Saiga experiences?


PDA






Harold Mayo
October 6, 2008, 04:06 PM
I'm looking at a Saiga in 7.62x39 as a utility rifle. Anyone have any experience?

If you enjoyed reading about "Saiga experiences?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
TheDriver
October 6, 2008, 04:27 PM
I have one, and another in .223. Great value. Hit up the saiga-12 forum for all the info you will need.

Centerfire has them right now, I think.

Girodin
October 6, 2008, 04:53 PM
Saigas are great I have several and have a very high opinion of them.

+1 on the saiga forum. There is a wealth of info there.

Z-Michigan
October 6, 2008, 05:15 PM
Get one. And look at possibly converting it, also. They are basically what the SKS was through the 90's - cheap and practical, nothing to complain about for the price. The Saigas are much better made than most AK's being imported that sell for more money (but are generally sold in "evil" configuration).

saigafreake
October 6, 2008, 05:27 PM
Are a very nice ak variant. They are starting to get kinda high in price for a sporter. I have several like them all.

REOIV
October 6, 2008, 05:40 PM
I have a Saiga 308 and a Saiga 12.

Know the following about Saigas before you buy them.

PROS:
High quality
Inexpensive (usually under $300 for .223 or 7.62 or 410)
Russian AK Reliable
Can use most AK stamped receiver parts

CONS:
Standard Saiga mags are expensive compared to AK mags.
You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to covert to pistol grip and get them to use basic AK mags.
Hand guards are goofy looking and if you want to use AK hand guards you have to press off your gas block or buy a clamp on hand guard retainer or make one, again this costs more money.
The gas tube isn't a standard AK gas tube so again if you want AK hand guards you need to buy an AK74 gas tube to use standard AK hand guards.
They don't have threaded barrels so if you want a flash hider or muzzle brake you will have to get it threaded by a smith or do it yourself and again you have to buy a brake or hider as well so that costs more money.
You have to put in a bullet guide to get the gun to use normal AK mags (this is only true for .223, 7.62x39) 308, and the shotguns don't need guides.

All that said to get your 'cheap' saiga to look just like an Arsenal gun with a fixed stock you're looking at this.

Saiga 7.62x39 $299
K-var-Furniture set $110
Tapco Trigger Group $35
Muzzle Brake $20
Bullet guide (dinzagarms.com) $25
Hand guard retainer (dinzagarms.com) $75
Gas Tube (dinzagarms.com) $31
TOTAL: $595

And that doesn't include the shipping (50+) or the cost of a Dremel (50), power drill (25), drill bits (10), spray paint (5), tap and die rental (20) or purchase for the barrel threading and your time spent converting it.

When you could just buy an Arsenal SLR 107 F or FR for $800 or less (And you get the $250 folding stock with it) that works great out of the box.

Saigas are great guns but don't get them because you think they will be a good way to save money, get them because they are quality guns.

If you want a cheap AK get a GP WASR10 for $350 to $400.


EDIT: Changed
"You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to get them to use basic AK mags."
To
"You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to covert to pistol grip and get them to use basic AK mags."

frankd4
October 6, 2008, 05:54 PM
The most bang for the buck a great gun.

GRB
October 6, 2008, 06:04 PM
CONS:
Standard Saiga mags are expensive compared to AK mags.

You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to get them to use basic AK mags.

Hand guards are goofy looking and if you want to use AK hand guards you have to press off your gas block or buy a clamp on hand guard retainer or make one, again this costs more money.

The gas tube isn't a standard AK gas tube so again if you want AK hand guards you need to buy an AK74 gas tube to use standard AK hand guards.

They don't have threaded barrels so if you want a flash hider or muzzle brake you will have to get it threaded by a smith or do it yourself and again you have to buy a brake or hider as well so that costs more money.

You have to put in a bullet guide to get the gun to use normal AK mags (this is only true for .223, 7.62x39) 308, and the shotguns don't need guides.

