AK 47 vs M1 Carbine


January 2, 2010, 03:32 PM
I had planned to travel from here(Atlanta) to Anniston,AL to CMP and pickup a M1A carbine. My gun range has an overstock sale on AR47's (Romanian parts, put together here in US). Both rifles around $550-600. I'll buy one. Which one would be easier to find ammo for?

Screwed up original post....Actually meant M1 carbine (30 cal) from CMP!!

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January 2, 2010, 04:04 PM
i would think they ak ammo would probaly be a little bit cheaper and maybe easier to get. i dont really know tho. i would probaly get the M1A tho because the price of the ak varients keep dropping. but i really dont know how much M1A's go for. i have been thinking about getting one but it is going to be a while the ak broke me :-(

January 2, 2010, 04:38 PM
Both are calibers that are pretty easy to find ammo for. Cost is another matter.

Cheapest 7.63x39 is $0.21 per round.

Cheapest 7.62 NATO is $0.41 per round.

Both prices from: http://gun-deals.com/ammo


January 2, 2010, 04:40 PM
Cheapest 7.62 NATO is $0.41 per round.

The OP seems to mean M1 carbines, not M1As.

January 2, 2010, 04:52 PM
Yeah, we need a clarification of what "M1A carbine" actually is. Don't think it's the M1 Carbine, are we talking a standard rifle length M1A/M14?

January 2, 2010, 04:57 PM
M1A's for $600??

January 2, 2010, 05:08 PM
The CMP doesn't sell M-14's, or M1A's, or M1A1 Carbines either.

He has to be talking about plain old M1 .30 Cal Carbines for $600 bucks.


January 2, 2010, 05:10 PM
No, CMP has M1 Carbines right now. For sure that is what he means. Any M1A's south of $800 would have to be very suspect condition. If collectibility is a factor for you, go M1 Carbine. If to be used as a defense gun, go AK.

January 2, 2010, 05:11 PM
Wow! .30 Carbine ain't that much cheaper than 7.62 NATO. The link above has it at $0.34 per round for the cheap commie stuff.


January 2, 2010, 05:30 PM
I dont think .30 carbine ammo has EVER been cheap, even back when everything else was, including the guns.

I think you'll probably have an easier time finding cheaper ammo and mags for the AK.

The AK in either caliber will be more powerful than the .30 carbine too.

January 2, 2010, 07:00 PM
I don't think CMP is selling any M1A's (M14 pattern rifles). He must mean M1 Carbine, and as noted, ammo ain't cheap.

January 2, 2010, 07:07 PM
It appears you are looking for the cheapest carbine to shoot? Does it have to be .30 caliber? If not, then the cheapest is probably an AK-74 shooting 5.45x39.

January 2, 2010, 07:18 PM
+1 on the AK74 I have a brand new Romainian AK74 and 875 rounds of ammo for sale (Shameless Plug):D going to list it in the classifieds

January 2, 2010, 07:19 PM
Last gun show I was at: 7.62 x 39 = 26 cents a round.

I couldn't even find M1 carbine rounds. When I do stumble across a box of Winchester or Remington, it's an automatic $30 minimum for 50 rounds. I got some second hand "Alabama Ammo" brand for $18 a box.

I bought 500 rounds of .30 carbine for $90 maybe 1 year before that. Glad I did. Sometimes I see boxes of Wolf M1 for $12-$15. (50 rounds)

They are both great guns. At the end of the day.... I'd have more fun with an AK. Then again, I own both... :D

January 2, 2010, 08:50 PM
Yeah the OP has to be talking about M1 Carbines. No way anyone here, there, or anywhere will ever pay $600 for an M1A (M14 clone).

January 2, 2010, 09:16 PM
I ordered an M1 Carbine when CMP 1st got them in a couple years ago. Luckily I had the foresight to buy a couple cases of ammo and a 10 pack of mags before I got the rifle and before the big rush. Since then, I haven't seen any deals on .30 Carbine ammo that would make me jump for it.

7.62x39 (AK ammo) on the other hand is almost everywhere, sometimes fairly reasonably priced, and even the magazines are very common and affordable.

