Contemplating an AK
I have been thinking about spending some of my x-mas bonus on an Ak. I'm not really familiar whit them at all though. I've played with a few in the shop etc.. There's a bunch of different variants and I'm wondering if you guys can give me a place to start. Ak 47, 74, etc...
Basically I'm looking for a fun range gun, a SHTF gun, and while I have plenty of hunting rifles maybe take it on a deer hunt or two for fun. I have heard AK's are not the most accurate gun but I would like it to be able to shoot a decent group at 100 yards with a decent optic. Not looking for competition accuracy though. What models do you guys think I should take a look at?
Manufacturers to stay away from, ones to consider?
A new manufactured Saiga with a conversion/restoration is not a bad way to start the AK fun.
what do you mean by a conversion?
AK may be fun to shoot but in my humble opinion, I would pass on the AK and get a "real" :smile: battle rifle: M1A
or MI Garand 30'06
The current crop of Romanian AKs are cheap but they are pretty rough. Some of the wood looks like it was cut out by a chopping axe.
I.O. has been turning out some that feel better and look better. They are an American company that uses an American receiver with Romak parts. Most have synthetic stocks that are the correct length for Americans whereas the rest of the AK's have the standard Warsaw length stock which is pretty short for most people.
The Yugo's are generally a little nicer on the finish but are more expensive.
Saiga's come into America without a pistol grip and the trigger further rearward. They're usually pretty cheap. But to convert it into a pistol grip AK, moving the trigger assembly forward, and getting the 922r parts, it's fairly pricey. I'd love to do it someday, and I was interested in a Saiga, but I cheaped out and got a WASR 10/63. The WASR's are cheap, but they're still good, tough and reliable.
Originally Posted by Adkjoe
I wanted a Yugo M70 originally instead of the WASR, but it was more expensive then I thought it'd be. $580 in the store. I know you can get them cheaper, but not as cheap as the WASR. And the only reason I wanted the Yugo was it's looks. But I can get my WASR looking similar, minus the underfolder.
Arsenal and Saiga is known to be the "better" built AK's, but there are cheaper options, and the fit and finish may not be as good, but they still go bang. My WASR has worked great so far.
What RKM said on conversion.
Yeah the new Saigas are running 350ish (plus shipping and FFL) with another 150 (or more) on conversion parts...550 and up.
All AK's are fun guns...rough and tough for sure. No matter what you get (as long as something isn't really wrong with it) you will enjoy it.
I don't think you'd be happy with the accuracy of an AK for hunting, even though the 7.62x39 cartridge is adequate for deer. Unless, of course, a whole herd of deer was ready to leap over the deadfalls and storm your position...
OTOH, my Yugo SKS is pretty accurate, even with open sights... I'd put it on a par with my Marlin 336. But clearly not as compact as the AK, and AK's magazine is a whole lot faster to change than the SKS' stripper clips or mag conversion.
my WASR underfolder looks great, feels great, and its as solidly AK as you can get, I would stick with a 47 because of the bigger round but thats just me
If you're planning to ever take a deer with it avoid the 74. The 5.45X39 round is not up to the task, but the 7.62X39 is almost as powerful as a .30-30 round. I personally have a Romanian WASR-10 that only failed the first time I took it out because I did a crappy job getting all the cosmoline grease out of it. After I properly cleaned it I never had a problem with it. It shoots pretty well out to 50 yards, but I haven't tried taking it further than that. The sights are definitely poor, especially compared with the sights you'll find on stock ARs and M1As.
Easily fixable by mounting a different forearm with a rail on it that you can affix a red dot or a reflex sight.
That'll add more to the accuracy than anything.
For the general purpose things you mentioned an AK will fill the bill nicely.
Like anything else you get what you pay for and AK's are no different. You did not say what your budget was but there is something for every need.
First caliber. Personally I would stick to the 7.62x39 as the round is ballistically almost identical to the 30-30. The problem with 5.45 ammo is 99% of it is corrosive and you must really clean the gun after shooting it. It seems to be a little light for hunting and as a matter of fact it may be to little you need to check your states laws. Currently 5.45 ammo is generally cheaper than 7.62 but it is all corrosive.
