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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I often read that the steel core ammo is more accurate than the lead core ammo. If its true, is it that the steel core bullet is longer and is a boat tail bullet where as the lead core is shorter and flat bottom based bullet?

What happens to the mild steel core in the 7.62x39 when shooting steel targets? Would like to see a 7.62x39 steel core bullet hit a thick steel plate where the bullet doesn't penetrate the steel.

I was shooting some steel core 7.62x54r at an AR500 steel swing target, most of the steel rods landed under the steel plate except for the ones that were batted back toward me...it made a strange noise when the flew past me... The steel rods were not damaged or bent from hitting the steel plate.
 

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I've never heard that steel core ammo is more accurate than lead core. Just the opposite actually. In my experience, the mild steel core splatters when it hits a hardened steel plate. I once tested steel core 7.62x39mm against 1/4" mild steel plates spaced 1" apart. at 25 yards, the first plate was completely penetrated each time, but the second one stopped the projectiles, although was severely dented. The projectiles were flattened into the shape of the dent in the plate. Looked much like a "mushroomed" lead core projectile. I've also shot a bunch of 7.62x54r and 8mm Mauser steel core at AR plate. Never found one intact core around the plate... If you are finding and hearing ricocheted cores, then they are AP cores... Some 7.62x54r out of the USSR was ball, but had hardened cores. I think it was called the ST-M2. Maybe some of this was imported with the other surplus... Can you post pics of the ammunition you were using and of the recovered cores?

DD
 

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Here is Chinese lead core (flat base) vs. Chinese steel core (boat tail). Notice that the bearing surface length is about the same.

I have read that the flat base bullets stabilize quicker and should be slightly better inside 300 yds. The boat tail design has advantages at longer distances, beyond 300 yds.

When I've shot the steel core ammo at distances of 50 and 100 yds, however, it seemed to group better than the lead core ammo. Of course these were different years of production and it was probably just do to powder charge consistency or something else?

It would be very interesting to carefully reload the two bullet types for a real comparison.





Edit: The top core in the photo is from a Chinese steel core bullet, recovered from the berm, much like the OP describes. This one did not hit a steel plate, though. (The 3 cores on the bottom are from 7.62x54 rounds).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It was about 8 years ago that I shot the steel core 7.62x54r and I dont have the cores anymore. I will have to find some yellow or silver tip ammo to try it again. I still have the swing target. Sold the SVT40 and all the ammo couple years ago. I just bought a M91/30 and 200 Lupua cases for reloading.

I will have to do some steel core testing using surplus rounds, reloading with surplus bullets and if its possible, use some steel core bullets from 7.62x39 and load them into the 7.62x54r cases. Can you use x39 bullets in x54r cases? I have some AP 30-06 rounds, might pull some of the bullets and try them in the x54r.
 

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I think the 30.06 bullets are too small in diameter to work well in a 7.62x54r barrel. The 7.62x54r and 7.62x39 bullets are around 0.311-0.313" in diameter if I remember correctly. The NATO 7.62 is closer to 0.308".
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I found some 7.62x39 some other countries that had boat tail lead core bullets.

Edit: It ended up as a boat tail hollow point after melting the lead out.
 

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Mild steel cores are cheap, cheaper than lead by far and that is the reason they are used in military ammo. It brings the cost down. The steel of the core is not designed as a penetrator and won't work as such. One problem with using the steel cores is that they have to be placed into the jacket and centered. Its tough to do that exactly and with consistancy in huge production runs so the ammo tends to be less accurate. Lead on the other hand is swaged into the jacket and fills it completely and with constant weight throughout. As long as the jacket is concentric the core will be too. That gives the lead core bullet a chance to be much more accurate. For some shooting like most military use, sub moa ammo isn't necessary and the cost savings can be huge. They don't tend to use this ammo for sniping at long distances so the advantage of the boat tail is not great either.

I keep hearing that using .308 bullets in .311 or .312 bores is terribly inaccurate but my own testing has shown this not to be the case. I frequently use US .308 tracer bullets in my PKM, Bren or RPD machineguns and they light consistantly and hit the target with the same consistancy as the .308 bore MG's I shoot. I've also fired .308 dia boat tailed Sierra Matchking bullets in my Savage Enfield and a few Mosin Nagants. The Matchkings have proven to be more accurate than the standard military ammo by far with no tendencies to tumble. Compared to commercial .311 bullets we have been able to buy there is still an advantage to using the .308 match bullets for accuracy. We've not found any match grade .311 bullets to try so maybe there is some difference there. In conclusion I'd just like to say that using .308 bullets in most of these rifles is not a problem and can enhance the accuracy if good quality bullets are used.

