Best AK?

Best AK?

This is a discussion on Best AK? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've been doing some research and I think I've decided to stick with the AK47 instead the AK74 since I can share the ammo with ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    Best AK?

    I've been doing some research and I think I've decided to stick with the AK47 instead the AK74 since I can share the ammo with the SKS.

    I want to go Russian and the Saigas and the Vepr looks high on my list. I like the RS Aimpoint T1 mount that Military Arms has done, but I'm not finding as many configurable setups as the AR platform.

    I'd like to have a adjustable stock and other rails options, but it appears that would depend on the actual firearm product.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    I just did a saiga conversion and the thing came out great. simple to do and cheap.

    its a good route to go if you have a particular set up you want. can customize it as you build.

  3. #3
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    ANY time you modify an original design you open the door for potential problems. Each to his own but I stick with M70AB'2

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    The Saiga's are made at the original AK factory in mother Russia. You can do the Saiga conversion yourself or buy one converted from a company like Arsenal who makes a quality AK.
    When I leave the home port:
    S&W 642 Airweight, Ruger SP 101, Colt Detective Spec., CZ RAMI, Kahr PM9, Kahr CW40, S&W Model 10-7, Glock 30, 19, and 26, Browning Hi Power, CZ82, Colt Commander, Dan Wesson PM7, Ruger LCP

  5. #5
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    I'd look for a Bulgarian milled if you want the nicest AK.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

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  7. #7
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    VZ58

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    I like Arsenals; I think you get a lot of rifle for the money.



    Quote Originally Posted by ak74 View Post
    VZ58

    The VZ58 is not an AK
    "The Second Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security"

  9. #9
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    You have to be careful, for the lack of a better word, when you do mods to an AK it simply messes with the ergonomics. As an example I simply dont put AR stuff on an AK. I happen to like the AK length stocks and love the Russian folders. I also run Yugo Underfolders and never had an issue with them. The platform itself is fantastic and is fine the way it is but there are improvements that make them run better and are better for the shooter.

    I have mine built but that is just my preference and no one builds them better than Rifle Dynamics







    This started out as a Chinese MAK 90, they have a thicker receiver. It has been completely redone internally, an original AK 100 folder was installed, Ultimak Rail, Bolton Gas Block, and new flash hider. The rear sight notch has been opened up also. It has never missed a beat.

    This is my Norinco 5.56 AK built by the same folks. It has a Bulgarian side folder on it with the other mods mentioned above. This one is running a surefire flash hider and is suppressor capable. I have not had a chance to shoot this one yet but it is a true pre ban rifle built for someone in one of those states.



    Don't get me wrong a good solid stock rifle will do everything you want. I haved carried AK's on a daily basis for years and they have never let me down. You don't have to get fancy with them some small mods are all you need.
    azchevy likes this.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

  10. #10
    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    thank you thank you thank you!

    You guys are great. This is great feedback.

    I agree with the feedback here. I was thinking AR style selection, which is different for AKs.

    I've consistently heard the Bulgarians and Russians manufacturers are tops. I didn't realize Arsenal was a great brand for AKs as well.

    This gives me a lot of good resources to look at.

    Thanks!
    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

  11. #11
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    Wink

    I'll add an important note, unless you want to potentially get into some trouble. If you do it yourself, you must be conversant with 18 USC 922(r)! That is a rule that defines how many "foreign" parts and how many US Made" parts you are allowed:

    Do a Google search with "922r" for starters:

    What is 922R?

    Title 18 of the US Code (18 USC), Chapter 44 Section 922 provides guidance on unlawful acts as they relate to firearms. You can read the text of the law by clicking here.

    Section 922 Paragraph R states:
    "It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to--
    (1) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
    (2) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General. "

    Most of us don't fall under those exceptions, so we are left to deal with meeting compliance with the law.

    "Sporting" Purposes
    Here's where things get a little tricky. Some rifles, such as the Saiga line, are imported for sporting purposes in a particular configuration. Generally, that means that do not incorporate any of the "evil" features that are typically associated with so-called "semi-automatic assault weapons". Chapter 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 478.11 defines these SAWs. You can read the law, here. Specific examples of these features include:

    - High capacity (greater than 10 round for rifles, 5 rounds for shotgun) magazines
    - Pistol grip attachment
    - Folding buttstock
    - Muzzle device/attachment (to include a threaded barrel capable of receiving a device)
    - Bayonet lugs
    If your rifle or shotgun incorporates those features, it no longer is considered "suitable for sporting purposes".

    Assembling Semiauto Rifles and Shotguns
    If your rifle or shotgun is subject to 922R, you must now make sure that it is in compliance with the regulations governing the assembly of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. That is covered in Title 27 Chapter 1 Section 178.39. Click here to see the text of the law. It states :
    (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.

    Paragraph (C) defines the following parts as "countable" under the law:
    (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings *
    (2) Barrels *
    (3) Barrel extensions
    (4) Mounting blocks (trunions) *
    (5) Muzzle attachments *
    (6) Bolts *
    (7) Bolt carriers *
    (8) Operating rods
    (9) Gas pistons *
    (10) Trigger housings
    (11) Triggers *
    (12) Hammers *
    (13) Sears
    (14) Disconnectors *
    (15) Buttstocks *
    (16) Pistol grips *
    (17) Forearms, handguards *
    (18) Magazine bodies *
    (19) Followers *
    (20) Floorplates *
    These 20 items are referred to with the term "compliance parts". There are lots of other components that go into a weapon, but there are the only ones that count in terms of complying with the law.

    The 16 items marked with an asterisk are the parts that are generally found on a standard AK 47. The Saiga sporter rifle, as imported, does not have a muzzle device or pistol grip, so it has 14 countable parts. A Saiga shotgun has 13 countable parts (the trunnion is considered part of the receiver) - 14 if the barrel is threaded.

