Your Pick for a Semi-Auto Carbine in 7.62X39 (.30 ComBlock)


November 29, 2004, 04:07 PM
Here's a question for all of you semi-auto fanciers out there...Which do you see as the better choice, based on reliablity, accuracy, overall cost, overall bang-for-the-buck? The Ruger Mini 30 or the EAA Saiga (in 7.62X39)? What attribute/quality do you base your choice on?

Many Thanks, and I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

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Black Snowman
November 29, 2004, 04:23 PM
Due to availablility and cost of magazines, aftermarket parts that are functional, and over-all durability I'm going to have to say the Sagia. Although I went a differant route. I got a C&R 03 FFL and got an SKS.

November 29, 2004, 04:27 PM
Saiga, hands down. Mini-30 is way overpriced for what it is. I doubt the reliability would be up there with an AK clone like the Saiga, but I'm not sure how reliable the '30 is.

I doubt there is a single thing the Saiga can't do better for a lot less money than the '30.

November 29, 2004, 04:29 PM
Prolly the Saiga....but for the money you can't go wrong with an SKS.....

Doug S
November 29, 2004, 04:34 PM
Prepare for the deluge of SKS fans. I really hate it when someone posts a question about a particular rifle & everyone chimes in telling them to get a SKS. That said, I'd opt for an SKS :) . You just can't beat them for price, durability, & reliability. I have looked at a few Saiga rifles, & might go for one in 308, but in 7.62x39 I just can't see taking one over an SKS. I may be wrong, but the Saiga seems like a nice commercial/sporter rifle, but the SKS seems so much more robust. Now if magazine capacity were an issue, then I'd opt for a Romanian AK. Sorry couldn't help myself. ;) It just seems that in 7.62x39 caliber there are better options in the same price range.

November 29, 2004, 04:59 PM
So far, it looks as though Mr. Ruger's little machine is 'taking it on the beak!' This is half way what I had expected, though I had thought the Mini-30 might get a LITTLE bit better a break. As for the SKS, I've got two, one of them a Tula Arsenal job from 1952 (same year as ME!)with all matching #'s. They are great guns! I was just looking for something a bit handier...shorter, lighter, better adapted to optical sights.

November 29, 2004, 05:03 PM
If I wanted a semi.. prolly a SAR-1, other midrange AK, or SKS.

If I wanted a light deer rifle in 7.62x39 -- a CZ 527 ( No it's not a semi.. but it's twice the rifle any of the other options are. :)

Of the listed options.. Saiga.

November 29, 2004, 05:07 PM
I am sticking with Bulgarian Milled receiver AK-47s. My SA93 is a wonderful rifle. No Ruger product can come close in performance.

November 29, 2004, 05:09 PM

November 29, 2004, 05:25 PM
For plinking, defense, etc.: SAR-1, Arsenal Inc. SAM-7, etc AK clones.

For hunting: Saiga (hunting AK) or an SKS.

November 29, 2004, 07:07 PM
I'll say something half-way nice about the Mini-30. I use to want one because I thought they looked pretty good and it would be something different to own besides my SKS's and AK's for the 7.62x39. Luckily, I couldn't afford one and recently I found out about Ruger's refusal to offer any mags >10 rounds for both the 30 and the Mini-14 and it changed my mind about ever wanting either one.

Doug S
November 29, 2004, 10:04 PM
If you are interested in a scoped hunting carbine in 7.62x39 then I have to agree with Kaylee, that the CZ 527 is the way to go. Excellent quality in a very compact, light, not mention nice looking package. Also has very nice open sights.

Roland of Gilead
November 30, 2004, 03:11 AM
I am a big fan of Ruger Mini rifles. I think they have a terrible internet rep, but I am not sure why. Bushmaster ARs they are not, .223 or 7.62x39, but they cost less than Bushmaster will charge for their upper alone. I have never had a problem with aftermarket magazines in my mini-14, I have 20 and 30 rd blue mags. I think Thermold mags are great if you can find them, I have a one 30rd.
Features I'd prefer Mini-30 over AK are empty-magazine-bolt-hold-open and the safety (I hate Kalashnikov's safety, Mini-30 is a Garand style safety.)

