View Full Version : Is an SKS/MN/[milsurp here] ok for hunting?

December 12, 2004, 06:27 PM
Hi there guys. I'm trying to decide between various budget milsurp rifles for my first ever centerfire rifle. Right now, I'm kind of erring towards either an SKS or an MN.

My main worry with an SKS is the round, I don't consider an assault rifle cartridge to be an ethical hunting cartridge. They seem a little underpowered for a quick kill, y'know?

My main reason for a MN would be the price. For $100, I could have a rifle, a scope, and a couple boxes of ammo. My main worry with this rifle is the safety -- from what I've seen and what I've heard, the safety is virtually impossible to work.

Do any of you hunt with a milsurp?

TIA for any info,

DT Guy
December 12, 2004, 07:34 PM
I considered taking my SKS deer hunting this year. We were hunting in heavy cover, and I knew ranges would be very short. (I eventually got a nice nine pointer at about 20 yards...)

I eventually decided not to use the SKS simply because of the sights-while I shoot it fairly well from a bench, I don't think I could shoot it quickly with the horrid little sights it carries. With good sights, I think it would do OK.

That said, the Mosin completely outclasses it in terms of power, and probably accuracy. Get an M38 to make it easier to tote and you should be good to go.


December 12, 2004, 09:15 PM
As a guess based on the local terrain, I'll be seeing shots mostly around 75 to 150 yards.

Btw, does anyone know where to find non-FMJ 7.62x54R or 7.62x39mm ammo? What kind of prices should I expect?

DT Guy
December 12, 2004, 11:33 PM
Pricey, but it's out there:
Sportsman Guide (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=144159)

I'm sure you can find some cheaper stuff if you look...I think even Remington and WW are making it nowadays....


Edited-How about S+B?

Natchez (http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=ZYSBA76207)

December 13, 2004, 01:09 AM

December 13, 2004, 08:05 AM
is pretty marginal for deer especially at longer (more than 50yrds)ranges...Also, as mentioned,the SKS sights aren't too great. As a rule, even with "good" ammo SKSs aren't known for accuracy, although I have shot 1" groups with one of mine, but that's with a scope. If you're looking for a reasonably priced milsurp for deer, I'd look for a Mosin M44 or m38. Fairly light, handy package, in heavier caliber. I paid $69 for a re-arsenalled, then unissued one at Dunhams on sale, and they'll available almost anywhere,as well. 7.62x54R, very similar ballistics to .30-06, and accuracy is very good. They also make scope mounts for LER scopes that mount to original rear sight base, so you don't have to hurt any collector value it might have. The S&B ammo that is referred to is Sellier and Belloit, inexpensive ammo from Europe(forget which country at the moment). I haven't used the 7.62x54R, but in my 8mm Mauser its was marginally more accurate than similar Remington loads. It is (unlike most of the surplus ammo) reloadable (no Berdan primers). Seen the 7.62x54R in a local gunshop for $8 a box, cheaper on the web.

DT Guy
December 13, 2004, 09:00 AM

What kind of groups do you get with that MN and the scope? I keep meaning to pick one up....


December 13, 2004, 02:27 PM
Hunting with MN (I assume you mean Mosin Nagant):

You can get ammo lots of places:


I get 2-2.5" groups at 100 yards with my 1942 91/30. (4x EER scope on the Makarov.com scope mount) And the bore on this gun is FAR from perfect.

Safety: I load 4 rounds then close the bolt w/o a round in the chamber. The safety on a MN is the "pull back & turn" method that works pretty well but is hard to turn on and off easily. But if your a hunter who sits & waits instead of stalking it should be fine.

Edit: And yes I have hunted with a 91/30. It's heavy but damn near indestructible. And with the sling it's not's that bad.

Long Path
December 14, 2004, 01:22 AM
Keeping your shots inside of 100 yds (preferably far less), and hunting from a stand, I don't have a problem with a decent SKS with a decent load. But I agree that it's no powerhouse. Frankly, I've offered mine to a hunter who needed a spare rifle to hunt out of a stand over an 80 yard clearing, and didn't worry a bit about it. I tend to think of it as being almost interchangable with a .30-30 (but not quite).

