The original 7.62 x 39 mm Russian M43 Type PS 120.5 gr FMJ boat-tail bullet has a copper-plated steel jacket covering a large steel core. The predominant feature of this cartridge is the MINIMAL amount of damage it produces in soft tissue wounds, on par with FMJ handgun wounds such as those produced by 9 mm M882 ball.
I don't think anyone is using Russian M43, nor can anyone even buy it here in CONUS.
However, not all 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ bullets are of the original steel core construction. Significantly increased tissue damage is produced by the early yaw seen with several 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ lead core bullets, including:
-- Yugoslavian M67 124 gr FMJ, flat based, copper-jacketed, lead core bullet which travels only 3.5" in tissue before yawing
-- Chinese (PRC) 7.62 x 39 mm 123 gr FMJ, copper-jacketed, lead core bullets which begin their yaw after only 2-2.5" of travel in tissue.
-- Czech and several types of Western commercially produced lead core 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ yaw within the first 2-3Ē of travel in tissue.
All of the commercially available 7.62 ammo today is lead core.
In both uncomplicated extremity and torso wounds, the very early yaw of these lead core 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ bullets allow the projectiles to travel sideways through the body, increasing permanent tissue destruction and temporary cavitation effects compared to the standard 7.62 x 39 mm Russian M43 Type PS 120.5 gr FMJ. These early yawing lead core 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ bullets cause wounds very similar to the 5.45 x 39 mm Russian M74 53 gr FMJ bullets.
Originally Posted by DocGKR - On 7.62x39 Yaw
There is no standard answer as to if and when a 7.62 x 39 mm bullet will yaw. With the original Soviet M43 Type PS 120.5 gr steel core FMJ, the bullet tends to drill right through the average human torso without yawing or fragmenting, resulting in relatively minor wounds as long as no critical structures are directly struck by the bullet--this bullet eventually exhibits a bi-lobed yaw cycle as depicted in the first wound profile above.
The lead core 7.62 x 39 mm, such as the Yugoslavian M67, PRC lead core and American commercial lead core 123 gr FMJís begin to yaw after only 2-4" of travel in tissue, causing significantly greater permanent and temporary cavity effects, similar to those caused by the 5.45 x 39 mm M74 53 gr FMJ bullets fired by the AK74 as depicted in the second WP above.
So has the ammo that is available today been tested? The ammo we can buy seems at least the same type as the Winchester soft points.
In a CQB setting, the 6.8 mm OTM and PT will fragment and are unlikely to exit the torso; the 7.62x39 mm SP's tend to retain their mass and are very likely to exit target. Both will work, although I would prefer the 6.8 mm for this settting. I am looking forward to trying the 7.62x39 mm PT later this month to see if it will be a viable choice for CQB.
OK, but few normal people will be ready to spend a grand and a half for a wildcat cartdridge when other options are available.
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