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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello PU Friends:

I've been lurking around in this part of the Perfect Union message board for a while now. This is my first post regarding the AK-47, so please forgive my "newbie" questions.

Here's the deal...I'm thinking about getting an AK-47, as I have a Ruger Mini-30, and I'd like another rifle that uses the 7.62x39 round.

However, as most of us, I'd like to balance out quality with a decent price. And, being a "newbie", I have no idea of what I should be looking for, or what's a good price-point I should start at.

Essentially, I'd like a "new in the box", or slightly used, AK-47, that has a fixed stock.

BTW, eventually I'd like to add some fairly basic modifications on the rifle, such as new furniture, a tactical rail system, and a new muzzle brake. So, I'm not sure if this affects what type of AK-47 I want to begin with.

Frankly, there's so many choices, options, countries, etc., and this makes it a real bugger for me to know where to even start.

Any ideas, suggestions, links to other websites, etc. would be very helpful and appreciated.

Thanks in advance, gang!

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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I shoot a Saiga which is made in the same factory as the AK in Russia. Might look at this link: http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/saiga.shtml which shows that the Saiga is a name of an imported sporting rifle, based on the AK design. Very easy to convert, and comes in .223, 7.62 x 39 Soviet, .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51mm), 5.6 x 39, and I have heard of talk of one chambered for 30-06. Also this link: http://www.raacfirearms.com/rifles.htm and a forum on the Saiga here: http://forum.saiga-12.com/ I am Darth AkSarBen there as well.

My Saiga after doing some "upgrading"


This came New In The Box at a local gun shop for $400.00 He has some more, with 7.62, and 2 of the .308 in a 22 inch barrel as well. Other side looks Exactly like the AK, as are most of the internal parts and functions.
Right side before I moved the Fire Control Group (trigger/sear/hammer) forward to their original positions, and did away with a lot of extra feldercarb that was on the rifle for importation.


It is not a clone or look-a-like, it is an AK, made in the same factory by Izhmash from the same stamped parts and same factory workers as the AK-47. Mine is just chambered for .223 is all.
 

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A Romanian WASR will serve your needs well, and there's no need to convert anything. They'll run in the ballpark of $500.
 

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Both romanian and saigas are good guns. I have owned both. IMO the saiga is a better rifle but it is not really an AK unless you convert it to take AK mags and pistol grip. I currently own a Bulgarian made AK and it is by far the best one I have ever owned but they can be pricey. You could still pick one up for around 700 if you do your shopping. The Yugos are good but they have different receivers than the others and are therefore harder to find after market parts for. There are many good AK's out there but there are also quite a few not so good ones. If you come across one that you are interested in post it and I am sure many on here could help.

P.S: Try to stay away from the ones made by century. They are not all bad but many are thrown together and therefore crappy. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Both romanian and saigas are good guns. I have owned both. IMO the saiga is a better rifle but it is not really an AK unless you convert it to take AK mags and pistol grip. I currently own a Bulgarian made AK and it is by far the best one I have ever owned but they can be pricey. You could still pick one up for around 700 if you do your shopping. The Yugos are good but they have different receivers than the others and are therefore harder to find after market parts for. There are many good AK's out there but there are also quite a few not so good ones. If you come across one that you are interested in post it and I am sure many on here could help.

P.S: Try to stay away from the ones made by century. They are not all bad but many are thrown together and therefore crappy. Good Luck.
Bob (and all others),

Thanks for the speedy reply!

I've got a friend who is selling his "russian" AK-47 with a stamped receiver. However, he's said that his is the "thicker one".

I trust this guy; he works at my LGS, and he's helped me out numerous times. So, I just want to preface my comments with that.

Anyway, he's asking $1K for his rifle. And, I'm considering it at the moment.

I'm sure it's a good rig, but I'm wondering if I would be paying too much for a "mud-gun". Basically, I'm not looking for too much accuracy here. If I can hit at 200 yards, I'd consider that a bonus. Basically, I'm looking for a close-range goblin hunter.

I've been checking out GunBroker.com and I ran into this offering:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=133986364

It's double my pleasure for the same price of the one rifle my friend has. Just wondering if I'm going to spend $1K on a rifle, maybe it's better to get two...especially, since it's used.

Any thoughts out there??

Thanks gang!

