By October 10, 2013

American Tactical Imports De-milled Russian 7.62x39mm Rifle Ammunition from SGAmmo.com Review

I love the folks at SGAmmo.com. They are based in my home town and they offer good prices on ammunition and have fantastic service. I have bought a lot of practice ammunition from them, and at the rate we practice those saved pennies add up.

In March 2013 SGAmmo offered de-milled Russian 7.62x39mm rifle ammunition. It was imported by a company called American Tactical Imports, which I think is different from the low-grade firearms accessory manufacturer I knew. The description was interesting: apparently the ammunition was originally manufactured with a bullet that had an armor piercing core. That bullet was removed — or de-milled, to use the technical term — and remanufactured for importation and sale in the United States.

As upfront and honest as usual, the folks at SGAmmo added a disclaimer. The ammunition wasn’t 100% reliable and that it was for training / range purposes only. Here’s what they had to say:

This ammo was 1970’s manufacture Russian surplus imported for a government contract which never worked out and the importer had to de-mil this ammo by removing the steel core bullet and replacing it with a lead core bullet so it could legally be sold to the consumer market. They used a non-magnetic 124 grain Berry’s bullet to replace the original steel core projectile. We test fired some of this ammo and the blunter projectile did lead to 1-2 jams per 30 round magazine in a Chinese Mak-90. We do not guarantee that this ammo will feed flawlessly, if you buy this ammo expect some jams and minor feeding issues with some rounds. That said, it is low cost ammo for those of you who are required to use non-magnetic projectiles at your range. This ammo is corrosive primed

It was priced about 20% less than steel-cased ammunition, and well under half what brass cased ammunition would cost.

I bought two cases of 500, shot it, and liked it so much that I’ve bought more and do so every time it’s back in stock.

However, it’s not without its problems and I’d like to detail some of them in this review.

IMG_2704

It’s pretty looking stuff, as far as AK ammo goes. I have read that the case is steel and then washed with copper. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but there you go.

This isn’t match ammunition by any means. The rounds were about 1.5″ apart at 40 yards on paper coming out of a 8.5″ NFA registered AK-47. Part of the variance is due to the nature of my AK, part of it due to my emerging rifle skills, and partly due to the ammo itself.

Targets in the basic rifle class are half-man shaped and are placed at ranges from 25 to 90 yards. The accuracy of the American Tactical Import ammunition is more than sufficient for these purposes.

We’ve fired over 700 rounds of this stuff. I’ve never had a failure to fire, nor a failure to extract.

Two rifle classes ago I ejected a fully-loaded round as part of the normal reloading protocol. At some point I must have stepped on the round, and the bullet became crooked. One of the instructors picked it up and wiggled the bullet loose with his hands. Stomp + wiggle = detached bullet. I did it again later that day.

I didn’t have a single failure to feed until last weekend’s basic rifle class, when my Mini Draco AK-47 SBR failed to feed four rounds out of 228.

Here’s what the rounds looked like after failure to feed:

IMG_2707
The one on the left is bad.

Pretty noticeable, eh? Needless to say I did not fire these rounds.

So, these rounds are packed 500 to a plastic bag. We shot through the first plastic bag without incident, and now I’m wondering if the second batch — these last 228 — may have weak crimps. The 7.62×39 has a taper crimp that lightly pinches the neck of the case so it holds the bullet in place. Insufficient crimp may explain the drop-stomp-wiggle as well as the crazy set back.

Due to weather I won’t be shooting rifles again until 2014, but I’ll continue to use these de-milled rounds. It will be interesting to see if I got one good batch or one bad batch :D

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