Letter Re: Better Performance for 7.62x39mm Ammunition

James Wesley:
After personal experience testing and reviewing the tests results as reported by many parties, both layman and professionals that included photos of terminal performance on game animals and ballistic gelatin, if one uses the 8M3 bullet as found on the original 7.62×39 Sapsan, now offered on the Wolf Military Classic HP, one would have ammunition that reliably fragments after 3 inches in gelatin and penetrates 18″ much like soft point ammunition with in 100 yards, and becomes more like soft point ammunition and mushrooms after 100 yards.  The Sapsan and 8M3 bullet is discussed and recommended by an issue of Guns and Ammo dedicated the AK-47 in a comparison using Lapua and Winchester SP ammunition.  I personally have all the Sapsan I need, but if I were to purchase the Wolf Military Classic HP with the intent of using the 8M3 bullet, one can confirm that the ammunition will perform as expected by shooting at three 1 gallon milk jugs and collecting the fragments and remaining slug.  This ammunition will easily penetrate a modern vehicle and provide the 5-6″ group typical of the AK-47. I would much rather be hit with either 7.62 x 39 or 5.56 FMJ ammunition than the 8M3 bullet discussed. Photos of 200 to 250 pound game animals shot with the 8M3 are gruesome.  

Another little known 7.62 x 39 ball and FMJ ammunition that has good terminal ballistics is the Yugo M67 ammunition.  It is has the hollow tip and is the famed ‘poison’ bullet.  This comes in an annealed brass case and produces 1/2 to 1″ tighter groups at 100 yards than most AK ammo, and is what I would consider real AK-47 ammo, and all for only 17 cents per round. However, it is corrosively primed. Thankfully the AK-47 is made to handle such ammunition and is easily cleaned.  [Repeated cleaning for two or three days after shooting corrosive ammo is a must.] An acquaintance used this ammunition during deer season and was understandably unhappy when a Yugo M67 bullet destroyed the meat of both shoulders of a deer. – Eric, Somewhere in Montana  

JWR Adds: Readers should beware that some of the ammunition that comes out of the former Soviet Bloc is corrosively primed. Unlike U.S. military small arms ammunition, which was transitioned to noncorrosive priming in the 1950s, corrosive primers are still made and used in Eastern Europe. Even some very recent production ammo–including some 5.45x39mm–in commercial packaging has corrosive primers! Do your due diligence before you buy!