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The better medium game round in a pinch: .223 or 7.62x39mm

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Jason_W, Sep 15, 2017.

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  1. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Yes, but it also still has 2100 fps or so of velocity.

    Your typical 7.62x39 load shoots a ~125 gr bullet @ ~2350 fps. This is a light for caliber projectile with a terrible BC and it sheds over 300 fps in the first 100 yards. By the time you reach about 120 yards the bullet is dropping under 2000 fps.

    A 75-77 gr OTM round in a 5.56 is a much heavier for caliber projectile with a much better BC; about .36 for the 5.56 gr bullet vs ~.28 for the 7.62mm bullet. And it starts with 400 fps more velocity. So it maintains 2000 fps all the way out to 300+ yards, even from a 16" barrel.

    This is important because Fackler and others have shown us that tissue is elastic and amazingly resilient to so-called hydrostatic shock forces. Projectiles impacting under 2000 fps rarely show much damage beyond the permanent wound cavity created by tissue actually physically displaced by the projectile.Handguns don't produce the velocity to destroy tissue through cavitation, so their wound channels are measured in fractions of an inch, usually slightly smaller than the expanded diameter of the projectile. Rifles do produce enough velocity to destroy tissue through cavitation, which is why a wound channel from a rifle can be several inches in diameter. But it is highly dependent on velocity.

    Your typical 7.62x39 round is essentially a .31 caliber handgun round by the time it reaches 150 yards. The bullet may or may not expand much below 1800 fps or so and even if it does expand, damage in the temporary stretch cavity is going to be non-existent. Meanwhile, the 5.56 loaded with a 75-77 gr OTM can expect to retain more velocity at 150 yards than the x39 has a the muzzle. An expanding 5.56 bullet impacting with enough velocity to cause cavitation damage is likely to create a wound channel much larger than the slower .31 caliber projectile.

    The 77 gr OTM round was developed for US SOCOM on behest of some tip of the spear guys who wanted more range from their 5.56mm platforms. It has been used successfully in combat out to 600 yards and beyond. The Mk 262 Mod I is the most accurate ammunition ever adopted by our military and has proven to be very effective on humans. As a medium game round, I wouldn't hesitate to take any broadside shot I had out to 300 yards with that round, easily 3x the distance I would feel safe shooting an animal with any 7.62x39 load. The stubby Russian round just doesn't have the velocity to kill like a rifle beyond about 100 yards.
     
  2. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    A friend of mine is a Marine Vet who did his share in Desert Storm....

    He has told me stories of picking off targets at 600yds with an AR, while the bad guys AK x39 were falling well short of their position.

    So while I personally feel that the x39 has an edge within 100yds (my load, with 150gr SP), the AR isn't behind by much (my load, with 62gr SP) and then blows by the x39 after that. not to mention that the trajectory is sooo much easier to figure with the 5.56 (but that's just me, and my seat of the pants Kentucky windage calculator)

    Might as well choose the caliber that covers all the bases.
     
  3. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    I am not jumping into this one, but the OP stated a max distance of 150 so it seems that much of this discussion is moot.
     
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  4. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    Since you included projectiles, Im assuming I reload this round. I'd say 7.62x39 for a this reason:

    1:More potential power, with a greater disparity of projectile weight. Since I can reload this round, I can run a #1 buckshot for small game all the way up to 200 grain projectiles. Larger case mouth (and case) allows more flexibility.
     
  5. JTHunter

    JTHunter Member

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    Jason - ask yourself this first. Which rifle, in YOUR hands, can you shoot most accurately? A poor shot with the 7.62 isn't going to do you any good if you can make a more accurate shot with the .223/5.56 rifle.
    That being said, check your state's game laws as they MAY have caliber restrictions (as in minimum caliber) for certain game.
     
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  6. AndyP

    AndyP Member

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    7.62x39
     
  7. Redfisher60

    Redfisher60 Member

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    I have seen the results of neck shots on deer with .223.
    This will be my fist year hunting with an AR. I plan to do as well as I have seen, 62 gr Fusion in the neck, DRT.
     
  8. Hummer70

    Hummer70 Member

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    Per the Army Wound Ballistics Lab testing the 5.56 gives best wound lethality up to 95 yards.
     
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  9. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    39---was great in MI swamps
    i did use a 222 for a while ( killed good under 100yd)
    222 made the rangers mad ass hell as they used it for winter kill but did not want us to use it
     
  10. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I have both, and hunt with the.223.
     
  11. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    Just like the responses, I'd give it a toss up.

    7.62x39 gets some more energy (at muzzle and at range), size, weight
    .223 gets more speed, better bullet selection (therefore arguably more reliable expansion), and probably a more accurate platform for most (depending)

    I'd probably go 7.62x39 based on cartridge, but my AR shoots better than my SKS based on platform
     
  12. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    That's the way I was thinking about this, too.
     