I still like the M1 Carbine better, but I shoot the AK more.

January 2, 2010, 10:21 PM
Don't really see much advantage of an M1 carbine over an AK.

January 2, 2010, 10:47 PM
For ammo pricing, I think you'll find AK ammo to be cheaper and more readily available (in 7.62 or 5.45) than M1 Carbine ammo. If you're looking at something to plink around with, you might be better off with the AK, of the two choices.

January 2, 2010, 11:02 PM
M1 Carbine vs. AK advantages? The nicest thing I can think of about the M1 Carbine, over the AK variants, is that the M1 carbine is lighter, more ergonomic, has better (easier to align) sights, and is, in general, more accurate. It IS less powerful, but it handles nicely, and that may make it faster on target (if not for the sights alone). Not for everyone, but I would not feel handicapped THAT much if I did not have an AK, and had to make do with the M1 Carbine, particularly with soft point ammunition.

January 2, 2010, 11:14 PM
It appears you are looking for the cheapest carbine to shoot? Does it have to be .30 caliber? If not, then the cheapest is probably an AK-74 shooting 5.45x39.

You are correct. My son picked up a new Century AK74 ($475) with a 1,000 rounds of ammo ($140). Cheap shooting.....

January 3, 2010, 12:17 AM
CMP M1 Carbines are certainly well worth buying !! The price is right & the rifle is a good old American favorite.. Condition & quality is always excellent from CMP. I have ordered many rifles through the years & recently got one of the Italian returned M1 Carbines (I have 2 now). The long term return on the M1 will likely be better than an AK & ammo is getting loosened up now. (For awhile NOBODY had 30 carbine ammo...) For Just plain fun plinking the M1 is TOPS! I reload to save bucks so my cost of ammo is same for the 30 & the 7.62X39 but when I shoot I will grab my M1 first!
I really do enjoy shooting it much more than my AK or even my SKS... It just feels better in my hands. The Ak is not very accurate by design so I feel the power edge of the 7.62X39 has no great advantage in accuracy or distance, Although to hunt deer I would use it over the 30 carbine for a cleaner kill (Actually I would use an SKS over the AK for hunting purposes and there are much better choices for hunting than either )
So for shooting, investing, or having fun pick the M1 Carbine. If better velocity is needed go 7.62. In either case get a Lee Loader set & you can save $$ by reloading. (Lee Loaders are neat little Caliber specific hand loading sets that sell from $10 to $25 for anyone who hasn't seen one)
One final thought. If I could only keep one it would definitely be the M1 Carbine
"DOC" Jim Ramski

fireman 9731
January 3, 2010, 01:13 AM
I wouldn't pay 550-600 bucks for an AK... unless it was a really nice one.

January 3, 2010, 04:45 AM
Wanna shoot cheap and not worry much about accuracy get the AK...If ya want an American War Baby and not worry much about accuracy ,the M1 Carbine. The M1 at least will go up in value.

January 3, 2010, 05:36 AM
Much depends on what you're using the rifle for. The whole "which is better" question is exasperating to say the least. When I think of the M1 Carbine, I think of a handy little carbine designed to be used more in lines of defense against people, but giving the option of "defending" out to 200 yards.

Ideally, I would not look to pit the M1 Carbine against an AK-47 in any military-type offensive role (not saying it couldn't hold its own). I do recognize the ballistic advantages of the 7.62x39 (range, penetration, energy, the how shebang). Ammunition is a heck of a lot cheaper as well.

However, it amazes me how little respect the handy War Baby receives from some, as if they are hardwired against this little carbine.
For example, I have a coworker who continues to mention in firearm-related conversation how the .30 Carbine has the same energy as a .38 special despite being corrected on multiple occasion. It has the energy of a .38 special, sure... at perhaps 300 yards (heck, it has a .44 magnum-esque 970 ft/lbs at the muzzle).

I am more than content with the M1 Carbine for what it was designed for (essentially PDW) and feel its already admirable attributes are only improved by use of SP or JHP ammunition. Unless I need something in the realm of a scoped rifle, give me an M1 Carbine any day!

