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Case neck Swelling PICS...


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#31 post-apocalyptic

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 01:38 PM

Huh.. I'd never heard of this deliberate case expansion by Saigas before. Can anyone confirm one way or the other whether or not Arsenal's SGL20 model includes this undesirable "feature"? As others have mentioned, this has got to reduce muzzle velocity...

Edited by post-apocalyptic, 15 March 2009 - 09:58 PM.

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#32 Airtractorfan

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 10:07 PM

Does anyone experience the same amount of case neck swelling on the 7.62x39 Steel cases from Wolf or Monarch?
I do not plan to shoot brass in my rifle or only on an infrequent basis.Thanks.

#33 gothchick

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:25 PM

5.56 doesn't do the neck swelling thing, but it does get the same ding in the side of the spent case.
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#34 post-apocalyptic

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:35 PM

5.56 doesn't do the neck swelling thing, but it does get the same ding in the side of the spent case.


That makes sense, since the Russian military doesn't use 5.56 NATO, any spent casings found by Russian police are obviously not from Russian military weapons, so no "step" is necessary.

I've since answered my own question from a couple posts above: Arsenal SGL20's do not have this Russian gun control "feature" either. No "steps" in my case necks. It wouldn't have been a big deal either way, but I have to admit that I'm glad my rifle doesn't deform casings like that, (she just dents the shit out of the side of em ;) ).

Posted Image

Edited by post-apocalyptic, 13 April 2009 - 03:41 PM.

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#35 555JM

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:03 PM

Finally got to the range today with my two bone stock x39 Saigas (a rifle and a carbine) and sighted them in with Wolf 122Gr. FMJ. Both shot surprisingly well.

Things got interesting when I tried shooting some reloads I'd put together 10 years ago for my now-departed Mini-30. They shot very well also, a little better than the Wolf except for a flyer or two. Then I went looking for the brass (3x reloaded IMI).

Found circumferential case neck cracks in about half of the cases. The cracks were just above the case shoulder in the middle of the bulged area caused by the gun control "feature". The carbine was fired after the rifle and on one case fired in the carbine, the upper part of the neck was missing. That's what got my attention. On checking the other cases fired in the carbine, I found several others that were cracked in the same location. Going back to the cases fired earlier in the rifle, I found cracks on about a third of them, but no neck separations.

There wasn't any gas leakage from the action, nor was there any sign of it on the sides of the cases. Both loads were put together with starting powder charges and felt light when shot. One used a light 110Gr. bullet (shot in rifle) while the other used a heavy 165Gr. bullet (in carbine). Cracking seemed worse with the heavy bullet, but several case necks cracked with each load. None of the Wolf steel cases I retrieved showed any sign of cracking.

So, no more reloads for the Saigas....and maybe no more brass case ammo for the Saigas. I've got a little S&B brass case stuff that I might try, but I'm not buying any more for these guns. Steel case only from now on. Guess I'll have to go find another Mini-30 if I want to shoot those reloads.

This was the only negative in my first outing with these guns. They're actually great little shooters, more accurate than I'd hoped, and neither missed a beat. It's a shame that the single issue came from an "engineered defect".

If you're shooting brass, keep an eye on the cases.
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Edited by 555JM, 06 May 2009 - 04:08 PM.

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#36 sh00ter

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:36 PM

just thought id post the bit out of the manual which mentions this :

Posted Image

I shoot both reloaded and factory ammo (wolf), the reloads I have done are using Lapua brass, I have reloaded these cases about 5 times each so far - the swelling is completely got rid of by a full length resize and I have had no signs yet that they may crack or anything.
I loads a couple of different types, one slightly reduced to drop under my ranges 2100fps limit and full power loads also.

interesting that you have had cracks on the slight bulge, my only thoughts are either that the chamber marking is maybe deeper on yours? (cant see them using different tooling though) or maybe your brass is a bit brittle or maybe just different - i have IMI cases in 44 mag, and they "feel" different inthe press that the 44 remingtons I have. My brass is new and only been fired in this saiga, cant really see how that may be relevant tbh...

In the UK 7.62 is expensive $60+ per 100,


I buy my wolf for 23 per 100, I think your being done over m8! (unless its reloadable brass of course...)

I really dont think that velocity is affected to a degree where its an issue, after all consistency of velocity spread is more important than say losing 5fps or so

just my 2c :D

Edited by sh00ter, 06 May 2009 - 04:43 PM.


#37 post-apocalyptic

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:42 PM

My SGL20 doesn't crack brass cases, (or deform em with that idiotic "gun control feature"), but regardless I won't be putting any more brass through her. She does dent the shit out of the sides upon spent case ejection and shave bits o brass off in the receiver.

