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Old December 29, 2005, 06:37 PM   #1
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Effective range of 7.62 x 39

Hey guys,

I have been doing some good target shooting with my SKS , 100, 200 yards with really good patterns.

I was wondering what the maximum range of the round is for hunting purposes before it drops or loses power, any good information would be greatly appreciated. The last time I went hunting I was reccomended not to use 7.62 but a borrowed .308(that thing was a dream)....

But since the SKS is such a blast to shoot and is very accurate I would like to know where I stand with a good scope for deer hunting.

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Old December 29, 2005, 10:00 PM   #2
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It would be in the vicinity of a .30-30. With the scope and soft-point ammo, I'd probably limit myself to around 100 yards or maybe a bit more if the deer is presenting an easy hit.

I'd mostly suggest shooting a good bit at small paper plates at 50 and 75 yards until it's an "always" hit from a hasty-rest position, and try it offhand as well. Then work on tin cans, and on out to 100 yards.

Proficiency from "do it now" shooting positions is probably more important than fancy guns'n'gear...

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Old December 29, 2005, 10:15 PM   #3
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From a muzzle energy point of view, about 150 yards, maximum, with this round, on deer-sized game. Of course, muzzle energy numbers are only a guideline, not an absolute. However, the 7.62 x 39 does lose a lot of velocity and start to drop a large amount - such that, beyond 200 yards, I would not consider it useful.
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Old December 30, 2005, 06:49 AM   #4
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I’ve read before that for dear sized game you need about 800 ft-lbs. of energy in a round. If that’s true and it’s probably a good rough guide then 7.62x39 would be capable of putting down a dear out to about 250 yards, according to the Remington Shoot program that is. Also according to that if you are zeroed at 100 yards and are shooting at 250 with that round you will probably be hitting over a foot low.
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Old December 30, 2005, 02:48 PM   #5
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The round itself, in an accurate gun I would say it's good to 150 yards, maybe a bit more....

But, since you mention an SKS, which is probably not the most accurate of platforms (Don't get me wrong, I have 2 and love 'em), shots should probably be kept within 100 yards. That's as far as I would try with mine anyway, and be sure I got a clean kill...
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Old December 31, 2005, 08:06 AM   #6
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I think this is a matter of how comfortable you are with the rifle, and your ability to hit a target with it. I agree with the above, practice will extend YOUR effective range. I think the cartridge should be effective a little beyond 200 yards, but you must be sure of your shot placement.

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Old January 1, 2006, 04:30 PM   #7
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You're never going to get a consistent answer to this kind of a question because you'll always bump up against the intangibles of 'what constitutes max range for a given rifle/chambering'. The advice you've been give, when lumped together and culled for nuggets, is all good. Max effective range for the chambering itself (presuming the use of appropriate 123gr-125gr hunting bullets) from an energy and trajectory perspective is probably 200 to 250 yards. All of my SKS's, when stoked with good domestic hunting ammo, could hold 2" groups at 100 yards - good enough accuracy for hunting deer inside of 200 yards, I reckon, if everything else goes perfectly. AHA!, you think - so my max effective range for the SKS on deer-sized game is 200 yards. Well, maybe, but most likely not.

For example, I have not yet taken a shot at game with my Marlin 30-30 that was further than 75 yards. Certainly, the rifle and the chambering can do better - it's almost an MOA rifle at 100 yards off a bench. But I can't hold that kind of accuracy with the rifle offhand, and until I get to a 300 yard range I have no idea what the trajectory looks like past 100 yards even if I could find an expedient rest in the field. This means that I have to occasionally (like this last Friday!) pass up a 150yd shot on a great-looking doe because the conditions were simply not right - no rest in sight, no way to drop to a supported position without spooking the deer, and no way of knowing how much drop I was going to see at that range. Therefore, my 30-30 in my hands in field conditions - no rest, snap shot - and with an unknown trajectory past 100 yards, currently has a max effective range of 75 yards.

