Hunting with the SKS:

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by GroovyMike, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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    Just in case anyone wondered if the SKS rifles were suitable for hunting white tail deer - here is my experience using them for that:

    God blessed me with my 3rd and 4th deer in 1997 when I was carrying Chinese made SKS using semi jacketed lead point ammo made in Germany and China respectively. Those bullets cost 9 cents each. On the opening day of NY’s southern zone regular deer season I had a tag for one antlered deer and one antlerless deer. I left my home before dawn and decided to hunt just a few hundred yards behind the house as the sun rose. I was hoping to catch deer passing along a deer trail that linked feeding and bedding areas. I stood between two maple trees leaning against the down hill tree and hoping that the other would block me from the sight of any deer uphill on the trail. The sun rose behind me turning the dark to grey and tingeing the sky with pink. I heard fat grey squirrels come down from their nests to search the fallen leaves for acorns and watched them play. One worked his way toward me, climbed a tree about 5 yards away and ran along a branch a few yards over head and into the tree I was leaning against. I saw a partridge hen fly down and feed through my field of vision. Both moved off to my left. My plan was to watch this trail during sunrise, then slowly work my way uphill and southward in an attempt to drive deer to my hunting companions if I didn’t see any. As the morning wore on I continued to hear the squirrels and partridge off to my left but paid little attention as I had seen the small animals already. But when I decided to move I worked my way in that direction walking quietly and cautiously along over the stone wall and from rock to rock to minimize the noise of my foot steps. I had travelled about 50 yards when I heard footsteps ahead of me. Well I thought – it’s waaaay too noisy to be deer but I’ll take a look to see what it is.

    Peering down hill I saw not one, but TWO deer. The fork horned buck was following tight behind a doe. He must have heard, smelled, or sensed me because he looked back over his shoulder just as I settled the SKS’s hooded front site post into the V notch of the rear sight on his shoulders. They were +/- 70 yards away from me and about 20 feet down slope. The buck swung his head forward and launched himself into a bound that should have carried him safely out of sight safely behind thick brush – except that his lady friend was squarely in front of his chest mere inches away. He rebounded off her butt and twisted sideways bringing his front shoulder out of alignment with her hind quarters. That was the opening I had been waiting for. She was no longer in the bullet’s path. I sent the 123 grain projectile high into his left side, just over his heart. The bullet angled down and through the offside leg at the elbow.

    Stunned by the noise and impact of the buck from behind, the doe wasn’t sure what was going on. I let her go. Somehow it just seemed greedy to drop them both. The buck fell about 5 yards away and was still breathing when I walked up to him for the coup de grace.

    On the last day of the same season. I hunted up to the top of the hill and on to the adjacent property. I had attempted stalks on deer bedding at the top of the hill several times since opening morning without success. Each time they went down the hill on the far side as I approached and into thick pines where I could not see them. This time I followed them after I jumped them and tracked them into a stand of pines too thick for me to crawl through. I gambled that they were still in the thick growth and circled the grove to wait for them to emerge. I took a position inside a group of tall straight hardwood trees. It was a park like setting without undergrowth so from behind a large tree 50 yards away I had an unobstructed view of the pine thicket.

    I waited patiently. I waited impatiently. I counted all 317 trees within sight. And then I waited longer.

    Finally three does emerged from the pines and fed into view browsing on low growth just 50 yards away through the hardwoods. It was the last day of the season and I had a doe tag to fill. Which one should I take? I resolved to take the first one that offered an unobstructed shot. They fed bunched up for several yards until at about 75 yards one of them stepped away from the others offering the opportunity to squeeze a shot between two trees and through her heart. At the sound of the shot she leapt into the air and hit the ground dead. She folded on the spot with the single shot entering through the near side (knocking out an inch sized chunk of rib), then passed through the heart and exited between the ribs of the far side. She collapsed so suddenly that the other does looked at her curiously but did not flee until I began to walk toward them and shooed them away.

    When I dressed the doe I found that the bullet had passed cleanly through her heat and the chunk of rib had slashed through the center of the heart horizontally cutting through all four chambers. When I opened her chest cavity warm blood literally poured out. Before I had finished field dressing her a rustle in the leaves and movement caught my eye as a snow white ermine flowed over the brown leaves like liquid silk drawn to the scent of blood. The little carnivore came within 5 yards before it spotted me, reversed direction and disappeared like white furred lightening. That was a very special moment. I felt like I had been visited by a woodland nymph. The memory is even more special because those stately park-like hardwoods were logged off the next spring. I probably had the last hunt of anyone in those old trees.

