Saiga vs. Ruger


February 10, 2008, 08:42 AM
I'm thinking about adding another rifle. Currently have an AR-10, AR-15, Kimber bolt .308, Ruger 10/22, and 2 lever action cowboy rifles in .44 and .45 LC. Shotgun and pistol needs are met. I'm considering a Saiga in 7.62 or a Ruger Mini-30. Any opinions :rolleyes: from the group? What would the addition of a 7.62 bring to the dance? This will be a range and G-forbid SHTF weapon. Thanks for the help :)

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Ben Shepherd
February 10, 2008, 08:46 AM
Given those choices, the saiga. By miles. This coming from a dedicated ruger nut.

February 10, 2008, 09:32 AM

You've got a nice collection there.

I'll give my take on your questions.

Disclaimer: I am a fan of Saigas. And I have made negative comments regarding Ruger for past politices, but not quality of the firearms. (I do have a 10/22.)

I *personally* would choose the Saiga 7.62x39. As I look over your collection, I see the required "AK" slot strangely empty. A saiga is a fine AK to fill that slot with in terms of build quality and accuracy. It will give the reliability of any AK.

However, I do recommend that you convert it to its traditional form-- or buy one pre-converted. I say this because it would be adventageous to have one where a bullet guide has been installed in order to use common AK magazines. If you convert yourself, you can get an easy bullet guide kit from Dinzag's website.

I don't know a great deal about the Ruger Mini-30. But I suspect that it would not fill the role an AK fills as reliabily.

However, I have to ask. What size is your AR-15? I've posted quite a bit on SHTF in the past. Likey, you already have a decent SHTF rifle in that AR-15. I could see why you may want another rifle if you had a 20" or 24" barrel on the AR-15, but if you have a carbine length, it would likely do fine.

From the SHTF scenerios that I have considered, and the one I lived through, likely any fairly accurate and reliable firearm would work. A handgun will be with you FAR more than any long gun.

I would only add that if I did NOT have ammunition stacked deep for at least one or two of your firearms, I'd do that before adding another one in the mix.

-- John

February 10, 2008, 09:37 AM
Some on this forum claim the new Mini 30's are quite improved from the earlier one in the accuracy department. Can't speak with any authority on the newer ones but did own one purchased new about 12 years ago. I was reliable and appeared well built but was the least accurate firearm I ever owned. Was glad to have sold it.
The Saigas are less costly, reliable and the accuracy is far from target quality but a whole lot better than my Mini 30 experience.

Don't Tread On Me
February 10, 2008, 09:39 AM
Saiga will be cheaper, lighter and more reliable. A real AK action and barrel made in Russia.

The Saiga will likely be more accurate than the Ruger too.

Ranger J
February 10, 2008, 10:43 AM
I have had both guns. I still have the Saiga. Enough said!


February 10, 2008, 11:53 AM
I LOVE my 16" Saiga .308 skeleton stock(except for minor issues like not coming with weaver mounts for american optics and toys, easily fixed). It's my first non-hunter/non-cowboy rifle. I also own a Ruger pistol, but for the rifle it's Saiga by a mile.

February 10, 2008, 12:03 PM
I like the Mini14 in 223 and place it on par with the Saiga in 223, but in 7.62x39 the choice is clearly Saiga over Mini30, based in large part upon magazine capacity and availability.

Marlin 45 carbine
February 10, 2008, 12:11 PM
I envy your collection wish mine was that large but I likely have a couple you don't. one of them is a Mini30, I did some improvement and now is good shooter, my favorite bush deer&hog rifle. the only reliable aftermarket mags I've found have been American and ProMag 10 rounders. the scope mount on the Mini is a big plus IMO. and if you intended purpose is mainly hunting the M30 will do well. for 'combat' purposes the Saiga likely gets the nod, but the Mini won't be no slouch at that either. pricewise the Saiga is lots cheaper and the Magazine availability is a big plus.

February 10, 2008, 12:50 PM
Another saiga owner here. For 250 how can it be beat by a M30? I am certain the ruger can not beat it in reliability and as far as accuracy goes the saiga is not bad and by reputation should be equal or better than the ruger. Besides you can easily upgrade the saiga. two cents deposited.

February 10, 2008, 12:53 PM
Simple anwser- Saiga.

February 10, 2008, 03:00 PM
well , first off , a 762 in semi auto is a pleasure to shoot, and is a good dear caliber out to 200 yards. heck it is good for anything out to 200 yds.
Also they Saiga will be about times cheaper than the ruger, it will be more accurate, and you can get hi cap mags for it. 'nuff said.

