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Which is the better cartridge, overall?

  • 5.45x39mm

    Votes: 4 14.8%
  • 7.62x39mm

    Votes: 23 85.2%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm going to purchase one of Arsenal's SGL rifles (semi-auto 100 series AK variants), either the SGL21 (7.62x39mm) or SGL31 (5.45x39.5mm), and my only hang-up is on my lack of knowledge when it comes to the ballistics in between the two.

I'm kind of a .45 ACP guy, so if you asked me I'd say bigger is better (it's not quite that simple, I know!), so I was already leaning towards the 7.62x39. But I've also done a few searches on 7.62x39 Vs. 5.45x39 and some of the information I saw has me believing that the 5.45x39 is a viable option.

So what do y'all think? If you had to choose one, as an "all purpose" round, which would you pick; the 7.62 or the 5.45? Stating your case for your choice of the two will be a definite plus for me. Thanks in advance! :thumsup


Edited to emphasize question...
 

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7.62 would be my pick if i were younger. Better ballistics, better barrier buster. thirty caliber power, you cant go wrong. More access to magazines to date, but im sure the 5.45 mag will be made new here someday. I have both but at my age enjoy shooting the smaller 5.45 round. Ammo prices are coming down for the 7.62 also........Jump in fast and hard.....!!!!!! get as many magazaines as you can afford too. The commie steel ones are dependable and cheap, the US Palm mags are expensive but supposed to be good. Stay away from the other American made magazines. Stay away from the mags with the "bullet" patterns on them made in "Commie land. Commie black polymer waffle mags with the number surrounded by a circle are good to go............I dont know if the Korean steel mags are any good but there are soooo many Eastern Commie mags out there you dont have to try them...........
 

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The heavier 7.62x39 does not have the accuracy or distance of the 5.45 but will have quite a bit more impact upon contact. The little 5.45 tends to 'wander' around inside a body and can cause quite a bit of secondary damage. The 7.62 has been very easy to find, and quite reasonably priced in bulk. You can also use the 7.62 in SKS rifles.. Oh, I'm a little prejudiced on this one, have an AK 7.62x39 and the SKS:grin
 

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Discussion Starter #4
7.62 would be my pick if i were younger. Better ballistics, better barrier buster. thirty caliber power, you cant go wrong. More access to magazines to date, but im sure the 5.45 mag will be made new here someday. I have both but at my age enjoy shooting the smaller 5.45 round. Ammo prices are coming down for the 7.62 also........Jump in fast and hard.....!!!!!! get as many magazaines as you can afford too. The commie steel ones are dependable and cheap, the US Palm mags are expensive but supposed to be good. Stay away from the other American made magazines. Stay away from the mags with the "bullet" patterns on them made in "Commie land. Commie block polymer mags with the number surrounded by a circle are good to go............I dont know if the Korean steel mags are any good but there are soooo many Eastern Commie mags out there you dont have to try them...........
I've already made up my mind on buying Silver Bear ammo for either caliber, and I'd be ordering the stuff over the mail so availability is not much of an issue for me on that front. I've also found the place to buy and the type of mags from some reliable sources. With that said, even though 7.62 might be coming down in price, 5.45 is still cheaper. And...

The heavier 7.62x39 does not have the accuracy or distance of the 5.45 but will have quite a bit more impact upon contact. The little 5.45 tends to 'wander' around inside a body and can cause quite a bit of secondary damage. The 7.62 has been very easy to find, and quite reasonably priced in bulk. You can also use the 7.62 in SKS rifles.. Oh, I'm a little prejudiced on this one, have an AK 7.62x39 and the SKS:grin
...being a Marine and being trained to hit targets at 500 yards with the 5.56x45mm round, I really like the idea of a round I can reach out and touch someone with, even though it might be smaller. And after having read things similar to what you're mentioning here about the 5.45x39, Xbonz, I gotta say I'm kinda leaning more to the 5.45 round at this point.

The SGL31 (the one chambered in 5.45) is about 100 bucks more than the SGL21 (7.62), but the price difference in the ammo (and my perceive advantage of the 5.45 over the 7.62) makes me feel like it would be worth it in the end.

It'll be a while before I finalize this purchase though, so it's definitely possible that I could have a change of heart. Kinda why I'm bringing it here.
 

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It's not difficult to hit man sized targets at 400 yds with the SKS. The rear elevator on the chicoms I've fired is dead on for range after the gun is adjusted to POA/POI at 100 with the elevator set accordingly. The mid range 7.62x39 isn't known as a tack driver to begin with, but prone at 100 produces 2" groups with the SKS if you have the corresponding talent. My Chinese Polytech Legend with forged receiver would hold just over an inch benched at 100 back in the 80's with Keng's steel core 550 rds cans of ammo.

