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View Full Version : What Rifle Lasts Longer? AK or AR?


RevolverOcelot
June 20, 2012, 02:38 AM
THIS IS NOT AN AR VS AK THREAD!!!

I'm not talking about which gun is "better", but which rifle would last longer in terms of rounds fired? Specifically I'm interested in how long the receiver of the AK would last and how long the upper and lower of an AR would last, ASSUMING BOTH RIFLES ARE RECEIVING PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE.

jmr40
June 20, 2012, 05:33 AM
I believe the AK would continue to work longer after being abused and neglected. Given a reasonable amount of care and cleaning I think it would be hard to say. Just a guess really, but I'm going to say AR. Loose fitting parts might make for a more reliable gun when dirty, but I'd think it would also lead to accelerated wear quicker than well lubricated parts with closer tolerences.

Baba Louie
June 20, 2012, 07:18 AM
CJ Chivers reports that he has seen original milled AKs of Russian manufacture, used in Afghanistan some 60 years after they left the factory, so they got that going for them.

The AR format, being newer, might be hard pressed to find early M16s in daily use on the planet. Maybe in southeast Asia, but, again from Chivers book The Gun, the early M16s had "issues" and have evolved into a pretty fine platform. Much easier to upgrade bits and pieces due to the modularity of the platform. Maybe.

There's a whole lot more of the AK variants on the planet.

Which lasts longer...? The one that's never shot. Don't know if there is a valid, 100% correct answer. Be interesting to see what others, who have used both for their intended purpose, have to offer. I'm just a hobbyist type of user myself.

Mike38
June 20, 2012, 09:42 AM
I saw the following story on a TV show about Afghanistan. I think it was on the Military Channel, but not sure. A couple of US Soldiers “found” an AK47 and 1000 rounds of ammo laying out in the middle of the desert. So they picked it up and stashed it. It had been laying there for quite some time, because the receiver showed signs of rust / corrosion. So long in fact they couldn’t pull back the bolt. A few weeks later, having some idle time, they decided to get the AK out and blast some rounds threw it. One guy put his boot on the bolt handle to break it free, having to kick it several times. They shot 500 rounds of what they were sure was corrosive ammo. The first few rounds jammed, but once they broke all the rust free, it functioned flawlessly. They then buried it and the ammo in the sand. A month later they decided to try it again. Same deal, had to kick the bolt open, jammed on the first few rounds, but then functioned flawlessly for another 500 rounds. All during this “test” not a drop of lubricant was used. They then ran it over with a tank to destroy it. I’d like to see a AR15 / M16 / M4 do that!

RedBowTies88
June 20, 2012, 09:45 AM
AK, less parts to fail or wear. That's just how it is.


I will say this though, both guns would probably eat a barrel or two before the action has major issues

Achilles11B
June 20, 2012, 10:16 AM
I have a Garand from 1945 that runs like a sewing machine. It's not so much the firearm itself as it is the level of maintenance and care that keeps it going. Look at cars. Model T's may not be daily drivers, but their owners keep them operational and in running shape.

RedBowTies88
June 20, 2012, 10:19 AM
I watched 2 men at a county fair assemble a model T from parts and then start it up and drive it around the fair in <15 minutes. They literally assembeled everything but the motor.

The Ford and the AK are similar in that in reguard to their newer brethren being far more complex then they. In general more complex may have its benefits but when it comes to reliability year after year and round after round the more simple design will win out 4 times out of 5

RevolverOcelot
June 20, 2012, 12:04 PM
I saw the following story on a TV show about Afghanistan. I think it was on the Military Channel, but not sure. A couple of US Soldiers “found” an AK47 and 1000 rounds of ammo laying out in the middle of the desert. So they picked it up and stashed it. It had been laying there for quite some time, because the receiver showed signs of rust / corrosion. So long in fact they couldn’t pull back the bolt. A few weeks later, having some idle time, they decided to get the AK out and blast some rounds threw it. One guy put his boot on the bolt handle to break it free, having to kick it several times. They shot 500 rounds of what they were sure was corrosive ammo. The first few rounds jammed, but once they broke all the rust free, it functioned flawlessly. They then buried it and the ammo in the sand. A month later they decided to try it again. Same deal, had to kick the bolt open, jammed on the first few rounds, but then functioned flawlessly for another 500 rounds. All during this “test” not a drop of lubricant was used. They then ran it over with a tank to destroy it. I’d like to see a AR15 / M16 / M4 do that!




