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An inside look: Wolf 7.62x39mm 122 grain HP

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An inside look: Wolf 7.62x39mm 122 grain HP

#1 Post by Zeliard » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:32 pm

Originally posted by carteach0.

Note: One of the graphs is missing at the end. Have left the placeholder just in case.

An inside look: Wolf 7.62x39mm 122 grain HP

Thanks to ‘Powderburn’, this episode of ‘An Inside Look’ is concerned
with Wolf 7.62x39mm. In this case, the steel cased version with 122 grain
Hollow Point bullet. The head stamp simply says ‘Wolf’ and ‘7.62x39’.



As usual the measurement battery includes a RCBS 10-10 scale, Mitutoyo digital
micrometers, and a Central vernior caliper.

As much as I truly enjoy the time spent investigating various cartridges, I am strongly
considering purchasing an electronic scale. The time savings would be significant, yet
the ‘old fashioned’ gene is kicking up a fuss. The beam scale is just.... right. It might
be slow, but it’s *right* every time. I suppose some fancy electronic micrometers
would be faster too.....

Ok, that’s all over with. I’m all better now.
I’m sticking with the tried and true accuracy.

Wow.... that was close!

Lets begin with the cartridge dimensions. Sometimes this can be a glimpse
into the general quality of the ammunition.





The steel case is lacquered. I believe this is done to prevent corrosion. While
less expensive than brass casings, it does present a problem. In some firearms the
lacquer coating can effect function, including such nastiness as poor extraction.

The case bases measured from .4415” to .4434”, with a range of .0019”.
Not a terrible difference, especially when compared with the case necks.
The neck measurements started at .3320” and went all the way to .3346”, a spread
of .0026”. That 2.6 thousandths of an inch appears to be all case, as the bullets
were pretty consistent. That’s not the worst of it. The necks were uniformly out
of round by about .001” on every round measured. Spec for the case necks is
.3340”, so all this variation is fairly well undersize and should not cause
function issues. That said, there is no way it can be a plus on the
accuracy side of the equation.

Cartridge over all length varied from 2.177” to 2.190”, a .0130” spread, while the
unloaded cases measured from 1.5184” to 1.522”, a spread of .0036”. This speaks
of indifferent bullet seating or very rough handling that has effected bullet
seating depth. Again, OAL specification for the 7.62x39mm is 2.190” and the
variations all place these Wolf cartridges well under that. Function should not
be effected.

Seated and sealed into the case are berdan style primers. The sealer is a heavy
red lacquer type. These primers are billed as non-corrosive, but I would
remain skeptical without proof. Given that I tend to clean after every
range session anyway, it would not be an issue. But.... I have memories
of a beautiful Polytech AK that corroded a gas piston into it’s cylinder.....

No, it’s too painful to speak of...........

Lets just say I am not trusting of Russian blasting ammo.

Using the trusty old RCBS collet type bullet puller mounted in my
ridiculously oversized RCBS ammomaster press, I pulled down
a ten cartridge sample set .


The powder is a very small grain extruded type. It appears fresh, like it was
just poured from a canister. It weighed in at 25.2 grains with only a .1 grain
variation in powder loading.


The bullets were not sealed to the case (that I could detect). It’s possible the
lacquer coating on the case acts as a sealer. All ten bullets pulled from the cases with a
light and even amount of force.

The bullets are the most interesting component of these cartridges. They are
a boat tailed hollow point design with some interesting features.


The bullets weighed in from 121.7 grains up to 124.0 grains with no specific
grouping in the range. This is a pretty wide spread of 2.3 grains.
Bullet diameter was fairly consistent at .3100” with only a .0008” spread.


The bullets are magnetic, and can easily be picked up with a pocket
magnet. In fact, the cartridge can be hung from the bullet on a magnet, something
my wife just does not understand me doing. She sees it, but does not
understand it. Oh well.......

Using a Dremel tool with a fine cut off wheel I cut a bullet in two to check the


What I found was not a steel core, but lead. In this case the steel is in the jacket
material. While appearing to be copper jacketed, the bullets are actually
steel jacketed and plated with copper. Exactly .0008” of copper.

“Wait Mr. Carteach0 sir, how in the bleep could you know how
thick the blasted copper plating is????”

It wasn’t hard, after I thought a few moments. I simply measured the bullet
carefully, then polished the copper plate off at one location under the
micrometer anvil where I had measured. Then I measured
again at the same spot. Walla! Plated exactly .0008”.



This plating should be heavy enough to limit barrel erosion from the steel
jacket and also eliminate corrosion of the steel covered bullet. Yet, my personal
experience with plated bullets has been iffy when related to accuracy. Differences
in plating can have enormous effects on accuracy and consistency.

As mentioned above, the bullets are hollow points. Being of a curious nature, I wondered
what the hollow point looked like. Was it large or small, deep or shallow,
cute or ugly? Being a bit pig headed as well, I figured out a way to check.

I started cutting some more......

(Insert evil mad scientist laugh here)

Having never really put away the Dremel tool (I may mount it
permanently in the air over my loading bench!) I cranked it up to
“areyounuts” RPM again.

What I found was fascinating. The hollow point is more than slightly deep.
In fact, I had to make several cuts before I found out exactly how deep.
It extends for almost ½ the bullet length! The bullet being 1.028”
long and the cavity being .421” deep. Thatsa some big hole!



To once again demonstrate the steel jacket, here is that cut away bullet
hanging from a magnet by only it’s steel jacketed nose, clearly
having no steel core.


My conclusions:

A large item became obvious. I NEED something to fire
this ammunition from. How else can I do the accuracy and ballistics measurements
I should be doing here? Obviously, I need an SKS or an AK variant. I’m sure my lovely
bride will understand that logic....

That said, I would not expect stellar performance from the Wolf 122 grain Hollow Point
ammunition. At least, accuracy wise that is. I see no reason it should not function
fine in anything that will chamber and extract the lacquered steel cases. I’m not a
big fan of steel cases for several reasons, chief among them their inability to
mate well with oversized chambers. Given a rifle chamber within spec these
should function just peachy.

There are enough accuracy factors present, each piling on top of another, that
I would not expect it to be blindingly accurate. If it turned out four inch
groups from an SKS at 100 yards I would be satisfied.

As for the terminal effects of the huge hollow point in the soft steel jacket,
I have no idea what that would do. My guess is it would mash and tumble
upon striking anything solid, but I doubt it has any superior penetration
capability despite the ‘steel’ bullet construction.

Now, I need a nice Yugo SKS and about 600 rounds of this ammo to
properly test.

Oh.... Honey dear sweetheart? Where are you, angel mine....
Want to go shopping?

(Added after the original post, when I had time to make them, some pretty graphs....)

First, bullet weight variations:


Then OAL variations:


And finally, case neck variations:

Proud alumni of Transylvanian Polygnostic University. "Know enough to be afraid."

"Vertroue in God en die Mauser".-Faith in God and the Mauser.

"Send lawyers, guns and money." -Warren Zevon

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