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7.62x39 vs 5.45x39 Stopping Power

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by PistoletCatfish, Jul 27, 2012.

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  1. PistoletCatfish

    PistoletCatfish Member

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    I hear so much differing opinions on the internet about this subject.

    Some say 7.62x39 has more "stopping power" to it because it's a bigger, heavier bullet, and with a good hollow point it blows 5.45 out of the water.

    I've also heard 5.45 tumbles and yaws, making a larger, more devastating wound than 7.62x39.

    Comparing Hornady TAP 5.45 vs Hornady TAP 7.62x39 (which I'd say are the best bullets for these calibers for terminal performance), which does the evidence point to being the superior man stopper?
     
  2. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Member

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    Depends on which side of cinder block wall the target is standing on:)
    I would say in those loadings it would be to close to call and shot placement would matter more.
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Hornady is loading that stuff with V-Max expanding bullets, very VERY different from any of the military loadings. I would not expect tumble and yaw to be a factor with the 5.45mm TAP load.

    You're basically comparing two more or less conventional expanding hunting bullets. One is heavier and larger diameter. Either will penetrate a light-skinned fairly thin target completely. The 7.62mm will likely make a bigger hole and may use its momentum to penetrate structures more effectively, but terminal effect on a human would likely be very similar.

    The difference between the two might be small enough that ease of shot placement and of making multiple rapid hits becomes the more compelling factor.
     
  4. PistoletCatfish

    PistoletCatfish Member

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    I guess I'm asking for a self defense situation, not hunting
     
  5. Rob G

    Rob G Member

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    The yawing effect you're referring to in the 5.45 was specifically seen when using Russian 7n6 which is very different from the Hornady TAP. The 7n6 did in fact produce a wound track that was as large, if not larger, than 7.62x39. However I don't know how it would compare to an expanding 7.62 load.

    Personally I'd be very comfortable using the 5.45 for a defensive load. It's very similiar to the 5.56 in many respects including the lack of recoil and overall range. The only thing is does badly is penetrate cover which is the one area the 7.62 is much better at.
     
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    And that's what my answer was geared toward. The fact that they are loaded with expanding hunting type bullets informs how the rounds might work on a human. A human is of about the same construction and durability of a white-tail deer, for what that's worth.
     
  7. henschman

    henschman Member

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    I think the 5.45 would stop a threat just as well as 7.62 at close range, and would penetrate walls less than almost any other type of cartridge due to the high velocity and light weight of the projectile. For those reasons, I think it would be an ideal choice for home defense.
     
  8. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    Yes, and technically the .22 lr can do lots of damage because it can tumble, too. It just doesn't make sense to depend upon it. Tumbling or not, both will stop someone if hit in the right places.
     
  9. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Whoa! Hornaday makes 5.45x39mm???? Since when!!!!

    I wasn't aware of any domestic production on this until this very minute.

    I just did some searching.. still can't find any reloading stuff for 5.45x39. Anyone know if there's a commercial boxer primed brass producer?
     
  10. nathan

    nathan Member

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    I have both calibers. But i can tell ya this, if shtf does happen in my neighborhood the 5.45 will be my primary SD weapon. Why, it shoots way better than the 7.62 . in terms of recoil and target acquisition. If im aiming at bodies the 5.45 is the way to go. Combat scenario when you have to shoot combatant s who shoots back and take s cover, the 7.62 is hard to beat.
     
  11. Acera

    Acera Member

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    There is a reason the Soviets (and now the Russians) ditched the 7.62x39 round over 37 years ago. The new round is now a proven battle field chambering that has stood the test of time for them, they have no reason to revert back. Something to consider there.................
     
  12. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    A pal finally got me on the AK bandwagon by loaning me a 5.45 x 39. I liked it so well I got a twin (same maker, Cugir) in 7.62 x 39. Side by side, the larger .30 is my fav because the round does have more mass and more momentum. The little 5.45 however, is basically a product-improved version of the early 5.56; it has the hollow cavity in the jacket forward of the mass which forces the tumbling effect on a soft target. If the choice were down to 5.45 x 39 or NATO 5.56 I'd go with either. The big diff is that oodles of hard steel core 5.45 x 39 is legally in the US (Russian surplus) that won't ever be made on the civilian market as it would be classified as armor piercing. It's corrosive, but dirt cheap.