I heard the same story, but that it was Vietnam in the 70's, and the AK was buried under a dead soldier's remains and mud. Exact same story otherwise, even had to kick the bolt open and shot 500 rounds.

Sounds so similar, in fact, that it might not be true altogether? Nah, the internet is always right :rolleyes:

jmr40
June 20, 2012, 12:33 PM
I still go back to my 1st post. Even if the above story is true, which it may well be, it proves my point that the AK will continue to work when abused longer than a typical AR.

But given a bit of cleaning and properly lubicated I'm not sure which would shoot more rounds before being worn to the point of being un-useable.

A car engine that is built to closer tolerences, using good materials that has been regularly serviced will last much longer than many older designs that were not built as well even though both have been properly serviced. The loose fitting parts just wear out faster.

I honestly don't know if this logic relates to firearms or not. But that is my opinion and the logic I'm using to reach it.

tahunua001
June 20, 2012, 01:13 PM
the receivers would all last indefinitely. the bolt carrier groups, pistons(where applicable), and barrels are what you have to worry about wearing out. one thing to notice though is that it's not that hard to make an AK rust. I sold my AK because I was sick of cleaning the rust out of it. aluminum does not rust and I've never found a spec of rust in my ARs and they've seen much worse conditions than the AK ever did.

which is better is not part of this discussion but what do you think is going to last longer sitting in grampa's closet? a pop can or a nail.

Master Blaster 2
June 20, 2012, 03:56 PM
AKs are crudely made with a press,rivits, hammer and file. It is ment to be shot by uneducated and children soldiers in the 3rd world nations.
An AR is civilised precise and assembles like a finely machined tool. Minimal tools to assembly..

tobnpr
June 20, 2012, 04:10 PM
Barrels wear out...you'll never wear out the receiver.

Only caution would be that 7.62 x 39 surplus ammo can be corrosive- and if you use it in an AK and fail to clean properly immediately after use, you will prematurely corrode the boltface and barrel.

NXMR
June 20, 2012, 04:28 PM
tobnpr: "Only caution would be that 7.62 x 39 surplus ammo can be corrosive- and if you use it in an AK and fail to clean properly immediately after use, you will prematurely corrode the boltface and barrel."

I'm going to 2nd this in a big way. A lot of you probably know this already but if you don't, it's absolutely 100% true. I clean mine as soon as possible - even if it's labled "berdan/non-corrosive" it will still corrode.

Now I'm going to fade back into the shadows and watch this thread... oughta be good... :D

the rifleer
June 20, 2012, 04:34 PM
I suggest you buy either one, spend your entire bank account on ammo, and let us know which fails first… then I'll know which one to buy.

Palmetto-Pride
June 20, 2012, 08:15 PM
What Rifle Lasts Longer? AK or AR?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THIS IS NOT AN AR VS AK THREAD!!!

Do you expect to ask a question like that and it not turn into a AN AR VS AK THREAD.......lol:) good luck with that:eek:

checkmyswag
June 20, 2012, 08:24 PM
Suppose if you tested the different metals/components in a lab and did a ton of math you could get some sort of objective numerical answer, but then the variables of the real world would have to be included and go and mess your science up.

raftman
June 20, 2012, 08:51 PM
AKs are crudely made with a press,rivits, hammer and file. It is ment to be shot by uneducated and children soldiers in the 3rd world nations.
An AR is civilised precise and assembles like a finely machined tool. Minimal tools to assembly..

