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Old April 27, 2000, 11:48 AM   #1
Bam Bam
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Join Date: April 25, 2000
Location: Buffalo, NY
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Hello All,
I am thinking about getting a SA
AK-47. Mainly to learn how to break it down and see how it works etc with some shooting thrown in.

I never bought anything like it before and am wondering what to look for to tell a good one from a bad etc. How important is the country of manufacture? What can I buy to transport it without alarming people where I live? A big suitcase?

All advice is greatly appreciated, Bam Bam.
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Old April 27, 2000, 02:55 PM   #2
M1911
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I'm confused, what do you mean by SA AK47? Do you mean a semi-auto AK47 clone? If so, you might try posting that question on the rifle board, rather than the full-auto board.

If that is your question, I think the best AK clone is the Valmet. But they're very expensive.

The Yugoslav, Hungarian, and Rumanian versions are good. I'm not a fan of the Chinese or Egyptian versions.

The Daewoo and the Galil are actually based somewhat on the AK47 design as well. Also quite expensive.

As to transporting it, don't you have a rifle case? There's hundreds of different vendors and variations out there. Hard case, soft case, etc. Any decent gun store will have rifle cases.

Realize what you're getting, though. On most AKs, accuracy is so-so, the sights suck, and the trigger isn't great either. They are simple, reliable, and rugged. High-cap mags are still widely available and cheap. But for plinking (let alone competition), I prefer my AR15.

Jared
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Old April 27, 2000, 07:46 PM   #3
Ezeckial
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by M1911:
I'm confused, what do you mean by SA AK47? Do you mean a semi-auto AK47 clone? If so, you might try posting that question on the rifle board, rather than the full-auto board.

If that is your question, I think the best AK clone is the Valmet. But they're very expensive.

The Yugoslav, Hungarian, and Rumanian versions are good. I'm not a fan of the Chinese or Egyptian versions.

[/quote]

The Hungarian FEG SA-85 is the prettiest of the AK's, IMO. In fact, these were the "cormemorative" AK-47 sold through the American Rifleman a few years back (had the wrong stocks though...thumbhole instead of the pistol grip style).
Now, I like the Chinese version (MAK 90). I bought mine for less then $250. For some reason, they've increased in price dramatically. No new imports, though...
I've read of a company who imported a bunch of the Romanian version (question: stamped or milled receivers?). I'd like to get one of these...like some other opinions though.
Not great shooters, but tough and fun to shoot.
I'd also love to get a select fire AK, but too expensive for this boy.

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Old April 28, 2000, 12:10 AM   #4
4V50 Gary
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Originally, the only AK action available in this country was the Finnish Valmet. It remains among the best in quality with the early machined receivers being superb. Later Valmets were also well made, but of stamped construction.

The second imported of AKs was Steyr which brought in the Egyptian made AKM in semi-auto. While it was stamped and painted, the Egyptian Maadi was the closest one could get to a Russian AKM without having the full auto feature. About 2,000 were imported before Steyr dropped the project. The problem facing Steyr was the same facing Interarms' imported Valmet: ammo. One thing about the early Maadi, it is one of the most collectible of all AKs and prior to the Y2K panic, was the first AK to be valued at over $1k.

Then, the Chinese invaded and Clayco of Kansas was the first. They brought out a Norinco made AK in both fixed stock and folding stock version. The originals I was told had a reddish-brown plastic stock which wasn't very appealling and was later replaced with black plastic furniture. Further, rather than nickel-dime you, Clayco sold the gun as a package which included 3 30 round magazines, a wire cutting bayonet, sling, oil bottle, cleaning kit and instruction manual. Clayco also was smart in that they imported 7.62 x 39 mm ammo cheap.

Clayco eventually dropped out and others rushed in to fill the void. Soon, AKs of Eurpoean makes came into the country too.

Of the Chinese produced AKs, the Polytech is held in higher esteem than Norinco. Both are owned by the PLA, but the Polytech "Legend" series was a semi-auto version of the AK-47 and not the AKM. The milled Polytech (there are stamped ones too) is considered one of the best AKs around.

Having never owned any of European AKs, I can't tell you which is best amongst them. One thing I will caution about is the underfolder for any AK. They tend to wobble when they get old so while they look cool (like a MP-38/MP-40), they don't age gracefully with use. Better to go with a fixed stock gun.

Finally, there is the ultimate in AK type weapons: the Israeli Galil. What a piece of art. Machining which is nice and clean and without burrs or sharp edges. Robust and solid. Unfortunately, unlike a nice lightweight Maadi or the handy milled Polytech Legend, the Galil weighs a ton. It's foregrip is designed to house the bipod (bottle opener and wirecutter) but is bulky to wield. It's also probably the first to feature flip-up tritium nite sights. Further, while the safety is still quite audible, the Israelis also put a thumb operated safety on the right side so you can engage and disenage the safety one handed. The cocking handle is upswept so it can be engaged easily by either hand. Well thought out and probably the ultimate in refinement for the AK-47.
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Old April 28, 2000, 07:05 PM   #5
Bam Bam
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Thanks for the replies, please excuse the mislaid post. First time doing this, and it is a semi-auto that interests me. Full-auto not allowed in this state.

If I get used Norinco what is the best manual or book to use as a guide? How can a newbie confirm it is a Norinco? Saw a Maadi and it looked pretty shoddy, painted not blued.

Actually it is Mak 90 that I saw in the local shop. What should know that I don't know enough to ask?

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Old April 28, 2000, 07:32 PM   #6
4V50 Gary
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The best book I've read on the AK is Dr. Edward Clinton Ezell's The AK-47 Story. Dr. Ezell (deceased) starts with a history of the Russian small arms industry and brings us up to the development of the AK-47. He continues with the evolution of the AK into the AK-74 and finally, with variants (other nations). It is not an operator's manual (you can find the basics in W.H.B. Smith's Small Arms of the World, also out of print). While both books are out of print, you can find them via booksearch (try http://www2.addall.com ) or some other search engine.

I've seen John Walther's Kalashnikov Machine Pistols, Assault Rifles and Machine-Guns, 1945 to the Present and while it is OK, it is not a scholary work of the same caliber of Ezell. I would prefer it however over Duncan Long's AK47, The Complete Kalashnikov Family of Assault Rifle. Long tends to gather general information, bits from catalogs or ads, and puts them into a book. Finally, there is an English translation of the Soviet AK-47 manual, but I can't recall the name of the major who translated it.

Last, to answer your question as to identifying it as a Norinco (North China Industries, Inc.), look for the markings on the receiver. It'll say so.
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Old April 30, 2000, 11:46 AM   #7
Jeff Thomas
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Lots of interesting info above ... I learn something everyday from TFL. Thanks.

Also, go to www.ak-47.net - lots of great information there, and they also have a discussion forum similar to TFL ... but, devoted entirely to AK's, as well as SKS rifles.

Regards from AZ
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Old May 1, 2000, 01:09 PM   #8
Bam Bam
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Thanks for all the help. I will definitely endevor to be an informed consumer rather than just purchase whatever is put in front of me.
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