If you can do you part (and be HONEST with yourself about what that means), the SKS stoked with good domestic hunting ammo is capable of taking deer out past 150 yards. But there's a lot of homework involved in being effective out to that range in the field, and that's the real rub of it all.
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Old January 1, 2006, 04:51 PM   #8
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This has been discussed many times before. With the Wolf 154 grain soft point or the Corbon 150 grain soft point, the 7.62x39 is equal to a 30-30. As for effective range, for hunting I'd stay under 125 yards, although I've known guys who took deer out to 200 yards. Personally I would not try a shot that far unless the SKS is scoped.
In Russia they use the 7.62 x39 SKS for most all dangerous game. It's a rifle that most farmers can afford to own, and ammo is plentiful. It may not be the best choice in caliber, but it can get off 10 rapid shots at a charging amimal. It is not unusual for them to kill tigers with it. At what range, I don't really know, but I doubt it's close!
There was a special on it a few weeks ago. A tiger killed and ate a man. The hunting party shot and killed the tiger. All in the party were carrying SKS's.
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Old December 25, 2010, 07:52 PM   #9
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I've killed deer at 250 yards standing. I have a 9x zoom scope. All you have to do is get a receiver with scope mounts. They're not that much. Just look around online. Maybe try Not sure where I got mine.
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Old December 26, 2010, 02:14 AM   #10
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on at 100

A 7.62x39, sighted on at 100, will drop about 7 inches by 200 and more than 20" at 300. That pretty much tells me it is running out of steam by 200. Will it kill at 200 and beyond, certainly. Is it a viable 200 yd + deer ctg, no.

Bamaboy and myself are taking deer semi-regularly with x39 rifles (a Mini-30 and a Ruger 77-II) but in no instances have we killed one over 100 yds. But at the distances we are shooting, 50-75 yds, w/ 125 gr factory (read Win or Rem 125 SP's, or my 135 gr reloads) the x39 acts just like a 30-30 on our deer. I consider the x39 a 150 yd max deer round, and only then in a rifle w/ suitable accuracy and correct zero. I may get scorched, but I see the 30-30 in the same light.

I am not a fan of the SKS, too long and heavy for what its supposed to be, a carbine. But the SKS is cheap, they are plentiful, and are getting used as deer rifles as a result. I am not sure what an SKS is capable of accuracy wise. And import ammo is a question mark for me in terms of reliable expansion and consistent accuracy. I'd get some Brown Bear 125 gr SP and have at some paper plates at 100 yds. If I got minute of plate accuracy, say 4-6" groups, I'd call it a 100 yd deer rifle.
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Old December 26, 2010, 03:04 AM   #11
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On Youtube, just for some data at longer ranges, search "420 yards".

Although this would be too far, the shooter (who has a series of videos) reports that his SKS' muzzle velocity drops from 2,100 fps to 1,500 fps and
753 ft.-lbs. energy. Did not see what type of ammo is evaluated.

A guy in TX killed a large hog with a single shot of jhp from his SKS. He did not indicate the range, ammo etc. But the clear photos of the swine's nasty fatal wound seemed to be proof of effective shooting.
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Old December 26, 2010, 03:16 AM   #12
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Here ya go

Tabular trajectory data at Std.ICAO Atmosphere
Gun / Ammunition : 7.62 x 39 (M43) Russ.
Bullet Type : .309, 146, Lapua FMJ BT B334
Bullet Weight : 146 grains or 9.46 Grams
Muzzle Velocity : 2113 fps
Twist Length : 8.5 in. (RH)
Gyro. Stability : 3.67
Crosswind Speed : 10.0 Mph
Ballistic Coefficient(s) (G1) :
[email protected]>0 fps;

