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AK-74 800 yard target damage

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Rapidrob
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AK-74 800 yard target damage

#1 Post by Rapidrob » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:11 pm

I held an 800 yard practice last Saturday. There were several calibers present and all shooters did well hitting the target,a man silhouette made of AR500 steel. I built a triggering device that fires an electronic flash when the target is struck. It does not need a heavy hit to trip the flash.
For those of you who have been following my post over the last 25 years you may remember my articles on just how deadly the 5.45x39 cartridge is at any distance. This outshines our M855 Ball ammo on 1" solid steel blocks.( I have only tested 7N6 and 7N7.The latter ammo was banned before I could test it as well)
Here is the original test from many years ago. The ammo was the surplus Russian 7N6.
The data on this round is:
53 Grain FMJ with steel penetrator
2,900 FPS ( AK 74 rifle)
979 Ft. LBS
bullet .220
chamber pressure 55,114 PSI
It is no pip squeak of a round.
Steel plate target-5.45x39.jpg
My club member,Scotsman fired his rifle at our 800 yard target with 30 rounds. After finding the zero in the calm air he proceeded to hit it many times. Misses were very close to the target with no fliers.
When I secured the range after the shoot and retrieved the target I notice that the face of the target was pockmarked from his hits with his 5.45x39 ammo. I called the other members over and we verified that the hits were from his AK74.( we had several spotters on powerful scopes)
Upon checking the dirt in the impact berm I found a few of the bullet cores that had shed their jackets. No real fragments of the bullet jackets could be found indicating these little bullets are hitting very hard.
20180929_113909.jpg
here you can see that the hardened steel cores actually chipped the AR500 steel plate. No one expected this to happen. The low drag bullet really retained energy in order to chip the target.
The 5.45x39 had been fired at these targets for many years but the shooters had used Wolf Gold Ammo,not military surplus.
545b.jpg
DSCF2497.JPG
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#2 Post by DaleH » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:44 pm

Yikes!

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#3 Post by Rapidrob » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:16 pm

It took me awhile to find it but here is a photo of M855 .223 fired out of a 20" barreled AR15 with a 1:7 twist.
The penetrater only let a slight dent in the surface of the AR500 plate at 800 yards.
AR15 62 grain bullets at 800 yards.jpg
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#4 Post by ammolab » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:33 am

Was he shooting Bulgarian surplus? The 1990ish Bulgarian 5.45x39 has a core MUCH harder than Soviet 7n6. A guy on the AK files tested the Factory 10 cores for me and they are almost as hard as 30-06 M2 cores on the Rockwell scale.

I always shoot commercial lead core 5.45x 39 (Monarch or Golden Tiger) on Rob's steel...it shocks me that his 800 yard target got pockmarked.

2 cores of Soviet 7n6 yielded 44 & 45 on Rockwell B scale

2 cores of Bulgarian 5.45 yielded 54 & 57 on Rockwell C scale

http://www.akfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311763

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#5 Post by Rapidrob » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:37 am

Ron says it is 1977 Russian.
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#6 Post by Tuna » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:10 pm

It's also possible that the damage from the Russian ammo is because of the steel jackets on the bullets as well as the penetrator. The 5.56 only has the core and a copper jacket.

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#7 Post by Rapidrob » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:53 pm

The jackets seem to shatter like glass when they hit steel. Flesh would be very nasty indeed if it hit bone.
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#8 Post by ammolab » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:34 pm

Tuna wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:10 pm
It's also possible that the damage from the Russian ammo is because of the steel jackets on the bullets as well as the penetrator. The 5.56 only has the core and a copper jacket.
A lot of the Milsurp ammo shot on Robs 800 yard target (also used at 500 yards) has a steel jacket. Russian 5.56x45, 6.5x55, 7 Mauser, various 30cal, 8mm, etc. No damage has been seen from these.

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#9 Post by Tuna » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:30 pm

Ammolab, I agree with what you have said BUT in my years of shooting I have seen some strange things with bullets and what they do and what they don't do.

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#10 Post by Ned Christiansen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:53 am

Very interesting and surprising too, as I have not experienced that kind of target damage on AR500 with 7n6. Interesting too to learn that there are hardness variances in the steel core depending upon the country of origin; I have used Russian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian.... I have not gone beyond 500 but even at 500 on AR500 only 7/16 thick I don't think I got target cratering.... I mean I was looking to see the effect but it was not a study per se..... and I could not say for sure which ammo / ammoz I was using at 500 although I felt the Russian had a slight edge over the other two in accuracy. None of them was bloody awful.

In short I guess I need to do a re-test. I have a fresh, unshot, 9'16" AR500 plate that I have been meaning to do some crater testing on with different ammo at 100Y, straight-on and at maybe up to 60 degrees, to include M855 from US, Spain and UK. My experience with M855 on steel, to include mild steel, AR500 and steel armor (which I believe is AR500) is that it is not terribly impressive. It is unimpressive in accuracy too, as well as gel testing with intermediate barriers. M855A1, different story in gel and intermediate barriers per FBI protocols.... really good which is important for its intended use. Sofar I find it not terribly accurate, unfortunately, despite the claim of "match accuracy" in the introductory material. I'm going to predict it does some things better than M855 and some things the same, but penetration sofar is looking way better.