February 10, 2008, 03:06 PM
I prefer the mini-30 over the saiga.

American made, classic design, much better looking. The magazine issue is the only thing that would slow me down and it appears that ruger is getting better about it nowadays. The non-factory mags for the mini-30 are all junk.

As for reliability, the Saiga, being based on the AK platform, ought to be bulletproof. In the same instance, I've never heard of anyone having a problem with any Mini, I own both the Mini-14 and the Mini-30. Neither of my rifles have ever had an issue.

Oh and the mini-30 is great for whitetail deer, the factory 5 round mag actually proves useful for that purpose.

February 10, 2008, 03:10 PM
The Mini is one of the best-carrying, easiest-pointing rifles ever, IMO. I prefer shooting my Mini-14 to my AR, and I can hit hand-thrown clays with it.

However, in terms of magazine availability and especially price, I can't say the Mini-30 stands up to the Saiga. Ruger's prices have risen to the point of being ridiculous for some products.

chris in va
February 10, 2008, 05:49 PM
Keep in mind there's more than one 7.62 Saiga.;)

I have the x39 version, it's been great. Took it out yesterday as a matter of fact. No problem hitting a hanging bowling pin at ~100 yards with stock sights (once adjusted). I'm patiently waiting for some peep sights to be made.

BTW bump firing the Saiga is a real hoot.:p

February 10, 2008, 07:42 PM
In 7.62 X 39 I prefer the Saiga. I have the 16 inch model and added the skeleton stock (in order to shorten the length of pull). Converting the Saiga to a traditional AK configuation is a good/viable option..but unlike most I do not consider it mandatory. I am happy with mine just the way it is. And it shoots very well....just the way it is. The rifle actually really surprised I do not want to change anything.

In 223 I prefer the Mini-14. Actually prefer my Mini-14 over my Bushmaster AR-15 in fact. Mostly for subjective things such as ergonomics, looks, etc. Although it is not nearly as accurate as my Bushmaster it is 100% reliable (and the Bushy is not) and I it better.

February 10, 2008, 07:49 PM
How weird is this ? For the past couple weeks,i've been trying to talk a work-buddy into a Saiga instead of the mini-30 he thinks he has to have.He wants to see my coverted saiga, but he's always away from the office whenever i happened to be there with the saiga in the trunk. This shouldn't be such a struggle, 'cause i know he doesn't have the extra $500 bucks to waste on the Ruger. :confused:

February 10, 2008, 08:02 PM
I'm patiently waiting for some peep sights to be made.
Do they not take standard AK rear sights? I have a set of these ( on my Yugo AK, and I love em.

chris in va
February 10, 2008, 08:04 PM
I had those on my SKS. The peep is too far away. I'm waiting for the 'real' kind that mount at the very back, ala Garand.

BTW since you have an SKS, might want to look at the TechSights. World of difference.

February 10, 2008, 11:34 PM
Slap a Krebs or similar peep on the Saiga... or make your own, one guy on the Saiga forum just attached a small washer to the existing sight... Voila... cheap peep!

Besides... you can swap out 4 parts and use US made full capacity magazines.. Swapping out parts is not hard at all BTW...

My 5 year old son helped me swap out Russian parts for US parts on my Saiga...

February 11, 2008, 02:01 AM
The Saiga is a fine rifle. I have two. To legally use hi capacity magazines, you need to swap out 4 parts to make the rifle 922R compliant, and then install a bullet guide. Dinzag has a good website for this. Or, you can just leave it as is. Nothing wrong with 10 round magazines, and you can do quite a lot with them. (the last way is to modify the magazines themselves... see his website).

The mini30 is a finER rifle. there is a guy selling a really really nice one on check it out.

February 11, 2008, 09:36 AM
The new US made surefire polymer magazines have the ramp built into them, just like the factory magazines... BTW a US magazine counts as 3 US parts...

February 11, 2008, 01:00 PM
Saiga :)

February 11, 2008, 01:09 PM
I've got two Saigas one in 5.56X45 and one in 7.62X51 The 7.62X51, using Federal 308 150gr soft point ammo shoots into under an inch at 100 yards with the Russian 8 power scope attached. The 5.56 is just as accurate but that would be less surprising than the 7.62. Both are fully converted with US parts and use the high cap magazines (20 rounders made in USA for the 7.62). The Saiga is the best kept secret in multi purpose rifles in this country. Go to the RAA website and take a look. Don't be fooled by the clunky looking rifles, that is just so they can immigrate to this country legally.

