Which type of Ak/Ak variant should i buy?


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xerographic26
March 27, 2005, 11:00 PM
I am interested in getting an AK/AK variant for the first time. I have been doing some researching but have obtained some mixed results on which types are the most reliable for the money. I am looking in the range of $500 or less.

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clange
March 27, 2005, 11:26 PM
They should all be reliable. For $500 you can get some pretty nice stuff (of which i know little about), or you can get a WASR or SAR and spend the rest on accessories/ammo and have a nice workhorse.

What rifles, or configurations, are you thinking about?

orangeninja
March 27, 2005, 11:37 PM
I've been thinking of an AK too. Subscribing to this thread. :D

WillBrayJr
March 27, 2005, 11:39 PM
Welcome!!! :cool:

Take a hard look at Vector AK rifles. They're priced from $450.00 to $550.00. Better quality parts than the Romanian AKs, plus they are put together right the first time. The Romanian AKs are known for canted parts, not the rifle's fault but Century's fault. They have trained chimps put them together, lower overhead. The WASR is a Romanian model too. Century had their trained chimps grind the magwell wider in a poor attempt to make the WASR accept hi-cap mags.

boofus
March 27, 2005, 11:47 PM
Have you tried these guys?
http://www.arsenalinc.com/slr108.htm

My friend has a SLR-101 from them and it's a nice AK. Much better than those SAR-1's. No trigger slap problems there and the OD green furniture looks nicer than the cheap wooden furniture most AKs come with.

It's a litte pricey as far as AKs go.

clange
March 27, 2005, 11:52 PM
The Romanian AKs are known for canted parts, not the rifle's fault but Century's fault.
Well, all century does is install US parts and cut out the mag well, so feel free to blame them for trigger slap and mags not fitting. Canted parts is probably ROMARMs fault in romania.

Along those lines though, if you care about canted parts i wouldnt buy a SAR or WASR sight unseen. Unless the sight blocks are REALLY off, you should be able to get the rifle sighted in, its just a cosmetic thing usually (unless the gas block is off a lot, that could cause problems).

As for the mag fit problems, thats another reason to check one in person. None of the half dozen WASRs i've handled had any mag fit problems.

As for the trigger slap, you can get rid of that for $35 by getting a G2 fire control group from tapco. Not much in the scheme of things, but something to keep in mind.

ConcernedCitizen
March 28, 2005, 01:40 AM
My personal vote would be for the VEPR, from Robinson Armament.

Robinson Armament (http://www.robarm.com/)
Better link for VEPR (http://www.robarm.com/RA_russian_firearms.htm)

Honestly, one of the most accurate AK-style rifles I have shot. Very sturdy design. Be sure to read the FAQ on the VEPR, you'll see what I mean.

Just my opinion, of course...

wally
March 28, 2005, 09:42 AM
I'd suggest starting with the cheapest AK you can find and then decide how much you really like or have use for 5+ MOA rifles.

I've a pair of Romanian AKs (one standard, one side folder) and neither has trigger slap. I did have to look at half a dozen to find these two with non-canted sights.

I think I gave $325 for the standard (with bayonet) and $360 for the side folder, I passed on several standard with canted sights at higher and lower prices.

--wally.

LoadedDrum
March 28, 2005, 10:06 AM
Or buy a good one the first time and decide if 2.5 MOA or better is acceptable accuracy.

wally
March 28, 2005, 07:29 PM
I'll believe 2.5" 10 shot groups at 100 yds from any AK when I see it done!

I've got an Arsenal USA AK and it shoots 2-3" 10 shot groups at 50 yds (Wolf, S&B, Silver Bear "match"; S&B seems best so far). My Romanian AKs shoot 3-5" groups at 50 yrds about the same as my Norince, Polytech and Maadi. Maybe there is some ammo that'll cut the groups in half or less, but I sure don't have enought spare time to waste it reloading to get 2.5 moa from an AK when my AR will do honest sub 2 MOA with "surplus" ammo (IMI, Lake City, Olympic SS109) but even this at $140 a case approaches twice the cost of AK ammo.

Guns vary but, if you've got an AK that shoots an honest 2.5 MOA you are way better than the norm.

My Arsenal is a much better build than any other I have (I have about a dozen AK variations) and has the best trigger I've seen yet on an AK but its only marginally more accurate than the pack. Spend the extra and buy it because you like its look and feel, but if you expect groups as good as you'd get from a random hunting rifle off the rack at Walmart you are likely to be dissapointed.

