Red Dot on an AK: What's the best way?


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Nightcrawler
October 1, 2006, 01:52 AM
What's the best way to mount a red dot sight, like an Aimpoint, on a Kalashnikov clone?

There are some mounts from TANTAL (http://tantal.kalashnikov.guns.ru/bstmounts.html) that I think would work well.

http://tantal.kalashnikov.guns.ru/media2/bp02low04.jpg

I wonder if this is offset to the left like most AK optics are? If so, it's no good for me. I'm a lefty.

Or you can use an ULTIMAK (http://www.ultimak.com/) mount.

http://www.ultimak.com/gallery/maadiarg.jpg

What else?

I wonder. If you used a ghost-ring rear sight, mounted on the dust cover, such as the ones available from Tromix and Krebs, if you couldn't attach a little bit of Picatinny rail to the old sight base. It'd be perfect for mounting an Aimpoint Comp or an Eotech.

I think that with any of these solutions you'd need a cheek pad for proper cheek weld. Cheek weld isn't important with a red dot/collimating sight, but I do prefer to have a solid cheek weld.

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MrTuffPaws
October 1, 2006, 02:07 AM
Something mounted to the gas tube should be fine. Receiver covers are unstable

beerslurpy
October 1, 2006, 02:39 AM
That isnt a dust cover. It is mounted on the side and arches over the receiver.

TIMC
October 1, 2006, 10:06 AM
I prefer the Ultimak mount, the most stable mount I have seen for the AK. The one thing I did find was a cheek piece was needed for a good cheek weld. I have instant sight alignment as soon as my cheek hits the stock.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v369/timc/SAR1withlaser.jpg

aka108
October 1, 2006, 12:30 PM
Contact a company in SLC, UT named ANVS. Toll free is 1-800-561-2345.
They have a AK to Weaver mount in low or high profile that puts you scope over the bore centerline. Cost is around 50 bucks. If you get one, take out the screws and add loctite or similar.

MyRoad
October 1, 2006, 02:17 PM
I have mine on one of those "Made in Belaris" side rail scope mounts. I like it because it allows me to use the iron sights without removing it (you never know when batteries will fail). I find the extra height works well; with the rifle shouldered all I need to do is tip my head slightly and the sight is accessible. With my head fairly upright, it is a more natural position for moving or walking.
http://www.xlr8nrg.com/images2/ak_close.jpg

Coronach
October 1, 2006, 02:41 PM
1. Dustcover mount.
Pro: Puts it back close to the eye, reasonably low.
Con: Probably stable while attached, but it won't rezero well if you take it off and reattach.

2. Siderail mount
Pro: Cheap, easy, QD with good rezeroing, authenticity: In Soviet Russia, siderail mounts you.
Con: I have yet to see one that is not offset to the left (some are worse than others), and they sit up pretty high (some higher than others). If you like your cheekweld, you might need a cheekpiece.

3. Ultimak
Pro: About as low as you can get. Rock solid.
Con: Not the cheapest option. Forces you to use the red dot in a scout-like configuration (not really a bad thing, but it might not be your preference).

I have a PK-AS on a siderail mount, and the only thing annoying about the scope is that it sits waaaaaay left. I have a weaver-rail sidemount as well, and the only thing wrong with that is that it sits a little high. I do not have an Ultimak, but I have played with them.

If I was going to mount a red dot on an AK again, Ultimak is the way I would go.

Mike

Texfire
October 1, 2006, 02:52 PM
I got the Ultimak because my Kalashnicopy doesn't have a siderail and because of the left offset problem you mentioned. Since it bolts to the barrel, it's a very solid mount for a long eye relief scope. If you want to cowitness with a red dot then be warned that the sight plane is very low access. I can cowitness with a 30mm BSA, but not with a 40mm red dot. I'm probably going to get the railed forend from Ultimak I'm so happy with the scope mount.

