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Best 7.62×39 AR-15 Uppers & Complete Rifles

Want to combine the accuracy of an AR-15 with the power of an AK-47’s 7.62×39 round?

Why not just put a 7.62×39 upper on your AR?

PSA KS47 with Vortex
PSA KS47 with Vortex

Let’s start off with why 7.62×39 is awesome, then dive into the best uppers and complete rifles out there.

Table of Contents

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Why You Want (Or Need) a 7.62x39mm Upper in Your Life

7.62×39 is still one of the most popular cartridges around the world.

Popular 7.62x39 Ammo
Popular 7.62×39 Ammo

It was originally designed by the Soviet Union in the latter months of WWII.

The Soviets wanted an intermediate cartridge that could function in a multi-purpose capacity. What they got was a solid little round that would be on par with the 5.56×45 NATO rounds the West would use much later.

3 Upgraded AK-47s
3 Upgraded AK-47s

The new cartridge would go on to achieve wide acclaim for its success in close quarters combat thanks to its relatively large bullet size.

Most 7.62x39mm bullets are 122- or 125-grain, with some 150-grain stuff available if you’re willing to really look for it.

5.56 vs 7.62x39mm
5.56 vs 7.62x39mm

This puts it nearly on par with the modern .300 Blackout round, and indeed the .300BLK was designed to mimic the performance of the 7.62x39mm round in a lot of ways, but in a package that could be chambered by the AR-15 with minimal adjustment.

Of course, most ARs are 5.56×45, so when looking at swapping to a 7.62×39 upper, that’s the comparison we’re looking at…

7.62×39 vs 5.56×45: By the Numbers

 7.62x39mm5.56x45mm NATO
Bullet Diameter:.312”.224”
Case Length:1.524”1.760”
Max Pressure:45,010psi55,114psi
Average Muzzle Velocity:~2400fps~3000fps
Bullet Weight:120-125gr55-77gr

What Does This All Mean?

So, here’s the takeaway from the bare-bones look at the specs.

  • 7.62×39 bullets are bigger
  • 5.56×45 bullets are faster
  • The cartridges are overall about the same size
  • The 7.62×39 can load a bigger powder charge, but the 5.56×45 can be loaded to higher pressure.

So, what’s that actually mean?

Well, from a practical standpoint, the 7.62×39 round carries more energy into its target inside 300-meters or so. But outside of that, energy falls off and the heavy round drops quickly.

7.62x39mm
7.62x39mm

The 5.56 meanwhile is not as good on the stopping power front at close ranges. Having a lighter bullet it moves quite a bit faster, so after about 300-yards or so, you’ll get more energy out of it than the 7.62×39.

Let’s break that down further.

If you’re hunting anything up to medium game inside of 300-yards, you’ll want the 7.62×39.

Dragging Deer Hunting
You can take deer with the 7.62.

It carries more energy and is plenty accurate at those ranges. If you’re going after smaller game, or are looking to make shots at 400+ yards, the extra accuracy, and velocity of the 5.56×45 is going to be fine.

No need to invest in a new upper if that’s the case.

5.56

Unless you want to be a little more flexible and take advantage of the super cheap 7.62×39 ammo that is…

Now, if you’re looking for something with a little more close-up power, or you just want something else to add to the collection, you might want to snag a new 7.62×39 upper for your rifle, or just build a 7.62×39 rifle from the ground up.

(Photo: BarnauL)

If that sounds like something you want to do, here’s what we recommend for your new East-meets-West rifle!

Best 7.62×39 AR-15 Uppers & Rifles

1. Palmetto State Armory KS-47

All of the options before were great options, but the best of the batch might be the PSA KS-47.

Delivering a complete rifle for a fraction of the cost that the CMMG runs…the PSA KS-47 is also outstandingly accurate.

PSA KS47 with EOTech
PSA KS47 with EOTech

Shooting roughly 2.5 MOA, the KS-47 delivered perfect function and reliability. Impressive for a gun that runs about the price of most decent standard AR-15s.

