There’s more than just bulk steel-cased ammo made for the 7.62x39mm. In fact, there are a number of high-end self-defense and hunting loads available in the United States for these rifles.
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Here’s a brief rundown of a few that are currently on the market.
Suitable for both hunting and self-defense, CorBon DPX rounds use an all-copper hollow-point bullet to ensure reliable expansion while also penetrating deeply to hit vital organs. With a velocity of 2,300 fps from a 16-inch barrel, these rounds provide more than enough energy to put down an attacker in a deadly-force confrontation. I’ve seen DPX rounds in testing and was quite impressed by their performance. (corbon.com; 800-626-7266)
Loaded with a 123-grain Barnes Triple-Shock X (TSX) bullet, the DT Tactical rounds from DoubleTap Ammunition offer superior penetration and fantastic accuracy. The bullets are completely made of copper for great weight retention. From antelope to a drug-crazed home invader, the 7.62x39mm DT Tactical round can stop a recipient in its tracks. (doubletapammo.net; 866-357-1066)
For the 7.62x39mm, Federal Premium loads a 123-grain soft point in its Power-Shok line of ammo. Less expensive than some of the exotic loads, the Power-Shok has a respectable history of performance and offers true value for the money. The round delivers 2,350 fps at the muzzle for a round that can take a deer or stop a felon. (federalpremium.com; 800-379-1732)
Hornady Custom SST
Hornady’s 7.62x39mm Custom SST load is affordable while still offering top quality. A top-notch 123-grain SST bullet and matched powder ensure these rounds provide excellent performance, while the steel case keeps prices low. The respected SST, or Super Shock Tip, bullet has a polymer tip to increase its ballistic coefficient and expand when striking the target, making it a credible defensive and hunting load for today’s shooters. (hornady.com; 800-338-3220)
Sellier & Bellot SP
Located in the Czech Republic, Sellier & Bellot manufactures ammunition for the international market. The company makes several loads for the 7.62x39mm cartridge, including a high-performance soft-point (SP) round suitable for hunting and training. The round combines reliable functioning with controlled expansion. The round is rated at more than 2,400 fps. (sellierbellot.us; 800-466-7191)
Winchester PDX1 Defender
Without a doubt, the Winchester PDX1 Defender is one of the premier self-defense rounds in 7.62x39mm. This purpose-built load uses a bonded hollow point to ensure weight retention without hampering expansion. It is designed specifically for semi-automatic weapons and performs impressively in the testing I have witnessed. There are several good choices in this caliber, but this round from Winchester is what I load my magazines with. (winchester.com)