I read the list of so called cons with interest, and realized that there is only truly one con listed for the Saiga that objectively deals with its fit, finish or function as a Saiga (as opposed to as an AK). That one con, that objectively can apply to the Saiga as a stand alone rifle would be that it does not have a threaded barrel. While that can be a con to some, it might not be so to others; but it can be seen as a con about the Saiga.

As for all the other cons listed, if you want an AK just buy an AK. This rifle/shotgun was not meant to be an AK though it is based in part on that design. It is meant to be a legal rifle in more places than are AKs. To say that because it does not do this, that or the other thing, or fit this that or the other thing, as does an AK, is kind of distorting what would be an objective description of the pros and cons of this rifle since it is not an AK.

So are there other cons about the Saiga, or are almost all of them dependent upon whethwer or not someone wants to make it look like an SK? I hope someone will let me know since my son is considering one for a purchase. Thanks.

All the best,
GB

akodo
October 6, 2008, 06:09 PM
I have come to the conclusion if you want a pistol grip detachable mag AK type weapon....get a nicely built AK, don't get a Saiga and convert.

however, if you want an inexpensive intermediate caliber semiauto rifle with a detachable mag (or 3) then the Saiga is the way to go.

As others have said, it is the SKS and the Mini-14 of 2008

wally
October 6, 2008, 06:17 PM
Obviously if you don't already have basic metal working tools converting a Saiga makes no sense, but its not too hard to find well done conversions for under $600.

OTOH if you've basic tools and shop skills its not too hard to convert one which lets you spread out the expense, $~$300 for the gun and get other conversion parts as funds permit.

You can do better on parts if you shop around. I got the Tapco single hook trigger set for $20 at a gun show, although you have to grind off about 0.060" from the right side of the hammer axis tube or leave out the Saiga bolt hold open lever. I think the Saiga hand guards look OK and function great, so you only really need the trigger parts, bullet guide, pistol grip, screw & nut set, and buttstock to have an AK work-alike initially. This is in the same cost ballpark as the Romanian in cost (if you do the work yourself).

My .223 takes stock Galil mags fine, the 7.62x39 needed a little filing on the mag catch lever but after that, stock AK mags work fine once the bullet guide is installed.

--wally.

nalioth
October 6, 2008, 06:48 PM
You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to get them to use basic AK mags.

Gas piston: $25

USA made mags count as 3 parts, so all you need is a gas piston for legal usage in your factory rifle.
USA made magazines do not seem to need a bullet guide, but if you want one for certain reliability:

Bullet guide: $25

All you need is a drill to install both items.

Not sure where the "$100 worth of tools" and "$150 to $200 worth of parts to get them to use basic AK mags." comes in.

kcmarine
October 6, 2008, 07:13 PM
Get one, NOW.

That is all.


Also, vent your handguard.

MechAg94
October 6, 2008, 07:14 PM
I bought my Saiga .223 already converted. It has been a great rifle.

rangerruck
October 6, 2008, 07:16 PM
nothing but good to say, ping me up, there is s dude near san atone, selling one with extra mags, for 375

RockyMtnTactical
October 6, 2008, 09:05 PM
Saiga's are awesome!

Z-Michigan
October 6, 2008, 09:47 PM
Saiga 7.62x39 $299
K-var-Furniture set $110
Tapco Trigger Group $35
Muzzle Brake $20
Bullet guide (dinzagarms.com) $25
Hand guard retainer (dinzagarms.com) $75
Gas Tube (dinzagarms.com) $31
TOTAL: $595

And that doesn't include the shipping (50+) or the cost of a Dremel (50), power drill (25), drill bits (10), spray paint (5), tap and die rental (20) or purchase for the barrel threading and your time spent converting it.

When you could just buy an Arsenal SLR 107 F or FR for $800 or less (And you get the $250 folding stock with it) that works great out of the box.

Many of us already own a Dremel and a drill press and don't need to buy additional tools, with the possible exception of the tap for attaching the bullet guide.

