Effective Range Of An Ak 47/ 7.62x39


October 8, 2005, 10:56 PM
How Many Yards Is The Ak Good For, Ammo??

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October 8, 2005, 11:03 PM
The ammo is probably good for about 200 yards. My AK and I are only good for about 100 yards.

Don't Tread On Me
October 8, 2005, 11:15 PM
Well, that all depends on what "effective" means to you.

A 124gr projectile doing 900fps is going to do quite a number on someone. Even at 750fps. Now, just use a ballistics calculator to find out how far an x39 has to go before it drops to that speed.

October 9, 2005, 12:39 AM
The Russians considered the effective range to be 400 meters.

Whether the typical AK-47 would be capable of sufficient accuracy to hit a man at that range is debatable, as is the ability of the shooter to do so considering the AK's sights and trigger.

October 9, 2005, 02:02 AM
Arsenal AK with decent 0 magnification glass here.

I think I could hit someone in the torso out to 300 yards. My gun is barely capable of nailing bowling pins at 100m with a hot barrel and high crosswinds. Even so, a bowling pin is barely head-sized, so this isnt really too bad.

I wouldnt want to be hit by an AK round at any range. The bullet maintains a fairly beefy amount of velocity even out to 500+ yards (1000+ fps). The main shortcomings of the AK and its cartridge are the accuracy, trajectory and sights. But if you can hit someone, they will go down. Especially if youre using expanding ammo.

If 6.8SPC ever becomes available in bulk (and in non-custom guns) I might switch over to that, but I think that is a long way off. Having to pay an enormous premium for a 6.8 chambered gun and pay 20-30 bucks for a box of ammo that would cost 1.50-2.00 in 7.62x39 just doesnt seem worth the extra 200 yards in theoretical effective range. For that kind of money, I can feed my bolt action and reach to 800+ yards. Also, to hell with the stoner action. I would rather miss 10 times at 500 yards than jam once at 20.

October 9, 2005, 02:15 AM
A .311 caliber rifle bullet is going to be fairly effective even at moderate velocity. Remember that the bullet has twice the mass of the lesser caliber rounds so it isn't as dependent on velocity and fragmentation to be effective. I would certainly think it would be dangerous out to 300 or 400 meters or more. With my WASR, I know I can put rounds center of mass out to at least 200 yards with the Mojo ghost rings and Wolf ammo. If I could prone out and had the time to aim and initiate contact, I could make life very difficult probably to twice that range.

Thin Black Line
October 9, 2005, 03:22 AM
An AK bullet hitting you at 400 yds is going to ruin your day --same at
600 yds. However, effective use of iron sights on the rifle itself will
limit you in real world conditions to about 200 yds. The SKS will do
better out to 300 yds. Adding a scope helps a little, but the round
just isn't very good past 300 yds.

The AK is really designed for <200 yds used in mass volume with other
soldiers on the assault.

October 9, 2005, 06:56 AM
A buddy of mine and I used to clang his 3' circular steel plate with boring regularity at 600m with a box stock AK and cheap ammo.

Theory be damned... Don't expose yourself to a fair to middlin' AK shooter intent on doing you harm at 600m. All they have to do is adjust the sights and hammer away.

You might be permanently surprized... :eek:


Cpl Punishment
October 9, 2005, 08:23 AM
The Ak is designed for 300 meter engagements. That means put the sights on center of mass, and it's accurate enough to hit somewhere on the torso. That's the accuracy standard. That's the baseline, if they don't meet that they are substandard. Naturally, that being the standard, quite a few will shoot better than that, and some will be tack drivers. That's just manufacturing tolerances working.

That round itself is a good 400 meter round for its intended purpose. Though I have read several accounts of spent bullets hitting men and stil going through-and-through. The range wasn't specified (or known) but it was long enough for the bullet to no longer be spin stabilised, so it also wasn't moving THAT fast.

The range capabilities of the AK, SKS and the ballistics of the 7.62x39mm are most often maligned because most people just don't shoot notch-and-post sights with a short sight radius all that well. Even fewer bother to zero their AKs.

October 9, 2005, 02:35 PM
I consider my Yugo SKS with 122 gr Wolf FMJ to be a 200 yd carbine on a good day; 250 on a great day. The principal limitation is not the round itself but the trigger and the sights of the weapon. Not much compared to an M1 and pitiful next to a good scoped bolt rifle; but considering the general level of marksmanship in the world today a well handled SKS is probably something to take seriously. Most rifle action has historically taken place at 150 yards and under anyway.