Table of Various Zero Ranges - Trajectory Path to LOS in inches
Range 200 yd. 400 yd. 600 yd. 800 yd. 1000 yd. 1200 yd. 1400 yd. 1600 yd. 1800 yd. 2000 yd.
200 yd. Zero X -44.8 -160.6 -378.4 -724.5 1219.0 1885.6 2749.2 3836.7 5179.7
400 yd. Zero +22.4 X -93.4 -288.7 -612.5 1084.6 1728.8 2570.0 3635.1 4955.7
600 yd. Zero +53.5 +62.3 X -164.2 -456.8 -897.8 1510.9 2320.9 3354.9 4644.4
800 yd. Zero +94.6 +144.4 +123.2 X -251.6 -651.5 1223.5 1992.5 2985.4 4233.9
1000 yd. Zero +144.9 +245.0 +274.1 +201.2 X -349.6 -871.3 1590.0 2532.6 3730.8
1200 yd. Zero +203.2 +361.5 +448.9 +434.3 +291.3 X -463.4 1123.8 2008.2 3148.1
1400 yd. Zero +269.4 +493.9 +647.5 +699.1 +622.4 +397.2 X -594.2 1412.4 2486.0
1600 yd. Zero +343.6 +642.5 +870.3 +996.2 +993.7 +842.9 +519.9 X -743.9 1743.3
1800 yd. Zero +426.3 +807.8 1118.3 1326.9 1407.0 1338.8 1098.5 +661.2 X -916.7
2000 yd. Zero +518.0 +991.1 1393.3 1693.5 1865.4 1888.8 1740.2 1394.6 +825.1 X
147 yd. PB Zero -4.6 -54.0 -174.4 -396.7 -747.5 1246.6 1917.8 2785.9 3878.1 5225.7
Velocity fps. 1735.2 1412.8 1169.5 1020.2 927.2 857.0 798.4 746.9 700.2 657.2
Energy ft.lbs. 976.0 646.9 443.3 337.4 278.7 238.1 206.6 180.8 158.9 140.0
Deflection in. -4.4 -19.5 -47.2 -86.1 -132.7 -184.2 -239.8 -298.6 -359.9 -423.3
Correction MOA/mph -0.212 -0.466 -0.751 -1.028 -1.267 -1.466 -1.636 -1.782 -1.909 -2.021
Time sec 0.313 0.697 1.166 1.718 2.337 3.010 3.736 4.51

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Old December 26, 2010, 07:35 AM   #13
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I have shot my shot my 20" norinco SKS equipped w/ a tech sight at 300 yards before. The wolf 122gr FMJ 7.62x39 drops ~13.5" at that range. I was shooting a silhouette target and aimed at the head and 7 of 10 of my shots hit around the middle of the body. That being said, punching paper is NOT the same as taking deer sized game humanely. I personally would keep all of my shots at a max range of 150 yards. I would also zero my rifle with the wolf 154gr SP load.
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Old December 26, 2010, 07:49 PM   #14
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For me it is 100 yards. For you? How far for 5 for 5 on a 5 inch pie plate?
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Old December 26, 2010, 07:55 PM   #15
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Lots of punch at close ranges but loses alot of pop on out. Id limit it to around 125 yards or so. If you can hit consistantly though at 150 and know your aiming marks go for it. The gun will kill the target, its just your job to do it.
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Old December 26, 2010, 09:23 PM   #16
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I use a CZ 527 in7.62 x 39 to hunt on my property. Max shot I could ever take is 100 yards and that is what I think the all arond practical range is unless you have ideal circumstances and then maybe 150 yards.

I am an SKS fan also.
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Old December 26, 2010, 09:56 PM   #17
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I love my little CZ 527M carbine.

No rest used, fired from a seated unsupported position, elbows on the table. trying to find a good cast load for it, too, lot of new boolits to try now.
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Old December 27, 2010, 04:24 PM   #18
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Holy thread resurrection, Batman!
The Jeep has been a lot of fun, but time to come back to my first hobby.. shooting.
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