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Old February 1, 2009, 07:10 PM   #1
Pistol Pedi
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Choosing a rifle that shoots 7.62x39

I looking at getting a semiauto rifle for general target shooting, possible homestead defense that shoots 7.62x39 given the current price of this ammo ($5.95 for box of 20 Wolf brand at local store). So far, the Ruger Mini 30, AK-47, and SKS currently meet this bill. Detachable mags/hi capacity are nice, but not a must. Would prefer to keep cost under $800 to maintain domestic tranquility within my domicile from the Kitchen Commander. Any thoughts on a cost basis analysis of these three guns and are there any others I should put on my radar screen are greatly appreciated?
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Old February 1, 2009, 07:35 PM   #2
FyredUp
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I know for a fact that at my local gunstore all three can be had for under $800. The mini-30 might be used though.

I bought my wasr-10, Romanian ak-47, for $369 at Dunhams Sports, and the last time I checked, about a month ago they were still only $399. This is a sweet rifle and has never given me any trouble so far. Magazines are pretty cheap if you shop around and i use the Wolf brand ammo.

I am contemplating buying an sks from my local gun store. It has a synthetic stock and a scope for $299. Maybe give it to my girlfriend for her SHTF gun.
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Old February 1, 2009, 07:47 PM   #3
FyredUp
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I know for a fact that at my local gunstore all three can be had for under $800. The mini-30 might be used though.

I bought my wasr-10, Romanian ak-47, for $369 at Dunhams Sports, and the last time I checked, about a month ago they were still only $399. This is a sweet rifle and has never given me any trouble so far. Magazines are pretty cheap if you shop around and i use the Wolf brand ammo.

I am contemplating buying an sks from my local gun store. It has a synthetic stock and a scope for $299. Maybe give it to my girlfriend for her SHTF gun.
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Old February 1, 2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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The vz.58 is another former Warsaw Pact assault rifle that's worth a look. Very handy carbine, bears some superficial resemblance to an AK, but is internally quite different. Not sure what the going prices are and if they meet your budget requirements. Civilian ones with a fixed stock are also available if the minimalist folder is not your flavor of choice.

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Old February 1, 2009, 08:19 PM   #5
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I think HorseSoldier choise is one of the best. I'm guessing it is going to be 1 of those to go waaaaaay up in value. i.m.o.


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Old February 1, 2009, 10:52 PM   #6
L_Killkenny
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"General target shooting" huh? Hate to tell you this but you aren't gonna do any target shooting with 7.62x39 Wolf ammo. You also aren't going to be doing any target shooting with any of the guns mentioned by you or others so far.

The guns and ammo you are talkin about are for plinkin. A blind guy shooting a rusted out boltgun will out shoot the combo you are talkin about.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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As a cheap plinking gun, you can't beat a nice SKS if you can still find one.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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7.62 upper for an AR15???? That way you really get the best of all worlds.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:21 PM   #9
doc540
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SKS

buy yourself a nice Russian

you'll wear out before it will
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:13 PM   #10
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The guns and ammo you are talkin about are for plinkin. A blind guy shooting a rusted out boltgun will out shoot the combo you are talkin about.
The AKs I've seen may fall into the accuracy category you are creating here, but Mini-30s and SKSs are typically more accurate.

I know there are some out there that are absolutely terrible, but the SKSs I have fired were quite impressive. Wolf ammo is always a step down in accuracy, but still acceptable for most things. The real accuracy in my family's SKS rifles comes with what we call "Gulag Ammo". (No name, just a manufacturing plant number, and the caliber designation; actual Russian surplus that hasn't been imported for at least a decade, now.)

Using Wolf 123 grain hollow points and the elevation adjustable sights on my Russian, it will retain about 3-4 MOA accuracy out to the 600 meter mark. After that, I just can't see well enough with the iron sights to line up on the target.

Many after market scope mounts for the SKS and AK do cause a loss of accuracy, due to the crappy mounting methods. A rifle in good condition, with a good bore, and iron sights, however; will usually keep right up with grandpa's old 30-30 lever gun.

---

If you have any intentions or thoughts of scoping the rifle, the Mini-30 would be my choice.

If you plan to keep it an iron-sight rifle, the SKS or Mini-30 would both work. I would give preference to a nice SKS for budget reasons.


I haven't priced any lately, but I would estimate decent Russian / Norinco SKSs going for $300-450 right now. Some markets may be cheaper. Beware detachable magazines and folding stocks with the SKS. Using them requires FAR 922 compliance. (10 US parts rule, unless it is one of a handful of rare models that are exempt.)