But keep some self control and don't assume that you can make up for deficiencies with a fast second shot.

December 14, 2004, 02:10 AM
Keeping your shots inside of 100 yds (preferably far less), and hunting from a stand, I don't have a problem with a decent SKS with a decent load. But I agree that it's no powerhouse. Frankly, I've offered mine to a hunter who needed a spare rifle to hunt out of a stand over an 80 yard clearing, and didn't worry a bit about it. I tend to think of it as being almost interchangable with a .30-30 (but not quite).

I think I might have heard the 30-30 comparison for a 7.62x39mm before, but as far as I've seen, people consider a 30-30 as more of a brush gun. As for 80yds with confidence, that just seems a bit odd to me -- I don't think I'd have that kind of confidence.

But keep some self control and don't assume that you can make up for deficiencies with a fast second shot.

Agreed, agreed, and even more agreed. I'm favoring a MN simply because it'll get a clean kill as best as I can tell.


This leads me to another issue that's come to mind. This rifle probably won't see as much hunting as it will target practice. (Of course, it won't get much target practice either. There aren't any rifle ranges around.) This WOULD favor the SKS simply by cost of ammunition.

Anyways, thanks for your opinions. Still a tough decision.

December 14, 2004, 07:44 AM
and I never used anything but milsurp ammo in the MN, but with Czech "Silvertip" ammo I would shoot 2" groups at 50 yards. It would probably do better, but I have vision problems, can't use open sights worth a d**m. I actually sold it recently (for twice what i paid for it), to finance other projects. I don't hunt anymore so, I can't tell you much about performance there either. But I've known a couple people that with a scope, shoot 1" groups consistantly at 100 yards, with either M-44s or 91/30s, with good bores.

as far as ammo cost, yes 7.62x39 CAN be alot cheaper (i.e.Wolf ammo), but the cheap stuff is not at all accurate (OK for plinking), so if you buy better ammo, the price differential isn't so great. The most accurate milsurp ammo for MN is Czech "Silvertip", which you can get cheaply at gunshows and online. But, once again, its not as accurate as commercial ammo. Sellier and Belliot 7.62x54R is available, in local gunshop $8 a box, probably less online. I've not shot it in 7.62x54R, but in my 8mm Mausers its actually slightly more accurate than remington, in similar loading (~170 grn Soft point).

December 14, 2004, 10:59 PM
I have both, a SKS and a M-N, 7.62x54R, M38. The 7.62x54R is a lot more gun and could be used for about anything in the lower 48. The ammo used for either makes the big difference in hunting, Winchester makes ammo for both I think thats reasonable. Most of the cheap ammo on the market isn't intended for hunting. Both can be very accurate if handloads are used.

December 15, 2004, 10:22 AM
I put a TechSight rear sight on my Norinco as an experiment, and I found that made a WORLD of difference in my ability to use the SKS as a viable medium-game brush gun. I'm working up hunting handloads for my SKS this week, in fact, although I'd not be shy about using any of the factory softpoint rounds.

My goal is to be able to use my SKS as a walk-about rifle for taking game under, say, 150lbs and within 150 yards. I see no reason why a 125gr soft-point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2400fps and still moving at more than 2000fps at 150 yards would NOT be adequate for small to mid-size deer within that 150 yard range

December 15, 2004, 12:41 PM
I hear you about the concerns using the 7.62x39 round for hunting. I have an SKS and a Mini 30 (also chambered in 7.62x39) and I suddenly found myself invited to go on a pig hunt. I hadn't planned on hunting this season, so I put off getting a proper hunting rifle. Nonetheless, I had to press my one of my two 7.62x39 rifles into service for this hunt.

Here are my thoughts based on a lot of thinking about the issue of hunting pigs with the 7.62x39 and all the research/asking around I did about the issue.

