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Old June 8, 2012, 06:27 PM   #1
Single Six
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Saiga Rifles: Worth It, Or Worthless?

I've just now been introduced to Saiga semi-automatic rifles. I have been considering a Mini 30, but they're so expensive! Now, I see that my local pawn shop has two of them, one in 7.62x39, the other in .308. They cost $449.00 and $549.00, respectively. My questions: Are these weapons worth the money [as in, are they reliable and reasonably accurate]? Other question: This shop also sells SureFire hi-cap mags for the rifles. Are they reliable as well? Thanks for any and all info.
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Old June 8, 2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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They are known to be reliable.

A local agent with ICE has the Saiga 7.62x39 for personal protection, in addition to something else, and sometimes shoots at a place which I frequent.
As he knows all the details of the ambush (traffic stop) murders of the two West Memphis policemen, he trains often with his Saiga 7.62x39 etc.

Does the price of Russian-made 7.62x39 ammo have more appeal than higher-priced .308 or NATO 7.62?

Last edited by Ignition Override; June 10, 2012 at 01:22 AM.
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Old June 8, 2012, 08:54 PM   #3
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If you want an inexpensive reliable rifle that will last 20-40k rounds they're absolutely worth it! Check out centerfiresystems and classicarms---their prices are lower that what you stated; even with shipping/transfer.
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Old June 8, 2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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They seem to have a good reputation and a strong following.

And they are manufactured at the Russian AK joint
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Old June 8, 2012, 09:36 PM   #5
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Don't pay those prices for a Saiga.They are great guns however.Just a couple of years ago,you could get the .223 & 7.62x39 version in hand for less than $300.00
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Old June 8, 2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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Yes, I'm on my second Saiga 308 (bought a short barreled version then traded up for the 20" version) and am quite happy.

Sure they used to be cheaper, but then so were a lot of things.

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Old June 9, 2012, 02:06 AM   #7
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I would take a Saiga 7.62x39 over a Mini-30 any day.
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Old June 9, 2012, 06:50 AM   #8
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I have two of the long barrel Saiga .308 guns. One is converted, and the other is the wood stocked version. I have never had any problems with either gun. Shooting old fire extinguishers at 300 yds with the original sights is no problem either.
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:31 AM   #9
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Thanks for all replies so far. Can someone please explain to me what it means to have your Saiga rifle "converted"?
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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Converted back to original configuration rather than importable version.
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:17 AM   #11
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Thank you, Plateshooter.
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Thanks for all replies so far. Can someone please explain to me what it means to have your Saiga rifle "converted"?
The Saiga rifles are import legal variants of the Russian AK-74M and AK-100 series rifles. They are basically the same gun, except they feature a traditional sporting rifle style stock, the trigger moved to the rear of the receiver, and a mag set up for single stack low capacity magazines.

When someone mentions converting one, they are referring to modify it to look like a tradition AK. That usually entails opening up the mag well and installing a bullet guide to work with standard hi-cap AK mags, installing a tradition AK pistol grip and butt stock, and installing a new trigger group in the correct location.

As you can see in the following picture, a little work can bring a standard Saiga to an almost exact replica of a real Russian military AK-74M:



You don't have to go this far though. Many people are content with leaving the forearm setup as it is and not threading the end of the barrel for a muzzle break.
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
The Saiga rifles are import legal variants of the Russian AK-74M and AK-100 series rifles. They are basically the same gun, except they feature a traditional sporting rifle style stock, the trigger moved to the rear of the receiver, and a mag set up for single stack low capacity magazines.

When someone mentions converting one, they are referring to modify it to look like a tradition AK. That usually entails opening up the mag well and installing a bullet guide to work with standard hi-cap AK mags
This is incorrect, take it from someone who has owned a few Saigas and has performed a conversion or two.

Saiga rifles come from the factory with mag wells properly sized for double stack mags and the mag wells do NOT need to be opened up to accept standard AK mags. Saiga factory mags, though indeed 10-rd capacity (or 8 in the case of the .308) ARE still double-stack magazines.

