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Practical difference between 7.62x39, .308 and .223

5.56 7.62x39 308

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#31 Brian M1

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:47 AM

.223 and 7.62x39 Russian steel case are about the same cost. The .223 has the advantage of lower recoil, less weight, and more bullet variety. The 7.62x39 has the advantage of greater target penetration and better magazine availability. Out of a 16 inch barrel the practical range of both is going to be about the same and as about as far as you can see your target without a high powered optic. 16 inch budget ARs don't shoot cheap .223 any more accurately than an AK. High dollar, 20 inch bull barrel ARs shooting match ammo will out shoot a 16 inch AK shooting Russian steal case. If you want a match rifle in are in the wrong place. Both rounds kill live targets equally dead. I have AKs in both, like both, and would have no issue relying on either.

The .308 AK is a bad**s machine. Izhmash states it is the most accurate AK variant it has produced. I don't know where you got your mis-info that the AK isn't intended for .308. PSLs and SVD AK variants have been shooting full 30 cal. rounds for decades. The 22" .308 Saiga will throw 30 cal lead into a two inch hole if you set it up right and do your part. It is a heavy son-of-***** though. The magazine selection isn't that great. 20 rounders are a bit much - long and heavy. The 8 round factory mags are descent but nobody sells them. What it needs is descent 10 rounders like those for the PSL and Tiger. But those don't exist, or I haven't found them.

5.45 - I don't have an AK74 can't comment. Will probably pick one up at some point I'm sure. 5.45 has some ballistic advantages over the .223/5.56. It's a brilliant round. But not nearly as widely available in the US as the .223/5.56. Other than the AK74 variants there are no other firearms in the US which use it, at least not to my knowledge. Whereas in .223/5.56 you numerous offerings, and even in 7.62x39 there are some bolt guns, ARs and the SKS among probably others which use it.


The 308 AK is accurate compared to WHAT? I'd pit my M70 Winchester bolt action against a 308 AK ANYDAY. Please. The 308 is a fantastic round, has great range/power, etc... but is is best used in a pricision weapon (which the AK is NOT). So, you have an AK in 308 with limited mag capacity, heavy rounds which are bulky (so you're not carrying many), and for what?... mediocre accuracy? No thanks.
It is true that 308 is the round of choice for snipers (for good reason. It reaches out and HARD). Do you see any AK sniper rifles? I don't. I see M70's, 700's, Barrets (although they're known for the .50), etc.
A 308 AK is more of a "it MIGHT/COULD" (in 308) than "WILL" of a proper firearm meant to fire it (such as those mentioned).
When you have an AK, it's time to stop dreaming and come to grips with reality. It's a short(ish) range weapon that's reliable, robust, and can take abuse. Nothing more, nothing less. If 300m or less is your game (seriously, w/o optics... that's a stretch in itself) then the AK will serve you well in 223 or 7.62. Forget the 308.

Edited by Brian M1, 10 June 2012 - 12:49 AM.


#32 fretout

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:29 AM

I own a 7.62 with 16" barrel, a Saiga 12 in 19", and two 5.45s with the 16" barrel.

I picked up the 7.62 since it is a devastating round inside 300 yards, and in my experience is as accurate as I would ask for (please see videos in the other topics). I also chose the 7.62 as a SHTF rifle since the caliber can be found just about anywhere in the world. Benefits include availability, punching power, cheaper mags.

The Saiga 12 is my HD weapon, plain and simple. Fun to shoot, even more fun to revel in the carnage it leaves behind. Turns enemies into a puddle of jello with less effort.

After experiencing the accuracy me and my 7.62 share, I wanted a flatter-shooting round, capable of reaching out past 300 yards, and I am not disappointed. Benefits include accuracy, range and fragmentation.

As for the 5.56 and .308 debate, I have no experience with these options with an AK yet, but I have extensive experience with these rounds in the AR platforms. I really wanted a Saiga .308, but eventually decided against it due to difficulty finding aftermarket support for it, and just like others said, the AK may not make full advantage of it's capability, plus it's more expensive.

I decided to keep my Russian guns just as they were intended to be. Same goes for my Amerian guns.


In short; get a 7.62 for combat up to 300 yards, 5.45 for anything between 300 and 800(?), and an S-12 for inside 50 yards.