Tex

MechAg94
October 1, 2006, 02:54 PM
The Tantal mount above is not offset to the left. It is pretty well centered. However, it does mount low and blocks the iron sights.
There was some movement of the zero at 100 yards when removing and reinstalling, but it was still on paper. I was using a 1.5-5X Simmons scope to play around.

Coronach
October 1, 2006, 03:08 PM
I have the Tantal mount. It is offset to the left, but only by a little.

Mike

MechAg94
October 1, 2006, 03:18 PM
Okay, you might be right. I haven't used it in a while. I need to get an Aimpoint or something instead of a scope so it has some value in the dark.

Crosshair
October 1, 2006, 04:41 PM
Personaly I like the side rail. You can keep multiple optics for the rifle and swap them at will. One day you can have a red dot, another you can have a 6 power scope on it.

Nightcrawler
October 1, 2006, 05:03 PM
Personaly I like the side rail. You can keep multiple optics for the rifle and swap them at will. One day you can have a red dot, another you can have a 6 power scope on it.

Yeah, BUT....if everything is indeed offset to the left, then it's no good. I'm left handed, and even a little left-offset can really make the optic uncomfortable to use.

If indeed I get around to buying one of Correia's .308 AKs, I'm probably just going to put an Aimpoint Comp C on it anyway.

KadicDeshi
October 1, 2006, 05:27 PM
If indeed I get around to buying one of Correia's .308 AKs, ...

If you mean the Saiga, you can forget the Ultimak. The .308 barrel is too large in diameter for the U-bolts used to secure the tube to the barrel.

I'm sure you've already looked into it, but if you haven't, consider the Kobra red dots. I think that's what I'll be getting for my 16" .308 Saiga. Hopefully, I can order it fairly soon and maybe get it and Correia's 20 rd mags in around the same time. Talk about sittin' pretty...
:cool:

Barrett

Edited to add: If someone happens to know how to overcome the barrel diameter problem for the Ultimak, please let us know. I'd love to have one on my .308.

Nightcrawler
October 1, 2006, 05:34 PM
I think the Ultimak intended for the Vepr, which has a heavier barrel, might work.

I've played with a Kobra sight, and...eh. They're okay.

the naked prophet
October 1, 2006, 05:54 PM
The Kobra, the only AK sight you need.

http://www.freedomoptics.com/comersus/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=101

Nightcrawler
October 1, 2006, 05:57 PM
On the Kontrary. I've examined the Kobras, as I've said, and...no thanks. For one, it sits WAY too high.

AK103K
October 1, 2006, 06:11 PM
The Ultimak is really the only way to go. Keeps everything low and up front, out of the way. Works well with either a Scout type or pistol scope, and even better with a good red dot. If you use the right mount/rings, you can pop one off and another on and back again, with no loss of zero. With some, you can also cowitness your iron sights. Even if it wont, if for some reason the optic takes a dump, its gone in a second with the flip of a lever.

Most all the other mounts sit to high to shoot comfortably and/or naturally with. The Kobras are also big and in your face, and tend to block your field of view.

With the low mounted forward sight, your field of view is open and the rifle shoulders and shoots like a gun with iron sights. You get basically the same cheek weld. Snap shots are very fast and easy, as are quick shots on multiple targets.

rbernie
October 1, 2006, 07:00 PM
I have the Tantal low mount shown above. It is offset to the left a bit on my Saiga, and is also not perfectly indexed parallel to the centerline of the bore. I'm not sure if it's the mount or the receiver, but the end result is I now have a Tantal mount that sits on the shelf collecting dust rather than being mounted on my rifle...

The Ultimak was my next choice, but it supposedly doesn't work on the Saigas without a lot of effort due to the forearm differences between the Saiga and the AKMs.

AK103K
October 1, 2006, 07:54 PM
Is your Saiga one of the ones not converted? If so, I'd contact Ultimak and ask what you need to do. I'm pretty sure I've seen them in pics on those rifles in that configuration before. You may just need to modify the handguard a little.

