Best 7.62×39 AR-15 Uppers & Complete Rifles

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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

Let’s start with why 7.62×39 is awesome before diving into the best uppers and complete rifles out there.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Editor’s Pick

    CMMG Banshee MK47

    CMMG was the first to make a lower that accepted AK-47 mags instead of AR-47 mags, and simply put, they did it right the first time. The quality, accuracy, and reliability makes this our top pick.

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 to 125-grain, with some 150-grain stuff available if you’re willing to really look for it.

5.56 vs 7.62x39mm
5.56x45mm vs. 7.62x39mm

This puts it nearly on par with the modern .300 Blackout round. Indeed the .300BLK was designed to mimic the performance of the 7.62x39mm round in many 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

  7.62x39mm 5.56x45mm NATO
Bullet Diameter: .312” .224”
Case Length: 1.524” 1.760”
Max Pressure: 45,010psi 55,114psi
Average Muzzle Velocity: ~2400fps ~3000fps
Bullet Weight: 120-125gr 55-77gr

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?

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

7.62x39mm
7.62x39mm

The 5.56×45, meanwhile, is not as good on the stopping power front at close ranges. However, its lighter bullet 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 will help.

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

5.56x45mm NATO

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 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 Gen2 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 KS-47 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.

The KS-47 uses standard AK-47 magazines rather than the steeply curved magazines meant for standard AR-15 lowers. Having a lower that accepts AK magazines helps ensure better feeding and reliability with the 7.62×39 round.

Another perk is that PSA offers it in several configurations, including a braced pistol version with a 10.5-inch barrel! The only major downside is the lack of last-round bolt hold open (thanks, AK mags).

Best Complete Budget Rifle

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

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

What’s your take on the KS-47? Let us know by leaving a rating below.

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 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.

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

What if “adequate” doesn’t quite get the job done, though? What if you need those flashlights, lasers, foregrips, PEQ boxes, and coffee grinders? What if you just 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 lightened M-LOK rail. It sports 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.

4. Radical Firearms 7.62×39 HBAR Radical Upper Receiver

If you’re looking for something a little different, 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 from heavier bullets.

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

It is available with M-LOK, Keymod, or Picatinny Quad Rails, so you can pick your poison here when it comes to mounting accessories.

However, this upper doesn’t come with a BCG or charging handle — so take that into account when budgeting. 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 CMMG to deliver a rifle that will help maximize your precision.

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 bit heavy with integral quad rails, but if you want to go with a piston system like the AK…the ARAK-21 might be for you.

Final Thoughts

If you’re interested in 7.62×39 and 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 an entire 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? Do you think this whole thing is blasphemous and an insult to both Stoner and Kalashnikov? And don’t forget to check out the Best AR-15s and Best AK-47s!



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