When I feel the strange need to try and shoot 'em all thru the same hole, I leave the AKs at home, but for blasting 2-liter plastic soda bottles at 50-100 yrds they rock!

--wally.

Shane333
March 28, 2005, 07:35 PM
Wally,

When I get a chance I'll bench my converted Saiga .223 and let you know what it can do.

No_Brakes23
March 28, 2005, 08:11 PM
I have fired a few cheap AKs (Maadi, Norinco, Mak-90) and a Saiga. The Saiga is the only high end AK I have fired so I can't speak for Vector, Vepr, Asenal or any others.

I was never too impressed with the cheap AKs, beyond the fun factor.

The Saiga I have fired, (my father's) is like magic. One of my absolute favorite rifles to fire, despite the lack of a pistol grip, (I hate rifle stocks.) It might not be as finitely accurate as an M16A2, but I can't rapid fire with any other weapon as good as I can rapid fire with the Saiga. The site picture comes back quickly, and the rounds stay in the black. Shooting in the offhand is a breeze, and the rifle shoots well with a sling or without, (Obviously shoots better with one, though.)

After my dad installed a recoil pad on his Saiga, it removed my main complaint about the AK family, which is the short LOP. Despite having easily 6-7 times as many rounds fired with the M16A2, and a lot more handling time, the Saiga AK is the one I am more confident with. I am extremely sorry I didn't buy one when they were still legal here in Cali.

If the other high end AKs are as good as the Saiga, (And some will say they are better,) then you won't be sorry getting a good one.

wally
March 28, 2005, 10:45 PM
I'm betting .223 would do a bit better, first better quality ammo is the norm, and second lower recoil should mean less barrel flex. I'd bet the second factor has a bigger effect.

Did anyone else see the History Channel show "AR vs AK"? It had slo-mo footage of AK and AR firing, the AK flexed so much I was amazed it didn't break in two! After seeing this, 5 MOA didn't seem so bad :)

--wally.

WillBrayJr
March 28, 2005, 11:30 PM
The AK-47 won't break. The only times I've seen AKs come in was simply because the owner sand blasted it. The only AK I seen come in for true repair was a vietnam era AKM that had been shot a couple hundred thousand times. The pin that hold the trigger in place wore the stamped receiver out. A sleeve was installed and now the AKM is as good as new.

EVIL5LITER
March 29, 2005, 12:54 AM
My personal vote would be for the VEPR, from Robinson Armament.

Robinson Armament
Better link for VEPR

Honestly, one of the most accurate AK-style rifles I have shot. Very sturdy design. Be sure to read the FAQ on the VEPR, you'll see what I mean.

Just my opinion, of course...

I'll second this one. I was going to buy one of the cheap SAR-1's or WASR rifles until I fired a friend's VEPR.

There is a night and day difference in fit, finish, quality, and accuracy between a cheap AK and a VEPR.

I'll be happy to take a VEPR anyday of the week, and I will be purchasing one in the near future.

TheOtherOne
March 29, 2005, 01:02 AM
Take a hard look at Vector AK rifles. They're priced from $450.00 to $550.00. Better quality parts than the Romanian AKs, plus they are put together right the first time.The only issue with Vector is the receivers they use are OOW and thus they have the infamous selector gap. When the safety is on, instead of fitting flush with the dust cover you'll have a little 1/16" of open crack. It's only a cosmetic thing, but it still bugs me.

WillBrayJr
March 29, 2005, 09:15 AM
Well atleast it should be easier than to move the selector switch to the fire position.

Risasi
March 29, 2005, 09:35 AM
And at the price you can find them at get one in each caliber, 5.45, 5.56, 7.62x39, 7.62x51. :D

[EDIT] Make that the 16" version. They seem to be the most accurate. And I guess the .308 version only loses about 30fps over the 22" version. Though I haven't confirmed that myself.

SpookyPistolero
March 29, 2005, 09:46 AM
How does it only lose 30 fps? That would be pretty outstanding. I also have heard that the shorter barrel is more accurate.

I'm only curious because I just bought the 16" version. I love it. A lot. I will be going out to the range this weekend with a new scope I just got for it to see what groups I can get.

The saiga line is really solid stuff at a great price. And if you can handle a little 'smithing, you can have a pistol grip too.

