The problem you immediately run into is the complete lack quality ammo for this weapon that the AR has oodles to choose from.markkw said:Excellent post. The AR guys are going to be all over this one!
You touched on "reliability" which is often the most overlooked / ignored point when fans of the AR debate fans of the AK. Often the focus in soley on accuracy of which the AR definitely wins but it is accomplished through tighter tolerances of mating parts making the AR more suseptable to dirt/debris.
One thing that really turns me off on the AR is the charging handle. First, there is no way to cycle the bolt without dropping the weapon from your shoulder and if the lock fails, your own weapon can effectively take you out of the fight. From everything I read, this was done to streamline the weapon's profile and then the profile was de-streamlined by adding the forward assist so I ask every time, where is the advantage?
Second point is that if you do get a round jam hard in the action, the charging handle attached to the bolt is much easier to beat on with anything handy to get it moving.
Third, if you already have your paw on the bolt handle, it does not require repositioning to go from pull to push if necessary.
Back to accuracy, there is no reason why the 7.62x39 cannot be as accurate as any other round, the basis of accuracy lies on the platform. Adding a little chrome to the chamber and bore can tighten up the tolerances enough to turn a 4-5 MOA AK into a 1-2 MOA very quickly at a lower cost than building a whole new barrel. But, tightening the tolerances also comes at the price of reliability.
When considering the AK & 7.62x39, the emphasis was placed on most infantry battle taking place at ranges of 100 or 130 meters or less. 4-5 MOA was more than sufficient to fill this need and is why less attention was put into accuracy and more into reliability. However, the numer one factor in the design was cost of manufacturing both weapons and ammunition. I wish I could remember where I saw it but the 7.62x39 round was toned down a bit from its original specs by shaving a little off the bullet weight & powder which allowed for a little weight to be shaved off weapons and make more of everything without loosing much in performance. Niether the AK nor the 7.62x39 were designed for work beyond the 100 - 130 meter nominal battle range. For work beyond the nominal range, the Red's preferred having squad snipers armed with the SVD and regular snipers armed with the 91/30.
The US military, especially the US Marines, focus on individual marksmanship more so than any other military forces which placed accuracy on the front burner. The idea being to have a smaller number of forces being able to pin down the enemy at ranges beyond their effective ranges while the Red's viewed larger numbers as the key to winning battles. They did, and maybe still don't, view the regular infantry man as having the need to engage targets at 300 meters or more which means less training requirements too. The per-man savings on regular infantry is put into giving more advanced training to the squad and regular snipers and having more of them.
I'm not trying to turn this into a debate between the AR & AK but simply pointing out why I'm not fond of the AR. Personally, I feel the Ruger mini 14 is far superior to the AR yet would not be my first choice of a battle weapon. I'm also not a fan of itty bitty bullets either.
S&B has a 122gr soft point available with a MV of 2438 and ME of1629
Wolf has a 122gr HP with MV of 2396 ME 1555 and a 154gr SP with MV of 2104 & ME 1514
Remington has the 125gr PSP
Federal has a 123gr SP
Didn't look for others but I'm sure there are more out there than these.
For example...take the tap ammo recently released by hornady...which appears so far to be a superbly performing round.
Corbon has an offering in 7.62x39. but I have no experience on this one.