Many AR15 rifle enthusiasts produce excellent results when hunting or during a competitive match using upper receivers chambered with readily available .223 caliber or 5.56 NATO ammunition. However, suppose you’re a gun enthusiast wanting to blend the accuracy of an AR15 rifle with an even more powerful round.
In that case, it’s time to replace your standard AR15 upper receiver with one that can handle a 7.62x39mm cartridge. There are even 7.62×39 magazines designed specifically for the AR-15. If building one isn’t your thing, there are plenty of different types of rifles on the market you may want to consider.
- Why You May Want or Need 7.62x39mm
- List Of The Best Guns That Shoot 7.62×39
- It’s A Range and Nostalgia Thing
Why You May Want or Need 7.62x39mm
The 7.62 round was developed by the Soviets for a variety of scenarios and has demonstrated excellent performance over the last seven decades. Not only has the 7.62x39mm round performed flawlessly in the field, but it’s proven to demonstrate equal or better-stopping power than the acceptable NATO 5.56×45 rounds later introduced.
Most 7.62×39 bullets feature cartridges built to deliver sufficient power in close quarters using either one hundred twenty-two grains or twenty-five grains of propellant. However, there’s a smattering of 150-grain bullets on the market if you’re up to firing more powerful rounds.
These larger grain cartridges put the 7.62×39 on equal footing with the .300 Blackout cartridge, which was initially designed to mirror the power of a 7.62×39 but can be chambered in an AR15 upper receiver with only minimal adjustment. Because the 7.62×39 delivers better energy at target impact inside three hundred yards, it is often a preferred caliber for home defense and hunting at closer ranges.
List Of The Best Guns That Shoot 7.62×39
1. Century Arms VSKA: Best 7.62×39 Rifle For the Money
If you’re asking what gun that shoots 7.62×39 is the best, its Century Arms VSKA.
While more traditional AR15 enthusiasts may tell you rifles such as the ZPAPM70 and the Century Arms VSKA are nothing more than knockoffs of the original AK47, nothing is further from the truth. The VSKA from Century Arms represents one of the more heavy-duty and reliable semi-automatic rifles firing a 7.62×39 round on the market today. Precision machined with S7 tool steel, the VSKA features a heat-treated feed system for more stable and continuous performance regardless of the environment.
The VSKA also comes complete with a 4140 chrome and combination polymer barrel and features a 1:10 twist rate to provide accuracy and terminal stopping power for close-up targets at around three hundred yards. Factor in a trigger system that features less trigger pull weight and travel, and the VSKA proves itself to be a valued hunting rifle in anyone’s gun cabinet. When it comes to durability, the VSKA from Century Arms is as tough as its aggressive look and style appear and is guaranteed to provide years of accurate and powerful shots flawlessly.
And the best part?
The VSKA is currently on sale until December 10, 2022, so make sure you’re using the link below to ensure you’re getting the lowest price:
2. Zastava ZPAPM70: Best AR/AK Hybrid
Although Zastava and the ZPAPM70 may not be well-known brands or models mentioned by most avid AR15 rifle enthusiasts, this sport rifle from Zastava is a dominant player in the 7.62×39 lines of quality semi-automatic rifles. The ZPAPM70 mirrors many of the more popular features of the M70 gun created by Yugoslavian Zastava Arms in the sixties.
Featuring a semi-automatic gas system and double-stack bolt with a detachable thirty-round magazine, the ZPAPM70 provides operational stability regardless of the environment and harsh conditions. Weighing less than eight pounds, Zastava offers the ZPAPM70 with polished walnut stock and forend and flip-up iron sights that help quickly and accurately acquire your target.
Chambered to fire the powerful 7.62x39mm cartridge, the ZPAPM70 mirrors the classic, streamlined look and feel of the notable AK47. Whether you’re a collector of exotic-looking firearms or just need something more powerful, this hunting rifle from Zastava is guaranteed to provide a conversation starter with your hunting companions. Additionally, the ZPAPM70 from Zastava and its operation in the field will demonstrate excellence from the first to the last shot.
