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AK 47s That Make The Grade

Discussion in 'The Kalashnikov Klub' started by shooting4pizza, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. I currently have some CENTURY 7.62X39 ROMANIAN MILITARY VARIATIONAKs but want to upgrade on quality a bit and would very much appreciate the folks here with real experience putting lead down range (as apposed to arm chair internet experts) providing
    suggestions on the top (3) three best quality AK 47s currently available for purchase. Suggested suppliers would be most helpful as well. Thank you in advance for your input and suggestions.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  2. jehu


    May 25, 2005

    These are best!:dunno:

  3. CarlosC

    CarlosC AK Fanatic

    Jan 4, 2000
    DFW area, TX
    Well, this certainly is a bizarre thread. I'll offer up my 2 cents although I don't know if I fall into the "experienced" or "arm chair internet expert" category. You already own both ends of the quality spectrum, a Romanian WASR and an Arsenal AK. To add to your Arsenal AK, I'd suggest a Russian Saiga Legion in 7.62 or 5.45 (KVAR) and a Polish underfolder (Atlantic Firearms). The Yugos won't break the bank and are excellent quality too (several sources).
    If you don't limit yourself to store bought, then look for any used but not abused Chinese, Hungarian, or Finnish versions of the AK on gun broker.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  4. 9mm +p+

    9mm +p+

    Mar 1, 2005
    Old Dominion
    The SGL series are great! Very well put together and excellent shooters, I've got a SGL-21 and a SLR-107 and both are awesome. Fro my experieince one needn't look further than Arsenal for an AK of quality, but they have had some issues in the past.
  5. jamesavery22


    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern VA
    One of the AK platform's best qualities is its ease of manufacturing. Its design allows for wider tolerances and margins for error when compared to any other rifle design.

    This allows the world to have a plethora of manufacturers to choose from.

    Unfortunately this also means that at any given plant, there will always be bad apples.
    Even Izhmash...

    In terms of assemblers in the States Arsenal has the best selection of available parts and they probably have the deepest pockets. While in the ATF's eyes they are defined as manufacturers, they aren't in mine. They are taking parts from manufacturers and assembling rifles. Which is fine. They just might have more hurdles to jump over than a real manufacturer.
    Their 107UR is a good example of extra hurdles. The barrel they use is not a standard barrel. 16" with a gas hole for an 8.27". I have no clue where they get the barrels but I do know they either purchase the barrels with the gas hole and FSB/GB pin notches already cut or they have some canting issues when making those cuts. So not only can the FSB/GB be canted(not uncommon) but the gas hole in relation to the receiver is also canted.
    I also know they don't do a proper job of making new notches in the barrel. Making new notches is not a big deal. When pressing in a new barrel then pressing in a new FSB/GB it can be expected. But you should "fill in" the old ones. So you don't have two notches on top of each other:
    Again, not a big deal, but it's far from ideal and sub par work for a $1K+ rifle. Something you'd never know unless you pressed off the GB...

    Izhmash is a true manufacturer so it is very rare, if ever, to see an issue like above with a Saiga. They have their own issues. Mostly FSB cant and having to convert them. Even if a rifle has FSB cant it usually isn't an issue. Just adjust the post and you're good to go. Unfortunately, with a small percentage, the cant is pretty severe. With at least the IZ240's Izhmash has been dimpling as well as pinning the FSB and GB to the barrel which seems to fix whatever previous process caused the cant'ing. Negative of which is removing the blocks means destroying them.
    Conversion is a weird issue, not so much a problem. Saiga's come into the States as some bastardized "hunting" rifle. If you want a true AK you or someone you pay has to modify the rifle. So who do you trust to do that?

    So whats my point of this long rant of a man killing time? To answer your original question, what are the top quality AKs? There are no "brands" which are always top quality. Top quality means that out of the box its a GTG reliable product. Unfortunately no manufacturer consistently provides this.
    There are plenty of great rifles out there, but just because you purchase the same model number doesn't mean you too have a great rifle. With the AK platform there are just too many variances.

    A ****ty Saiga conversion can be < a hand picked WASR.

    A $2K Arsenal can be < a good Saiga conversion.

    So a Top Quality AK, in the States, means it has to come from someone who has a huge depth of wisdom of AKs and is reputable.
    The only places I know of where anyone reading this thread can call/email and purchase a real GTG rifle that out of the box has none of the stupid little issues mentioned and not mentioned here is Rifle Dynamics and Red Jacket. They are known and respected by the best in the business.
    I'm sure there are plenty of little mom and pop shops scattered all over the country that do equal work, but I don't know of any nor have I even heard of any.

