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Question by Stephen08. Uploaded on October 13, 2010
I consider the cartridge a little light for deer as a factory load, and I'd recommend the .30-30 as an option, but I know a hunter who handloads for his bolt action 7.62x39mm and his experience counters my opinion. However, he is an experienced hunter who places his bullets well.
I'm a big fan of the 30-30 Winchester and I feel that this is as light as most hunters should go. The 7.62x39 doesn't measure up to the 30-30 in my opinion. I agree with Ed that the right hunter with a good rifle and good hand loads would probably be alright.
If you hit one where it counts, it'll put 'em down. If handloads aren't working for you, Hornady can help. They are coming out with a steel-cased round with a 123 gr. V-Max bullet. According to what Fortier wrote about it, it has a muzzle velocity of around 2390 fps, muzzle energy of 1559 ft-lbs, and 924 ft-lbs at 200 yards. That puts it, just under the venerable 30-30. I do not know how the V-max works on deer; you'll have to ask someone about that. If you keep it under 200 yards and hit right, the round will give you all you need.
A 123 Grain V-Max might be the worst .30 caliber bullet for deer I can think of. I don't think any bullet from a 7.62x39 is a good deer bullet at 200 yards, either. With a proven deer bullet it's an OK 100 yard cartridge. Agreed that a .30-30 is better, and about the same cost per round.
We have some old boys that use the 7.62x39 on deer and every thing that moves in the swamp, "its there only gun" one is a ranch rifle,other two are sks rifles
we sell them the Winchester ammo 125gr PSP, most of the shots are under 75YD, Some time you have to use what you got to Eat, Times are real HARD down here.
Shane is right, the V-Max bullet is designed for rapid expansion on varmits, not for deer hunting. Also, steel cased ammunition could damage the chamber of your rifle. In my opinion, I'd go with another caliber.
I had a Ruger Mini 30. Not accurate enough for varmints and the lone deer I took with it, despite handloads, moved me to move it to a new home. Granted, it will kill deer, but so will a .22LR and we don't consider it to be a deer cartridge.
Within 100 yards, you have enough energy to kill a whitetail deer effectively as long as it is some kind of pointed soft point.
I would not discourage the use of it for youth, or people that have had shoulder surgery. If you do not apply to those two groups, then you should really up the ante and go with a more powerful cartridge.
When I was growing up in the 'sticks', I knew alot of folks who hunted with SKS's. I did not envy them, but they did kill deer with it. I'd say, if you're in a pinch, and it's all you've got, then use it. It beats NOT going hunting. If you have options, then don't make it your first choice. The SKS I owned briefly was a blast to shoot, but was not very accurate at all, so I sold it. Don't know what rifle you're planning on using, but definitely plan on keeping the shots close if you settle on that caliber.
The 7.62x39 is a little low on power compared to the 30-30 but not a lot if the right bullet is used. The standard Com block bullet has been 123 grain offering. Many manufacturers make it in FMJ, JHP, and some in soft point. Forget them for hunting. Wolf offers the 7.62x39 in a 154 grain soft point. I have fired a few in water soaked newspaper, poor man's ballistic gel, and it has shown effective expansion. Much better than the JHPs in 123 grain. I have not had any functional problems in my Rossi single shot or 2 Saigas. I do not have any functional experience with the round in an SKS, Ruger Mini 30, or AR in 7.62x39. Cabela's also offers the 154 grain SP in their Herter's brand ammo which is made for them by Wolf. Good hunting.
if a 30-30 is a good deer round, then so is the7.62x39. i know bullet energy aint a good way to judge killing power, but the 7.62 has more energy at 200 yards than the 30-30 because it shoots pointed bullets that retain their velocity better. ive seen my son drop two deer at close to 200 yards, with his 18.5 in marlin 30-30. one may have been a little farther. both broad side shots, both had exit wounds, both were recovered in less than 50 yards. bullet performance seemed to be as good at this distance as it was at closer ranges. ive killed several deer with a 41 mag. revolver. range has been between 25, and 80 yards. it has always done a good job, and is not near as powerful as the 7.62. pick the right bullet, make a good shot, and keep the range under 200 yards and you will be good. of course ive seen hunters buy a 300 ultra mag. because they missed a deer at 150 yards with their 308. as if that will help poor shooting.
I guess it really depends on the type of country you're hunting. In my neck of the woods we take black tail deer at close range in the brush, where a carbine is essential. Most guys take a marlin or some type of short barreled lever action in 30-30 after them. I would not hesitate to take an SKS or AK-47 variant (with a 5 round mag) after the elusive black tail deer in close quarters. I would not go after mulies in the wide open high desert with anything less than a 308.
The 7.62x39MM will obviously work as a deer rifle within a decent range. In a modern bolt action (like the Savage or CZ rifles that chamber it), it will be very accurate. Premium factory ammo or handloads (especially) with good bullet construction for deer (not varmint bullets or FMJ) are a must. The 7.62x39MM has significantly more energy than a .44 magnum in a rifle or revolver. It has nearly the energy as a .243 winchester (which with a decent shot will usually drop a deer in its tracks). The 7.62x39MM has nearly equal momentum to the .243 and a larger bullet diameter. Within 200 yards, you will be fine IF you can shoot relatively well. Many people in hunting circles try to out humane or out macho each other, and this is why you see so many people thinking deer are tougher than they are and you need at least a .270 win to kill them reliably. You end up with a bunch of people (and shot deer) that are worse off because they have a 7mm mag that they are afraid of and can't shoot well. My go to deer rifle is a 25-06 and it kills deer like lightning strikes.
There is nothing wrong with shooting deer with 7.62x39 ammo. Most deer are taken at 100 yards or less and there is plenty of power to do the job. If you can't hit with your rifle you shouldn't be hunting. Deer don't require magnum cartridges. Deer don't require cannons. The cartridge kills deer effectively if used within its parameters; just like anything else. Hunt smart. Hunt right. Hunt reasonably. Or don't hunt at all. This is a great cartridge. Don't try to make it perform past its limits.
I have effectively hunted with 7.62x39 AR platform. In Texas Hill country most shots are less than 100yds. At this range each deer I have shot with ZombieMax rounds fell where they were shot. Effective round.
I have hunted deer from North Carolina to Maine with my sks shooting 154 soft point "junk ammo" as some folks call it.I am also a bow hunter so I understand limitations I couldn't begin to tell you how many deer I have taken with the sks and have had no issues. the shooter has way more to do with hunting than the gun. the ammo is so cheap that you can go shoot a few hundred rounds for $50 and with that type of experiance you should have no issue hitting the vitals.Most deer here in maine are shot at less than 100 yards and at that range the sks is deadly.don't let anyone tell you any different you can study all the charts you want and read all the books but unless I'm in the stand looking over a blueberry field with the bolt action 30.06 I'm hunting with the good old sks.
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