Your list would be for a Saiga made to look like an AK. If you are OK with the stock handguard, which is a matter of personal preference but IMHO is superior to an AK handguard, then your list is reduced by $106. You can also shop around a bit on furniture and you could realistically get a buttstock and pistol grip for $70 or so, maybe even less.

If you want looks for collecting or what not, the Saiga probably isn't it. If you want function and durability at a low price, the Saiga is great.

Ben Shepherd
October 6, 2008, 09:55 PM
Just one note-

These are completely NEW AKs, they're not parts kit guns. They just have to be imported in sporter configuration.

After that, your budget's the limit on what you want them to look like/do.

Accuracy wise? Most I've seen shot with a scope hold near 2" at 100 yards with good ammo.

Several in the family. Some are stock, some have been converted by tromix. All have been flawless in operation to date. Money well spent.

Girodin
October 6, 2008, 10:05 PM
I have come to the conclusion if you want a pistol grip detachable mag AK type weapon....get a nicely built AK, don't get a Saiga and convert.


I disagree strongly. I can buy, convert, and customize a saiga for much less money than a weapon like an arsenal. After threading the barrel and even duracoating it you are money ahead if you do it all your self. Too many people just lack the confidence to try the work themselves it really isn't very hard.

As far adding in the price of the tools. It seems to me things like a dremel and a drill are pretty handy to own and one might want them irrespective of saiga conversions thus placing there full cost in the cost of the gun is skewing things a bit.

I am in the camp that leaves the handguard (for the most part) I dont find its looks onjectionable and I really like the vented ones. I also like its greater surface area. Changing it out is far from necessary at any rate. If you just want AK looks there may be cheaper routes.

I care more about performance than looks, and it the performance department dollar for dollar a converted saiga is hard to beat. There are some real lookers though too.

jhansman
October 6, 2008, 10:38 PM
My converted Saiga is now my favorite rifle. Like Girodin said, many lack the confidence to tackle the conversion job (I was one for a couple months), but it really isn't that difficult, and you end up with a better trigger (if you get the Tapco), a PG, and a much better understanding of how the AK functions. Add to that the fact that the Saiga is pure Russian, a plus in my book. Prices are increasing, due to the weak dollar, so if you are gonna get one, do it now.

Harold Mayo
October 7, 2008, 12:02 AM
Thanks for the advice about conversion but if I wanted an AK, I would have been asking about an AK, not a Saiga. I didn't even have any idea that people converted them.

For those giving advice about the Saiga in it's original form, thank you very much. I've been reading up on them all day now, in part in the forum mentioned above, and have come to the conclusion that I'll probably be getting one.

Again, thank you.

Ben Shepherd
October 7, 2008, 12:07 AM
I highly doubt you'll be dissapointed in any way.

Get it. Enjoy it.

rangerruck
October 7, 2008, 12:10 AM
good for you homie, I bought mine when they cost 250. and for straight outta the box, I'm telling you, as far as accuracy goes, unless you are going to run a galil or valmet or vepr against mine, mine is going to beat your ak in the accuracy dept., every time. Would a nicer trigger be better? would I like a pistol grip better, especially for humping around in the woods? yes, but I do just fine with them , the way they are.

TimboKhan
October 7, 2008, 12:15 AM
You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to get them to use basic AK mags.


My Saiga had the AK mag conversion done, and I think the gunsmith charged me $50.00, money well spent given how cheap AK mags are compared to Saiga mags. I strongly suggest the conversion.

I like my Saiga, mostly because it just works. I get acceptable workman-like accuracy out of it (about the same as Ben), and it seems to feed and cycle just about everything. I doubt seriously that you would be disappointed in one as long as you understand you are not buying a sniper rifle or a Steyr Scout or something. What you get is a ranch rifle that is arguably better at what it does than the ranch rifle, and I am saying that as an admirer of the Mini-14! I really, really wish that I had bought a Saiga-12 back in the day...

jackdanson
October 7, 2008, 12:22 AM
Yeah get one. You don't need to convert it either as long as you don't mind lower cap magazines. That is the only real advantage to converting, everything else is looks/preference. For some reason people think slapping a pistol grip on a rifle makes it %500 more effective, I don't get it.