3. Ruger American Ranch: Best 7.62×39 Bolt Action Rifle
When magazine capacity is less critical than making a precision shot with higher stopping energy at impact, Ruger offers the American Ranch rifle and your choice of five, ten, or twenty-round magazines of 7.62×39 ammo. In addition to a higher power ballistic load, the American Range also features the Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger with an adjustable trigger pull of between three and five pounds.
The lightweight trigger pull means far less rifle movement and much better placement of your shots. Streamlined and contoured to hold and carry intuitively, the American Ranch rifle features a lightweight stock of durable synthetic material with a soft rubber butt pad to help you better manage recoil. Should you opt for a top-mounted scope, Ruger features an integrated Picatinny rail on the American Ranch and sports a one-piece three-lug bolt with a seventy-degree throw for easy bolt cycling even when placed on your shoulder. The American Ranch features an overall length of only thirty-six inches, making it a good choice when hunting in a dense brush as it sits low when slung on your shoulder and minimizes the awkward effects of catching on an errant branch.
Additionally, the American Ranch weighs in at less than six pounds, so you’ll be able to carry this rifle with you all day long in the field without tiring. Competitively priced under six hundred dollars, Ruger’s American Ranch is a perfect choice when your budget is limited, but you still need the power and accuracy of a 7.62×39 round.
*Note* As of December 2, 2022, the Ruger American Ranch is currently sold out, we suggest the Century Arms VSKA as a substitute:
4. Cz USA 527 Carbine Bolt 7.62×39 Gun
Continuing with bolt action rifles that fire a 7.62×39 round, CZ USA offers the 527 Carbine bolt action rifle with five-round magazines, a durable hunting solution even for the younger generation of hunters. CZ USA designed the 527 to be a hunter’s rifle, and the factory-installed iron sights are spot-on accurate at distances of twenty-five yards or less. The 527 carbine features a front iron with a removable hood and a rear with notches to make more precise elevation adjustments.
With a deep walnut buttstock and forend, CZ doesn’t take shortcuts, cutting the checkering into the stock and grips instead of simply pressing them in. Every bit of wood on the 527 is incredibly substantial, and the overall esthetics of the rifle is as appealing as the gun is functional. While the bolt throw rides a little high, at ninety degrees, most owners of the CZ USA 527 will quickly adjust the cycling styles of the bolt throw until it becomes intuitive and natural.
Sporting a trigger pull of fewer than four pounds, the CZ USA 527 features an incredibly smooth pull. For those who prefer to shoot with a hair trigger, the 527 rifle also features a trigger set option that allows you to trim the pull weight to an astonishing pound and a half. Although CZ USA discontinued the manufacture of the 527 last year, there still is enough of these rifles available, thanks to the general market proliferation. So, if this bolt action rifle firing a 7.62X39 round becomes your chosen rifle pick, you should be able to find a few still on the market today if you search long enough.
*Note* As of December 2, 2022, the Cz USA 527 is currently sold out, we suggest the Century Arms VSKA as a substitute:
5. Riley Defense AK47: Best 7.62×39 AR
Although most veteran semi-automatic rifle owners love to shoot the exotic and original Kalashnikov AK47, getting your hands on the real deal semi-automatic rifle is next to impossible these days. Embargos have limited the number of exotic rifles such as the Kalashnikov AK47 and others to the extent that procurement of these rarities is often costly and, in some cases, a few steps on the wrong side of legal.
Don’t give up hope, though. Plenty of quality manufacturers build replicas of the original AK47 that perform with the same classic operation and ammunition caliber. Riley Defense solves the problem with its RAK-47 Classic, which resembles the original Avtomat Kalashnikova in look, dependability, and action. The original AK47 was designed to withstand the brutalities of extreme battlefield conditions and still operate, and the history of it doing that is well documented. What Riley Defense does with the RAK-47 Classic is mirror the classic look of the original AK47 and, at the same time, provide textbook durability and dependability in a modern-day rifle.
The RAK-47 from Riley Defense features a machined and heat-treated steel body that can withstand extreme action and worsened environmental conditions and operate as expected. Following the designs of the original AK47, Riley Defense offers the RAK-47 with a stamped receiver with a 4150 chrome and polymer combination and a fully coated nitride barrel with a 1:10 twist rate that promotes tremendous accuracy and impressive energy impact delivery of a 7.62×39 round.
