Arsenal Saiga SGL21 vs. authentic Russian AK103


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Agent Smith
November 21, 2009, 09:06 PM
If one wants an AK clone that resembles a true AK103 as closely as possible, does one purchase an Arsenal Saiga SGL21?

What original AK103 parts are included on a SGL21? Barrel? Receiver? FCG?

Are there any AK103 clones available on the U.S market that are superior to the Arsenal offering?

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rangerruck
November 21, 2009, 10:09 PM
I would think these would almost be exactly the same; they are made in the same factory, are they not? the fire control group is proly american, but it is proly a design by the russians, and given to one of the owners or prev. owners at arsenal. I know a older gentleman down here in Texas, He has a business called Texas AK parts, and the triggers he builds are directly from a russian dude that was on the improvement design team for the triggers.
I would think everything in the receiver is the same, and the bbl, and levers and safeties. But maybe not fcg, and maybe not the gas piston. Who knows for sure?

wojownik
November 21, 2009, 10:57 PM
I'm not sure the Arsenal Saiga conversion has the folding stock, like the AK103.

nalioth
November 21, 2009, 11:57 PM
rangerruck is referring to Texas AK Triggers (http://www.texasaktriggers.com)


Arsenal uses a US made FCG of their own design, I'm quite sure.

Agent Smith
November 22, 2009, 09:37 PM
I believe the SGL21s are on sale for $550+. If I recall correctly, Saiga AK103 clones were running much higher than that not too long ago.

So let me ask again - are there any other AK103 clones on the market that are superior to the Arsenal offering?

rizbunk77
November 23, 2009, 12:04 AM
Not that I am aware of. I think a better investment is the SGL-31 closely mimicking the current AK74. Last time a rifle like this was offered from Arsenal they went from 650 new to 1000 ish if you can find one. There may have been some Tromix 103 or Krebs rifles around that would be comparable to the SGL 21 , probly better. They would be on the market as used or new "old stock". For what its worth, the Vepr's and the old milled bulgarians are superior rifles to the new stamped rifles, I am sure you knew that. Also the old milled rifles had a chrome lined steyr barrel. Very accurate.

ny32182
November 23, 2009, 12:12 AM
The receiver, BCG, front trunnion, and barrel of the SGL21 are all Russian. I.e. all the major functional parts except the trigger.

The furniture, trigger, and front end work are done by Arsenal with US parts. It is parts count legal even with a completely foreign mag in it.

Especially for the price, I really doubt you are going to get a more "authentic" AK103 like rifle. They were $499 not long ago, so looks like they are already going back up some.

Agent Smith
November 23, 2009, 08:54 AM
It has come to my attention that all imported Saigas have non-standard gas piston rods. Are these gas piston rods not the same rods installed on Russian AK103 rifles? And if not, are they inferior? If a rod would fail, where can one find a replacement rod?

ny32182
November 23, 2009, 09:18 AM
I don't consider myself an AK expert, but I don't see anything obviously "non standard" about the piston/rod on mine.

Where are you hearing that?

Ian
November 23, 2009, 09:30 AM
Have you looked at the gas piston on an AK? It's a solid steel rod...basically no way for it to fail or break. And if it somehow did (and you couldn't buy a replacement), any machine shop with a lathe can turn you a new one without any trouble at all.

ny32182
November 23, 2009, 09:42 AM
Indeed; I'm confident the piston could double as a crowbar if needed... it isn't breaking any time soon.

Agent Smith
November 24, 2009, 10:57 AM
If anyone of you are in a possession of a SGL21, please provide pictures and a brief review.

I would like to purchase a black one and paint it yellow.

ny32182
November 24, 2009, 11:20 AM
Review I posted on another forum:

It basically is what I thought it would be: A nicely finished, classic style AK. The fit and finish is definitely head and shoulders above a WASR, which is what I wanted. For $499, I think it is a very good deal. At $850+, I would have been more hesitant to say it was a good deal. Why, you ask? Because while the parts are nice, I still think the VEPR was a little better in the "quality feel" category, and I got my VEPR for around $620 OTD back in the day. The primary reasons I sold the VEPR (which I now regret) were the weight, and the non-standard furniture. The SGL21 does differ on both these points with the 1mm receiver, light barrel, and standard furniture. Some observations, questions, and further musings:

-The Warsaw stock feels like a nice, correct LOP. It has a spring loaded trap door in the back... what the hell are you supposed to put in there? A cleaning kit or something? I am also going to have to research what folding stock options are really viable for this rifle.

-The rear sight is elevated out to 1000 yards (heh)... I guess I'll feel like a dumbass momentarily, but I don't see how to adjust the windage on this thing? The VEPR had a screw for drifting the rear sight left or right. This one doesn't. The included 25yd test target looks pretty close, but I'm guessing I will still want to make an adjustment for 100yd zero.

-The finish on the receiver is pretty nice. This actually might be more durable than that of the VEPR.

