View Full Version : AK 47 - Which One?

October 25, 2012, 09:16 PM
I'm in the market for an AK47. I know next to nothing about any of the different makes and such. Any that I should consider or not even consider?

Thanks in advance.

October 25, 2012, 09:45 PM
Arsenal SGL-21

October 25, 2012, 10:14 PM

October 26, 2012, 01:39 AM
This one, best sub-$700.00 AKM on the planet:


Get it NOW, don't wait another minute, they'll be gone any second now if they're not already out of stock.

October 26, 2012, 06:43 AM
What about the WASR?

October 26, 2012, 07:51 AM
What do you want out of the rifle? Function/reliability? Good fit/finish? Customer service? What's your price range?

October 26, 2012, 07:56 AM
One important question. How much do you want to spend?

October 26, 2012, 08:23 AM
I'll add my two cents to this, and just as a clarification, I personally do NOT have personal experience firing with these two rifles, however, after reading many reviews and sifting through dozens of articles I feel that the information is pretty reliable.

Arsenal is the most well known "AK" manufacturer in terms of delivering a quality product, their rifles are manufactured in the US and are known for being accurate and have superb fit and finish. Sturmgewehr, a member here on the forums has a number of fine examples of their AK rifles. They carry them in a variety of models from side folders to fixed stock and in both the iconic 5.45x39mm and original 7.62x39mm calibers.

Here is a review on STG' youtube channel that covers the Arsenal SGL 21-94 AK47 chambered in 7.62x39mm


Second is the VEPR this is another fine example of a high quality AK rifle, these rifles apparently are manufactured by Molot Russia and is equal if not superior in terms of quality when compared to the Arsenal AK'

This video, also by Sturmgewehr, covers the 7.62x54r version of the VEPR, it does come in other calibers such as .308 winchester, and of course the original 7.62x39mm. There are ways to convert one of these rifles into looking like a "normal" AK but that will require time, money and some wizardry with some tools in order to be accomplished. Another member here sucessfully converted their VEPR but their name escapes me.


In regards to the WASR, from what I've read, and what Sturmgewehr recommended, is that they are great for the poor mans AK, they'll function and go bang most of the time, but there are numerous horror stories that go along with this particular rifle. Canted sights, poor welds, and over all just poor fit and finish seem to plague the WASR-10'. There are some who will swear by their WASR' and drive you to the moon and back on how great they are or how their' is the "exception" among the lemons out there, but for a first time AK buyer who does not know what to look for and may be considering these rifles, I recommend taking trip to these guys. They take all the guess work out of the system and you'll know that you'll be getting a good WASR that isn't plagued by all the problems that they've gained a reputation of having.


Ultimately, when you're choosing an AK, you must ask yourself what you want to get out of it and what is your budget, is it going to be a range queen where you're just going to be taking it out to have fun plinking at paper/steel, or are you looking for a self defense rifle where reliability is something that may be a big concern. Arsenal and VEPR are the cream of the crop IMO and the WASR10' tend to be better off as range guns (This is my opinion of course, based off of what I read)

You'll spend upwards from $700-$1000 on an Arsenal and maybe $600 or less on a WASR (This was what I saw them going for at a local dealer mind you in Utah)

If you have the opportunity to do so, go to a local range or firearms dealer and ask if they have any of the aforementioned AK manufacturers products in stock (Most if not all will carry at least one example of a WASR10 if that's what you're interested in) shoulder them and look them over. Even better, if you can, rent one and shoot it. You'll know which you prefer more after shooting the rifle as opposed to just holding it.

Me personally? I'd choose an Arsenal, I've shouldered them and inspected them numerous times at my local FA and the quality of them is supurb IMO, Sturmgewehr' taste in firearms hasn't aimed me in the wrong direction either, in fact my AR15 was recommended by him and his review on a GSG 1911 in .22LR convinced me to purchase one. Watch his videos and develop your own views.

Good luck and I hope you get what you want.

October 26, 2012, 01:27 PM
How much do you want to spend?

We (only) own one, it was my then-14 year old son's first rifle...a Romy WASR 10/63, and I would buy another in a heartbeat.

The 10/63 has an upgraded front trunnion from the Wasr 10...and his shoots whatever we feed it flawlessly, and 2-3 minutes accuracy with his POSP 4x scope.

October 26, 2012, 01:57 PM
I just purchased my first assembled AK (Polish underfolder by Century) and am very happy with it. Well built, good fit and finish, and as accurate as I need it to be. The WASRs I've handled lately have been disappointing. Poor finish, sloppy feel, etc. Took a friend's to the range and shot it side by side with my brother's kit gun and my underfolder and it was atrocious. Felt like a rattle trap compared to ours.

October 26, 2012, 06:09 PM
you can get an Arsenal ARSENAL AK47 RIFLE SGL 21-94 for $1169

or you can get a RRA LAR 47 for $1200


The top 3 reasons for owning an AK-47 were

1. cheap
2. cheap
3. cheap

I just cant see that much money for a Russian made stamped receiver.

October 26, 2012, 10:32 PM
Appreciate all the information fellas. I'd like to spend as less as possible but I also understand that won't buy much in the way of a quality gun. Unless a deal presents itself :D

My main reason for wanting one is just to do some plinking. I highly doubt it will ever be a "SHTF" type weapon but it's comforting to know that it could pull that duty if necessary. I'd also like to own one before they become illegal if another ban comes into play. I've never had one and if the money situation works out then it's time to add one to the collection.

