes when it is necessary to be armed and/or on the move I will not be able to carry all those guns. I do not know what situations will lie ahead of me. I do not know of what situations will demand that I use my firearm. I can guess, imagine, dream, ponder and confabulate all I want but in the end I simply do not know. Because of my ignorance of future events and situations I want a firearm chambered in a cartridge that is:
common
commonly available
components and/or cartridges are easy to come by
components that are easily reloadable
a cartridge that is effective at a wide variety of distances
a cartridge that has adequate power at all the distances I may be required to cover
I can find .308 in most any nationwide store (wally-world, Meijer, etc) I can't do that with the 7.62x39

I have no love affair or admiration of the cartridges and calibers selected by the US military or any other military. It is simply a matter of expedience and utility. In some ways costs do not even come into consideration. Since distance/power is the main consideration and I know that my most likely enemy will be armed with 5.56 weaponry I gain an edge with more powerful ammunition.

Other than matters of momentary cost/financial conditions or physical suitability I find no logical or practical reasons to select the 7.62x39 cartridge over the 7.62x51.

Alton
Logged

F42

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 342
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2005, 09:40:40 am »

Quote
John DeWitt     Posted on May 9 2005, 09:08 AM
QUOTE
If you are looking for a "BATTLE RIFLE" it has to be a M!A.
Actually, I'm pretty sure BTP wouldn't agree with this statement. I don't even agree with it, and I carry an M1A.

I know that you own a M1A. If you have direct battle experience with it you know that I speak the truth. I was a DM in the early days of Vietnam.

Our guys were equiped with M16's, the opponet AK 47's. They could hit and kill us at 150 - 200 yard range. The M16's couldn't even stop them at 75 yrds with 5 rounds. Hence the DM with a M14. I could, and did keep patrols from advancing any closer than 400 yrds with the M14. God knows how many of the kids were saved and not killed.

The .308 will either flat out kill you at 300 -500 range, or will definatly take you out of the fight with one shot. If the bad guy was hiding in the undercover only the .308 could penetrate and kill. You guys can go with the lighter stuff as your primary "BATTLE RIFLE" if you wish. But do not count on me to be side by side with you waiting for them to get that close. I like the odds of being able to kill at 300 - 500 yrds.

As far as the 7.62x39 ammo goes, well if the SHTF I don't think there will be a whole lot available to get.

And a last thought. I sold my 2000 car to buy a M1A and a AR15 (Bush 20"). I now drive a beat up 1988 POS as a consequence. So don't tell me that money is always a problem. If you want the best, you can find a way, only your life depends on it.


And Alton, all very good points.

F42

   
Logged
People who think they know everything, are particularly annoying to those of us that do.

securitysix

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5633
  • Self Proclaimed Champion Thread Derailer
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2005, 11:50:46 am »

You ask an interesting question with regards to the 7.62x51 (military designation for .308, basically) or 7.62x39, but the answer actually very much depends on you.  Ask yourself some questions.

1)  What do you intend to do with the cartridge you choose?  

If your primary concern is hunting game, both cartridges will do deer sized game handily (7.62x39 is ballistically close to .30-30 Winchester, which has killed many thousands of deer), though you will get much better range with the longer cartridge.  Above deer sized game, the 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester) will start to pull ahead with its ability to handle heavier bullets (up to 180 grains really well, above that, you really need a .30-06 to stay in the .30 cal game).

If your primary concern is dealing with 2-legged varmints, another question arises (it matters in hunting, too, but less from a life and death perspective).

2)  Just how far out do you plan to engage targets?

Under 300 yards, the 7.62x39 will do just fine.  Freedom42 has pointed this out from personal experience.  Beyond 300 yards, the 7.62x39 starts to loose ground, partially because exterior ballistics (you start needing a whole lot of hold over to even get a hit) and partially because the farther out you get, the less you have in the way of terminal ballistics.  The .308 is moving a heavier bullet faster from the start (150ish grain bullet at 2700-2800 fps vs. 123-125 gr. bullet at around 2300 fps), so it has more punch when it gets out there a ways.