The incompatibility of the Saiga with standard AK mags is achieved by a slight dimensional difference on the magazine catch, so a standard AK mag will fit just fine in a Saiga mag well, but will not lock without slight modification to either the mag or the catch on the rifle itself. And even then, a standard AK mag will likely not feed properly without the installation of a bullet guide.

They even make Saiga-specific mags with a 20 or 30 round capacity for those who want to use "high capacity" magazines without performing any irreversible modifications, they are double-stack mags.
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:03 PM   #14
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Along these same lines, while I'm thinking about it: As far as aftermarket Saiga mags go, who makes the best? Are the SureFire Saiga mags any good, or is it best to stick with factory mags only?
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Old June 10, 2012, 09:32 PM   #15
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my one shooting buddy has one in 7.62x39 and i get to shoot it once every week or when we have the time to go innawoods. i seem to like it more than he does so im thinking of offering up a trade and/or cash for it.

great shooter, built like a tank, cheap to shoot, never has had one hiccup in my time shooting it. buy ittttt
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Old June 10, 2012, 09:54 PM   #16
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About 3yrs ago, I tried a Promag Saiga 30rnd for my stock Saiga x39...one time. It did not feed very well. Took it back the local gun shop, paid close to $40 for a Surefire. The Surefire has never failed to feed properly.
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Old June 11, 2012, 01:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Along these same lines, while I'm thinking about it: As far as aftermarket Saiga mags go, who makes the best? Are the SureFire Saiga mags any good, or is it best to stick with factory mags only?
My experience has been that SureFire mags for the Saiga work very well, never had any issues; ProMag seems to produce a lower quality product in terms of both build quality and reliability.
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Old June 11, 2012, 04:25 AM   #18
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Okay, cool. Now, last question: About how much should I expect the lowest price of the 7.62x39 Saiga to be?
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:55 AM   #19
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location???
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Old June 11, 2012, 07:28 AM   #20
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Single Six...... SureFire and SGM Tactical are both very good mags for Saiga rifles. Pro Mags just plain suck. Sorry, but there is no nice way to put that. They are junk. Just be certain to follow Federal, State and local laws about using high capacity magazines. If you use a high cap mag in an ‘as-imported’ Saiga, you will be breaking Federal laws. You need to change one imported part on the rifle to a part made in America. Go to saiga-12.com for help on that.

As for price of the rifle, that varies by location. I paid $400 for a Saiga 223 here in Illinois about a year ago. Come to find out, that was about $25 too much at the time, but might be about right today. I’m not regretting it one bit. Once I figured out Pro Mags are junk, I’ve run 1000 rounds threw it without one failure. Not an extremely accurate rifle at 3 MOA, but this rifle will take a licken and keep on ticken. I intentionally ran 400+ rounds threw it without cleaning. Nothing changed, accuracy wise or reliability.
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Old June 11, 2012, 07:35 AM   #21
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They are very good rifles, with some trigger work you can get the groups much better with them. Won't become a target rifle, but better.

Russian made Ak's so they are quality.
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Old June 11, 2012, 07:47 AM   #22
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I don't like Saiga. There are better built AK's out there that use sturdier receivers. I'm sure that overall, they are reliable, but every one I've held seems flimsy and poorly finished. Just my opinion.
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Old June 11, 2012, 04:53 PM   #23
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They're sporterized AKs made at the official russian manufacturing plant, so they're probably well made and have quality control. Arsenal Aks are arguably the best and they're just Saigas made to look like evil black rifles.
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Old June 11, 2012, 05:56 PM   #24
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:40 PM   #25
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Skans: Thanks as always. I'm still undecided, but yours is one of the very few negative opinions on the Saiga I've seen thus far. Mind you, I'm only looking for a reliable rifle; it need not be a 100 yard, one-hole wonder. Heck, from what I've seen, you can just about buy 2 Saigas for the price of 1 Mini-30! Expense is an issue with me, but I also am a bit annoyed that the Saigas don't come in stainless.
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