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Old March 15, 2019, 08:09 PM   #1
M88
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Wanting to add an AK-47 to my collection

I figure my rifle collection needs the ubiquitous AK47... I want to acquire one, but for this one, not necessarily very high end. Willing to spend up to $1000. I also want a wooden stock and forend. I want something that mimics the original as close as can be, while keeping it semi-auto of course. I know nothing about the AK's, thus asking here. Any suggestions given those criteria?
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Old March 15, 2019, 08:34 PM   #2
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There are endless variations the collectors fuss over, but broadly:

AKM: That'd be 95% of all "AK" rifles, made almost everywhere. Most have pressed steel receivers and are chambered in 7.62x39. Some have milled receivers, some are chambered in 5.45x39 or 5.56 NATO.

Valmet: arguably the "Cadillac" of AKs; generally found with milled receivers and chambered in 5.56 NATO. Some variants were .308. The israeli Galil and the South African R4 were Valmet variants.

Yugo: The Yugoslavian AKs were beefier everywhere because their military really, *really* liked them some rifle-launched grenades. Yugos have thicker receivers, thicker top covers, reinforced trunnions, heavier barrels, and a gas cutoff on the gas block.

Saiga: Russian commercial imports, usually found with "sporter" plastic stocks and handguards.


Then, of course, there are the more-exotic ones, and the "technically not an AK but obviously a close relative" ones, and...
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Old March 15, 2019, 08:49 PM   #3
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I very well may buy one some day but I decided as far as "collection" stuff until I own a couple mini 14's and mini 30's, the AK47 stuff we have available to us today is so expensive and low quality (with exceptions of course - $$) I'm gonna hold off. Probably got 3 "collectable" rifles and something in 50 BMG on my list before I add something of that design but when I do it will probably be higher end - my thinking anyway.

JMHO after mulling it over a bunch I decided a mini 30 was a good USA designed substitute that fits the bill - and the one I picked up anyway has been worth the $$. I'm not sure they shoot steel case all that well but then I do not buy steel case for any of my guns anyway.
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Old March 15, 2019, 09:59 PM   #4
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I'm still trying to get my PSA AK that I spent $490 on to malfunction--haven't yet and I've put it some very warm handholds through it. The brass is often destroyed in just one use though. About the only compliant I have is the side mount rail arrangement requires a lot of windage of your optic since it doesn't quite put the scope centerline to the bore. AK's are just cool--everyone should have one.
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Old March 16, 2019, 10:28 AM   #5
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I have a Yugo Opap, less common brother to the Npap made by Zastava. The pap's are very nicely assembled and flawless shooters. Yogo designed platforms are a bit odd and many standard AK parts will not fit the yugo's so if you like to accessorize the Yugo's are not your best choice. My Opap is built on the thicker RPK receivers. It's a bit on the heavy side but nothing to worry about as i'm just a recreational enthusiast. I love the nostalgic feel and shoot-ability of the AK's.
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Old March 16, 2019, 08:11 PM   #6
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Century Arms Red Army C39v2 7.62x39mm?

Anybody have or know anything about the Century Arms AK's? This one here looked like what I'm after. Century Arms Red Army C39v2 7.62x39mm

https://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperst....cfm/ID/181436

Manufacturer: Century Arms
Model: Red Army C39v2
Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Barrel Length: 16.5"
Overall Length: 37.25"
Barrel: Chrome Moly 4150 Nitrade Treated Barrel
Barrel Twist Rate: 1:10"
Stock: Walnut Stock
Magazine Capacity: 30 Rounds
Features a Chevron Muzzle Brake

Says it's all American made? Never heard of Century Arms.
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Old March 17, 2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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I'm not an AK guy, but in researching AKs for myself it looks like Century should be avoided, at least their USA made AKs.

Military Arms Channel and Rob Ski of AK Operators Union both have made videos of them having significant serious problems after 1000 rounds or less if i remember correctly.

Edit: Here's the video covering that rifle https://youtu.be/DJB9x2IPx8Q
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Old March 17, 2019, 07:33 AM   #8
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Stay away from the Century made AK's. Real world testing has shown that the metallurgy is not correct and the bolts and receivers (C39) and trunnions (RAS47) are soft and headspace opens up after a couple of thousand rounds.

Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing a drought when it comes to inexpensive quality made AK's as the largest importer (Century), has elected to slow down importation of foreign AK's in favor of the junk they manufacture.

Currently the best bet for a new, real factory made AK, is going to be either a WASR or a NPAP. If you are willing to spend a bit more money, look into a SAM7.

If I was just now starting to look for my first AK, I would do some more research and peruse the used market as often times nice low round count rifles can be picked up reasonably.

If you are stuck on new, check out Atlantic Firearms for their current offerings.

There are so many varieties of AK's out there that there really isn't the room here to go into all the different models that are here in the US, but locally I have seen nice preban Chinese, Hungarian and Finnish AK's sell for $1500 or less and the odd SAM7 will float through for $1000-$1400. MAK90's are still available for $700-$800 also.

Generally speaking, I would stay away from home kit builds and stick with factory made guns or one assembled by a well-known builder like Two Rivers Arms. One advantage of a kit build is that you can get a model that was never imported into the US as complete rifles. I recently finished a build on a 1958 Polish KbK-N, which is a model that was equipped with a very early night vision scope. Even though I have fourteen AK's, it has become my favorite and I am glad that I had Two Rivers build it for me.



