It’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t gone the way anyone planned. However, one thing I planned is working out nicely: I am happily hunting with a 7.62×39 pistol. Four factors fed my desire to try hunting with a 7.62×39 pistol.
- Before COVID-19, 7.62×39 ammo was plentiful and inexpensive.
- Anthony Amantine of Instagram fame constantly talks about how much he likes his PWS MK116 Mod 2 Rifle for hog hunting.
- I watched Texas hog hunting Legend, Todd Huey, aka Lone Star Boars, brief his YouTube audience his take on this caliber.
- I shot my first two AK-47 variants at SHOT Show this year. You can find my thoughts on those my story, Top 5 Braced Pistols for Hog Hunting in 2020.
So I headed over to Texas Gun Experience where I purchased the CMMG MK47 Banshee pistol.
The CMMG MK47 Banshee Pistol Introduction
For those of you unfamiliar with the CMMG MK47 Banshee, you might remember its prior name, the CMMG “Mutant.” Like its predecessor, you can pick up MK47 Banshees in both pistol and rifle versions. My affinity for short barrels and refusal to pay an unconstitutional $200 tax stamp, forced me to purchase the pistol. CMMG offers the pistol in 3 different models, the 100, 200, and 300. Think of it as entry-level, mid-grade, and high-end.
I went with the 200 series or mid-grade mostly because of the 10″ barrel versus the 8″ barrel on the 300. All three versions of the MK47 Banshee pistol come with the CMMG Standard Ripbrace. While there are plenty of great pistol braces available today, to my knowledge the Ripbrace alone allows the user to extend the pistol brace without having to press any buttons or levers.
Each of these Banshee pistols also comes with an Ambi Sling Plate. Using that will be a first for me. A 9-inch MLOK rail gives you options for mounting accessories.
Why is the MK47 Banshee Heavy?
While the pistol is clearly compact, it is heavier than I expected. At 6 pounds and 6 ounces unloaded it weighs as much as some full-sized AR-15s. The reason for the unexpected weight is that it is a mutant lovechild of an AK-47, AR-15, and AR-10.
Regarding AK-47 DNA, the MK47 accepts AK-47 mags, shoots 7.62×39 ammunition, has no forward assist, and instead of a button to release the magazine, it has a paddle release. The rest of the gun is an AR all the way. The bolt on this thing is YUGE! When I first removed the bolt to lube it, I was shocked. Not in a bad way, but I expected to find an AR-15 bolt instead of an AR-10 one. I must say, it inspires confidence.
The receiver is also very unique. The MK47 has a mid-sized receiver set.
Wait, what? A Mid-sized receiver set?
Yes, this receiver set is a shortened version of CMMG’s MK3 (308) receiver. This means the receiver isn’t really an AR-15 receiver and it’s not really an AR-10 receiver either. This mid-sized receiver allows “robust components for cartridges that would normally push the boundaries of a traditional AR” (from CMMG’ website). So while this pistol is heavier than I would like, the reasoning behind it makes sense and is not a deal-breaker for me.
Banshee MK47 Upgrades
Since I didn’t get the top of the line model, the 300, some upgrades needed to happen. What’s the first thing anyone should upgrade on their AR? The trigger of course! For this pistol, I decided to use a Larue Tactical MBT-2S trigger. Some people say this trigger is as good as a Geisselle and for only $80, I felt like I had nothing to lose.
We also needed to lose the mil-spec charging handle. CMMG offers an ambidextrous charging handle for the MK47 and I ordered it a couple of days after receiving the pistol. To date, so far so good. If you want to go back and read my article on AR upgrades, you’ll know why I like having ambidextrous charging handles with large latches.
Another small addition to the pistol is a Magpul QD mount since there are no QD mounts on the rail for my sling.
And now, the final piece of the puzzle. I installed a Heavy Silent Capture Spring from JP Enterprises. The old, creaky ironing board opening sound is gone and the spring will absorb some of the recoil. Now that this pistol is ready to go, it’s time to take it to the farm.
Setting up the MK47 Banshee for Hunting
Due to COVID-19, I was working from home and it made sense to move our life to the farm for a couple of weeks. Before everything got crazy and ammo got scarce, I ordered some Wolf 124gr 8M3 ammunition and sighted in my Pulsar Trail XP50 for it.
With the pistol, fully loaded magazine, Pulsar Trail, and Dead Air Sandman S, we are probably over 10 pounds in weight. Perhaps I could swap out the Sandman S for my Nomad and save 8 ounces (including the mount). Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
I’ve hunted a lot over the last several weeks and here are just a few stories of how this build worked out.
