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The 5.45×39mm (5.45 Russian, 5.45) cartridge was introduced into service in 1974 for use with the new AK-74 assault rifle. It gradually supplemented and then largely replaced the 7.62x39mm round in service with the Russian military, and is now the current standard service ammunition for the Russian military.

It was designed to compete with the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge.

Design details[edit | edit source]

The 5.45×39mm is a rimless, bottlenecked cartridge, and virtually all of the military 5.45 produced is steel-cased. Most 5.45×39mm cartridges are Berdan primed; some are Boxer primed, and use small rifle primers.

The bullet diameter is nominally 5.45mm; the actual diameter is 5.62mm. It fires with a maximum pressure of about 55,000 PSI, and is best fired in a barrel with a 1:10 rifling twist; if the barrel is shorter, the twist may be considerably tighter to help stabilize the bullet in flight.

Variants[edit | edit source]

There are a few variants of 5.45×39mm, and it has a growing commercial market; new developments are very recent.

Military[edit | edit source]

5N7[edit | edit source]

This cartridge was introduced in 1974. It has a full metal jacket boattail bullet with a mild steel core, and a hollow cavity near the tip. The bullet weighs in at 49 grains.

7N6[edit | edit source]

This cartridge has a red ring above the cartridge neck to identify it. It has a hardened steel core (the steel rod penetrator), and was developed in response to increased body armor use on the battlefield. The bullet weighs in at 52 grains.

Commercial[edit | edit source]

There are several commercial 5.45×39mm loads. Some are JHP, and are usually marketed under the Wolf brand, though Tula (Tulammo) produces some 60 grain bullets. Hornady produces a 5.45×39mm load with a ballistic tip.

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