Shear_stress
October 7, 2008, 12:23 AM
I already had the drill press, so all it cost me was the K-var butt stock/pistol grip ($60), Dinzag bullet guide ($32), Tapco G2 ($30), and pistol grip screw and nut ($8). Maybe $15 shipping for all of the above. So about $145 from soup to nuts.

RP88
October 7, 2008, 12:54 AM
a Saiga is your new mid-level AK, with the yugos drying up and such. Saigas are somewhat noticeably more accurate than your throwback AKs, but they all function the same past that. The thing that makes a Saiga so nice is that you can get a really nice AK for only 550-700 bucks out of them, compared to paying 1100-1200 for an SLR Arsenal model as your next step up.

The only real cons to Saigas are: 1) finding one right now, and 2) converting one, since it means you can't enjoy it in its AK form until you're done

I bought the converted saiga from Atlantic. After fixing some of the negligence due to TG, it works like a thing of Russian art.

chris in va
October 7, 2008, 02:10 AM
Converted mine a few months ago. Works great, functions beautifully.

I borrowed a friend's Norinco AK the other day and couldn't believe what a rattletrap the thing was. Likewise he was shocked how tight mine felt.:p

BTW I'm not sure why everyone is listing a drill press and all these expensive tools to build a conversion. I mainly used a Dremel with cutoff wheel, vise and hammer for most of it. Dinzag's bullet guide was a no brainer.

Ignition Override
October 7, 2008, 02:24 AM
Pardon the dumb questions here. I've only been buying guns and doing regular plinking for the last year, and I'm now 53.
Very late-bloomer (the .22 Savage seldom left the closet in younger years).
There were two or three used or new Saiga rifles two weeks ago at Brighton Arms, Brighton, TN (15 min. north of Millington):
(901) 476-3030. Handled a .223 and either 7.62x39 or .308. Even their used guns can be tested at their range if ammo has no steel core.

I read several gun websites quite often and only see fragments and general descriptions of what the AWB was about.
Frankly, still have no idea at all as to just why the ATF requires X number of gun parts to be US-made.

1) Such a gun shoots bullets, no matter where the parts are made, so why does this matter with the ATF? Was it lobbying by US gun manufacturers?
2) What is an arsenal gun?

Mini 14/30, SKS and two MN 44s (plus closet-queen, ancient .22).

Z-Michigan
October 7, 2008, 10:52 AM
1) Gun laws don't make any sense. The federal AWB is dead, for now. Some states have state copies still in effect. 922(r) is a completely separate issue and is 100% in effect, and not likely to go away.

2) Arsenal is a Las Vegas, NV based company that makes very nice AKs (starting from Bulgarian parts) and sells them at very high prices. They are considered one of the nicest AK's you can get, but the price is awfully high.

Note that while Arsenal uses Bulgarian parts, not all Bulgarian guns are Arsenal nor even especially high quality.

aka108
October 7, 2008, 11:00 AM
The Saiga is a reasonably accurate and 100% reliable firearm. Cost is right at 300 bucks. I have several and a Arsenal SAM 7S with milled reciever. The Saiga is equally accurate and I find myself using it more that the Arsenal. I left the Saiga stock as it came.

rde
October 8, 2008, 12:21 AM
I have no plans to convert mine. I bought mine and appreciate it for what it is...a simple, rugged, reliable, and cost effective...all around general purpose/utility rifle. Which is what I think the orginal poster was asking about. While some consider the conversion necessary/mandatory..others such as myself are happy with the rifle as it is. The conversion nets an extremely good AK...stock configuration nets an extremely good no frills utility rifle (with the option to do a conversion in the future should someone change their mind). All I have done with mine is to switch out the standard buttstock to a skeleton stock which is shorter..better fit for me. If magazine capaicity is or becomes a concern..by replacing 1 part such as the hand guard...and using US made magazines...as I understand it (insert appropriate legal disclaimers here) you are legal. There are some US made mags specifically for the Saiga...and other mags such as the Master Molder mags can be easily modified to fit and function as well.