I have a Krebs Saiga conversion, and the standard mount popped right on.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid162/p46023266c9d40579d7b0b28445bacf02/f4b00706.jpg

Nightcrawler
October 1, 2006, 08:03 PM
If I get the Saiga, it'll be a .308. I think the argument is that the .308 has a heavier barrel and therefore the regular Ultimak mount won't fit, regardless of handguards. That's why I suggested that a Vepr mount could work, since the Vepr also has a heavy barrel.

rbernie
October 1, 2006, 09:33 PM
Is your Saiga one of the ones not converted? If so, I'd contact Ultimak and ask what you need to do. I'm pretty sure I've seen them in pics on those rifles in that configuration before. You may just need to modify the handguard a little.They told me that I had two options - 'heavily modify' the stock forearm (their words, verbatim) or go with their ACR replacement railed forearm thingee that goes out the door for a cool $220, then add the Ultimak rail for another $100. Heck, at that point the rail system is worth $100 more than the bloody rifle. ;)

I'm shooting with irons right now - it's what I can afford, evidently.

KadicDeshi
October 1, 2006, 11:45 PM
Somehow, I don't think that a simple handguard swap would solve the problems. According to one of the guys at the Saiga forum, the VEPR barrel is narrower at the trunion than the Saiga 308.

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=11548&hl=

So, even the VEPR model's barrel clamps will need to be modded in order to work. I have absolutely no clue to what extent we're talking here. But, I do know that you'd have to trim the handguards if remaining stock or, if taking the ACR2 route, modify that handguard's barrel clamps as well. ( It's been done. -> http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=12203&hl= )

I'm hoping someone will come up with an idea for modding or replacing the clamps on the Ultimak such that it is usable on the 308. Heck, if someone's got an idea that sounds plausible to me and I've got the available stuff to work on it, I'll take the plunge and order an Ultimak to try it out and let everyone know how it turns out.

Anyone?

Barrett

clange
October 2, 2006, 12:01 AM
I like the kobras. The only bad thing is they're a little high. They block the irons but it only takes about 1 second to get it off the rifle if you need to. I havent found that they block field of view, rather the opposite. Since you use them with both eyes open, having the sight closer to your eye makes it 'disappear' more than a scout mounted sight would I suspect.

The ultimaks do look nice, the cost would be a lot more though.

Nightcrawler
October 2, 2006, 10:57 AM
Kobras don't have 50,000 hours of battery life like the new Aimpoints do either.

Well, crap. If I can't mount my sight of choice on there, that kind of deal-breaks the Saiga .308 for me.

Coronach
October 2, 2006, 11:45 AM
Nightcrawler-

Do you have access to an AK with a sidemount? You can check the Tantal mount and see if it sits too far to the left for you. If you look down on it from above, the mount sits ever so slightly to the left of the centerline of the dustcover. It might be close enough to work for a lefty.

Mike

crunker
October 2, 2006, 11:47 AM
I prefer the Tantal mount since it is closer to your eyes. Surefire makes AK mounts too, so does www.firequest.com.

Don't Tread On Me
October 2, 2006, 11:59 AM
I don't see how the Ultimak rail is worth a darn??

The way I shoot, it WILL transfer way too much heat to the rail, then the rings, and onto the optic. The better military grade optics can handle high temps, but those tolernaces are no where near high enough to deal with the heat of a gastube. And that's considering that I don't do mag dumps.

AK103K
October 2, 2006, 01:52 PM
I've had Ultimaks on two AK's for 3-4+ years now. I've never had any issues with heat on any of the optics, cheap or expensive, that I've had on them. The rifles have been shot hot enough that you could not touch the barrels, and on a regular basis. The Ultimak dissipates heat very rapidly.

The aluminum Ultimak mounts retain heat a lot less than the steel Springfield SOCOM/Scout rails. I have a SOCOM that has been shot like the AK's and even with its mount retaining the heat, the optics have been fine.

