Can You Shoot 7.62×39 In A .308 Rifle?

For avid or seasonal hunters, picking the right weapon for the job is an absolute necessity. Without the right weapon, you can have some unfortunate blunders that can leave you in a bind.

For example, the gun might not sit right when you fire, and you miss, it may be heavier than you expected making you fatigued and all your shots rushed, or it may even just not feel right.

Can you shoot 7.62x39 in a .308 rifle

So, people spend a lot of time picking out their perfect weapon and once that is done, they are all set to go, right?

For you see my friend, a gun only works with ammunition, and now you have to pick the right one.

If you thought that picking from the hundreds of guns was hard, try picking out thousands of pieces of ammunition.

Most hunters tend to have some ammunition lying around and will use that instead of buying new ones, but this can be a tricky game too, as ammunition is not universal.

Some guns simply won’t fire it. So, what about the one of the most popular ammunition – the 7.62×39 – with one of the most popular calibers – .308 – of hunting rifle? Can you shoot with them?

In this article, we seek to find this out.

Why Are Calibers Of Bullets Important?

The caliber of the bullet is one of the most important things when it comes to hunting. This is because the bullet’s diameter or size directly affects how it fires and how much damage it does.

The smaller the caliber, the higher the velocity will be and the more energy it will have. The larger the caliber, the slower the bullet will go and the less energy it has.

Therefore, the larger caliber is suitable for close encounters while the smaller caliber is better for long-range shots.

There are also a few other factors that come into play when you are picking the right caliber. These include what’s the weather like, what are the season’s rules, what kind of game do you want to hunt, and what’s the best gun for you.

All these things and more determine what caliber you need.

Generally, precision weapons, like rifles, will have smaller caliber bullets and high damage weapons, like shotgun slugs, will have a larger caliber bullet, but there are exceptions.

Some sniper rifles fire huge bullets, but these are few and far between.

Difference Between The 7.62×39 And The .308?

The 7.62×39 and .308 are two of the most popular calibers for rifles, and although they are very similar in a lot of ways, there are some key differences between them.

Let’s start with the .308 caliber. It is actually the civilian version of a military grade caliber, known as the NATO 7.62×51.

Surprisingly, though it was a military adaption, it came out almost immediately after the NATO 7.62×51, with the latter coming out in 1951 and the .308 coming out in 1952.

Since then, it has become one of – if not – the most popular rounds of ammunition used today and is particularly beloved by the hunting community, who used .308 caliber weapons constantly for their hunts.

It is also safe to say that in the USA, it might well be the most popular ammunition round.

The 7.62×39 came about in similar circumstances, but in a different area of the world and much earlier.

The 7.62×39 caliber bullet was invented and developed by the Soviet Union in 1934 and has been the ammunition of much of their infantry weaponry since then.

This includes the very well known SKS carbine and the most produced, used, and popular gun in the world: the AK-47.

This widespread usage has made it the most widespread and popular ammunition in the world, with the 7.62×39 ammunition found from South America to Siberia to the south pacific.

While they are both the same diameter, and they can be used in similar circumstances, that is about where the similarities end between these two calibers of bullet.

The .308 is a larger bullet overall and has a larger cartridge.

So, the 7.62×39 can be used for hunting small game, like deer, the .308 can be used more universally.

Hunters have found success hunting all manner of creatures with the .308, from rabbits, deer, and boar to bears from black bears to large grizzlies.

Can you shoot 7.62x39 in a .308 rifle (1)

Can You Shoot 7.62×39 In A 308 Rifle?

The short answer to this question would be yes, you can shoot 7.62×39 in a .308 rifle. However, it is not as straightforward as it sounds.

This is because the two rounds are not the same and the gun is not designed to take a 7.62×39 bullet.

The 7.62×39 is smaller than the .308 and does fit into the magazine cartridge, but due to its size it won’t feed into the chamber properly, if at all. In fact, a lot of the time you can only get it into the chamber by tilting it.

Once in the chamber, the gun is very unlikely to be able to fire the round.

The case of the bullet is too short for the chamber, and it doesn’t touch the bolt, which is where the firing pin connects with the bullet, if it is already touching the headspace or vice versa.

So this makes it already difficult to fire and probably impossible unless you either modify the gun’s operating system completely or do something quite dangerous to yourself.

Is It Dangerous To Fire?

Yes, extremely. If the firing pin strikes the bullet, it will fire and push the bullet forward with concussive force.

For guns with the right ammunition, the bullet is held in place and locked on target with the case mouth expanding and stopping the gasses from blowing backwards, thus sealing where they can go.

With no seal, the gasses will expand in what every direction is available.

Since the bullet is not designed to be fired from this gun, the pressure when the bullet is fired will be intense and will continue to build.

A bullet that is not large enough to be in the right position, pressure building constantly against material that is not designed to handle it, and gasses expanding into areas that they are not supposed to is a recipe for disaster.

The lucky few may fire a bullet and ruin their gun with no physical repercussions to themselves. The majority of people who try this will have the gun blow up in their arms, potentially fatally.


If you do not mind being physically injured and potentially dying, then you can fire a 7.62×39 round from a .308 rifle, but if you like being alive and well, we would urge you to never do this.

Don’t fire a 7.62×39 round from a .308 rifle. It will only end badly for all parties.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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