January 3, 2010, 10:25 AM
I wouldn't pay 550-600 bucks for an AK... unless it was a really nice one.

How about this one?





January 3, 2010, 10:40 AM
The Ak is not very accurate by design so I feel the power edge of the 7.62X39 has no great advantage in accuracy or distance, Although to hunt deer I would use it over the 30 carbine for a cleaner kill (Actually I would use an SKS over the AK for hunting purposes and there are much better choices for hunting than either )

I would like to see a head to head contest of several examples of each rifle that proves that the M1 Carbine has substantively better inherent accuracy than an AKM. Most AKs are far more accurate than folks give them credit for. Personally, I'd expect about 3 MOA accuracy out of average examples of either rifle -- when fired by competent shooters who know how to get the most out of them. Meaning that neither carbine is easy or "natural" to shoot off a bench for tight groups. It's simply not what they were designed to do.

Having proved (or disproved) that point, I'd then like to have explained to me how the .30 Carbine round -- out of the most accurate example you can find -- could benefit from a 1, or even 2, MOA accuracy advantage over the AKM (if there is such an advantage). An AK in the hands of a trained rifleman can make an effective hit on an enemy soldier out to maybe 300 yards. What possible advantage is there in being able to stretch that M1 Carbine's reach by another 100 yds or so?

The M1 Carbine is handy and light and has negligible recoil. But that's about all it has going for it as a combat arm. As a personal defensive round, it does a fine job, and it's great for smaller statured and younger shooters to learn on -- and just a riotously fun gun to plink with.

M1 Carbine ammo is not terribly inexpensive and not as easy to find as it once was. If you handload, you can churn them out by the thousands for the same cost as 9mm or whatever (less than $0.10 a shot). In factory ammo, you're going to pay more like $0.30-$0.50 a shot. If you do your shopping well, you can find AK ammo (especially 5.45mm) for well less than $0.20 a shot.


fireman 9731
January 3, 2010, 11:39 AM
I wouldn't pay 550-600 bucks for an AK... unless it was a really nice one.

How about this one?

That one looks worthy to me :D

January 3, 2010, 04:35 PM
I have shot two M1 Carbines, one with a Z-point sight, the other with standard mil sights, and they seem to give better groups all around at 100 yards than my AK 7.62 (it also has a Z-Point). Admittedly, my Carbine ammo is commercial reloads, and my own reloads. I now have some handloads for the AK, and will try to do some serious groups at 100 for comparison. My hybrid AK is hampered with a Hungarian AMD folding stock, which does not allow for good cheek/stock weld. I'll post my range stuff as soon as I can free up to do it. http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC05447.jpg

January 4, 2010, 04:06 PM
Get the M1 Carbine from CMP while the supply lasts. There should be an infinte supply of AKs for years to come. The Carbine is a much handier weapon and you can get a Ruger Blackhawk in 30 Carbine for ammo commonality.

January 4, 2010, 05:04 PM
I dislike any weapon that has a stamped metal receiver, why the stamped receiver? cheap to produce. They remind me of the WWll POS called a M3 .45 cal MG that cost about $0.35 to produce the receiver. The rate of fire was very slow, not accurate and was not reliable.

January 4, 2010, 05:10 PM
Who cares as long as it works. I've shot a number of M3/M3A1's, and they all worked. So have all the HK's, AK's, STEN's, MP40's, Carl Gustav's, and a few others my CRS is disallowing me to remember at the moment. :)

They may not be pretty, but they work.

January 4, 2010, 06:21 PM
I have to vouch for the M1 Carbine, nice weapon, fun weapon, AK's aren't worth that much, M1's are. Ammo? Both easy to find, .30 Carbine ammo comparable to .40 SW ammo, 7.62x39 is cheaper though.

January 4, 2010, 07:01 PM
I own the AK and the AR...My HD weapon is my CMP Inland M1 carbine.
The carbine is an excellent handling weapon, and SP rounds are proven performers for self defense.

January 4, 2010, 08:01 PM
Another vote for the M1 Carbine from CMP. I just looked at their site and saw several @$425 to $575. Gun shows have them starting at $650 and up. It will only go up in value, not down. You can always pick up an AK for pocket change if you are not in a hurry and can look around a little. J&G Sales has them starting at $369.