For that matter a #1 Mk. III .303 Lee Enfield is still pretty capable, too...mine is dated 1917.

October 9, 2005, 03:39 PM
First off - I'm a huge fan of the M43 round. Not too much, not too little - just right for most stuff that I do. Having said that, lets face facts; while making hits is certainly possible past 300 yards, the trajectory and energy figures at extended ranges aren't all that swell. It's just not designed for that.

With a 175yrd zero, you can be +-3" out to 200 yards and +-8" in drift in a 10mph crosswind; certainly good enough for most minute-of-torso work. But at 300 yards, that round will be down almost 20" and sinking fast, will have experienced almost two feet of wind drift in that 10mph crosswind, and will just about ready to transition from supersonic to subsonic flight. At 600 yards, that same bullet will be seventeen FEET below the original point of aim, will have drifted over six feet sideways in that 10mph crosswind, will be moving less than 1000fps and will have taken almost a second and a half to get there. In other words, it'll hit at 600 yards with the energy of a soft 38 Special pistol round at close range (not great, but not foamy nerfballs filled with marshmallow love, either) but the likelihood that you'll connect with a live target is greater not than so.

But inside of 200-250 yards, I think that it's just the bees knees. :D

October 9, 2005, 04:27 PM
The M43 round is no longer produced. It has been entirely superseded by the M67 projectile. If you do not beleive me, section a wolf FMJ and tell me what you see in the front half of the bullet- nothing.

All modern AK rounds yaw early and yaw often. Some even fragment. The days of "go through 3 people and tumble in the 4th" are long over.

October 9, 2005, 05:06 PM
I was using M43 in the colloquial sense, not to indicate projectile construction. The exterior ballistic performance of the round will be largely as stated regardless of the terminal ballistics performance.

October 9, 2005, 07:22 PM
you can buy poo loads of surplus m43 up here in canada. It's 160$ canadian (3.12$ US) for 1200 rounds. its czech stuff.

October 9, 2005, 07:28 PM
My effective range under field conditions is about 100 yards. That is a stock AK with stock trigger and sights using el cheapo Wolf ammo. Also that is standing or kneeling.

Give me a red dot or a scope and let me shoot off a bench or prone and you can easily double that.

A stock AR-15 is a 200-300 rifle no problem. Someone that can shoot well and you can double that as well. Better sights, better trigger and flatter shooting and more accurate. Much better for hitting what you aim at.

Dave Markowitz
October 9, 2005, 07:31 PM
The M43 round is no longer produced. It has been entirely superseded by the M67 projectile. If you do not beleive me, section a wolf FMJ and tell me what you see in the front half of the bullet- nothing.

No. The problem is that as the result of Olympic Arms chambering an AR pistol in 7.62x39, the BATF ruled that the caliber was handgun ammo, and therefore it would be illegal to import and sell ammo with a steel core. So, M43 Ball, which has a steel core, is no longer able to be imported.

IIRC, Wolf is FMJ-BT, while the Yugo M67 Ball is flatbase.

October 9, 2005, 08:13 PM
The M43 round is no longer produced. It has been entirely superseded by the M67 projectile. If you do not beleive me, section a wolf FMJ and tell me what you see in the front half of the bullet- nothing.

I use the Hornady 123gr FMJ, Lapua 123gr FMJ, or surplus 123gr FMJ imported bullets through Wideners.

Just the bee's knees for clanging 500 meter steel silhouettes with my SLR-95!
(Neither my SLR-95 nor my SAR-1 has ever had that steel-cased crap fed through it...) :D

October 9, 2005, 08:28 PM
On a fairly calm day, on a one way rifle range, from a prone position, using an SKS with Cheetah ammo, I can hit an IDPA silhouette every time at 400 yards.
That is a far cry from field condtions, but it is an indication as to what is possible. The most critical part of that shot is that I know the range to the target. The 7.62x39 is not a flat shooting cartridge and knowing the range, so that you can accurately adjust your rear sight is critical.
I am quite sure that if you were hit with the fired round at 400 yards, it would go right through you.

