Russian 7.62 X 39 Ammo Will Disappear

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

7.62 X 39 Ammo Easter Egg
Russian 7.62 X 39 Ammo Will Disappear
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  I am old enough to remember buying a used British Enfield military rifle in 1973 at K-Mart for $39.

It was my first center fire rifle and the surplus .303 British military ammo was everywhere and really cheap. So shooting the Enfield through the 1970s was very inexpensive.

Then the Russians invaded Afghanistan. The Brits had been in that area of the world for hundreds of years and the classic photo of an Afghan freedom fighter was a Pashtu, holding his Enfield, with a bandoleer of .303 ammo slung across his chest. The logistics types of the Western world started to buy up all the G.I. .303 ammo they could get their hands on to ship to the (alleged) good-guy Afghan freedom fighters. The cheap shooting ammo for my K-Mart special Enfield rifle forever dried up.

As we use to say in Mississippi “it’s fixin’ to happen again.”

The Russians will invade Ukraine. They are having major training exercises on the Ukraine-Russian border as you read this. Even though Russia has been run by religion-hating communists since 1917 there is still great respect for the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russians are waiting for Easter to get over with before they invade Ukraine.

Usually Orthodox Easter falls a week after the Western Christian Easter Sunday, but not this year. Last year, if Russia had invaded you would have had an extra week to get ready. This year Easter will be on 20 April 2014 for both the East and the West. Those military exercising Russians are only working out the kinks in their plans and adjusting for operational short-falls.

On or about the 21st of April 2014 the Godless (except for the Orthodox ones) past and present communist aggressors will turn their vehicles east and roll into Ukraine. The first Ukrainians they will run into will be Russian-speaking Ukrainians. These less than stellar Ukrainian citizens will be waving Russian flags and handing out free vodka to their perceived liberators. Sort of the way the Ukrainians did with the invading Germans in 1941.

Once the Russian army hordes drink the vodka and steal the flags they will begin suppressing the surprised Russian-speaking Ukrainians. I however will not be surprised. When this happens the rest of the former Soviet satellite countries will panic and realize they should have been spending their new found Euros on weapons and ammo resupply.

They will demand that the West ship them all the 7.62 X 39 ammo, NATO and the EU can find and send it for free, real fast. When this happens the logistics types (yet again) will start issuing purchase orders for every round of available 7.62 X 39 on the free market. This of course will cause the 7.62 X 39 to disappear.

For you non-gun people, 7.62 x 39 is the standard round of ammunition that the Russian AK 47 battle rifle fires. All the countries the old Soviet Union controlled were, and in most cases still are, armed with rifles in that round, but nobody has bought any new, fresh Russian designed rifle ammo in years.

After all, the Russians are the nice guys now, and even if they turn out not to be, the good old USA will always do the heavy lifting for NATO and the EU if a conflict should ever arise.

Black rifles are back on the shelves of gun stores in good supply and good prices again, but this will not last. I was approached for advice on whether to buy a Ruger Mini 14 in 223 Remington or a Ruger Mini 30 in the Russian 7.62 X39. The individual wants a magazine feed, self-loading rifle for social purposes in time of crisis, but also wants to be able to shoot a white tail deer with the Ruger.

I called Tim Sundles at Buffalo Bore Ammunition ( and asked him about it. 223 Remington is a more accurate round and designed to shoot out to beyond 400 yards. The 7.62 x 39 is a 200 yard round and most military ammo is not really designed for hunting. After a long conversation with Tim and given the uncertainty of the future with Mr. Putin, I suggest you stick to the Mini 14 or any other black rifle in 223 Rem.

Buffalo Bore has two loads of 223 Rem that will take care of the deer hunting issue for your self-loading rifle; S223-77/ 20 which uses a 77 grain bullet moving out at 2800fps or the S223-69 which is loaded with a 69 grain bullet at 2900fps. Either of these rounds will stop your white tail or perhaps evil DNA that means to do you harm. Hard times are coming and so are the Russians. Stick to 223 Remington black rifles.

