View Full Version : Saiga thrrrppppttt!

October 11, 1999, 10:50 AM
Signed up for my dealer's rifle class, which happened last weekend. Since the only rifle I owned was an Uzi, I decided to get a "real" rifle; a Saiga 7.62 carbine. $350 NIB. Got a case of Russian-made 124-gr JHP as well.

I got the Saiga because of the price (equal to what real AKs were going for a few months ago), the Evil Black Plastic stock and forend, and the fact that it takes 30-round mags without mods. The gun comes with 2 5-rounders. At the back of the manual was a "certificate of functioning" or somesuch. There's a space for maximum group size during test firing at Izhmash. 118mm. Ick.

The manual was very obviously translated by someone whose native language is not English/American ("the bullet will exit the barrel rushly"), and the operation and takedown instructions and diagram are vague, to put it kindly. The only part I had trouble removing was the gas tube.

Anyway. After stripping, cleaning, reassembling, and FCing the gun, I and it were ready for the range.

Or so I thought.

First thing we did was to sight in our guns. My first 5-shot group didn't even hit the paper at 100 yards. Some of that may have been distraction caused by the 3 feed failures I got, with the tip of the bullets hanging on the back of the chamber instead of going in.

Now I'm not a *great* marksman, preferring shotguns over rifles, but jeez, I'm better than that. I asked one of the instructors, who specializes in military stuff, to shoot a group, so we could determine if it was me or the gun.

He fired two shots (one of which hung going in) and said, "This thing sucks." Adjusting the front sight was an exercise in masochism, and I wondered which would snap first, the sight or the tool.

With the factory cheapo plastic mags, with decent all-metal mags, with ball and HP, the freakin' POS just wouldn't run reliably. I got maybe 2 5-round mags to feed correctly. I had 5 carts in which the bullets were shoved halfway back into the case, 3 of the Russian stuff and 2 Winchester FMJs.

Back to the dealer it goes... now I need something else to eat all this 7.62 I have lying around.

"America needs additional gun laws like a giraffe needs snow tires."
--Rabbi Mermelstein, JPFO

October 11, 1999, 03:38 PM
Get a Springfield M1A1. Incredible rifles, a buddy has 2. He sold his FN/FAL (what an inaccurate rifle) to buy the first, then promptly bought the 2nd. I'm a bolt action fan, but these are choice.

October 11, 1999, 04:43 PM
Acksherly, I picked up an SKS and an Enfield today. If I can't get the Saiga to cooperate, I'll throw it back.

"America needs additional gun laws like a giraffe needs snow tires."
--Rabbi Mermelstein, JPFO

George Hill
October 12, 1999, 02:25 AM
I would do as suggested and throw this one back.

There are plenty of other options out there. In fact - your UZI is one of them. 9MM will not be in your favor - but the relability will be.

Enfields, L1A1 (which I have seen dirt cheap), or even the nasty little SKS if still legal in your neck of the woods - are all low priced, but prooven performers.

I am thinking about a M-1 Carbine... I read a glowing article and think it to be a good option. I was going to get a Marlin Camp 9, but I was not happy with the 9MM. The M1 that they had on hand at my local gun shop was pretty nice. Solid little bugger if anything else!

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

October 12, 1999, 01:07 PM
Maybe you shouldn't give up on just yet. It's very strange for a 7.62x39 AK to be less than 100% reliable. I've owned 4 and they all proved so. Perhaps Kalashnikov USA (is that an oxymoron?) would like to take a look at it.

Also, there are some AK smiths that can do some nice things with your Saiga. Namely, return it to to near original configuration. I understand a recent ATF ruling states that the 10 imported parts rule applies to all imported arms, not just ones in the "evil" configurations, so there's no reason to mess with the thumbholes and what not.

October 17, 1999, 02:07 AM
Want to join Mr. Destructo6. It's very
strange. AK type rifles are usually totally
reliable.I think I know what happened - magazine does not lock in place correctly.
In can be manufacturing defect, in which
case you should complain to the Kalashnikov-USA and be tough with them, or you do not
insert magazine correctly. AK magazine should
be inserted in a "special way", front part of the magazine should be inserted first to
engage the magazine lug, and then magazine
should be rotated until magazine catch "clicks"...It may take a bit of a practice
to get used to it.
Good luck.

October 18, 1999, 10:14 AM
Thanks for the feedback, guys. FWIW, I'm familiar with AK-style mags. AK reliability is the main reason I bought the Saiga in the first place, so I was shocked, SHOCKED at the problems.

I took it back to the dealer (who had identical problems with another Saiga) and got an SKS (figured I needed something to eat all that surplus Russian 7.62). The SKS has performed flawlessly, even with the plastic fixed 30-round mag.

"America needs additional gun laws like a giraffe needs snow tires."
--Rabbi Mermelstein, JPFO