KadicDeshi
October 2, 2006, 02:04 PM
I wonder. If you used a ghost-ring rear sight, mounted on the dust cover, such as the ones available from Tromix and Krebs, if you couldn't attach a little bit of Picatinny rail to the old sight base. It'd be perfect for mounting an Aimpoint Comp or an Eotech.

I was re-reading your original post and caught this. While it's not exactly what you were talking about, take a look here -> http://www.scoutscopes.com/

It's a "scout" mount that replaces the original rear sight yet retains its function as a rear sight. I don't know much of anything else about them but I had seen them talked about before so I know some folks have used and reviewed them.

If you want something a little lower, try this one -> http://www.gunaccessories.com/MilitaryScopeMounts/AK47/index.asp

It looks to be a little lower but also looks a bit less sturdy to me.

Anyway, I hope that you can find something that will work. Though, I must admit, I'm curious why you would want a 308 Saiga when you've got that 16" FAL of yours. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting one, mind you, just curious.

Barrett

Nightcrawler
October 2, 2006, 03:44 PM
Though, I must admit, I'm curious why you would want a 308 Saiga when you've got that 16" FAL of yours. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting one, mind you, just curious.

Because I'm an unfaithful gun whore who can never just be happy with what he's got. :D

No, I'm not selling the FAL, but...it never hurts to have an extra rifle.

KadicDeshi
October 2, 2006, 03:49 PM
You know, I've been accused of being the same exact thing...

Go figure.

Barrett

stolivar
October 2, 2006, 09:09 PM
he might want to shoot something besides nato ammo. You can shoot both in the saiga safely. Nato is the only thing that is recomended in the FAL's because of the fluted chambers


steve

stolivar
October 2, 2006, 09:11 PM
Every Kobra I own set low on the receiver. Not high.


steve

AK103K
October 2, 2006, 09:15 PM
I wasnt aware of any FAL's having fluted chambers. I know HK's do, and I never had any troubles shooting any type of ammo out of them, commercial hunting ammo or military. Also, contrary to what you often here, you can easily reload the brass fired from them too.

The Kobras sit much higher, as do most all of the side mount, receiver cover, and sight mounts.

stolivar
October 2, 2006, 11:47 PM
maybe I was thinking of the cetme's


steve

clange
October 3, 2006, 12:42 AM
Kobras don't have 50,000 hours of battery life like the new Aimpoints do either.
Nor do they cost as much.

I guess I shouldnt have suggested them considering the thread title is 'best' aka most expensive, but they're an option a lot of people go with.

Husker1911
October 3, 2006, 12:57 AM
I bought an Ultimak second hand and don't have installation instructions. On Ultimak's website, they mention their gas tube is a tad shorter OAL than the original, so that it will better fit all sundry AKs. Their site doesn't give true installation instructions, either.

From Ultimak, "All UltiMAK AK mounts are designed to be slightly shorter than the original gas tube. This helps in two significant ways. 1. It ensures a fit on practically any AK without custom fitting, which would require cutting through the hard anodizing-- a nasty process that will dull all but the best carbide tools. 2. More importantly, the shorter tube can be mounted so it does not press against the rear sight block or the gas block. In this way, the mount is not jammed against any part of the barrel assembly at either end, and the barrel can expand and contract with temperature changes without changing point of impact. Several customers have indicated an improvement in accuracy after installing UltiMAK mounts on their rifles."

My question is this: Do I split the difference in the distance gap, and clamp the Ultimak with a slight equal gap between the sight block and the gas block? Thanks in advance!

Edit: My rifle is a Bulgarian Arsenal SLR-95.

AK103K
October 3, 2006, 07:46 AM
Do I split the difference in the distance gap, and clamp the Ultimak with a slight equal gap between the sight block and the gas block?
I believe thats what the instructions that came with mine said. Its what I did anyway, and both of mine have been fine. They also said you dont have to locktite the screws. I didnt and havent had any troubles.