If you do not have one, get one and get your ammunition now, it will only be a short time before the next ammo crisis starts again. This time you may really need the stuff. Happy Easter, while it last.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret. / [email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

  • 37 thoughts on “Russian 7.62 X 39 Ammo Will Disappear

    1. Well it’s now August of 18 and well still no “dry up”, although that might change in the next few months…my concern is that Trump admin will follow though on sanctioning Russia to the point that all trade will be cut off entirely and no product is off limits (not just ammo but anything that says “made in Russia” will disappear from the US Market for eternity and never return). If 7.62×39 thats foreign made, permanently disappear from the American market its will be a death blow to the US AK community and wet dream for the libtard agenda, So much for Trump’s “Im pro gun” BS…!?!

    2. Well, it’s 4/23/2017 and just last month I received 3,000 rounds of Golden Tiger 7.62×39 ammunition and loaded another 1,000 with Hornady [on sale] Z-Max bullets. That brings my total 7.62×39 up to just shy of 5,000 rounds. I know … paltry.
      So yeah, this is another “the author doesn’t know what he’s taking about” comment on a long [deservedly] dead article.

    3. You guys calling “chicken little” on this dude need to try scoring a surplus can of 7.62x54R.

      Both sides of the conflict are using machine guns that use that round, and has caused the majority of surplus to evaporate.

      1. Speaking only for myself of course, I have no need for the 7.62X54 cartridge. The 7.62X39mm is one of the top most popular cartridges in the world, maybe as much so if not more than the x54R. However I have never found the 7.62X39mm difficult to get in the past 2-3 years.

        Who really knows what the difference is, excessive demand, or short supply or maybe a little of both!

    4. All this time has passed and I have seen no appreciable reduction in stocks of 7.62X39mm, but then I usually don’t get excited at these “chicken little” predictions. I have bought a few hundred to a half case of rounds almost every month for the past couple of years. I have close to 6K rounds of cartridges made in the Ukraine & Russia with no problems ordering or receiving shipment of them.

      The range we frequent has a maximum rifle range of 200 yards, my wife & I have never fired our SKS carbines or AR15s (7.62X39mm caliber also) beyond that. Although there is evidence of many shooters firing at ranges well beyond 200 yards.

    5. 7.62×39 all the way over 223 and 5.56.

      Ruger mini 14 and 30 – thin barrels – picky about ammo – Not a good combat choice.
      ar15/m16 – to high maintenance because of tight tolerances and direct gas system. Not reliable in prolonged fire fight. 223/5.56 is a poor penetrator at longer ranges – Not a good combat choice.

      Russian made AK or Russian spec AK – little maintenance, reliable, eats any ammo – accurate enough to drop a man sized target out to 400 meters.

      If I wanted a rifle that would shoot out to 600 meters or more I would go with the Fn/Fal or M14.

      Ruger mini 14/30 and ar15/m16 – Both are underpowered and not reliable – range toys…

      7.62×39 ammo is easily obtainable… and can be cost effective.

    6. This whole post is f***ing retarded. First Russia is now a democracy with Orthodox Christianity as the official state religion, not a communist state with atheism as the official religion. Second all of Ukraine speaks Russian. Third Russia is not the only that produces the 7.62x39mm, many other countries do as well, including eastern Europe and America. Finally 7.62x39mm is not even a standard cartridge for the Russian Army anymore, the 5.45x39mm is, most eastern European countries have switched to AK’s in 5.56 too. In conclusion this post is complete trash. Ruger mini 14 rifles are also overpriced and the magazines are hard to find and expensive, an AR15 would be a better choice. Horrible advice with very little knowledge.

      1. Ukrainians speak Ukrainian not Russian. Russia has no official state religion as per the “Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations of 1997”, The Russian Orthodox church is the most widely recognized religion there however. While you are correct that the 5.45x39mm round is the standard issue of the Russian Federal forces, the 7.62×39 is still in heavy use with its military and is not planned to be phased out until the year 2025. Also it is still the main cartridge in use for former Soviet led countries. I will agree with you that this man knows very little of the round, its capabilities and I highly doubt his credentials.