    The Chinese made SKS certainly proved itself as a capable deer rifle with that double harvest. While the range was short (in both cases about 75 yards) I had two clean one shot kills. I did give a second shot to the buck but it was only to speed his passing, he would have expired with a hole through both lungs rather quickly even without it. The jacketed soft point ammunition worked admirable and I have to bellieve that most soft point 7.62x39 would perform equally as well at ranges up to 100 yards or slightly beyond. Just how far you are willing to take a shot depends on your experience but i would say that if you practiced the shot and could reliably hit your target, that the SKS is fully ca[pable of cleanly taking white tail deer out to 150 yards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  2. JCfans

    JCfans Member

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    Thanks for the story. I have read all the arguments for why and why not a SKS is powerfull enough to kill a deer. Most of the people that say it isn't will tell you a 30/30 is a great deer gun but fail to mention that the 7.62 and the 30/30 have almost the same ballistics. The 7.62 actualy has more energy at longer distances. Sure you shouldn't be taking 200 yard shot with it but I wouldn't hesitate to take a deer at 100 yards with my Yugo.
     

  3. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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    I have 4 SKS rifles,Two Chi-com a Russian and an east German,I love the darn things!
    you should get some brass and reloading data from Hogdon and try them with some good hand rolled rounds,either that or Winchester's offering to the hunter,I noticed a 50% increase in accuracy!

    I have a pro-tip about SKS rifles you might find use for,about a poor man's glass bedding job that will squeeze out 2-3 more MOA out of it,the secret is in covering the cleaning rod chanel with a strip of duct tape and coating the rod itself with vaseline or gun grease before adding the bedding compound,to see if your SKS will benifit from bedding simply put 3 layers of duct tape and one layer of tinfoil held in place by a couple of drops of crazy glue under the barell,if accuracy improves,go for the glass bed!for an added MOA,put a few thin strips of PAINTER'S TAPE under the handguard.all these tests take about 15 minutes but the pay off for a rabid SKS shooter is well worth the effort!

    P.S
    Does that Yugo have a chrome bore?
     
  4. JCfans

    JCfans Member

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    Does that Yugo have a chrome bore?


    No it doesn't have the chrome bore. I wish it did. It has great rifling but because of the lack of chrome I wont shoot any of the corrosive ammo. I would love to have an East German SKS. That is quite a rarity these days. I am going to try that bedding trick. Thanks for the idea. For the price I feel the SKS is the greatest gun you can get for playing around, hunting, and survival.
     
  5. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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  6. kyfarmer

    kyfarmer Well-Known Member

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    I have taken 6 deer, buck and doe with the 7.62x39 the shortest shot 10 yrds. The longest 150 or so, never had a deer run farther than 30 yards. Dropped 4 where they stood. 30 cal. in anything is what it is, used for the ranges intended it works fine. Any caliber can be stretched in performance under ideal conditions. My sks,s are my go to deer guns every season for a while now and never let me down.
     
  7. texvet45

    texvet45 New Member

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    While I have not used my SKS on deer, I have killed a couple of ferral hogs and several coyotes with my old Norinco sks and silver bear 125 gr soft point. I never felt undergunned.
     
  8. TreeMUPKennel

    TreeMUPKennel Well-Known Member

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    Ah wish I still had mine. SKS great and dependable rifle to use. Use to use mine for hunting all the time. Now I'm using the AR15 to hunt them down.:2thumb:
     
  9. gds

    gds Well-Known Member

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    The following ballistic chart did not paste well, but if you can figure it out you will see that the 7.62x39 round is more then sufficient to kill deer up to 300 yrds.
    I don't know why anyone would question it as a viable US big game round, after all it was designed to kill people.
    I prefer a Mac-90 in 7.62x39, killed several deer with it. The SKS is to long,and the ones I shot did not have a detach mag.