Cheers,

alaj70

PS: I know they're Century-made AK's but...
 

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Bob (and all others),

Thanks for the speedy reply!

I've got a friend who is selling his "russian" AK-47 with a stamped receiver. However, he's said that his is the "thicker one".

I trust this guy; he works at my LGS, and he's helped me out numerous times. So, I just want to preface my comments with that.

Anyway, he's asking $1K for his rifle. And, I'm considering it at the moment.

I'm sure it's a good rig, but I'm wondering if I would be paying too much for a "mud-gun". Basically, I'm not looking for too much accuracy here. If I can hit at 200 yards, I'd consider that a bonus. Basically, I'm looking for a close-range goblin hunter.

I've been checking out GunBroker.com and I ran into this offering:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=133986364

It's double my pleasure for the same price of the one rifle my friend has. Just wondering if I'm going to spend $1K on a rifle, maybe it's better to get two...especially, since it's used.

Any thoughts out there??

Thanks gang!

Cheers,

alaj70
That is not a bad deal for a Russian AK especially now. For collectability and quality russian's are some of the best from what I hear. I do not have any experience with them.

Any good AK should be able to make shots at 200 yards I know my Bulgarian can and my saiga could.

That is a good deal on gunbroker but I would definitely recommend giving the guns a thorough look over during the inspection period. Just because those guns are from century does not make them bad. Some of things to look for are: magazine wobble (if the mag has too much movement in the mag well), canted front sight and gas block (look down the barrel of the gun, unloaded of coarse, and see if the gas block and front sight are in line with the barrel). I have seen several different aks from century that had these problems and several that have been good guns.

Good luck on your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is not a bad deal for a Russian AK especially now. For collectability and quality russian's are some of the best from what I hear. I do not have any experience with them.

Any good AK should be able to make shots at 200 yards I know my Bulgarian can and my saiga could.

That is a good deal on gunbroker but I would definitely recommend giving the guns a thorough look over during the inspection period. Just because those guns are from century does not make them bad. Some of things to look for are: magazine wobble (if the mag has too much movement in the mag well), canted front sight and gas block (look down the barrel of the gun, unloaded of coarse, and see if the gas block and front sight are in line with the barrel). I have seen several different aks from century that had these problems and several that have been good guns.

Good luck on your decision.
Thanks, Bob!

I appreciate your help.

I am going to check out my friend's AK, and see if it's worth the price.

If not, I may grab this deal, and see if the Century AK's are up to snuff.

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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Just something to look at. Worked on a load this afternoon. BLC(2) at 24.6 gr with a 55 gr FMJ BT bullet 3 shot group @ 100 yards was 0.582 inches. Not bad for a Russian stamped receiver rifle. .223 caliber. Did not take long, nor cost very much to do a conversion on it. Was kind of fun. Only thing it lacks now is a flash/muzzle brake.



This is a $400 rifle and shoots quite well. It will server me well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Just something to look at. Worked on a load this afternoon. BLC(2) at 24.6 gr with a 55 gr FMJ BT bullet 3 shot group @ 100 yards was 0.582 inches. Not bad for a Russian stamped receiver rifle. .223 caliber. Did not take long, nor cost very much to do a conversion on it. Was kind of fun. Only thing it lacks now is a flash/muzzle brake.

(removed pic to save space)

This is a $400 rifle and shoots quite well. It will server me well.
Darth AkSarBen,

Thank you very much for this information.

I think that is one heckuva rifle you've got there. I'm impressed.

BTW, that's a great pic! It shows the rifle, the shooter, and most importantly...the result. +1 for the pic! ;^)

Hey, it looks like you're the right guy to ask some general questions. And, I want to thank you in advance for your advice.

I'll try to be a brief as possible...

It looks like a lot of guys buy a Saiga and "convert" into an AR-rifle (not sure if this means they become an "AK-47" at this point...don't know enough about the rifle and the nomenclature). But, what's involved in doing this? Any good videos out there that will show this.

BTW, I'm a basement tinkerer, who has put together several AR-15's. I love wrenching on them, as it produces great satisfaction to shoot what you've built. I'm sure you would agree.

Hence, I'd definitely be open to making some upgrades to a Saiga, provided it's not extremely involved. I'm mechanically inclined, but I would like some instructions to help me along.

Any advice here?

