Wilson Combat: AR-10 Performance From an AR-15 Platform

“The 7.62×40 has no business performing as well as it does, but it does.” That quote from Bill Wilson, founder of Wilson Combat pretty much sums up lethal force of the new 7.62×40 Wilson Tactical round. “This project began when I started tinkering with the .300 Blackout cartridge. I wanted to get more out of the round than the factory ammo could give.” Wilson continued. “I was working in my reloading room and put together a .30 caliber round using a .223 Remington case. It occurred to me that this idea was so simple that surely someone else had already done it.”

Bill did some research and found that a man named Kurt Buchert had previously worked up a similar load and posted his finding on AR15.com. Mr. Wilson contacted Kurt and discussed the idea of mass producing the load for the standard AR-15 platform rifle. Kurt gave his blessing and the rest is now black rifle history. As these words are written Wilson Combat has a full line of 7.62x40WT rifles, ammunition, and accessories to include reloading die sets. Why “WT” instead of WC for Wilson Combat? Bill explained that to avoid confusion they went with Wilson Tactical (WT) since WC would be too close to Winchester Cartridge.

With the introduction of the 6.8SPC, the .300 AAC Blackout and, of course, the original .300 Whisper, the American shooter has a strong interest in larger caliber AR rifles. The AR-10 platform is a long and heavy gun. For long distance, prone or supported shooting the AR-10 can be a solid choice, but most guys would rather have a light, more compact gun for the field. The truth of the matter is that, despite initial designs built with the U.S Military in mind, it was the American hunter who kept the .30 caliber AR alive and made it a reality.

Through his testing Bill found that the best cartridge case to build the 7.62×40 was Lake City 5.56mm. The quality of Lake City brass is renown in the shooting community. Again, as I put pen to paper factory new brass cases with the “WT” head stamp are in the works.

As for feeding the rifles, the 7.62×40 will feed from standard AR magazines to a point. The large, heavier projectiles cause feeding issues if the magazine is topped off completely. To remedy this situation, Wilson Combat slightly modifies Lancer L5 magazines and marks them “7.62x40WT”.

As for projectiles, numerous .30 caliber weights and designs will work with this new round. However, the best performance thus far seems to come from the Barnes TTSX 110 grain bullet. I don’t need to sell experienced readers on the lethality and top-shelf performance of the pure copper Barnes triple-shock bullets.

Field Testing

For the last year or so Bill has been testing the new cartridge on some of the toughest North American game; feral hogs. Any bullet will kill a hog, eventually. Poke a hole in them and they’ll bleed to death as some point. However, murder is not the goal of hunting. The goal is to drop them in their tracks. To achieve that goal you need a combination of correct shot placement and a bullet that will reliably penetrate the tough skin and muscle of the nastiest boar hogs. Traditional ballistic-tipped bullets have a tendency to produce a surface wound but fail to penetrate deeply. Harder bullets will zip though the animal performing like FMJ.

Wilson Combat 7.62x40 Ammo Box

Wilson Combat 7.62×40

To date Mr. Wilson has put down over eighty full-sized boar hogs with the 7.62x40WT loaded with Barnes bullets. When I visited his shop in Texas I was able to examine three recovered projectiles that had passed through a 200 pound boar. These copper bullets expanded near perfectly and looked like they could be from a Barnes catalog photo.

Seeing is Believing

During a visit to the Circle WC ranch in N.E. Texas I had the chance to hunt hogs with a Wilson Combat rifle chambered in 7.62x40WT with the 110g. TTSX bullet. My first shot on a boar was just a bit too far back. The bullet impacted at shoulder crease on the back of the front right leg. The hog bolted but fell dead twenty-five yards from where he was struck.

Ashamed that he hog had gone so far I decided to tighten up my game. The next two boars fell on the spot. I stalked up to the hog several hundred yards and took the shot off of a set of shooting sticks. Distance to target was around 130 yards or so. The rifle was equipped with a new Wilson suppressor. The impact sound of the bullet in the hog flesh was easily heard by the crew watching through binoculars five hundred yards away.

This big brown and black bruiser dropped immediately and didn’t move an inch farther. The bullet struck in front of his left shoulder and put him down for the count. To make the long story shorter, I am a true believer in the 7.62x40WT. Detailing information about the 7.62x40WT rifles, dedicated upper receivers, ammunition and reloading accessories can be found here.

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Paul Markel

Founder & President at Student of the Gun
Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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  1. Matt Carman

    Sounds like a good hunting round. How is the recoil? Are rapid follow up shots realistic? At what range does the round start to lose accuracy/power? I realize this stuff might not have been tested yet, and may not even be what the round was designed for. Call it a student’s pure, academic curiosity.

  2. Jeff O.

    I’m still looking for an elk round. .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM, .50 Beowulf are all rare as hen’s teeth, both for uppers and ammo. You’re right on the AR-10 – it’s just too heavy to go packing around the mountains, but I’d like to get at least into 30-30 territory or a bit more. Anyone have any ideas?

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