      2. Omg I know right I was like what an idiot they haven’t been communist for awhile And also idk any country or army besides terrorists and Africans that use 7.62×39

    7. You must be kidding, obviously the man has never hunted with a 7.62×39 for “Whitetail” in his life time. I, however, have used this amazing round for whitetail hunting and had amazing results. As you know the 7.62 is made for destruction and whether or not it is used on the enemy or deer it has devastating power. The first buck I shot was at 75 yards on the run (stopped dead in it’s tracks), I shot it directly through the heart, I assume, because I could not find the dam thing when dressing out my deer. The second buck I shot was at 35 yards, aiming at the base of the neck as it was facing away from me, little did I know the gun was shooting several inches low, the base was loose. Anyway, I shot it right through the “ASS HOLE” and it, again, dropped dead on the spot. Finally, the last buck I shot was just underneath me from my treestand, I shot through the rib cage and on the exit wound side I caused a shatter softball size hole of mush on the other. It complete tore up his ribs, ouch! Well there you have it. It may not shoot 400 yards but in real world of shooting, knowing that most tards in America can’t shoot the weapons the own, this former 82nd Airborne Staff Sergeant will take the cheap ammo of the 7.62 for close combat any day, And if need be, I can always go to my 7mm-08 with Zeiss 3x9x40 scope take take out the morons at 300 plus yards. 7.62×39 rocks!

    8. This article was posted 659 days ago… I’m still able to buy cheap Russian tula ammo and brown bear cheaper than ever, in the 7.62×39 caliber. I just bought 1000 rounds for 213$ USD today. I guess your article was wrong… At-least-as-of-right-now. The only way I can see us not being able to get this ammo is if Obama uses more sanctions against Russia… Which I doubt will happen.

    9. I personally have had no problem filling my freezer with either the AR or the AK platforms. I used wolf hollow points with heart and lung shots deer wandered around 40yrds then expired. All my 223 shots were head and neck and dropped where shot. I strongly believe that patience and a good vital area shot will always be successful; it has in my case. I have been shooting deer for some 40yrs and have yet to lose any wounded animals. 7.62×39 0r 223 be patient and take that good vital shot and dead deer; simple as that! I had one deer shot with the Swedish 6.5×55 blew up the heart and went through both lungs deer still managed to run about 120yrds. How? I still don’t know.

    10. well he was right about the russians picking on ukriane, but, I just bough a 640 round spam can of russian surplus 7.62 from centerfire systems for $159 and $5 shipping (4th of july special $5 shipping) so there seems to be plenty available. right before the craziness of the ammo shortage I bought that same can for $200 from cabela’s plus having to pay sales tax on it and felt myself lucky to get it at that price. now, the way I figure it, buy it when it’s cheap, even if you don’t need it cause you never know when the next kook will shoot 14 people with an AK and the howls for banning this or that will come back for magazine restrictions, or cutting off the amount of ammo one can buy. remember obama himself I think said something about cutting off or banning ammo cause no matter how many guns are out there, they’re no good if they don’t have the bullets. that’s the way they think. I’m only up to like 2000 rounds and I read a gun shop owner when they were talking about a guy they caught who had murdered his wife and went into hiding in the pacific northwest had a 10,000 round ammo stash,the gun shop owner just said “10,000 rounds? I’d call that running short”.

    11. Russia is not the only producer of 7,62 warpac. . . Big part of the surplus and new commercial manufacture comes from the Balkans, even a lot of the Russian brand ammo is in fact made in other countries, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia(All NATO aligned today). The cheap steel cased ammo for the AK and SKS is here to stay for a long time. There is already plenty of arms makers cranking out new models in 7,62 warpac(cz, zastava, ruger, plenty or American start ups, etc). 7,62 is the new .22lr in my opinion, it’s popular because it’s cheap, and it’s cheap because it’s popular.

    12. It is sad that so many comments sections across the internet are filled with such acerbic and confrontational comments. So often, folks seem to start out with “what a moron…blah blah blah”. I think we need to remember Teddy Roosevelt who said Americans should “talk (or walk) softly and carry a big stick. Moving on.. here’s my two cents. First of all, the primary Russian caliber is no longer 7.62x39mm. It is 5.45×39.5mm. A lot of Americans seem to think it is still 7.62x39mm. So even for the Russians, it is a surplus and export cartridge primarily as they are no longer cranking out quantities of it as they used to because they have largely retooled for 5.45×39.5mm Who is their biggest export customer? Why the USA of course – by a long shot. If things continue to go south between our nations does it really take a rocket scientist to figure out that supplies of CHEAP 7.62x39mm are going to dry up? Notice, I didn’t say there’d be no ammo – I just said it will definitely not be cheap like it has been. And as a point of fact that trend has been in motion for 5-10 years now. Why even as few as 8-10 years ago you could get a case of 7.62x39mm for less than a hundred bucks! So all the author is really saying is that trends are going to continue. 7.62x39mm is no longer the deep discount bargain undercutting the price of 5.56mm any more. That is likely true whether war comes to Europe or not. If war does come to Europe, that trend will just move faster. That’s all.

