Which AK-47?


PDA






jessicalois
February 21, 2007, 08:29 PM
I did a search on this in the forums and returned no results- forgive me for being inept at searching if this has been brought up before.

I've been considering purchasing an AK-47 for a while now. My reasoning revolves around the fact that they can be relatively inexpensive, their ammo is inexpensive and ubiquitous, they hold up like tanks (as I understand it), and although they may not be pretty, they're a part of history that I'd like to own. Also, with talk of a new ban coming up, I'd like to buy one sooner rather than later- who knows what will happen to prices and all the legal crap at that point.

I've done a lot of reading on them and am curious what your opinions are on what kind I should get; they were manufactured by a lot of different countries and have been manufactured for many many years; are there certain countries of manufacture that I should avoid? Certain countries I should seek out? Certain years with bad designs? What about folding stocks- I've never used one of those- what are their pros and cons? Are they more unstable than fixed stocks?

Any and all insight that you all can give me on this topic will be much appreciated :)

Also, if there's anyone with an AK in the Wake Co., NC area who'd be willing to let a little lady shoot their's, I'd be much obliged :D I'm a member at the Wake FETC, if that helps. I'll also let you shoot my M48 in return; it's FUN! :D

Thanks!

Edit to add: I'm also open to building from a kit.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which AK-47?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
shaggycat
February 21, 2007, 08:38 PM
I did a search on this in the forums and returned no results

Really?

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=249896

:)

jessicalois
February 21, 2007, 08:43 PM
Ya rly :p I typed in "AK" and "AK 47" and got nothing; Guess I'm as inept as ever >_<

Thanks for the link-o though!

:D

scurtis_34471
February 21, 2007, 09:11 PM
I just bought an AK for similar reasons to what you describe. After doing a bunch of research, I settled on a VEPR. There were several reasons for this. The VEPR is built on an RPK receiver and has a heavier barrel than a standard AK. It is also built to higher standards and with tighter tolerances than most AKs, while maintaining the internal clearances that make AKs so durable. The VEPR rifles do not lose accuracy as they heat up, like most AKs. In fact, they are much more accurate overall than your basic WASR 10 or whatnot. They are not as cheap as some options, but they are only a couple hundred dollars more than a Romanian WASR and are a much better built weapon. The only real downside is that they do not use standard AK magazines or stocks. In the case of the magazine, it is because the VEPR is really an AK-74 chambered in 7.62x39 rather than a true AK-47.

Here is a link to a website that describes the VEPR pretty well: http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/review/VEPR.htm

shaggycat
February 21, 2007, 09:12 PM
I typed in "AK" and "AK 47" and got nothing

Ahhh, two letter words are too short for searches.

http://www.thehighroad.org/search.php?searchid=2057985

Juna
February 22, 2007, 12:44 AM
My reasoning revolves around the fact that they can be relatively inexpensive, their ammo is inexpensive and ubiquitous, they hold up like tanks

If inexpensive ammo is a key factor for you, you may want to reconsider your decision. A year ago, I was at a gun show where 7.62x39mm ammo went for $60/case (1000 rounds). Last week, I was at that same gun show where the cheapest 7.62x39mm ammo went for $200/case! It's certainly not as ubiquitous as it once was, either. So factor those things into your decision.

I was in the same boat as you, and I bought a WASR 10. It's inexpensive, durable, reasonably accurate, has a chrome lined barrel and pistol grip, and accepts standard double stack AK-47 magazines without any necessary modifications.

I'm totally happy with the gun, but the outrageous ammo prices really irk me. If you do get a WASR or SAR variant, make sure to check which trigger it has, as some of them have what's called "trigger slap", which is reported to be quite annoying and potentially painful. Mine came with the Tapco G2 USA trigger, which has no trigger slap issues. If you look at the left side of the trigger up near the frame, it should say "Tapco USA G2". So factor that into your decision, as well.

Sure, there are probably better Kalashnikov variants out there, but you'll pay for the difference. And, IMO, if I wanted to spend a lot of money on a semi-automatic rifle, it wouldn't be a Kalashnikov. The beauty of Kalashnikovs is the durability and cost effectiveness (that has since been partially lost due to exorbitant ammo prices).

zinj
February 22, 2007, 01:04 AM
If inexpensive ammo is a key factor for you, you may want to reconsider your decision. A year ago, I was at a gun show where 7.62x39mm ammo went for $60/case (1000 rounds). Last week, I was at that same gun show where the cheapest 7.62x39mm ammo went for $200/case! It's certainly not as ubiquitous as it once was, either. So factor those things into your decision.


It still is the cheapest centerfire rifle or pistol ammunition (9mm Para comes close). Only .22LR and 12 and 20 gauge target loads beat it.

TheDisturbed1
February 22, 2007, 01:11 AM
If cost of ammo is a worry, there are plenty of scources for 5.56x45 chambered AK's... VEPR, Romania, Saiga... the list goes on

MudPuppy
February 22, 2007, 01:14 AM
5.56 is cheaper than 7.62x39??

