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Old October 27, 2017, 10:28 AM   #1
gunman5646
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7.62X39 123 or 150 for deer?

Been loading this little cartridge for about a month now. I would like to use either of them(mini30 and American Ranch rifle) for close range medium sized game hunting.
So far I have developed a couple of reasonable loads with the Hornady 123 SP and 123 Zmax. I'm thinking about going for penetration with a 150 gr. bullet, but their isn't much data around, especially for .310 diameter pills.
Anyone been here before?
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Old October 27, 2017, 11:15 AM   #2
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DISCLOSURE: I have never shot a deer with this caliber, but own several and really like this caliber, so this is more my opinion than based on first hand experience.

I would stick to the 123g for the reason of velocity. With only 27g difference between the two weights but about 300 ft/sec more with 123 bullet being faster and will be matching speeds of a 150g 30-30 Win. of about 2300 ft/sec. 150g in 7.62x39 will be barely breaking 2000 ft/sec with a hot load.

In reality, both would work fine depending on shot placement and distance. I personally would not use either more than 150 yards.
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Old October 27, 2017, 11:15 AM   #3
ligonierbill
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I haven't been there, but Sierra has. (I load their 0.311 150 gr ProHunter for an old Mosin.) They tested primarily with a Ruger Mini 30, but ran some through a Russian SKS.
Have you slugged your bore? Sierra says the Ruger has 0.308 grooves. In any case, they tried some 311s in the Ruger and 308s in the SKS and stated they got good results. You can get 150 ProHunters in either flavor, and personally I would favor those for deer. Sierra's "hunting" load is a 308 150 over 24.7 gr Reloder 7. Ran 2,100 for them out of the Ruger, pretty close to a 30-30. You might try both diameters and see which is more accurate out of your rifles. I can tell you that the 0.311 (yes, I slugged the bore) does well out of the 7.62x54R, but that's at 2,700 fps.
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Old October 27, 2017, 11:17 AM   #4
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154Gr Tula. It was made for hunting and you won't be disappointed. Any of the US made hunting ammo in 123-125gr works just as well. Depends on how much money you want to spend. Keep it 150 yards or less like someone said and your golden. I strictly use 154ge Tula's and they work great for me but wouldn't hesitate to use the US made ammo.
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Old October 27, 2017, 07:48 PM   #5
disseminator
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I would stay with the 123g for Deer myself.
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Old October 28, 2017, 07:13 AM   #6
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I would stay with the 123g for Deer myself.
@disseminator

May I ask why you said that?
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Old October 28, 2017, 11:02 AM   #7
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A question that may apply; what's the velocity of both 123 gr and 150 gr bullets at 100 yds? At 150 yds? Enough left for acceptable performance on deer?
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Old October 28, 2017, 11:13 AM   #8
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My family in Kansas have been filling the freezer with deer meat every year using SKS rifles, and Winchester hunting ammo. Note all the shots they take are under 75 yards, and most are inside of 50 yards in the river bottoms. I would advise make a good arrow of either weight. Then spend the time after working on the Indian that shoots it.
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Old October 28, 2017, 11:46 AM   #9
T. O'Heir
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No deer hunting with a Z-Max. They're a discontinued novelty varmint bullet. They're really just V-Maxes out for Halloween.
A 150 is too long for the 7.62 x 39. Even at 2.220" OAL.
Use 123 or 125 grain deer bullets. Hornady makes 3 types of .310" 123 grain deer bullets. Sierra makes a 125 grain Prohunter. Speer makes a 123 grain Hot Cor SP.
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Old October 28, 2017, 01:42 PM   #10
jetinteriorguy
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Quite a few years ago I used 123 gr soft points for deer and they worked well out to 150 yds for me. I have taken several large northern deer on the run out to 150 no problem.
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Old October 28, 2017, 09:38 PM   #11
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The Tula 150 gr. SP ammo can sometimes be iffy as to expansion yet it will kill deer,the same pretty much goes for any of the other commercial steel jacket lead core bullets from Russian be they hollow points or SP. Steel jacket bullet just don't react the same as copper jacket lead core bullet. It's really just a combination of impact velocity an what the bullet hits. Below is a recovered bullet from a deer shot front to back at 80 yds. with a 154 gr. Russian SP. Not much expansion but the deer is still DRT.


Bullet mfg. design there bullets for a given caliber for hunting purposes to expand as advertised an preform on game within a given velocity range otherwise depending on the jackets design they over expand or don't expand at all.

A non expanding bullet is not always a problem such as in the case of cast lead bullets for hunting which have a decent size meplat an generally run in the 150 to 180 gr. range in the X 39 cartridge. In most all cases full penetration with a nice exit hole are normal at X39 ranges even at velocities in the 1700 to 1900 fps. range. Expansion can be had if needed simply by using a softer alloy with the same bullet design.

Back in the day when I use to use jacked bullet exclusively in my SKS rifles before I switched over to pretty much all cast lead I loaded my own .311" 150 gr. Speer and Prvi Partizan SP bullets. Lee 2nd. Edition reloading manuals has data for 150 gr. jacketed bullet.


