Something "in-between" an AK and an AR-15?


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Cheeseybacon
January 3, 2007, 12:42 PM
A friend of mine (justin_ws) just shot an AK for the first time during New Years and seemed to really enjoy it. He seems to have got the assault rifle bug now, but is curious as to what his options are. While he did like the AK, he also likes the AR-15 too, but is not thrilled with the idea of spending $1000 for one. However at the same time he is willing to spend a bit more money than what a typical AK costs for something a little bit "nicer". By nicer I'm assuming my friend means more accurate and less crude than the typical AK.

After reading a previous thread on here I suggested that he think about purchasing an upper and lower separately and building his own AR-15 for under well $1000. Unfortunately he doesn't strike me as the type of person that would attempt to cobble an AR-15 together on his own so I doubt that's an avenue that he will pursue.

I suggested that he look at an M1 carbine, but other than that I couldn't really think of any other assault rifles that fill the gap between an AK and an AR. Any suggestions?

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billyp
January 3, 2007, 12:51 PM
maybe a kel-tec su-16. they make several flavors and are pretty well under the
1k mark.

JesseL
January 3, 2007, 01:03 PM
If you're just talking about between the typical price for an AK and a $1000 AR, there are a lot of perfectly good ARs out there for less than $1000. Olympic Arms 16" plinker plus is $595 msrp.

JTW Jr.
January 3, 2007, 01:03 PM
if you friend just wants a bare bones AR15 , Olympic Arms makes the plinker that is under $600 at most places.

http://www.the-armory.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/product62.html

HorseSoldier
January 3, 2007, 01:31 PM
I have no direct experience with them, but the AR-180B gets mentioned a lot as a cheaper alternative to AR-15 prices.

DMK
January 3, 2007, 01:35 PM
While he did like the AK, he also likes the AR-15 too, but is not thrilled with the idea of spending $1000 for one. However at the same time he is willing to spend a bit more money than what a typical AK costs for something a little bit "nicer". By nicer I'm assuming my friend means more accurate and less crude than the typical AK. There are some really nice AKs. They aren't all WASRs. Something like a VEPR or even an Arsenal with a milled receiver might be what you are looking for.

Father Knows Best
January 3, 2007, 02:17 PM
I agree with DMK. Your friend's best bet right now would be to buy a Saiga. They come in several flavors, including .223 and .308 along with the traditional 7.62x39. The Saiga is an authentic Russian-made gun produced at the Izhmash plant that has turned out AK-47's for the Soviets and Russians for decades, and they are very high quality. Best of all, a Saiga can be had for around $350.

The downside to the Saiga is that it's been "sporterized" to make it legal for import, thus it doesn't look quite like an AK. It has a sporter stock, for example. The guts are all Kalashnikov, however, and it is easy to convert one back from the sporter configuration to an AK configuration. Directions and parts are readily available on the 'net. If your friend doesn't want to tackle the job, he can buy one already converted. THR's own Correia sells Tromix Saiga conversions for around $650, as I recall, and they are top quality. In fact, it's about as close as you can come to a real Russian AK without spending a fortune on a transferable full auto one.

Other good choices include the VEPR and Arsenal. VEPR's are Russian-made semi-auto AK type guns, but they are built on the heavy (1.5mm) RPK machine gun receiver so they are quite stiff. I haven't shot one, but all reports are that the VEPR is beautifully finished, very accurate and highly reliable. They don't accept some AK furniture and accessories, however, due to the slightly different receiver. VEPR's are hard to find right now, however, due to a change in their U.S. importer. Price if you find one should be in the $600-750 range.

Arsenal, Inc., makes milled receiver semiauto AK's based on Bulgarian designs. They are also top quality, and I happen to be the proud owner of one. Unfortunately, Arsenal is currently not producing milled receiver guns. They may do so again in the furture, but until then resales are the only ones available, and they are expensive. A basic Arsenal milled receiver AK will sell for $750-900 in excellent condition, with fancier configurations (underfolders, sidefolders, limited editions) going for $1200 and up, i.e., the same price as a top quality AR.

So as I said, your friend's best bet is probably the Saiga.

MD_Willington
January 3, 2007, 02:19 PM
CDNN has Armalites for $699...

VEPR's are supposed to be coming back.. with a price increase...

RockyMtnTactical
January 3, 2007, 02:41 PM
Buy an SKS and save for an AR-15.

dolanp
January 3, 2007, 04:20 PM
He could go with a mid-level AK or put an upper and lower together for an AR.

sacp81170a
January 3, 2007, 05:17 PM
I have no direct experience with them, but the AR-180B gets mentioned a lot as a cheaper alternative to AR-15 prices.