    If you aren't/don't want to be a builder spend money on a good one one. Even Arsenals can need work out of the box.
  6. rem2429


    Nov 26, 2004
    Llano, TX
    Go over to millitary gun supply in fort worth and browse. It is worth the drive. I 820 east loop and go south from I 30.
  7. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    I'll take the one on the bottom.........

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  8. my762buzz


    Mar 21, 2007

    Carlos called dibbs on the one in the middle.

    I want the top one.
  9. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000

  10. Thanks guys for your input. Rem2429 I am going to head over to military gun supply in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Fort Worth</st1:City></st1:place> and take a look.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  11. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I've had AK's from all over the world, and have really only had a few that stand out above the rest. The absolute best I've ever owned are my two milled Bulgarian AK's by Arsenal. Both are fantastic rifles, and a cut above anything else I've owned in fit, finish, and accuracy. The SA-M7 is expensive, but is currently available.

    For close seconds, The SLR series is excellent except for a second rate painted on finish. the same is true of the SGL series. There have been a few runs of Yugo AK's that rank pretty close, but they've been a lot more hit and miss for me. You can find some great Yugo AK's, but you really have to know AK's so you know what to look for. All Chinese AK's are good, and some are excellent. You really can't go wrong with anything Chinese, and generally get what you pay for.

    Of course, this is just production AK info. You could always order from Krebs. They are only a few hundred dollars more than an Arsenal SLR series AK, and are as good as it gets in stamped reciever AK's. The only catch (besides the extra few hundred dollars), is that you may have to wait a month or two for delivery.

    Good luck with your search.
  12. stopatrain

    stopatrain Lifetime Member

    Aug 28, 2005
    I've got a SGL-21 and have been very happy. The finish could be better.
  13. jehu


    May 25, 2005
  14. hedrok


    Dec 9, 2005
    northern ohio
    The Bulgy Milled 93 I have sure runs flawlessly. It would be hard to beat. Where does Vepr
    fit in the mix? I know they're hard to get...but are they worth the price?
  15. my762buzz


    Mar 21, 2007
    Vepr's are no longer imported and the lack of supply has spiked the demand related price. Same thing happened to the Valmets. I wish I would have bought 10 of them when they were $450 direct from Robinson Armament. I bought one of the last ones imported through RA. Are they worth it? 1.5 mm Russian steel receiver on an RPK style build with a heavy hammer forged chrome lined barrel. Its one of the most accurate AK varients ever made and the build quality is top level. The bolt, carrier, and bolt parts are interchange with Russian 100 series parts like the Saiga, but its receiver, trunions, and barrel are more heavy duty reinforced.

    The US DOD is now going to contract a heavier barrel M4 based on recent testing that showed M4 barrels drooping and exploding
    during full auto once it reached a certain sustained amount of successive firings. The number was near or above 200 rounds.
    My understanding is that the heavier barrel weight was gladly accepted as a means/tradeoff to prevent barrels from drooping
    and exploding during sustained full auto fire. There is a youtube video of someone firing off an AK in full auto with the handguards catching on fire becasue it has become too hot for wood. The video shows several magazines (drums included) emptied after this rifle is already running hot. The guy puts it down because it get too hot to hold. An RPK could go a bit longer without needing oven mitts to operate. A heavier barrel has its advantages.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  16. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

    Jan 8, 2010
    Fixed it for ya.
  17. Coogan

    Coogan Original "G"

    Nov 17, 2003
    Eastern PA
    Your M4 barrel info is very far off-base. I assume that you have never fired full auto weapons, let alone enough to get a weapon very hot.
  18. hedrok


    Dec 9, 2005
    northern ohio
    Thanks for the info on the Vepr. As I'm looking around various places for one...I see that some calibers are more available than others. I found 308s, 223, 545s, but no 7.62x39. Is there any particular reason for that or is just a timing issue?
  19. my762buzz


    Mar 21, 2007
    The real question is "Is Colonel Douglas Tamilio's M4 barrel info very far off-base?
    “The bottom line is that we are going to do this,” Colonel Douglas Tamilio, who supervises small arms development for the Army, said of the change to new carbines. “We have to get all of the services to buy in, but it adds five ounces in weight and doubles your sustained rate of fire

    Other than vaguely remembering the higher round count (535) when the barrel blows in the video, I can't see where I am wrong about what a article states about colt defense and the US Army are working on to change soon.
    Are you implying the New York times is making this stuff up and staged a fake
    m4 test for some ulterior motive. Watch the video on the link and read the article. By the way, yes, I have fired full auto weapons before. What does that have to do with my referencing a colt M4 function test? If you watch the test video and still think there is no way the DOD is going to change anything, that stays as your personal opinion, but why would the New York Times bother with this story if its not true? What's the motivation behind the story if its all nothing but BS?

