Sunday, January 5, 2014

A crate of 5.45x39mm

One of the firearms depicted in our background image on our site ( is the Arsenal SGL 31, an AK74 variant. The AK74 was developed in the early 70's and was called the Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle Model 1974, thus the "74" designation. The AK74 is chambered in 5.45x39mm and was the (former) USSRs answer to the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. Most of the 5.45x39mm currently available in the US is Russian military surplus, commonly referred to as 7N6, and comes in spam cans. Each spam can contains 1,080 rounds of 5.45x39mm. During the best of times, I've seen a spam can go for $100 and during the worst, 2012 for example, post Sandy Hook, close to $250 a spam can! A crate (as shown in the picture) of 7N6 has 2 spam cans, for a total of 2,160 rounds, and should come with spam can openers. Not all available surplus 5.45x39mm is directly from Russia, but most Combloc surplus spam cans are easily identified with the right information. For IDing a spam can:

Top line usually denotes: caliber / bullet type / case type

The second line indicates: Cartridge Lot # / YY of production / Factory # / (space) / powder type / powder lot # over YY of powder mfg. / factory source of powder

The bottom line denotes the amount of cartridges in the container

So what is in the crate pictured?  Ah, come on, what's in the box, what's in the box?!! Here's a very helpful thread on AK Files.

Final notes. 7N6 is corrosive, so the weapon should be cleaned promptly after a shooting session. Boiling hot water flushed over the internals and down gas tube, the bore, through the muzzle is all that's needed. Be sure to remove that muzzle brake and clean off the muzzle and the brake, 7N6 is dirty! Windex or an ammonia solution is not necessary. In fact, ammonia left in the bore can damage and corrode the steel. As stated on Krieger Barrels' website, "Do not leave these chemicals in a bore any longer than 10-15 minutes MAXIMUM! DO NOT EVER use straight ammonia to clean a barrel." I'm not going to argue with a reputable company and will take their word for it. Okay, back to the cleaning. Boiling hot water should evaporate for the most part, but you can use WD-40 (WD stands for "water displacing" & it is not a lubricant) to displace the left over water or use compressed air. Give everything a wipe down and then lube. I use Break-Free CLP and then wipe everything down again, put the firearm away, usually storing it in a silicon sock (you can buy one at Walmart for $4). Edit: Just had a discussion with a friend on this topic, so might as well cover it here & now. Storing your firearm long term in a padded gun bag is debatable, I don't do it (as stated previously, I store them in silicon socks), but some do. My father-in-law stores all of his firearms in padded cases; he diligently cleans & lubes them, then stores them away. His firearms are in perfect conditon. He rarely shoots his Garand and has had it in a bag for years, no signs of rust the last time I saw it. He lives in a very humid area and also runs a humidifier inside his house during the dryer winter months. But whatever you decide to do, don't ever leave a firearm (with a warm/hot barrel) in a sealed padded bag for an extended period of time after returning home from the range as you might discover an unpleasant surprise when you attempt to use the firearm again in a month or so. 

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