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The battle rages on between iconic rifle cartridges, keeping hot, especially for the giants of the cold war era. These rounds have historically found themselves on opposing sides of conflicts worldwide. But for the modern shooter on a newfangled platform, is the 7.62×39 the same as .308?
They aren’t the same. One is an intermediate, while the other is a full rifle cartridge. The 7.62x39mm symbolizes unadulterated ruggedness and pure dependability. At the same time, the .308 Winchester is the most prevalent North American big game hunter. They’re both excellent hunting cartridges but aren’t interchangeable on any platform.
The .308 Winchester is a watered-down civilian version of the 7.62x51mm cartridge, the standard-issue NATO rifle round. But 7.62x39mm cartridges, also known as 7.62 Soviet, are rimless and bottleneck, sharing the success of their preferred platform, the ubiquitous AK4. Let’s quickly compare these rounds to note differences and similarities.
Background Differences of the 7.62×39 and .308
The 7.62×39 Is an Intermediate Offshoot of the 7.62x51mm NATO
As one of the most used cartridges the world over, the 7.62×39 is poignantly a cold war child. The Russians needed around that delivered intermediate power while being decidedly flexible on semi-auto SKS carbines as well as machine gun suppressive fire. Later, a longer boat-tailed bullet meant a shorter, 39mm casing, finalized in 1947.
Since then, the 7.62×39 has seen little change, although refinements like heat-treated steel core bullets improve penetration. Subsonic and armor-piercing rounds and lacquered and bimetallic c have been developed cases. Several designs are available for the 7.62 Soviet, including soft-points and full metal jackets, and bullets hang between 122 and 150 grain.
.308 Winchester, a Civilian Version of the NATO Cartridge
The .308 Winchester was similarly developed soon after the Korean War when threats of communism gave America shivers. Military brass saw shortcomings in the frontline 30-06 Springfield cartridge in semi and automatic platforms, retiring the long-serving M1 Garland soon after. The next evolution of warfare would consist of select-fire battle rifles like the widely successful AK47.
Thus, it began developing the 7.62x51mm NATO c