#33 post-apocalyptic

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:04 AM


.223 and 7.62x39 Russian steel case are about the same cost. The .223 has the advantage of lower recoil, less weight, and more bullet variety. The 7.62x39 has the advantage of greater target penetration and better magazine availability. Out of a 16 inch barrel the practical range of both is going to be about the same and as about as far as you can see your target without a high powered optic. 16 inch budget ARs don't shoot cheap .223 any more accurately than an AK. High dollar, 20 inch bull barrel ARs shooting match ammo will out shoot a 16 inch AK shooting Russian steal case. If you want a match rifle in are in the wrong place. Both rounds kill live targets equally dead. I have AKs in both, like both, and would have no issue relying on either.

The .308 AK is a bad**s machine. Izhmash states it is the most accurate AK variant it has produced. I don't know where you got your mis-info that the AK isn't intended for .308. PSLs and SVD AK variants have been shooting full 30 cal. rounds for decades. The 22" .308 Saiga will throw 30 cal lead into a two inch hole if you set it up right and do your part. It is a heavy son-of-***** though. The magazine selection isn't that great. 20 rounders are a bit much - long and heavy. The 8 round factory mags are descent but nobody sells them. What it needs is descent 10 rounders like those for the PSL and Tiger. But those don't exist, or I haven't found them.

5.45 - I don't have an AK74 can't comment. Will probably pick one up at some point I'm sure. 5.45 has some ballistic advantages over the .223/5.56. It's a brilliant round. But not nearly as widely available in the US as the .223/5.56. Other than the AK74 variants there are no other firearms in the US which use it, at least not to my knowledge. Whereas in .223/5.56 you numerous offerings, and even in 7.62x39 there are some bolt guns, ARs and the SKS among probably others which use it.


The 308 AK is accurate compared to WHAT? I'd pit my M70 Winchester bolt action against a 308 AK ANYDAY. Please. The 308 is a fantastic round, has great range/power, etc... but is is best used in a pricision weapon (which the AK is NOT). So, you have an AK in 308 with limited mag capacity, heavy rounds which are bulky (so you're not carrying many), and for what?... mediocre accuracy? No thanks.
It is true that 308 is the round of choice for snipers (for good reason. It reaches out and HARD). Do you see any AK sniper rifles? I don't. I see M70's, 700's, Barrets (although they're known for the .50), etc.
A 308 AK is more of a "it MIGHT/COULD" (in 308) than "WILL" of a proper firearm meant to fire it (such as those mentioned).
When you have an AK, it's time to stop dreaming and come to grips with reality. It's a short(ish) range weapon that's reliable, robust, and can take abuse. Nothing more, nothing less. If 300m or less is your game (seriously, w/o optics... that's a stretch in itself) then the AK will serve you well in 223 or 7.62. Forget the 308.


Wow. Where's the -1 button?!

You might try actually firing a nicely converted S-308 before you damn them. :rolleyes:
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#34 Jim Digriz

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:43 AM

You might try actually firing a nicely converted S-308 before you damn them. Posted Image


Indeed! Mine is my favorite gun.

#35 G O B

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:07 AM

Everything shoots more accurately out of a good bolt action. Condemning a semi because it is not as accurate as a bolt that co$t$ a lot more money is bogus. The S-.308 will shoot with any .308 semi, and on an accuracy per dollar, it will beat all of them.

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#36 Jaba1017

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:13 AM


.223 and 7.62x39 Russian steel case are about the same cost. The .223 has the advantage of lower recoil, less weight, and more bullet variety. The 7.62x39 has the advantage of greater target penetration and better magazine availability. Out of a 16 inch barrel the practical range of both is going to be about the same and as about as far as you can see your target without a high powered optic. 16 inch budget ARs don't shoot cheap .223 any more accurately than an AK. High dollar, 20 inch bull barrel ARs shooting match ammo will out shoot a 16 inch AK shooting Russian steal case. If you want a match rifle in are in the wrong place. Both rounds kill live targets equally dead. I have AKs in both, like both, and would have no issue relying on either.

The .308 AK is a bad**s machine. Izhmash states it is the most accurate AK variant it has produced. I don't know where you got your mis-info that the AK isn't intended for .308. PSLs and SVD AK variants have been shooting full 30 cal. rounds for decades. The 22" .308 Saiga will throw 30 cal lead into a two inch hole if you set it up right and do your part. It is a heavy son-of-***** though. The magazine selection isn't that great. 20 rounders are a bit much - long and heavy. The 8 round factory mags are descent but nobody sells them. What it needs is descent 10 rounders like those for the PSL and Tiger. But those don't exist, or I haven't found them.