Although the Riley Defense RAK-47 features adjustable front and rear sights, each of these rifles does come with a scope mount rail on the left side of the upper receiver. Staying true to the Kalashnikov AK47 builds of years past, the Riley Defense RAK-47 features a muzzle brake slanted at forty-five degrees to minimize felt recoil. Additional features you’ll appreciate on the RAK-47 are the extended mag release button and a bolt-hold open safety that makes reloads a snap.
Riley Defense spares little effort to make the RAK-47 look, feel, and operate like the AK47 from Kalashnikov. Even the laminated stock and forend and polymer plastic pistol grip look precisely like its classic ancestor. With the thirty-round magazine arching toward the muzzle, the look of this RAK-47 from Riley Defense promises an exciting reenactment of semi-automatic rifle shooting with a modern-day replication.
*Note* As of December 2, 2022, the Riley Defense AK47 is currently sold out, we suggest the Century Arms VSKA as a substitute:
6. CMMG Banshee 300 Mk47 7.62×39 Gun
If you’ve relented and decided that a 7.62×39 is the performance caliber you intend to use, you still have a few decisions to make. For the AR15 budget builder, you may want to consider spending your dollars on an AR15 upper chambered for 7.62×39, such as a Radical Firearms complete upper for a little under four hundred dollars. However, if you’re not ready to venture into gunsmithing and building your own, consider the Banshee 300 MK47 from CMMG.
In most avid AR15 circles, the Banshee 300 MK47 is considered a semi-automatic pistol that behaves like a rifle; the vital thing to remember is it fires 7.62×39 rounds and provides all the stopping power you expect with the accuracy of an AR15 style firearm. Using a pistol length gas system, the action of the Banshee features an eight-inch barrel with a 1:10 twist rate in the barrel that provides the accuracy you’d expect with longer barrels with the terminal velocity at the impact a 7.62×39 round consistently delivers.
Central Missouri Machine Guns has produced some of the most exemplary AR15 firearm derivatives for almost three decades, including the mutant MK47 in 7.62×39. The Banshee is a solid performing semi-automatic, but CMMG also makes sure the Banshee 300 can handle all Kalashnikov types of ammunition magazines, including steel or polymer, and for high-volume target shooting, drum style magazines.
*Note* As of December 2, 2022, the CMMG Banshee is currently sold out, we suggest the Century Arms VSKA as a substitute:
It’s A Range and Nostalgia Thing
The market is full of shooting solutions that handle a 7.62×39 round. As you’ve seen, quality firearms firing a decisive and impressively powerful round, such as the 7.62×39, are available at competitive prices to meet your budget and performance requirements to suit your shooting style. Whether you’re looking for a small capacity bolt action or a semi-automatic that rips out thirty rounds with as many trigger pulls, you can find these and others to add to your arsenal.
One of the best features of the 7.62×39 caliber ammunition is, as mentioned earlier, the energy and accuracy delivered by each round at targets inside three hundred yards. One thing to note, and it’s an essential item to remember, is that if you take a shot at five hundred yards or better, the 7.62×39 round will lose significant amounts of both energy and accuracy.
This means to any hunter that even if you strike the target, the lack of stopping power probably won’t give you an ethical shot and may require hours or days of tracking to find the game you merely wounded and didn’t bring down. However, for most hunting trips, the average target range typically hovers in the three hundred yards range or less, making firing a 7.62×39 round effective enough to create an ethical takedown of your target.
Another reason for choosing this type of ammunition is the opportunity for a few thrilling hours visiting the nostalgic excitement of firing a rifle noted for its superior execution in the past and the exemplary modern-day performance of a semi-automatic replica firing this classic caliber. It doesn’t matter if it’s a nostalgic thing or a range thing; if you want ammunition that holds more energy and delivers more than its share of terminal power at impact, consider one of these guns that fire a 7.62×39 round.
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world including Russia and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American west and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Big Horn mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design, and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems.TM. You can find more info on me here.