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which one to buy

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by AR-tim, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. AR-tim

    AR-tim G&G Newbie

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    I am not going to buy an AK tomorrow, but the idea is definitely in my head. I have some other guns to bring up to speed, and some to accessories to buy for other guns, and money to save before I can buy an AK. I just want to start looking at, and researching AKs. I am thinking about spending around$300-$500 on one. I am looking for a nice shooter, with a decent finish. I am not looking to play gunsmith to get it working, or mess around with canted(I believe is the term) sights, or not be able to find parts. I am looking for a gun to go to the range with, maybe hunt, and protection for the classic SHTF scenario--high cap mags. Is there any ones I should stay away from. A friend of mine just bought a black synthetic(I prefer wood)AK by Izmash(??), and that is a pretty decent rifle. I have looked at a few Romanian ones at gun shows, but those seem kind of low quality. Any recomendations or ideas would be helpful.

    This might be a whole other story, but what is the difference between an AK-47 and an AK-74. An AK-47 is the basic 7.62x39, "16 barrel rifle...Right? An RPK was a heavy duty/machine gun version of an AK with a "24 barrel, bi-pod, and a "beefy" action..Correct? Is an AK-74 just a different caliber?? This just needs a quick explanation, not a novel...Just fill me in.

    Thanks.
     
  2. If you don't want to have to play home 'smith or end up paying a small fortune in aftermarket accessories, get the Arsenal Bulgarian or Hungarian AKMs (7.62x39). I have a Romanian SAR-1, and I have ended up wishing that I bought the more expensive rifle. My AK is fine, but the work and $ that I have put into it could have covered the Arsenal.

    You have the basic drill down. AKs are also available in .223 and .308 for us feelthy American pigs...
     

  3. FEG--agreed if I feel the need to modify it I don't want it. It better work correctly out of the box or forget it.
     
  4. Calvin

    Calvin G&G Newbie

    If you're going to buy a Bulgarian or Hungarian, you're gonna pay more than $500 for it. They are outrageous in price now. I would say the Romanian isn't so bad if you pick yours out yourself. True, some do have canted sights, but they function just as well and reliably as any other AK. The finish on the receiver cover isn't very well done, but that's easily fixed. I've not had one problem with my SAR-1.
    As far as the other stuff you've mentioned, you're on the right track. All of the mags out there work just fine. If you're interested in the more accurate of the AK-series rifles, pick up one in 5.45x39. I have seen those rifles shoot MOA at 100 yards with boring regularity. Mags are about the same price as the 7.62x39 mags, and ammo is relatively cheap.
     
  5. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 G&G Evangelist

    Only drawback of 5.45x39mm is lack of domestic sources or reloadable ammo. Only stuff I've ever seen is steel cased Russian Wolf and Barnaul. If you know better, great. Guns in that caliber are kind of rare, though. You'd basically be stuck with a Romanian SAR-2, though I've heard plenty of good things about it.
    If you're willing to go a little over 500, the most gun for your money is the VEPR-II series from Robinson Armoury (www.robarm.com). Much better gun than the Arsenal AKs. Only drawback is weight. If you were willing to pay a little more you could probably get a fine pre-ban Chinese AK.
    Maybe your best option is to try to find a MAK-90 or other post '89 ban Chinese rifle (in 2000 even they were banned). It's not impossible to find them for $400ish. I may be alone in this opinion, but I think the thumbhole stocks have the advantage of an overall firmer grip, as the P-grip won't move apart from the buttstock.
    Just curious, what's your particular reason for an AK? If I recall you have at least a FAL and an AR. My reasons for getting an AK-magged SKS were:
    A: I was disenfranchised with my 4moa G3 and heard better reports from SKS owners. That was before I got a 1.5" group at 120yds. I intend to improve even further.
    B: 7.62x39mm is less expensive new production Wolf than 7.62x51mm is surplus European
    C: Ability to use aftermarket accessories
    D: Ability to use AK mags and ammo in case they become available in SHTF scenario.
    E: Wanted to have a lighter, simpler, less powerful rifle than the G3.
    F: Wanted to have something others could use feasibly, whereas my G3 is a pain to cock, a beast to carry, and the loudest @#$% thing I ever shot, even more than my new 300 RUM.
     