WASR's are good basic rifles. They can have some problems. Canted front sights, gas blocks and out of wack rear sights are the main things. A lot of this can be overcome by being able to handle the rifle first instead of an internet purchase blindly. You can often find great deals on Century Arms Guns (CAI) the only thing is that they are often built from and assortment of parts and quality can be hit and miss.
YUGOS are good guns strong and dependable. Wood looks ok but it is a knock about gun so who cares. The YUGO underfolders are good but as with any underfolder the stock will get loose over time. It will still lock up but just be loose. Many also find that the folding stocks, wire or underfolder that is, do not offer a comfortable cheek weld.
SAIGA and SAIGA conversions are authentic Russian rifles that have been made compliant for import into the US. If you get one great guns but where people mess up is letting Fred with a dremel and a torch convert them back to pistol grip form. If you have the money send it to Rifle Dynamics or some other reputable folks to convert it back. There are dozens of youtube videos on this topic to give you an idea of what the conversion actually does.
Arsenal's are the best value in an AK under $1000. They are Russian made, shoot well and very accurate for an AK. You can find them ranging from $650 to $900 gunbroker has a ton of them. They also have the absolute best without a doubt folding stocks on the market. It is a fixed stock that locks up tight and gives you all the advantages of a fixed stock but when you need to simply press the button and it folds to the side and locks out of the way. Disadvantage is that you must remove any side mounted optic in order for the stock to fold.
Mounting Optics and Sight Mods.
Here your choices get kind of limited. You have about four options. Buy an AK that has the side optic rail in place and buy the right mount for whatever optic you want to put on. Saiga and Arsenal come with them just depending on the model.
Replace the receiver cover with one that has a rail attached to it. The receiver cover on an AK is there for nothing more than to keep stuff out it serves no mechanical purpose. I often shoot AK's removing parts as I go to demonstrate what you have to do to disable an AK on the battle field. They will shoot fine with the receiver cover off, and the recoil spring removed but you have to hold the bolt closed and manually pull the bolt back to chamber a round from the mag, a bolt action AK if you will. Anyways. Because of its lack of any mechanical use it is simply held in place by placing it in a small groove at the front of the receiver and when pushed into place it is held there by the recoil spring but in turn it has nothing to do with holding the recoil spring in place.
What this means is the covers are generally a loose fit and simply by adding a rail does not correct this problem. If you solidly mount an optic to the rail but the cover is loose you are peeing in the wind so to speak. Railed covers come with two screws that fit in the rear of the cover to "tighten it down" but generally speaking they are not all that hot.
Krebs rail conversions take it a step further by actually mounting a rail that goes over the top of the receiver but does not mount to it. It mounts in a bracket at he base where the stock and receiver meet and in the front on the rear sight base. Never used one but they seem solid and it opens up an entire spectrum of optic and iron sight options. They are a little pricey if I remember correctly.
Ultimak makes a rail system that replaces the gas tube and attaches to the barrel. This or one of the replacement handguard rail systems seem to be the best bet for Red Dot type sights. Personally I prefer the Ultimak.
AK sights are to small especially the rear sight notch. This can be fixed by either buying a set of aftermarket sights, sending the sights to be modified or simply taking a file open up the rear sight notch yourself whichever works for you. Depending on your vision they may be just fine from the box they have used the same sights for decades and they have worked fine. They also make a replacement peep sight for the AK and if I remember right Guantes has one on his rifle or has used one before.
The main thing I try to stress when shooters want an AK is that first and foremost it is not an M4/M-16 rifle. Do not attempt to run it like an M4. Do not put M4 stuff on it. There are dozens of aftermarket parts for an AK you probably only need three or four of them depending on your body type and shooting style. An AK is designed to be simple, direct and to the point there is no need to change that. Yes you can do things to the rifle to make those good attributes better but do not try to change the original platform into something that it is not. Just my opinion.
This is what I am talking about. This rifle is a conversion done by Rifle Dynamics. The stock pictured is a Russian Folder described above. It has the Ultimak Rail system installed to mount the Red Dot and a Bolten gas block which combines the front sight and gas block into one unit. It also has the Rifle Dynamics front and rear sight mods done to it.