Both those features, (bolt hold open and trigger guard located safety) coicidentally, can be found on an SKS. Why is the SKS a better semi auto rifle? It was designed as such, not as an automatic that is a civilian semi-auto conversion. The SKS's biggest weakness by far is the magazine. I personally like stripper clips, but they aren't hollywood.The detachable magazines for SKS are terribly akward.

So what do you want? A SKS paratrooper model, because it uses AK magazines, from 5 rd up to 100 rd drums. They are also a little shorter (both barrel and stock pull), and have no bayonet lug (too bad, asI think that they really are useful when you use them with a bipod or just the spike bayonet as a monopod). They run about $300 here, where a SAIGA is $350+
and a decent AK is $450+. Still, that is twice what a standard 10 rd stripper clip fed SKS runs.

I have never fired a SAIGA or had any first hand info regarding them.

November 30, 2004, 08:46 AM
oops... double tap.
:cuss: slow connection

November 30, 2004, 08:47 AM
Another vote for the Saiga (based on price alone). In fact, get two for the price of the Mini 30.

where a SAIGA is $350+ :uhoh:

I might have to bring a few down the TN and make a few $$$ :evil: :neener:
Here in Michigan Saigas can be found in 7.62X39 for as little as $199 and in .223 for as little as $229 at the local sporting goods store.

DT Guy
December 1, 2004, 08:01 AM
Buy the Ruger.

That way you can use your hard earned $ to support the company that supported the assault weapons ban...and that STILL won't sell you an 11 round magazine for your rifle. :cuss: :cuss:


Texian Pistolero
December 1, 2004, 08:36 AM
I owned an early Mini-14 and function and accuracy were fine.

The biggest drawback was an incredibly bad set of iron sights, which were never corrected.

I suspect that most of the reliability issues web reported are due to folks trying to use the after market mags, because in their infinitely superior PC wisdom, Ruger refuses to sell factory hi-caps. So there you are.

December 1, 2004, 01:04 PM
Personally, I like my stainless Mini-30. It's been 100% functionally reliable with a wide assortment of ammo. It's light, handy, easy to use, and about as weather resistant as they come given a laminated or synthetic stock. I bought mine NIB at a gunshow for $389 a few years back.

I have to agree with the complaints about the stock sights. It's almost as if they were an afterthought, to be used when optics had failed. While that set-up fits the marketing concept Ruger presents for the "Ranch Rifle", it kinda misses the full-function mark, IMHO.

The rear is a cheap fix: a Williams GRS. The front is hell-for-rugged, but way too coarse for anything but fast work at close ranges. I'm still working on finding a suitable replacement that doesn't incorporate some sort of superfluous muzzlebrake/flash hider gizmo.

Yeah, Ruger's PC-driven policy re: magazine capacity bites the biggie. It takes some work to assemble an adequate supply of reliable aftermarket high-caps, as you might have to buy and test ten to find three or four that'll work 100% in your rifle. FWIW, I've had better luck with the twenty rounders in this regard than I have with the thirties. On the 'plus' side, this may well change for the better now that the AWB has gone bye-bye and the aftermarket can respond to demand.

I've only fired one Saiga, and was greatly underwhelmed. Most of that may well be attributable to personal preferences in control layout, balance, handling qualities, perceived quality of manufacture, etc. Objectively, it wasn't as accurate than my Mini, and both of them take a distant second to my Polytech SKS. I couldn't do any better with the Saiga than with your average AK-clone at 4-5" at 100 M from a bench. My Mini will average about 3-3 1/2", and the SKS will break 2 1/2" with a particular lot of Norinco ball if I'm having a good day.

Ruger's political failings aside, I'll still trust the quality of their manufacturing, QC, and customer service more than EAA's, or Izhmash for that matter.

December 1, 2004, 04:22 PM
SKS, they look nicer.

But, of the options listed, Saiga. To me, the Saiga is that action that made the round popular, what better choice?

December 1, 2004, 05:06 PM
I would go with the Saiga. Or, as others have pointed out, the SKS.

I still can't see why anyone would want the Ruger over the SKS or Saiga.

They are just a fraction of its cost, at least as accurate, and more reliable.

I suppose some might not want Commie rifles, but considering how anti-gun rights Ruger is, I can't see them being much better.


DT Guy
December 1, 2004, 10:46 PM
Well, at least the commies STOPPED being commies-Ruger still won't sell me a magazine with 11 rounds in it!


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