    13. If you want to talk about powerful and accurate rounds for hunting, don’t forget the 7.62 x54r round. Not a .308, but you can get a rifle for $100, the ammo for $.18-.21 a round, how can you lose?
      Semi-auto rifles can be had $500 or so, and cans of ammo can be had cheaply. Buy now, before the round is stopped from being imported like the 7.62 x 25 round.

    14. Well, let’s see….here it is Sept. 9, 2014. The supply of cheap 7.62 X 39 ammo has certainly NOT dried up! Far from it.

      SO…Major Van Hurl, insert foot in mouth and make an arse of yourself! And no, I did not misspell your name. That is just what you make me want to do!

    15. Who writes this ignorant, inane garbage?! For starters, .223 is illegal in most, if not all states for deer hunting. It is too light a round for a humane, one shot kill on medium size game. Second, .223 is NOT a 400 yard round. It has a pathetic ballistic coefficient. At 400 yards the peawee bullets drop 3 feet and a 5 MPH cross wind will blow them a foot and a half off target. At 400 yards it is out of gas, hitting about as hard as a light handgun round. Aside from the fact the 7.62×39 is 25% more powerful than .223, both are 150 yard guns — at best. 7.62×39 produces about the same energy as a 30-30. It is not the best choice for deer hunting, but could squeek by as a brush gun adequate for targets out to around 50 yards or so. If you want a black gun that can double as a hunting rifle, give the light weight, girly rounds a pass and get something chambered in .308. While you lose some velocity in a semi auto with a shorter barrel, the .308 will still hit harder at 350 yards than a .223 does at the muzzle. Plus, with current prices, .223 costs as much to shoot as .308 anyhow. Save your spent brass and reload your .308s at less than .35 per round. There are plenty of choices in black guns chambered in .308, starting around $500 and, 25 round mags are plentiful. So, trade in your girly gun ARs and AKs and get yourself a real gun that is suitable for something other than plinking coffee cans. As far as the rest of this hysterical rant is concerned, it speeks for itself. Among other considerations, in the aftermath of the post Sandy Hook ammo shortages, 7.62×39 came back faster than any other cartridge and is the ONLY cartridge currently selling at pre Sandy Hook prices. Whatever other shortcomings Russians suffer from, they do some good work with small arms.

      1. I can only find 8 states that don’t allow 223 besides shotgun onlys, some even allow it for elk. That being said I’m not a fan of it for deer. I always inform those considering it of other options. But if they insist, I make it clear that bullet type, shot placement, and range are even more critical. If you double lung it with an expanding bullet it will still run at least a 100yd. A drt round may turn the vitals to mush, but hit shoulder and you likely won’t reach them. Many people do use it quite effectively though.

        $500 .308 ar? $750 is bottom end, and reliablity on .308 AR in general is not stellar, let alone cheapies. Have you ever carried one with a scope all day in the woods? They are a couple pounds heavier than std length. There are many better options for an AR deer rifle. .300aac, 6.8spc, 6.5grendel, .450bm, .458socom, and .50beuwolf to name a few. The .300aac is probably the best choice. It utilizes 223 brass and .308 bullets, it mimics 7.62×39 ballistics. The only difference in the rifle is the barrel. This means it’s also the best choice to swap uppers between it for deer and 223 for anything smaller and plinking.

        Ask a marine, they’ll tell you 5.56 is a 500yd rd, from a 20″. 7.62×39 is a 300yd, but this is for bipeds, 200yds for deer. I use 7.62×39 125gr sp silver bear with great effect past a 100yds. Considering most deer are taken inside 200, a .308win is an overkill. Not only a waste of powder, but it unnecessarily abuses the rifle, optic, and shoulder. The extra weight increases fatigue, and worsens balance/handling lessening hit probability in the field.

