7.62 vs 5.56 ar, please help me!!


June 8, 2011, 05:09 PM
I have been around AR rifles all my life during my 21 year career in the Army, but have never owned one and am now bitten by the bug to buy one. I have some questions which I need your help in deciding which way to go.

As I understand the 7.62X39 ammo is very abundant and less expensive to purchase than 5.56, is this true? I also understand that the chamber is a little looser than the 5.56 chambers so accuracy may suffer a little, is this true? I also understand that the 7.62X39 can be used for deer, is this true?

My use 95% of the time will be plinking, targets and maybe an occasional hog hunt or deer if I decide on the 7.62X39. Armalite makes one in the 7.62X39 and depending on research would probably go with the following model.


Final question. I would really like to know why you would purchase one caliber over the other. Thanks for your time and reading this post.

If you enjoyed reading about "7.62 vs 5.56 ar, please help me!!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Hondo 60
June 8, 2011, 05:20 PM
Former Soviet bloc countries produce steel cased very cheap ammo in 7.62x39.
So if you ever think of reloading your own, this is not good.
You need brass cased ammo for reloading.

As far as accuracy goes, every gun is different, but in general, I've found that yes, the AK-47 (7.62x39) is less accurate.

Hunting rules vary by state. But again in general, 5.56 or 223 Remington, or AR-15s are not good for deer hunting. The round is simply too small.
You're much more likely to injure & then lose the deer with an AR-15 vs an AK-47.

Armalite is a well known brand name and generally produce very good rifles.

My personal preference?
An AR-15A1 with triangular handguards like I carried back in the 70s when I was in the Army.
But that's just me. YMMV (your mileage may vary)

June 8, 2011, 05:24 PM
Accuracy has a lot more to do with the rifle than the round.

For an AR-15 I would definitely go with the 5.56 as the 7.62x39 does not do well in this platform due to cartridge shape and the shape of the AR magwell.

June 8, 2011, 05:24 PM
Ammo costs are something to consider, but both calibers are very much available.

You could take deer or hogs with the 5.56, though many people think it's dumb. Heavy-for-caliber, tough-built softpoints and good marksmanship = lots of people taking deer with it every year, where legal to use them. May be a bit light for big hogs. I know I hesitate to use mine to hunt anything bigger than a coyote, especially at the ranges I face in AZ.

Trajectory of the 7.62x39mm is a big limiting factor, to me - again, we have to hunt deer at longer ranges in many areas in AZ. Accuracy is a factor of the rifle and shooter, much more than caliber, but the trajectory is an issue. Between the two, I picked 5.56, and am thinking about getting something bigger, like a .243 or .308 for deer and hogs.

The AR is available in many more calibers than just 5.56 and 7.62x39, including the 6x45mm, which is a necked up 5.56. Really tempted to get an upper chambered for that for my rifle - they're switch-tops, if you want them to be. Same magazines and etc on the lower work just fine with the 6x45mm, but you throw heavier pills very easily.

June 8, 2011, 05:41 PM
Accuracy has a lot more to do with the rifle than the round.

For an AR-15 I would definitely go with the 5.56 as the 7.62x39 does not do well in this platform due to cartridge shape and the shape of the AR magwell.
Do you know what specifically the round does that makes is not perform so well in this platform such as failure to feed or failure to eject. Thanks for your response.

As far as accuracy I agree that it is about the rifle but , do you have any knowledge about the chambers on this particular calibers in an AR platform are chamber loose? This could account for inaccuracy.

June 8, 2011, 05:53 PM
Do you know what specifically the round does that makes is not perform so well in this platform such as failure to feed or failure to eject. Thanks for your response

They have issues feeding- if you look at the shape of the brass, side by side, you'll see the 7.62x39r has a much more pronounced taper. The AR15 was designed for the less tapered 5.56x45NATO- the angle of the magwell to the feedramp, the feedramp, even the shape of the magazine are built around that angle.

Take five rounds of each, and line them up on the able, side by side- the 5.56 rounds are almost level, top to bottom. The 7.62x39 are showing a distinct curve already.

By the time you got done building special mags, modifing the feed path, etc., you'll have something that might work most of the time. Not so much a savings.

If you just want a bigger round, there are every thing from 6.5mm to .30caliber rounds that are based on the 5.56 case, and if you are willing to pay for a few more mods, the .50 Beowulf and .450 bushmaster are designed to work in the AR.

