Saiga rifle vs. SKS


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JImbothefiveth
November 26, 2008, 11:02 PM
Somewhere down my list of "I eventually want to get it", after a plinking handgun and maybe along with a .410 shotgun, is a good centerfire rifle. saw a Yugoslavian SKS in a sporting goods store the other day, and it got my interest. Then, I found you can get a saiga for about the same price.


So, how do the 2 compare against each other? The saiga will probably be a little quicker to reload, but I'm not sure by how much, and even though they are not really collector's pieces, the SKS will be more "historical".

So... Which would you pick, and why?
Thanks!

P.S.: This is my "low budget" plan. Please, don't suggest that I instead get an AR-15, m1a, or Garand.
However, suggestions below the $500 dollar range are welcome.

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Wedge
November 26, 2008, 11:10 PM
Well...you could get a Garand Field grade for $500 or a service grade for $600. okay, that is out of the way :-)

I preferred to shoot the SKS vs. the AK in my experiences with both firearms. Given the choice I would probably get a SKS. I just liked it better. Thought it was a little more accurate, a little more fun to shoot, a little higher quality feeling. Basically a lot of little things which added up to being a lot nicer.

bang_bang
November 26, 2008, 11:19 PM
I agree with Wedge.

The SKS feels more beefy compared to the AK. I remember when I first shot an AK, I was kinda excited. Then after I shot it a few times, I changed my mind on one. Even with a muzzle break, the recoil was worse than an SKS.

JImbothefiveth
November 26, 2008, 11:21 PM
Would the saiga be significantly different from the AK's either of you shot?
Even with a muzzle break, the recoil was worse than an SKS.
That's good to know!

I think I'm leaning towards the SKS now.

RyanM
November 26, 2008, 11:40 PM
That's sort of like saying that the recoil on a single-shot .410 is "worse" than the recoil of a .410 pump. Actually, 7.62x39mm pretty much does kick as hard as a .410.

For the same price, I'd definitely get a Saiga. I assume it's a lowcap?

You can always convert it to highcap later if so, and you have a ton more accessory options with a Saiga. 5 minutes with a dremel and you've got a gigantic supply of (currently overpriced) dead-reliable, incredibly durable 30 round magazines. Saigas, nearly all the highcaps are junk. You need to stick with the original 10 round for anything approaching reliability.

WardenWolf
November 26, 2008, 11:40 PM
Saigas average about 2 MOA in all calibers. Not sure how accurate the SKS is, but the Saiga has proven itself to be a very reliable, very accurate weapon. I'm running 100% with mine. No malfunctions whatsoever.

Are they significantly different from other AK's? They're a lot higher quality and a lot more accurate. They come out of the same factory that produces military AK's for Russia. Well-built and reliable.

Bottom line: I'd like to have an SKS, but my Saiga's this wonderful beast that does exactly what I want it to do. I really have a hard time seeing how I could do better. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

dscottw88
November 26, 2008, 11:59 PM
SKS was a steal when they could be had for $150 or $200. But generally speaking, they are just as pricey as a Saiga now at $300, or $400. And although the Saiga doesn't lock back, it does take magazines which I think is a fair trade.

Saiga is also chrome lined, not all SKS' are chrome lined. It's also Brand Spanking New, a feature not extremely common among all the SKS rifles. Converting one is also easier then it's made out to be, I was able to do it in my brother's garage in a couple hours as a teen.

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh234/m4dscottw88/DCP_0077.jpg

rangerruck
November 27, 2008, 12:02 AM
Saiga, anytime, anywhere. if you are worried about recoil, get one with the 22 inch bbl., and wood furniture.

elmerfudd
November 27, 2008, 12:12 AM
I think the Saiga is a better rifle in just about every way, except perhaps for the safety and the lack of a LRBHO.

SKS's have a number of serious shortcomings, the worst of which is optics mounting. I also find them very front heavy, particularly the Yugo models.

As far as reliability goes, I think they're both outstanding. I think the Saiga has a slight edge in accuracy, but they're pretty close. Trigger wise they both suck, but when you convert the Saiga you can fix that. Also if you want to use high cap mags, the ones for the Saiga actually work and don't have funny duckbills on them. You can mount optics easily and securely on the Saiga too.

The one thing the SKS has going for it over the Saiga is character. It's an authentic piece of history and it looks pretty cool with the bayonet, grenade launcher setup and night sights. You can almost imagine you're a Serbian conscript and ready for a campaign of ethnic cleansing. ;)

WardenWolf
November 27, 2008, 12:17 AM
Some aftermarket magazines such as those by Surefire will do LRBHO, although then you need to pull the bolt back and lock it to keep it from closing after the magazine is removed.

The Saiga's trigger is a bit better than a standard AK, reportedly. A bit crisper. I'm not a trigger snob, though, so I don't really notice things like that.