These ballistics are important when hunting, but deer don't shoot back, so I'd recommend getting as close as possible to ensure a clean kill when hunting.

3)  What's the terrain like where you live?  Urban?  Rural but lots of trees?  Rural and lots of open spaces?

OK, this is really an extension of the last question, but it still matters.  If you're close enough to through and through a bad guy with your shot, you don't want that bullet going (to borrow a phrase from badmuggafugga) "across four lanes of traffic, over the petting zoo, and through three walls of the "special needs" school before finally coming to rest in Corky's abdomen".  Rural areas tend to reduce this concern some, so a .308 is less of a concern in these areas.  

In heavily wooded areas, long shots are harder to come by, thus the extra weight of the .308 may be more of a liability than an asset.  Open areas allow for longer shots, allowing the .308 to really shine, and showing the weakness of the Soviet round.

4)  How much do you want to be able to practice?

If you've determined that the strengths and weaknesses of each round pretty much balance out in your book, this question can become the deciding factor...but not always.  I go to a lot of gun shows (we have one about once a month in Tulsa, OK, sometimes twice a month, and this is home of the well-known Wannemacher show).  

I've seen 7.62x51mm NATO surplus go for between $150 and $180 per thousand ($175 per 1280 of South African in the wooden crates, but you can't find that stuff any more, either).  Indian .308 ammo is usually much cheaper, but you'll rarely hear good things about it.  I've never tried it.

7.62x39mm ammo tends to run between $75 and $90 per thousand for the steel cased stuff.  In a com-block gun of either the AK or SKS variety, I see no reason to shoot brass cased ammo and at least one reason not to (softer primers in US commercially manufactured ammo have a greater likelyhood of slam-fires in guns with floating firing pins than com-block commercial ammo, which uses harder primers).

You're looking at potentially twice as much ammo for more or less the same price with a 7.62x39 over the .308 Win.  In other words, you'll be able to practice much more for the same price.  You are going to practice, aren't you?  :)

Once you've settled on which round will do the job, then start worrying about what platform to shoot it from.  And when you get to the question of "Which gun chambered for <insert cartridge designation here> should I get?" the answer is this:  "Whichever one you are the most comfortable with."
Logged
"That's what governments are for; get in a man's way." - Malcom Reynolds

"This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer." - Will Rogers

Ian

  • aka Elf-Boy
  • Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1762
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2005, 02:32:12 pm »

I don't see anything I need to add here, so I'll stick with just this:

Quote
Indian .308 ammo is usually much cheaper, but you'll rarely hear good things about it. I've never tried it.

I bought a 640-round can of the stuff. When I got home I inspected it, and had to weed out literally 5% or the rounds for having obvious problems. Things like dramatically short OALs, crushed/mangled case necks, split case necks, etc. The remaining rounds worked alright, but they were dirty and caused some malfs in my M1 (the only ammo thus far to do that). I'll never buy any more of it. FYI, you can identify it by the sealed 10-round clear plastic bags it's sold in.
Logged
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his good in life.
"O this I have read in a book," he said, "and that was told to me,
"And this I have thought that another man thought of a Prince in Muscovy."
The good souls flocked like homing doves and bade him clear the path,
And Peter twirled the jangling Keys in weariness and wrath.
"Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought," he said, "and the tale is yet to run:
"By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer—what ha' ye done?"

Joel

  • Just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5530
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2005, 03:38:29 pm »

I've never personally shot any of the Indian surplus, but bad reports have poured in.  Everybody who uses it complains about it.

My local gunshop has some, and I can testify that if you just stand a bunch of it up on the counter, the bullet seating depths are all over the place, sometimes dramatically.  It's the first ammo I've every personally seen that was visually defective.
Logged
Yet another Freedomista blog: The Ultimate Answer to Kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.

ultralongrunner

  • Guest
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2005, 05:39:14 pm »

It comes down to what you want it to do and at what range.

A .308 is considered a round for a Main Battle Rifle. Can hit harder, at longer ranges.