June 8, 2011, 05:57 PM
Do you know what specifically the round does that makes is not perform so well in this platform such as failure to feed or failure to eject. Thanks for your response.

As far as accuracy I agree that it is about the rifle but , do you have any knowledge about the chambers on this particular calibers in an AR platform are chamber loose? This could account for inaccuracy.
Like Ramone said above, it has more to do with cartridge shape and the magazines required. Look at an AK and an AR mag side by side. The AK is much more curved and wont fit in the straight walled magwell.

Some people have reported success with the 7.62x39 in their guns but its far more common to have feeding problems.

June 8, 2011, 06:10 PM
Do you know what specifically the round does that makes is not perform so well in this platform such as failure to feed or failure to eject. Thanks for your response.

The problem is feed issues in magazines of more than 10 round capacity. If you are hunting with it its moot and the 7.62x39 is easily the equal of a 30-30 with a little better performance at distance from the pointed bullets compared to he traditional 30-30 blunt nose rounds (ignoring the Hornaday "Levolution" elastomer tips).

If you want to play high capacity games it'll be a hassle -- my 30 round mags only work with FMJ, and then only after I replaced the mag springs with the springs from a Bulgarian AK mag. Curiously I put the AR mag springs into the Bulgarian mags and they've so far all worked fine in my AKs.

Unless what you want to hunt with a .223 is not allowed where you live, I'd strongly suggest the 5.56 as your first AR.

June 8, 2011, 06:33 PM
Well thanks for the information, as always it was very helpful, looks like I'll be getting the 5.56. Thanks again. Now I'll just wreck my brain deciding which company to go with. There is a huge gunshow in July here in San Antonio, I'll decide than.

June 8, 2011, 07:18 PM
I have been shooting both for close to 30 years. I Am also a veteran.
The russian round fits better in the AK/SKS/other platforms (beefed up extractors).
Great round for many purposes you can do many things with some reloads
but the steel for practice chews up pretty badly in the AR platform.
I guess it depends on how much you choose and how well the AR is gassed/tuned up. There is a grendel superbolt out there that folks have been trying that I want to try but I don't have one yet.
If you want AR and can hunt in the area with .5.56 then go with this round.
You might shoot a bit less but will find on average more accurate (flat shooting) although the russian round can be very accurate too.
In the end there are very few things that any of those cannot do for average use. for the 5.56 try the Barnes 70gr bullets will take deer, hogs and black bear down like if they were hit by lightning. Any TSX in any caliber is extremely deadly. Also Hornady TAP 75gr.
If they do not let you hunt with the 5.56 then go with the russian but look into other platforms but again you will miss some of the AR features.
One semiautomatic that is very accurate in AK action is the hunting rifle from the molot plant in russia that comes with beefed up barrel and trunions and can be made US compliant. I also like the M72 RPK that can be cut to 18" and with the beefed up barrel makes a great DMR platform.

Here is a comparative of some different uppers I have so you can compare ballistics...


June 8, 2011, 07:32 PM
If you get that armalite model in 7.62, you'll want to replace the butt stock for sure. That one would not be fun to shoot for long...

June 10, 2011, 11:34 AM
if it's an ar, wait a bunch now for a spike's or pay over 1000 for a milspec ar. Mags are cheap and parts are everywhere. Replace a bolt - easy. Accessories, rails, sights are everywhere. Tons of parts. In steel cased ammo, which is fine for the ar, its about as cheap or cheaper than 7.62.

But, a 7.62 x 39 platform is a bit more reliable overall. Don't go ar here. Go arsenal in general. Not as ergonomic or accurate as an ar. But suitable for a combat carbine. Chf barrel, and factory mil rifle. MAY want to consider a vz-58. Bolt hold open, decent safety, light as an ar, superb quality, and again chf barrel. A cfh barrel costs you a bunch in an ar. But, the vz is not nearly as plentiful, but some very good accessories do exist.

Guess you need to read/decide on caliber.

Zen Archery
June 10, 2011, 12:50 PM
YAWN :scrutiny:

I've had my A.R. in 7.62x39 since March. Since then I have killed my 3 largest hogs to date. Prior to that I was using an SKS which I killed my first 2 biggest hogs with the 7.62x39 round.

