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Discussion Starter #1
I took my Saiga conversions up to the local "shootin pit" (to test them out before I do the final drilling for the gasblock and front sight block barrel pins), so I decided to bring some old iron along for the fun of it.

I brought along one of my favorite shoot-the-wings-off-a-gnat Garands and wanted to see what some "newly aquired" 50's vintage .30 caliber AP ammo would do vs the normal steel core 60's HXP ammo I usually buy from the CMP. I was pretty impressed:



I'm posting this here on the AK forum because some folks (mostly the uniformed press) have a habit of incorrectly referring to 'steel core' as 'armor piercing steel core'. As can be seen above, 'steel core' and 'armor piercing' are not the same thing. I remember when the steel-core yellow-box Norinco 7.62x39 was banned from import, with nearly no distinction from the press between 'steel core' and 'armor piercing'. This was after the North Hollywood shootout when the AK-weilding crazy's were getting hits on law enforcement who were covered behind their squad cars.

For anyone interested in the details of AP, here's a scan out of an old WWII field guide - the AP core is an alloy of tungsten and steel (basically the same stuff that machine cutting tools are made from):



I remember reading somewhere that the majority of 30 caliber ammo fielded by US troops in WWII was M2 AP. Man I'd hate to have that stuff flinging by my head - a helmet wouldn't make much of a difference.

-Thirtycal
 

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The only steel core ammo I've ever used is Hungarian 7.62x54 and the damage that stuff will do is pretty scary. Especially shooting it out of my SVT.
 

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Excellent & informative pics. Thanks ! :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Robpiat said:
Are you sure the Greek stuff is steel core? I thought it was lead core?
I haven't opened one up with bandsaw or anything so I don't know for sure, but I do know that the Greek HXP sticks to a magnet... I thought that meant it was steel core but maybe that just means it has a steel jacket or something? I'll throw an HXP bullet on the bandsaw and see what it looks like in cross section. I'm pretty sure it's steel core, but that's only because I read that on the CMP forum but of course that could be wrong.

-Thirtycal
 

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I did a few test with norinco steel core back in the day. I was able to put it through 1/4 Steel with out a problem. Right through 1 1/4" aluminum as well.

I don't think that ammo in the picture is steel core.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Flyingjibus said:
I did a few test with norinco steel core back in the day. I was able to put it through 1/4 Steel with out a problem. Right through 1 1/4" aluminum as well.

I don't think that ammo in the picture is steel core.
UPDATE!!

We'll I got curious and threw one on the bandsaw. Cut through it pretty quick - Upon inspection I could see that the HXP was not steel core as I had thought! It had a nice thick steel jacket, but a soft lead core.

So I guess I'll have to change the title of this thread :oops: .

Sorry I hope I haven't confused anyone here. I think the photo is still pretty cool - I'll have to correct that too by removing the word "steel core".

-Thirtycal
 

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Honest mistake. Regardless of that error, it's a cool pic. Thanks. :grin:
 

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So how thick is that steel plate that you were shooting at? I bought a couple of bags of those pulled M2 ap bullets but have yet to load them up and test them.
 

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You ought to see the core of a 50 BMG AP bullet. Its a machined, solid piece of tungsten.

I have a few that I uses as center punches.
 

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I did tests like that with my Garand also, with Lake city AP and M2 balL (All M2 ball is lead core) The testing stopped when the M2 ball came back and layed open the side of my leg. Made a nice .30 ca.l wide graze removing the skin and a little of my calf muscle. Live and learn. Good luck!

By the way,my Father told me in Europe in WW2, everybody on the line preferred to use AP instead of M2 ball. With the 30.06 they felt like most cover was just concealment with the AP
 

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I've got some good armor piercing stories...
A buddy of mine bought a .30'06 deer rifle 15 years ago. It was his first "deer rifle." The gun shop sold him a lot of "target ammo" with the gun. It was in brown boxes with the black lettering that said .30 cal M2 armor piercing!
I knew what it was from my reading as a kid. I opened one of the boxes up and it had the telltale black tips. I explaned to him what he stumbled upon and he grew very interested in it.
Me and my buddy spent the summer of 1993 experimenting with armor piercing bullets. At the time we were also buying Chinese and E. German steel core ammo and comparing the 7.62X39 ammo.
We found that lead core 7.62X39 would not penetrate all the way through a telephone pole but the steel core would! And the M2 .30 caliber (.30'06) would shoot through a tree as big around as a basketball but the lead core wouldn't. We also shot steel plates with the M2 and never stopped one of the cores.
The most impressive thing I remember was shooting an old steel car wheel (without a tire.) We placed the wheel in such a way that we would have to shoot through 7 layers of steel in order for the bullet to pass all the way through the wheel. We thought it would stop the bullet for sure. But it didn't. It went through all 7 layers of steel and most notably the holes were in nearly perfect alignment. It looked like a laser beam burnt through it. Very little deflection. By contrast I think a lead core bullet went through one layer and splattered against the 2nd without penetrating it.
Indeed, the tungsten alloy core in those old WWII boxes was impressive. they were dated 1943 and were corrosive (he found that out later :goof: )
We dissected some of the bullets. The cores were .245 caliber the way I remember. The whole bullet was 162 or 163 grains. Each core appeared to be LATHE TURNED! The tip of the core was very finely pointed and sharp. I remember holding one in a pair of Vice-Grips and beating the tip with a large Crescent wrench. That Crescent wrench still has little craters in it. But the tungsten core stayed almost as sharply pointed as before it was hit 10 times.
The tunsten cored M2 is really impressive.
 

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I 'd like to see how much further through steal plate 30/06 tungsten carbide AP ammo compares to 5.56 ap and m855/ss109.
 
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