My next question is in regards to a chrome-lined barrel. In short, what are the pros and cons (if any)?

That's all for now, but again...thanks for sharing the pic...and your knowledge.

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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Well, the Saiga is made in the same factory as the other AK-47 /74 rifles and as such are really as much AK as saying a Colt Peacemaker in .45 LC is just as much a "western" revolver as the Colt Peacemaker in 44-40. Fact is, they make them a little different for imporation, by ADDING things to them to get them here. When you add things like the larger capacity magainzes, you quicly fall out of a complinace of federal government has called 922r. Or, you add a pistol grip, and throws it out of compliance. The rifle comes with an odd ball trigger pivoting affair, that transfers the action on the trigger to the sear and hammer by means of a sort of "internal teeter-totter" affair. Right word for this concept eludes me at the moment. By putting in the newer FCG (Fire Control Group) which consists of new U.S. made hammer, sear/disconnect/ trigger, it not only eliminates some parts to release the hammer from the original importation model, it also counts as 3 parts toward compliance. The forearm counts as 1. The rear stock counts as 1. You can even get a U.S. made piston for the action (piston makes the bolt unlock and go rearward after the cartridge is fired) and it counts as 1 part. only $15.00 for the piston, the G2 trigger group by Tapco I bought for $27.00. Fore stock I think was around 30ish and the rear stock was $59.00. Even using a SureFire 30 round magazine counts as 3 parts for compliance. Made in U.S. Magazine body (1) Follower (1) Floor Plate (1) all part of the make up of the magazine.

This link will show you page by page with GREAT illustrations on what a guy did to change out the way the rifle came from the factory. If you are any kind of tinkerer, this is not a very hard job. Funny thing is I have the added on floor plate of the original rifle that was rivited on when it was exported to the U.S. There is a whole set of holes that are covered up when that plate is removed and the trigger and pistol grip fit down into those holes. http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/saiga/saiga-1.htm There are several pages, but the pictures and accompanying descriptions are top notch.

This moves the trigger group forward to where it was originally designed for on the AK-47. With the Pistol Grip (you can either use traditonal, or SAW Pistol Grip) this makes for a more balanced firearm for shooting. Nice thing is, you can say you did it yourself and YOU know the quality of workmanship going into it, because you did it.
I polished up mating steel parts before I put it back together. It really tells.

Chrome lined barrels are designed to eliminate a lot of barrel break in. They are tough and as such are desired for long life in rifles. Chances of pitting from moisture is also less with a chrome lined barrel. Pretty easy to clean. How long the chrome lining lasts over the course of shooing and cleaning, I don't know.

In recap, every part you pull out of the Saiga, is generally the same part you would find in an AK-47. This is semi auto, but has to be reduced in number of imported parts when you start re-configuring it with the pistol grip and such. It is a Russian made weapon, made at the same factory Izhmash, as the original. Same people. Probably same bin of parts, just some extras added on for sending here. Here is the link to some info on the Saiga 922r check sheet and a lot more about it. http://thegunwiki.com/Gunwiki/BuildSaigaVerifyCompliance

Also, you can easily add a bullet guide to the Saiga and modify the receiver slightly so that it can accept AK military magazines. They also make an adapter that you can mount to the saiga in the magazine area that allows it to accept and function with surplus AR magazines in the .223. So , yes, with some minor tweaks, the once "sporting" saiga can be redone to be AK-47 in all manner of looks and functions, right down to the wood fore grip and rear stock. I have seen these posted at the Saiga forum site.

One last note. I did all the steps necessary for moving the FCG forward and converting with nothing more than a hand drill and a dremel.
 

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Here is a video of a guy doing a saiga conversion

Intro:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Final:

Or you can just follow the links on youtube from the first video. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Gang,

Thanks a bunch for all your help, information and insight!

That's why I love this message board, and it's in my "favorites" list. It's a great user-community of good folks willing to help others. +1 for all your comments, links, suggestions, etc.

Here's an update...

I found a new "in-the-box" AK-47 SAIGA 7.62x39 rifle, made at the IZMASH factory in Russia, which I just started the ball rolling on (FYI...here in Illinois, there is a 1-day waiting period for the background check). I'll pick it up next weekend.

I'm using Darth AkSarBen's rifle (pictured here) for inspiration, and I have decided to make some "mods" to my new rifle, as I am sure it will serve my purposes too.