So will it kill a deer? Do deer come close to this size?
or this? (Maybe in Kansas or Illinois)

So is it big enough to kill a deer. I would say def.

Does the A.R. in 7.62x39 suffer in accuracy?
Mind you this is a 50 yard shot using Gen 1 NV which is not the best shot in the day in 18 mph cross winds.

Have I had a single issue with the A.R. Platform in 7.62x39? NO!!!!!!!!

So post all your non-experence opinions with this platform. And I'm gonna keep killing the porkers while you argue its accuracy and performance. Will a .223 work. Yep. But I wouldn't have wanted to use on either one of these two hogs.

June 10, 2011, 02:24 PM
Have I had a single issue with the A.R. Platform in 7.62x39? NO!!!!!!!!

Have you used 30 round magazines? Looks like a 10 rounder (or perhaps blocked to five) in your photo.

I've had no issues with my 7.62x39 AR 10 round mags, but lots with the 30 rounders. I'd be happy to try 20 rounders if I could find any.

June 10, 2011, 02:32 PM
Commercial loads in 7.62x39 can be quite accurate. I put together and AR15 with a 16" Olympic barrel and a new production Redfield 2-7. From the bench at 100 yards using the three available commercial loads (Federal 123gr JSP, Winchester 123gr JSP, and the Corbon 150gr JSP.
The winchester round shot best being a .310 diameter bullet. (the Oly barrel is .310) It gave reliable 1"groups. As i recall the other two shot 1 1/2"or so... the Federal was a .311 bullet (Soviet spec) and the Corbon was .308. Or was it the other way around

June 10, 2011, 03:14 PM
Commercial loads in 7.62x39 can be quite accurate.

I've never had any accuracy complaints with my 7.62x39 AR. The photo shows 20 rounds of cheap Wolf at 50 yards off sandbags with my Millet DMS set at 1X. I'd fired the first 10 rounds at a different target with it set to 4X to set zero and then was looking for any significant shift at 1X. I'll blame at least 1 MOA of the dispersion on my 55+ year old eyeballs!

This was when I first got the Millet DMS, I ended up liking them very much (although I'd like them even better if they were smaller and had a bit more depth of field in the eye relief) and have since added several more to various rifles.


June 10, 2011, 06:33 PM
AKs can be hit or miss for accuracy but the steel cased russian 7.62 ammo is just not very consistent. The russian HP is a very effective hunting round but shouldnt be used past 100 yard IMO bc of accuracy. However, for hunting out to 200 yards i think one can do quite well with American rounds out of a decent AK such as an Arsenal. There are a number of other, better options to shoot it out of than an AR platform. The cheapest route would be the Saiga 7.62x39 which i think you can get with a 20" barrel for even more range. Last i checked they could be had for $350. Low end AKs like WASRs from Century aren't much more but quality is generally low. Next in price would be a mini-30. I've heard they can be made to be fairly accurate but it can take a little work although i have no personal experience with this gun. In the same range are mid to high level AKs. Again, anything from Arsenal will be excellent quality. The milled receiver AKs from Arsenal get way up there in price. At about a grand there is also the Sig556R and the PTR32. I like both but the PTR is way too heavy for what it shoots. I'm not sure about their accuracy potential but i'm sure a search would turn up that answer. Personally, i feel there is a valid reason some states outlaw .223 for hunting as there is too much potential for wounding instead of killing clean. If you don't want to go to the .308 there are now numerous other calibers available for the AR platform that are more than sufficient but there is only one that i know of using a 5.56 or .223 case. My favorite is the 6.5 grendel but 6.8 and .30 remington are good choices as well. None are cheap to shoot though.

June 11, 2011, 06:47 AM
Yeah, the internet, opinions with no experience... I have a spikes based 7.62x39 ar (and 5.56). Use the right magazines - i have c-products but they are not around but there are others makers. Will is shoot as long and as flat as a 5.56, no. Will a 5.56 have as much punch CQB and cheaper ammo no. Make sure it has M-4 feedramps becasue the platform was designed around the 5.56. The 7.62 being a larger round engages the feedramp lower that the 5.56. Ist this a problem, no, not if you understand how the round runs. I use mine for 3-gun and it runs more reliably than a lot of 5.56s'. I also shoot yugo corrosive so I get great accuracy, cheap brass cased ammo. Just spray windex or water down the pipe and bcg and clean when you get home. I reload for everything I own and reloading the 7.62x39 is not cost effecient but it is fun and I have tailered some great shooting accurate ammo with AA1680 and Vmax's.