5.45 - I don't have an AK74 can't comment. Will probably pick one up at some point I'm sure. 5.45 has some ballistic advantages over the .223/5.56. It's a brilliant round. But not nearly as widely available in the US as the .223/5.56. Other than the AK74 variants there are no other firearms in the US which use it, at least not to my knowledge. Whereas in .223/5.56 you numerous offerings, and even in 7.62x39 there are some bolt guns, ARs and the SKS among probably others which use it.

Do you see any AK sniper rifles? I don't. I see M70's, 700's, Barrets (although they're known for the .50), etc.
A 308 AK is more of a "it MIGHT/COULD" (in 308) than "WILL" of a proper firearm meant to fire it (such as those mentioned).


Yes there are quite a few AK based sniper rifles - the SVD, NDM86, Yugo M76, Valmet 76, Galil .308, PSL, Tabuk. Izhmash claims the Saiga .308 is capable of 40mm groups. The SVD which is probably the most prolific mass produced military sniper/DMR rifle in the world does about 35mm. Yes the Saiga .308 is heavy in comparison to lighter caliber AKs, but it isn't any heavier than similar semi-auto 30 cal scoped rifles. The AK platform is extremely versatile and will support anything from a short barreled machine gun to a long barreled rifle.

Here are 5 rounds within a 2 inch target at 100m from my Saiga .308 shooting the cheapest Brown Bear ammo I could find. I doubt you are going to much tighter groups from a bolt rifle without $1.25 bullets or hand loads.
Posted ImagePosted Image

Here is a 20 round magazine shot into a 5"x7" target area in under 30 seconds from a prone position. 40% of the rounds placed in a 40mm group. 75% within a 4 inch radius. Again this is cheap Brown Bear at about $.31 per round. Now try that with your Winchester.
Posted Image

Edited by Jaba1017, 10 June 2012 - 08:25 AM.

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#37 Brian M1

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:30 AM

I'm sorry, but a 2" group at 100m is pitiful for the capabilities of a .308 (a "proper" .308 could do that at 500m). An AR in 5.56 can achieve that. I'm not condemning the use of 308 in a Saiga, I'm merely stating that the AK platform is not capable of utilizing the 308's capabilities. It's just my opinion, but I feel it's a waste. There are exceptions to every rule (as some AK's are more accurate than others), but as a general rule:
A) you don't try to turn a shotgun into a rifle (I'm a 12ga fanatic and I see it all the time. Guys keep talking about slug accuracy)
B) you don't try to turn a carbine (ex: AK) into a MOA shooter (long range rifle)
It's common sense. Every tool has it's applicable use. Sure, it's ok to try to try to extend that use, so as to not have to use as many "tools", but it is NOT reccomended to suggest "improvising" one tool when one is already designed for it.
Bottom line: the AK is NOT designed for long range accuracy, so why try to make it such? I love the AK platform, it's simple, effective, reliable, etc... but it is what it is and has it's limitations. Let's not get all crazy and try to turn it into something it's not.

#38 post-apocalyptic

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:25 AM

I'm sorry, but a 2" group at 100m is pitiful for the capabilities of a .308 (a "proper" .308 could do that at 500m). An AR in 5.56 can achieve that. I'm not condemning the use of 308 in a Saiga, I'm merely stating that the AK platform is not capable of utilizing the 308's capabilities. It's just my opinion, but I feel it's a waste. There are exceptions to every rule (as some AK's are more accurate than others), but as a general rule:
A) you don't try to turn a shotgun into a rifle (I'm a 12ga fanatic and I see it all the time. Guys keep talking about slug accuracy)
Posted Image you don't try to turn a carbine (ex: AK) into a MOA shooter (long range rifle)
It's common sense. Every tool has it's applicable use. Sure, it's ok to try to try to extend that use, so as to not have to use as many "tools", but it is NOT reccomended to suggest "improvising" one tool when one is already designed for it.
Bottom line: the AK is NOT designed for long range accuracy, so why try to make it such? I love the AK platform, it's simple, effective, reliable, etc... but it is what it is and has it's limitations. Let's not get all crazy and try to turn it into something it's not.


