Richard Craver

Musings about this world, and the world to come.

Russian Collusion

Written By: richardwcraver - Mar• 22•18

A few weeks ago I was painting my rifle black. I had such a good time building it in the beginning, and such a good time stripping it, painting and removing excess weight; then Aim Surplus put lowers on sale.

I had planned to eventually build an AR10 in .308, but AR10 parts are pricier and ammo is more expensive to shoot very much. It may still happen, but the frugal side won out, and I decided on an AR15 chambered in 7.62×39 Russian, sometimes called an AR47.

Why not just get an AK47? The Kalishnakov is a tried and proven platform that has seen service in the Soviet Union and it’s territories, then pressed into service by virtually every nation that has seen fit to over throw an oppressive government. They are reasonably inexpensive, and are so crudely made that they will continue to function in the harshest conditions from the monsoon flooded paddies of Vietnam to the sandbox of the latest terrorist Bungholeistan. But there are too many variants to ‘build’ one (I’m a hobbyist geek after all.) without investing months sorting through parts suppliers and internet B.S. of what is best. I just want it to work reliably with minimal hassle.

There are a handful of U.S. companies building and selling modern examples, but many are a crapshoot of reliability and some ‘modern’ manufacturing methods lag behind the crude, simple but brutally reliable methods and materials the Russians, Poles, Czechs and Romanians made legendary. Trunions made of cast alloys instead of steel to save machining cost comes to mind. Poor riveting of the stamped receivers keeps coming up time and again. Interchangeability of parts is far from certain, and availability of genuine com-bloc parts are limited to what was outside of Russia before Obama banned their importation by autopen. ARs are modular, parts are mostly interchangable and readily available; and I don’t need to learn Russian to read specs.

And why 7.62×39 caliber instead of something sexy like a 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, 300 AAC Blackout or .25-45 Sharps?

  • 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC are pricey to build and shoot. Just not enough market saturation to have economy of scale.
  • 300 AAC Blackout is a good choice it you are shooting suppressed subsonic loads, but doesn’t have much downrange umph for hunting much larger than hogs, and .223/5.56×45 is more than adequate for coyote and other varmints.

  • .25-45 Sharps is an interesting cartridge, but I will have to convert brass from .223/5.56×45 and handload as off the shelf ammo isn’t readily available without ordering online and paying HazMat shipping.

So what is a cheapskate with black rifle disease to do? 7.62×39 is ballistically similar to .30-30 and relatively inexpensive to buy steel case ammo, especially in Spam Can packaging.

Brass case ammo is available and can be reloaded with standard components and at least one of the powders I have for .223 . Projectiles are actually .310″, but reloaders have used good ol American .308″ projectiles with good accuracy for years. It is sufficient to ethically take hogs and whitetail deer.

So there it is. It’s a lower cost intermediate cartridge with ballistic performance somewhere between typical .223/5.56×45 NATO AR15 cartidges and .308/7.62×51 NATO.

Does that make it a compromise? I suppose so. If you have taxpayers buying your arms and ammo with deficit spending, go straight for the AR10 platform in .308, it is a superior caliber. Or go with the sexy 6.5 Creedmoor like many in the long distance shooting community.

Black rifle disease, because building guns is challenging and fun!

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