SKS vs. AK-47 vs. Mini-14


August 28, 2009, 05:34 PM
Hello all.

I was looking into buying an SKS rifle. As I looked around I saw that I could buy a new SKS for around $400, a new AK-47 for around $550 and a new Mini-30 for around $700.

I don't want an AK-47 as every one I have shot is really inaccurate at > 75 yards.

I currently own a 580 series Mini-14 and it is indeed a wonderful gun. Problem is the Mini-30 looks almost exactly like it.

Does the SKS have better accuracy than the AK-47. Everything I have read is yes it is, but I wanted the forum member's opinion.

Also will the Mini-30 shoot the steel case ammo like the Mini-14 will?

I like Ruger's reliability and have no problem paying more for it. To me the AK-47s look like el-cheapo junk. The SKSs look pretty cool IMO.

Your thoughts.


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August 28, 2009, 05:38 PM
I would go with the SKS. Try to get a unfired Chinese for around $300-$350. I myself own a paratrooper SKS and a mini-14. I enjoy both rifles, but SKS rifles are addicting. :)

August 28, 2009, 06:41 PM
My old cheap SAR-1 AK was 2-3 MOA. The worst AK I ever shot was 6 MOA. That's not bad for what it was designed for. That gives 12" at 200 yards, well within minute of badguy.

I see the SKS as an AK that is harder to reload.

Mini-14s are great, and if you already have one...The new ones are very accurate, and stay that way when they heat up. Also, "two is one and one is none" it is never a bad idea to have a backup.

You can't go wrong with any of the three...

August 28, 2009, 06:49 PM
I've had very bad luck with Chinese made SKSes. There are many documented problems with them. Many are unsafe. One of mine would fire when the safety was manipulated. Get a Yugo, Romanian or other European made SKS.

August 28, 2009, 06:51 PM
Get all three. :rolleyes:

August 28, 2009, 08:43 PM
I call BS on the "unsafe" Chinese SKS. Clean out the cosmo, special attention to the bolt and firing pin channel. They're no more dangerous than any other. Counting myself, friends and family I've shot nearly a dozen Chinese SKS and had ZERO issues other than eating ammo and putting smiles on faces.

August 29, 2009, 02:45 AM
I can't comment on the mini30. I started a Yugo SKS project and in the middle of it, I bought a WASR10. After shooting them side by side, I concluded that I liked the SKS better. So, the WASR hit the road and I never looked back. I can make that SKS put every round inside 6" at 100 from any position I can contort to. I never shot the AK anywhere near that well. Just my Experience, though.

August 29, 2009, 04:13 AM
I've owned all the above. The Ak and Ruger's shoot about the same, with regard to accuracy (around a 4" group... if you are a good shot).

The SKS, while not exactly a tack driver, is the most accurate of the bunch, at least in my experience. The quality of the SKS's and AK's are highly dependent on their manufacturer. The mini 14/30 are reliable and fun, but like the AK, I was disappointed that they do not deliver acceptable accuracy. :)

August 29, 2009, 09:04 AM
SKS prices are way a few years ago i paid $175 and my friend bought one for $135 at the same gun show. i was thinking of picking up another and couldn't believe the prices. You won't be disappointed with a sks though. All 3 are good choices really. The new SKS bull pup stock has caught my interest.
The Yugo SKS's are fun, equiped with greneade launcher and bayonet, i would like a russian for my collection though

August 29, 2009, 09:17 AM
The SKS is a solid choice, as is the AK47 that replaced the SKS.

My personal choice: Norinco or Poly Tech AK47.

August 30, 2009, 07:36 AM
Just before SLICK WILLIE said you can't have a chinese sks any more I bought mine new for $95.00 and a norinco Tokarev T33 that had both calibers 9mm and the 7.62X25 barrels with it and 2 clips for $79.00. have never had a problem with either one.

August 30, 2009, 08:51 AM
they are fun to collect. You should shop for a better price. I just happened across a Russian with all matching numbers and perfect stock. So clean and 100% blue that it looks new for $325. Wasn't looking for it but added it to the gun I was buying at the time. You can also find some sharks selling Yugos full of dirt and grime for $600 at a pawn shop. Politely walk away. They will eventually get it.

August 30, 2009, 11:50 AM
I am fascinated as to where you are getting a "new" SKS.

August 30, 2009, 11:56 AM
I disagree on the SKS being slower loading than the AK also.

Last month at our local rifle match (shoot and move not bullseye) we did 'classic battle rifle' with rifles that were in service before 1947.