There's just something about using a .22 cal. bullet against humanoids and expecting one shot per combatant with any reliability that's just plain wrong. I don't want to have to even think about popping someone more than once, and don't as I'd be found with a .30 cal gun that sets people to falling down and out of the fight more reliably [ and thus sooner ]. If I need something much over 300 more often than not, neither round or gun would be considered.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's not difficult to hit man sized targets at 400 yds with the SKS. The rear elevator on the chicoms I've fired is dead on for range after the gun is adjusted to POA/POI at 100 with the elevator set accordingly. The mid range 7.62x39 isn't known as a tack driver to begin with, but prone at 100 produces 2" groups with the SKS if you have the corresponding talent. My Chinese Polytech Legend with forged receiver would hold just over an inch benched at 100 back in the 80's with Keng's steel core 550 rds cans of ammo.

There's just something about using a .22 cal. bullet against humanoids and expecting one shot per combatant with any reliability that's just plain wrong. I don't want to have to even think about popping someone more than once, and don't as I'd be found with a .30 cal gun that sets people to falling down and out of the fight more reliably [ and thus sooner ]. If I need something much over 300 more often than not, neither round or gun would be considered.
I'm guessing that wouldn't be the case with an AK variant though.

Hm. Maybe I should go with the 7.62x39, since I plan to eventually get myself a model 700 type of rifle (.308) anyhow.
 

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I'm guessing that wouldn't be the case with an AK variant though.

Hm. Maybe I should go with the 7.62x39, since I plan to eventually get myself a model 700 type of rifle (.308) anyhow.
Ron from the shop and I can keep the ak's on steel at 300 all day using the rear elevators. The 300 yrd plates are diamond shaped 24" a side. That's a little bigger than a mans chest but not by much Just got to learn the guns capabilities and try to be as good as the rifle is. I do think that 300 is max reliably with the ak on humans in the open however based on my own testing. :thumsup

The SKS, with the longer sight radius stretches that cartridge to 400 max in the right hands.
 

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Seems that either rifle is a compromise.

What are your expectations and requirements in a rifle?

Maybe it would be better to start at the beginning with what you need and what your budget is.
 

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You could always buy both.:grin

I picked up a very nice Romanian AK in Excellent condition for $425 at a gun show..
 

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Which is the better cartridge, overall?
For what?
Deer, prairie dogs, people, bear, elk?

Which is better, Prius or F-250? Green or purple? Strawberries or bananas?

Need more info...
 

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7.62X39. Easier to find. Also it's plummeting in price. AIM has golder tiger for 1K for under $200. I would not set in stone on the silver bear ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For what?
Deer, prairie dogs, people, bear, elk?

Which is better, Prius or F-250? Green or purple? Strawberries or bananas?

Need more info...
I thought "overall" was self explanatory, but maybe brevity isn't always a good thing?

Hypothetically, let's say you were about to be dropped into an unspecified combat zone and you had to pick a semi-auto AK variant chambered in either 5.45x39 or 7.62x39 (you could also take as many rounds as you could carry) without knowing anything about any possible enemy combatants, which would you choose?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Seems that either rifle is a compromise.

What are your expectations and requirements in a rifle?

Maybe it would be better to start at the beginning with what you need and what your budget is.
(Sorry for the multiple replies. Just got home from school after a night of no sleep and I'm not all here)

Honestly, I've never heard of a weapon that wasn't.

Rifle requirements? I'm getting an Arsenal SGL (higher-end semi-auto AK variants), 21 (7.62x39) or 31 (5.45x39). Budget is inconsequential, as both chamberings are really only dollars apart in cost (for the ammo that I'm looking to procure). I've already worked all of these things out for myself. My only point of doubt is the performance of the two rounds "OVERALL", thus this thread and the poll.

Again, the question is, in any and all situations, known or unknown, which round would work best, all around?
 

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Palerider:

I just did a google search and found a pretty even split among users of the ammos in question. Don't know that there is an 'all around better' choice here. Guess it's kind of like, "depends on what you're definition of is, is".. Check out some of the AK forums and websites.. Maybe you'll come across a more definitive answer..Sorry I can't be of more help..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Palerider:

I just did a google search and found a pretty even split among users of the ammos in question. Don't know that there is an 'all around better' choice here. Guess it's kind of like, "depends on what you're definition of is, is".. Check out some of the AK forums and websites.. Maybe you'll come across a more definitive answer..Sorry I can't be of more help..
So you think it might be close to a 50/50 split on which is the better multi-purpose round, huh?

I'm actually kinda leaning back towards the 7.62x39mm at this point, after reading what Brownie had to say.

Makes me wonder though; why have the Russians stuck with the 5.45x39mm? But then I guess the answer to that might be similar to the reason why the U.S. went from the 7.62x51 to the 5.56x45...
 

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Hypothetically, let's say you were about to be dropped into an unspecified combat zone and you had to pick a semi-auto AK variant chambered in either 5.45x39 or 7.62x39 (you could also take as many rounds as you could carry) without knowing anything about any possible enemy combatants, which would you choose?
I'm not a military type so correct me if I'm mistaken. An unknown number of enemy combatants and a weapon which when fired for long periods of time, particularly on full auto, will get extremely hot, would I not want a round with more punch to it?
 
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