Steel casings get a (smaller) side dent as well, but they're cheaper and non-reloadable anyway. So, it's steel only from here on out.

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#38 555JM

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:43 PM

Thanks for the response, Sh00ter. I might have to look into annealing case necks after each resize. I seem to recall reading a procedure for doing so in one of my manuals. Something like arranging the cases in a tub of water with just the necks and shoulders above water. Then heating the exposed necks with a torch. Sounds messy.

There are still 400 unfired IMI cases here from 10 years ago. Glad I didn't order more. Lapua brass is too pricey in the States. Would rather spend the money on Wolf.
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#39 sh00ter

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:15 AM

and shave bits o brass off in the receiver.


this is one area i havnt rectified yet, i get very small particles of brass that collect just under the chamber, i had attributed it to the magazine lips - as the cases have a fine scratch along the length - i was thinking of slightly polishing the underneath of the feed lips on one magazine and seeing how i go.


ive also read the same thing about annealing cases! have never done so though, will be interesting to hear from you if you do it. :D

#40 Geezer59

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:54 AM

I remember reading reading about a chamber insert for converting 30-06 chambers to .308 - has anyone investigated making a similar sleeve-type insert in the case neck area of a Saiga 7.62x39 chamber? Maybe heat the barrel/freeze the insert to insure retention, perhaps kissing after installation with a chamber reamer? Don't know how well that would work with a chrome plated chamber (probably not good for the reamer) - any thoughts?
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#41 AKsarben

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:59 PM

Would be better to just remove the barrel and install a new barrel that does not have the 2 step chamber in it.
You would also have to make sure the headspace is right, and that would require chamber go no-go headspace gages and a good gunsmith.
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#42 DLT

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 11:51 AM

My SGL20 also does not deform the neck of brass ammo, but like post-apocalyptic's SGL, it does dent the heck out of the sides. What's the solution to the dents again? Some kind of weather stripping?
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#43 AKsarben

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 12:31 PM

I went to Auto Zone and bought a door guard strip. Then I cut just about 2" off and put on the dust cover where the shells flie out the most. I have reduced shell dings to 0.
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#44 1mile50

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:35 AM

The dimpled receiver x39 Saiga that I just bought is thankfully without this feature. Why?

#45 -Indy-

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:35 PM

Random chance...

They say the Sun even shines on a dog's ass now and then...

I am going to guess you got either an older barrel matched to the newer rifle, or they made a few that way for a military contract, and the over run went to general production...

either way... ROCK ON! LOL


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#46 Mike Rogers

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 12:34 PM

Looks like an ejected Galil .223 or 5.56 casing. I always figured the Israelis did this to keep the spent shells from being collected, and reloaded by the enemy.

Didn't expect to see it on a Russian gun.

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#47 sailor

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 01:05 AM

A comment on the thread "SGL 21 being cheap" (temporarily), mentioned that they had military barrels (no step). My Saiga Sporter (purchased stock, then I converted), was purchased 2009, current production, and does not have the step. Also, it is dimpled. Don't know what any of that signifies, but seems out of the ordinary. I really didn't pay any attention to the "step" situation, until I fired some Fiocchi brass cased ammo a few days ago. The classic "ding" as I always get from ejection, but no discernable step. I have to assume that a military barrel was installed in my sporter, or the practice is spotty or discontinued - ? Pleased, in any case.
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#48 YWHIC

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 08:36 AM

My 12/16//09 rifle (with dimples) doesn't do this at all. I get a super-small flat spot near the top of the case and thats it. Maybe I got a military bbl/chamber. ??

I know my S/N on the trunnion looks like a mess by the H. Maybe they were going to stamp one way and went another. Posted Image




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#49 Pogey Bait

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:07 AM

My 12/16//09 rifle (with dimples) doesn't do this at all. I get a super-small flat spot near the top of the case and thats it. Maybe I got a military bbl/chamber. ??

I know my S/N on the trunnion looks like a mess by the H. Maybe they were going to stamp one way and went another. Posted Image


So what's the consensus on the 'stepped' chamber on the saiga 7.62x39? Are the newer ones not comming with this, or are stepped ones still showing up (on new production)? I'm considering getting one, but if the newer ones (09) are still stepped, I'll definatly pass and get a mini-30. Any additional info will be greatly appreciated.

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#50 n102788

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 01:02 AM

I have a 08 with dimples and pistol grip hole but still has the step neck casings hope this helps

#51 Fluid Power

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:38 AM

Wow, you guys never had to deal with spent HK91 brass, hey?

