AK 7.62x39 -- which one for utter reliability, simplicity, lower cost

This is a discussion on AK 7.62x39 -- which one for utter reliability, simplicity, lower cost within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Am considering an AK in 7.62x39. Am very interested in your opinions on pros/cons of the various alternatives out there. Goals are, in order of ...

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Thread: AK 7.62x39 -- which one for utter reliability, simplicity, lower cost

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    AK 7.62x39 -- which one for utter reliability, simplicity, lower cost

    Am considering an AK in 7.62x39. Am very interested in your opinions on pros/cons of the various alternatives out there. Goals are, in order of importance: reliability, first and foremost; simplicity; low to medium cost. Would like to hear rationale of a given mfr/brand over another. Have been to ar15.com and waded through a couple years' worth of posts.

    For a first-time buyer of an AK with the above goals, what would you recommend ... and why?

    - Michael
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    Well if you are going for low cost, I have found the Romanians to be about the lowest cost, and of those the SAR-1 to be a little better quality than the WASR-10. They are both stamped receiver models, and are a little lighter than the more expensive milled receiver models. The AK is a simple weapon no matter what configuration (milled or stamped). Moving up in quality and in price are the Chinese Norinco models.

    A lot of folks here swear by the milled receiver models, I'll stick with the less expensive stamped receiver models. I have had several AKs and currently own two Romanian SAR-1s that I like for the purpose I bought them, fun to shoot, and a reliable SHTF weapon should the time ever come.
    "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone

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    Member Array Longbow's Avatar
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    Hi ya ccw9mm
    The AK 47 is the most reliable and bullet prof rifle you can buy, There is a reason it is the most popular and must manufactured rifle by more countries then any other rifle in existence.
    For an entry level AK I would recommend a Romanian WASR10, $350.00 or so, they are built here in the US on Romanian receivers and are 922r compliant. that means they have the right amount of US parts to make them perfectly legal for a post ban AK.
    The WASR10 is not the best built AK out there but for the money you really can't go wrong. They are very reliable. I have about 1500 rnds through mine with no receiver related FTF or FTE. Things to look for on the Romanians are, canted front sites and rough finish on internal stamped parts. Keep your eyes open for a good clean one (most of them are) and you really can't go wrong. They will come with everything you need, Two 30rnd mags, sling, mag pouch and so on.
    If you want to step up a little in price a nice Yugo under-folder is cool in the $550.00 range. But stay away from the century receivers.
    This forum here is the best for AK, these guys are experts. Here a picture of my Romanian and my Norinco early preban.

    Last edited by Longbow; December 21st, 2006 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Spelling
    "Planning to draw and chamber a round after TSHTF is like planning to fasten your seatbelt after you see the other guy run a stopsign..."

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Are you handy with a Dremel tool? If so, you can buy a WASR-10, and (assuming local law allows) open the mag well up, to accept hi-caps, in about 20-30 minutes. I paid $312 OTD for mine.
    www.warriortalk.com has a good Kalashnikov forum, with practical suggestions. Jim Fuller is a great mechanics/builder resource (on WT).
    AR-15.com also has a decent AK forum, but a bit juvenile for me to hangout with- I go there to search specific topics.

    FYI- "Best built" is really a relative term. Unless you spend $500+, you will want to take any of them apart, and remove some filings/machine marks. Ironically, my Romy G parts kit was better finished than the commercial WASR-10. The great thing about the AK is that you won't feel bad taking some 320 grit to sharp edges, them degreasing, and shooting it with Krylon or Rustoleum. If you intent it to be a "go-to" carbine, spend the time to make sure you don't have any sharp-n-pointies that will get you during handling.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    What about the Saiga? There are some vendors with the "Russian American Armory Saiga Sporter" in 7.62x39, 16" bbl, either with fixed stock or skeletonized stock. Gilberts Guns in KY is one.

    The AK-104 type, such as the Saiga MK, is one that interests me (in terms of size, format).

    A carbine style is preferable. < 18" bbl max.

    $ Cap: $500 or so, plus magazines beyond that.

    There seem to be so many opinions about the various manufacturers, it's hard to know what's quality vs. not.

    Am not handy with machining. Would likely have a decent gunsmith get it "right" and good-to-go. Am not handy with machining or anything beyond the basics, hence the "utterly reliable" requirement. Though, I fully realize a general clean-up and polishing helps any gun. Prepared for that.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  7. #6
    Member Array wilson133's Avatar
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    If the 10 round capacity is sufficient, the Dunham's chain has WASR Dragonovs for about $200 when on sale. The high caps run about $300 on sale. An outfit called Midwest Ordinance shows up at local guns shows with high caps for $300 also. I believe they have a retail store in Royal Oak.

