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Old January 11, 2014, 05:39 PM   #1
Departed402
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Introduce me to the AK

I lot of people say, “You don’t really have a gun collection unless you have ______.” That blank can be a lot of things including: ARs, 1911s, .22 rifles, or AKs. I plan on getting an AK rifle at some point; however, I don’t know a lot about them. I do know that they were originally made in 7.62x39mm, and the AK pattern has been taken in a lot of different directions since 1947. As someone who plans on owning just one AK rifle, I would prefer to have one that has parts compatible with other AK rifles, not because I plan on building a Frankenstein AK, but just in case something breaks, or if I want to add different furniture. Whenever I buy guns I prefer to buy quality, so one day my great-grandkids, whom I may never meet, can shoot my guns. So I am looking for an introduction to Kalashnikov rifles. I know much more about AR-15s ,so comparisons to the AR platform could help my understanding, such as, “AKs, like AR-15s, are generally considered better when they have a chrome-lined barrels.” That is just an simple example statement. Feel free to expand anything you want!

It seems like a lot of TFL posters ask for something like this, and buy a gun within a few hours. I never understood that. I will probably not be buying an AK within the next few months. So if anyone here at TFL has the time I would appreciate an intro to Kalashnikovs.
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Old January 11, 2014, 05:49 PM   #2
gyvel
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If you want the best with parts interchangeability, be prepared to spend LOTS of $$$. The best (IMHO) are the Hungarian made guns, but they command a premium. Second choice (if you can find one) would be a Polytech from China.

I have owned a few AKs in my time (including a Polytech, which I sold for the princely sum of $289.00--what I paid for it), and was never particularly thrilled with them; I always thought the SKS was a better weapon (for my own reasons).

However, the one AK that I did keep was a pre-civil war Yugoslavian that was imported by American Arms in the late 80s. The quality and materials are first class (again IMHO), but not all parts interchange with the vast majority of other AKs.
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Old January 11, 2014, 06:19 PM   #3
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Addendum

I understand the AK is used by a lot of 2nd and 3rd world countries, and quality is not high on their priority list, thus I'm sure a fair amount of AKs on the US market are of this poor quality as well. Again, I don't know much about AKs, but I'm sure there are manufacturers/countries that do make top quality AK rifles. As far as price goes I'm willing to spend about $1,500, but the quality must be worth $1,500!

In the AR-15 world when someone says, "I want an M4," people correctly point them to Colt or Bravo Company since they actually make the M4s. So if people are going to recommend manufacturers to me I expect to be pointed in the direction of Colt-equivalent AK manufacturers.
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:41 PM   #4
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2nd and 3d world countries usually get their AKs mostly from Russia. Anything from Russia is going to be a select fire gun, and thus unobtainable in the U.S. Generally speaking, other countries like East Germany also produced select fire guns so you aren't going to see any of those either.

Your choices are these: Norinco (China), Polytech (China), FEG (Hungary), WASR (Romania), Arsenal (Bulgaria) and Zastava (Yugoslavia, but not all parts are interchangeable, most notably the wood).

Hungary produced the best quality authentic (but semi) AKs and will be less than what you have stipulated for expenditure. Polytech is considered the best of the Chinese made guns and will be close to what your budget is.

As an addendum, no AK (once again IMHO) can be considered a "quality" gun. They were designed to be cheaply made on relatively simple machinery and make use of multiple stampings for use by relatively unsophisticated users. The best feature of the AK is its simplicity and reliability; They were designed to work and work well in the field and then be discarded once they wore out.

Last edited by gyvel; January 11, 2014 at 09:46 PM.
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:59 PM   #5
JHansenAK47
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Quote:
2nd and 3d world countries usually get their AKs mostly from Russia.
China is the top exporter of AKs on the world market not Russia.
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:18 PM   #6
Richie07
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Introduce me to the AK

Quote:
Originally Posted by gyvel View Post



Your choices are these: Norinco (China), Polytech (China), FEG (Hungary), WASR (Romania), Arsenal (Bulgaria) and Zastava (Yugoslavia,) .



.