I got a great deal...$432 out the door.

I'll probably be looking for additional advice and tips, gang. So, thanks in advance for anything you can offer.

Thanks to everyone who helped me make this decision.

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here is a video of a guy doing a saiga conversion
I watched this...good video series.

I'll probably do the conversion job too. And, it looks like with a little patience and know-how, it's fairly straightforward.

Cheers,

alaj70
 
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I bought a WASR and have been very pleased. I dont shoot so well with it at 100 yrds, but at 50 its a tac driver for sure. They are very affordable even on a student budget (which I was at the time) and the furniture is cheap if you want to have originals but stain some others to slap on there.


Darth: How do you like the angle of the buttsock on your gun? I'm not sure if the angled stock or a straight stock is more comfortable so I'm talking to people.
 

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Darth: How do you like the angle of the buttsock on your gun? I'm not sure if the angled stock or a straight stock is more comfortable so I'm talking to people.
There really isn't any angle on the buttstock. It's straight back from the receiver. www.tapco.com has pictures of it in either the SAIGA or AK under products. They also sell this stock and the FCG a bit cheaper at http://www.midwayusa.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is a $400 rifle and shoots quite well. It will serve me well.
Darth AkSarBen,

Another couple of questions for you...please forgive me "peppering" you on this; I'm a bit excited about my new rifle purchase.

1) Did you're IZMASH Saiga come with the original holes (trigger, grip nut, etc.) underneath the sporter trigger plate? Seems there's some cutting work, in order to "mod" the rifle, if these aren't present. Just curious what you encountered. I've read that sometimes they're there, sometimes not.

2) What options are you considering for a flash hider and/or muzzle brake? I've see this option:

http://www.mattsksupplies.com/saiga-muzzle-brake-clip-p-793.html

Seems like it's a good option, but I'm wondering if you have any other suggestions.

Thanks again!

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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Yes, my EAA saiga (European Arms Import) came with the cutout for the trigger assembly and the square hole for the pistol grip. I kept the floor plate and you can see the square on it, as after they were done riveting everying, they spray painted it black. And, because it was in the floor plate of the oringal, not the rivited on one, it left a square mark on the cut off "false" floorplate of the receiver. So, yes, all holes were there on mine. They are now imported by Russian American Armory Comany in Indiana, and also have a warranty repair station here in the U.S.

I have always liked the birdcage flash suppressor I had on my Mini 14 some years back. I think if I went with that, I would simpy thread the end of the barrel to take that kind of hider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes, my EAA saiga (European Arms Import) came with the cutout for the trigger assembly and the square hole for the pistol grip. I kept the floor plate and you can see the square on it, as after they were done riveting everying, they spray painted it black. And, because it was in the floor plate of the oringal, not the rivited on one, it left a square mark on the cut off "false" floorplate of the receiver. So, yes, all holes were there on mine. They are now imported by Russian American Armory Comany in Indiana, and also have a warranty repair station here in the U.S.

I have always liked the birdcage flash suppressor I had on my Mini 14 some years back. I think if I went with that, I would simpy thread the end of the barrel to take that kind of hider.
Vern (aka Darth AkSarBen),

Thank you for the heads-up on your Saiga.

Mine is advertised as a "RAA Russian Saiga".

I'm going to have to wait and see if it has the holes or not when I pick it up. I'm hoping it does, as I don't want to have to make my own. This seems like it could get mucked-up easily.

Regardless, it looks like I can still do a bunch "mods" to the rifle, if I want.

Yeah, I'll have to look into flash hider / muzzle brake options. I'll probably go as-is for a while.

BTW, I'm on the Saiga forum now too. I figure I will have many questions in the upcoming months. So, hopefully, I'll touch base with you on there as well.

Thanks again for everything. I'll keep you posted when I get the rifle.

Cheers,

alaj70
 

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Some comments here about accuracy with rifles caught my attention and I thought I'd put in a suggestion:

If your front sight post is squared-off like the AK, SKS and AR's are and you have grouping problems with it, you might try removing the post and turning it down to a point in a drill press with a fine file. I've done this with all of my SKS's, my AK and AR, as well as those of several friends. Everybody raves about the difference in repeatability of shot placement with the more defined sight picture at distance.

Just a suggestion.
 
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