1) While not optimal, the 7.62x39 will do for short to medium range shots on deer and smaller hogs. However, shot placement will be crucial so get a good scope or red dot etc.

2) It is possible to get a stoked up load for the 7.62x39 that will give you bullet weight and ballistics approaching a 150 gr. 30-30 cartridge. I'm carrying the 150 gr. corbon softpoint load. Here are the ballistics (according to Corbon):

2300fps/1762ftlbs (I assume they mean muzzle velocity/energy)

Here's the data from Remington for their 150 gr. Express JSP 30-30 load:
2390fps/1902ftlbs (Muzzle vel./engery)

While the 30-30 is a little faster and hits a little harder, they're probably close enough. The 30-30 is, of course, the quintessential deer cartridge for short to medium ranges, and most people would tell you that, while not optimal, the 150 gr. 30-30 would work for hogs if you do your job with respect to shot placement.

So, I will hunt with my 7.62x39 rifles until I can afford a proper 30-06. But, if I had access to a different rifle or was considering wheather to buy a 7.62x39 rifle to hunt with, I'd pass and pick something designed for the task.

December 15, 2004, 02:00 PM
It looks like there's a MN in my near future. Now the hard part: waiting for the gunshow in mid-Jan. and finding the rifle at it... :D

On a side note... What other milsurps would you guys recommend? Enfield .303? Etc?

December 15, 2004, 04:57 PM
Everybody should have at least one No4Mk1 Enfield. More are better. :)

Long Path
December 15, 2004, 06:17 PM
rbernie speaks the truth. Rave on, brother.

But it's also a fine thing to have a nice Argentine Mauser, a 1917, a Springfield 1903 or '03A3, an 1896 Mauser, and. . . help me folks!

So many choices!

As to 80 yards with an SKS-- I feel very confident with it at that range, given a nice broadside and a grazing deer. I know quite a few who have taken deer at that range with handguns.

My comparison of 7.62 to .30-30 Winchester (which is to many a yardstick round for minimum hunting round) is based on the fact that they both launch .30 cal projectiles out of handy rifles at about the same velocities (2365/2390 fps), but the .30-30's is a 150g bullet while the 7.62 X 39's is a 125g bullet. Slight advantage: .30-30 Winchester. But it's still miles ahead of any .357 Magnum handgun load, and well ahead of all but the absolute stoutest .44 Magnum loads.

This is still so much better than the .30 Carbine, which a lot of deer have been shot (and a few wounded) with.

December 16, 2004, 11:37 AM
but the .30-30's is a 150g bullet while the 7.62 X 39's is a 125g bullet. Slight advantage: .30-30 Winchester.

Long Path, I agree with you about the 30-30 and 7.62x39 comparison, except that some commercial ammo makers (my example above is Corbon) and handloaders are putting a 150gr. bullet in the 7.62x39. While balistics aren't exactly the same, both rifles are capable of throwing a 150 gr. 30 cal. bullet at similar velocities. The difference is that the "short" 7.62x39 wasn't designed for that heavy of a bullet, and so proably will never reach the velocity/energy of a (longer cased) 30-30, with the heavier bullet.

I'm curious if anyone knows how the 150 gr. 7.62x39 loads actually perform on game in comparison with the 30-30. Anyone used both? Similar performance (e.g. one good shot did it) or is one performing much better than the other?

January 3, 2005, 08:18 PM
My brother has a 1917 US enfield its a very good gun shoots well, he also has an SKS its a fun gun not a hunting rifle, 50 yards and under would be a self imposed limit if i were to carry one and as for the Lee-Enfield rifles in .303 they are great guns and kill deer as dead as any other guns

January 4, 2005, 11:16 PM
I have hunted successfully with both an SKS and a Mosin. The SKS is a great deer rifle up to 175 yards or so. I scoped one of my SKS's and got a deer at 225 yards with it about 4 years ago. I would not recommend shooting at that distance. I only took the shot because a fellow hunter was going to back up my shot with a better rifle. The mosin has a much better round and is generally more accurate. I have used several different mosins and my 1942 Finn M39 B-barrel is my favorite deer rifle. Its accuracy is much better than I am capable of and has gotten me a deer every year I have used it. I have had no problems finding soft point ammo for either rifle.