Tomac
March 29, 2005, 09:50 AM
The most accurate AK's I've ever owned were my Bulgarian 7.62x39 SLR-95's. They would do honest 2" groups at 100yds from a rest w/a scope all day. My fav AK's are my 5.45 '74 clones from ORF (see pic), they'll bang the 300m gong all day using the PK-AS CQB sight and recoil is negligible.
Tomac
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v465/Tomac/FullyPreppedAKs2001s.jpg

Shane333
March 29, 2005, 12:21 PM
Woah! Tomac, what flash suppressors are you using on your AK's?

I must know! I'm trying to find the right kind of flash suppressor for my Saiga, and the ones you have look perfect.



Wally, I can't vouch for group sizes, but I find my Saiga .223 to be an incredible offhand shooter out to 100 yards (haven't really tried farther than that yet). I'm just waiting for the weather around here in Utah to calm down a bit so I can go out and bench it. I'm also considering a Mojo rear sight for it. I'll go out on a limb and venture a guess that it could come awefully close to the performance of an AR.

Actually, last year a few fathers got together to teach several of the neighborhood boys how to safely shoot rifles. We were teaching the boys with a Bushmaster and my Saiga, shooting prone. Distance was about 50 yards. The highest scores shot both by the boys and by the fathers came from the Saiga.



WillBrayJr,
I couldn't stand the sporterized rifle stock either on the Saiga. It wasn't ergonomic for me at all. Put the rifle receiver too far out in front of me and didn't balance right.

I spent less than $100, shopping around, and have converted my Saiga to pistol grip configuration. I just finished the conversion and I can hardly wait to try it out. I put a Tasco G2 fire control group in it, AK47 "Issy" style pistol grip, plain black buttstock, and Robinson Armament magazine followers (convert 5.45 mags to 5.56 mags). With the G2 FCG, it now has a great, crisp trigger. My rifle with conversion set me back about $335, including a few 30 round magazines.

The conversion takes 2-4 hours of time, and you'll need a dremel, a drill and a steady hand, but it was worth it for me. Just make sure to get your US made parts counts right. Otherwise you'll be in violation of 922A.

Tomac
March 29, 2005, 08:34 PM
Shane333, they're the Bulgarian AR-M1 flash suppressor. They fit the std 24mm thread, work for any AK caliber (7.62, 5.56, 5.45) and do an excellent job of flash suppression (w/5.45 all I see is about an inch or so of dull reddish flame out the front and a few short-lived sparks out the sides). I bought mine from K-Var.
Tomac

Gewehr98
March 29, 2005, 10:51 PM
I may as well throw mine in. Bulgarian SLR-95, (remember those milled receiver, hammer forged barrel beauties?) easily a 2" or even less gun at 100 yards, off the bags using the iron sights. Just goofing around, I've posted a picture of how much fun I was having on a windy day at 50 yards.

I'll put my money where my mouth is. I'm willing to meet Wally at a rifle range midpoint between he and I, bringing the SLR-95, Lyman sandbag rest, and ammo. I'll produce the first 2" or better group, and then he can do the same with the gun. It's just that simple, no sleight of hand or magic tricks. :scrutiny:

beerslurpy
March 30, 2005, 12:12 AM
Another vote for the milled bulgarian AKs (arsenal). They are very accurate and very well made.

Also another vote for the PKAS. I bought one a last year and have nothing but praise for it. The black dot/ring backup is wonderful to have if the battery for the red dot ever goes out. It is visible even in low light.

MAKOwner
March 30, 2005, 05:37 AM
I'll put my money where my mouth is. I'm willing to meet Wally at a rifle range midpoint between he and I, bringing the SLR-95, Lyman sandbag rest, and ammo. I'll produce the first 2" or better group, and then he can do the same with the gun. It's just that simple, no sleight of hand or magic tricks.

If you spent the time finding quality ammo a SAR/WASR liked and shot from sandbags as carefully as you did with the Bulgy you could get very similar results from the SAR as well...

Case in point check the ammo test results from here with a few AKs, several 1.xx inch groups at 50 yards from SAR1s using decent ammo, several under that if you want to count 4 shot groups... http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=4&f=54&t=56018

However wally specified 10 shot 100 yard groups and you would be pretty hard pressed to get in under 2.5 inches with most any standard AK...