-The machining and whatnot on the bolt and carrier are pretty nice, like on the VEPR, and they feel just a little bit lighter weight also. There is currently *not* any noticeable play at the joint between the rear of the piston and the front of the carrier, like there is supposed to be on a good AK build. The VEPR had some, but if I remember correctly, it didn't develop until the rifle was broken in with a couple hundred rounds. So, I hope this doesn't represent a problem, and will reserve judgement until after I get a chance to shoot it.

-My Bulgarian waffle mags currently fit pretty tight in the magwell. I'd rather have tight than loose, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings if this loosened up just a little bit with some shooting.

-The little standard AK style pistol grip, while having the "correct look", has never been at all comfortable in my big hand. I'll likely be looking to replace this with something else.

As far as pictures, well, it looks like an AK. I don't think my camera is good enough to capture whatever detail you might be interested in that may set it apart from other AK's visually.

I have also fired it one time since the review above; 190 rounds of about half and half Wolf FMJ and Brown Bear softpoint. The Brown Bear was a little more accurate, but that is a relative term meaning that a higher percentage of the rounds were in the ~8" black circle at 100 yards. It had been a while since I'd been shooting an AK, So I'm sure I can take personal credit for part of that group, but I remember my VEPR being more accurate. As it should be, since it has the heavier barrel and receiver. I'd like to get a scope on it one day and see how much of that is just my shortcoming with the iron sights specifically, but don't know if I want to do it bad enough to spend the money.

Edited to add: the magwell has loosened up just a tad, so it is good now, and there is still no play between the piston and the carrier. Like all AK's seem to do, it so far runs 100%, so I'm not real concerned with it either way. I ordered a Tapco SAW style grip, and personally much prefer it to the Russian milspec shaped grip. I didn't have to touch the sights; the groups were basically centered just about perfectly at 100 yards.

ChronoCube
November 24, 2009, 01:50 PM
-The little standard AK style pistol grip, while having the "correct look", has never been at all comfortable in my big hand. I'll likely be looking to replace this with something else.

Haven't done it myself but maybe you could wrap a tennis racket grip around it to make it beefier and softer.

Agent Smith
November 24, 2009, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the review ny32182.

How easy would it be to strip the original finish and spray paint /duracoat it yellow?

ny32182
November 25, 2009, 01:07 PM
I wish I could help, but know nothing about refinishing metal.

Yellow? :uhoh:

Agent Smith
November 26, 2009, 01:43 AM
My understanding is that KVAR is going to raise the prices on these soon.

Furthermore, these rifles are never going to be sold at these historically low prices again.

Based on this, I will proceed and purchase two rifles that will be painted red white an blue. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless the United States of America.

nathan
November 26, 2009, 02:19 AM
I dont see the SGL 21 but they have the SGL31 for more money

http://www.k-var.com/shop/product.php?productid=17038&cat=354&page=1

Agent Smith
November 26, 2009, 10:56 AM
Deleted

bugmenot
November 27, 2009, 12:10 AM
After a little research it turns out that quite a few of these are shipped with canted sights. Makes you wonder what else is wrong with these if there is no QA/QC. Anyone care to chime in with what is going on? My understanding was that these are high quality rifles...

AK manufacturers don't seem to care about a canted front sight as long as the rifle can still be zeroed.

hank327
November 27, 2009, 12:47 AM
I guess I'll feel like a dumbass momentarily, but I don't see how to adjust the windage on this thing? The VEPR had a screw for drifting the rear sight left or right. This one doesn't

Elevation and windage adjustments on AKs are done with the front sight. The front sight screws up and down for windage and you move the front sight drum left or right using a sight adjustment tool. The trapdoor in the buttstock is indeed for a cleaning/tool kit. The proper kit comes in a special metal container that slips neatly into buttstock. I recently bought a SGL21 and I'm very pleased with the fit and finish of my particular rifle. The sights on mine are perfectly aligned, no cant here. I haven't had the chance to shoot it yet but I expect it to do okay.

rpf717
November 27, 2009, 02:58 AM
I recently got my SGL21 a few days ago. Overall I'm pleased and for the price (499) I don't think I could have done better.

The one thing that bothers me are the stocks/furniture. They are flimsy plastic, and feel like a toy gun :(. I'm planning to get some wood grips/ furniture for it.

Here's my question though, there are surplus wooden bulgarian stock sets etc, that can be had for fairly cheap. If I put these on, will that drop the number of US parts below the minimum and make the rifle illegal? :confused:

Thanks

bugmenot
November 27, 2009, 04:27 AM
Here's my question though, there are surplus wooden bulgarian stock sets etc, that can be had for fairly cheap. If I put these on, will that drop the number of US parts below the minimum and make the rifle illegal? :confused:

Thanks

On page 2 of this pdf, there's a chart of the foreign made parts:
http://www.arsenalinc.com/downloads/SGL21.pdf

I think adding a foreign made stock set would put you over the limit, at least when using foreign made magazines.

rangerruck
November 27, 2009, 10:09 AM
what about K-vars standard ak, seems very nice for 549...
http://www.k-var.com/shop/product.php?productid=17015&cat=353&page=1

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