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    I have 2 AK-47's: a Romanian WASR-10 and a Vector Arms. The WASR rifle was made during the assault weapon ban era to accept 10 round magazines, and then milled out after the ban expired to accept 30 round mags. I've found the rifle to be extremely reliable, but it has a problem with "trigger slap" even after a trigger job, and the fit and finish of the rifle leaves a lot to be desired.

    The Vector rifle was assembled by Vector from either a Polish or Hungarian kit, and I believe it's far superior to the Romanian. Fit and finish are excellent, and it's been completely reliable after several thousand rounds. This photo is my Vector:



    Just my opinion, but the Vector is a better rifle for a couple of reasons. As stated, the fit and finish is vastly superior to the Romanian, and Vector Arms stands behind their rifles with an excellent 5 year warranty. The rifle was manufactured to accept 30 round mags, not milled out as an after thought, and magazine changes are much smoother.

    The real kicker is the price: the WASR rifles are priced at around $325 (using J&G Sales as an example), and they really need a new trigger assembly (I think the company that makes the kits is called Star) for about $80 bucks. I got a straight wood stock AK from Vector for $500, and couldn't be happier. YMMV, but here's a link to their website:

    http://www.vectorarms.com/indexframe.html
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

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    Member Array JustinM's Avatar
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    Lancaster Consulting out of Phoenix, AZ makes a great AK.

    Atlantic-Firearms said on ARFCOM that it;s a great rifle for fit and finish, and it has a LIFETIME warranty.

    http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/prog...asp?Prodid=274

    http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/prog...asp?Prodid=275
    "There are more things on this planet with fangs, claws, poisons, and scales, than there are things that are warm, fuzzy, and full of love. It's just a simple fact." - James Keating

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    Member Array JustinM's Avatar
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    "There are more things on this planet with fangs, claws, poisons, and scales, than there are things that are warm, fuzzy, and full of love. It's just a simple fact." - James Keating

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Question: Has anyone found a decent AK upper for left-handed shooters?

    As a lefty, I'd prefer the controls and ejection swapped. Ambidextrous firing selector/safety can work, but there are no "lefty" uppers that I know of.

    Have been considering AR's as well, and Stag makes a "lefty" variant of their upper. I've got my gunsmith/shop quoting on a build, to see how it stacks up. (Obviously, the larger decisions are: lefty, 7.62 vs 5.56, reliability.)
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Question: Has anyone found a decent AK upper for left-handed shooters?

    As a lefty, I'd prefer the controls and ejection swapped. Ambidextrous firing selector/safety can work, but there are no "lefty" uppers that I know of.
    Totally a custom build, man. In Communism everyone is equal.......and everyone's a "righty"! Really, the question is your budget- if you want to/are able to spend $500+, any of the above are great. If your total package (gun, mags & ammo) need to be w/in $500, that's a different game. Really, unless you buy Uncle Bob'S AK Build, any of them will be reliable, and reasonably accurate. Triggers are a subjective thing- I polished my contact points with a Dremel (single-hook trigger), and its more than comfortable for me. YMMV.......

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Just to close out this thread, I ended up going "the other way" with a standard, off-the-shelf Stag 3L AR15. Lefty arrangement. Time to explore the case of 2000 rds of 5.56mm I've got sitting next to me, at the range today.

    Sometimes, it's challenging to be a lefty. Glad there are legitimate alternatives out there.

    Thanks for everyone's comments.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    I have the Romanian GP WASR10, and it has worked flawlessly for me. Some people have bad experiences with the WASR10, so maybe some aren't as good as others. Mine on the other hand turned out to be one of the good ones. I love it!


  15. #14
    Member Array Longbow's Avatar
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    When working with an AK everything is done with the left hand, the right hand should never leave the pistol grip, changing mags, and racking the the rifles should always be done with the opposite hand of the trigger finger. In other words you should always keep your sight picture and your shooting hand on the grip ready to shoot. You reach under the hand guard catching the hook on the op rod with the fore finger and rack. So if your a lefty this should work well for you, not having to reach under for the op rod.
    "Planning to draw and chamber a round after TSHTF is like planning to fasten your seatbelt after you see the other guy run a stopsign..."

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    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    I swear by the Norinco MAK-90. I have one and I love it. The Chinese make a great copy!
    Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

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