MD_Willington
October 8, 2008, 02:00 AM
I have the .223, works fine for me, a friend with more money than I has a LMT AR, he likes my cheap little Russian gun just as much as his LMT AR.

Emfuser
October 8, 2008, 07:39 AM
I just bought a 7.62x39 already converted. It's the nicest AK I've ever handled, the receiver finish is excellent, and that sucker was zeroed right out of the box. I love my Saiga and will buy more if they become available in 5.45x39 and 7.62x54.

SSN Vet
October 8, 2008, 10:50 AM
vent your handguard and it can look like this.....

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=75186&d=1206413358

The AK does benefit from a compensator/break. Not because the kick is excessive, but the muzzle rise will slow down getting rapid fire shots on target.

The Saiga rifles are well put together from quality parts.

The balance of the rifle is improved greatly by doing a "true" PG conversion (i.e. swapping out the fire controll group). I found the rifle to be obnoxiously front heavy in it's sporter configuration.

If you're 6' or over, consider getting a NATO length stock.

At the end of the day you'll have a good quality semi-auto AK. Nothing more and nothing less.

You can certainly get AKs cheaper.

If you're mechanically inclined and like to tinker, then you'll probably enjoy doing the conversion. Then you'll have the pride of having done it yourself and have an AK that's a little unique.

As far as tools go, many report getting it done with nothing more than a cordless drill and some good drill bits. Drilling the spot weld is a little bit of a bugger. As is tapping the hole for the bullet guide. The receivers are all coming into the country pre cut for the PG trigger and PG bolt ... and that was historically the hardest part of the conversion.

I found the Tapco G2 trigger to be surprisingly smoothe. Definitely a big imporvement over the sporter trigger with it's transfer bar.

Bullet guides are easy to make from a stub of 3/4" black iron pipe.

I personally wouldn't pay someone else to do the conversion for me.

Bottom line.... do what you want to do and what suites you best.

nalioth
October 8, 2008, 12:20 PM
Bullet guides are easy to make from a stub of 3/4" black iron pipe . . . but you can certainly get your moneys worth from Dinzags's (http://www.dinzagarms.com) bullet guides.

For $30, Dinzags bullet guide is a much better choice than the frustration I'd have to endure making a guide from pipe.

SSN Vet
October 8, 2008, 03:09 PM
the frustration I'd have to endure making a guide from pipe.

to each his own...

some might call it the "joy of working with ones hands" and the "sense of accomplishment of DIY"

No slight to Dinzag, everyone I've heard of speaks well of both his products and business practices. He'a obviously a big Saiga enthusiast and graciously advised me on making my own when I posted questions on the Saiga forum.

This can be functionally accomplished with a hack saw and a file. You get a better fit if you have access to a lathe though, as the pipe wall thicknessis is slightly thicker than the arc shaped groove under the bolt face. Turning down the leading edge of the pipe makes bullet guide fit into the groove makes it lock up tight.

RP88
October 8, 2008, 04:27 PM
Such a gun shoots bullets, no matter where the parts are made, so why does this matter with the ATF? Was it lobbying by US gun manufacturers?

there were alot of abusive practices by importing companies that led to a crackdown on several companies, and a general fear of cheap surplus ammo and AKs on the market - some of which were being imported as full-auto and in violation of NFA and the 1986 freeze (remember, this was during the gun fear of the 90's). So, they decided to make it so that could no longer be done by saying that non-sporting guns could not be imported with, say, any sort of barrel, a number of original parts, etc. without being built to some extent domestically in order to prevent said abusive companies from doing it ever again (and to inconvenience the gun industry). It really doesnt make any sense because the importers then just started importing chop-ups and assembling them by replacing the less costly components with American-made ones to by-pass the laws without spending more money to manufacture the whole gun here. Problem now is that alot of the chop-up parts kits are just about dried up from countries willing to scrap them off.

