Four 7.62 Cartridges For Everything

   10.12.17

Title is a little misleading, right?  Exactly which 7.62 mm are we referring to?  For those of you who do not know, 7.62mm translates to .308 caliber, which refers to the bullet diameter.

The title of the article was going to be “All you need is a 308.” However, when we discuss the 7.62×39, some basement baby couch commando will start babbling about how the 7.62×39 will sometimes measure .310-inch.

Let’s go ahead and throw this out there: Whether you are prepping for the end of the world or deer hunting, one of these four .30-cal cartridges will probably be all you need.

7.62 x 39

Developed in 1944, this popular Russian cartridge shows no signs of fading into the shadows anytime soon.

Maybe its popularity is due to the shiploads of SKS rifles imported into the U.S.A. or because the AK-47 is chambered for it?

One thing is for sure: the SKS and the AK-47 are some of the most reliable rifles on the planet.  Even the WASR-10 (Romanian import version the Ak47) of  has a reputation for being reliable. The AK Operators Union, Local 47-74 put more than 10,000 rounds through though a WASR-10 and had only a handful of malfunctions.

Over the decades, I have owned a Ruger Mini-30, an SKS, and two AK-47 rifles.  When it comes to a rifle that will get dirty or banged up, I reach for the AK.

7.62×39 ammunition is cheap and plentiful, and with ballistics slightly less than the 30-30 Winchester, the 7.62×39 can be used for deer-sized game.

30-30 Winchester

Marlin 336 30-30 Winchester

Aside from muzzleloaders, which had a head start by several hundred years, the 30-30 Winchester has probably killed more deer than any other cartridge.

Developed in 1895, the 30-30 Winchester shows no signs of ever losing popularity.

Why is the 30-30 so popular? Probably because it is effective on whitetail deer sized game, and most of the rifles chambered for it are light and handy. In the southern piney woods of the united States, one would be hard-pressed to find a better deer cartridge than the 30-30 Winchester.

My personal 30-30 is a Marlin 336 that was made in 1976.

308 Winchester

DS Arms FN/FAL
DS Arms FN/FAL

Developed in 1951, the 308 Win (or 7.62x51mm NATO)  is used by the military, law enforcement, target shooters, and hunters.

Whether you want a military-grade semi-automatic rifle for the end of the world (e.g. FN/FAL, PTR-91, M1A) or you’re a target shooter or deer hunter, the 308 offers well-rounded performance and accuracy.

One nice thing about the 308 is the wide range of ammunition commonly available. Whether you are stockpiling ammo for a collapse, hunting deer, or shooting targets, there is something on the market to suit your needs.

My daughter took her first whitetail deer with my DS Arms FN/FAL. Who says military-style firearms have no sporting purpose?

30-06 Springfield

Whitetail deer taken with 30-06 Springfield
Whitetail deer taken with 30-06 Springfield.

Last, but certainly not least, is the 30-06 Springfield. I would speculate the ’06 has killed almost as many deer as the 30-30 Winchester, but not quite. However, the ’06 has certainly killed more people than the 30-30.

The ’06 has served the United States military for more than 100 years, and is still in use today.

Why do so many sportsmen reach for the 30-06? Maybe because of the history behind the cartridge?  Maybe it’s the inherent accuracy and wide ammo selection? While those may be factors, the honest truth is, the 30-06 is an excellent all-around caliber.

To illustrate how versatile the 30-06 Springfield really is, consider the different sorts of bullets which can be loaded for it. The Hornady 7th edition reloading manual lists reloading information for 110 – 220 grain bullets, and the Speer reloading manual number 11, bought in 1989, lists reloading information for 100 – 200 grain bullets.

With a range of bullet weights, the accurate and hard-hitting ’06 is a well-rounded rifle cartridge if there ever was one.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this list will get some feedback, both positive and negative. Some people may say, “Kevin, what about the 270, 7mm-08, 280, or 300 Win. Mag?”

We all know dozens of calibers that are well-suited for target shooting and hunting, but the 7.62 or .308 caliber family does it all. Whether prepping for the end of the world, military use, or sitting in a stand on opening morning, you can be sure there’s a thirty-cal to fit the bill.

 

 

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