InterWebGuy
November 27, 2008, 12:42 AM
I love my Yugo SKS- it's done everything I've expected from it and more- if you want a (near) MOA rifle, I couldn't recommend any SKS more than the Yugo SKS (59/66) in terms of accuracy and overall reliability; however, if you're looking for a rifle you can turn into a "black rifle" with relative ease, I've got to agree with the other folks here- an AK variant lends itself much better to modification than an SKS does. With a little work, however, an SKS is a terrific deer rifle and is as accurate as the day is long. If you can find an SKS in decent shape, and all you're looking for is a decent deer rifle, the SKS can't be beat (just be sure to use some decent SP commercial loads). If you really have your heart set on an AK variant, however, a saiga is your best bet (if you can find one, given the current climate...), but it wouldn't exactly be my first choice to take into the woods if I had other options (actually, I'd rather take my 7mm mauser, but that's a different story).
Best of luck,
IWG

elmerfudd
November 27, 2008, 01:00 AM
The Saiga's trigger is a bit better than a standard AK, reportedly. A bit crisper. I'm not a trigger snob, though, so I don't really notice things like that.

Saiga triggers are really pretty bad, but if you're comparing them to WASR's, then you're probably right. The thing is that a standard AK trigger can be made pretty darn good with nothing but a little filing, polishing and moly grease. A Saiga trigger has those two extra pivot points and their related linkage and until you remove them it's never going to be very good.

dirtyone55
November 27, 2008, 01:06 AM
I have a chinese sks and a saiga. I have my saiga converted to accept the hicap and the gun is balanced very well, and shoots very well. the sks is also pretty well balanced and hasn't given me any problems. the saiga feels like it is a very smooth shooting gun, and I would say I am leaning towards a saiga over the sks. either way, as long as you get functioning guns, either one will be a good choice.

jpwilly
November 27, 2008, 01:52 AM
An SKS would be a good brush gun for hunting deer and such to 150yrds and they are fun plinkers! More comfy to shoot as is. Much longer and just as heavy as an AK. Even though they share the same caliber they are really worlds apart. An AK is what I would want if I knew I would be fighting. Also fun for plinking and tactical training. Get a decent AK74 muzzle brake and they are tame in the recoil department.

MD_Willington
November 27, 2008, 01:54 AM
I'll take a Saiga in 7.62x39... it will go well with my S.223

anymanusa
November 27, 2008, 03:35 AM
SAiga all the way.

MountainWalk
November 27, 2008, 06:14 AM
I believe I would carry the SKS. When I lived in AR, it left little to be desired. It excelled at close to medium range close up fast hunting. It was utterly reliable in every sort of ugly scenario. And being able to use stripper clips is an awesome asset in a fight, plinking, or loading up for hunting.

saigafreake
November 27, 2008, 07:14 AM
The sks is wat it is. But the saiga can be made to look like any ak u want plus they are bout the same accuracy wise. Get the saiga.

Starship1st
November 27, 2008, 07:42 AM
I say to buy the Saiga first, convert it yourself and then buy an SKS. That is my plan. :cool:

aka108
November 27, 2008, 09:14 AM
I my experience the SKS is more accurate than the AK but the AK is a much simpler design esp in the trigger grouping. The AK should be the most durable of the two.

Autopistola
November 27, 2008, 09:29 AM
I have both and enjoy both.

My Norinco SKS (new purchase) has a 16.5" barrel and an ATI folder. It is a world apart from my old Norinco w/ 20"bbl and T6 stock. Less percieved recoil, handles similar to an AK, and a terribly gritty trigger. Still a fun plinker, guessing about 4moa accuracy, and fun to load one shot at a time.
A Yugo will weigh a lot more and probably have better accuracy, but no chrome lined barrel.

The Saiga seems to have excellent accuracy potential. I haven't converted it yet, but the trigger isn't bad at all, just very stiff. It breaks clean with quite a bit of overtravel. A world apart from the trigger of my Saiga .308, which is long, mushy and gritty. I'm going to convert the 7.62x39 with an H&K theme, and the .308 with a Dragonuv theme.

JImbothefiveth
November 27, 2008, 10:09 AM
And although the Saiga doesn't lock back, it does take magazines which I think is a fair trade.
Does the SKS lock ack on the last shot?
Would the dry fire that would probably happen when I lost track of the rounds when plinking damage the Saiga? (I'm assuming it wouldn't.)

If you really have your heart set on an AK variant
I don't. In fact, I try to avoid them unless they seem to be among the best options. (Like now.)

however, if you're looking for a rifle you can turn into a "black rifle"
Nope, I actually don't like the "black rifle" look. Of course, I'm willing to give up looks for utility.
(Not saying they should be banned, I just don't like that look.)

get one with the 22 inch bbl., and wood furniture
Does this come as a factory option, or is it aftermarket?
I looked on russian-american armory's website, can't find wood furniture for the one in 7.62x39.