October 9, 2005, 10:01 PM
Standing up, with a PKAS red dot, I put all thirty in a 12" circle with the VEPR. On a rest, a six shot group measured 1/2" wide, 2 1/2" high. This at 100 yards, no wind. And I think Iwould rather have a cheap AK, with a good sight, than the reverse. OH, except that the VEPR has a stock sized for Westerners.

October 9, 2005, 10:21 PM
At 300 yards, with a Saiga sporter, cheap sling, 1" buttpad extension, firing from the low kneeling, I can keep a full magazine of 30 rounds on paper firing as quickly as I regain sight picture. I can get 15-25 of those in the black.

From the standing at 200, I can keep at least 25 rounds in the black firing in the same rapid manner. From the low kneeling, and from the bench, my dad and I have both shot sub-MOA groups. Don't misunderstand, it is NOT a sub-MOA weapon, but it is possible.

For practical purposes, it will hit a 9", (Male chest) target at 300 yards, no problem.

The Saiga is considered a "high-end" AK by some, but my Dad bought it here in Cali when they were still legal for about $300 or less. Not sure what the go for right now in the free U.S.

Gun Wielding Maniac
October 10, 2005, 12:28 PM
Yesterday, at Knob Creek, I had my Romanian AKM build out with some Barnaul 123 grain HP. Some bowling pins and similar items were set out at the end of the range, at the base of the hill. This is about 330 yards. Using the magazine as a monopod, I was able to hit the bowling pins pretty frequently.

At Gunsite, I used an AK-74 equipped with a PK-01V red dot all the way out to 300 meters (or yards... cant remember). Taking my time, I was able to get hits just as well as the other shooters equipped with M16's, as well as a scoped HK-91. Another fellow near me, a recently returned SF member, was using a Polytech AK in 7.62x39. He did even better then me, able to make consistent hits on the tiny little metal plates they placed out at 250 yards on demand...

The AK is more accurate then most people give it credit for, just as the M16 is more reliable then most people believe...

October 10, 2005, 02:21 PM
I see for myself what any firearm is "good for", whether its an AK, AR, or a 1911, in my hands.

I define it thusly (for me): Whatever range I can dump (rapid fire, sight and squeeze) an entire mag into, standing with sling, and hit a 12" circle with 75% repeatability. Bolt rifles, scoped rifles, .22s, and single shots get evaluated prone.

Sure that means a 7 shot 1911 and a 30-rd AK or AR get rated differently due to magazine capacity, but then again, that's the best I (myself) can do with it under something even beginning to approach a "real use scenario". It's also more realistic IMHO than asking around for what others can do, using different weapons/sights/ammo/etc.

Using that as a benchmark, I find I don't have a whole-heckofa-lot-of "effective range" (range that I thought I did have from reading books or internet posts) with a rifle. The 1911 though has more range than you might think on paper, so that's my "consolation prize".

Disclaimer: I'm not much of a rifleman at all, but a fair shot with a pistol.

October 10, 2005, 03:46 PM
The AK is more accurate then most people give it credit for, just as the M16 is more reliable then most people believe... +1

Whatever range I can dump (rapid fire, sight and squeeze) an entire mag into, standing with sling, and hit a 12" circle with 75% repeatability. I think that is a good rule of thumb. I occaisionally get dirty looks in the doghouse for not shooting from the bench, but oh well.

February 4, 2015, 02:30 PM
Please take this comment with the utmost respect...

BUT it cracks me up when someone says "My AK, or my rifle is only accurate to......"

What they should be saying is "I can only shoot accurately up to this range"

Do you know how many times at the range I am invited to shoot someone else guns that they have said the rifle or handgun is shooting off to the left, right, high, or low and I've dropped 8 or 9 out of 10 into the bulls-eye that they couldn't hit at half the distance. Again please don't take this the wrong way, but nearly ANY AK-47 that is functioning correctly can be fired accurately well beyond 300 yds. consistently and without much effort in the hands of a skilled shooter.

I hope I don't piss any you off..

February 4, 2015, 02:38 PM
I hope I don't piss any you off..

Not likely, seeing as few of them are still around reading this thread that's TEN years old.


Cee Zee
February 4, 2015, 02:55 PM
Wow, a zombie! Just FYI, 300 yards is about how far I can hit anything with 7.62 x 39 ammo from an AK or a SKS. I've tried. But that was shooting off hand. It's hard to find a way to shoot from a rest with an AK. Yeah I guess you can rest the gun on the mag but it never seemed like a good idea to me.

