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Going for an AK. Let us debate the merits and disadvantages of 5.45x39 and 7.62x39

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Parabellum9095, Aug 7, 2012.

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  1. Parabellum9095

    Parabellum9095 Member

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    Here is the way I see it:

    7.62x39:
    Sufficient to take deer sized game
    Better barrier penetration
    More variety in available ammunition
    Brass and bullets are available for reloading purposes (yeah yeah, why would you want to reload for an AK? I like having the option.)
    I could buy it at the local Wally World if I was so inclined

    5.45x39:
    More accurate
    Longer effective range
    Smaller and lighter

    It appears to me that the main advantage of 7.62x39 is availability, while the main advantages of 5.45x39 are accuracy and range. Well, as far as you can apply those two things to an AK, anyway. There is a video on YouTube of a guy annihilating 4" clays at 200m with a 7.62x39 Saiga. 2-MOA is really about all you could ask for out on an AK, I think. It does make me wonder how the 5.45 round would preform at the same distance, though.

    I want to use the rifle for plinking, killing paper, shooting the odd coyote that wanders onto my property, and killing the generic bad guys of the week, be they zombies, vampires, demons, etc.

    If 5.45 was as available as 7.62x39 I think that I would definitely take it. As it is the odds are really leaning in favor of 7.62x39 right now, but I still want to hear your opinions on the subject.

    Thankies!
     
  2. Cal-gun Fan

    Cal-gun Fan Member

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    You know, if you just google 5.45 or 7.62, AK-74 or ak-47, etc, you'll come up with more than you'll ever need. I just don't think there's much new information to add to this debate.
     
  3. JHenry

    JHenry Member

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    well if your willing to take one in 223 you get the best of both worlds, availabilty and lighter weight. Though i think you want a commie round. id just go with the 7.62, its nice to go get ammo whenever and not have to wait
     
  4. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    You don't like talking guns?!?!?

    Wound cavities created by the 545 are more impressive than the 762.
    The 762, better penetration on barriers like glass or walls. IMO, it's better on steel than 556 and 545.
    556 is a better long range performer, never shot a 545 past 100 yards.

    OP: you noted most of the stuff in your first post. Me being you, I'd go 762. If you DID ever decide to shoot deer, you'd be better to use the 762, and they carry it at most any Walmart.
     
  5. OARNGESI

    OARNGESI Member

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    there both relatively cheap and they both have there ups and downs on performance. find the gun you like best and take it with whatever chambering it comes with. and one other con of 5.45x39 is spare magazines are harder to find
     
  6. scar_47

    scar_47 Member

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    762 for me, balistically 762 and 545 are pretty similar the biggest difference being 545 is designed to tumble within the first 2-3 inches where as 762 usually start at 6-8 inches with 545 leaving a larger temporary wound cavity, accuracy differences are negligible given the platform design.

    762 will penetrate barriers better as well as be less likely to deflect in foliage due to the heavier bullet weight, if your looking for a hunting or SD round pick up some 762 HP's,

    and a final point magazine prices 762 ak47 mags run 15-20 dollars for steel milsurp, 545 ak 74 mags have been in the 40 dollar range.
     
  7. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

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    I'm not so sure you can make the blanket statement that 5.45 is "more accurate". I've had the typical AK type in 7.62, several SKS, a single shot Rossi, and a Rem 799 and in the right combinations, I've got some fairly accurate 7.62x39 rifles. I also have both AK and AR types in 5.45 and have yet to find a truly accurate ammo for either. Since reloading is not really an option for the 5.45, I put it in the role of "laying down cover fire" rather than hitting what I'm shooting at.
    As for the "smaller/lighter" comment, I don't see much concern since I don't know anyone (in this country, at this time) who's worried about how much his ammo loadout weighs.
    Longer effective range is only applicable if you can actually hit your intended target at that extended range-see first paragraph. Since neither has shown small target accuracy past 200 yards, I'm not going to give either any merits on this factor.
    I own an AK74 simply because I stocked up on the 5.45 ammo when it was really cheap and figured it would provide a decent weapon for someone in my household who isn't the greatest marksman anyway. If a gun doesn't hit where it's aimed and the shooter doesn't aim where they should, there's always the possibility of a random shot scoring a good hit.
     