        As for the issue of ammo supply… When I recommend a surplus caliber I tell the person to get as much as they need for the life of the gun. If it is surplus it is obsolete, and as such not being produced so it will run out. I seen it with 303, 8mm, and to a degree 7.62nato. The majority of 7.62×39 however is new civilian production. This can be shut off over night by trade restrictions. The other issue is components, military contracts get filled first. If you looked for 7.62×39 from 03 to 05 it was gone for that very reason. As others said the caliber is not used by many nations anymore. Where they do, they tend to not be industrialized and when they become a hot zone, require rapid delivery from all sources, as the major alluded.

        Commentors on this board seem to be missing the point. We don’t know what our own leaders/voters will do in the future, let alone those of other nations. The only thing in our own control is our own personal inventory and plan for those droughts that occasionally do come…and a plan B,C, & D. A prepared plan brings peace of mind. So rather than worrying and being angry & emotional about things out of our sphere of influence you can focus on more important things…like preventing problems with informed voting. If everyone would live within their means, and without debt, panics wouldn’t pose problems but rather opportunities.

    16. It looks like Russia is poised to invade the rest of the Ukraine pretty soon but isn’t most of the 7.62x39mm made overseas? I know of a couple companies that sell it but most of them import it from Eastern Block countries…


    17. No reason for not employing constructive criticism against his article. I have nothing to say about it other than I take his take with a grain of salt. He may turn out to be right on some accounts and just the same he may turn out to be dead-wrong. You obviously have read what he had to say, so take it on with your better judgment – don’t let it frustrate you if you do not agree with it. He wrote an article in anticipation of a potential 7.62×39 shortage. One should write an article to predict otherwise if they should feel so strongly. Like all milsurp ammo, all good things must come to an end.

    18. 7.62 x 39 is not as crazy popular (nor the guns) as 5.56. A rather major player called HSM also makes it in high-quality and in quantity in military and hunting versions and it is 100% American made.

      1. The 7.62×39 round is being used in many “brush wars” around the Middle East and several manufacturers are cranking them out like there’s no tomorrow.
        They are not going to dry up!

    19. It’s no secret that the 7.62×39 is a short range round, but a lot of guys hunting deer with an SKS or AR 7.62×39 are doing just fine. My land is so densely wooded I can barely see past 100-150 yards, so long range is not an issue. At this range my AR 7.62×39 packs a pretty good punch for one shot kills! I hunt with quality soft points offered by Remington, Cor Bon, and others readily available on the shelf.
      Steel cased ammo’s just icing on the cake for inexpensive plinking. The supply may or may not dry up. Doesn’t matter to me cause I don’t hunt with Tulammo.
      Some of us don’t have the luxury of hunting deer on wide open terrain. If I did I’d be shooting .308 or 30 06 not .223.

    20. Didn’t the Russians upgrade to the AK-74 and its 5.45×39 ammo like 2 decades ago?
      After all, the Soviet army they inherited did so in the late-70’s.

    21. Dumb article and goofy reasoning. BUT, Russia does manufacture some American sold brands of 5.56 and 7.62×39 ammo. And those like the travel to the space station as well as titanium sales to the U.S. could get real thin. I suspect the only reason their LEADER called our community organizer a bit ago was to tell our community organizer to get the Ukraine to give him an easement travel area and road from Russia to Crimea or else he would do that one way or another.

    22. I will stick to my FN-G1 and my target grade bolt rifle in .308 Components are available and it is a much more robust round then either of those two.

    23. You are the reason panic starts, and ammo prices rise. I don’t even know where to start ridiculing this “article”…and considering you cannot even spell ‘disappear’ – I will make it simple and bullet point my arguments for you.

      Who was president when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan? Answer: Not Obama. Close, but no cigar. 303 was fairly readily available through the early 21st century. It might have gone up in price, but it never “dried up” immediately following the invasion. Not to mention…

      How out of mass production was good .303 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan? Answer: Very. By decades. It was BOUND to dry up. 7.62×39 is still the most mass produced rifle round ON THE PLANET.

      Who produces the most x39 on the market? Answer: Russia, and at a time, China. We are not buying in bulk from EITHER if the Russians invade Ukraine to feed other ex com-bloc nations. Short of economic blockade of their ammunition: It will still flow.

      Lastly, what do you base any of this invasion nonsense on? Do you have a political science degree? World History? Did you attend a military college? Answer: NOPE. You are pulling this entire story out of your you know what. Ammoland really has dropped to a new low, and I am unsubbing. People who know nothing of world politics, let alone manufacture and supply of ammunition, should not write blogs on the internet.

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