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Re: 7.62x39 vs 5.56x45

26 Mar 2019
@ 12:55 pm (GMT)

William Craig

You don’t say where you are or what you plan to hunt, so it’s difficult to fully assess which caliber would be best for you. I live in central Virginia, so my comments will be based on living and hunting here. I’ve not shot the 7.62x39 much, although I did mess with a .300 BLK for a while. I have shot the .223/5.56x45 a lot - from AR as well as bolt actions. It can do a lot, but it really isn’t the best choice for hunting game weighing much over 50 pounds. The 7.62x39 and .300 BLK throw a much heavier bullet at a reasonable muzzle velocity, but they, too, quickly run out of steam. So, for me, the choice would be neither the .223 nor the 7.62x39. Instead, I would opt for a bolt action chambered in .308 Winchester. Given the “apocalypse” requirement, I’d choose the Ruger Scout Rifle. It’s not too long and not too heavy, so you’re likely to have it when you need it. It’s pre-threaded, so easy to fit with a silencer (USA term) and accepts large capacity magazines (or 5 rounders where required for hunting). A wide range of factory loads are available and it will handle 7.62x51 ammunition as well. If you reload, it’s even more versatile. Using published load data, I got 3,000 FPS with a Sierra 125 grain Pro Hunter out of a 17.5 inch barreled Ruger American rifle. Inside 100 yards it killed whitetail deer like they were struck by lightning. Loaded with heavier bullets it would work on black bear or elk/moose inside 100 yards. Recoil is very manageable. Won’t do double taps, but hits hard and the bolt can be cycled pretty quickly at need. I currently own CF rifles in .223,.308,.25-06, and 6.5 Creedmoor, but if forced to pick just one, it would be the .308.


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