You also didn't specifically say that Semi-Auto was a requirement. Have you considered a bolt action?
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:30 PM   #11
vitesse9
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No Mini 30

unless you want to stick with expensive american-made, brass cased ammo. Ruger specifically disclaims the use of steel cased, mil-spec ammo (which is mostly what is out there --e.g. Wolf, Silver Bear etc.). The reason ruger states is that the harder milspec primers often bend the mini's firing pin. Moreover, I've also read in some reloading guides that american-made 7.62x39 is actually a .308 bullet whereas the russian stuff is actually about a .311 bullet.

A more compelling reason to avoid the mini-30 is that there are so many good milsurp 7.62x39 rifles out there for a fraction of the cost. Even a good russian SKS only costs about 350. What do you get for your money? chrome-lined chamber and bbl., a tougher rifle, and frankly, a better rifle. If it was good enough to fight through a Russian winter, it'll be good enough to use as a ranch rifle . . . .

even the Yugo SKSs that do not have chrome-lined chambers and bbls are tougher and better than the mini-30. And, oh yea . . . they costs about $200. And, they all do just fine with the milspec ammo . . .

I personally don't think AKs are the way to go. They generally aren't as accurate as SKSs and in their semi-auto version, they offer little over the SKS other than the ability to accept detachable hi-cap mags. That might be useful in combat, but really not necessary in home defense/utility rifle situations.

I've owned two SKSs (Yugo and Chinese), an Aresenal AK, and a mini-30. But an SKS and spend the difference b/w the cost of the SKS and the mini on ammo.
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:31 PM   #12
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As far as the AK is concerned, the price of them has gone through the roof recently due to the current political situation and you may not be able to find one for under $800.

As far as the SKS is concerned, I see no reason to get one of those when the Mini will do everything the SKS will do just as well or better and is made by a reputable American company which is well-known for standing behind its products and excellent customer service. I have seen some terribly shoddily made SKSs (a lot of them were manufactured by Communists, the same people who couldn't make a ball bearing that was round) and if you get one that's a lemon, good luck getting the company that manufactured it to do anything about it.

IMO, the choice is clear: Mini-30.

Last edited by Huey Long; February 2, 2009 at 06:06 PM.
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:31 PM   #13
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Agree that most of the semi auto 7.62 X 39's aren't what most would call "target rifles", but I have an old "$89.00 SKS" that I did some accurizing to... I added a couple $100.00 of work & parts to a $100.00 rifle, & I have something thats capable of "hunting accuracy" to 300 yards ( 2' - 3" groups at 300 yards )... but I have buddys that have both AK's, & commercial Siagas, that start stringing thier shots after 4 or 5 shots worth of heat build up )
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:44 PM   #14
Dirty Bill
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Get the SKS. Add the tech iron sight to the back,and get a new front sight post. Some people say that golden tiger is good ammo,I've never fired any though. The sks can be an accurate rifle.

Get the trigger worked on,and you will have a reliable rifle that will shoot better than you can. Just my 2 cents.

P.s. Once you get your rifle,sign up for an appleseed event,and learn how to shoot it. Help to take back the country,one shooter at a time..

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Old February 2, 2009, 05:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
"General target shooting" huh? Hate to tell you this but you aren't gonna do any target shooting with 7.62x39 Wolf ammo. You also aren't going to be doing any target shooting with any of the guns mentioned by you or others so far.

The guns and ammo you are talkin about are for plinkin. A blind guy shooting a rusted out boltgun will out shoot the combo you are talkin about.
Dont pay any attention to comments like that, because on the internet, everone thinks they're an expert. :barf:

I can do 3" groups at 100 yards with my Saiga, and closer to 2" with my SKS, both shooting wolf ammo. Sure, its not benchrest accuracy, but its a heck of a lot more fun than benchrest shooting too. I'd recomend an SKS if accuracy is what you want most, but If you want a low cost, handy carbine with detachable mags, you cant beat a Saiga 7.62x39. You'll also have the added bonus of being able to convert to an AK styled rifle at a future date if you desire.
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Old February 2, 2009, 09:25 PM   #16
Baba Louie
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I have the three you mention. All good, all fun, all shooters.

My favorite is a Russian SKS45. On a good day it will hold a 2" group at 100 yds with me behind the trigger, bifocals and all. Consistently (so far anyway).

My stock Mini30 tends to open up the groups as the barrel heats up. BUT... accurate enough for minute of bambi for the 1st shot or two (which is why I bought it... a target rifle it is not).

The PolyTech AKS is a fun machine to turn $$ into noise and patterns, typically. I know it can shoot better, but, the stock was designed for a midget and with the 30 rd mags in bench or prone shooting is just awkward for me, so I don't really use it for that. Seated and offhand it'll kill water filled milk jugs at 100 yds tho, and thats always nice to know in case I ever have to defend myself from water filled milk jugs.

