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The 7.62×39mm (aka 7.62 Soviet) round is a rimless bottlenecked intermediate cartridge of Soviet origin that was designed during World War II. Due to the worldwide proliferation of RPD and RPK light machine guns and SKS and AK-47 pattern rifles, the cartridge is used by both militaries and civilians alike. 7.62×39mm ammunition is purportedly tested to function well in temperatures ranging from −50 to 50 °C (−58 to 122 °F) cementing its usefulness in cold polar or hot desert conditions.
It is commonly believed that the 7.62×39mm cartridge was influenced by a variety of foreign developments, including the German STG-44, though this has been debated.
Shortly after World War II, the world's most widespread military-pattern rifle was designed for this cartridge: the AK-47. The cartridge remained the Soviet standard until the 1970s. It was largely replaced in Russian service by the 5.45×39mm cartridge, which is used by the current-issue AK-74M service rifle and its variants. In the 21st century the 7.62×39mm remains a common service rifle chambering, including for newly developed rifles.

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