Can 7.62 Kill A Bear

Which 7.62 Round Is Better Against A Bear?

Is 7.62 Effective Against A Bear?

Bears are mighty big game and hunting them can become a dramatic showdown. Ensuring that the right round is loaded can make the difference between miss or kill, or even between life and death. Bears are extremely aggressive animals which have been known to charge a hunter the second they recognize there is a threat. Most people do not realize that bears (as big as they are) are actually faster than humans. It is not practical to try and outrun a bear. That said, an AK 47 and some 7.62 can definitely take out a bear if aim is good and proficiency with the weapon is high. Obviously there are a variety of strategies for big game hunting, and some will be more effective than others.

Targeting the head is also risky. Even the most skilled hunter will realize there are many angles in the bear’s skull which create additional complications. Kill shots to the head of a bear are rare and the risk of engaging a bear is extremely high. A good hunter with a great weapon (probably not the AK 47) can land a head shot, but the cranial vault of the bear is a large space and the brain is a small target. It is more likely that one would miss.

Despite the odds of landing a head shot, many stories exist of 7.62 taking out bear. This may be because the AK 47 (a primary gun for the 7.62 round) can fire in full automatic, allowing even an amateur shooter to unload 30 rounds towards the game. Very few things (if any) can survive after inhaling an entire magazine of 7.62 to the chest, including bear. Ultimately, the AK 47 is not the ideal gun for the job, but it is very commonly used in Africa and in the Soviet Union for big game hunting.

The round choice plays a critical part in a successful bear kill. Each type of 7.62 ammo has different properties which contribute to its increased (or decreased) ability to take out big game. Fortunately, the varying types of 7.62 can be easily distinguished in terms of how they do in big game hunting.

Best 7.62 Load For Killing A Bear [and For Big Game Hunting]

There are many different types of 7.62 rounds, and they will all handle a bear differently. Here are some of the best big game hunting 7.62 rounds available:

7.62×39 – This is a highly effective round to use on big game for the right shooter, especially within 100 yards1. It is the standard AK 47 round and most commonly used to hunt big game, as it is a widely available ammunition. It is also the cheapest available 7.62 round. 

7.62×51 – Also known as .308 or 7.62 NATO rounds, they are almost twice as expensive as traditional 7.62×39 rounds. Many experienced big game hunters suggest any 150 grain soft point or large-game ballistic tip .308 ammo would be work great against a bear. 180 grain bullets would work even better.

7.62×25 – This round is considered by many as being far too light for bear hunting (or big game hunting in general). Still, it is very reasonably priced and tissue penetration is still respectable.

7.62x54R – This round is also known as 7.62x54R Steel Core. They are about as expensive as the NATO rounds. They also work on bears about as well as the NATO rounds.2

Differences aside, almost all 7.62 ammo (less for the 7.62×25) would be recommended as effective against a bear in the right hands. Bear in mind (pun intended), all scenarios are different. In all honesty though, bullet placement is almost more important than the type of 7.62 round.

7.62x39mm FMJ
7.62x39mm FMJ (AK-47 Round)

Pro Tips For Hunting Bears With 7.62

Bears are one of the biggest game to be hunted. They require immense stopping power. And it is important to take into account that the size of the bear makes a big difference, as well as the type of bear (Grizzly, polar, black bear, etc.). A 300 lb bear will go down much more quickly in most cases than a 600 lb bear. Some of the most professional and skilled hunters in America have expressed trouble taking down bears. If some of the best equipped and greatest skilled hunters have trouble with hunting bear, amateurs should absolutely reconsider. For the professional big game hunters who decide to hunt bear, 7.62 ammo is able to create great tissue damage, is a rather destructive round, and is definitely capable of killing a bear.

Disclaimer: In the simplest of terms…bears are dangerous and not to be taken lightly! Amateurs should not seek bear for big game hunting! You have been warned!


1The High Road. 7.62×39 vs Bear. Retrieved from:×39-vs-bear.69950/

2Gun Boards. 7.62x54R As A Bear Stopper. Retrieved from:

About the Author:

Mark Doberman, The Proprietary Gun Smith

The Proprietary Gun Smith is a marksman, expert gun handler, ammunition specialist, survival guru, and lifetime gun enthusiast. He owns (or has owned) nearly every legal firearm and ballistic available, has fired nearly every gun, and regularly consults professionally in the firearm world. He has studied firearms and similar tactical lifestyle for more than 40 years. In addition to writing for, TheProprietaryGunSmith has guest written for more than a dozen other sites and/or magazines in the industry.

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