Now normally for the rifle match I shoot an AK but it didn't make the date cutoff I shot a SKS.

1- Reloading clips takes longer than mags. I did practice beforehand and you just need finer movement to hit the much smaller target of the clip guides.
2- Have to reload more often. Reloading breaks your concentration on the targets. With the SKS I had to reload 3X as often for the same number of rounds downrange. The guys with M-Ns and K98k rifles had to reload 6X to get 30 rounds downrange.

August 30, 2009, 12:07 PM
I know they're more expensive, but if I were to do it over again, I'd still go with a milled receiver AK. The SLR-95 is a great shooter and solid, I'll never get rid of that gun.

August 30, 2009, 02:07 PM
My rule is buy as many as you can and get two of the ones that work well.

I have SKS rifles (several), AK47's (two) and a mini 14 and mini 30.

They all work well as far as I can tell. I certainly would not want anyone shooting at me with any of the bunch I own. They might not win at Camp Perry, but as battle rifles, they sure put bullets downrange with pretty fair accuracy and steadily.

Buy all you can, because Barack is going to cut them all off as soon as he can. In fact, I am thinking of going to Dick's and getting the new mini 14 I saw there the other day.

Of course, I am gun-crazy. You have to keep that in mind.


Ben Shepherd
August 30, 2009, 02:21 PM
If you can only afford one- Get the SKS. Just as reliable as an AK(or very, very close at least) and more accurate than the mini-30 or most AKs to boot.

The only drawback is ammo capacity. So, you learn to load quickly with stripper clips, or use higher cap mags and enough other US parts to be 922 compliant. Reports seem to be folks having good success with the Tapco 20 round detatchables, with other brands of higher cap magazines being extremely hit or miss. My SKSs just run the factory 10 rounders.

I'm lucky enough to have shot all three quite a bit and own a few AKs and SKSs. Don't own a mini-30, no plans to get one. Nothing wrong with them really, they're just kinda the odd man out. The other two options are much better choices from not only an initial cost standpoint, but also from the spare parts/spare magazines, and accessories standpoint.

August 30, 2009, 03:17 PM
I've never fired a mini-30. But I have no idea what it will do for the many that an AK or SKS won't do. I also have a rule, I only use Russian ammo in Russian guns.

I think that your perception that the AKs are junky or unreliable in any way is flawed.

For accuracy, the best thing you can do to either rifle is do something about the poor sight radius. The rear sight being in front of the action handicaps the accuracy from the beginning. Tech Sights makes M-16 style sights that go to the rear of the reciever for both guns. The AK one is new, and replaces the whole dust cover, I haven't played with that one yet. The SKS one was $59, I got a thinner front sight post, universal frront sight adjustment tool and wrench for the rear sight for another $21. MAGIC, my accuracy about tripled.

I also tapcoed it out, but that was more for fun than to increase accuracy. The Tapco 20 rounders run great.

August 30, 2009, 04:44 PM
The mini-14/30s are excellent, handy, little rifles. They are a little pricey compared to the others though. I think any gun will not shoot accurately under the wrong set of circumstances.

The AK (and SKS) by design are very cheaply made. The Mini's 14/30s are much more rugged relatively speaking. This has little to do with the weapon reliability other than for major part failure which would be very unusual for any of the weapons querried by the OP.

August 30, 2009, 05:00 PM
Cheap does not mean less rugged. Particularly in THIS case. I haven't fired a min-30, but I have lots of experience with mini-14s.

Cmdr. Gravez0r
August 30, 2009, 05:25 PM
SKS to WASR ($400 AK) is not apples to apples. In my experience the yugo SKS will get better accuracy but is heavier and does not have the capacity. If you anticipate needing to expend more than 10 bullets at a time at a range of less than 200 yards, by all means get the AK.

August 30, 2009, 05:25 PM
I have a Ruger Mini-14 I got in the 80's and it launches .223 very well. 100 yard pie plate accuracy once the thin barrel heats up, but it is utterly reliable. Non-Ruger mags are a problem for me though.

I recently gave in to the panic and bought an AK. I have never really liked AKs and am not sure I like this one either, but so far it is what you expect an AK to be: relatively cheap, accurate enough, and rugged.

My brother sold me this SKS a month or so ago. I thought it was a "Paratrooper" but have been told it is a "Cowboy Companion".

It was shooting low and despite a plethora of needle nose pliers, turning the front sight was nearly impoosible. So I bought a front sight tool and it EASY to adjust the front sight now.

The only drawback to the SKS is the ten round mag that has to be loaded with stripper clips.

Of course, my self defense carbine is a S&W MP15.