Another perk is that PSA offers it in several configurations, including a braced pistol version with a 10.5-inch barrel!

The only downside is the lack of last-round bolt hold open (thanks AK mags).

If you want a complete rifle option, you can’t go wrong with PSA!

BEST BANG-FOR-THE-BUCK 7.62x39 AR Rifle
700
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

See our full written review for even more details and a video below!

What’s your take on the KS47? Let us know by leaving a rating below.

Readers' Ratings

2.46/5 (532)

Your Rating?

2. Palmetto State Armory PA47 16″ 7.62X39 Complete Upper

If you’re looking for a firearm that’s basic, but functional, PSA has you covered with an A2-style upper in 7.62×39.

The barrel is a 16-inch chrome moly vanadium piece with a 1:10 twist, and it’s set up for a carbine-length gas system. PSA’s PA47’s barrel is a combination front sight base/gas block and is capped off with an A2-style flash hider.

PSA PA47
PSA PA47

The upper itself is forged 7075-T6 aluminum and then finished with a hard-anodized coating to keep it free of scratches and rust.

I’d call this upper the way to go if you’re looking for a basic 7.62×39 upper that is more about function than form. It’s finished well and machined precisely, but it’s pretty plain Jane and doesn’t offer much in the way of customization options by default.

Best Budget 7.62x39 AR-15 Upper
230
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Palmetto State Armory AR47 16″ MID-LENGTH 7.62X39

What if “adequate” doesn’t quite get the job done though? Would if you need those flashlights, lasers, foregrips, PEQ boxes, and coffee grinders? What if you just plain hate the A2 stylings the upper above?

Well, PSA has still got you covered.

PSA AR47
PSA AR47

Their AR-47 16-inch is an M-LOK railed version of the PA47, and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade over the base model.

You get a mid-length gas system and a low-profile gas block to accommodate the free-floating, 13.5-inch inch PSA lightened M-LOK rail. And there are M-LOK cuts at the 3, 6, and 9 positions and a full-length rail up top. The rail also features QD mounts for a sling if you so desire.

I love the customization options, and PSA has put some serious thought into this upper, from manufacturing to distribution.

380
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Radical Firearms 7.62×39 HBAR Radical Upper Receiver

If you’re looking for something a little different that’s maybe a step up from the PSA stuff, the Radical Firearms HBAR upper may be the way to go.

The HBAR-profile barrel is fitted with M4 feed ramps and is rifled at a faster 1:8 twist to get more accuracy out of heavier bullets.

Radical Upper and Aero Bolt
Author’s 5.56 NATO Radical Upper (BCG and Charging Handle not included.)

It comes with a flat-top Keymod rail that will do just as well as the M-Lok stuff when it comes to supporting your favorite attachments and optics.

However, this upper doesn’t come with a BCG or charging handle – so take that into account when you budget it. You’ll want to get a dedicated 7.62×39 BCG and any standard AR-15 charging handle.

5. CMMG Mk47

If you’re looking for a complete rifle option, the CMMG Mk47 series has you covered. From full-length models to pistols, the Mk47 offers plenty of options when it comes to complete builds.

Using the AR standard direct impingement gas system and AK magazines, the series truly is just a combination of an AK-47 and AR-15.

CMMG Banshee MK47
CMMG Banshee MK47

Best of all it is made to CMMG’s exacting standards for quality.

While the 7.62x39mm round is not a marksman cartridge, you can count on the CMMG rifle that fires it to be as close as can be to giving you maximum precision.

1425
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check out our full review on the CMMG Mk47 Banshee or watch the video below.

6. Faxon ARAK-21

The Faxon ARAK-21 complete upper option comes in a piston flavor…complete with gas adjustment so you’re ready for whatever kind of ammo you might be shooting.

Faxon ARAK-21
Faxon ARAK-21

It’s built a bit different from a standard AR-15 upper so some parts aren’t interchangeable. BUT…it does work on a regular lower.