    So once you have done something to take your rifle or shotgun out of a "sporting" configuration, you must now make sure that your weapon has no more than 10 of these parts that are imported.

    Complying with 922R
    Now the trick is making your weapon compliant with the law. To do that, you will need to replace 3 to 6 of the existing parts with components made in the US.

    Here are the parts that most owners use to achieve 922R compliance:
    - Trigger
    - Hammer
    - Disconnector
    - Buttstock
    - Pistol grip
    - Handguard (upper and lower handguards on an AK only count as 1 compliance part)
    - Gas piston
    - Magazine parts (Note: body, follower and floorplate each count as 1 compliance part).

    So you can see that there are plenty of ways to achieve 922R compliance. Personally, I think relying on magazine parts to meet compliance is risky: if someone puts a foreign-made magazine in your weapon, you are now in violation of Federal law. Better to use the other parts for compliance and save the magazines as a "nice to have" compliance option.

    Calculating Compliance

    How you figure your compliance is up to you. Some people just count up the number of foreign parts and make sure it's less than 10. They don't consider any added parts if they are US-made. Personally, I prefer to start with the total number of compliance parts in my rifle/shotgun, then work backwards. To me it's safer, in the event that somewhere down the road you change out one part for another.

    Here's an example: I have a Saiga AK with pistol grip and muzzle device. Using the guidelines for countable parts, that gives me 16 parts. In order to be compliant, I must have at least 6 US-made parts in my rifle. My rifle has the following US parts:
    Trigger, Hammer, Disconnector, Compensator (muzzle device), Gas piston, magazine floor plate and magazine follower. That gives me 6 parts and means I am complying with the law.

    You'll notice that I broke my own rule about using magazine parts. That's because the buttstock and pistol grip I ordered turned out to be made in Israel, so they do not count as compliance parts. Unfortunately, they are so well-made and comfortable that I don't want to replace them! I also had the stock Saiga handguard customized, so it doesn't count for my compliance either.

    On my Saiga shotgun, I had 14 countable parts. In order to meet compliance, I installed the following US-made parts:
    Hammer, trigger, disconnector, buttstock, pistol grip, external choke (muzzle device), US-made magazines.

    That gives me a total of 9 US-parts -- and I only need 4. So while I have US mags to use, I'm not limited to them like I am with my Saiga rifle.

    Special Saiga Considerations

    The Saiga rifle is imported in a sporter configuration and thus is not subject to 922R compliance. That is....until you decide you want to use high capacity magazines! If you plan on doing a full AK conversion, then there's generally no problem -- the conversion parts (fire control group, buttstock, pistol grip) usually take care of compliance.

    Some people, though, want to keep the sporter configuration but use high caps - and that takes a little more creativity. There are 14 countable parts in the Saiga sporter (no pistol grip or muzzle device).

    Quick compliance parts include:
    - Handguard: TAPCO makes an AK-specific, Galil-style handguard (1 compliance part)
    - Gas piston: US-made gas piston (either AK 47 or AK 74) (1 compliance part)
    - Trigger: You can modify a TAPCO G2 trigger to work in the stock Saiga firecontrol group (requires grinding and cuttting) (1 compliance part)
    - Hammer: You can install a TAPCO G2 hammer in the stock FCG (1 compliance part)
    - Magazines: Complete US made mags (like ProMag or Thermold) or US followers and/or floor plates in foreign magazine bodies (1-3 compliance parts)

    Another popular "quasi conversion" is to use the ACE Saiga receiver block/pistol grip combo, like this. This gives you an AK-like grip/buttstock without having to move the FCG. Adding the pistol grip ups your parts count to 15. Since ACE equipment is US-made, the buttstock and pistol grip each count as 1 part. That means you only need three more (from the list above) to be compliant.

    Be aware that there is also a Russian-made version of the same block/grip combo. You can use it, but you then have to find 5 replacement parts to be compliant.

    There are also two kinds of Surefire magazines designed for the Saiga rifle. There are all-plastic ones that are US-made and count for compliance. The older versions are metal bodies, and although Surefire is a US company, the magazines use foreign parts and do not count for 922R compliance!
    Builders know what to do if you buy a built AK. Here's an interesting source too: Gunwiki: Generic 922(r) Worksheet

    Have fun!

    If you REALLY want the best, get a Gallil. I hear QKShooter has one or two for sale.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Well I've been itching to get something again for a while now. And with this recent thread, I figured what the hey.
    Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky ones to get a decent firing Century Romanian build. The LGS said he had one and never had a problem with it. It's more my "just to have one" gun anyway.
    Off to put a clip through it.
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    After much consideration, for myself, I decided that the Saiga was the best AK for my money.

    My son and I did the conversion in one afternoon; it was a fun project and we have a fine shooter
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  14. #14
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderBra View Post
    thank you thank you thank you!

    You guys are great. This is great feedback.

    I agree with the feedback here. I was thinking AR style selection, which is different for AKs.

    I've consistently heard the Bulgarians and Russians manufacturers are tops. I didn't realize Arsenal was a great brand for AKs as well.

    This gives me a lot of good resources to look at.

    Thanks!
    I agree with the Bulgarian AKs and the Arsenal models. Thing is......not many of the "best" AKs can be found anymore unless it's from an owner. SKS.....go Russian. Not many of those to be found now either. Everything seems to go through an ERA. If you were not there at the right time, there's always the want. Best things happen in due time then they are gone. Those that were there know and they don't talk much about it. Best of luck now.

  15. #15
    Member Array chris2011's Avatar
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    FWIW I have owned a Romanian AK for several years and it has been a great shooter.

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