Fingolfin
October 3, 2006, 12:15 PM
I have heard you can rig up an Aimpoint with an ultra low ring on the Ultimak and still(barely) cowitness the iron sights. If that is true seems like a good way to go. If the Aimpoint is out of your price range you could look at a clone like the Burris or Hakko sights that use the same mounts. Not sure if they work but something you may want to investigate.

AK103K
October 3, 2006, 01:50 PM
I have an Aimpoint on a Larue lever mount on my Saiga. It wont cowitness until you slide the lever to 400M. Not really a big deal since its a lever mount and gone faster than it took to type this sentence. I have seen the Aimpoints with a low ring on them and I do believe they cowitness that way. I have an Aimpoint on an Aimpoint low ring on my HK's claw mount, and it does sit low on the rail, I just never tried it on my Ultimak. Most all the lever mounts or mounts in general for that matter, are made for AR flat tops and the heights reflect that.

One advantage to the sight sitting up a tad is, the covers when opened, will drop flat on the rail. I dont like them "up" on top, as they sit up in the Kobra's altitude, and tend to block your vision. Down flat or low to the strong side are your best bet.

beantamug
July 22, 2008, 03:32 AM
As others have said, you can:

1. Use a side mount with a weaver / picatinny rail and your choice of red dot.

2. Use a side mount with a built in red dot.

3. Use the Ultimak rail and your choice of red dot.

There seems to be alot of hear-say and non-factual information being spouted about all those methods by various posters.

Some side mounts sit way left, some sit up high. But some are low and centered. The BP-02 Low mount is quite low. You can modify it by unbolting the rail, shortening the rail to fit between the mounting areas, drilling it for new bolts, and bolting it down about 1/8 lower than before. It sights very slightly to the left.

Some side mount / built in red dot combos sit left, some sit high. Some don't. The newest version of the Kobra that accepts AA batteries is what I have. I do not find it to sit high for my tastes. Comparing online pictures of a mounted Kobra with various mounted mount/sight combos indicate it is one of the lower options available. My optic is very close to centered. If it sits left any, I can't tell. I find it to be very fast and comfortable to shoot. Mine also retains zero when I remove it from the rifle and remount it. Properly tensioning the mounting mechanism has alot to do with this.

Also, those saying that their mount is useless and not true to the bore of their gun probably have a problem with the rail itself - on the side of their receiver - not the scope mount. Rails are sometimes installed not true to the bore when the gun is built, and need to be removed, have new holes drilled in the receiver, and remounted true to the bore in order to be useful. I was lucky and mine is straight and true. If you mount up a scope on the side rail and your scope doesn't have enough adjustment to zero, your receiver rail is probably the culprit.

Finally, the Ultimak. This is about the only option that can get an Aimpoint, Aimpoint clone, or Micro Aimpoint low enough to co-witness your irons through it. With the full size Aimpoints and clones, this means using the lowest mounting ring you can find. Springfield Armory makes one that works, I'm sure there are others, too. Yes, the Ultimak does transfer heat to the sight. Some people report no problems, others have issues. It probably depends on how much and fast you shoot, and the quality of your optic. When using the fullsize Aimpoints and clones the rifle will be muzzle heavy.

I went with the Kobra because it is cost effective, it is centered, and not too high, it takes AA batteries, it has quick detach / attach ability, and it isn't exposed to excess heat, its mounting location also balances nicely.

I thought the Ultimak was a very appealing, but I also knew I wanted to spend around $200 on the whole package. This would have left me with a budget red dot on the Ultimak rail, and I wasn't confident it would stand up to the heat. Sometimes my plastic hand guards smoke and smell burnt when I shoot, so I knew my shooting sessions were generating considerable heat.

Hopefully this will help out the original posters with his search for an AK red dot and anyone else looking for similar information.

EdLaver
July 22, 2008, 04:11 AM
I've got my AK setup with a UTG quad rail, and an Aimpoint mounted in the scout position. In my opinion, its the best setup for an AK b/c its not a tack-driver, its a lead sprayer, so all you have to do is put that red dot in the direction you are shooting and you will definetly hit what you are aiming at.