I am not a coyote hunter and don’t claim to be one. However, if I have an opportunity to shot a pasture poodle, I will do it. Well, one night I shot three hogs in the Porcupine Egg Field. I’ve been hunting so much lately that the details of that specific hunt escape me, but what happened the next night is still very vivid. Little did I know that a whole pack of coyotes would take advantage of the pig buffet I provided to them over the next 24 hours.
When I returned to that field the next night, eight coyotes were filling their bellies in that field. Some of the coyotes were eating while others laid down near the pig carcasses. It was entertaining to watch them through my thermal and hear them tear off their dinner through my electronic ear pro.
Since there was little to no moon, I was able to move around the field undetected by the preoccupied canine crowd. Not wanting to get too close, I set up my Primos Tripod about 60 yards away from the closest coyotes. As much as I enjoyed spying on them, it was time to get to work and I moved the reticle over to the first victim. Once my heart stopped racing, I took a deep breath, steadied the pistol, and softly squeezed the Larue two-stage trigger.
The first coyote was down and the others scrambled in every direction before I could get another shot off. I was satisfied as I scanned the field and verified that the coyote was indeed dead and the others vacated the field. As I walked over to examine the deceased pasture poodle, one of the coyotes ventured back into the field. Still unaware of my presence, it made its way towards me, really towards one of the dead pigs, and I patiently waited for it to get closer.
Boom! Another shot and another dead coyote. How fortunate! Two coyotes! What a night! But the night wasn’t over. Again and again, these coyotes continued to come back to the field and I picked them off one by one. When all was said and done, I put 5 coyotes on the back of the Kioti UTV (how’s that for irony?). I snapped the picture as evidence. The next day I’d find the 6th coyote on the edge of the field.
Best-One Night Solo Hunt
This hunt starts back in the Porcupine Egg Field again. The clock shows 10:30 p.m., the thermometer would have simply said: “hot.” A little wind blows out of the east. Upon spotting hogs with my Pulsar Helion XP50, mixed emotions fill my head.
The exciting news? A target-rich environment, of course. The less exciting news? The hogs are about 600 yards away. You can get a lot of steps and miles in when hog hunting in these West Texas wheat fields. As I start my journey, I notice another sounder joining the pigs already in this field. I now move with a little more pep in my step. As quickly as that 2nd sounder appeared, they disappeared into the brush on the east part of the field. This was just a hog highway through our wheat for them to get from point A to point B.
I still have a long way to go and wasn’t sure if the original hogs would stay in this field. Fortunately, the hogs are now barreling straight towards me. I happily set up the tripod and track them through the Helion hoping they don’t divert from their current path. It’s not every day that a sounder walks up to me as these pigs are.
The close on me to about 40 yards, then I dropped the lead sow. My shot was not great but it got the job done and I quickly move to the pig behind her. My 2nd shot is low and the first couple of pigs crossed the fence so I quickly turn my attention back to the pigs in our field. My third shot hits a pig as I watch it buckle into the ground in the thermal scope. I don’t shoot another pig in this field but it was a good start and time to move on.
Down by the river, I get four pigs out of a sounder, but it’s not my best shooting. Driving down a country road I rarely go down, I give myself a pep talk about making the first shot count. Almost as soon as I finished with my words of encouragement, I spot a boar less than 50 yards from the truck.
Usually, the big ones run when they hear or sense any sort of danger, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t. Jumping out of the truck, I leave the tripod. Why? I don’t think I had enough time to set it up. The hog’s butt was towards me and when he moved his head to the right, it gives me the perfect shot. My pep talk works! He dropped right there and not only was he a big boy, but he had some nice bottom tusks!
Over the next several hours, I run into pigs EVERYWHERE. Some would be in a small sounder where I would shoot 3-5. A couple of solo boars that meet their demise that night as well.
At one point do you call it a night? It’s really hard to go to sleep when you keep seeing hogs! With the sun coming up over the horizon, I decided to head back to the house. A long night in the books, 25 or more pigs no longer breath or destroy crops. I’m pretty satisfied.
Things sometimes don’t go as planned, but when life gives you lemons (or a COVID-19 shutdown), maybe you should get a 7.62×39 pistol and go hunting! Like the idea of the Banshee, but want another caliber option? Check out Jonathan’s 300 Blackout Banshee review and video.