Ammo Confusion: .308, 7.62

This is a discussion on Ammo Confusion: .308, 7.62 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was once told that the .308 and 7.62 rounds were interchangeble. Now, I'm pretty new to rifles. But there's 7.62X 39, 7.62X 54R. Are ...

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Thread: Ammo Confusion: .308, 7.62

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    Ammo Confusion: .308, 7.62

    I was once told that the .308 and 7.62 rounds were interchangeble. Now, I'm pretty new to rifles. But there's 7.62X 39, 7.62X 54R. Are either of these interchangeble with .308, or was I misinformed?

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    7.62 is the diameter of the bullet.
    39 and 54r is the length of the case, the r meaning "rimmed".

    They are not interchangable.

    Anytime you see a metic designation such as 6.5 x 55 the first is the diameter and the second is the length of the case.

    7.62 is also the metric designation for our .30 caliber. The military uses metric, everyone else uses caliber. Thus, in the case of military speak, 7.62 is synonomous with 308, since that is the caliber that is issued other than the 5.56 (or .223.)
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    No, they are not interchangeable. The NATO designation for the .308 Winchester round is 7.62 x 51mm (in one sense, a shortened, hence easier for logistics) .30-06 (7.62 x 63mm). The 7.62 x 39mm is an "assault rifle" caliber associated with the Soviet AK-47 and its variants, while the 7.62 X 54mm round (aka 7.62 x 54Rmm or 7.62 Russian) was chambered in the Soviet Moisin-Nagant rifles which were similar operationally to the 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle.

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    I'm not sure if this is true for .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO, but I know that with the .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO the cartridges are not actually interchangeable. The chambers on the 5.56 are slightly looser tolerances and the 5.56 is loaded to higher pressures. So in a 5.56 you can safely shoot .223, but in a .223 it might not be a good idea to shoot 5.56 - but what about 7.62mm NATO/.308 Winchester? Is it similar or are they actually identical?

    Austin

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    JD
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    It's similar to the 5.56/.223 issues.

    You can shoot .308 in a 7.62x51 weapon, but you really don't want to shoot the NATO 7.62 in a weapon that is not rated for it. IIRC some will say .308 ONLY on the firearm.

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    Here we go again. I knew this would come up. It seems to be a favorite internet argument yet Ive never seen proof of it.

    In modern guns there will be no problems. I have shot numerous AR's,M16's and every manner of .308 and 7.62x 51 for 30 years and not had one single problem. Not ONE.
    Its true that the pressure is slightly higher for Nato cases due to the fact that the brass is thicker and they are loaded a bt hotter but I have shot milsurp in varmint rifles and commercial ammo in Military rifles with not one mishap and have not even had a failure to chamber. In many AR's commercial loads are more accurate than the standard issue military.

    I am going to continue to shoot whatever I have on hand. Its standard practice to get some cheapo milsurp and shoot the heck out of prarie dogs, crows, coyotes or whatever is legal using standard bolt action rifles chambered in .223. It is also common to shoot Win or Rem .223 ammo in AR's. I have never experienced or even heard of anyone ever having a problem with this.

    Anyone ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Here we go again. I knew this would come up. It seems to be a favorite internet argument yet Ive never seen proof of it.

    In modern guns there will be no problems. I have shot numerous AR's,M16's and every manner of .308 and 7.62x 51 for 30 years and not had one single problem. Not ONE.
    Its true that the pressure is slightly higher for Nato cases due to the fact that the brass is thicker and they are loaded a bt hotter but I have shot milsurp in varmint rifles and commercial ammo in Military rifles with not one mishap and have not even had a failure to chamber. In many AR's commercial loads are more accurate than the standard issue military.

    I am going to continue to shoot whatever I have on hand. Its standard practice to get some cheapo milsurp and shoot the heck out of prarie dogs, crows, coyotes or whatever is legal using standard bolt action rifles chambered in .223. It is also common to shoot Win or Rem .223 ammo in AR's. I have never experienced or even heard of anyone ever having a problem with this.

    Anyone ?
    +1 Shot a lot of it, and never had a problem.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    It's similar to the 5.56/.223 issues.

    You can shoot .308 in a 7.62x51 weapon, but you really don't want to shoot the NATO 7.62 in a weapon that is not rated for it. IIRC some will say .308 ONLY on the firearm.
    Actually, it's the other way around.

