7.62x39 Project Thats Been On My Mind for A While....

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by Inthewind1976, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Reading Acelungger's thread about building a small ring .22/6mm brought to mind a project I have been considering for some time, and I though I would run it buy the group for some suggestions, and possible some specific information.

    Background - quite a few years ago I was at a public auction that included a few rifles (if they dont, why would I be there?? lol) and one in particular was the "goat" of the auction, and NO ONE wanted it, so guess who bought it, for $40? Yep, you got it; moi. I knew at first glance that it was an Argentine/Lowe 91 of some sort, and it was of course "bubbaed" at some point in the past. When I picked up my $40 prize, I determined that it was indeed a 91 Arg, that had been drilled and tapped, the bolt reshaped, and a Beuhler low swing safety had been installed. The barrel appeared to be a scant 17-18" and there were no open sights. I took it home and it sat in the corner for a while, until one day I decided to fool around and see what I had. Long story short, someone had screwed a 7x57 barrel from a 93/95 onto it, and with a few more $ tossed its way over another period of a year or two, it has become and remains my go to "foul weather" ugly gun for all occasions. After a quick trip to Mel Doyle's gunshop in Idaho, the excessive headspace was corrected, a used 3-9x40 I had lying around got attached, a $2 (well, they were back THEN!) black nylon sling and a used slip on recoil pad that really had no place on anything ELSE was added, and voila - ugly but serviceable. Even more serviceable was the fact that it would shoot under 1.5" at 100 yards with Winchester factory 7x57 stuff!! My bargain all told, including the used scope, cost me under $100 and I think I would sell it LAST if I ever sold "everything!"

    Up to date: The fact that the old 7.65x53 91 Arg wore a 7x57 barrel got me to thinking............like Ace, this isnt something Im gonna start building TOMORROW, but I think maybe its time to start collecting the "parts" - I have always wanted a bold action "hunter" in 7.62x39; and having step kids and step grand kids who are/will be hunting makes a serviceable light recoil bolt action in this caliber "even more sensible" (as if anything a gun nut does is actually SENSIBLE!) So...............since I am aware of the fact that 7.62x39 does NOT "mic" at .308 (as a general rule) but rather more like .310-.311, and because the reason so many 1909 Argentine .30-06 conversions arent very accurate is because 'Smiths used to ream the 7.65 barrels with an .06 reamer and "thats that" and the 7.65 is NOT .308 EITHER................I got to thinking that a 91 Argentine barrel on a 93/95 action, the opposite of my Ugly Gun might just be the ticket for a "budget build!" (Note, the same is true of a lot of old 7.7 Jap Arisakas - 'Smiths back in the day often reamed the chambers with an '06 reamer and called it a day, which created a cheap to feed, but not terribly accurate/fast combination, for the same reason - running a .308 pill down a .310-311 bore isnt exactly a Camp Perry quality idea, but it WORKS.)

    THE QUESTION - who has enough experience with the caliber 7.62x39 and in particular, the plethora of cheap ammo out there, to know how close the nominal bullet diameter is on the average to .310, and also how close the 7.65x53 Arg bores (assuming that they arent corroded from years of corrosive primers; we are assuming a good BORE) are to .310 to make this a TRULY viable project, and not a "marginal one" like the old school Argentine and Arisaka .30-06 "conversions?" Anyone's thoughts and insights would be greatly appreciated. Opinions either way. FYI - I am NOT considering purchasing a Ruger 77 or CZ or anything else in this caliber. This is strictly a "project concept" using the materials indicated. I know I can BUY a new bolt action in 7.62x39 - but "I AIN'T GONNA!" lol
  2. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I don't remember what my '09 Argentine slugged out at anymore but even with light pitting from chamber to muzzle, it would still group right around 4" at 100yds with .311" handloads. That's the "standard" bullet diameter for both the x39 and the 7.65x53Arg.

    The only problem I would think might be a stinker would be the twist rate difference.
    IIRC, the SKS and AK have something like a 1:7.25" twist.
    The '09 Args are right at 1:10"...not sure about the '91s but I'd suspect the same twist.

    I've got one of those "7.65-06" barrels from another '09 laying in the shop. Never even tried using it, but it's nice and clean with no pits. Took it off of a "bubba-gun" that I parted out for the action.
    It would probably be a good shooter with .311" bullets instead of out-of-the-box .30-06 ammo.
    Quite a few guys around here had those 7.7-'06 Arisakas too and some of em did reload with .311"s using a .30-06 die set with a .311 expander from a .303Enfield sizer. Very good shooters with the right size bullets!
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

  3. Thats a good point Binder; I ran into that problem with a 93 I played with YEARS ago - it wouldnt group with anything but the old 175 Gr long round nosed 7x57 pills and thats not "fast enough" for me in the old 7, so I traded it away. I wanted something that would shoot 140-150's nicely. The Ugly Gun does, by the way - not sure what the difference is, but its a good one!! Thanks for the insight. Might still do it, if/when I find the parts.
  4. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Active Member

    I have a 91 parts gun I've wanted to try a x39 conversion on too, http://www.mcace.com/adapters.htm makes a chamber insert for it.
    The 7.62x39 fits and feeds from the 91 single stack mag, but the problem is the bolt face and extractor.
    The 91 uses a hook extractor, and the base of the x53 is larger than the x39. Bolt face and extractor work costs may be prohibitive.:(
  5. gunboat

    gunboat Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    San Josie
    I think the 91 may be a bit more user friendly in the bolt face/extractor department than the 93-98 claws.
    It has been a number of years since I had a 91 so my memory may be faulty --
    The bolt face is rebated so a an insert could be pressed or low temp soldered in to reduce the diameter.
    I made a replacement extractor by hand out of a bit of tool steel so one could be easily made with a longer tooth.
    Perhaps the magazine may prove a bit more challenging making the shorter case feed properly.
    The 91-93 weapons are good for about 40k pressure -- is the 7.62x39 in this range?
    my tuppence
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun AK (762x39) vs. AR/M-16 (.223 / 5.56) Jan 13, 2005
Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun 20 gauge NEF project almost finished! Sep 11, 2016
Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun H&R pardner 410 project Jul 31, 2016
Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun What's your source for .223 projectiles? Apr 15, 2016
Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun Remlin .45-70 project Mar 20, 2016