7.62x39 is an assault rifle round.  Decent for close in, assault type scenarios. Generally lighter, easier to move quickly.

During one aspect of my training, I carried a H&K G3 as I couldn't shoot the M16's everyone was issued being left handed in all.  During one of the assault courses, there was a target mostly hidden behind a car. I shot through the car scoring two center of mass hits in places that were concealed by the car.  No one thought to do that with their M-16's.

My main battle rifle is a Fulton Armory M-14. My wife likes her M-4 type carbine. Little does she know that once she masters that, she'll get her very own M-14 that I'm building up right now.  

There is a lot of information here.  If you can, try them both and see what fits what you are thinking of doing and how.

ultralongrunner
Logged

merlin419

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1684
  • 57th Overlanders Brigade
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2005, 07:36:25 pm »

I have a couple of SKS's and will use them as my Battle Carbines until I get my MBR in .308. Right now I do have Bolt rifles in .308 not in 7.62 x 39.  
Logged
"Shepard Booke use to tell me," If you can't do something smart then do something right" "Jayne Cobb.

RFC member.

"I'm just a peckerwood who lives in the woods with too many guns."  Bob Lee Swagger

oldsarge

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 223
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 02:37:45 pm »

Do you expect to have advanced medical help?  If not, you'd better be well out of range of your opponent's effective range.  The AK has the approximate ballistics of the 30-30 Winchester.  The .308 has the approximate ballistics (almost the same) as the 30-06.  The longer range you can achieve in a firefight, the better your chances of surviving, if you have the skills as a rifleman. You can't kill what you can't hit.  Stay out of range and hurt him before he can hurt you.  Practice, practice, practice!  Proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance.
Logged

yorick

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 315
    • http://www.friendshuh.com
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2005, 03:46:04 pm »

There are several schools of thought on 'SHTF' rifles and calibres.  

Commonly divided into:
1.  Heavy Class - (308, 3006 762x54 etc)
pro - better penetration, longer effective range.
con - heavy and recoil can make rapid followup shots problematic for some people.

2.  Light "Assault" Class (223, 5.45, 9mm etc)
pro - lightweight, can carry more ammo, low recoil makes practice painless & quick follow ups shots easy.
con - less effective range, penetration of cover problematic

IMHO the 7.62x39  actually provides the worst of both worlds.  The primary advantage to the smaller round is that you can carry more.  The cartridge weight differences are due primarily to bullet size.  Case + Powder weight on any of these cartridges vary by less than 5% - so you're really just comparing bullet weights.

A typical .223/5.56 bullet weighs only a little more than 1/3 that of a typical 308/7.62 (55 grains to 148) actually 37% - so you can carry almost three times the .223 ammo as you can 308 - for example if you can carry 200 rounds of 7.62x51 in your 'normal' loadout - you could instead carry 535 rounds of 5.56 - a substantial difference!!.

Let's look at the 7.62x39 though - typical bullet weights are 123 grains - this is 83% of the 7.62x51 (308) bullet weight - which means you only get to carry slightly more cartridges in any given load.   So our comfortable carry of 200 rounds of 7.62x51 - only goes up to 240 rounds of 7.62x39...not even 2 full magazines in an AK clone....

Performance wise the 7.62x39 will certainly outpenetrate the .223 at short range - but recoil is still substantial enough to force reaquisition of site picture between shots - especially with a light carbine type weapon.  Ballistically my experience is that the .223 - due to higher initial velocity and better ballistic coefficient will actually outperform the 7.62x39 at the outer edges of the range envelope.

I don't have my tables here at the office (and I'll make corrections if needed when I get a chance) - but doing some extrapolation of the available tables at www.exteriorballistics.com I figure that a 125 gr .30 cal bullet with muzzle velocity of 2300 fps will retain only 385 ft-lbs of energy at 300 yards.  A 55 gr .223 calibre bullet with 3100 fps muzzle velocity arrives at 300 yards with 500 ft-lbs of energy...