  6. AKs in .308

    I think I have asked you this before BRG3, but what is the "pick of the litter" amongst the Kalashnikov rifles in .308? Is it the VEPR-II?

    I have been getting curious, because I can no longer find a Federal Arms G3 that isn't the "carbine" model.
     
  7. AR-tim

    AR-tim G&G Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies...

    Battlerifle: why do I want one??

    Well, I have a problem. An addiction. I am hooked on firearms. Mine addiction is really bad too, because I have a craving for military firearms.:) I really do not need one, but what could another rifle hurt?
    Reasons for an AK:
    1. Have heard such great things about their reliability.
    2. Cheap ammo/high cap mags and drums
    3. Relatively accurate
    4. By far cooler than a Ruger Mini 30
    5. 250 million communist can't be wrong*
    6. Might as well buy one while you can
    7. This sight and my friends put the idea in my head and never discouraged it
    8. To have yet another "evil assualt rifle"
    9. Plinking at the range
    10. To help pick up the economy, might as well spend my cash on a gun

    To sum it up, I really do not need one, just want one. As you pointed out about the AR-15 and FN-FAL, what am I going to shoot when those two are cooling down?;) It also would be cool to have three of the worlds most common military rifles for the past 30+ years. Hope I am not rambling too much, or being cocky.


    *I am sure that is a low number for number of commies that countries used the AK. And boy, am I going to hear it about this one....It was all in good fun.
     
  8. All good reasons really. Given your spectrum of FAL and AR-15, the AK is a "'tweener." Guess what, there really are some very good reasons for intermediate cartridges. That is: 1) bang per buck 2) bang per round 3) total bang for weight of cartridges carried. This isn't "scientific," but you are going to find out why the diminuitive insurgents of the world love Kalashnikov!

    To me the only real issue would be 7.62x39 vs 7.62x51 for a first rifle. Tough call. You are outside this rubric, so you NEED an AK. I may be about to buy another. If you want a used SAR-1, just holler!

    Side note: I am pro-AK (as is my father) because he got most of his left leg ripped off by a Chinese RPK in Tay Ninh in '68. May sound strange, but this may not have happened HAD THE M-16 WORKED AT THE TIME!!!!!

    I don't wan't to hear any explanations/rationalizations. The civilian AR-15 of 2002 is actually a superior weapon to the original issue M-16s. I am VERY familiar with the history of Stoner's design. I KNOW my dad didn't have the right ammo, cleaning kit, etc. My point is...I don't care. If my dad had been issued an AK or even the M-14, I would have had someone to teach me how to play baseball, how to fistfight, etc. My father has been a "disabled veteran" my entire life. I am 30.

    When I bought my SAR-1, my dad was a little stressed (who could blame him?). Although he had always been a sworn advocate of the AK (in theory), I think seeing his own son decimate stuff brought back some painful memories. He eventually got over it, and now handloads 7.62x39 for me (even though I reload too), just out of curiosity.

    By the way, I am not trying to get maudlin. My father is a letter carrier (that's PC for "mailman"), He is able to deliver his route etc. Just don't expect him to run ever again...
     
  9. Calvin

    Calvin G&G Newbie

    Glad your dad is still around. Thank him for all he did over there, will you?
     
  10. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 G&G Evangelist

    Amen Calvin. As far as 308 AKs, I understand the VEPR II to be the best of the newly manufactured ones, if you don't count Kreb's Custom guns, which I have very little familiarity with. The Yugo M90 is probably competitive, but will cost twice as much being pre-ban and rare. If you really want a 308 AK, I'd say VEPR or VEPR II is the way to go, although I've heard good things about the Saiga 308 as well. Drawback of the Saiga is lower capacity, less durability, and in my opinion, it's less aesthetic.
    Now the VEPR II will only take 10 round mags, but Kreb's will adapt them for M14 mags for $100.
    Personally, I'm not a fan of 308 AKs. I think it's more cartridge than they were designed to take. For the money, I think a FAL or G3 is a better buy. I think one of the main advantages of an AK is the 7.62x39mm cartridge.
    If you really want a 308 AK, go for it. But I think if you can find a G3 or FAL, it will be a better buy, and will probably cost less. You can use common and inexpensive hi-caps as well.
    And by the way, another advantage of the AK, being low weight, is NOT the case with the VEPR series and I doubt it would be with the Saiga 308. A FAL or G3 would probably be competitive in that regard. I picked up a VEPR IIk at a gun show and it was the most barrel heavy thing I ever held. And that was in 7.62x39mm, and that was the carbine version. My M1 Garand is easier to hold. I think the VEPR II would make a great position gun, as it's based on the RPK, which was just that. Trying to carry it and aim by hand is much harder than others like the G3 and FAL.
     