February 11, 2008, 01:57 PM
Saiga by a mile.

February 25, 2008, 05:07 PM
Thanks everyone. The input was helpful, but I still can't make up my mind :o

February 25, 2008, 05:50 PM
If you're planning on keeping it in "sporter" configuration, the saiga might well lose out to the Ruger if you ignore price. The Saiga with the sporter stock is no great shakes...nothing wrong with it, but the sights are "standard AK ehh", the rifle seems stretched and long, the balance is mediocre. However, if you are going to convert it (and you should), you're essentially asking "high quality AK or Mini-30". It's really not a hard decision.


February 25, 2008, 06:50 PM
What exactly is involved in converting it?

February 25, 2008, 11:37 PM
well, you've picked a reasonable comparison. these are both reliable, but relatively inaccurate weapons, in my experience

after owing 2 Mini's in .223 and a Saiga 7.62x39, I ditched all three as I didn't like the accuracy I got out of any of them.

1. I believe any .223 rifle is more accurate than a 7.62x39 of the same brand

2. an AK-platform will be more accurate than a Mini after the first ten rounds, due to relative barrel thickness. it will also be the same price or cheaper to purchase, the same price for RELIABLE high-cap mags, just as easy to accessorize, not much more difficult to scope (just buy an extra dustcover)

I would suggest spending a couple more bucks on an AK-platform that will take standard magazines. this was another of my gripes about the Saiga.

why the 7.62x39 round? if it is for price, I'd suggest the 5.45x39 instead. I believe it to be inherently more accurate, and unless you need to shoot through barriers on a regular basis, not much less effective.

February 26, 2008, 12:07 AM
Depends on what you want. If you want to use standard AK magazines you need to swap 4 US parts for Saiga parts for 922r compliance. You can rework the trigger forward, not that hard but involved. Most people do it for looks and because there are US standard stocks, fire control and pistol grips available.

If it is only a "bigger magazine" issue and you want AK magazines to work there are 3 "easy" to replace parts. There is a Tapco Galil style US handguard, US Gas Piston (AK74 not AK47) and the hammer from a G2 US kit is a straight swap after a bit of trimming on one side to keep the bold hold open or "as is" if you ditch the bolt. You need to add a bullet guide to get the bullets to feed into the chamber from the AK magazine, Saiga magazine feed higher. That can be made from a piece of gas pipe for most of the 7.62x39s or you can buy one with the drill and tap for about $25. You have to drill and tap to bolt it in, 10 minutes tops with drill press. The latch on the Saiga is higher than an AK so you use a Dremel to remove about 1/16", just trim and try and trim and try with an AK mag till it locks.A US made magazine counts as 3 parts so you replace 1 part and make up the rest on the magazine. I just did one with the Galil handguard, gas piston and hammer, took about an hour so I was only one part short. I have some US magazine parts so I used a US floorplate and I was good to go.

Another option is to skip the magazine latch trim and bullet guide and use a US 30 round Saiga magazine. Swap one other part like the handguard and again, you are good to go.

I know this all sounds complicated but the bottom line is this. You can use the Saiga just like it is and you get an "AK" from the Russian factory with a great scope mount and chrome bore. You can spend more but you will not get a better action. Just use it as is, do you really need more than 10 rounds?

February 26, 2008, 12:16 AM
Saiga all the way!

Ignition Override
February 26, 2008, 01:39 AM

As for the SHTF scenario (somebody should create a permanent forum), if a person in a city or suburb sees a clear threat nearby and needs to pull a gun on somebody (earthquake, bad natural disaster, riot, electrical system sabotage..), wouldn't a Ruger mini 14 (.223), 30, or any similar weapon be pretty reliable and have enough accuracy for self-defense out to about 50-100 feet, unless people are shooting from inside/behind a solid obstacle, moving car (infantry tank tactics), or wearing body armor?

You guys must be assuming a distance up to hundreds of feet.
With No open land etc to defend from distant intruders holding/firing weapons (carrying knives/baseball bats etc), I have trouble understanding the need for the better accuracy, with no police/combat military background.
Bought my first Mini 14 a few days ago. So far very reliable, and is a used gun, but that barrel gets pretty hot really fast.

I would find it very interesting/educational to read about more street situations after Katrina.:scrutiny: Off topic (maybe), but just ordered two Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifles (91 and 44) today! My first real combat rifles.:) M-1 carbine will be weeks in the factory, I suppose.

Wes Janson
February 26, 2008, 12:00 PM
+1 Saiga

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