#52 YWHIC

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:14 AM

Pogey.. Don't let the RING concern you unless you plan on reloading the x39. You can get an Aresenal for like <$600 and avoid all this also.

Mine was made 12/16/08 (not 09 as above duh)

Here is a pic of the casing ding and teeny flat spot by the case mouth.

No visable ring in the chamber mouth also.

Attached File  akcasing.jpg   4.83KB   4 downloads


Also were not in Russia to worry about them figuring 'military' from us 'sporters'. As long as it goes bang everytime I wouldn't care. I want a Y stamped in my receiver (for looks) Posted Image but I'm not losing sleep over it.

Edited by YouWontHearItComing, 28 November 2009 - 08:23 AM.

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#53 my762buzz

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:35 PM

My 2003 Russian Vepr 7.62x39 does not have the case step.
:super:

#54 Stomper4x4

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:47 AM

Just to add data, my newly acquired Saiga 7.62 (09 model) has dimples, and doesn't seem to make the case step mark. So far I only ran some brown bear (steel case) thought it. I heard somewhere that steel case might not deform with the step so I'll try some brass cases when I get a chance. Can't tell if I have the threaded barrel, here's to hoping :)

#55 Mullet Man

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 08:35 AM

Just to add data, my newly acquired Saiga 7.62 (09 model) has dimples, and doesn't seem to make the case step mark. So far I only ran some brown bear (steel case) thought it. I heard somewhere that steel case might not deform with the step so I'll try some brass cases when I get a chance. Can't tell if I have the threaded barrel, here's to hoping :)



from what i gather, the step/neck swelling shows up on steel cases as well.

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#56 sh00ter

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:53 AM

if its there it will def step steel cases - ive a sack of steel wolf cases with a step in as proof! lol

#57 my762buzz

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:40 PM

Just to add data, my newly acquired Saiga 7.62 (09 model) has dimples, and doesn't seem to make the case step mark. So far I only ran some brown bear (steel case) thought it. I heard somewhere that steel case might not deform with the step so I'll try some brass cases when I get a chance. Can't tell if I have the threaded barrel, here's to hoping :)









Last weekend I shot wolf, military classic, and brass cased ammo through a 2008 imported saiga.
All the saiga ammo was stepped steel cased and brass cased.

#58 Mullet Man

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:53 PM

Stomper4x4, based off of the factory threaded barrel thread, you might have one. '09 build, dimples, no case neck swelling/step.

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#59 Stomper4x4

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:09 AM

Stomper4x4, based off of the factory threaded barrel thread, you might have one. '09 build, dimples, no case neck swelling/step.


I'm hoping so. Each time I look for one of the "cool" features I end up having it. :super:

Thanks for the experience with steel cases guys.

#60 Corbin

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 09:59 PM

Hey guys.

Just the view from my soapbox....

I've yet to own a 7.62 x 39 Saiga. Only the shotguns so far. Just starting to read up on the rifles. Looking at the stepped chamber situation from my perspective (not owning one yet), I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of it and see how much it really matters. As I see it.....and God knows that might not be correct.....

As I understand it, if you reload, you'll probably reduce the step when you resize the case, but I don't know a whole lot about reloading and I'm not sure if the step would be eliminated for the next loading or not. If it doesn't, having the step in the chamber would allow you to fire previously stepped casings as well as non-stepped ones. So that would be a plus.


If you have other 7.62 x 39 firearms though, you probably wouldn't be able to chamber these reloaded rounds, assuming they kept the step in the casings. Even a slight swelling in the neck might cause issues in non-stepped chambers. That could be a good thing though, if you're worried about someone else using your ammo against you in THEIR weapons.


If you're concerned about empties being identified as yours, I suppose a non-stepped chamber would be better. But really though, modern technology can ID casings regardless. So to my way of thinking, it's not as critical. It's more a question of being able to shoot reloaded stepped ammo or not.


As has been stated, you can buy a boatload of ammo, and much of the imported stuff isn't easily reloadable anyway. So........do I think a stepped chamber is a bad thing?

Not really. Yeah, it could possibly be used to ID that the casings were fired from a Saiga. Will that matter a whole lot in a survival situation? I doubt it.

Does the step rob power from the round that would otherwise propel the bullet? Yeah, I suppose it might a little. I'm not a ballistics expert, but I doubt the difference will be substantial. A decrease in velocity perhaps. Will it matter much in accuracy? Again, it might a little, but we're talking AKs here, not bolt action sniper rifles. I doubt it will affect things to any great degree.

Obviously, these are just my opinions. They are greatly prone to being incorrect or under-educated. I wouldn't mind seeing someone that has two Saigas (one with and one without the step) compare velocity and accuracy SIDE BY SIDE with the same ammo.

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