  11. AR-tim

    AR-tim G&G Newbie

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    Maybe I missed it, but what is this whole AK74 thing? Is it an AK that fires 5.45x39? If so, is that round basically the Russian take on .223? Never really seen that round in person, only heard of it. Once again, thanks for the replies.
     
  12. Yup, that's about it. I don't have much experience with this round (to be honest, none). I have HEARD that it is even flatter and more accurate than .223. Even though ammo is not as common, I would get a 74 clone in 5.45x39, rather than .223. They are so rare that you could easily unload one; also, the only reliability problems reported with Romanian rifles have been the .223 conversions...
     
  13. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 G&G Evangelist

    I'm pretty sure the 5.45x39mm is NOT flatter than the 223. I think it is more accurate than 223 in AK type weapons, but I doubt it's inherently more accurate. Its special features are a longer, thinner bullet that will tumble in its target and cause even more damage than a 223. Recoil is lower than 223. I personally wouldn't get one due to lack of ammo variety, but I'll give it its due respect. One thing I think it has on the 223 AKs is that it was designed for rifles with 16" barrels, while 223 was designed for 20" barrels, so you'll waste less energy and get less of a flash.
     
  14. I have never bought any firearm that didnt require tinkering of some sort. I own a 1999 Romanian SAR-I that I bought new and have never HAD to do anything to it, but have voluntarilly begun to "upgrade" it bit-by-bit.

    As for more expensive AK's, well I have never seen anything in the US other than Maadis & Romanians. All I can offer is that I hand-picked mine from a local dealer and got a winner. Very familiar users & collectors have assured me that mine was exceptional as Romanians go and it was still only $325.

    I always say "Buy the best quality you can afford." but in this instance I have yet to see any that were NOT good quality.
     
  15. Eric

    Eric G&G Newbie

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    If you can pick it yourself instead of ordering it I would go with the Romanian, you can't go wrong. But I have always heard that the Bulgarian AKs were the cream of the crop.
     
  16. One of the main reasons that Bulgarians have such a rep is the milled receiver (they do have stamped as well for le$$). Also, the wood furniture is truly exceptional (esp. compared to a Romanian or Chi-com). I actually prefer the stamped receivers (AKM) to milled, because they keep the weight down. Still, you could make an apples/oranges argument; that is, a milled AK and stamped AK are not directly comparable (they certainly aren't in price).
     
  17. tommy

    tommy G&G Enthusiast

    i got a sar1 and it looks great finish and all. never had a problem other than running out of ammo.
     
  18. dryfire

    dryfire G&G Newbie

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    If you can stand the sporter configuration, the Saiga series are bargains. The .308 shoots as well, and is just as robust, as any of the battle rifles. My experience with the SARs has been good except for the .223 version. The most accurate of the 16" AK's I have had is a SAR2 followed by a SAR1. I have had the Bulgies, Chinese, and Maadi products. The most accurate AK's I have had are the Saigas.
     
  19. psycho dad

    psycho dad G&G Newbie

  20. kirkcdl

    kirkcdl G&G Newbie

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    My .02-for what it's worth

    I have owned AK's in every caliber available,except 22lr.After a LOT of shooting,the only ones I still have are my SAR-2(5.45)and my custom SAIGA(308).The 5.45 round,in my experience does shoot a bit flatter and more accurately than 223,also less recoil,which is why I got rid of my 223,no sense in having 2 similar calibers,so I kept the one I liked best.As far as the best current deal,I just got a CETME(308)from AIM for $300,it looks acceptable,not pretty,but not too bad for the $$$.So if you want a good plinker that won't leave you with a sore shoulder after 400-500rds,buy the SAR-2.If bigger booms are your passion,as mine is fast becoming,try the CETME,308 is relatively cheap(milsurp)and there are lots of varieties on the market.Good luck with whatever you get...