    The Making of the Military’s Standard Arms, Part II
    In a post published here last week, we gave an overview of some of the manufacturing operations at Colt Defense LLC in West Hartford, Conn., the only manufacturer of the M-4 for the Pentagon.

    The M-4 carbine, one of the primary rifles used by the United States military, appears destined for a change. After concerns surfaced about rifles overheating in a sustained firefight in 2008 in Afghanistan, the manufacturer and the United States Army are close to agreeing on a modification to the weapon’s barrel that makes the carbine more resistant to the stresses of extended firing.

    The pair of videos shown below, taken at Colt Defense’s testing range, capture the thinking.

    The first video shows an M-4 being subjected to an intensive sustained-firing test. The rifle used is the standard M-4 with a standard barrel. The weapon is secured on a bench and fed one full 30-round magazine after another without rest beyond the time it takes to replace empty magazines with full magazines.

    Watch the video closely. After several magazines, the barrel smolders. Then it becomes red hot. After 1 minute and 20 seconds the barrel begins to droop between magazines — like a piece of warm licorice. Then comes the catastrophic ending, at 1 minute and 51 seconds and after the 535th round, when the barrel ruptures.

    It is worth noting that the test simulates conditions that almost no soldier could face. In it, 18 magazines are fed through the rifle in less than two minutes. Soldiers and Marines armed with an M-4 or M-16 (the carbine’s longer-barreled parent) typically carry seven or so magazines.

    Moreover, the M-4 carbine used in the test had been modified to fire fully automatically. As long as the shooter holds back the trigger, the test rifle keeps firing until the magazine is empty. Standard-issue M-4s fire only on semi-automatic or a three-round burst setting, not like this.

    For these two reasons, it would be impossible for a soldier armed with a standard M-4 to fire as many rounds in such a short period of time — even with the ammunition, even with the desire. The rifle is undergoing a test similar to running an automobile engine at, say, 50,000 or more r.p.m.s.

    Still, when set against the second video, the test has comparative value.

    That video shows the same test with an M-4 equipped with a thicker, heavier barrel, which is used on a specialized carbine, known as the M-4A1. This variant is carried by some Special Operations users.

    Naturally, the rifle still overheats. Heat is an unavoidable byproduct of the cartridges’ burning propellant. It cannot be avoided. But look at what happens with the M-4 outfitted with a heavier barrel.

    The barrel gets hotter and hotter, and the heat spreads throughout the weapon. The shooter wears a heat-resistant glove even to pull the trigger. Soon the barrel smolders and glows, but it does not droop and does not rupture. At 2:22 the hand guard assembly catches fire. It burns for about two and a half minutes. But the rifle keeps firing, magazine after magazine, until it stops firing on automatic at 4 minutes and 47 seconds, after 911 rounds.

    The reason for the stoppage is that the gas tube, which is located under the upper hand guard, has ruptured. The tube is essential. It diverts a portion of expanding gases associated with each discharged cartridge back toward the carbine’s bolt. This excess energy, aided by springs, is converted to the many steps required for automatic or semiautomatic fire.

    With the gas tube ruptured, the shooter continues to fire the rifle several times manually. But at this point, more than 900 rounds after the shooting began, the rifle is a red-hot single shot weapon -– and no longer an infantry assault rifle that can perform as intended.

    Even if the sort of extreme firing seen in these videos exceeds the rate of fire that can be achieved in combat, the takeaway is clear: increasing the thickness of an M-4’s barrel increases the rifle’s ability to function in sustained, intensive combat.

    Colt Defense and the Army have been discussing making the change to a heavier barrel for several months and appear likely to begin requiring standard-issue rifles to have the barrel previously manufactured for the M-4A1.

    If the change is made, the standard M-4 will retain its semiautomatic and burst modes of fire. It will not fire automatically.

    Because both the lighter and heavier barrels are machined from identical sleeves of steel (the thicker barrel, in the simplest sense, spends less time on the lathe), the change can be made without increasing the cost per rifle.

    The downside is that the heavier barrel would increase the weight of a standard M-4 by five ounces. The Army has all but decided the trade-off is worth it, and seems to be considering not whether it should require new carbines to be manufactured to this standard, but whether it should retrofit the hundreds of thousands of rifles already in the services’ possession.

    “The bottom line is that we are going to do this,” Colonel Douglas Tamilio, who supervises small arms development for the Army, said of the change to new carbines. “We have to get all of the services to buy in, but it adds five ounces in weight and doubles your sustained rate of fire.”

    He added, “I think it’s a no-brainer, and we’re going to see it in the near future.”
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  20. my762buzz


    Mar 21, 2007
    Timing probably.