AK's on the other hand are terribly fun to shoot.

January 4, 2010, 08:12 PM
M1 or M1 Carbines are AWESOME for collecting and for shooting (occasionally). I LOVE milsurps!

Having said that...your feelings are going to be hurt if you try to load 7.62Nato into an
M1 Garand...

January 4, 2010, 08:36 PM
By "M1A" carbine, does the OP mean "M1A1"?

This is an M1A1:


M1A1s, however, aren't selling for $600 at CMP, they're selling at CMP Auction for who-knows-how much. (A relatively paltry 144,000 of these were made by Inland.)

FWIW, the cheapest M1 Carbines from CMP are $419 for "rack grade" Inlands.

January 4, 2010, 09:17 PM
Don't know why you guys think .30 Carbine ammo is expensive, mine costs me about the same as .22 rimfire.;)



January 4, 2010, 09:24 PM
I was just reading that the original acceptance accuracy standard for the original M16A1 was 3-4" at 100 meters, not all that different from today's AK variant. Not only has today's civilian variants of the AR-15 improved on that, but the M16A2 brought it up to 2-3", I believe. Many of the AK's we see here are built from used surplus guns, and are shot with surplus foreign manufactured ammunition. Is it any big surprise that the AVERAGE AR beats the AVERAGE AK? If a US comany like S&W, Colt, Ruger, or even the companies like Armalite, Bushmaster, etc decided to put out a US made AK with better QC, tolerances, and materials, then the result might give the AR a run for its money. I'm wondering how good an AK might do with match grade ammo.

January 4, 2010, 10:42 PM
Between the "M1A Carbine" and the "AR-47", I would take the M1 Carbine any day. :D

January 4, 2010, 10:50 PM
M1 Carbine hands,down no contest.

January 4, 2010, 10:57 PM
The M-1 Carbine is great for the purpose for which it was designed, as a weapon for rear area troops that is superior to handgun, but still light and handy. The M-1 Carbine is what we would call today a PDW, a personal defense weapon. The AK, while not useful for shooting over 300 yards, is a much harder hitting weapon that fires a very good intermediate cartridge (7.62X39). I have owned both. However, the AK is easier to field-strip and the ammo is much. much cheaper. I also found my AK's a lot more reliable than my M-1 Carbine.

January 4, 2010, 11:15 PM
M1 carbines are awesome! I love mine. I bought it this summer at the south store. Have Leon help you pick out a nice service grade, he is awesome, along with everybody that works there.

GunsAmerica Fan
January 4, 2010, 11:29 PM
Don't bother with the M1 carbine. It was never a great gun and every Korean vet I have ever met curses them. I have one, paid $400 for it and I don't think they are worth more than that.

AKs are coming way down. There is a flood in the imports and the demand has fallen off substantially. I have seen them on GA for $350 again, and there have been posts here alerting people to gunshops blowing them out.

You are way better with an AK. They are bulletproof reliable and no less accurate than an M1 carbine. AK rounds used to be a hundred bucks a case and they will come back down to that soon I think.

January 4, 2010, 11:39 PM
You don't know the same Korean vets that I know. The m1-M2 served very well during WWII as well as Korea. It was very effective as well as reliable in very adverse conditions. There is no way I would trade my U.S.G.I. carbine for even a top line AK.

January 4, 2010, 11:44 PM
AK rounds used to be a hundred bucks a case and they will come back down to that soon I think.

Let's hope it does. I'd really like to see that happen.

January 4, 2010, 11:50 PM
There is no way I would trade my U.S.G.I. carbine for even a top line AK.I don't have any service experience using one (or anything else for that matter), but I have to agree with this statement.


Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 12:23 AM
If a US comany like S&W, Colt, Ruger, or even the companies like Armalite, Bushmaster, etc decided to put out a US made AK with better...tolerances

Better tolerances would defeat the beauty of the AK system though. The things are so damn reliable because they have loose tolerances to allow dirt, sand, snow, blood, whatever to not effect the action of the firearm.

