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Old 10-29-2012, 12:53   #1
PVolk
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First time AK buyer and I have a few questions

I'm in the market for my first AK47. I've been doing some research and I have a decent unsterstanding of what's best and what's not. But I do need to stay within my smallish budget (I don't need the best of the best for my first one) and I have a few questions for you experienced AK owners.

1) One of the models I've narrowed it down to is a Saiga. It's been converted (un-sporterized) and it's chambered in .223, and has a very reasonable price tag. From what I read, it's a far nicer receiver than many of the other stamped receivers. My only concern is the round and magazine availability. I like .223, but should I stick to 7.62 or is this a great option for my first AK? It would be nice to be able to buy regular $10 AK mags at gun shows, but again, I don't know if I want that to be the only deterant to an otherwise good deal on a nice rifle.

2) What are the primary differences between a converted Saiga in 7.62 and a WASR-10? Is it worth an extra $150 for the Saiga?

3) Anyone have experience with an underfolder? I like the compactness when folded up, but I've never shouldered one. I hear it's pretty hit or miss, and being that the stock isn't easily swappable, I'd have to be pretty sure about one to buy it. Anyway, I'm just wanted to hear opinions from people who have owned/shot an underfolder.
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Old 10-29-2012, 13:19   #2
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1) Converted Saiga rifles have their own quirks. Despite everyone on the internet saying it is simple, it really isn't. After my last experience with a Saiga converted by a "gunsmith", I wouldn't touch another persons conversion with a 10 foot pole. I'm still trying to get the gun straightened out. The latest drama was the JB-welded bullet guide that decided to detach itself while shooting. I spent $400 on the "converted" rifle, and have sunk another $300 into fixing it up to the AK I want (and probably have another $100 to go). For that price, I could've bought an SGL-21 and been done with it.

1.1) As far as caliber goes, stay away from 5.56 AKs. Being a non-com-bloc caliber, none of the 5.56 AKs are standardized. They can be finicky fitting parts and finding magazines that work well. Stick with 7.62x39 or 5.45x39 for AK pattern rifles.


2) A properly converted Saiga is light years ahead of a WASR, since most WASR rifles are made by drunken monkeys in Romania, then converted by drunken monkeys (Century or I.O.) in the U.S. The problem is that properly converted Saigas are only done by good AK smiths, of which there are very few.

3) Underfolders suck. If you want a folder, a wire side-folder is a better bet, and if you hate it, you can swap it out for a regular fixed stock. Barring that, an Arsenal SLR series folder is the best out there.
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Old 10-29-2012, 17:38   #3
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I agree with most below, without the exaggeration though.

A basic converted Saiga is perfectly fine: try classicarms.com for a base pistol grip model.

If you have a little more dough to spend, go for an Arsenal converted Saiga-- although this only gives you a better foregrip. For the about same price, go for a hi cap converted Vepr-- though it is a wood stock and heavier, it is one helluva well built tool. If you wait longer, the Veprs will hit the USA market with Saiga AK competitors at some point-- they already have a Vepr12 here.

An underfolder gives no cheek weld.

No advantage in 223 with an AK, might as well just stick with 7.62.
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Old 10-29-2012, 22:10   #4
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Thanks for the posts guys. And thanks for the website recommendation, cciman.

What do you guys think of this? http://www.classicfirearms.com/russian-saiga-ak-variant
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Old 10-30-2012, 16:18   #5
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I think it looks pretty good- but with any rifle, you get what you get unless you can check it out before you buy. Just make sure you buy from someone who stands behind what they sell...

For instance, Atlantic Firearms stand firmly behind what they sell and have good deals on AKs... be sure to check them out. I have also had good luck with Centerfire Systems- but I happen to live close enough to them to inspect rifles on site if I want
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Old 10-30-2012, 17:09   #6
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Old 10-30-2012, 22:00   #7
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Best to stick to the original Soviet design of 7.62x39. The design was de-bugged in 1948 and mags and ammo are widely available; 5.56 mags that work aren't as easily found or cheap. If you want 5.56, stay with an AR.

The 5.45x39 Soviet size is also available, but ammo and mags are still not as readily found as for a 7.62x39 gun; I'd suggest to stick to 7.62.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:20   #8
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My good friend has a Saiga .223 that he bought for 300 bucks brand new in the box at a local gun shop. He only shoots it at my place (only place he has ever shot it) so I have seen every round that has gone through it. It has never had a single failure ever on a variety of .223 and 5.56 ammo, and is very accurate. Great rifle, I want one more than I want an AR. The magazine availability and price is the primary advantage of the AR over a S-.223 conversion, imo. Surefire 30 rounders cost $30 :/
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:01   #9
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Thanks again guys. I'm convinced to go with 7.62. I'm probably going to buy the one in the URL in post #4 as soon as they're back in stock.
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Old 10-31-2012, 17:04   #10
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If you want a reliable AK without breaking the bank, look into a TGI built AMD-65. It folds and compact, has the original short barrel (if you decide the NFA route), all matching parts, original FEG receiver, badass muzzle, perfect attention getter at the range.