February 4, 2015, 03:49 PM
Roughly 400 yards if you scope it or put on a good red dot. Maybe a little more. High-end ones like SGL-21's and VEPRs can hit roughly 2 MOA. It'll easily hit a torso at that range.

I'm a big proponent of optics on an AK. Their quick-change side rail system is spectacular and offers unrivaled versatility.

February 4, 2015, 05:23 PM
hehehehehehehehehehehe. snuck up on him.

oh 400 meters is the answer.

February 4, 2015, 05:26 PM
ceezee that is what it is for, right?
that is why I have 5 rounders.

February 4, 2015, 06:03 PM
Not likely, seeing as few of them are still around reading this thread that's TEN years old.


That's funny right there.

February 4, 2015, 10:40 PM
cede Zee just get yourself a few five round mags. Much less cumbersome for target or hunting use. 30s are best for HD and having fun.

February 4, 2015, 11:43 PM
i use an AK as my primary go-to rifle, however, with the caliber choices available to me (7.62x39, 5.45x39, and 5.56x45) i went with the 5.56, ballistics on the 7.62 are not anything im going to be fond of, it hits hard inside 200 yards, sure, but outside of that range the 5.56 carries more energy and will shoot much flatter throughout its entire trajectory, and inside 200 yards the 5.56 is carrying all the energy it needs.. its an all around much better caliber

the russians recognized this and they pretty much abandoned the 7.62x39 after only 27 years in service, switching to the AK-74 and 5.45x39 in 1974, theyve been using this caliber for 41 years now and will likely continue to do so in the foreseeable future

so as badass as people like to think the 7.62x39 is because the ruskies used it, they fail to realize they also abandoned it as well and went in a different direction shortly after, so the russian military didnt think it was as good

i think the AK is better than the AR/M4/M16, but i think the 5.56x45/223 is better than the 7.62x39

February 5, 2015, 12:33 AM
I just watched a Travis Haley video on AK's where he addresses the subject. He set up a full silouette target at 500 yards and proceeded to hit it with every shot from a 7.62 x 39 AK with a red dot sight. Obviously he had practiced this a bit but the point is that he was able to do it consistently at 500 yards.

February 5, 2015, 01:11 PM
300 meters, aim for the belt buckle.

February 5, 2015, 01:21 PM
The effective range isnt just about the gun, its mostly about the shooter. Assuming iron sights. Average shooters are likely to have an effective range of around 200m. Experienced shooters will be ringing steel at 600m.

Cee Zee
February 5, 2015, 02:55 PM
I have 5 round mag for an AK but I don't have the AK anymore. I do have an SKS. With the stock 10 round mag it's easy to shoot off a rest but as lxd55 pointed out those rifles are meant to be fired off hand at shorter distances. I know they have the ladder sight but the bullets just won't fly true past a certain distance.

February 5, 2015, 06:16 PM
It's hard to find a way to shoot from a rest with an AK. Yeah I guess you can rest the gun on the mag but it never seemed like a good idea to me.
I found that the Hungarian 20-rounders are short and straight enough to allow an AK to shoot from a Hoppes benchrest and sandbag. I found that supporting the forend as far back as possible helped improve consistency and accuracy.

February 5, 2015, 11:52 PM
My WASR 10 held chest-sized groups out to 400 yards from prone with Golden Tiger. I'd say the 400m (440 yard) figure is a pretty good one.

February 6, 2015, 02:32 PM
Ive always considered a rifles effective range to be at least as long as the round stays supersonic. A 125ish grain .30 caliber bullet at 1000 FPS is going to put a hurting on you. It should act similar to 9mm ball ammo.

Even out at extended ranges you can still deliver harassment fire on the enemy. Harassment fire can kill you just as dead as specifically aimed fire if you're unlucky enough.

Having been shot at by 7.62x39 rifles and machineguns a fair bit in my younger days I never considered if I was out of "effective range" when they were wizzing by and impacting near me. Now old Johnny Jihadist wasnt likely going to hit me at 500 meters with his AK, but I wasnt going to stand out in the open and give him the opportunity for that luck shot.

Ohio Gun Guy
February 6, 2015, 03:00 PM
C-grunt - Thanks for being willing to go "down range"!

I shoot mine at the gun club and can usually hit a clay target at 150 yards +/- (The back stop) roughly 50% of the time. When I shoot it at paper however, my groups are 3-4" Lately....