    AMMUNITION BALLISTICS FOR: 7.62x39mm Russian

    VELOCITY ENERGY TRAJECTORY
    CARTRIDGE BULLET MFG. WT. TYPE MUZZ. 100 YDS. 200 YDS. 300 YDS. 400 YDS. 500 YDS. MUZZ. 100 YDS. 200 YDS. 300 YDS. 400 YDS. 500 YDS. 100 YDS. 300 YDS. 400 YDS. 500 YDS.
    7.62x39mm Russian (SB) 123 SP 2438 2037 1703 1424 1193 1044 1636 1144 800 559 389 298 +3.4 -15.3 -48.0 -105.1
    (W) 123 SP 2365 2033 1731 1465 1248 1093 1527 1129 878 586 425 327 +3.5 -15.2 -46.7 -100.6
    (F) 123 SP 2300 2030 1780 1550 1350 1200 1445 1125 860 655 500 395 +3.5 -14.5 -43.4 -90.6
    (SB) 123 FMJ 2412 2104 1829 1589 1372 1197 1607 1214 917 692 514 392 +3.2 -13.5 -41.0 -87.4
    (S) 123 FMJ 2350 2072 1817 1583 1368 1171 1495 1162 894 678 507 371 +3.4 -14.4 -43.9 -93.6
    (L) 123 FMJ 2346 2041 1761 1511 1300 1139 1493 1130 841 619 462 354 +3.4 -14.8 -44.8 -95.6
    (F) 124 FMJ 2300 2030 1780 1560 1360 1200 1455 1135 875 670 510 400 +3.5 -14.6 -43.5 -91.5
    (P) 125 SP 2320 2046 1794 1583 1350 1156 1493 1161 893 678 505 371 +3.5 -14.8 -44.6 -94.6
    (R) 125 SP 2365 2062 1782 1533 1320 1154 1552 1180 882 652 483 370 +3.4 -14.4 -43.9 -93.9
    (CB) 125 HP 2400 2102 1826 1577 1362 1189 1600 1227 926 691 515 392 +3.2 -13.7 -41.6 -88.6
    (CB) 150 SP 2300 2052 1821 1609 1420 1259 1762 1403 1105 863 672 528 +3.4 -13.9 -41.4 -86.3
     
  10. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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    GDS - I am not disputing your chart, but I want to point out to anyone unfamiliar with the cartridge or rifle that neither the SKS or Mac90 is really a 300 yard hunting weapon. I don't want anyone to make a wrong assumption. Granted individual rifles with individual shooters may get differing results, an expert sniper can make that shot with accuracy enough to be lethal. But most shooters can't. In fact, in my experience the longer barrel makes the SKS much more accurate than the shorter barreled AKs etc, I have taken a buck with an AKM, and do not plan to ever attempt it again, but I would not hesitate to hunt with the SKS in hilly wooded terrain (where shots are limited to 150 yards or less). As for the ballistic efficiency of 7.62x39 ... well you can see from your own chart that you have to hold nearly 5 feet over point of impact to even attempt that shot, so my opinion is that is not the sort of hunting that 99.99% of hunters should even think about. If you have put in the practice time and can hit that target at that distance 100% of the time with your rifle and that ammunition, go for it. But please don't practice on live targets until you are certain that you can make the shot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  11. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Speaking strictly as a gunsmith and hunter...

    I don't care for the import AK/SKS rifles.
    They have very poorly made and inaccurate barrels and the sights aren't anything to brag about.

    In combat, 'Spray and Pray' might work for suppression fire or taking on an advance charge of combatants,

    But I believe HUNTERS should have higher calling and more stringent standards.

    If you are a 'Good' hunter, you have target practice so you KNOW where your rifle shoots, and at what range it's accurate.
    I have NOTHING against using the short .30 cal bullets for hunting deer, it's a capable cartridge when used at reasonable ranges.

    My issue is with guys that buy $89 SKS then go out and blast up the woods with them with little or no bench practice or hunting experience!

    Growing up in the country, I can tell you your butt cheeks won't pucker much harder than when some idiot sprinkles the trees around you with lead, Oblivious to the fact there are other people out there,
    Oblivious to wounded game getting away from them!

    ----------------------

    On the ballistics end of things, the SKS/AK is a SHORT RANGE RIFLE at best!
    It's muzzle velocity does't lend it's self well to long range shooting, and the energy at the target is an issue beyond about 150 yards, and I've never seen one that I would hunt with past that 150 yard mark because they are just too inaccurate.

    The short barrels on the SKS/AK don't do them any favors in accuracy or muzzle velocity.

    I put them in the same class as .30-30 rifles with 'Carbine' barrels,
    Pretty good 'Bush' rifles when hunting, but not long range rifles by any stretch of the imagination.