  8. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Will you actually be hunting deer with this gun? If so you already know the answer.

    I like the 5.45 much better but i don't hunt with either anyways. With 7N6 my Arsenal 74 holds 2" groups. My Colt 6720 does no better with m855. The 74 is possibly my favorite gun of all time. If somebody claims 2" groups out of a 47 with e. european ammo i find the claim to be suspect. There are however some decent rounds in 7.62 available. For 5.45 the only other option than former soviet is hornaday which I find to be less accurate than 7N6.
     
  9. Beach Nut

    Beach Nut Member

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    You have to look at what kind of shooting you wish to do. I have owned
    a AK-74 Tantal for a while and I just picked up my first AK-47 (WASR-10)
    a couple of weeks ago and took it out for the first time this past weekend.
    Me and my shooting partner both liked shooting the AK-74 better with
    rapid fire at targets. The 5.45x39 gave us much better muzzle control and
    follow up shots were easier. It reminds me of a .22LR on steroids if I had
    to pick a round to compare it to. The AK-47 was hard to tame when it
    came to muzzle jump (I think I see a muzzle brake in my future). We both
    commented that it would be a better round for large game if you wanted
    to use it for that. If you are going to use either for range and target
    shooting, the AK-47 would be better for steel plates and knockdown targets.
    Accuracy at 50 and 100 yards was about equal for both rifles in slow fire.
    The 7.62x39 is roughly equal to the .30-30, the classic deer caliber for a
    woods enviroment. Ammunition is easier to find for the 7.62x39 right now.
    To sum up my rambling post, the 7.62X39 would be a better round for
    busting things up and the 5.45x39 would probably be a little better for
    rapid fire and longer range shooting. (200 yards or more)
     
  10. henschman

    henschman Member

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    The flip side of the barrier penetration issue is that the 5.45 is ideal for home defense, as it is unlikely to make it through double drywall (much less studs and brick) and still be lethal on the other side. It fragments very easily, especially with the Russian air pocket ammo (7n6). This also makes the wounding potential greater at close range, where you are most likely to need it. I have no doubts that it would kill a deer dead as a doornail if you put it in the vitals under 150 yards. Lots of people hunt deer with 5.56 (which is pretty much the ballistic equivalent of 5.45) and do as well as anyone. The legalities of this wouldn't matter in an emergency situation, which I assume is the only time you think you would be using it for this role, as you do not mention deer hunting in the roles you want this to fill). You do mention coyote control though, which 5.45 is pretty much perfect for. Smaller game like yotes is where the greater accuracy and flatter trajectory would come in handy over 7.62. Also 5.45 is much cheaper than 7.62x39. You can get 7n6 for as cheap as $0.13/round: http://www.southernohiogun.com/ammo-mags-more/ammunition/russian-5-45x39-military-ammo.html
    The cheapest I've seen 7.62x39 for is about $0.20/round: http://www.the-armory.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/Klimovsk_762x39_FMJ_123gr_case.html

    Well now you do! While I love my battle rifles, I definitely consider it a plus that with my poodle shooters, I can carry 1.5x as much ammo in the same sized mag pouches.
     
  11. gbeecher

    gbeecher Member

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    Either one works - What's your personal preference?

    Based on what you describe you want it for, plinking paper targets, killing coyotes and self-defense, I think that either cartridge is more than up to the task. The 5.45x39 will have greater range and shoot flatter, but will also have less energy downrange. According to the Dr. Martin Fackler and the Wound Ballistics Institute, both cartridges exhibit similar wound profiles, with the 5.45x39 yawing and tumbling at a shallower depth. Also, they are both readily available and similar in price. Your choice! :)
     
  12. GCMkc

    GCMkc Member

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    Here's how I see it.

    5.45x39:
    Cheaper
    Harder to find locally

    7.62x39:
    Cheap
    Easier to find locally

    Both will penetrate humans, animals, zombies, and for what most of us shoot, paper.
     