I've got an AR-180B and it's a nice little weapon. It's a gas piston design, very simple in operation, and it accepts standard AR mags. That's an important point: whatever he decides to get, he'll be better off if he steers clear of something that takes oddball proprietary mags(hint: Mini-14). I have at least 10 mags for every semi-auto I own, and if he gets something that will interchange when he decides to upgrade to an AR or an AK later he won't have to go out and buy a bunch of new mags. The Kel-Tec is another design that fits the bill. I don't have one, but I've shot the pistol version in .223 and I liked it.

Mtdew
January 3, 2007, 08:29 PM
not quite inbetween but they can be had for under 1K

FAL
G3
PSL

MartinBrody
January 3, 2007, 09:26 PM
What about the Ruger Mini-14 (.223 Rem.) or Mini-30 (7.62*39). They are about halfway in price between an AK and an AR, plus you are getting a rifle from a respected manufacturer. The Mini is a similar style rifle that is reliable and compact with little recoil

CarbineKid
January 3, 2007, 10:51 PM
I find myself in the market for a good military style rifle with detachable mags. I ruled out the AR for alot of reasons. I liked the AK, but I could not find out that had a decent finish. I read about the Kel Tecs and it seems they have alot of issues. THe Mini 14 looked good, but the mag "issue" and reports of horrible accuracy drove me away. I'm really taking a hard look at a M1 Carbine. It seems to fit my needs, and is worth a serious look.

Deer Hunter
January 3, 2007, 10:54 PM
I'd take a good, hard look at a Saiga.

MatthewVanitas
January 3, 2007, 11:24 PM
If he wants a good-quality but affordable AK (as in, nicer that a Romanian, but not too much more expensive), check out Armory USA/Global Trades. www.globaltrades.com


The base AKM models go for $490 at their booths at TX gunshows. They used to be called Arsenal USA, but changed their name to avoid confusion with Arsenal Inc out of Vegas. I've heard nothing but good about them.


-MV

CornCod
January 3, 2007, 11:36 PM
I would go with the .223 Saiga.

plexreticle
January 3, 2007, 11:41 PM
I would say mini 14 or just save up and get an AR

ForeverArmed
January 4, 2007, 03:56 AM
I'd go with a VEPR II (20" barrel) or VEPR K (16" barrel) in 5.56 if you can find one in a gun shop somewhere. I have a VEPR II -- it's extremely accurate, has never malfunctioned, and is practically indestructible. Its only drawback is its weight for the caliber.

Dave Markowitz
January 4, 2007, 04:54 AM
If you want a milled AK, I'd go converted Saiga.

Saigas have stamped receivers. That said, one that's been converted to pistol grip config and modified to take normal AK mags is potentially one of the nicest AKs you can buy.

benEzra
January 4, 2007, 03:11 PM
What about the Ruger Mini-14 (.223 Rem.) or Mini-30 (7.62*39). They are about halfway in price between an AK and an AR, plus you are getting a rifle from a respected manufacturer. The Mini is a similar style rifle that is reliable and compact with little recoil
Most people who buy a mini as a "poor man's AK/AR", will be very, very disappointed, I think.

Yes, the mini is a very reliable rifle (I own a 188-series Ranch Rifle that has never had a rifle-related failure in 16 years and several thousand rounds). But if you pay for a mini, good magazines, and an aftermarket stock, you've spent the price of a cheap AR. Plus, it's expensive to fit out a mini with a MIL-STD-1913 optics rail (an Ultimak for the mini runs $200-ish), so you're pretty much stuck with traditional styled scopes, or no optics at all. Accuracy will generally run worse than an SKS; my Ranch Rifle groups as bad my cheap Romanian AK shooting Wolf ammo, and the best group it has ever shot is 5.5" at 100 yards, from a rest and bags. The mini is a decent rifle within its niche, but it's not really a viable alternative to an AR, and isn't much cheaper anyway.

If your friend likes AK's and AR's, he should either get an AK and accessories (Kobra, etc.) or save up for a basic AR or an Armalite AR-180B. Or look into a Kel-Tec SU-16, perhaps. But I'd avoid the mini unless you WANT a mini and not an AR.

Nitrogen
January 4, 2007, 03:36 PM
To enhance and agree with what someone else ahead of me said:

Buy the best SKS you can afford, and save for an AR-15.

Vertical453
January 4, 2007, 03:57 PM
The SKS is definitely a good cheap hold over. I suggest doing the same as the others, get a quality SKS and save your money for the AR-15. The SKS will hardly disappoint.

Plain Old Bill
January 4, 2007, 04:26 PM
AR-180B for sure. Easy scope mounting, uses AR mags, has the "clean" piston system of the AR, the handiness of the AK, reliability is great.

Simonovfan
January 4, 2007, 11:31 PM
I say get an SKS and a Saiga in .223. You'll have an accurate carbine that'll take medium game out to 150 yds. and a True AK that will use the most available Western fighting cartridge. With the money you save, you can stock up on ammo and still be under the cost of a cheap AR. Plus, you don't ever have to clean them if you don't want to. :p

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