It’s a little heavy with integral quadrails but if you want to go piston like the AK…the ARAK-21 might be for you.

Best 7.62x39 AR/AK Hybrid
1200
at Faxon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

If you’re interested in 7.62×39 and you already have an AR-15, you’ll be pleased to know there are some great uppers out there that will allow you to take advantage of this legendary caliber’s benefits without building a whole new gun.

Pew Pew Upgraded AR-15s
ARs are like Legos for adults…build what you want!

That said, if you want to build a whole new gun in 7.62×39 and don’t want to build an AK, then you can just build a whole AR from the ground up.

Whatever you decide to do, these uppers won’t let you down.

Got another one I should add to the list? Think this whole thing is blasphemous and an insult to both Stoner and Kalashnikov? Or how about check out the Best AR-15s and Best AK-47s?

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25 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Justin Geel

    "Want to combine the accuracy of an AR-15 with the power of an AK-47’s 7.62×39 round?"

    Learn to handload 300 AAC.

    Problem solved.

    October 12, 2021 8:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    AR7.62

    You forgot an important one for AR uppers or complete rifles in 7.62x39.
    The PWS MK1 Mod 1 and Mod2. AR upper in 7.62x39 which uses a long stroke piston just like the AK. It shoots flawlessly with C- Products 7.62x39 magazines and runs great with suppressors.

    October 12, 2021 4:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      CTT

      Not shocked that PPT left PWS off this list, but I agree wholeheartedly. I own many PWS rifles of all flavors and calibers. Each is equally reliable and incredibly well made. Duramags from Cproducts work perfectly and are easy to find.

      October 13, 2021 10:13 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Connor Haughton

    "The big advantage it has over the PSA uppers is the piston-drive gas system that runs a heck of a lot cleaner than the direct impingement PSA system."

    This is inaccurate, Radical uppers are DI not piston operated.
    Otherwise mostly helpful info, thank you.

    January 9, 2021 9:21 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Logan Pearson

    In my experience, shooting surplus Russian 7.62x39 ammo in a custom-built AR pattern rifle causes a few issues that necessitate a dedicated lower.

    For one, the Russian primers are harder. If you put an aftermarket trigger group in your lower and it has a pull weight of 3lbs, you are bound to find lots of light primer strikes. Stick with a trigger that's at least 5 lbs, or one like delivers a primer strike heavier than the trigger pull, like the Hyperfire. 9mm AR pattern rifles have this same issue.

    Second, depending on the gas tube length and gas block (adjustable vs non-adjustable) on your upper, you may find the buffer weight that works when paired to your .223/5.56 upper does not work as reliably with the 7.62x39 upper. Don't be surprised if you end up buying a different weight buffer later on.

    If you don't buy a complete factory-made AR47 and you decide to build one yourself, it'll require more tuning than an AR15 would, and for this reason it'll be less compatible with the lower you use on your .223/5.56.

    Don't go too long on the gas tube length, 7.62x39 has a lower chamber pressure than .223/5.56. I think the best bet would be to buy an H2 buffer, carbine-length gas system, and especially an adjustable gas block. An adjustable gas block can prevent you from throwing away components and having to buy new ones later, can help to reduce recoil, and can help reduce wear-and-tear from having an overgassed upper. Furthermore, since Russian ammo is dirtier, having less gas blowing back into the receiver is a plus.

    September 19, 2020 10:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    P5ways

    Not seeing that the Radical Arms upper is piston. All say DI.

    I'm looking for an AR upper, piston, in 7.62 but not finding any.

    So much 7.62 ammo available... all uppers sold out!

    August 20, 2020 5:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chris M

      Check out black rifle arms. They also make what I call an essential enhanced firing pin for 7.62x39.

      June 13, 2021 8:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis

    Is there any way you could comment on the Maxim Defense 7.62x39 PDX, ie. quality reliability?
    They also sell the uppers separately.