Arsenal also converts the saiga iz132 which is made in Russia and don't forget about the vepr also made in Russia ... I my self would go Russian but to all their own .
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:28 PM   #7
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I have a wasr but honestly I prefer my norinco sks over it. An sks will do everything that an ak will do but you can get one for less money. IMHO I find the longer barrel of my sks to be far more accurate than any ak that I have shot. I have 30 round magazines for my sks just like I have for the ak. The sks is the " original " ak47. I'll try to get a picture uploaded but my sks has a tapco adjustable stock, custom trigger group, shell deflector, scope, and flash hider... You can do the same with an sks as you can an ak. If your dead set on an ak I have owned several of them and they all worked fine.
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:28 PM   #8
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I had a Saiga I converted to the 'regular' AK configuration.

It wa alright. Not particularly accurate but always worked no matter what. Crude design, simple and inexpensively made. Adding optics required finding a side mount low enough to get a decent cheek weld. Caliber hits hard.

If I absolutely wanted to get another AK pattern rifle it would be a VZ58. Updated design and lighter but not compatible with typical AK hardware.

I ended up selling it because reloading for 223 is much easier than x39 and I didn't want to be tied down to foreign ammo sources.
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Old January 11, 2014, 11:06 PM   #9
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Check out Rifle dynamics.

Jim Fuller has been building the "best of the best" in AKs for a while now. You can get cheaper but you wont find better
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:02 AM   #10
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IMO, in your pric range, you might as well go Russian . Check out:

http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/comp....html?Itemid=0

http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/comp....html?Itemid=0

You should be compatible with ANY AK mag and furniture.
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:18 AM   #11
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I sampled quite a few MAK 90 and AK rifles in my search for the right one.



7.62 x 39 Norinco type 56s the day I purchased it.




The same AK today. It's my one and only AK, and it's a keeper.
And before some get their collective panties in a wad, all of my modifications
are easily reversible... the wood furniture, etc. are stored in the original box

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Old January 12, 2014, 11:30 AM   #12
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Ive had AK's from low to high price wise, and the only ones Ive had issue with, were those assembled here. The only way Id buy one of the US made guns, would be if I could shoot it first.

I currently have an old SAR1, an early WASR10, and an early Krebs AK103K Saiga conversion. All of them shoot the same, and all work the same. The SAR has some slightly canted sights, and the finish wasnt all that great, but its still a good shooter with ammo it likes. Accuracy with all of them is on par with AR's, when shot "realistically", and similarly set up. Ammo is more of an issue when it comes to accuracy than the rifles themselves.

Im not sure what constitutes "quality" here. To me, if they work, and they are accurate within expectations, whats wrong with them? I guess its all a matter of perception.

As far as the SKS being better than the AK, I really dont see how. Ive owned a couple of them as well, and while they worked, they arent an AK, no matter how much you might want them to be, and the AK's replaced them for a reason.

My AK's easily shot as well as my SKS's did, and the AK's carry three times the ammo load, and are easier to reload.

Most of the aftermarket extended mags Ive seen for them are junk, and they work best using the original 10 round mags. More often than not, you dont get ten rounds in the gun when you reload, especially if you are pulling your strippers from a pouch. Strippers tend to be cheap and picky, and have a habit of dropping rounds, even with careful handling.

The AK's also offer an number of ways to attach an optic as well, something the SKS's lack.
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:14 PM   #13
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Arsenal in Bulgaria is a totally different company than arsenal USA. That is also the reason arsenal stamped ak's from the us aren't any better than the rest of the stamped imports.

your options are stamped and milled. If you are only going to get one, I would go with a milled. They are a tad heavier, but are robust and usually more accurate.
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:21 PM   #14
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I sure can't say enough good things about my Bularian Arsenal SLR 101S. Bulgarian milled receiver, all the parts fit snugly together, nothing is loose. Very accurate and extremely reliable.

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Old January 12, 2014, 08:25 PM   #15
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I am a bulgy fan too... My milled slr-95 is accurate, very accurate for an ak. pictured with a norinco SKS type M that uses AK mags... one thing about the SLR-95 and 96 is they normally only have one tang if you want to change stocks. Also, milled receivers require special stocks and hanguards

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Old January 13, 2014, 07:51 AM   #16
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Yeah, thats the only thing I dont like about mine, it has two tangs. But thats ok. I think I'm going to keep it all stock except maybe a Russian Cobra Red Dot.
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Old January 13, 2014, 08:38 AM   #17
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Whenever I buy guns I prefer to buy quality, so one day my great-grandkids, whom I may never meet, can shoot my guns.
Polytech made the best semi-auto AK's. Pre-89. The receivers are 1.6mm; the barrels are slightly heavier and the internal parts are excellent quality (for an AK) with the spike bayonet. The Polytech milled AK is called the Legend - very expensive. However, you can still find some decent deals on the Polytech stamped receiver AK's. The 1.6mm stamped Polytechs are as tough as they come. I believe Norinco made them to the same specs as Polytech, but I like the finish on the Polytechs better. Polytechs (and Norincos) are collectible and will continue to go up in value.