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#11 Post by Ned Christiansen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:15 pm

Here's a pic of some fairly new steel, targets I had made for some classes I'm involved in. They are 9/16" AR500, I had a couple made for myself in the same order of ten targets. At this point the class targets have about 2K rounds each on them.... I think. We make sure no one is using M855, not so much due to potential target damage (less damaging than XM193 in my experience), but concern about the penetrators bouncing around. I've never experienced that but... also kinda don't want to.

These targets are shot at mostly 65 yards unfortunately, so their life is somewhat curtailed. I did design them to hang at about 15 degrees which is a big help, both durability-wise and to safety too.The only other shooting they get is at 300M at which range I think they would last just about indefinitely. You can see that they get pretty pocked at 65; this is a mix of approximately 85% 55 FMJ (5.56 and .223), some various 62 grain loads, a very few 77 SMK loads, and some 55-grain Silvertips and soft points. I note that some loads seem to pock it significantly more. A few guys have claimed the deep science of it has soft points doing more damage than FMJ bullets. Not sure what that is based on-- if it's 50-grainers having a few more FPS I get that but I don't think the percentages of more FPS and pock depth are a match, anyway, XM193 is smokin' hot and faster than many .223 50-grain varmint loads.
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#12 Post by Rapidrob » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:47 am

Thanks Ned for your post. We have noticed that some soft points do indeed cause more damage than FMJ's. It may be because the bullet jackets are bonded to the cores and the jackets are very flexible. They fold rather than shatter,much like a "squash-head" projectile used to transfer the explosive shock wave into the armor causing spalling on the back side.
As you may know, no center-fire bullet is stable in flight until it travels 200 yards. This is due to the bullet striking the wall of air outside of the muzzle and causing the bullet to obdurate around its own axis If the bullet strikes any target closer than 200 yards it will strike point on but the body is at a slight angle and it tumbles dumping all it energy into the target mass. This was the primary reason the original M-16 with a 1:14- 1:12 rifling twist was so deadly)
If you were to stack rail-road ties in a pile and shoot them with a .30-06 M1 Ball ammo, the bullet would only penetrate 18" before it stopped. It just tumbles,or tries to and tears itself to pieces.
Take the same bullet and fire into the RR ties at 200 yards and the bullet can penetrate 38"!. At that distance and farther, the bullet is a flying drill bit it is so stable in flight.
Here is an interesting post on just what happens to a bullet in flight:
http://www.nennstiel-ruprecht.de/bullfl ... hortranges
I believe that Barn's Bullets also has a RADAR track of a bullet in flight showing the exact same pattern.
Decades ago I did an in depth study of the most common military calibers used the the two wars and what they could and could not do at ranges at or farther than 200 meters. The results were amazing.
I fired at 1" thick steel plates set to 100 yards and 200-300 yards to see what an unstable vices a stable bullet could do to the steel plate.
Trust me when I say that you want the bad guys to be closer than 200 meters if your hiding behind a barricade or other light armored position/vehicle.
At one point we stacked sand bags in a "bunker" at 100 meters. A man silhouette of AR500 was placed behind the sand bags. Some bullets penetrated 18"" of the sand bags and struck the target but none were point on. Most bullets were fragmented and were stopped by the sand.
At 300 meters the target was hit every single time by bullets point on as if the sand was not there.
Another test was .30-06 AP fired at a 1" thick steel plate at 500 yards. This was a large cover access plate for a fuel storage tank. I was calling the shots for a friend who is an outstanding with his M1 rifle shot, and called several of his shots as misses as I could clearly see the bullets strike 50 yards behind the target. We we drove to the target we found that he had in fact shot a nice group and the bullets sailed through ( the cores) the thick steel as if it were not there.
30-06 AP target 500 yards1.JPG
30-06 AP target 500 yards2.JPG
30-06 AP target 500 yards3.JPG
30-06 AP target 500 yards4.JPG
We used to use cold rolled steel plate for our targets but had to trash them because almost every rifle caliber in the world sailed right through them at long distance.
Here is 1/2" thick cold rolled steel plate after 8x57mm Turk ammo was fired by me at 500 yards.
8mm steel plate test.jpg
We ended up "biting the bullet" and buying AR500/550 targets in the long run.
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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#13 Post by Ned Christiansen » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:13 pm

Fascinating stuff. I remember reading or reading about Hatcher's experiments with penetration long distance vs/ close and the similar results. I don't recall him testing steel, but I bet he did.

Well you have motivated me to do my own testing, let's see if I get a chance to do it before spring.....

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Re: AK-74 800 yard target damage

#14 Post by Rapidrob » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:27 pm

Try the 6.5 calibers at 200 yards/meters. You'll be amazed. The long round nose and SPBT bullets of 139/140 grain.
The Russian 150 grain steel core blow craters like a BB gun in a clay block.
I have many files of photos of what happens to steel with a stable bullet in flight.
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