June 11, 2011, 07:08 AM
To the OP,

If you want the option of shooting heavier 70 grain + hunting bullets, such as the 70 grain Barnes mentioned previously, be sure to select a barrel in 1x7 or 1x8 twist. 1x9s do work well with 70+ grain bullets, sometimes.

For the record, .223/5.56 is legal for hunting in my state. My previous supervisor's son used a single shot .223 bolt gun to take MANY deer cleanly over the years. The only time he had one run more than 25 feet he admitted it was because of his own mistake, not the caliber or the rifle. But YMMV.

June 11, 2011, 09:20 AM
barnes TSX 70gr is 1:8 minimum. They are solid copper and are longer. They have to be. If you have a 24" barrel you can try 1:9 but this is not the manufacturer recommendation.

June 11, 2011, 09:26 AM
When you hunt do not use the cheap value packs, even the wolf HP are not the best option. Go for good brass (Actual brass) hunting bullets or get some good quality cases and bullets and develop your hunting load like any other system.
I am pretty sure the wolf can do the job many times but if you want to maximize accuracy potential and terminal effectiveness you need to spend a bit more or reload.
A Barnes TSX with a lapua case is a extremely accurate and deadly combination even past the 250 yards with a good system.

June 11, 2011, 03:19 PM
No .22's for deer here in CA. I wouldn't want to chase a mad pig that did not get a clean hit with a .223 either. For general hunting of larger animals or ones with heavier bone structure, I'd prefer a bit more heft.

Between the two - I'd take the 7.62x39 as the hunter if deer or pigs are in the picture. Varmints is another story. For pigs I might try something like this: http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/12575 :)

June 11, 2011, 04:10 PM
I wouldn't use anything less than .308 Winchester for deer hunting, that's 7.62x51 in metric. I personally hunt with 30-06 myself, and, along with the .270, it seems to be the most common choices.

I draw a distinction between hog hunting and deer hunting; recovering the deer is much more important than the hog for many reasons, and I prefer a cartridge that will help mitigate negative factors such as misplaced shots due to wind, less than optimal rests, low daylight, etc. A proper hunting rifle is more akin to a sniper's rifle than an infantryman's rifle.

As for my suggestion for the OP, buy an AR-10. It has the platform you want, you can get great deer rounds for it, but also get good cheap surplus.

A final comment: it's interesting how many people will turn up their noses at someone "taticooling" a hunting gun, yet think a modern military carbine is a perfect hunting gun.

June 11, 2011, 08:19 PM
First of all thank you all for for wonderful insight. I always enjoy the good and the bad that all have experienced. It is exactly this kind of information that allows me to make an intuitive decision. As always the wealth of information on this forum is abundant and the first hand knowledge shared makes it always easy to separate the internet rangers from the real hands on enthusiasts. Thanks again, I still have not decided which brand to go but I never worry as I always have a spirtual connection with the guns I buy, they choose me.

June 11, 2011, 09:11 PM
I don't think the price difference in the cost of ammo matters that much- discounting ammo that is stamped with the name of animals or Russian arsenals .223 is like .30 cents a round and 7.62 like .40 cents. To me it's not even a consideration because I don't "plink" with rifles that I might need to use seriously... rapid fire yeehawing creates bad habits... for battle rifles and hunting rifles each round should be fired with the best form possible - not to say you shouldn't practice getting back on target fast and taking another shot- YOU SHOULD! but if you want to rat-a-tat-tat it gets expensive no matter what you are using.

I own Bushmaster AR15 and it is both accurate and reliable. After purchasing my FAL (7.62)- despite its learning curve and quirkiness- I haven't shot my AR once. But I digress.