  13. Cal-gun Fan

    Cal-gun Fan Member

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    Well, you've talked me into it :)

    Keep in mind that the much lauded tremendous wound cavity of the 5.45 is ONLY with the surplus 7N6 ammunition, which has a small air pocket just beneath the tip so as to destabilize the bullet. Commercial 5.45 does not have the "poison bullet" effect.

    Compared to a normal, full metal jacket 7.62x39 round, the 5.45 might make a more devastating cavity. However, with a good soft point round (like Hornady V-Max), the 7.62 will have a vastly larger cavity than a 5.45.
     
  14. ThePenguinKnight

    ThePenguinKnight Member

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    The 7.62 has the greater recoil, bit is still plenty controllable for semi automatic fire. Magazine for 7.62 are cheaper and easy to find, as is ammo of all varieties (HP and SP rounds have been shown to be quit devastating). There are a great many AK rifles which are 2moa accurate or better, though from my reading I have to give the nod to the 5.45 on that one-- search through the Saiga forums and you'll find plenty of info on that. My converted Saiga yielded 1.5moa with two different shooters and some cheap Herters 154gr SP ammo, and judging by my (lack of) rifle skills I am convinced it can do better.

    The small, light bullets like 5.45, 5.56, etc provide flat trajectories and great short range performance, with low recoil for controllable followup shots. I have never liked those tiny little things, but I am slowly growing to appreciate their design features (at least for some bullet types). For one-shot scenarios, like deer hunting, I would greatly prefer my 7.62, but for "social" situations where you tend to fire until the threat has completely ceased, I would happily take one of the 22cal needle shooters, so long as I had access to the proper bullet selection.

    Keep in mind you can get bullets that make the 7.62 perform very much like a 5.45 (fragmentation, rapid expasion) over short to medium distances.
     
  15. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Isn't Herters just rebranded Russian ammo? This 1.5 moa AK with herters amm; were these 5 shot groups? It performs this feat each time a five round group is fired? You're not discounting "fliers"?

    Apparently my range has a curse that prevents AK's from shooting this well.
     
  16. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Not unheard of. My best was 2 MOA with brown bear with my 762 Saiga. Feed it what it likes. But, 1 MOA or sub is going to be with choice ammo, longer sight radius, rested.
     
  17. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Welcome! Glad you could join us!

    154 gr soft points are devastating on deer.
     
  18. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Longer sight radius?! Now the claims are moving to iron sights!

    Shooting a single lucky 2 moa group does not make a rifle 2 moa. The rifle must be able to shoot it consistently and with at least 5 round groups.
     
  19. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    BTW, reloading 7.62x39mm ain't hard or bad - I do it all the time. I also cast for that caliber, still working on the best cast load for the load and my two rifles in this caliber. the CZ 527M has proven quite accurate enough for me, and my SA vz-58 rifle has pinged a 12x8 steel gong at 300 yards with a 1x red dot - 4 out of 6 on average, to be completely honest.:)
    You can hunt deer with your AK in AZ, if you want - our mag limits are repealed for hunting firearms. This doesn't mean you have to blast 20 rounds at a time at the poor deer, but it does mean that you don't have go looking for 5 round mags to be legal.
    I like 7.62x39mm, good round, but I chose the vz-58 instead of the AK, more accurate for me lighter weight, almost impossible to jam, and just feels better. :)
     
  20. jason41987

    jason41987 member

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    the ballistics on the 5.45 are superior.. a 7.62x39 will have more muzzle at the energy, but that quickly disappears due to very poor ballistics coefficiency.. the 5.45 has a much better trajectory, more damage at range, and the tumble is lethal.. plus, 5.45 ammo is cheaper... id take a 5.45 over the 7.62 any day, and intend on building a bulgarian AK74 soon
     
  21. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Who said lucky? I wouldn't discount any accuracy claims.
     
  22. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    And i wouldn't believe everything one reads on the internet.
     
  23. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Don't. Your choice.
     
  24. barnbwt

    barnbwt Member

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    Really? :scrutiny:

    TCB
     
  25. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Tis true. Studs, thick enough drywall, insulation.
     
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