January 8, 2005, 11:21 PM
I have taken 3 deer (MI - Whitetails) with a nice little SKS the Russian' built in 1950. The thing is an interesting weapon but not a norm in the normal deer woods....if such thing is such.

As other postings explain it is close to 30-30 balistics but shot placement and the correct soft point ammo 123-125 grain is important.

I would stay under the 150 yard mark.........an my personal feelings I don't like going over 100 with it. I have a 4 power scope and feel it is worth the few bucks to be all the gun can be. The sights on mine work fine too...... but a scope with a look 4 times bigger helps when I need the help....

Hope you found the info not only a rerun but a little helpful?

January 17, 2005, 09:35 PM
I have a MN M44, way oversize bore, factory ammo is 4" at 25 yds, have to hand load .314 cast to get 2" at 50 yds, several people I know have M38's, M44's and 91/30, the results are all over the place, 1" at 100 to 4'x4' at 25 yds.
I also have a S-R K31, a little more money , but all I have heard about were from good to excellent, mine has a .297-.307 barrel and with a 2x scout scope will do 1" at 50 yds for me all day. The cartridge is about equal to a .308, factory ammo is available , new , empty cases are available cheap, regular .308 dia . bullets are all you need.
In my opinion, much less of a gamble than a MN.
Don :)

January 30, 2005, 12:01 AM
I killed my first deer with an M-1 rifle shooting Remington 150 gr. JSP
bullets. It was a 7 point buck.
The rifle is a Winchester, built in 1943, and rebuilt in the 60's for NG use.
I bought it from a police officer who got it from the old DCM program.
I paid 300 bucks for it in 1975, and I wouldn't take twice that for it today.
It is a "shooter".


February 1, 2005, 11:01 AM
I don't like the short bolt handle or the crude manufacture of the mn,they are about as elegant as my mother inlaw sitting on the pot.There is no arguing they work,but not for me,I would think a sporterized 303 whether you dropped it in a stock or someone else did the wood work,a much nicer rifle.Also the german rifles of 8mm are much nicer built. Rather than wait for a show why don't you find a dealer that will work with you and order something.Look up S.O.G. on the web

February 1, 2005, 01:29 PM
This is an Enfield No4Mk1 (chambered in 303 British) set up for hunting:


This is the 1895 Chilean Mauser (7x57) that I used to harvest this year's deer:


Not including the scope and mounts, I've got less than $300 tied up in each of these (and a fair bit of sweat equity). Both will shoot MOA or better with handloads or certainly factory loads, hot-or-cold. For both of them, all I really did was reblue-n-restock them (altho I'm working on another stock for the Mauser), 'smith in a drop-n trigger, and work out a scope mounting system. Otherwise, they are exactly as they came off the line, original barrels and all. (In the case of the Mauser, that 'born-on' date was better than 100 years ago. The Enfield is the baby of the two, having been born in 1944.)

I don't have a picture of the SKS that I set up for brush hunting, but the TechSight rear peep and Barnaul softpoints were keys in that setup. It's too bad that I've not yet had a chance to use it in the field. I have a restocked-but-otherwise-intact Enfield No4 that, when downloaded with the 7.62x39's 123gr bullets, kinda took over the SKS's role as my 'go-to' open-sight brush gun. (I decided that I liked the Enfield over the SKS because it was more versatile - I could use 123gr, 150gr, or 180+gr bullet loadings in the same rifle.)

I've also got an Eddystone 1917 (30-06) and Mauser 1893 small-ring in 8x57 in the works as well. :D

February 10, 2005, 10:21 PM
well, I hunt hogs with my SOCOM 16. Not cheap, but darned effective with the EOTech sight mounted.