Ah yes, that old fallacious nonsense again.:rolleyes:

In any case... weapons much older than either design are still around and kicking, with proper maintenance both can last a lot longer than people do. It's quite literally impossible to say which lasts longer, especially since not all AK's or AR's are born equal. With AK's, some are milled, some are stamped, they come from countless countries and are chambered for a variety of cartridges. Likewise, there are many makers of AR's, with variations in materials, and so on.

Crosshair
June 20, 2012, 08:54 PM
I watched 2 men at a county fair assemble a model T from parts and then start it up and drive it around the fair in <15 minutes. They literally assembled everything but the motor.

The "Jiffy" Crew (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD78rTF0Rjo)

Crow Hunter
June 21, 2012, 08:02 AM
Given an equal level of parts quality and care in assembly an AK will easily outlast an AR from a "functional" stand point.

The AK is a much "beefier" constructed rifle The extractor is larger, the ejector is built into the receiver, the bolt lugs are massive, the carrier is very heavy.

However, "functional" does not mean "effective". It may function but it might also be throwing bullets in a pattern than would shame a smooth bore musket.

The advantage of the AR is that it is much more easily serviceable. An AR can be kept "effective" for a much longer time than an AK can be with just minor armorers servicing and even longer with some minor tools to allow for swapping barrels.

There are rifles being used today in the military from the late 1960's that have been to Anniston and back multiple times and are still perfectly functional.

The AK is not designed to be easily serviceable. You can't just switch bolts on a whim, you can't just unscrew the barrel and swap it, you can't just swap an extractor with your fingers, you can't replace a faulty ejector, but it will usually last longer as built from the factory.

So it really depends on your definition of "lasts longer".

As an aside, this is in reference to military grade representatives of both rifles. Not "hobby grade" rifles made with potentially substandard parts or worn out surplus parts put together by drunk, nearsighted monkeys with dremel tools.

Te Anau
June 21, 2012, 11:22 AM
Silly question.......the AK of course! ;)

Baylorattorney
June 21, 2012, 11:31 AM
The AR because it is a weapons platform, not simply an assault rifle.

RedBowTies88
June 21, 2012, 11:40 AM
Well, an ak action will at least work until the barrel bends so much it disconnects the gas tube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs6iSB85hi4

a7mmnut
June 21, 2012, 11:56 AM
I'd go with the AK, since the originals already have over 20 years on the M16. Besides the smaller bore always shooting out before a larger bore, ten tons of pins and plungers with tiny springs will render the AR totally useless if disassemble goes awry.:eek: The Simonov rifle may even be more reliable.

-7-

RevolverOcelot
June 21, 2012, 12:50 PM
ten tons of pins and plungers


I've never understood this sentiment. I own an AR and AK, and the AR seems to be the more simple of the two. The AR doesn't really have a lot to it, and is easier to clean (to me) than the AK.

a7mmnut
June 21, 2012, 01:04 PM
I've got a few, and they are ALL full of detent pins and plungers.

-7-

dvdcrr
June 21, 2012, 06:40 PM
It would be a REAL service to this thread if someone in the know would share armory specification for replacement in number of rounds. I have read before the number of rounds which the russians expect out of an AK before removing it from service, I am sure it is the same for the m4. And a 74 would be different from a 47.

checkmyswag
June 21, 2012, 07:30 PM
The points about servicability is what increasingly has me considering an AR. The myth that AKs don't break is just that. And if and when they do break you are out of a gun if in a breakdown shtf situation. This same line of logic has potentially turned me away from the Ruger mini as well.

I like the idea of the unbreakable piston rifles. But they're not magic. When they do fail...will most likely need a gunsmith to fix them. Furthermore...I share the same concern that a Russian military Ak is not the same as what's available to us after theyve been converted with varying quality and components.

I suppose the argument could be made that if you don't shoot thousands of rounds through your gun its less likely to break either way.

I've been studying this Ak vs AR vs mini vs m1a thing pretty in depth. Thanks for the good post.

Master Blaster 2
June 22, 2012, 05:43 AM
So, is a AK better than an AR or is the AR better than the AK?