If you are looking for one of the newer made AK's, I'd recommend a polish parts set gun built on a 1.5mm receiver by a known maker. Also, get it with the underfolder. In times of a Ban, the Underfolders are more desirable.

Quote:
I'm sure a fair amount of AKs on the US market are of this poor quality as well.
Not true. Many AK's assembled on US receivers are excellent quality. Even the ones built on 1mm receivers will stand up to abuse (I prefer 1.5mm). As long as they were put together correctly and they have been test fired, they should work just fine. IF YOU DO BUY AN AMERICAN made AK, make sure that it has a chrome-lined barrel. Lots of American guns just put a cheap, non-chrome-lined barrel on the gun. Barrels cannot easily be swapped out, so don't settle for a non-chrome-lined barrel.

Last edited by Skans; January 13, 2014 at 08:46 AM.
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Old January 13, 2014, 09:20 AM   #18
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Skans
The 1.6mm stamped Polytechs are as tough as they come.
I believe Norinco made them to the same specs as Polytech, but I like the finish on the Polytechs better. Polytechs (and Norincos) are collectible and will continue to go up in value.
Yes, and Norinco AKs are built to the same specifications as the Poly Tech.
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Old January 14, 2014, 07:26 PM   #19
+1k ammo
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Sr42
What furniture did you use. I'm doing same with my wasr10. Shot great but wanted better stock etc.
Yours look s great.
I h ave s k s too but don't see the point. The a k replaced it so might sell it and build up an a r instead
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Old January 14, 2014, 08:10 PM   #20
SR420
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+1k ammo
Sr42, What furniture did you use.
The upper & lower hand guards are from UltiMAK, the receiver extension tube
is from Vltor, the butt stock is LMT, the forward grip is from Magpul and the
pistol grip is from ERGO.

.
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Last edited by SR420; January 15, 2014 at 12:51 AM.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:10 PM   #21
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Kalashinikov designed a military rifle for his own country to meet the needs of its army as they existed at the end of WWII. He did not design a rifle for purist collectors or a platform for American AK cultists who want a rifle with everything on it but the Kremlin wall

He clearly achieved the first goal; the AK has long been the weapon of choice for not only Russian and its allies, but for third world countries and non-government groups as well. It is rugged, reliable, inexpensive and within its context, adequately powerful. It is not, and was never intended to be, a finely finished and closely fitted example of the gun makers' art; anyone who expects such is either being silly or totally fails to understand the difference between a military weapon and a prized collectors' item.

The AR family, to which the AK is often compared, has not been as durable or reliable as the AK, and is much more expensive. Further, its smaller caliber, while adequate against personnel, does defeat cover as well as the AK, and neither can match a full power cartridge like the 8mm Mauser or 7.62 NATO.

Jim
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Old January 15, 2014, 06:27 AM   #22
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I picked up a saiga 5.45 not long ago and converted it to the ak pattern. I love it, it runs great and with the ak 74 brake it's recoil impulse is like a 22. I also added a side rail mounted scope mount and a Bushnell trs-25 red dot. As far as accuracy goes, after sighting in, I was shooting 16 in steel plates at 200 yards. As far as I'm concerned that's plenty accurate with barnaul ammo.
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Old January 15, 2014, 09:27 PM   #23
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At around $1500 you can look at Arsenal AK's.

I don't know the price range for other top brands from Russia, China, or Hungary. If you find a good converted Saiga AK47, that is also a good option.

I believe Krebs also customizes some AK's if you're into the tactical setups.
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Old January 15, 2014, 09:36 PM   #24
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How about a VZ I'm not affiliated with J&G sales.




http://www.jgsales.com/cai-vz2008-sp...r.-p-3281.html
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Old January 15, 2014, 09:58 PM   #25
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+1 on the vz. I have heard great things and the ones I have handled felt solid. They have milled receivers but are made in such a way they are lighter than most stamped aks. They do not use standard ak mags. Also if you go to aimsurplus at this link this rifle is sold in a package with all the accessories and 5 mags.
http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.as...fle&groupid=11

If you want you can check out iraqveteran8888 on YouTube for a video of this rifle being ran pretty hard.
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