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Old October 28, 2017, 11:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
@disseminator

May I ask why you said that?
Because like the 300 Blackout, the 7.62x39 is a marginal Deer cartridge to begin with and lighter bullets at faster speeds are going to perform better in the flesh of the animal. (Terminal Ballistics)

Unless the heavier bullet is specifically designed for terminal performance at x39 velocities in which case it may be better but I still favor the speed over mass for this particular cartridge.
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Old October 29, 2017, 09:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ligonierbill View Post
I haven't been there, but Sierra has. (I load their 0.311 150 gr ProHunter for an old Mosin.) They tested primarily with a Ruger Mini 30, but ran some through a Russian SKS.
Have you slugged your bore? Sierra says the Ruger has 0.308 grooves. In any case, they tried some 311s in the Ruger and 308s in the SKS and stated they got good results. You can get 150 ProHunters in either flavor, and personally I would favor those for deer. Sierra's "hunting" load is a 308 150 over 24.7 gr Reloder 7. Ran 2,100 for them out of the Ruger, pretty close to a 30-30. You might try both diameters and see which is more accurate out of your rifles. I can tell you that the 0.311 (yes, I slugged the bore) does well out of the 7.62x54R, but that's at 2,700 fps.
I will say that Sierra is wrong. There are so few Mini 30's that are bored .308 that it is not worth mentioning. They are bored .310.

There is only one guy @ Perfect Union that has a .308 bored Mini. Everybody else has the .310 bore.

Perhaps Sierra got ahold of one by mere luck. They are rare as hens teeth. This is not a cut down to you. I am NOT a keyboard commando in any stretch of the imagination.

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Old October 29, 2017, 10:07 AM   #14
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The 7.62x39 is not a marginal deer cartridge with 150 grain bulllets. That is a ridiculous statement. The Tula 154's I shoot through my chrono constantly measure 2175-2200 fps. Those old fallacies need to die. Their bullets are designed to work at those supposedly modest speeds. The people talking like that have probably never used one to hunt with. Keep the range to 30-30 caliber yards and you are just fine. Shoot what you like but don't put down a caliber or bullet with only Internet paper facts. The main problem with the ruskie caliber is finding the right bullet diameter your rifle likes as some cheat and use .308 bullets instead of .312 like someone else mentioned.

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Old October 29, 2017, 12:02 PM   #15
Russell P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipspyder View Post
The 7.62x39 is not a marginal deer cartridge with 150 grain bulllets. That is a ridiculous statement. The Tula 154's I shoot through my chrono constantly measure 2175-2200 fps. Those old fallacies need to die. Their bullets are designed to work at those supposedly modest speeds. The people talking like that have probably never used one to hunt with. Keep the range to 30-30 caliber yards and you are just fine. Shoot what you like but don't put down a caliber or bullet with only Internet paper facts. The main problem with the ruskie caliber is finding the right bullet diameter your rifle likes as some cheat and use .308 bullets instead of .312 like someone else mentioned.
What zip said. You should also use a bullet not intended for soft skinned predators. V-Max and Z-max are for these critters. No hollow points for deer either. You need a soft point or bonded style bullet that will penetrate and open up more gradually than all those listed above.

I use the 123 g. Hornady SST's over H4198 with 24gs. 25 g is just a little too much in my Mini 30. Drop a grain and its like running a sewing machine. Sorta.

ETA: This is a .310 bullet

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Old October 29, 2017, 09:09 PM   #16
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Buy yourself some Federal Fusion 123gr factory ammo. Hands Down the best load there is for the 7.62x39 cartridge.
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Old October 29, 2017, 10:09 PM   #17
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The 123gr is plenty adequate for deer. The weight is close enough to the 130 gr 270 bullet to not be significant. It is also heavier than the 90-100 gr bullets that made the 243 Win famous as a deer harvester.

For more discussion on bullet weights, see Ideal Bullet Weight
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Old October 29, 2017, 11:33 PM   #18
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x39mm on deer

I hunt two 7.62x39mm rifles for whitetails, a Mini30 and a 77MkII. I've also toyed with the cartridge in an AK clone. Best velocities are from the 20" bolt rifle, followed by the shorter 16" Mini and AK. Most loads will run 100 fps faster in the bolt rifle. I've shot both .308 dia and .310 dia bullets through both, after reading all the malarky on line about Ruger bore diameters. Either diameter shot well enough from both rifles to take whitetails at woods ranges, but the .310's have a useful edge in accuracy. For quite a few years, I shot the Sierra SSP bullet intended for the .30 Herret, a .308 diameter, 135 gr flat based soft point in the Pro-Hunter line. That bullet ran about 2150 fps and passed through all deer shot with it, saving one that struck the spine. Kills ranged from DRT, to the typical death sprint, and I never once felt as if I had pulled a stunt, or used too little gun.

The Sierra 135 SSP is now discontinued,and I have switched to .310, 123 gr SST's for the MkII, using H4198 powder. I'm getting 2225 fps from the bolt rifle, better accuracy, and what seems like a tad better expansion as well. I wrote up the lone SST kill last fall in the HUNTING sections of these forums, the deed being performed by now full grown bamaboy at about 50 yds on a mature doe.