Baba Louie
June 22, 2012, 07:03 AM
So, is a AK better than an AR or is the AR better than the AK?Yes. :D
Uh... they is each... different. Really.
Loose v. tight.
Steel v alum.
Wood v. plastic.
Fixed/Folder v. fixed/4 or 6.
Piston v. D.I.
State sponsored v. Private enterprise capitalist running dog.
7.62 v. 5.56 (as originally designed)
Short sight radius v. (uh) short sight radius but with peep :rolleyes:

Whichever one floats your boat. Both great for what they are, warts and all.

There is no, one, right answer for all, I do believe. But I've been wrong before and will be again I'm sure.

Crow Hunter
June 22, 2012, 08:30 AM
So, is a AK better than an AR or is the AR better than the AK?

There are 2 different combat philosophies at work in the 2 rifles.

AK - Russian Winter capable, massed mechanized infantry close assault rifle for supporting massed tank formations punching through defensive positions with infantry exploiting those breaches. It is designed to last long enough to finish a typical war with little to no armorer/Arsenal support with a high volume of full auto fire.

AR - Accurate individual rifleman's weapon designed around the fire and maneuver tactics of the US military rifle squad. It is designed to provide the individual rifleman the ability to dominate his sector of fire with accurate semi-automatic rifle fire with a full auto/burst option for emergencies. It is designed to be field repaired/upgraded and arsenal level rebuilt over and over again until the receiver is finaly damaged beyond repair.

Both reflect the historical experiences of their respective nations in warfare and the tactics/technology developed and used therein.

Either with good training and practice will be better than the "best" that has never been used before.;)

BlackJackID
June 22, 2012, 03:36 PM
@Crow Hunter...I have to say your responses on this thread are some of the best and most informational I have ever seen on the topic. I love when someone gives a fact-based, completely non-biased and informational answer.

I myself am an AR-15 fan..though I think the AK is an outsatanding rifle, I believe it is a soldiers rifle and not a riflemans tool. However, in my own, very humble and only moderately informed opinion, I think the AK would hold up the longest, if we dont take maintenance into account.

The AR, is a finely tuned machine that needs regular maintenance to function as intended..The AK on the other had is a robust and simple rifle, with parts that are inherantly stronger than the pieces that make an AR.

Any weapon, with constant maintenance of varying degrees can be made to run indefinately, so we have to take that out of the equation. If we Only take regular field maintenance into account, I believe the AR would blow a gas ring or have an extractor failure long before the AK hiccupped.

Take this as you will, but from an AR fan, I would concede this particular argument to the AK-47.

BlackJack

RevolverOcelot
June 22, 2012, 03:52 PM
I probably should have said "Which rifle would last longer in terms of rounds fire, and both rifles are receiving regular care and maintenance?"

tobnpr
June 22, 2012, 04:49 PM
My comment is not based on facts known to me, only observations....

Look at where, and by whom, the AK is used...
Do these guys look like they're capable of even field stripping the weapon?

There are documented stories of AK's being dug up after years of being buried, clip loaded and dumped without an issue.

Kalashnikov's design is simpler, tolerances are looser- which translates to greater reliability.

If I had only one rifle, with no means to clean or maintain it, and had to fight for my life with it, it would be the AK, hands down.

Interesting question, I think the answer would depend on the "quality" of the weapons being compared. A Krebs AK, vs. a Noveske or other high end AR would be interesting. Quality of the components used in the builds would translate to their "lifespan", I would think...

raftman
June 22, 2012, 05:48 PM
I own an AR and AK, and the AR seems to be the more simple of the two. The AR doesn't really have a lot to it, and is easier to clean (to me) than the AK.

I've also owned both and completely disagree. The AK field strip doesn't call for removing the firing pin, or extractor, and doesn't deal with any small, easily-lost pins.

I recall seeing a silly comparison video between the two guns, in which two guys were blind-folded and assigned to field strip and reassemble their rifles, the fellow with AK was able to get it apart and back together well before the AR fellow was even able to get his apart.

Palmetto-Pride
June 22, 2012, 08:32 PM
I've also owned both and completely disagree. The AK field strip doesn't call for removing the firing pin, or extractor, and doesn't deal with any small, easily-lost pins.

