View Full Version : Using US made 30 rd mag in Saiga .223

April 27, 2010, 02:06 AM
I was looking at a Saiga .223 today, had ordered one a long time ago - deal fell through (they used to be $199..) anyway, the one I was looking at today had the thumbhole style stock - I actually prefer the ones that have the rifle stock, but at any rate I asked the gun store guy (he is pretty new there but modifies lots of Saiga 12's etc..) I asked him if you could use the Surefire 30 rounders in an ummodified Saiga? His reply was that "Yes you could because the magazine is made in the US."

I know the AWB has sunset, but there is still a law called 922R. I'm not sure how it works, but it sounds like he might be wrong. I'm in Washington State by the way. Can anyone help clarify this? I don't want to modify the gun to look like an AK, but might like to use the larger capacity mags since they are made for the gun and don't require the gun to be changed to work.

Any help?


April 27, 2010, 02:27 AM
If it's a standard, completely unmodified Saiga rifle (not shotgun), the short answer is no, you are not compliant with 922R if you use a 30-rd mag, even if it is an American-made mag. You will have to swap out one more part from the rifle with a US-made part, to get the correct parts count.

A factory-configuration Saiga has 14 countable parts, and this configuration is considered "suitable for sporting purposes" because it lacks a pistol grip, and comes with only a 10-rd mag. If you want to change that configuration in a way that renders the rifle no longer "suitable for sporting purposes" which basically means using larger capacity mags, or adding a pistol grip, among other things, then you have to make sure the rifle is composed of not more than 10 countable parts of foreign manufacture. A magazine has only 3 countable parts (floor plate, mag body, mag follower), so if you use a US-made magazine in an unmodified Saiga, you are swapping out 3 Russian-made parts with 3 American made parts. You are left with 11 countable parts that are Russian, and 3 that are American. You are not compliant, because it cannot have more than 10 foreign-made countable parts to be compliant. You have to swap out one more part, like the foregrip/handguard, or any other countable part. So if you choose to replace the handguard AND use a US-made magazine, you'll have 4 American parts, and 10 Russian, since not more than 10 parts are foreign-made in that configuration, you're good to go.

April 27, 2010, 03:39 PM
I have always wondered about the 922r compliant stuff. How many of us shooters have ever been asked by anyone in LE whether your gun is compliant or not. I know I have never been questioned.

I like my Saiga just the way it is,Box Stock,and yes I do shoot it with 30rd mags sometimes. I guess I'm an Outlaw.

April 27, 2010, 06:21 PM
Mine came with a 30 round promag NIB. Just sayin...



DE Shooter
April 28, 2010, 09:49 PM
There are so many US made after market parts for Saiga rifles. Why not use one and be legal....just in case. Let some US companies make a little $$$ after an initial RAA investment. As raftman said...it only takes one US addition to be legal...as long as it eliminates a listed 922r import item.

April 28, 2010, 11:02 PM
I've never heard of anyone being busted for 922r violation, aside from vague stories from unverifiable sources. My (potentially erroneous) understanding is that it's generally used as an add-on charge that they tack on if you're violating some bigger, more well-known firearms law. It's pretty dang unlikely anyone has ever been convicted of just violating 922R. But as the old gun culture cliche goes, "It's not about the odds, it's about the stakes." I don't really know what the consequences would be, but I also don't want to find out... and really it's not that hard to make a Saiga compliant. On mine, I simply replaced the handguard (about 3 minutes worth of work, if you go slow), and with a US-made mag, you're good to go. If it weren't legally required, I would probably have done it anyways because it made the rifle look better.

April 28, 2010, 11:36 PM
Using a high capacity magazine in an unmodified Saiga is really kind of a gray area in the law. What 922r actually states is that it is illegal to manufacture or modify a rifle or shotgun in such a way that it would be unimportable under 925d(3) unless ten or fewer specified parts are imported. No mention is made of magazine capacity in 925d(3) and the ability to accept a detachable magazine is specifically exempted from the banned features. Because of this, it would appear that using a high-capacity mag in a Saiga without a 922r conversion would be legal so long as none of the features banned by 925d(3) are added.

However, we have the issue of the Mak 90. Mak 90's were imported after the '89 import ban because they had all the features prohibited by 925d(3) removed. They did, however, retain the ability to use standard AK-47 magazines. During the Clinton administration, the Mak 90 and several other weapons were specifically singled out and declared no longer importable by the ATF because of their ability to take standard AK mags.

As far as I know, the ATF has never specifically stated that use of a high-capacity magazine constitutes an "unsporting" firearm. Because of this, I am inclined to believe that use of a high-capacity magazine in an unmodified Saiga is probably legal. However, if you are worried about it, swapping out one more part such as the handguards or gas piston with a U.S. made replacement would bring you down to 10 parts anyway when used in conjunction with a U.S. made magazine.

April 29, 2010, 07:40 PM
As long as it is US made you are fine.


April 29, 2010, 08:05 PM
I bought a .308 saiga and I swapped out the forend for a tapco unit and now I can use US hi-cap mags. the mags count as 3 parts so if you swap one part on the list for a us part you'll be good.

April 29, 2010, 08:45 PM
just get a tapco g2 trigger group, it is an improvement in trigger pull anyways and then you wont ever have to worry about anything...