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7.62x54r Ammo History & Common Uses

One of the oldest military cartridges still in use, the 7.62x54mmR first entered service in Imperial Russia in 1891 along with the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle. It stayed in front line infantry use throughout both world wars and the Russian Civil War; along with the Mosin, it was used in the SVT-40, the DP machine gun, and many other weapons. Today, it is still used in the Dragunov sniper rifle and the PKM general purpose machine gun. Due to the large number of Mosins exported to the US, it is a relatively popular round among American shooters as well and provides solid long range performance at a very reasonable cost.

Most 7.62x54mmR ammo fires a 150 or 180 grain projectile at a muzzle velocity of about 2,600 to 2,900 feet per second. This results in external ballistics comparable to those of other contemporary cartridges such as the .30-06 Springfield and .303 British. With appropriate soft point ammunition, this caliber is quite capable of taking most North American game, delivering both high diameter expansion and strong penetration. The bullets used for this caliber are frequently boat tailed. This reduces the effect of crosswinds on the point of impact, a notable asset for long distance shooting.

For those looking to keep their costs to a minimum, 7.62x54mmR ammo will not disappoint. Affordable ammo is available from several Russian manufacturers including Tula, Wolf, and Barnaul (which loads the Brown Bear and Silver Bear series). These loads are steel cased and non reloadable but perform reliably. Brass cased ammo is available from Prvi Partizan and Sellier & Bellot and works well for reloaders.