    For my money, fort most puposes where barriers need to be punched through, I like the momentum of the 7.62 x 39. However, the 5.45 is nice and light in recoil and easier to keep on target, especially for smaller shooters.
    I've read some reports that 5.45 glances off hard glass and deflects off twigs and so on however. My bet would be, that Russian steel core would cut through most body armor up to level 3. Just my unexpert take on it.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    There's nothing at all illegal about selling armor-piercing rifle ammo. Handgun ammo yes, but not rifle ammo.

    So where are these stockpiles of cheap AP 5.45?
     
  14. nathan

    nathan Member

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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  15. PistoletCatfish

    PistoletCatfish Member

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    I'm just skeptical of the 5.45's supposed amazing tumbling capabilities. It just seems too good to be true.
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    It is absolutely true -- of the original military ammo.

    It is absolutely NOT true of the new Hornady TAP ammo using hollowpoint hunting bullets.
     
  17. nathan

    nathan Member

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    That long slender 5.45 is a real killer app. Its very unstable when it hits flesh and bones.
     
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    There's no such thing as "stopping power" when you're referencing conventional shoulder-fired firearm projectiles. I explained yesterday to a neophyte that a solidly hit deer should be given at least 30 minutes to bleed out before walking up. Understand that intermediate cartridges such as the ones in discussion are at the very bottom edge of ethical whitetail hunting rounds.

    Now, when it comes to stopping an aggressing human, any reliable round more powerful than .22 Magnum is, in my opinion, powerful enough. You just shoot the threat until it's not a threat. If you're defending a domicile, common sense and concern for neighbors obviously dictates using rapidly expanding rounds, which will actually tend to penetrate less from a rifle than defensive rounds from a handgun.

    In this case, if you have a rapidly expanding and/or fragmenting round, the 5.45x39mm should be at least as effective at close range as the 7.62, and quite possibly more.

    John
     
  19. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  20. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    It is.

    It isn't much different than standard 7.62x39 M67 ball.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. PistoletCatfish

    PistoletCatfish Member

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    Yes, and the soft point ammo seems to blow both 7.62x39 fmj and 5.45 out of the water, although with less penetration. I wonder how a good 5.45 hollow point or ballistic tip would compare.
     
  22. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Follow the link in Post #19.

    Hornady has gelatin tests of their 60gr TAP in 5.56 posted.
    The performance of the 5.45 version should be almost identical, minus some velocity.

    I think it is a bit underwhelming but I wouldn't want to catch one (much less 5) in the chest.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    (to Sam1911)

    Of course, in most states, AP rifle ammo is a-ok. Now then, who is really making and marketing newly made AP ammo? If it's out there I haven't seen it, the AP on market being old mil surp.

    As for the Ruskie 5.45 x 39 it is getting more expensive these days, but it was wicked cheap for a decade after a ton hit the market after delays. Not true AP, on label, I've been told that the Soviets used ever-increasingly hardened steel in the cores ove the years so that, towtard the end of their days, the lots to be had were light AP in everything but name.

    And back to the AP legality, wouldn't just one maker producing a pistol version for sale make the ammo a NO-GO? I've heard ad-naseum about this re: the steel core Norinco that came in in the 80's for the 7.62 x 39 that can no longer come in.

    Anyway--fun gun (AK 74) and my best-buy pick over such as the Mini-14 (yes, I have one and we still use them at work--not trying to pick a fight).
     
  24. PistoletCatfish

    PistoletCatfish Member

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    I wonder if this is adequate for stopping an attacker. i'd imagine so.
     
  25. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Properly placed one would kill an assailant like the fist of an angry god.

    OTOH,they also fall short of the minimum FBI standard for handgun penetration.
     
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