The 7.62x39mm cartridge was introduced in 1943 and chambered originally in the RPD Light Machine Gun as well as the SKS Rifle. Not much later, the entry of the iconic AK47 into service for the Soviet Military ensured the 7.62x39 would have a place in service for many years to come. The cartridge has been employed in militaries around the globe and is used by many police officers and civilians.
This cartridge is comparable to the .30-30 Winchester having a similar bullet diameter and weight. The comparison is not entirely accurate, however, as the .30-30 is able to fire heavier bullets at higher velocities. Even so, the 7.62x39 remains an effective cartridge
for taking medium game like deer as far out as 200 yards. The effectiveness of the cartridge increases by using widely available soft point bullets and hollow point bullets.
A major advantage of 7.62x39 ammunition is that it is available in nearly every corner of the globe. All the major manufacturers of ammunition produce this cartridge, and is easy to find as a military surplus item. Having been mass produced by the Soviets, the Eastern Bloc countries and even China, AK47 rifles and SKS rifles have been employed in almost every part of the planet. This global availability of the rifles has created a massive demand for 7.62x39mm ammunition. Surplus cartridges are especially popular, as they are comparatively inexpensive and are packaged in steel, airtight cases which protect the ammo from moisture and greatly extends the storage life.
When asked to name a firearm chambered for the 7.62x39 cartridge, most shooters will normally respond by mentioning the AK47 or SKS, but there are actually several other commercially available rifles in bolt action and single shot configurations as well. Firing military surplus ammunition from these civilian rifles will generally yield a better group than can be obtained from the military rifles. Ammunition manufacturers, however, know that this cartridge is also used in sporting applications, and they produce several options in their premium hunting lines whose accuracy is reportedly sub minute-of-angle from the right rifle.