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Old July 29, 2009, 05:00 PM   #1
holt2010
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AK-47 question

Hey guys, your probably tired of seeing these threads all the time but i have a question. Im turning 18 in November and im wanting to buy my first semi-auto rifle. This will not be my first rifle just my first semi-auto. Im looking at getting an AK-47 because AR-15 prices are just too high for me right now. Im looking to spend $650 max. Im leaning toward the wasr-10 because its the cheapest i can find, but what are your suggestions?
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:11 PM   #2
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The WASR's are OK. I think all I'd worry about with them is checking the mag fit to make sure they got it right.

I have an early one, back when they still looked like a SAR and had a muzzle nut welded on, and its been a good shooter.

I have AK's across the price spectrum, and for the most part, all shoot about the same. I think the biggest problem here is more an ammo issue than it is the rifle.

About the only ones I'd stay away from are home builds built from a kit, and some of the early US built guns.
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:12 PM   #3
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My friend has one that i have shot quite a few times. Its definitely not an AR but it wouldnt be a bad gun to start with. As long as you take care of it you should be able to get whatever money you put into back should you decide you want something different.
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:20 PM   #4
holt2010
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So the wasr is a safe gun to buy?
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:21 PM   #5
onthejon55
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Quote:
So the wasr is a safe gun to buy?
Its an AK47. Of course its going to be an okay gun to buy
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:26 PM   #6
holt2010
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well ive heard things about them like canted sights, and canted gas block, but im going to try to buy local so i can go check it out before i buy it and make sure it doesnt have anything wrong with it
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:36 PM   #7
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Get a Saiga, convert it yourself or have it converted.These are brand new from the Russian factory.I have about $550 in this one and it is 922r compliant without yet moving the trigger group forward.
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Old July 29, 2009, 05:46 PM   #8
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well ive heard things about them like canted sights, and canted gas block, but im going to try to buy local so i can go check it out before i buy it and make sure it doesnt have anything wrong with it
Your best bet is always to check them out if you can, regardless which you buy. Same goes for any gun for that matter.

The canted sights/gas blocks were more of an issue with the early SAR's than the WASR's. My SAR has some slightly canted sights and it still shoots very well. Some were a lot worse than others, and you wonder how they ever let them leave the factory. I have yet to see a WASR with the problem though.

The Saigas are very nice rifles, and as Lash mentioned, are a true, Russian made gun. If you dont want to do the conversion yourself, there are a couple of companies that do the work. Krebs was basically the first, and probably did more than anyone else at bringing attention to the AK's in a light other than just your basic AK. He does very nice work. I have one of his early AK103K's based on the Saiga.

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Old July 29, 2009, 05:55 PM   #9
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Im confused about converting the saiga? What do you mean by that?
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Old July 29, 2009, 06:04 PM   #10
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Holt: The saiga is more of a "sporting" oriented AK. It has a straight stock and no pistol grip, and a proprietary mag well that is not compatible with regular AK mags.



See?

Now, these can be converted to use a pistol grip and modified stock, and also have the mag well converted to accept standard AK mags. Costs a little bit of money, but the base rifle tends to be more accurate in the first place than a surplus WASR import.

Costs even out in the end for a combat-oriented semiauto.

I'd personally choose the Saiga or a WASR were I in your shoes, though I'm partial to the American weapons in the first place, such as the M1, M14 and AR-15.
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Old July 29, 2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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Do you know what caliber you would like your AK to be in? Since you mentioned price being important, may I recommend something in 5.43x39? Its a very very cheap round right now. Saw a case of over 2000 milsurp 5.45 for about $300 at the gun show last weekend. New production Wolf ammo is also very cheap.

I almost bought a Romanian AK in 5.45 for $450 at said gun show, but thought better of it.
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Old July 29, 2009, 06:13 PM   #12
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Saiga's come like this, they are imported as hunting rifles. To shoot high capacity mags you must be in compliance with 922r, the batf regulation covering such madness.There are a plethora of ways to do this.You must replace imported parts with US made parts. To be legal you must have no more than ten of the fourteen total imported parts.Parts that can be replaced are the stock,the fore grip, the magazine, the gas piston, the fire-control group. A complete conversion usually means relocating the trigger to the more acustomed forward position ,next to the magazine.Saiga-12.com has all the info you need.
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Old July 29, 2009, 06:15 PM   #13
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Thanks for the information on the saiga, im leaning more towards 7.62X39.
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Old July 29, 2009, 08:37 PM   #14
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I'm happy with my WASR 10/63 that I got a couple years ago. Bought it locally so checked for canted sights and for good fit and operation. Prices seem to be coming back down so now's not a bad time to buy an AK.

Unless the challenge of converting a Saiga appeals to you I'd just go with the WASR. They're a little rough and not pretty but then an AK should be rough.
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Old July 29, 2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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I just got a good deal on a SAR-1 and I absolutely love it. I spent $375 and IMHO it was worth it. No issues with canted sights or trigger slap. The bayo lug is ground off, but I don't plan on stabbing anything with my AK. It's not an AR but it's built like a tank and eats anything I feed it. I'd say go with the 7.62x39. The ammo price isnt bad at all and it's a blast to shoot!
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Old July 29, 2009, 10:00 PM   #16
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With a Saiga, you're really unconverting the gun from the factory neuter job. Trigger group gets located back in the original spot, pistol grip installed, bullet guide installed, mag catch Dremeled to accept standard AK magazines.