I recall seeing a silly comparison video between the two guns, in which two guys were blind-folded and assigned to field strip and reassemble their rifles, the fellow with AK was able to get it apart and back together well before the AR fellow was even able to get his apart.

And I am sure that video wasn't biased in the least bit to have that exact outcome....lol Only a AK fanboy with something to prove would make video like that in the first place.....lol.

I won't deny that the AK is tough, but it will break just like a AR will and when it does good luck fixing it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

raftman
June 22, 2012, 09:22 PM
And I am sure that video wasn't biased in the least bit to have that exact outcome....lol Only a AK fanboy with something to prove would make video like that in the first place.....lol.

I'm pretty sure that R. Lee Ermey was in it, that notorious AK fanboy. :D

Crow Hunter
June 23, 2012, 09:29 AM
@Crow Hunter...I have to say your responses on this thread are some of the best and most informational I have ever seen on the topic. I love when someone gives a fact-based, completely non-biased and informational answer.

Thank you.:o

I am glad you enjoyed it.

Nanuk
June 23, 2012, 03:42 PM
Based on the OP's original stipulation of maintenance, it would be a wash.The AR is easier to replace wear items and replace the barrel/BCG by an armorer in the field without headspacing and drilling, and pressing in a new barrel.

Sinlessorrow
June 23, 2012, 04:45 PM
Raftman that video was not an eduactional video. It was a spoof not to be taken seriously.

Also you dont need a full fieldstrip to clean the AR-15. A wipe down is all you need and every 2-3k rounds a fieldstrip wipedown and relube is more than enough.

I still have never heard of loosing the firing pin and such.

OP it should be noted, if something on the AK breaks you generally need a new rifle, if somethig on the AR breaks it can be replaced or repaired.

Also to the guy who said the afghans do not clean their rifles, you would be wrong. They are actually pretty diligent cleaners generally using things like motor oil and gas to get their rifles clean.

BIG P
June 24, 2012, 01:11 AM
Keep either one up right they both will last longer than you will.At leased till you get tired of shootin them.;)

raftman
June 24, 2012, 03:19 AM
Raftman that video was not an eduactional video. It was a spoof not to be taken seriously.


:rolleyes: Did I NOT say the video was silly?

I still have never heard of loosing the firing pin and such.

Nor did I actually say the firing pin is likely to get lost, but field stripping the AR does call for the removal of the firing pin which is in turn held in place by a rather small pin, the bolt cam (another fairly small piece) needs to be removed to take the bolt out of the carrier, and lastly yet another rather small pin must be removed in order to remove the extractor. It's quite possible to lose something like that in the shag carpeting if your apartment, much less in the field.

OP it should be noted, if something on the AK breaks you generally need a new rifle, if somethig on the AR breaks it can be replaced or repaired.

It should not be noted unless there is actual data to prove that assertion. You've not provided any.

Also you dont need a full fieldstrip to clean the AR-15. A wipe down is all you need and every 2-3k rounds a fieldstrip wipedown and relube is more than enough.

In contrast to the very high-maintenance AK design?

Gats Italian
June 24, 2012, 08:43 AM
Also to the guy who said the afghans do not clean their rifles, you would be wrong. They are actually pretty diligent cleaners generally using things like motor oil and gas to get their rifles clean.

The Afghans who know what they are doing behind a rifle use the SMLE, which is even more battle proven than either of the weapons under discussion here.:D

kraigwy
June 24, 2012, 05:02 PM
Isn't that a subjective question?

What are you talking about, match accuracy or just plinking.

I'll skip the AK and give an example of ARs;

I have two, One I shoot in High Power, the other is a plinker. I can't shoot my Service rifle AR near the same number of rounds as I can my plinker, but then again, when my Service Rifle barrel is shot out, its still more accurate then my plinker.

Edward429451
June 25, 2012, 06:17 PM
Support also makes the weapon. The ARs are clearly the best logistical choice of the two. Besides, it's American! (not sure if that carries weight anymore)