The Kalashnikov Klub

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Old 10-31-2012, 19:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
If you want a reliable AK without breaking the bank, look into a TGI built AMD-65. It folds and compact, has the original short barrel (if you decide the NFA route), all matching parts, original FEG receiver, badass muzzle, perfect attention getter at the range.


The Kalashnikov Klub

The Kalashnikov Klub
I just got mine yesterday. Very pleased w/ it. Finish is not excellent, but it runs like a top. $440.00 from CenterfireSystems. I'm no expert, but I think it represents a pretty solid value in the Ak market right now.
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Old 11-01-2012, 13:07   #12
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IMO you can't beat a AMd-65 for price and quality.
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:09   #13
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AMD's are a good value for a close quarter battle rifle.
Problem(s) with the AMD (and I own a tricked out one), is the barrel is short (what you see is welded on flash hider to compensate for short barrel length) and the iron sight radius is also short-- good for range, and CQB, not one to think about for long range accuracy. As these were designed for tank and mobile crew, this makes sense.

The FEG TGI's are converted receivers originally using single stack mags- the magwell may have alot of mag wobble and or fit issues. You also need to buy a stock add-on to allow any cheek weld. It is not as easy to change out the AMD fore end, and some trial and error (or luck) is needed to find a fore handguard to replace the original sheet metal piece.

The Kalashnikov Klub
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:18   #14
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I built an AMD kind of like a budget 300 blk...

Has issues with larger mags and quick magazine changes very accurate I had the ultimak rail and a m68


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Old 11-01-2012, 18:37   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cciman View Post
AMD's are a good value for a close quarter battle rifle.
Problem(s) with the AMD (and I own a tricked out one), is the barrel is short (what you see is welded on flash hider to compensate for short barrel length) and the iron sight radius is also short-- good for range, and CQB, not one to think about for long range accuracy. As these were designed for tank and mobile crew, this makes sense.

The FEG TGI's are converted receivers originally using single stack mags- the magwell may have alot of mag wobble and or fit issues. You also need to buy a stock add-on to allow any cheek weld. It is not as easy to change out the AMD fore end, and some trial and error (or luck) is needed to find a fore handguard to replace the original sheet metal piece.

The Kalashnikov Klub
I've read that the Hogue handguard fits the AMD65 w/ no modifications. I damn sure hope so, because I've got one coming. I don't particularly care for the funky angled front pistol grip. Many folks have fit top and bottom wood handguards with minor mods to the bottom. The top requires you to shorten, flare and cut a standard length gas tube. I think it would be pretty straightforward, but I haven't tried it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:09   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdlott View Post
I've read that the Hogue handguard fits the AMD65 w/ no modifications. I damn sure hope so, because I've got one coming. I don't particularly care for the funky angled front pistol grip. Many folks have fit top and bottom wood handguards with minor mods to the bottom. The top requires you to shorten, flare and cut a standard length gas tube. I think it would be pretty straightforward, but I haven't tried it.
I didn't care for the original vertical grip either. I didn't want to pay for a replacement rail system so I just took the orginal off drill two hole and bolted a piece of rail to the bottom of the original now I have MFT folding vertical grip but you could put any one on you want that fits a rail system.
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Old 11-04-2012, 15:12   #17
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I went to a small gun shop, and asked to see their WASR's and AK variants. Of the two WASR"s they had, one was wood furniture and very light. The other had poly furniture and seemed a bit heavier, but both had canting issues. Then I was handed the M70AB2 under folder, it was straight, and felt better on my shoulder. For me, the "cheek weld" issue is a non-issue, since what the rifle was made for isn't precision shooting. Unlike the U.S., infantry units in the Soviet army weren't riflemen, and the AK was made for suppression fire, while the tanks rolled in.
[url]http://s1170.beta.photobucket.com/user/WebOfDistress/media/IMG_0024.jpg.html?sort=3&o=4[/url]
Out of 4 full magazines at 120 ft, at a qualification silhouette target, at rapid fire, iron sights (standing 2 mags, crouching 2 mags) 7 rounds went off the green silhouette, and I knew as I shot them, they were going to be off target. I want to do the same at 100 yards, but I lost my 100 yd. marker line and I have to measure it out again. When I do, I'll update.

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