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Old March 17, 2019, 07:33 AM   #9
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I have two Norincos. IME, they are well worth the extra cost.
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Old March 17, 2019, 09:43 AM   #10
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You could always get a MAC90 and just replace the stock and hand grip plus enough other American made parts to be in compliance and still be around the $1000.00 or slightly under range, cost wise.
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Old March 17, 2019, 10:07 AM   #11
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At $1000 and under the best bang for the buck is the WASR
Start and end there
Look no further
The end




(for perspective, I've been buying and shooting AK's since the early 80's, trust me... WASR)
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Old March 17, 2019, 11:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
At $1000 and under the best bang for the buck is the WASR
Start and end there
Look no further
The end
How would you compare it to the AK 63?
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Old March 17, 2019, 12:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
How would you compare it to the AK 63?
Which model?
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Old March 17, 2019, 09:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TBM900 View Post
At $1000 and under the best bang for the buck is the WASR
Start and end there
Look no further
The end




(for perspective, I've been buying and shooting AK's since the early 80's, trust me... WASR)
I agree and considering that a lot of WASR's were made during the Cold War, that would check the OP's box for a close replica that's affordable and worth the money.

I can't think of too many reasons to buy an AK pattern that costs more than the WASR. I know the Arsenal is a good rifle and I hear good things about the PSA AK, but IDK how much better they are relative to price; milled vs stamped is more a talking point than anything these days.
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Old March 18, 2019, 12:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Which model?
My dealer apparently has a taste only for underfolders--whatever that model might be.

Getting an optic mounted on an AK is no small matter; especially if it's something with a close eye relief.
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Old March 19, 2019, 10:40 AM   #16
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VEPRs are generally listed under $1,000 on go-broker. VEPRs are considered high quality AKs.
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Old March 20, 2019, 07:27 AM   #17
TBM900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
My dealer apparently has a taste only for underfolders--whatever that model might be.

Getting an optic mounted on an AK is no small matter; especially if it's something with a close eye relief.
IIRC those are the 'DS' models
Imported as kits and built here using U.S. barrels and receivers
The final overall quality is going to depend on the builder
When it comes to U.S. builds it can be a crapshoot

I'm also not a fan of under folders
I collect them but rarely shoot'em
But that is personal preference

Also keep in mind there is no side rail with those
You can mount one but then the stock won't fold
So then you may as well just go fixed stock

Personally I would just get a WASR
They really are the best bang for the buck
Made in an actual arsenal by skilled hands
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Old March 20, 2019, 07:46 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by seanc View Post
VEPRs are generally listed under $1,000 on go-broker. VEPRs are considered high quality AKs.
The days of commonly found sub-1k VEPR rifles is long gone
About the only ones that sell under 1k today are the oddball calibers and butchered examples
I've seen maybe a half dozen unconverted, thumb holed, slant cuts sell right at 1k since the first of the year
But then your talking as much as $500 to convert depending on what you're after.
For that money I would rather have 2x WASRs.
Just say'n

Last edited by TBM900; March 20, 2019 at 07:53 AM.
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Old March 20, 2019, 07:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Getting an optic mounted on an AK is no small matter; especially if it's something with a close eye relief.
Oops I forgot to mention....

Yes mounting an optic on an AK that does not have a rail can be a pain
Frankly I do not use optics on my AK's that don't have one
But doing so with a side-rail is easy as pie
Another +1 for the WASR

If you want an optic, RS Regulate is the place to start for side-rail goodness
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Old March 20, 2019, 09:02 AM   #20
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Nice info TBM--thanks for that.
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Old March 20, 2019, 09:23 AM   #21
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The prices for AK's have gone through the roof...

Krebs Custom

James River Armory
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Old March 20, 2019, 10:01 AM   #22
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One big problem I see with quality AK's is that they are now in competition with mass market 308 carbines--I have one that I put together for around $600--it weighs the same, recoils about the same but ballistically there is no comparison. Even bulk 7.62 x 51 ammo has dropped in price--though the 7.62 x 39 still holds an edge price wise. I probably wouldn't be interested in AK's if it weren't for their historic significance and cool factor--an "everyman's reliable piston gun."
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Old March 20, 2019, 11:34 AM   #23
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Why not the PSAK guns? I keep thinking about getting one of those..
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Old Yesterday, 12:25 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
One big problem I see with quality AK's is that they are now in competition with mass market 308 carbines--I have one that I put together for around $600--it weighs the same, recoils about the same but ballistically there is no comparison. Even bulk 7.62 x 51 ammo has dropped in price--though the 7.62 x 39 still holds an edge price wise. I probably wouldn't be interested in AK's if it weren't for their historic significance and cool factor--an "everyman's reliable piston gun."
The proliferation of affordable .308 semi auto rifles has made this more than an AK problem, but a 7.62x39 problem. When I got concerned about cheap x39 steel case ammo being banned from import or had sky high tariffs placed on it, I thought about reloading brass cased x39, but then I realized I'd be better off using that time reloading .308 instead.

More powerful, more accurate, brass is easy to find.

It's hard to justify $900 for an Arsenal vs a S&W M&P10 that costs less.
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