Neither one is dumping huge amounts of energy into a target at that range of course (for comparison - our 7.61x51 148 gr   bullet with muzzle velocity of 2700 fps arrives with almost 1300 ft-lbs of energy!!) - but it is instructive to note that even the much maligned .223 actually delivers more energy and a significantly flatter trajectory at longer ranges than the heavier 7.62x39 round.  

For what it's worth, my deer hunting experience says that you need at least 800 ft-lbs of energy to reliably drop a mule deer - roughly the same size and weight of a man - I wouldn't use the 7.62x39 for deer hunting unless I expected my maximum range to be 150 yards or less.  With a 308/30-06 if I can make the shot - the bullet will arrive with enough enery to do the job.   Heck even the .223 is legal for Mule deer where I hunt -  and there is a guy in our group who regularily bags his bucks with a single well placed round of 223 - but he loads his own - a 62 gr BTSP can carry 800 ft-lbs all the way out to 300 yards...something a 7.62x39 will never do....

So - in summary - I wouldn't consider the 7.62x39 for much of anything other than a very specific scenario  - i.e. known short range enviornment,  with cover,  where weight/ammo quanity was not a consideration.    i.e. jungle / urban with resupply / caches nearby.

Any other scenario is simply better served with either the .223 or 308 class cartridges - and I would evenn argue that even the above specific scenario would be more effectively served by using heavier bullets in a  .223/5.45/5.56 calibre rifle...

In my opinion the 7.62x39 is simply a obsolete cartridge with extremely limited utility.  It is an answer in search of a question....especially given the curent alternatives in other more effective lightweight calibres.....
« Last Edit: May 10, 2005, 04:11:52 pm by yorick »
Logged

stoky45

  • Guest
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2005, 07:56:54 pm »

The 7.62 x 39 is the answer to a question not worth asking.
Oldsarge put it very succinctly.
There is a big difference between 7.62 x 39 vs .308, not much difference between a .308 and .30-06, but there isn't anything the .308 will do at longer ranges with heavier bullets that the 06 won't do better.
Logged

Joel

  • Just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5530
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2005, 08:08:52 pm »

Quote
there isn't anything the .308 will do at longer ranges with heavier bullets that the 06 won't do better.
(ahem)

except fit in the magazine of a proper rifle... :P

(ducks, runs, bobs, weaves...how well can stoky shoot?)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2005, 08:09:17 pm by John DeWitt »
Logged
Yet another Freedomista blog: The Ultimate Answer to Kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.

RN/MEDIC

  • Guest
.308 vs. 7.62 X 39 WHICH?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 11:38:18 pm »

Thanks very much folks.  You old gunnies have really given me a LOT of information, logic, etc. with which to make a decision. I already have a GOOD M1 Garand in Springfield Armory with a LOT of ammo.  I almost have all the money gathered for the next choice which will be the .308 as a result of the fine analysis you guys have given.

I also have devoured and recommended Boston's Gun Bible, Fred's Guide To Being A Rifleman, etc.  It is just that my money is limited and comes hard so I want to be right the first time in my selection.  I have heard a LOT of good about the new M1A from Springfield Armory; the new 16 inch barrel SOCUM, I think that is the name.  It is basically a new model which is good as a "scout" model with a compensator. Some retired military veterans who I know have them and swear by them.  One guy told me he NEVER thought he would see anything that would compare well with his venerable M1Garand and M14, but this one does.  It is a bit pricy.

In the mean time, I'd take a good used M1A if one comes along.  Before I'd take one of the others like the FAL, HK 91/G3, if used I'd want someone who REALLY knows those guns to take a look at it for me.  

I already have a light model carbine in .223 with the collapsable stock and adequate ammo, magzines, etc. That is probably for light close in work or mostly if this old body of mine continues to self destruct.  

In the M 14, what would you guys recommend as the best source of exta magazines and best most desireable make of surplus ammo.  I will probably get several boxes of some good first class stuff like Hornady then stock up on surplus.  

Gratefully,  RNMEDIC
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up