    7.62x51mm and .308 winchester ammunition are identical in dimensions. The problem arises with the chamber size tolerance specifications. Commercial .308 Winchester has a much tighter specification for acceptable chamber head space, whereas the military 7.62x51mm chamber head space specification is a bit more lax, which it can afford to be because 7.62 nato brass is somewhat thicker than commercial .308, and as such the chamber pressures can be contained more by the brass in a "loose" 7.62 chamber. A .308 winchester round, however, may or may not be dangerous in said "loose" weapon.


    Basically, the bottom line is that any rifle chambered for .308 Winchester will devour either .308 or 7.62mm, no problem. And the vast majority of milsurp and commercial rifles chambered for 7.62mm will chew through either as well. The only time you should be concerned is if you're buying an old milsurp chambered for 7.62. If that's the case, get the headspace checked, to make sure it's within safety spec for .308 (1.630 GO, 1.634 NO GO, 1.638 FIELD REJECT).
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    Thanks gang. I knew about the .223/5.56 differences, and verified with Bushmaster that my rifle could shoot either. But, since I'm looking at both AK47s and the Socom II, I wanted to have an idea ahead of time what to expect. Being able to shoot military surplus is a big advantage, but sometimes, only the standard production stuf will be available, especially in a SHTF scenario.

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    "In modern guns there will be no problems. I have shot numerous AR's,M16's and every manner of .308 and 7.62x 51 for 30 years and not had one single problem. Not ONE.
    Its true that the pressure is slightly higher for Nato cases due to the fact that the brass is thicker and they are loaded a bt hotter but I have shot milsurp in varmint rifles and commercial ammo in Military rifles with not one mishap and have not even had a failure to chamber. In many AR's commercial loads are more accurate than the standard issue military."

    Ditto for me. Sometimes i really get particular about accuracy and weigh my cases. In fact, some 5.56mm military cases are actually thinner and lighter than .223 cases. For case weight comparisons of the .223/5.56mm, go to:

    http://www.ar15barrels.com/data/223weights.xls

    For chamber dimensions go to:

    http://www.ar15barrels.com/data/223vs556.pdf

    Fired tens of thousands of rounds of milsurp ammo in both calibers. The only milsurp ammo i ever had trouble with was 7.62 stuff made in Venezuelan(sp) for the MG-42 machine gun. It had some kind of coating on the case to retard case extraction when fired in the machine gun. The bolt lifted easily but the case would not extract until i put the gun butt on the ground and hit the bolt handle with my heel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squawker View Post
    I was once told that the .308 and 7.62 rounds were interchangeble. Now, I'm pretty new to rifles. But there's 7.62X 39, 7.62X 54R. Are either of these interchangeble with .308, or was I misinformed?
    Was this your original question, or were you really asking about .308 Winchester interchanging with 7.62 x 51mm NATO?

    If the question in the original post is really what you wanted to know--most assuredly, 7.62 x 39mm or 7.62 x 54Rmm ARE NOT interchangeable with .308 Winchester.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon1 View Post
    Was this your original question, or were you really asking about .308 Winchester interchanging with 7.62 x 51mm NATO?

    If the question in the original post is really what you wanted to know--most assuredly, 7.62 x 39mm or 7.62 x 54Rmm ARE NOT interchangeable with .308 Winchester.
    Originally, I was only aware of the 7.662X 39 and the 7.62X 54R. Had I known about the 7.62X51, I would have included it in the question, so I do appreciate those who hve informed me of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squawker View Post
    Originally, I was only aware of the 7.662X 39 and the 7.62X 54R. Had I known about the 7.62X51, I would have included it in the question, so I do appreciate those who hve informed me of it.
    Understood, just wanted to be certain you understood the ones you had originally mentioned do not interchange with the .308.

    Good luck, and good shooting!

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    Eh... Might be going out on a limb here...

    Weapons rated for the NATO calibers are can take their civilian counterparts without a hitch. They were made to do that.

    However, using NATO calibers in commercial/civilian firearms, while possible, isn't recommended. Assuming I'm not off-based, a firearm chambered for commercial/civilian calibers will be more likely to have ammunition-related malfunctions and endure more ammunition-related wear on its components. NATO-chambered firearms don't need to worry about this too much, due to the generally hotter loads (at least in the 5.56) used, and will suffer less wear from using either civvie or NATO caliber.

    Short and sweet: NATO-chambered firearms can use both NATO and civvie ammunition and suffer less wear and ammo-related malfunctions than a civvie firearm using NATO rounds.


    -B

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    Short and sweet: NATO-chambered firearms can use both NATO and civvie ammunition and suffer less wear and ammo-related malfunctions than a civvie firearm using NATO rounds.
    Sounds good in theory.
    Never had any problems with either.
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