    ------------------------

    If I were to buy an "$89" rifle to hunt with, I'd make it a Mosin–Nagant,
    They are higher powered, bolt action rifles that are available for cheap, and they are more accurate than the SKS/AK rifles.

    They are rugged, reliable, ammo is cheap and they shoot straight!
    Everyone makes something for them, from stocks to optics mounts,
    And they make a pretty fair sporting rifle with very little investment.
     
  12. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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    What kind of SKS did you get your hands on?one of those pieces of junk with the pinned in pencil barrel and stamped parts?the ex military Russian,Chinese, Yugo and East German ones work just fine.I've had up to ten of them over the last two decades,normally they're the first thing I sell and the first thing I buy back,I've fired even more of them and the only one to give me any crap was a chi com with a seven million and one serial number in a red Bakelite stock.if you ever see this Monday morning-rice wine hangover on sale out there,buy it,bend the barrel into a "U" and chunk it into the creek,you'll be doing the gun owning public a favor!the damn thing was so sloppily made I'd never fire it again on a bet,which is how I ended up with the damned thing in the first place.use American ammo in the European or Military Chinese weapons and everything should be fine.

    AKS/AK/AKM rifles are another story.they're hoseguns,pure and simple.the only one you'll get better than 4 MOA out of is either a Finnish or Israeli version and if you're putting that kind of cash into a Rifle,get an AR and a couple of spare uppers or a case of ammo.

    An AK is basically an M1 carbine that will kill you.LOL but if you need a short range,reliable weapon and you can barely hit a target anyway,go AK.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  13. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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  14. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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    Well - shucks I'd be delighted to take it all off your hands at 10 year old prices :D.

    lol, seriously though that investment is worth probably double what you paid for it. I spent my Y2K budget on super pails of grains and I am not sorry I did. We've worked our way through most of the oatmeal and I figure that teh rice will still be good if we ever need it.
     
  15. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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    I had ten gallon sealable buckets full of Marlboro lights and bourbon.

    Meh,I ate the canned crap in six months,and made a fat donation to a buddy of mine who was unemployed due to illness.little creep still owes me a grand,but I had that kind of money back then.LOLstill have the med kit and the garden stuff,I think all that fertilize is one solid chunk now,haven't seen it in ten years either.meh,I'm too screwed up to garden these days anyway.
     
  16. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    Did some shooting today. Took the SKS out and put a red dot scope on it and shot it at 100 yards. At that range the red "dot" covers about six inches of the target. Got three inch groups consistently with cheap Russian ammo. That's not bad with a sight that isn't meant for pin-point accuracy and a rifle that people laugh at and cheap ammo that "won't hit the broad side of a barn."
     
  17. gds

    gds Well-Known Member

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    I agree, the 7.62x39 is not a 300 yrd round for the average hunter. It is a combat round for the spray and pray soldier at that range. I know I had to hit targets at 300 yrds with a .223 round to get my expert badge in the Army. Talk about hold over GM, a military m-16 A-1 shooting military ammo at 300 yrds is about 5-6 ft if my memory serves me, the 7.62 x39 has a hold over of 3.5-3.9 ft at 300 hundred yrds.
    Sniper Craig Harrison exceeded the commonly accepted standards of his L115A3 by 3200 ft to take out the enemy. KNOW THYSELF, KNOW YOUR WEAPON.


    From JH, "If you are a 'Good' hunter, you have target practice so you KNOW where your rifle shoots, and at what range it's accurate."

    I will agree with that statement wholeheartedly. I would rather be in the woods with a hunter that KNOWS his own limitations AND the limitations of his weapon. The problem that usually develops is the hunter thinks that his abilities are as capable of the round or weapon that is being used.

    The deer I harvested with a Mac-90 were all less then 120yrds, sorry if any one misinterpreted my post.
     
  18. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the calrification GDS. I think you are right on all counts. I just didn't want to leave the impression that anyone could buy an SKS and go shoot pronghorn at 700 yards.....
     
  19. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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    For this reason I insist on quality American ammo for the serious stuff.I had a Chi com that I used for a gun smithing learning experience that could wring out 2 MOA until about 20 rounds.

    I glass bedded it and shimmed the hand guard.:D

    Anybody see the new Draco AK pistols?freakin' sweet!I'm going to have to think about what one's actually good for,but I'm getting one!
     
  20. Whitehunter

    Whitehunter New Member

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    I got 123gr fmj russian mil. surplus ammo that only drops approx. 8 inches at 300yrds