I guess the main thing I'm looking for is accuracy and reliability. I want something that goes bang when I pull the trigger, is easy to clean, and can achieve 1 MOA or thereabouts.

Time to do some reading up on what has been posted.

October 26, 2012, 10:46 PM
True repeatable 1 Moa is a pretty big ask for any off the shelf semi auto military esq rifle much less an ak that has a heck of a lot of factors going against its accuracy potential. A good ak with good domestic ammo is probably a 2 or 2.5 Moa proposition at best with optics. Use wolf or other cheap ammo and you are likely looking at 4 Moa or so and this is with a higher end 7.62x39 gun. Much easier to get that 1 Moa from an ar or m1a and those likely wont be out of the box.

Ignition Override
October 27, 2012, 12:13 AM
You must have excluded the popular Czech Vz-58 (?). They cost a bit more than some AKs, but are very different guns, as you might realize.

"Hickok45" does a nice, basic comparison of the different components on his Youtube channel. "Sturmgewehr" also has a good video.

chris in va
October 27, 2012, 12:58 AM
I had a Saiga conversion. Have a look at the aformentioned VZ58, a very interesting and arguably better take on the AK platform.

October 27, 2012, 08:11 PM
Since you want to keep the price low, look at the WASR10/63 and Saiga. I've had my WASR over 5 years and no problems. If you get a good one it'll make you happy.

October 28, 2012, 10:33 AM
A good ak with good domestic ammo is probably a 2 or 2.5 Moa proposition at best with optics. Use wolf or other cheap ammo and you are likely looking at 4 Moa or so and this is with a higher end 7.62x39 gun.

Maybe my rifle is an outlier, but I've been able to manage a 1.6" group using stock iron open sights and low-end Tula ammo (below). It's a Lancaster AK with SS barrel, milled receiver and G2 trigger group. I replaced the stock with a collapsible stock that fits me and replaced the grip with a Hogue pistol grip.

I think people often assume that AKs aren't capable of accurate shooting and don't really try. I'm still a novice so I didn't have any preconceived notions about what it could or couldn't do.


October 29, 2012, 07:50 AM
Personally, I'd either buy a Polytech stamped receiver (pre-89 import) or a quality build that uses at least a 1.5mm (preferably a 1.6mm) stamped receiver, CHROME LINED BARREL, and Polish or Chinese parts set.

Remember: 1.5/1.6mm receiver; chrome barrel; quality build.

October 29, 2012, 08:29 PM
While blasphemy to the true believer, and anathema to the topic, Gabe Suarez has labeled the the SIG556R as what the Kalashnikov should be (or something like that).

Same operating system, full length rail and hand guard, and better, it is actually a little less expensive than the Arsenal AK103. Uses AK 7.62 magazines, has a folding stock, and seems to shoot pretty well.

SIG556R to 400 yards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PimoohvDVg)

Gabe introduces the 556R (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlDRzldFrdU)

This might be a viable alternative. I've only ever held one at a store, and shot maybe 3 shots through a 223 caliber version, so I don't know doodly squat from a personal experience, but it sure is intriguing to me. Maybe to you as well?

October 29, 2012, 08:53 PM
I'd stay away from the 556R. Mr. Suarez is a good shooter/teacher but he gets paid to recommend the rifle and in my experience it's not worth the money. For that much money you can get a very high end AK that will likely be equal in build quality and will have a much better/longer/more proven track record.

October 29, 2012, 09:35 PM
Arsenal AK is where I'd spend my money in an AK. I have been tossing around the idea of one but put other needs and wants in front, I'll have an Arsenal AK eventually.

October 30, 2012, 05:36 AM

No argument there, just reporting what I have.

October 30, 2012, 07:52 AM
Spacecoast, I have a Lancaster build on a DCI receiver - they are 1.5mm nicely made receivers; mine has a numbers-matching polish parts set. I also have an old Polytech stamped receiver. I will say, the stamped Polytech AK's are still more robust.

Polytech Barrel is a little thicker; receiver is 1.6mm; bolt and bolt carrier are well machined and the bolt has a sprung firing pin; the internals are nicely forged and finished. My Lancaster build is an underfolder (+1 for that) and the Tapco fire control parts provide a much shorter, crisper trigger pull. Still, I like the construction of the Polytech fire control parts better.

October 30, 2012, 12:08 PM
+1 for VEPR.

I converted mine to an AK-103 clone similar to the Arsenals. In the end, with the money I put into this VEPR I could have picked up a new Arsenal and have been done with it. I don't have any regrets since I think its a better rifle and certainly more unique.

October 30, 2012, 02:32 PM
If I had the technical know how and tools I'd probably go your route Darestie. Sadly I'm a noob in all regards when it comes to that sort of stuff, some day, when funds are available, maybe I'll finally be able to go to school to learn how.

Beautiful AK you have there by the way, I knew someone here had made a conversion of a VEPR. Makes me wonder how the conversion would look with some nice wooden furniture on it instead of the plastic :).

I do have a question in regards to the slant at the rear of the lower reciever, what did you have to do in order to get that "wedge" (?) to work so that you could install the AR stock?

Is that simply welded in place?

November 2, 2012, 05:54 PM
Jam up (no pun intended :D) good looking gun there Darestie