For targets, the .223 and for any real use the 7.62. I've shot enough deer to know how far they can go with literally no heart left from a .50 sabot... I'd never shoot one under 100 yards with my AR. It'd die for sure, but if I want to track something I'll shoot it with my longbow, it's lighter and prettier : )

June 13, 2011, 11:42 AM
I got the Remington R-15 in 30 Remington AR.
I bought it for hunting and shooting paper, for plinking I use 22 rifles they are cheaper and more fun.
I Just started reloading for it and and it is the real deal, very accurate and deadly on game.
I got a deer last season with factory ammo, this year I am loading 150 grain ballistic tips from Nosler at about 2600 FPS.
The Barnes 130 grains can be pushed to about 2800 FPS.
It can do 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards if I do my part.
Only 5 and 10 round mags available.

June 13, 2011, 01:37 PM
30 RAR. very nice stubby round in deed.

June 13, 2011, 02:20 PM
How is the 30 RAR different from the 300 Blackout? Does it require new mags? If so that would seem the major difference.

June 13, 2011, 02:34 PM
hogs are almost always taken at head shot type ranges, so the 223 will work fine. I've used mine to brain much larger critters than any wild hog. You just have to know where to aim, and have the ability to place your bullet within 1-2" of where you want it, that's all. I worked a hog farm as a kid, hogs aint that fast, really. Dogs catch and corner them, remember that. Dogs don't catch deer. I've shot several deer with the 223, and if you get good hits and use the 60 gr Nosler Partition, they run no further than when hit with 308 ball or 30-30 softpoints, which is to say, never more than 100 yds, rarely as much as 50 yds. Only the heaviest cover and firing right at dusk makes such a post-shooting run a tracking issue. I know of many a deer that's run 50 yds or so with a 30-06 sp thru its chest, and several that have done so with a 12 ga slug so located, too.

June 13, 2011, 05:39 PM
The 30 AR is different than the Blackout in speed , the blackout will do 2300 fps with a 125 gr the 30 Ar will do 2700 to 2800 fps.
It does require a new magazine and upper assy.

June 13, 2011, 08:06 PM
Why do yall prefer the AK 7.62x39 over 7.62 NATO/ .308?

June 13, 2011, 08:09 PM
Because you cant get a 308 in an ar15

June 13, 2011, 09:39 PM
30 RAR has almost as twice much energy as the blackout.
And it is single stack so yes it requires a new bolt and magazines unlike the blackout.

30RAR I believe it can take w/o any problems a 168gr bullet w/o running into any COAL issues and push it to a decent speed.
I cannot understand Remington. They have this awesome case and their marketing strategy is a disaster. They come out with this ugly camo rifle / uppers and a 4 round magazine with standard corelokt 125gr bullet that in terms of ballistics is one of the worse options one can take. When in reality they have the DPMS 10 round mags (same as 450 bushmaster) black uppers and the most important think I am convinced this case will take perfectly the 168 high BC bullet w/o COAL issues. COAL is the problem the WSSM uppers.

I just do not understand Remington. I might be wrong but it looks to me that the marketing guys there do not have a clue. They could have targeted a much wider market. Again, the case is really strong and short enough to take a very good bullet.

June 13, 2011, 10:21 PM
Uh, Cyclops, please google AR-10. The rifle that became the M-16 was, in fact, designed for .308.

June 13, 2011, 10:43 PM
Stoner had many challenges but as he told once joking to Mr. Kalashnikov in a meeting of the minds they had (in Russia I believe), he said he had three primary requirements from the US army:

If anyone interested I have somewhere a few books I read many years ago and I can find the titles. They were really good and informational about the whole struggle with the AR design, I can tell you.


June 14, 2011, 01:11 AM
Kleigl, regardless of design history, you still can't fit a 7.62x51mm in an AR15. An AR10 is a significantly bigger, heavier gun. I've only fired the POF version, and it was absolutely fantastic, but ... it was not a light little carbine.

Some serious drooling got wiped off that POF. Um, I need to go change my shirt again.

June 14, 2011, 09:05 AM
Look at the little cut down Mini 30 with the heavy barrel. Surprisingly accurate, and Double Tapp is making some serious rounds for it, both Home Defense and heavier ones for hunting...might be a cheaper option...and a little easier to scope.

June 14, 2011, 09:18 AM
that link you supplied would make a great rifle. Remember the AR can be very accurate with either caliber provided your ammo is premium. The commie steel-case ammo is not premium but cheap fun for plinking.
I favor my 7x39 AR over my 223 AR simply for the hunting capability, but I no longer fire steel ammo through either.

If you enjoyed reading about "7.62 vs 5.56 ar, please help me!!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!