7.62×39 Accuracy Testing

The Russian 7.62×39 cartridge is not the first caliber to come to mind when considering rifle accuracy. To start with, it doesn’t have a very flat trajectory. Depending on the load, the bullet could drop five to eight inches by the time it reaches 200 yards. Beyond that, the drop is even more drastic, making accuracy at 300 yards and beyond a fantasy.

But that’s okay. It’s not intended as a long range cartridge, and the loss of velocity at those longer ranges means the round doesn’t have a lot of punch left at that distance anyway. For sacrificing range, you get a round with gentle recoil that will still deliver plenty of energy to its target inside 250 yards or so. However, within those shorter ranges, 7.62×39 is still not generally regarded as being very accurate.

This poor reputation can also be partly attributed to the fact that the rifles commonly used with 7.62×39 by American civilians are often not particularly accurate themselves. Now, before I get hate mail from the AK and SKS guys, let me say that I am well aware that there are numerous samples of rifles built on both of those platforms that can demonstrate outstanding accuracy. But the fact still remains that the majority of shooters who are burning through cases of 7.62×39 are doing so with inexpensive former com-bloc AK knock-offs and beat up mil-surp SKS rifles. If that’s your only exposure to 7.62×39, of course you are going to conclude that it is not a particularly accurate round. But that’s not due to any inherent limitation of the cartridge design itself.

For today’s video, I used a CZ 527 bolt action carbine in 7.62×39 to fire groups at 100 yards with five different factory loads. You might be surprised at what the cartridge is capable of…

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  • Dave Valerie

    I could not agree more. I own one of these little CZ’s, and it has become my favorite rifle. My “Big .22”. As accurate as I will ever be, cheap ammo, and just fun to spend a day shooting with!

  • Dick Liebert

    I have a poly tec that I shoot 3′ clusters at 100 yard with iron sights.

  • Dick Liebert

    That is from a standing position.

    • Paul Zimmerli

      DAY-UM! Standing off-hand? This is worth looking into!

  • You Jie

    what is the accuracy with this rifle beyond 100 yards?

    • Mk.82

      In military I dropped every time to 150m and 300 ranges 117-118 points from 120. That means you shoot 12 rounds and the max points are calculated from 0 to 10. The 10 is size of a 10cm by diameter.
      And the sighting was done with a three rounds. Just the iron sights on old RK-62 and naturally 3 by laying down, 3 by kneeling, 3 by tactical standing (forward semi-crouched) and 3 by standing. No supports or any other aids like many do use.

      One time I had on the board 240 points (24 hits to bullseye) and it was my buddy who was mistaken his target to mine. It was on 300m range. It was just good laughs as both managed to get perfect hits but both were disqualified as you couldn’t separate the shooters officially. And it was our second shooting time in the army. Later he became a sniper as I went to officer school. We used to joke that how I wouldn’t want to be protected by him as he could mistake me to enemy just like he did mistake his board to mine.

      When people say that 7.62×39 is inaccurate, they have no idea what they are talking. We could even land 100-110 points to 600m range with a 4x scopes. When we used 7.62×51 the 600m became far more easier as wind didn’t affect so much anymore.

      And the best one was that I made a bet with our regiment colonel who was visiting on the range on one day with high ranking visitors from USA military about that could I hit to three 2€ coins, each set at 300m (lying), 150mm (kneeling) and 50m (standing) with just a three cartridges in my use.
      And I hit all of them.

      I have one of the coins with me, center of course gone and twisted but it is nice trinket.
      As the bet was 6 euros that I get paid if I hit all, so I didn’t lose anything.

  • Change

    Good shooter!

  • Shane

    What about Wolf ammo?

    • JBar595

      It’s crap Russian ammo and will make your weapon so damn dirty it will make you want to stop shooting.

      • David Laidig

        Total lie

  • Manz73

    I have a CZ 527 and it is one hell of a great shooter. I put peep sights on mine vs the scope and it comes with me anytime I go shooting just like my .22. Dead center accuracy from 50-100 yds. Drops about 5″ at 200. I shoot the wolf soft nose for hunting through it and has no problem keeping the cheap stuff acurate. 100% recommend this gun.

    • jim brit

      Manz73 if you are still following this site or anyone else – What is the make and model of the peep site on your CZ and where is it available. Did you change out the front sight as well?

      • gooprrz

        New England Custom Gun Service sells them. They are placed in the rear scope mount location.

  • Ant Corke

    Great article and excellently produced video; short and to the point.

    I really like the 7.62×39, but only own an SKS and a Norinco JW-105. The SKS is actually more accurate (just), than the JW-105, which I find slightly surprising.

    The CZ may be my best option, though I would also look at a Zastava. Has anyone any comment about the Zastava bolt action rifle in 7.62×39? I want it mainly for shooting deer, pigs, and goats at night with a NV or thermal scope, at 100m, give or take 50m.

    • Brett Long

      I’d like to hear some feedback on the Zastava ,also !

  • jaypaw


  • Brett Long

    I have a ’54 tula SKS , with the ati scorpion recoil stock , and the nstar scope and receiver mount , I’m hitting golf balls at 100 yds regularly , and some groups of 2.5 in at 200 yd s, I’m presently waiting on the dies and bullets to reload ! one curious thing I found , some of the milsurp ammo comes in at .308-309 , and some at .310 , now the load charts in the Lyman book call for a .310 , which kinda leads me to think the smaller diameter stuff isn’t as accurate !

    • Brett Long

      I forgot to mention , I have so far shot these brands of ammo through this gun , Yugo, Russian , Chinese all copper wash , Chinese laquer case , MFS, PPU , Winchester . Funny enough , the Chinese stuff seems to one of the most consistant , grouping , next to the factory brass stuff. Winchester sp was ok, PPU ,is a strange duck , it’s sprn ! but non corrosive and brass case makes it a contender !

  • Bud Pyle

    While I have not tried the Hornaday ammo you mentioned, I do get consistent, tight groupings (1″- 1 1/2″) with the Golden Tiger FMJBT rounds through my 583 series Ruger Mini 30…