MD_Willington
November 27, 2008, 11:36 AM
Honestly, If I had a Saiga 7.62x39, I'd probably find some factory wood furniture or US repro wood furniture, swap out the gas piston and then stock up on master molder mags..

That way it still looks like a "sporting rifle" and I could use the full capacity mags when I wanted.

MD_Willington
November 27, 2008, 11:38 AM
Honestly, If I had a Saiga 7.62x39, I'd probably find some factory wood furniture or US repro wood furniture, swap out the gas piston and then stock up on master molder mags..

That way it still looks like a "sporting rifle" and I could use the full capacity mags when I wanted.

elmerfudd
November 27, 2008, 02:26 PM
I agree with MD_Willington. If you don't plan to convert it, try to get a wood stock. They actually look fairly nice, whereas the plastic stock looks and feels very cheap. It's one of the major downsides of an unconverted Saiga IMO.

On a 7.62x39, I'd get the 16" barrel. Muzzle blast isn't an issue with the X39 and while they might be very accurate by AK standards, they're not accurate enough that you will notice the difference in ballistics. Now if you were to get one in .308, then I would highly recommend the 22" barrel. With the .308 muzzle blast definitely is an issue and I think the ballistics do suffer more with a shorter barrel.

dscottw88
November 27, 2008, 03:40 PM
JImboththefiveth,

Yes, the SKS locks back on the last shot, the AK platform will not. And yes, dry firing on an empty chamber is perfectly safe being that it is centerfire. When the next round is chambered in, the firing controls are reset as well.

elmerfudd
November 27, 2008, 04:08 PM
The Chinese SKS's without the bayonet don't have the balance problem, but the Yugo's have a heavier and longer barrel, plus the grenade launcher, plus the bayonet. It all adds up to a very front heavy weapon.

On the plus side, I think the Yugo's are more accurate.

JImbothefiveth
November 27, 2008, 08:55 PM
Honestly, If I had a Saiga 7.62x39, I'd probably find some factory wood furniture or US repro wood furniture, swap out the gas piston and then stock up on master molder mags..

Would said furniture be available from the manufacturer?

WardenWolf
November 27, 2008, 09:47 PM
Some Saiga .308's are imported with wood furniture. Maybe some 7.62's as well. Battlerifle G3 also manufactures US-made replacement wood Saiga furniture in a variety of styles.

In order to use standard AK mags in a Saiga, you need to install a bullet guide because Saigas have the bullet guide in the magazine, whereas on normal AK's it's on the rifle. US-made guide kits are available for around $30.

MD_Willington
November 28, 2008, 12:40 AM
Sometimes you can get them with wood furniture, I'd call the importer at RAAC, his name is Clyde IIRC.

psp7304
November 28, 2008, 08:28 AM
Go with the Saiga. Very easy to do the conversion. Like MD said, go with the Master Molder mags. I bought a few from CDNN a few months ago but they are sold out now. Anyone have a source for the Master Molder mags?

JImbothefiveth
November 28, 2008, 11:41 AM
you need to install a bullet guide because Saigas have the bullet guide in the magazine,
Will I still be able to use normal saiga magazines after installing the bullet guide? (Not too big of a concern, but would be nice to be able to.)

d2wing
November 28, 2008, 02:17 PM
I've had SKS, AK-47, and own a Saiga. In my opinion the Saiga is a little more accurate and better made. I converted mine to high cap mags and made a feed ramp. It seems to work ok. As I recall, the standard magazine still works. I think the Saiga would be better for hunting, because It probably would group better. But it's more about what you like.

Hostile Amish
November 28, 2008, 02:23 PM
I've tried both, and trust me, you will be happier with a Saiga.

JImbothefiveth
January 22, 2009, 03:58 PM
Are the saiga bbls chrome lined?

Ben Shepherd
January 22, 2009, 04:23 PM
Yes. Chrome lined bores.

Duke of Doubt
January 22, 2009, 04:39 PM
I just handled a Mishmash Sega today. I would have guessed that after all these years, they'd finally put a decent stock on it, considering all the recent excitement. I figured the cheap plastic furniture was a temporary expedient eight or so years back. But it's still there! And it's still crappy! And it's still too long a length of pull after a lifetime of shooting AKs!

I think with wood furniture, it would be acceptable. But not preferable to the SKS.

280shooter
January 23, 2009, 11:14 PM
http://i40.tinypic.com/2k3txy.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/245lrmp.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/2drh360.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/35id1y9.jpg

I did my sks years ago.

never let me down,and I shot 1000s of rounds out it,never a jam or stove pipe

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