The bulgarian guns do have a nice fit and finish, but I personally don't care for the milled receivers, too much extra weight and cost for no real benefit. And the VEPRs with their RPK receiver and I believe heavier barrel (IIRC) don't balance well to me at all... I prefer good old standard stamped receivers.


As to buying sight unseen, frankly you need to inspect most any AK you buy for canted sights. Romanian guns weren't the first/only makes to "suffer" (it's cosmetic unless you get a real lemon) from that nor will they be the last. Both of my old MAK90s were canted to the very edge of being in spec and able to be sighted in properly. I lucked out with SAR1 and 2 being as they were literally 100% straight...

I wouldn't be afraid to buy a SAR/WASR, they'll be a solid shooter, and they're fun to tinker with. But if you want a nicer fit and finish on your gun there is certainly nothing wrong with spending a little more for one of the Vector or ORF or similar guns... However you won't be getting a gun that shoots much if any better or is any more reliable...

Boxing Buffalo
November 16, 2008, 01:02 AM
I'd love to see an update on this as I'm looking to get into an AK as I'm expecting the Obama ban hammer to come down next year.

I see a lot of people talking about $1000 ak's but if I'm going to spend that kind of money, I'll just go up a notch and get a FAL.

What I want is a $500 AK. I'm not harboring any illusions about accuracy. I just want something reliable that I'm not going to have to spend all day cleaning. Is there a decent AK for $500?

Timradcliffe345
November 16, 2008, 01:10 AM
A decent AK for under $500 in todays market? I am afraid there isn't. Try Lancaster arms for around $700. They make excellent AKs.


www.lancasterarms.com

Boxing Buffalo
November 16, 2008, 01:12 AM
I just read that same thing in two other forums. All the 5 bill AK's that are worth a damn suddenly jumped to 7 bills.

EDIT: And thanks for the heads up!

nalioth
November 16, 2008, 01:42 PM
Love the thread necromancy when a new topic on this comes up each and every week here.

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF8&q=%22best+AK%22+site%3Athehighroad.org

WardenWolf
November 16, 2008, 01:54 PM
You could go for a Saiga. They're $400 right now for your basic model in .223 or 7.62. It's a little different than a standard AK, but it's an AK nonetheless, and a top-quality one at that. You can convert it back to a standard AK configuration, too, if you're willing to do a bit of grinding to remove some rivets and drilling to remove a single spot weld. If you do the conversion yourself, it costs less than $100.

Matrix187
November 16, 2008, 01:58 PM
My lancaster shoots great. Good fit, great finish, rock solid. Mine was built off of a Romy G kit, on an armory usa 1.6mm reciever. The romanian G kits are military grade and better than the WASR set up.

Boxing Buffalo
November 16, 2008, 02:56 PM
Nalioth if you refer to the FAQ, this thread is linked to the age old "What AK should I buy?" question in the FAQ.

It seemed to be the appropriate place to ask for an updated list.

sxechainsaw
August 6, 2010, 06:21 AM
If I wanted to use an AK as a varmint gun would I be better off going .223 or 7.62?

Any fair priced AKs/AK variant with a rail already installed?

nalioth
August 6, 2010, 06:30 AM
If I wanted to use an AK as a varmint gun would I be better off going .223 or 7.62?

Any fair priced AKs/AK variant with a rail already installed? You should consider starting a new thread for your question.

It is known that folks who bump an old thread with a new question (as you've done here) usually find that people read and respond to the original post, rather than reading and responding the question at the last part of the post.

Not everyone does this, but the majority do. You'll get a lot more eyes on your question by starting a new thread.


Your question isn't actually a "rifle" question, but a "caliber" question. All standard AKs have 16" barrels. Which caliber works best from a barrel of this length? What "varmints" are you going to be shooting?

sxechainsaw
August 6, 2010, 06:38 AM
Coyote

TrickyDick
December 17, 2011, 01:32 PM
Paid $500 for my Underfolder Yugo M70AB2 at a gun show. One of My favorite AK models, Rugged, accurate, and a good bang for your buck.

ifit
December 17, 2011, 06:00 PM
Holy cow, back from the dead since 2010. to the op if your still out there and never heard from you since 2005 if you found an ak yet, please let us know....jk but seriously you can get a new close to akm style rifle still being imported to this date straight from the cugir factory, a romy wasr 1063 for $429

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