As for which AK, I'd suggest a bulgarian milled. (I have a few types, hungarians, romanians, polish, and Yugos--I think the bulgarian is the smoothest, generally nicest).

Try and handle them all in person prior to purchase--I think if you compare them, it'll be more obvious which is the right choice.

TheDisturbed1
February 22, 2007, 01:23 AM
Locally the supply & demand has got those supplying the 7.62x39 to jack up the price... surplus stuff they dont carry, But im willing to bet it is cheaper buying nearly anything over the net than it is buying from most gun shops.

I've heard alot of good things about Arsenal and Bulgarian AK's... Those Converted saiga AK's seem top-notch from what i've heard.
Romanian G kit build maybe? a rifle used by the military could have some outgoing reliability... fairly cheap ($) too

Also, some people like the weight of a Stamped receiver compared to the weight of a Milled receiver...

scurtis_34471
February 22, 2007, 01:28 AM
Ammo may not be as cheap as it was, but I just bought a 1000 round case of Golden Tiger 7.62x39 FMJ for $165 shipped. At 16.5 cents per round, the only thing I know of that's much cheaper is rimfire ammo.

gm
February 22, 2007, 01:32 AM
Arsenal of bulgaria,Vepr,and others that are being domestically made here in the US.The trick is who assembled it and if they did it right,not much to do to foul it up but quality does make a difference.


The Vepr is a true made russian kalashnikov,fine weapon.Some places are making their own and use imported receivers and also receivers that they are milling themselves.Ohio rapid fire makes good guns.


Not keen on the thin gauge receivers nor the ones designed to accept non standard ak mags which was cut to accept regular ak mags.They are ok but as mentioned,lose all accuracy when the gun heats up and flex bigtime.I'd get one that has the heavier reinforced receiver thats used in the heavy MG model like that of the Vepr make.


The main differnce can be felt cycling the action,how smooth it works and the amount of roughness and slop.Sometimes that will go away with firing it but sometimes not.

Monkeybear
February 22, 2007, 01:54 AM
The Century Yugos (http://www.impactguns.com/store/RI1285-X.html) are pretty nicely made. Thick 1.6mm reciever and most are very well put together, especially for a Century. They have new barrels and so they are not chrome lined. Check them out.

chris in va
February 22, 2007, 03:46 AM
It still is the cheapest centerfire rifle or pistol ammunition (9mm Para comes close

Nope. I bought 880 rounds of 7.62x 54r at the local gun show for $69.

Now that's cheap!:D

JWarren
February 22, 2007, 09:39 AM
As someone who has handled and fired a few AKs, and owned a few (and by NO means an authority of the various manufactures or designs), I'll toss out a few possibly helpful points:


AKM verses milled: Milled are often more accurate, but also heavier and cost a lot more. Milled may be harder to get a wider variety of furniture for, in some cases. That said, I'd LOVE to have a milled one to add to my collection one day.

AKM receiver thickness: Most AKMs are going to be 1mm thick stamped metal receivers. All the ones I've owned were 1mm thinkness, and they have been fine. VEPR's use a 1.6mm receiver from the RPD design. This MAY make for a more accurate rifle, but DOES make for a heavier and possibly sturdier rifle. Adding aftermarket stocks to 1.6mm recievers may require you to dremel down the thickness, adding problems to some projects. If one is interested in BUILDING an AK on a 1.6mm receiver, Global Trades has a receiver that can be purchased. I've considered doing this.

Stocks: A wood stock AK is great for a comfortable shooter. I have to get another one. Underfolding stocks are GREAT at making the rifle more compact, but they will eventually start to "wobble" a bit and be looser. This isn't a big deal since you can just shoulder it in a tensioned mode. I have a underfolder Vector. Underfolders aren't near as comfortable to shoot for some persons, but I don't have a problem with it. I have no experieces with the "Triangle" folders or "Wire" folders and I have some interest in them. I think the wire folder may be uncomfortable, or have cheek weld issues, but I have no idea on that.

Optics mounting capabilites: AKs are a bit trickier than an AK to add good optic mounts to. If you have an AK that has a receiver mounted side rail, you are set. That is, by far, an excellent and sturdy mounting system. In addition, the side rail allows for optics removal and reattachment without losing zero. SARs, WASRs, Saigas, and (I think) VEPRS have side rail mounts already installed. However, they can be added to any AK. Some folding stocks don't play nice with them however.

Dust cover mounts. Handy. And NOT for any real percision aiming. I have one on my Vector underfolder. Don't expect to retain zero for any real period of time, and definately not after cleaning the rifle. Still, it is handy to use if all you are doing is adding something like a cheap red dot for GENERAL aiming at close quarters. So far, I used the cover mount on my Vector because it is my CQB rifle. If I HAVE to aim at distance, I have the ability to use my iron sights.