A younger man w/ better eyesight can and have, out shot me w/ each of them. I suppose if I wanted to spend some money making each a bit better I could, but for me, they are what they are. 2 - 7.62 Commies and a Ranch Rifle. I like em all.

But I prefer the Russkie SKS. (it makes me look like I almost know what I'm doing on a good day)
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Old February 2, 2009, 09:48 PM   #17
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Ruger makes at least one other rifle in 7.62x39. Their newly introduced Hawkeye Compact Model 77 bolt-action carbine.

Their MSRP is at the upper limit of what you want to spend, but you always find people selling these things a lot cheaper than MSRP.

CZ also makes a bolt-action in 7.62x39.

Perhaps a few other manufacturers as well.

These will be lighter than an AK or SKS and more accurate due to floated barrels, better trigger pulls (this cannot be emphasized enough), and the necessity of using a scope.

I am considering a bolt-action myself because I just sold a Romanian AKM clone, but then remembered that I have 1000 rounds of ammo for it.

You know you're a gun nut when you buy a gun just because you already have ammunition for it...
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Old February 2, 2009, 09:56 PM   #18
dm1333
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"General target shooting" huh? Hate to tell you this but you aren't gonna do any target shooting with 7.62x39 Wolf ammo. You also aren't going to be doing any target shooting with any of the guns mentioned by you or others so far.

The guns and ammo you are talkin about are for plinkin. A blind guy shooting a rusted out boltgun will out shoot the combo you are talkin about.
If you bring the blind guy and rusted out bolt gun I'll bring my Norinco SKS and see if you are right!

Pistol Pedi, any of those guns would be fun and relatively cheap to shoot with. My choice would be an SKS, cheap, millions of parts for them, and if you search for Gewehr and his thread about his accurized SKS you'll see that they can be pretty accurate rifles. Good luck!
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Old February 2, 2009, 10:00 PM   #19
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You know you're a gun nut when you buy a gun just because you already have ammunition for it...
I've been fondling the MN 91/30 I bought today, just because my MN M38 will never chew through the cases of surplus ammo I have. I'm also paying down a Franchi 48AL in 20 GA because my last 20 was stolen but I still have cases of Wally World low brass in my closet.

If you want to spend a little more but get a LOT more in quality, CZ 527 in 7.62x39 would be a fine choice. I haven't shot that particular caliber but their guns are all worth more than you will pay for them.
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Old February 2, 2009, 11:57 PM   #20
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I saw a mention of the Saiga, that's one I would look for if you can find one these days. Always advertised at less than the AKs, supposed to be quite accurate.

AKs, you can probably beat $800 but I have had terrible experiences with AKs by Century Arms, which includes the WASR-10 mentioned. Caveat emptor.

SKS probably the least expensive, and in good condition, a good choice.
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Old February 3, 2009, 11:36 AM   #21
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I wish I still had my chinese sks. I sold mine long ago. I loved that gun. I wish I could still find one at $100 too.
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Old February 3, 2009, 11:39 PM   #22
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VZ58.
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Old February 5, 2009, 05:28 PM   #23
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VZ58 and mini 14.


My VZ58 with the stock off. ( i was cleaning and thought it looked neat. )


Go for the VZ
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Old February 5, 2009, 05:36 PM   #24
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SKS If you look around you can get one for under 300, then buy 2000 rounds of ammo (maybe more if you find a good deal) and still be in your $800 price range.

They are great shooting guns, and in my opinion much more comfortable guns to shoot than AKs. Easy to load quickly with stripper clips (even if you have an aftermarket magazine), and have a longer barrel so you'll get better than AK accuracy (esp if you get tech-sights )

just my $.02
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Old February 6, 2009, 09:55 PM   #25
Pistol Pedi
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Thanks for all the thoughts/advice.

Thanks to all with the thoughts/advice/ribbing. Plinking is the more appropriate term for what I'll be doing. I stopped by one of the local gun shops and found a Saiga 7.62x39 fro $400 and a SKS chinese variant for $340. Decided to check two other stores briefly for price comparison. Came back in one hour, the SKS was gone. Promptly put down 20% on the Saiga for lay away. I know they've gone for cheeper, but in todays climate, it was a good deal and within my price point. I was able to pick up two 30 round promag's for it for $25 each on lay away. Needless to say I'm happy. Now looking at concerting the standard stock to a pistol grip style. The Tapco one seems reasoable at 50-60$ w/o any mods needed to the gun. Any thoughts on this or other stocks I should consider. Also, any thoughts on other useful mods. I'll open up another string to get that feed back.

Thanks,

PP
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