I thought this might be of use to some of you, who don't already know it..
I use a Hornady .310 125 grain bullet (FMJ), 22.6 grains of reloader #7 powder, winchester large rifle primers, Winchester Brass and it comes out pretty nice. Its a decent mid power load and works in both my SKS and AK. OAL is around 2.15 I think but I have it written down, so I could be wrong on the OAL.. lol any loading manual will have that info however.
Reloading the 7.62x39
Get Accurate 1680 powder for this application if you can. 1680 is ideal...designed for the cartridge actually. Most bullet manuafacturers make something for the 7.62x39 in the 123 to 125gr. weight. I have loaded .308 dia. 150gr. Rem. PSP's and can only get them up to about 2100fps. Probably OK for short range deer hunting, but you can do better with the 123gr. weights I think.
Check Midway or Grafs on the web for components. Easy cartridge to reload for. Only problem is that you can't reload for as cheap as you can buy Wolf...even at todays prices. Of course, availability of Wolf is another question.
If my recollection serves, most .303 bullets are 170 gr. or greater.
That bullet weight is simply too heavy for the X39 case. Wolf is loading a 144 gr. SP bullet for the X39 case, but velocity is going to suffer. Your SKS and AK's 16" bbl, in my own experience, costs at least 150 Ft./Sec in velocity (2300 Ft/Sec vs 2450 from a 22" bbl.). When you bump the bullet weight up to ~170 gr. I would be surprised to see 2000 Ft/Sec. Such a load would really be anemic.
Those bullets might be useful in a 7.62 X 54 Russian bolt action, however.
yes, .303 can be substituted, as long as you have the load data for the weight. also, .309 (7.62mm) will often work well also, if you're into experimenting.
I bought all the stuff for reloading 7.62x39, and it's all near my reloading bench. Haven't done it yet, but I have a bunch of nice brass and some shiny new dies. I bought one of those "one caliber manuals" for 7.62x39. Those "one caliber" manuals are simply data for the one caliber, pulled from many manuals. The data does include 150 grain bullets. My impression was that a max loaded 150 grainer, out of a 20 inch SKS, would perform about like a 150 grain .30-30 out of a 16" carbine. Close enough that the deer won't know the difference, but the cartridge really is designed for lighter bullets.
I'm told you usually want the .310 or .311 bullets for a MAK90 or SKS, but you probably want .308 bullets (GREATLY increases your choices) for the Ruger Mini-Thirty. I don't know about the AR15 in 7.62x39. Whatever I had, I'd slug the bore before buying a lot of bullets.
In 1994 , CCI introduced #34 & #41 primers for military semi-auto rifles . The #34 is equivalant to the CCI 250 magnum primer , And the #41 is equivalant to CCI 450 magnum primer .
The # 34 are recomended for the 7.62x39 com-bloc rifles, the 308 nato and the 30-06
The #41 primers are recomended for 5.56 nato and 30 carbine.
Good luck and good shooting
As for the #41 and #34 Primers
I'm using them in a .30 M1 Carbine (IAI) and in MAK90. CCI advises that the primer cup is not heavier than the small and large rifle magnum primer cups, but that the anvil is raised, i.e, it is farther away from the base of the cup, and thus the firing pin must depress the cup more deeply before the primer will ignite.
I discovered the the hammer spring on my after market (Not GI) carbine was not powerfull enough to reliably ignite the #43 primer (80% failure to fire rate). I replaced the hammer spring with what was supposed to be a GI hammer spring, and the failure to fire rate dropped to 20%. I've used the #43 primers in Rem. brass for reloads for the MAK90, and never once experienced a failure to fire. So, clearly, the carbine is a fault. It is presently being overhauled!
On the other hand, the carbine never experienced a failure to fire using CCI #450 primers in reloads (small rifle magnum primers) nor any of the commercial ammo - Winchester & Remington. So, it is simply a caution to test these primers in your rifle before betting your life on them. Commercial hammer springs may not be powerful enough to reliably ignite these primers.
I've used the #34 primers in reloads of 7.62 X 39 (AK and SKS). My MAK90 always fired when the trigger was pulled. I would note this, the SKS has a bad reputation for "slam" fires, an issue almost unheard of in the AK. For this reason, I would use ONLY #34 primers in reloading for an SKS. It seems that the SKS firing pin lacks a spring to keep it in position, and it is liable to fly forward and ignite a primer if the bolt is slammed closed. If your thumb is close to the bolt handle when this happens, you may require a thumb replacement as the bolt travels backwards quite fast.
Hope this info will help,
Stick with the CCI #34 primers, AA 1680 is a great powder for this Application though many others will do. If you have a Mini 30 stick with .308 bullets. If you have a SKS or AK stick with .310 unless you have had your barrel measured/ checked by a gunsmith and he tells you to go with .311. The AR 15 rifles chambered for 7.62x39 use .310 bullets. This info is for best accuracy and saftey.