Are you under the misapprehension that typing in all bold somehow makes your opinion more valid? That shit's one step away from posting in all caps. Posted Image

Please show us your 2" @ 500 yrd groups, shot with the .308 of your choice.

Edited by post-apocalyptic, 11 June 2012 - 05:25 AM.

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#39 Jaba1017

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:03 AM


I'm sorry, but a 2" group at 100m is pitiful for the capabilities of a .308 (a "proper" .308 could do that at 500m). An AR in 5.56 can achieve that. I'm not condemning the use of 308 in a Saiga, I'm merely stating that the AK platform is not capable of utilizing the 308's capabilities. It's just my opinion, but I feel it's a waste. There are exceptions to every rule (as some AK's are more accurate than others), but as a general rule:
A) you don't try to turn a shotgun into a rifle (I'm a 12ga fanatic and I see it all the time. Guys keep talking about slug accuracy)
../../..//public/style_emoticons/default/cool.png you don't try to turn a carbine (ex: AK) into a MOA shooter (long range rifle)
It's common sense. Every tool has it's applicable use. Sure, it's ok to try to try to extend that use, so as to not have to use as many "tools", but it is NOT reccomended to suggest "improvising" one tool when one is already designed for it.
Bottom line: the AK is NOT designed for long range accuracy, so why try to make it such? I love the AK platform, it's simple, effective, reliable, etc... but it is what it is and has it's limitations. Let's not get all crazy and try to turn it into something it's not.


Are you under the misapprehension that typing in all bold somehow makes your opinion more valid? That shit's one step away from posting in all caps. ../../..//public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif

Please show us your 2" @ 500 yrd groups, shot with the .308 of your choice.


Sub 2MOA for a mass produced semi-auto sniper is actually pretty impressive. The US has never designed a mass produced weapon like that while the Communists managed to design and build several of them with 1930's technology and proliferate them all over the world.

Yes an expensive custom .308 bolt action rifle with a heavy barrel and high grade ammo will do sub 1MOA. So what. Those expensive rifles aren't practical for deployment in high volume. Even the US is buying PSLs for the new governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. And in combat the guy using the 2MOA high caliber AK "inappropriately" is going to put 10 rounds on the guy with the super precision bolt rifle before he can squeeze off three. At the point what's an additional 1MOA of accuracy worth?

#40 BpS12

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:36 AM

So what would be the point of a 16" barreled .308 when a x39 would serve with similar capability out to medium range, be cheaper to shoot and less bulky to carry? I understand its use out of long barrels but not so much short barrels.
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#41 buddykermit

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:27 AM

on a THR post i found out of a 16" FAL fps ranged from 2894 fps (110gr hornady tap) to 2378 fps (175gr black hills match) for around 2600 fps average on 150 grain average bullet. 150gr scooting at 2600 from a saiga 308 beats 124gr at 2350 from a saiga x39

having said that the x39 is more PRACTICAL imo when the cost of the round, availability of mags, accessories, and replacement parts, and the fact that most engagements human or animal are 300 yards and in. the ak platform i feel has an approach that quantity of lead thrown is superior to the quality of shot placement. its battle accurate but is by no stretch a precision rifle system. it can be made to shoot decent but will never hold a candle to a fine tuned bolt gun. the 308 still kicks ass but id rather have the x39 lol- this is after all the x39 page
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#42 Jim Digriz

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:39 AM

So what would be the point of a 16" barreled .308 when a x39 would serve with similar capability out to medium range, be cheaper to shoot and less bulky to carry? I understand its use out of long barrels but not so much short barrels.


.308 out of a 16 inch barrel still carries 800 ft/lbs more energy than the x39. But I prefer the 18 inch barrel myself as the best compromise.

#43 Jaba1017

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:50 PM

So what would be the point of a 16" barreled .308 when a x39 would serve with similar capability out to medium range, be cheaper to shoot and less bulky to carry? I understand its use out of long barrels but not so much short barrels.


None really. x39 would serve adequately which is probably why the Soviets abandoned 7.62x54r as their MBR caliber in favor of x39 and then 5.45. But it is kind of like asking what's the point of a corvette when a kia will get you where you going for less cost and less gas.

#44 TheMantis

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:24 AM

Practical difference between 7.62x39, .308 and .223



As my wife says after shooting her new .223 "Real men use .30 caliber weapons."

I couldn't agree more.
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