...and that is why you have to convert Saiga rifles yourself.

TacoMalo
October 8, 2008, 05:26 PM
Love my Saiga, converted and it was not hard to do

brooks
October 8, 2008, 06:54 PM
I bought a Saiga 7.62x39mm and put on a red dot from Tantal. It is the one gun I would grab if SHTF. I have a DSA Fal, AR 15 and M1. Never jams or fails. Ammo cheap.

The red dot holds zero and in my opinion is much more important than pricking around with a pistol grip.

Who wants to haul around a 30 rnd. magazine?

Westley
October 8, 2008, 09:11 PM
Who makes good sights for Saigas?

SevenŠ
October 8, 2008, 09:31 PM
All that said to get your 'cheap' saiga to look just like an Arsenal gun with a fixed stock you're looking at this.

Saiga 7.62x39 $299
K-var-Furniture set $110
Tapco Trigger Group $35
Muzzle Brake $20
Bullet guide (dinzagarms.com) $25
Hand guard retainer (dinzagarms.com) $75
Gas Tube (dinzagarms.com) $31
TOTAL: $595


Well said.

I have nothing against Saigas. I bought one. When I realized the costs for a full conversion, I sold it and bought a CIA M70B1 for $510.

Westley
October 8, 2008, 09:56 PM
What about Saiga Dragunovs? I saw one for like 600.

brooks
October 9, 2008, 05:35 AM
Who makes sights for a Saiga?

Tantal has been a reliable vendor.

I have a Kobra red dot--side mount--holds zero remarkably well.

http://tantal.kalashnikov.guns.ru/default.html

railroader
October 9, 2008, 08:44 AM
Saiga sights: http://www.mojosights.com/ak47_sks.html Mark

psp7304
October 9, 2008, 06:35 PM
If you want one, get one now. I can't believe how the price of this rifle is going up.

As far as doing the conversion, it is simple. I hesitated for two months before I finally did it. I regret not doing it sooner. I still can't believe how easy it was.

wally
October 9, 2008, 08:22 PM
That's one of the main advantages, you can buy the rifle now when you find a good price and convert it later when funds permit.

With the "better AKs" you've got to have all the cash up front to buy.

--wally.

Westley
October 9, 2008, 08:32 PM
When you say conversions does that mean you get as a shotgun and make it a 7.62, or does it mean you get a kit and build it yourself? How accurate, effective, and difficult to shoot is a Saiga 12?

RP88
October 10, 2008, 12:05 AM
no.

There are Saiga-12/20/whatever shotguns, then there are Saiga rifles. The rifles are currently available in 7.62, .223, and .308 over here stateside.

toivo
October 10, 2008, 02:22 AM
If you want one, get one now. I can't believe how the price of this rifle is going up.
I paid $239 for a 16" in .223 a little over two years ago. No interest in converting it--I just wanted a cheap, reliable .223 semi-auto.

Girodin
October 10, 2008, 05:21 PM
One thing I will say for converted rifles it that the trigger is SOOOOO much better.

Dinzag offers replacement triggers for unconverted rifles. I haven't used one but most of Dinzags stuff is really good.

LKB3rd
October 10, 2008, 07:28 PM
When you say conversions does that mean you get as a shotgun and make it a 7.62, or does it mean you get a kit and build it yourself?
It means that you convert it from its "sporter" configuration, the way they come from the factory, into a "standard ak" configuration, with a pistol grip.

wally
October 10, 2008, 10:46 PM
I paid $239 for a 16" in .223 a little over two years ago Paid $289 for mine a month ago. Still waiting on some parts, but the conversion is going well and has been a good diversion for me during the Ike recovery.

Price increase is nothing compared to what ammo has done the past two years!

--wally.

geojap
October 10, 2008, 11:25 PM
I have a real hard time telling any functional difference in my .223 Tromix Saiga from my Arsenal SLR-106FR. They are both absolutely top notch.

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