Now having said all that. Look around at shops and so on. Look on Gunbroker. Often times shops will advertise WASR AK's, no canted anything guaranteed and so on. Dealers know that customers are aware of problems with the rifles and will often correct them before selling if not send it back. If you find one you like post it on here with a link or send it to me and I can assure you myself or someone can look at the ad and can give a good opinion of the rifle or the seller so you have increased odds of getting a good gun. Let us/me know how the search goes and if you can't find anything let me know I run across things all the time and may be able to connect you with the right person.
Please note I have nothing to do with Rifle Dynamics they are just great rifle builders as are Krebs and others. They are building two rifles for me now, an AK like pictured above and an M4 that when I ordered I simply told them build something that works everytime and that you would use. I insisted on I think three specific items and dropped two of those after discussions with them, other than that I completely left it up to them that is how much confidence I have in their work.
I am not claiming to be an AK guru. I carry one daily but I could care less what the roll mark is or if there is an original 1962 rivet in the right place or all the numbers match, it works whenever and however I need it and that is all I care about. An AK or any other firearm used for a specific mission or job is a tool to be used to accomplish the task or mission at hand nothing more, nothing less.
I prefer AR-15's because they are of higher quality, there are more aftermarket accessories and spare parts available, it can be configured in a million ways and it has more accuracy for long distance shooting. Nonetheless, I don't like AK-47's mostly because of what they represent and because of who always chooses to use the AK-47: terrorists, guerrillas, drug cartels and criminals from around the Globe. I say get an AR-15 which is the battle rifle of your country's Army and it stands for freedom, peacemaking and pure awesomeness.
AR-15's I defiantly feel are higher quality. Better put together and my M&P15X hasn't had any malfunctions yet. And, it's dirty. I clean it once every other or every three range trips. My AR15 has been nothing but perfect. I love the AR15, and it's probably my preference between the two... maybe.
Originally Posted by alachner
The AK's though, there is just something about them, I had to have one. The fact that they're "evil" is cool to me. But think about it, it's just a gun, and gun's are only as evil as the person shooting it. My biggest complaint about AK's is the rear sight, which a nice peep sight is no more than $70 and the bolt doesn't lock open on the last shot. Annoying if you're not counting the rounds. That last dry fire shot always makes you wonder, jam? Bad round? Always having to check the chamber. After I shoot my AK more, I'm sure I'll get used to it. But I love my WASR 10/63... front sight and gas black's are NOT canted, to the naked eye anyway. The wood stock and wood front grips don't quite match, but I'm replacing the stock with an ACE folder anyway, but keeping the front wood grips. The quality seems to be good. Some numbers match, but not all. I have no reason to believe this would cause any major issues. I think it'll serve me well.
Whatever you purchase, I'm sure you'll be happy. WASR's are hit and miss like tacman605 said, but I think I lucked out. I took the risk knowing that you have a chance of getting a bad one. So if you're on a budget, the WASR is worth a look. But if you can easily afford a better Saiga or Arsenal, go for it. If you get a nice WASR, I doubt other than fit and finish it'll be any less reliable than a Saiga or Arsenal.
I agree that a gun is evil only in the hands of evil, but I guess that there is a big difference when you live in the U.S. and when you live in Central America. We are flooded by illegal automatic AK-47's coming from Venezuela and Colombia that the drug cartels sell and exchange with the local criminals. Therefore, we have been more exposed to its negative effects and thus there is a fear among the Latin American population of the "evil" AK-47. I agree that they are tough as hell and the "evil" factor makes them even more cool, but in my case, I cannot stand them because I always see them on TV in the hands of drug cartels, guerrillas and Islamic terrorists. I don't know, I just feel better owning an AR-15 which is always in the hands of the "good guys" that are trying to counter-attack evil around the World. I don't have an AR-15 yet because here in Costa Rica they are scarce and thus VERY EXPENSIVE ($4,000), but I do want one really bad and I am already saving to get an M&P 15 Tactical. I do take donations via Paypal from fellow American forum members that wish to make a fellow Latin member very happy and safe. :rofl:
Originally Posted by RKM