Frank
 

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Steel cores from either ComBlock caliber will be flattened or otherwise damaged from impact om a steel target and they will bounce back toward the shooter sounding like a huge angry bumblebee.

Do not shoot steel on steel closer than 100 meters and wear eye protection every time!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The pulled x39 boat tail bullet I found in my bucket of misalliances bullets did not have a steel core. It was not a full FMJ, the tip was hollow after melting the lead.
 

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Steel core bullets have better accuracy potential, because, for the same weight of a lead core bullet, the steel core bullet will need to be longer. A longer bullet with more bearing surface generally stabilizes better.
 

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I disagree. Many 7.62x39mm lead core bullets are boattailed and of the same exact length as the steel cored M-43 type. Wolf, Vympel, Klimovsk, Chinese, all can be found with lead core boattailed FMJ projectiles. Add in the variable of non-concentric cores to the steel core projectile, and the potential for better accuracy lies with the lead core boattailed projectile. I have sectioned a lot of steel cored projectiles for my cartridge collection over the years and have seen more than a few off-center cores...

The bearing surfaces between the two types are virtually identical. Besides, in a 16" barreled AK does it really matter?

At one time, Barnaul and Ulyanovsk offered "enhanced accuracy" loads in 7.62x39mm. Both used lead core FMJ projctiles, presumably flat-based as those are the only types known from these two manufacturers. I have never seen these cartridges outside of the online catalogs though...

DD
 

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here is the issue...
you guys are basically comparing crap to other crap...
no quality in any of the ammo you have described.
so no real comparison.

there are no quality steel core bullets...so one cannot really test for "accuracy'..sorta waste of time.

the only rifle i shoot mil surplus ammo in is an ar 16" carbine in 7.62x39...
russian lacquer sucks either fmj or so called hp's...sold it all
yugo brass case copper bullet with lead core shoots well
chinese copper washed steel case with copper washed steel core penetrator shoots about the same as the yugo and almost same point of aim.
both can be easily beat by hand loads of copper jacket lead core us commercial bullets.

mike in co
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Side note, I pulled the steel core from a 5.56 and its not much bigger than a pencil lead. Was gong to pull apart a x39 but it looks like more work than just using a needle nose pliers.
 

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now we seem to be mixing terms and function..
the us STEEL PENATRATOR is not what i would call steel core..it is not just a replacement for a lead core, it is designed to continue..penatrating when the jacket stops moving.

mike in co

Side note, I pulled the steel core from a 5.56 and its not much bigger than a pencil lead. Was gong to pull apart a x39 but it looks like more work than just using a needle nose pliers.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Guess there needs to be a a clarification on what is the jacket and what is the core.

I could be wrong and correct me if you can.

Many Communist block x25 x39 x54R have a steel jacket filled with lead or a steel rod/steel core. That is there is a mild steel jacket that is usually copper washed or plated. Inside the jacket is where the lead is. If you take a bullet and melt the lead out you have a steel cavity that still looks like a bullet. What is inside is what I would call the "core" be it lead "lead core" or steel "steel core".

In the x54R I had there were steel pins inside the steel jacket.

IF the steel jacket is not called the jacket then what is it called? Same with the core, whats it called?
 

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I disagree. Many 7.62x39mm lead core bullets are boattailed and of the same exact length as the steel cored M-43 type. Wolf, Vympel, Klimovsk, Chinese, all can be found with lead core boattailed FMJ projectiles. Add in the variable of non-concentric cores to the steel core projectile, and the potential for better accuracy lies with the lead core boattailed projectile. I have sectioned a lot of steel cored projectiles for my cartridge collection over the years and have seen more than a few off-center cores...

The bearing surfaces between the two types are virtually identical. Besides, in a 16" barreled AK does it really matter?

At one time, Barnaul and Ulyanovsk offered "enhanced accuracy" loads in 7.62x39mm. Both used lead core FMJ projctiles, presumably flat-based as those are the only types known from these two manufacturers. I have never seen these cartridges outside of the online catalogs though...

DD
So, I guess that everything related to lead being denser than steel, requiring a larger volume of steel to equal the weight of a smaller volume of lead is just so much insignificant mumbo jumbo.

Guess I'll just move on, now ...
 
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