I've not decided on a new slug for the Mini30. I have experimented slightly with 150 gr FN (.30-30) bullets in both rifles but did not get them past 2000 fps using reasonable charges of RE7. I suspect the 20" barreled bolt rifle would indeed break 2000 fps with the 150 gr slugs, but I have just not seen the need to push the cartridge that hard, and am getting pass throughs with the lighter bullet weight (123-5) on our deer.

I'm still shooting the 135/SSP from the Mini, but when the last of the SSP's are gone, I likely will just load the SST for the Mini30 as well. If nothing else it will be plain simpler. One quirk is that the MKII has a very long throat and I can seat the slugs way out beyond spec COAL and get outstanding accuracy. The Mini will not be near as accurate do to the nature of the beast I'm sure, and additionally, will be limited to COAL by the detachable box mag as well. But due to different COAL's, my ammo will not be interchangeable.

The x39mm cartridge is plenty for whitetails at woods ranges, and I would place it in the same league as the .30-30 in terms of range and power. The old lever gun cartridge has an edge in case capacity and bullet weight, but at woods ranges on whitetails its advantage is mostly statistics. On bigger game, say big black bears, big hogs, and certainly moose/elk, the 30-30 and its bigger slugs up to 170 gr offer a distinct advantage, but the average whitetial poses no problems for the x39mm cartridge with 125 gr bullets.
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Old October 31, 2017, 11:41 AM   #19
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I have personal experience shooting deer with the Hornady 123G SST load in 7.62x39 and it is perfectly effective.

I'd go with the 123 grainers.
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Old November 3, 2017, 12:23 AM   #20
gunman5646
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I have some reload development to do.

Thanks for the info fellas I truly appreciate it. I believe that I have already developed a useful coyote load with the 123 Z-max(V-max) at 2200 fps. I will continue to look into the sp's,sst's,and 150 grainers. I contacted Ruger directly about bore diameter and I quote," The bore diameter for the mini-thirty rifle was changed from .308 to .311 in 1990."
Since I have 2 mini-30's, one made in 1988, the other in 2016, and a Ranch rifle made in 2017. I'll need both size bullets, but .311's have been the rule for the last 27 years, and .308 only the first 4 years of production.
I'll be doing some major load testing right after Nov. 8. I'll be firing as many bullet types as I can load for both accuracy and through the chrony. I would like to develope one to work for all three rifles(If that's possible).
I'll be opening a new thread on this topic sometime in late November, complete with chrony data and group targets.
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Old November 3, 2017, 06:33 AM   #21
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"I'm thinking about going for penetration with a 150 gr. bullet, but their isn't much data around, especially for .310 diameter pills."

The 7.62 is already "velocity challenged" even with 123-125 grain bullets, no need to impair it even more with heavier bullets. The pic posted by "res45" is representative of the performance of TULA 154 according to everyone I've heard.
Personally, I've used the 7.62 with 123-125 bullets to shoot 5 or 6 deer--none of which resulted in what I'd call "excellent" results. Yes, the deer died but internal damage was barely adequate and blood trails were sketchy--I'd only use it with snow on the ground.
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Old November 3, 2017, 07:40 AM   #22
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Sorry but you heard wrong about the Tula 154gr? Who is this "everyone"? Were these so called Internet facts? That is what I use for deer hunting and find it funny every time people regurgitate that stuff.
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Old November 3, 2017, 08:38 AM   #23
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Funny you should ask--I'm in the process now of trying to find good hunting loads for my AR47--though I've yet to hunt with a 7.62 x 39.

I'm currently trying some loads based on cavity back's 125 gr which is an all-copper design but opens up at 1100 fps.
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Old November 3, 2017, 09:53 AM   #24
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The 7.62x39 is not a marginal deer cartridge with 150 grain bulllets. That is a ridiculous statement. The Tula 154's I shoot through my chrono constantly measure 2175-2200 fps.
It's hilarious to watch people so emotionally invested in their caliber of choice that they will ignore the meaning of words they are using.....

Quote:
mar·gin·al
ˈmärjənl 1. relating to or situated at the edge or margin of something.
It's at or near the bottom edge of cartridges suitable for hunting deer- there are very few with less power out of common platforms than this one, compared to the vast number of cartridges with more power above it on the spectrum. By the very meaning of the word, it IS "marginal".

It can work, if you keep the range very short, use a bullet designed for the task, a barrel that will produce as much velocity as possible, and make very good placement.

I've seen SKS's work on deer ......and seen them fail spectacularly, too.

On the plus side, they have 20 times the range and at least 100 times the energy of a sharp stick ..... but there are better tools..... Many more.
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Old November 3, 2017, 10:37 AM   #25
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The 123gr is plenty adequate for deer. The weight is close enough to the 130 gr 270 bullet to not be significant. It is also heavier than the 90-100 gr bullets that made the 243 Win famous as a deer harvester.
And going about 30% slower...... at the muzzle..... by 100 yards, the x39 bullet has around 900 foot/pounds of energy remaining .... which is the minimum legal standard in my state. Marginal.
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