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  13. Prijador

    Prijador Member

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    Just an aside, but I'm leery of evaluating the effectiveness of ammunition, weapons, etc. based on how the Iraqi Army performed with it...
     
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  14. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I have used both. At ranges well beyond the OP's 150 yards my longest shot to date is still one I made with a 7.62x39 harvesting a doe at 278 yards with an ar15

    Honestly at that range it would be the rifle I like best with one caveat

    I've NEVER gotten even a speck of a blood trail from a 22 centerfire. So if it's not open country I'm going to go with the x39 because you will stand a much better chance of actually finding your game
     
  15. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    make mine a 763x39 which is balisticaly about the same as a 3030 which is a far better big game round then any 223 load.
     
  16. imashooter

    imashooter Member

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    SKS makes for a very decent deer rifle.
     
  17. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    I would vote for the 7.62x39.
     
  18. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Listen to this guy... He knows of what he speaks.
     
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  19. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    Between the two it is clear in my mind anything under 200 yards the x39 is the clear winner. And any further distance one needs to really reconsider both platforms.

    It isn't a 30-30 but it gets relatively close, and I don't need to speak to the effectiveness of the 30-30 at putting meat in the fridge for the past 120 years. And I know there are a lot of animals that have been harvested with the x39 over the years in Russia and Africa, that is anecdotal at best but I think it deserves some minor merit. There are quite a few in eastern US that I've read about using the x39 to great extent and success when SKS's were dirt cheap to harvest deer, and most often the story included cheap steel case ammo, of which would be far from my first choice.

    Blood trail of a 30% bigger hole will be quite significant difference if an errant shot causes one to have to track an animal.

    None of what I said above precludes one from using a good .224 partition or TTSX for hunting but I would really consider keeping distances under 200 yards.
     
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  20. Decoy80

    Decoy80 Member

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    I have killed deer with both calibers. Within 100 yards its going to be the 7.62x39 for me given a choice. Further out I'd choose the 223.
    That said as long as I have the options currently available to me I'll choose to use another caliber to hunt.
    I've heard that more deer have been killed with a 22 over time than any other single caliber.
    There's possibly some Gospel it has a ring of truth as I've had success before squirrel hunting over the year's myself when a target of opportunity presented itself I killed my first deer with a Marlin Glenfield model 60 and a good neck shot while looking for a squirrel or a rabbit as a boy.
     
  21. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    What I'm starting to think about the .223 as a deer round is that with proper bullet selection, practice, and a willingness to accept range limitations, it's a capable option for what I call the, "probably won't, but might" deer hunter. The kind of person who probably won't have an opportunity to get out in a given year, but would jump if given the chance. Why spend money on a dedicated deer rifle that fires comparatively expensive ammo if your chances of having a chance to go after big game in any given year are less than 40%?

    Now, if you live for deer hunting, you manage to take every season off from work, and all of your friends refer to you only as "The Deerhunter" then your rifle choice will probably be different.
     
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  22. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

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  23. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Speaking as someone who has hunted with a pre-64 Win 94 30-30 since the mid-80's and who would just as soon be buried with that particular rifle, in everything but the new LeverEvolotion ammunition, the 7.62x39 can be loaded to be MORE effective downrange and MORE accurate than my beloved old 30-30. That is because I can use higher BC spitzers like my 125 Nosler BT's or the excellent-for-whitetails Hornady 160-grain FTX bullet and keep them above 1800 fps. even out to 200 yards. Compared to the flat-nosed 150's and 170's I hunted with for 30 years out of my '94, it's unquestionably a better downrange option.

    Even if we do load the 30-30 with the excellent LeverEvolution ammo, my bolt action 7.62x39 is still twice as accurate, routinely shooting sub-MOA while the levergun struggles to break 2 MOA most days.

    So, if given the choice and presented with a 150-200 yard shot, I'd reach for my bolt-action 7.62x39 every time before my beloved Winchester. Sorry pop.
     
  24. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I would personally choose 223. Not because I think its better at 150 yards and under, but because Ive carried an AR15 for the last 15 years.
     
  25. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Lets make some things clear, 7.62 x 39 is nowhere near as effective as a 30-30. 170 gr for the 30-30 vs 123 grs for the 7.62x 39. Big difference in sectional density and energy. Another thing is that no one should use ball or milsurp bullets for hunting. In this state only soft point expanding bullets are legal and ethical.
    As for effectiveness both do the job at close range. I have shot lots of deer with both. The .223 has a clear edge in tissue damage though at any range and far more accurate in the military style rifles I have used. The .223 will turn the heart and lungs into mush resulting in a quicker kill. Velocity is more important than small differences in diameter. But the 7.62 with expanding bullets works just fine with good placement. I prefer the .223 for more range, better bullet placement and quicker kills but neither are ethical for very long range. The deer can't measure the difference in of 8 hundreds of an inch difference in diameter.
     
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