August 30, 2009, 05:25 PM
The Mini-30 is very much like the 14.

I think a torture test is in order. I have a leftover mini-14 stock, anyone have an AK/ SKS stock they are not using? We could see which one takes the most punishment. My money is in the Mini-14/30, AK, SKS in that order.

August 30, 2009, 07:38 PM
I owned a NORINCO SKS for years and absolutely loved it. It was a little tack driver. It had a folding poly stock and felt very secure and reliable. I had a few problems with the mag's but that was more user error :scrutiny: I pref. this one at the range for the most part due to a more "competition" feel too it (sights, bbl. length, etc.) for accuracy.

I also had a WASR 10 AK and loved it too. Of course, where I live the "long shots" are only 200 yds. anyway due to thick woods...and for this I love the AK. It's a great brush gun type rifle...short...rugged...light...great mag capacity...etc., etc. Great for hiking and backcountry trekking.

Kind of a draw if you ask me so I guess it really depends on what you want to get out of it. No experience with the Mini-14.

August 30, 2009, 07:38 PM
They come in "sporterized" versions in the U.S. in various chambers; my favorite is 7.62 x 39. There are many threads on how to make them as close as you can get to a "real" AK with a relatively simple conversion. These are genuine Russian AK actions, but several other aspects of the gun are altered for importing into the U.S. You can undo the modifications if you want while paying careful attention to the law. This is less complex than it sounds. Just pull up the threads.

John Parker
August 30, 2009, 07:59 PM
I think a torture test is in order. I have a leftover mini-14 stock, anyone have an AK/ SKS stock they are not using? We could see which one takes the most punishment. My money is in the Mini-14/30, AK, SKS in that order.

What would that prove? Who has the tougher stock?

August 30, 2009, 08:18 PM
sks are the most acuurate of the guns that are listed and are extremly reliable

August 30, 2009, 08:31 PM
The weak link to the Mini-30 is magazines. Mine is only AK reliable with the factory 5-rounder and the 10 round metal Pro-Mag. The 20 and 30 rounders occasionally empty without a stoppage. I've tried them all :(

I really like the rifle, handles well with much better sights that the AK or SKS and as easy to clean as the AK and cleaned as infrequently.

Now that Ruger is selling 20 and 30 round Mini-14 mags to civilians, we can hope they will start doing the same for the Mini-30.


Shadow 7D
August 30, 2009, 08:44 PM
I bought a yugo sks years ago, went and did a trigger job on it, polished alot of stuff in the trigger, mostly stuff that didn't need it and luckily nothing that shouldn't be polished. It now has a trigger that acts like a two stage set trigger where I can take up the slack (more than before the trigger job) and then get a real crisp sub 5# break. Its accurate (enough) and is a blast to shoot.

The AK I shot all had a horrible trigger, not a nice ergos as the SKS and was more difficult for me to control. Still I would like to have one, maybe a VZ type.

Mini-14, well its like an SKS in 5.56, humm, wonder if I could rebarrel a SKS for 5.56?

August 30, 2009, 08:50 PM
+1 with Rshooter... I too would go with an unfired SKS you should be able to find a Chinese paratrooper SKS for around $300 but you can't go wrong with an AK (I would wait on the AK until prices come back down).

August 30, 2009, 08:55 PM
GunTech.. Can you share the link(s) to these "many documented problems with them" (Chinese SKs)? In all my years I haven't heard or read any major issues with them and a search of the internet didn't reveal any "documented" problems?

BTW, on a personal note I've owned one for years with zero failures and never had a misfeed/misfire.

August 31, 2009, 02:17 PM

The SKS is a heavy duty battle rifle, with the emphasis on the heavy.

The AK is a stamped sheet metal, dead simple and reliable assault rifle, emphasis on the reliable.

the Mini-14 is a light and handy ranch carbine, emphasis on light and handy.

Apples, Oranges and Bananas

Dr. Peter Venkman
August 31, 2009, 03:20 PM
Get an AK.
August 31, 2009, 04:17 PM
Best buy, meaning value for money, is the SKS. Most accurate (by a slight margin), cheapest, as reliable and as durable as the AK and Mini-30. The Mini-30 is substantially lighter.

Ammo capacity is only 10 rds for SKS, you can get 20 rd Mini-30 mag, and of course the AK has 30 rounders. What do you want?

August 31, 2009, 07:03 PM
Dr. Venkman, you owe me a new keyboard. As a (former) 188-series mini-14 owner who sold it because of accuracy issues, I thought that "chart" was hilarious.

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