I've been trying to avoid commenting on this thread for some time; rather, I've been sitting back with my popcorn and watching. :insert Maverick's popcorn image here: But, I'll go ahead and chip in my $0.02, for what it's worth.

Before I give my rundown, here's some credentials: I own both. A Korean vintage M1, RIA manufacture, I believe, and a WASR AK-47 clone.

M1 Carbine: Great pointing, handling, and shooting little weapon. Extremely light recoil makes follow-up shots a breeze. Potent little round out to 200 or so yards, has pretty good penetration with FMJ rounds. Not a National Match weapon by any means, but can provide 2-3 MOA off hand at 100 yards, with an inexperienced shooter. Learning to operate the carbine is fairly simple. Safety is located on the trigger guard in easy reach of the trigger finger, and can be operated with a simple flick (some models have push-buttons, mine does not.) The magazine release is also quite simple, another push-button by the trigger guard. Loading a fresh magazine is simple, no rocking required, just slide it in. Mine runs well with both GI 15 rounders and aftermarket 30 rounders. The bolt hold open was a little tricky for me, but some quality time on the range took care of that. Purchase price: I inherted mine, but I've seen them at gun stores for around $600. All in all, a light, handy carbine, suitable for light duty and ranch use.

AK-47: Rock solid, reliable battle-rifle. A touch heavy on the recoil, but with practice it is hardly noticeable. Great combat round, often compared ballistically to the .30-30, but in the right hands can be lethal at far greater ranges, although 300 yards is the general consensus for maximum range with the platform. Penetration is typical for an intermediate round type with a spitzer bullet. Never renowned for its accuracy, the AK-47 can actually produce acceptable groups when you know how to handle it. Mine will typically give me 2.5-3 MOA at 100 yds, off hand. Ergonomics are not a strong suit with the AK style rifle, and some good quality familirization (sp?) time is required to fully understand the...complex simplicity...of the firearm. The safety is rough as it also doubles as a dust cover, and the mag release and insert take practice, but can actually be performed quite quickly and easily by a experienced shooter. The sight radius is quite short, and best practicle accuracy is achieved with a proper cheekweld, so full-stocked versions are best for serious personal use...unless you plan upon conducting airborne operations with your AK. Most AK's feeding problems come from the magazine, so make sure that your clone can fully seat a multiple number of different magazine makes with no wobble. The price for AK's is falling, having been ridiculously high during the scare, but is now returning to more reasonable levels. You can probably pick up a good AK for around $400. A hard weapon to beat for serious duty.

Now, they are good systems, however each has their downsides. Carbine ammunition is expensive and can be hard to find, especially among local chains like Wal-mart and Dicks. Aftermarket accessories can also be expensive, like magazines. AK's are heavy, much more so than the M1. AK's also take more time to become competent with, but once you are familiar with the system, it is really hard to beat. AK ammunition is dirt cheap (by todays price standards) and carried nearly everywhere ammunition is sold. Personally, if you don't already have an AK, now is the time to get one. But whatever system you choose, become familiar with it, learn its strengths and weaknesses, and play to its advantages when you use it...that way, when the chips are down, you won't be dissapointed.

January 5, 2010, 12:59 AM
I've been sitting back with my popcorn and watching...when the chips are down.Cut it out, your making me hungry. http://forums.nitroexpress.com/images/graemlins/smilies/general/popcorn.gif

January 5, 2010, 07:01 AM
The only Korean vet I knew with carbine experience was a navy corpman serving with the USMC at Chosin Reservoir. He had nothing bad to say about the carbine. In fact, he went on to a long career with the Cleveland police, including during the 1960's race riots in Cleveland, which he described as "a war zone".
He could have chosen from several different long arms, but he picked the carbine. He always kept his loaded around the house for the rest of his life.
Hey, it was Audie Murpy's favorite.

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 10:04 AM
Cut it out, your making me hungry.

Sorry about that ;)

Hey, it was Audie Murpy's favorite.