H2O MAN
July 22, 2008, 07:39 AM
It doesn't get any better than an UltiMAK gas tube rail and an Aimpoint Micro optic.

kestak
July 22, 2008, 07:57 AM
Greetings,

I have a tantal side rail and use it for my red dot. I do not have any issue hitting the bull's eye at 100 yards.

I have also a front rail (ATI stock) and mounting the red dot there also is no problem at 100 yards. the only thing is the red dot is a little farther from the eye and it is a little bit more distracting.

HOWEVER: when you use the side rail, you must be sure before you close the clamp to have the rail slided always the same way. There is very little slack up and down but more left and right. If you don't pay attention the zero will move (on mine anyway...).

Thank you

Templar
July 22, 2008, 09:59 AM
Ultimak with an Aimpoint is really the best solution I've seen and used.

It allows you to co-witness with the iron sights in the lower 1/3rd of the optic, is rock solid, and does not add much weight or bulk.

The Aimpoints are not affected by the heat of the gas tube, no worries there.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Vickers%20Advanced%20Carbine%20and%20Pistol%2011-13%20July%2008/TD2/P1000538B.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Arsenal%20SLR-106FR/Nightfighter%20II/P1000373.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Arsenal%20SLR-106FR/Nightfighter%20II/P1000374.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Arsenal%20SLR-106FR/Nightfighter%20II/P1000375.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Arsenal%20SLR-106FR/Nightfighter%20II/P1000379.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Arsenal%20SLR-106FR/Nightfighter%20II/P1000382.jpg



Larry Vickers also uses the same set up:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Vickers%20AK%20Class/Class%204%20Resized/P1000031.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v613/Tim_Orrock/Vickers%20AK%20Class/Class%204%20Resized/P1000057.jpg

briansmithwins
July 22, 2008, 10:37 AM
You can get a sight pretty low using the side mount. That retains the advantage of being able to field strip the rifle as intended. I shoot mostly corrosive ammo so being able to clean the gas tube and gas block thoroughly is very important to me.

I like using the BP-02 side mount from Tantal. It damn rugged and adjustable. Repeatability for me has been 2MOA or less. BSW

Reflex mounted on a BP-02.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/reflexdetail.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/rx12andbp02.jpg

PK-23 mounted on a modded BP-02. The 30mm rings has been directly attached to the BP-02 after the rail was removed. It doesn't co-witness but it is very low.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/rightdetail-1.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/reardetail.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/leftdetail.jpg

MTMilitiaman
July 22, 2008, 03:28 PM
Some side mount / built in red dot combos sit left, some sit high. Some don't. The newest version of the Kobra that accepts AA batteries is what I have. I do not find it to sit high for my tastes. Comparing online pictures of a mounted Kobra with various mounted mount/sight combos indicate it is one of the lower options available. My optic is very close to centered. If it sits left any, I can't tell. I find it to be very fast and comfortable to shoot. Mine also retains zero when I remove it from the rifle and remount it. Properly tensioning the mounting mechanism has alot to do with this.

This is my experience as well.

I have a Kobra EKP-1S-03M, the newer AA version, on my WASR. It doesn't sit quite as low as I'd like but it does allow a decent cheek weld--certainly a lot better in that regard than the PK-AS-V I had on it before. If the Kobra is offset to the left, it is by such a minute degree that I have been unable to notice, even though I shoot left handed, and any such offset would be readily identifiable simple because it would mean I would have to tilt my head over the receiver.

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/MTMilitiaman/Guns/Kobraviewchevronwithdot.jpg

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/MTMilitiaman/Guns/AKKobraleftside.jpg

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/MTMilitiaman/Guns/AKswithoptics.jpg

H2O MAN
July 22, 2008, 03:35 PM
Down and dirty

http://www.athenswater.com/images/MicroT-1__UltiMAK.jpg

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