Also, your Vepr and Saiga aren't what Russian soldiers were equipped with. The Saiga, specifically, was designed as a sporter rifle, and the Vepr is a highly modified version of the AK47.
I'm not sure I agree. The Saiga, as pointed out, is manufactured by Izhmash along side AK74s, etc. (see IZHMASH JSC official site
) In fact, it is purported that when Saiga parts are running low, the line uses components from the military side of the factory, though I haven't had an opportunity to talk with one of the factory workers to definitively find out.
Siaga is built by IZHMASH in Russia. Who have been building the AK47 for over 40 years.
It is simply and nothing more than an AK with a sporting stock and a slightly modified magazine.
The buttstock has been swapped out for a monte carlo so the angle is different, and the magazines have a built in bullet guide.
There is more of a difference than the stock and magazine, however, but not much.
The linkage between the trigger and disconnector are different and the gas tube/handguard is different (retaining clips). The trigger is connected to the disconnector by a wishbone due to geometry differences in the sporting configuration within the receiver. It's supposedly straightforward to convert the Saiga back to the original configuration, however (haven't done a full conversion). There's plenty of how-to's floating around and it looks reasonable. One of the main points about the conversion is for 922(r) compliance and restoring the original geometry which the Saiga receiver supports natively.
One interesting note, Mikhail Kalashnikov is still employed by Izhmash.
It's my opinion, and is subject to change at any moment without notice.