That just inspires an abundance of confindence in me :rolleyes:

January 5, 2010, 10:11 AM
If you want to shoot more and cheaper on the pocket, get the Russian or Chinese SKS. If for collectibility purposes and you have enough dough to burn, get the M 1 carbine . Frankly , i go for the SKS bec i like shooting. Life is short.

January 5, 2010, 10:18 AM
get the Russian or Chinese SKS

Really? I love my Russian SKS, but you can definitely buy an AK cheaper these days.


January 5, 2010, 10:28 AM
Get the M1 Carbine. If you don't like it and want an AK later, post back here and someone will trade you an AK for it same day...probably somebody from Georgia even and you won't have to drive far. :)

P.S. If they have an IBM or Winchester, that would be preferable...anything but Inland.

January 5, 2010, 10:53 AM
ANother suggestion is the AK 74 s. Cheaper ammo and less recoil .

January 5, 2010, 01:44 PM
I own both and only punch paper, so some thoughts from the 100y line.

The m1 carbine has better sights. No two ways around it. If you're in low light the AK leaf may squeak out ahead, but any time the ghost ring isn't blinding you it's getting you on target faster and more accurately.

The m1 carbine has better mag installation. Pushing it up is vastly preferable to finding the hook and rocking it in.

The AK mag release is in a better place. You can drop the mag without pulling off the sights, whereas on the m1 carbine you have to reach around the magazine to find the mag release button.

M1 carbine recoils much less.

Ammo for any AK variant is much, much less than m1 carbine ammo.

January 5, 2010, 02:00 PM
Tkopp, you are absolutely right; I think the Carbines good handling and sights really seal the deal for me...they are much, much better for my eyes.


Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 03:12 PM
Yeah, you can't do much worse than stock AK sights.

I'm curous though; could you feasibly replace the rear sight with a ghost ring? Or maybe move the rear sight to the end of the reciever cover? That would improve things greatly...

January 5, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'd say get both, they are both good rifles.

I have an IP M1 Carbine that my grandfather picked up on a beach in the Philippines. Every so often I'll take it out and put a few rounds through it, sweet little rifle to shoot.

January 5, 2010, 03:35 PM
I'm curous though; could you feasibly replace the rear sight with a ghost ring?

Mojo sights:


Or maybe move the rear sight to the end of the reciever cover? That would improve things greatly...

Tech sights:

Or go nuts with the Iron Dot:


Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 03:40 PM
Sam1911...many, many thanks sir.

January 5, 2010, 03:45 PM
The AK's sights are fine for what you need them for. They arent target sights, but they work.

Forward mounted peeps dont work like a standard peep, and I always found them to be more difficult to shoot with than the issue sights.

If you really want an upgrade, a good, forward mounted red dot on one of the Ultimak rails is the way to go for the AK. You can still use the iron sights through the tube, and the rifle shoulders and shoots very naturally like it does with the iron sights alone. They make Ultimaks for the M1 Carbine too, and I would imagine it too would benefit in the same way. I just never shot a carbine that had one mounted to say for sure.

January 5, 2010, 03:47 PM
Don't bother with the M1 carbine. It was never a great gun and every Korean vet I have ever met curses them. Are you talking Korean War veteran or are you refering to a veteran of the Korean Army. I have been a member of two of the largest veteran organizations in the world for over 40 years and have never heard anyone bad mouth the M1 Garand, M1 or M2 Carbine for reliability. The M1 Garand and the M1/M2 Carbine was the latest in technology at the time.

January 5, 2010, 03:51 PM
I agree about an AK 47 being tactically the superior weapon. I started using my dad's old M1 Carbine in the early 1960s. I had one in ROTC. I fired them in basic and Nam (was issued an M-14 the first time) and used one in police work in the 70s, and patrolling ranches and slaughtering live stock. I still have a nice Inland.
The Ak is every bit as accurate, and a good one like a Finnish or German or Hungarian can be much more accurate than any M1 Carbine I've ever seen at 200 yards or more.The AK is much more powerful, feeds far better IMH experience and easier to field maintain by far. There is far more assessory rails ect for the AK available (I'm an Ultimak fan, and have one on my carbine also) and the ammo far more available. So it depends on the AK build.

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