Hunting with 7.62 x 39

Discussion in 'Ammo' started by gunsmoker, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,059
    62
    48
    what do y’all think of the 7.62 x 39mm as a big game hunting round? Assume it’s loaded with an expanding bullet, either a ballistic tip style, a traditional soft-point, or a true hollow point made to expand, not just balance better or get classified as “sporting” for importation or tax law reasons?

    While we are at it, let’s also consider the very similar .300 Blackout (supersonic loads), tossing a 110 grain bullet at 2200 f.p.s.

    A recent article in Guns & Ammo magazine said the RugerAmerican Ranch rifle (bolt action, 16” bbl., 1 m.o.a. accuracy, 7.62 x 39 mm) was good for hunting “ANY ANIMAL IN THE LOWER 48 STATES.”

    What do you think?
     
  2. Mrs_Esterhouse

    Mrs_Esterhouse Swollen Member

    10,686
    67
    48
    I would say any animal in the lower 48 at 100yds or less with something like a Barnes bullet.
     

  3. ed4

    ed4 Active Member

    1,146
    1
    38
    Deer, sure either caliber, hogs, why not? But deer is the biggest I'd try, the power levels of either caliber is close to that of the old .30-30.
     
  4. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

    2,971
    38
    48
    I was going to say use it like a 30-30 as the ballistics are very similar.
     
  5. Wheedle

    Wheedle Member

    553
    6
    18
    I know plenty of southeastern and eastern deer and hogs have been taken with it. Personally I'd keep it inside 100yds, no dangerous game, and nothing bigger than a whitetail.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,059
    62
    48
    I'll go along with a 123-grain .310 bullet at 2300 f.p.s. being in the same class as the .30-30 Winchester.

    That being said, is a .30-30 Winchester really a round that is good for reliably and humanely taking any game animal in the lower 48 states? I didn't think so, not if you're hunting ethically and trying your best to minimize the animal's suffering.

    Deer, sure.
    Black bear? Yep, those too.
    Elk? If you can get within 100 or 150 yards, go for it!
    Moose? Hmmm.... I say "no" even though I'm sure plenty of moose have been taken by close-range shots from .30-30s with light (150 gr.) soft-point bullets.
    Brown bear or grizzlies? Hell to the No !
     
    Motopackin likes this.
  7. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

    2,971
    38
    48
    Wasn't it legacy38 that used a .30-30 as a patrol rifle
     
    AtlPhilip likes this.
  8. zetor

    zetor Active Member

    2,085
    10
    38
    I think it's a poor choice. I don't know why anyone would buy it considering other rifles with superior chamberings are available at the same or lower price.
    I say no to moose with the 7.62x39.
    Aren't patrol rifles for defense against 2 legged animals weighing 150-250 pounds?
     
  9. GAfirearmsReference

    GAfirearmsReference Weapons Law Booklet

    921
    8
    18
    I suppose in Watkinsville a .30-30 patrol rifle might be used to put down a renegade cow or steer that goes crazy, or got hit by a car and needs to be put out of its misery....
     
  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    62,833
    135
    63
    My best friend from childhood in Oregon has taken seven (7) elk with a .243.

    Roosevelt Elk, too (relevant because they are bigger than Rocky Mountain Elk).
     
  11. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

    2,971
    38
    48
    I have heard people say a .243 is the smallest thing you can use for a white tail. I would be willing to bet a .30-30 has killed many thousand elk and moose in the US and Canada sense 1895 when it was made.
     
  12. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,059
    62
    48
    a 243 round has 3000 f.p.s. muzzle velocity with big-game bullets, and almost 4000 as a varmint round loaded with 50-grain loads. It's SAAMI rated for 60,000 psi chamber pressure, as contrasted with 40,000 for the .30-30. Since velocity is what gives rifle bullets most of their hydrostatic shock in living tissue, I'm not suprised that the .243 makes for a good big-game round.
     
  13. zetor

    zetor Active Member

    2,085
    10
    38
    Not even in the same league as a .243
    No bet to it. I think that's pretty much fact. Deer and elk were more plentiful and shooting them was more out of necessity and less regulated than today. Before that, high wall black powder rifles ruled for big game on the plains. There have been advances in chamberings since then though. A 7.62x39 chambered rifle is a ridiculous choice as a sporting hunting rifle considering the other options available at a similar cost. As a survival rifle and that big tub of steel cased ammo one bought for as cheap as he could...........ok it will work
     
  14. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,059
    62
    48
    Even as a survival rifle, I'm going to have some soft-point ammo in that caliber.
    When you're on the verge of starvation, it's a bad time to wound a deer or hog and have that animal go 2 miles away, perhaps leaving a minimal blood trail, before it finally passes out and dies. I may not carry a different caliber gun just for hunting, but I sure could keep one of my magazines loaded with soft-points or ballistic-tips for that purpose.
     
  15. Archangel

    Archangel Moderator Staff Member

    6,908
    10
    38
    I've taken several large Wisconsin Whitetail Deer in northern Wisconsin when I lived up there.
    16" barrelled Colt 7.62x39 upper on a Bushmaster lower. Boom! Dead. 123gr softpoints if I recall. Sold the upper to a member here some years back.

    I've never been a big fan / advocate of the .300 Blackout. Ammo availability and pricing versus the 7.62x39 is the main reason. The only advantage I can see is the fact that you can run it in standard AR-15 magazines. Other than that... Meh.

    If you are patient and pick your shot I'd say that is an accurate statement. It is "about" the same power level as the 30-30 Winchester and that was used back in the day to kill every large game critter in the country. Many folks today are WAY overgunned for game animals. They don't seem to be happy unless they can see the hole through the poor critter when they shoot it.

    Just one guy's opinion.
     
  16. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,059
    62
    48
    The 7.62 x 39 would land a 123 grain bullet into a 250-yard distance deer at an impact velocity of about 1600 f.p.s., and about 700 foot/lbs energy.

    http://gundata.org/ballistic-calculator/

    That's about what a .357 magnum revolver would do with a 125 gr. bullet, fired from a decent length (maybe 6" or 8") barrel, but at POINT BLANK range.

    So the rifle does at 250 yards what the .357 revolver does at arms' length.

    Okay.

    So, does the .357 mag with 125-grain jacketed soft-point loads kill any game animal in the lower 48 states, reliably and humanely, if you get to shoot it from spitting distance?

    Just food for thought.
     
  17. Archangel

    Archangel Moderator Staff Member

    6,908
    10
    38
    I can't speak to the 125 grain bullet but I have taken 4 whitetails with .357 magnum revolvers loaded with 158 grain semi-jacketed soft points. Both had 6 inch barrels. 1 with a S&W 586 and 3 with a Colt Python. All of them were within 30 yards or closer with the closest being maybe 15 feet off the end of the barrel, straight down from a tree stand. Walked almost right under me.

    I was VERY picky taking all of them. I had a rifle on me but always carried the handgun in case a shot presented itself. I also carried the occasional 44 magnum, but no deer ever cooperated when I toted that caliber. LOL
     
  18. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    62,833
    135
    63
    I use a .45-70 for deer today, but with smokeless powder. It works well.
     
  19. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

    2,971
    38
    48
    Are you scared of the black stuff. When I get my .45-70 it will take the black powder and like it.
     
  20. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

    7,164
    57
    48
    Some would think he is a racist from comments like that. Do we need to keep an eye on him?

    Nemo