    May 27, 2020 2:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Henson

    The PSA 762x39 uppers will not work with a regular AR15 lower as per PSA in the description on the uppers page.

    April 22, 2019 11:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Graywulf

      Will this upper work with a 2.23 and 5.56 lower? Same idea as a 300 black out upper to 5.56 lower. Magazine too? What would I need if I bought it?
      Noah R on Apr 24, 2018
      BEST ANSWER: Yes need to buy different magazines. C mag works GREAT

      January 1, 2020 8:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ted

    What brand is the Magazine in the video and most of the photos?

    April 7, 2019 9:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert Bosco

    Thank you for such an informative column…

    March 2, 2019 10:03 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Donald Hohman

    Do 7.62x39 mags fit the AR .223 magazine well?

    December 23, 2018 4:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Yes, just make sure you get AR-15 magazines designed for 7.62x39. I saw a guy show up to the range once with AK magazines because they were the right caliber...he made a long drive and felt very foolish.

      December 23, 2018 6:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Nick the Red beard

      Yes, try c-products for the best ones. 10, 20 & 30 shop around for price and availablelity .ammoseek is your friend. Wear ear protection, the ringing makes you miserable. STruth. Semper Fi

      January 12, 2019 10:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tyler ME

    I'm pretty dang happy with the basic BCA complete upper (~$180) I fitted to a DPMS lower a couple years ago. It's been reliable and accurate for me right out the gate and to this day. Just shows you dont have to spend a lot to have some fun with this cartridge!

    December 20, 2018 4:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David, PPT Editor

    Thanks for the info! We've tested a gen 2 KS47 and will have a review of it out soon-ish!

    December 17, 2018 12:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jay Si

    M&M 10x elite

    December 17, 2018 5:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Carl Miles

    What hell were you thinking when you wrote this? Did you do your research? You didn’t even mention the PWS uppers and complete rifles as an option for 7.62x39 in a reliable, premium AR platform. They are way better than any of the other guns and uppers you just mentioned and their propietary long stoke piston design is the only one that actually operates just like an AK does. You really need to go back and research the PWS 7.62x39 offerings and then amend this article to accurately reflect what AR options chambered in 7.62x39 are readily available to consumers and what’s superior in terms of quality, function, and reliability or else you sacrifice credibility. Kind of hard to take someone serious when they’ve proven their lack of knowledge on a subject they’re attempting to educate others on. No disrespect meant here, I just feel like constructive feedback can lead to improvement.

    December 16, 2018 11:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Thanks Carl! We definitely love PWS (already reviewed their 16" and I'm finishing up their 7"). Will try to get one of their 7.62x39 uppers in hand.

      December 17, 2018 11:48 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Shepherd of Fire

      And get someone to proofread and grammar check your articles. Please, Pew Pew. You are better than this!
      Oh, and Carl, do notice the fin grips and mag lock, they are in California. Kinda hard to to do an honest, full review on new stuff that would apply to all of the Free States when the State has stymied our access to most of the latest and greatest.

      December 17, 2018 1:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tinnerman

    I really like the Hardened Arms for this. It’s super reliable. The feed ramps are great. Good quality and there staff is awesome and no I don’t work for them I just like there quality.

    December 16, 2018 9:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike Bolton

    I bought a 7.62x39 upper from Pro 2A Tactical. It is a Gibbz Non recipricating, left side charging system, I am running it on a Rock River Arms LAR 47 lower. I just had to do minor releaving to the upper, so I can run the AK mags. I love how it runs, and the rifle manipulation is much more natural, and keeps you on target.
    I plan on buying another of their same uppers, and doing a piston conversion, making what I think, the perfect blend of AK/AR rifle.
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND CHECKING THEM OUT!

    December 16, 2018 8:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Russell Smith

    I don’t want to brag but I would like to show you the 7.62x39 I am building.

    December 16, 2018 5:33 pm