Gas Tube mounts. I have no experience with them, but hear VERY good things. I'll be switching my Vector's dust cover mount to this eventually.

Iron Sights: If you want to stay with iron sights, it may be worth it to switch your sights for Mojo peep sights. You'll increase your accuracy considerably with these. The standard leaf sights on AKs attribute a great deal to the supposed inaccuracy of AKs.

High-end cost verses Low-end cost:

This is really a judgement call that you'll have to make alone. You can get a perfectly functioning and cheaper Century WASR and be happy with it. Or you can purchase a rather expensive Arsenal Bulgarian, or VEPR. Those will be nice too, but will not be any more functional than a cheaper one. You can go middle of the road and be completely happy as well. Vector Arms is a perfect example of a middle of the road rifle in terms of cost-- except the milled receiver one.

While I didn't want to advocate any particular rifle, I will say this. If you are looking for a more accurate AK, you'd do well to look at the Saigas. These come in a "sporter" configuration but can be converted to the AKM look and to use standard magazines. If you go this route and want the AKM pattern look, you will need to convert the rifle or have it converted. The rifle itself will not cost all that much, but the cost seems to be rising as more are learning about this rifle. To have an AKM pattern Saiga, the cost varies with your skill and ability to do the work yourself verses paying someone to do it. While the initial purchase is not that high, you can EASILY end up having a LOT of money tied up in a Saiga Conversion. My Saiga 308 has over a grand in it--- but I'd do it again and again.

Another thing to consider is caliber. You can get AKs in a variety of calibers from .223 to 8mm Mauser. Saiga even offers them in shotgun gauges.

This list is far from inclusive, but I'll do my best:

223: Saiga, Century, Arsenal, Vepr, Whatever that thing Interordinance is selling.

5.45x39: Many manufactures. I don't follow this caliber but I can say that Saiga doesn't have this caliber available. I know that Century does have one.

7.62x39: The original AK caliber. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone making this caliber of AK.

12 gauge, 20 gauge, 410 gauge (yes, I know its not really a gauge): Saiga is the only one doing this.

308: Saiga has a 308, and I have that one. Very accurate-- I'm doing 1moa. VEPR has one. So does Rapidfire. Interordinance has one based on the SVD. I don't have any experience with VEPR, Interordanace or Rapidfire's, but I hear great things from the Vepr one.

Side Note: I won't get into the SVD pattern or "clone" rifles other than tipping my hat. I'll let others make that list. However, there are a few makers of AK-ish SVD clones that use 7.62x54R, 308, or 8mm.

8mm: I think this is an SVD pattern one, but I haven't looked at it too close. Rapidfire makes it, and it is very expensive.

I may add more to this later, but I am hitting a wall at the moment. I hope this helps someone.


All the best~

John

Hokkmike
February 22, 2007, 10:05 AM
Certainly some great posts here, and I may not add a lot to your knowledge - but here is an opinion to consider. Let me first begin by saying that I LOVE AK's, so don't misinterpret my first comment!

When it comes down to it, all AK's are simply mean looking semi automatic rifles that are less accurate and not as well made as any semi regular production hunting rifle on the planet. But they are cool looking, and have great hsitorical significance. The 30 and 40 round magazines are very cool too!

That being said, it doesn't make much sense to pay more than you have to for one of these. The SAR 1 and WASR 10 seem to be a good value IF YOU CAN SEE BEFORE YOU BUY. The quality on these seems to go from terrible to a very acceptable nice average.

I paid $300 for my SAR and $360 for the WASR 10 several years later. When I first started looking the Polytech Legends were priced around $600. Now, they have doubled in price. I guess you might, by that, consider the purchase of one of these things as an "investment".

Anyway, I will conclude, and make a fool of myself by contradicting myself, and say that I have always wanted an early milled AK. But that is only because I have a unreasonable interest in the weapon type. If I could afford 6 AK's I would. As it goes, I think the "cheaper" ones are a first good buy.

As for caliber - the stories out there say that the 7.62 X 39 has the least amout of feeding and jamming problems. Plus - it is the "traditional soviet" caliber. I like the history of it. You are right about the prices going WAY up. It is annoying. What can you do about it? I don't know. I keep 100 round in reserve and shoot the rest.

Well, good luck on your decision. These things are fun.

JWarren
February 22, 2007, 10:13 AM
+1 HokkMike good points.


But that is only because I have a unreasonable interest in the weapon type.

LOL... me too. As I mentioned in other places, I hunt with an AK. It's been a consuming interest for me to prove that SOME AKs can be very accurate hunting rifles. That said, I could have just gotten a Savage 308 and have sub-MOA accuracy at 1/4 the cost I have in my Saiga 308 conversion.

Ain't unreasonable interests a b%tch? LOL


John

If you enjoyed reading about "Which AK-47?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!