The much anticipated brass-cased Boxer-primed 5.45x39mm ammunition that the AK community has been waiting for for a long time is now available. Hornady now offers such cartridges in their BLACK ammunition line as well as sells the brass cases separately for reloaders.
The Hornady BLACK brass-cased 5.45x39mm ammunition is loaded with the company’s 60gr V-MAX projectiles. Some of the ballistic data of this cartridge can be seen below.
The box of 20 Hornady BLACK 5.45×39 cartridges is listed on the Brownells website at $14.99 and the box of 50 cartridge cases has a price tag of $27.99. You can also find 5.45x39mm Hornady reloading dies on MidwayUSA with a “Coming Soon” status.
Up to this point, everything available in this caliber was steel-cased ammo – not only in the USA but worldwide (with the exception of military brass-cased 5.45 ammo made in Uzbekistan). The introduction of brass-cased 5.45x39mm ammunition and cases should allow expanding the capabilities of weapons chambered in this caliber in terms of accurizing them and developing new loads tailored for any particular application or projectile. Now, technically, steel-cased ammunition can be reloaded too but that’s a much more troublesome process requiring to unprime Berdan primed cases and the steel, in general, is not even remotely as reloading-friendly as brass. There have also been attempts of forming 5.45x39mm cases from .222 Remington brass but again, nothing will be as good as purpose-built 5.45 brass cases.
These cases should also be interesting for wildcatters allowing to relatively easily create new cartridges. As an instance, yours truly has been experimenting with wildcat cartridge ideas based on the 5.45x39mm case but with some of them, couldn’t go past drawings due to the limitations of the steel case. For example, it is virtually impossible to create a wildcat cartridge like the .311-5.45x39mm shown below because you can’t expand the steel 5.45 necks (with common tools and techniques) to more than 6.5mm caliber or so. Any attempt to neck it up larger than that will result in a split neck.
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