Figger $400 for a Saiga, another $150 for a basic unconversion job.

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Old July 29, 2009, 11:19 PM   #17
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Holt:
You have decided on the AK variety but seem to have excluded a lower-cost (Russian or Norinco) SKS.
Have you tested somebody's AK or another semi in the same caliber?
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Old July 30, 2009, 12:11 AM   #18
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ive thought about sks but the sks i looked at the accepted magazines was almost 700 dollars which is crazy for an sks.
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Old July 30, 2009, 10:44 AM   #19
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Some pluses of the SKS over the AK:

1. It's the combloc equivalent to the Garand. It's more of a "rifleman's rifle" than an AK is. More likely to get 300 yard and longer hits with the SKS than the AK. Sights are better, receiver is solid rather than stamped sheet metal that warps and flexes during firing.

2. Stripper clips. Yeah, it only holds 10 rounds in the most common configuration, but it is a LOT cheaper to own 100 stripper clips than 20-30 AK magazines. Carrying ammo is a lot easier since the clips are lighter than magazines. Reloading with clips is faster than mags since you don't have anything to clear from the gun prior to loading.

3. The SKS has a last-shot bolt hold open feature. The AK does not.

If you look at SKS's, look at them as they are equipped. The second you "Tapco" an SKS, it loses reliability and value as a complete system. About the only upgrade an SKS needs is a decent aperture rear sight.
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Old July 30, 2009, 11:05 AM   #20
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Norinco MAK-90. It's a well built starter AK. The stamped receiver is thicker than on the WASRs. It takes a little conversion to bring it back to its original evil Russian design but well worth it. The conversion is less than a hundred bucks. I got my MAK for $450 and it included 450 rounds of steel cased ammo. If you do opt for the MAK make sure that the receiver is straight backed and not angled. Only one company makes replacement stocks for the angle backed receiver.
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Old July 30, 2009, 11:37 AM   #21
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As far as I know Saiga has much lower penetrating power than a regular military AK 47. Tula factory or whoever makes them does it on purpose because all non-military guns in Russia, even a civilian version of SKS (I don't remember what they call it now) are made that way to comply with Russian legal requirements for hunting weapons.
I don't understand why it's not possible to just buy a semi-automatic Russian made original high quality AK 47 in the US?
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Old July 30, 2009, 11:56 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurbsky
As far as I know Saiga has much lower penetrating power than a regular military AK 47. Tula factory or whoever makes them does it on purpose because all non-military guns in Russia, even a civilian version of SKS (I don't remember what they call it now) are made that way to comply with Russian legal requirements for hunting weapons.
I don't understand why it's not possible to just buy a semi-automatic Russian made original high quality AK 47 in the US?
This is total BS and wins the award for the stupidist thing I've seen all day. A cartridge's ability to penetrate has nothing to do with the manufacturer. The only real variable would be barrel length (that effects muzzle velocity).

Saigas shoot exactly the same ammo as any other AK.

I never heard of any civilian version of a Russian SKS either. Guns are very restricted in Russia and the Soviets didn't allow anyone to have semiauto military cartridge rifles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightSight
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Norinco MAK-90. It's a well built starter AK. The stamped receiver is thicker than on the WASRs. It takes a little conversion to bring it back to its original evil Russian design but well worth it. The conversion is less than a hundred bucks. I got my MAK for $450 and it included 450 rounds of steel cased ammo. If you do opt for the MAK make sure that the receiver is straight backed and not angled. Only one company makes replacement stocks for the angle backed receiver.
Mak 90s are much better guns than a WASR, which is why they cost more than WASRs. The deal you got was either a very good deal, or it happened quite a while ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by azredhawk44
If you look at SKS's, look at them as they are equipped. The second you "Tapco" an SKS, it loses reliability and value as a complete system. About the only upgrade an SKS needs is a decent aperture rear sight.
Very good advice here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lashlarue
To shoot high capacity mags you must be in compliance with 922r, the batf regulation covering such madness.There are a plethora of ways to do this.You must replace imported parts with US made parts. To be legal you must have no more than ten of the fourteen total imported parts.Parts that can be replaced are the stock,the fore grip, the magazine, the gas piston, the fire-control group. A complete conversion usually means relocating the trigger to the more acustomed forward position ,next to the magazine.Saiga-12.com has all the info you need.
This is BS. 922r compliance only becomes an issue if you add a pistol grip, folding stock, bayonet lug, etc
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Old July 30, 2009, 12:09 PM   #23
holt2010
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Would buying an sks be the smarter move over the wasr. The guns going to have to be a shooter. As in reliability which one is better. And which one will last longer in the long run?
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Old July 30, 2009, 12:10 PM   #24
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Are you not buying until you turn 18 in November? If so, I'd keep an eye on AR prices. I have a feeling you may be able to pick up an AR for around $650 by then. At the local gunshow this past weekend, some AR's were selling in the $700 to $800 range. I think the buying/hoarding frenzy bubble has burst, and the prices of AR (and hopefully ammo too) are going to be coming down soon.

Edit: Of course, AK prices may go down some by then also.
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Last edited by Distortion; July 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM.
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Old July 30, 2009, 12:18 PM   #25
holt2010
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well my parents barely like my hunting guns so yes i have to wait
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