I personally think 300 yards / Meters +/- is all it's really going to do other than luck ^. Which, is what I believe the soviets had in mind when the built & designed them. The military AK is a comprise of a sub machine gun and a rifle, with an intermediate cartridge. High volume firepower, at a bit longer range than a ppsh. (The AR is a scaled down rifle, IMO)

BUT It is one of my favorites to shoot at the range....it's just fun!

Mosin Bubba
February 6, 2015, 04:33 PM
Both the AK and the SKS have a default "battle setting" on their rear sights - pull it all the way back, and you are set for 300 meters. That's probably what the designers figured those guns's maximum range to be. And since the 7.62x39 starts dropping like a rock at long range, I don't think you would have much luck beyond that distance anyway.

I agree with Ohio Gun Guy, in that the AK was built more like a big submachine gun than a small rifle. That's not a knock against the platform, just what I think it was built to do, and it fulfills that purpose pretty well. But with a short barrel, really short sight radius, a fairly short range round, and a design that sacrifices accuracy for ease of manufacture and reliability, it's clear that pinpoint long-range shooting wasn't high on the Soviets' priority list.

February 6, 2015, 05:58 PM
True Mosin. I too was down range. There is a reason AR have been winning battles against AK for over 40 years. I have been there and won gun battles. You can make all the claims you want about AK's and the 7.62x39 all you want. The Russians changed calibers because they knew they were outgunned. You can ride unicorns and shoot 500 yards all you want. I know better.

February 7, 2015, 12:02 PM
How much do you think the specific rifles had to do with winning those gun battles? I'd say that factor is pretty low on the list of reasons.

Cee Zee
February 7, 2015, 08:37 PM
First thanks to all you people who stood in the line of fire because the country asked you to do it. Second I believe our training has a lot to do with why we win battles. The AK certainly is not as sophisticated as the AR but they will sling a lot of lead in the wrong direction (as far as our side is concerned). We definitely have the range on them and that pays off in the desert and mountain areas where clear shots are available. But we shouldn't forget that our soldiers are actually trained to a high degree compared to Hadji.

I guess I'm totally basing this belief on the movies being made and the stories I hear from vets. I think about Lone Survivor and how just a few highly trained soldiers really hammered the bad guys for a long time and from what I understand all were using 5.56 rifles. They weren't your basic M16's but they did fire the same round and if the movie is accurate at all (and I have every reason to believe it is) then it was far more effective in large part because our guys could hit what they shot at better than the bad guys could.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this but isn't that a big part of why we win battles? In Vietnam and even going back into Korea the 7.62 x 39 round was very effective because of sustained fire from the AK and the SKS and because the distances were shorter and the terrain much more dense with vegetation. But even in Vietnam we used our rifles very effectively from all accounts I've heard. When you can't see the bad guys sustained fire is about all you have and our soldiers could carry lots of ammo which allowed them to use massive sustained fire when they needed it. We didn't lose battles in VN. We just lost the war or rather the politicians lost it for us. Our soldiers performed great IMO.

I know the military teaches the use of weapons very well and I know that a lot of people grow up shooting and learn from those guys coming back from the wars. I sure did. I came close to signing up but found out I was about to get hoodwinked by a recruiter half an hour before time to sign. I wish they could have let me serve with just that one stipulation but they wouldn't. I just wanted to be stationed at the same base as my wife most of the time. I understood deployment but it was the Air Force I was about to join so it would have been much easier to keep us reasonably close a reasonable amount of time. To be honest I probably would have signed up anyway but my wife didn't want to do it. She was mad that they had lied to us more than anything.

But that's a whole other story. Again I think the 7.62 x 39 can be used more effectively than it is often used by peasant soldiers who never saw a rifle before they got in their army. And of course there are the kids in the armies around the world. They hardly exude competence when what I see is a 10 year old boy carrying an AK.

February 8, 2015, 02:18 AM
I can hand my Saiga 7.62x39 with POSP to a novice shooter and have them ring 20" steel at 200 yards all day long, put somebody more familiar with rifles behind it and they'll hit ~80% on an 8" steel at 200 yards.

I'm sure some shot out rusted war relic is going to be pie plate accurate at best and is what probably gave AK's their reputation, but any decent AK in good condition should be able to easily obtain 4MOA.

Wow, old thread.

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