ammodotcom 29 Sep 2022

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5.56 vs 7.62x39: Choose Your Battle Rifle Caliber

In General

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When it comes to selecting a semi-automatic rifle cartridge, the 5.56x45mm NATO and the 7.62x39mm are always front and center in the conversation.

Both rifle rounds have been forged in the fires of battle in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan as well as a host of other conflicts across the globe. As a result, they are two of the most popular rifle cartridges on the planet.

Virtually every military on Earth uses one of these two rifle rounds for their primary battle rifle. And there’s a good reason for that! Their terminal ballistics and effectiveness in close quarters battle (CQB) are second to none.

But which rifle cartridge is better suited for you and does it matter?

Let’s take a closer look at the caliber debate that defined world conflict since the Cold War.

Although the 5.56 NATO has come under fire, so to speak, for its terminal ballistics. The round continues to persevere and remains one of the most popular centerfire cartridges in the United States. The 7.62x39 is well known for its barrier penetration as well as its sheer ruggedness in the AK platform.

The 5.56 has a better long-range trajectory while the 7.62x39 has heavier bullets with more kinetic energy within 300 yards.

In the end, the best round is the one you like the most or what you plan on doing with it. For long-range target shooting and varmint hunting, the 5.56 cannot be beaten. For a close-range battle cartridge with battle-proven reliability, the 7.63x39 is a solid choice.

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