What to look for in an AK, URGENT!


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imabballer
April 10, 2010, 10:45 PM
I should have posted and asked this several days ago so I could get some more replies, but I just found out I'm going to be able to go to the Tulsa gun show tomorrow and have an itch for an ak. I have never owned an AK, and for that matter have never even held one in my hands, but I have some extra cash and have decided I need one if I can find one for a decent price. I own a couple ARs and feel like I'm pretty knowledgeable on that system, but don't know how to tell a good AK from a bad one. My max budget is about 700 and I want to get the best one I can. I am really intrigued by underfolders, although I would also be happy with a fixed stock if it meant I was buying a better gun for the same money. I need to know what to look for to tell the different models apart, and the main things to look for on any model to check condition. Any links or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!

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mstirton
April 10, 2010, 10:57 PM
You might be able to find an Arsenal (Las Vegas) Sgl-21 for that $700. Generally speaking, you'll want to check the gas block and front site post since Century (and some others) sometimes cant them pretty bad. My SAR1 works perfectly but the front site is rotated about 10deg to the left.

Do you know how to strip an AK? If not look it up online and study a few diagrams with the primary parts - op-rod shouldn't be bent, receiver should have proper rivets, a tapco G2 trigger (or Red Star even better) would be nice, check the barrel of course, make sure a few standard AK mags lock in easily and don't have excessive wobble, take the recoil spring out and move the bolt carrier back and forth over the rails to make sure it doesn't bind.

Anyway, these things should all be fine if you get a Bulgarian Arsenal AK new. I would avoid a WASR10 but many people find they function fine (just check the things above - especially mag fit). You can cruise through the AK section of AR15.com and find out what you want.

tkopp
April 10, 2010, 10:58 PM
Underfolders are handy for storage, but inferior for shooting. A side folder is generally going to be superior for shooting and just as handy for storage, though less common.

Look down the sights. Is the gas block square with the receiver? Is the front sight assembly square with the gas block? Is the front sight pin square with the front sight assembly? They can be installed crooked (canted) and there's only so much adjustment the front sight pin will allow. If it's all the way left or right, it may have been an attempted correction for a bigger problem.

Is the barrel chrome-lined? Will make firing surplus corrossive ammo manageable. I wouldn't want to throw it down an American-made steel barrel.

Does it have a side optics mount? This is a bracket on the left side of the rifle on which Russian opics can be mounted. Not necessary, but it's nice to have.

With a mag inserted, can you pull the action all the way back, and ease it forward slowly without the bolt hanging? Tends to hang on cheaper models, slide forward smoothly on more expensive ones. Note that AKs that hang will generally still function perfectly, but it speaks to the fit and finish (and price!)

Look for a local supplier of 5.45x39, and if you have a good one consider the AK74. Locally a case of 5.45x39 (1080 rounds) is $110, and a case of 7.62x39 (1260 rounds) is $280. Paying an extra couple hundred for an AK74 will quickly be paid back in ammo savings.

nathan
April 10, 2010, 11:48 PM
SGL 21 is the one to look for . Buy a more expensive product and it will hold its value longer.

benEzra
April 11, 2010, 12:24 AM
When you examine the rifle, make sure the front sight tower and the gas block are on straight (not leaning left or right).

Underfolders look cool but have a reputation for loosening over time and being a tad uncomfortable. I only have experience with sidefolders and fixed stocks, so I can't speak to that.

You should be able to get a fairly nice AK for $700. WASR's are running $400 or so, so you have some room to go upmarket (WASR's run fine, but upmarket gets you better fit and finish and sometimes more accuracy). 7.62x39mm is neat and works for hunting, but if you're not hunting then 5.45x39 may be a better caliber for most uses (more accurate, less recoil, less weight).

Does your budget include ammunition and an optic? Railed gas tubes (Ultimak) are available for mounting MIL-STD-1913 compatible optics, if that interests you.

imabballer
April 11, 2010, 11:05 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I was only able to get there about 4 hours before they closed today, so inventory maybe wasn't what it was yesterday morning. The cheapest arsenal I could find was about $1k. I found a Yugo M70 underfolder, but the dealer was asking $699, which seemed a little steep, plus after putting it to my shoulder my idea that an underfolder would be neat quickly faded. After I set it down I noticed on the other side of the rack a gun that I later found out the dealer had taken in on trade for an AR. I just got back home a little while ago so I haven't had much of a chance to do much research on the model, but to my uniformed eyes it was the nicest AK type rifle I had seen at the show minus the new arsenals. He wouldn't come down on the price much but I did get him to pay the sales tax. I'm hoping you guys tell me I didn't get burned. (But I guess even if I did i'm half-way ok with it b/c of how nice the gun is.) It's a Norinco MAK 90. It only came with a sling and two 30 round mags. The gun is VERY nice though. The finish is in very good shape in comparison to the other AK type rifles I had seen, and the bore is extremely bright with very sharp rifling. It honestly didn't look like it had been shot very much at all. I paid $550. Tell me what you think, and here are some pictures.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m320/imabballer/MAK90.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m320/imabballer/MAK90_2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m320/imabballer/MAK90_3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m320/imabballer/MAK90_4.jpg

Quentin
April 12, 2010, 12:48 AM
Nice! I like it. You did all right.

wayne in boca
April 12, 2010, 04:12 AM
You did real good.The MAK 90 was made entirely in a Chinese military factory,and is top of the line.

Dionysusigma
April 12, 2010, 06:13 AM
Lucky. :mad:


:D

You won't be disappointed.

zhyla
April 12, 2010, 12:31 PM
Yeah, the Norinco AK's are great. $350 sounds like a pretty good deal too.

I find the thumbhole stock to be extremely uncomfortable where your thumb goes. Too bad because they look nice and the buttpad makes it really easy on your shoulder. But there's lots of stock options for AK's. If you go to replace it expect to do a little filing, the Norinco receivers are a little thicker than most stamped AK's.

Hokkmike
April 12, 2010, 12:48 PM
I don't care for the thumbhole stock myself but in all other respects I am jealous. Good for you.

TheHossUSMC
April 12, 2010, 08:16 PM
I really like my Yugo underfolder. I wouldn't recommend spending over 500 on one though. For 700 you can get some nice ak's. It depends on what you want to use it for. I have heard all over the place never buy a WASR 10 though. My yugo was my first and I think it was a lucky purchase as I kinda went into buying an AK blind myself. It is true that the underfolder can wander a little on your shoulder but you get used to it. I wrapped mine in para cord for a better cheek weld. The recoil isn't bad at all as well.

MIL-DOT
April 12, 2010, 09:53 PM
I didn't care for the thumbhole stocks,either, till I got a Hungarian SA-85 and felt how much better they are than standard AK stocks. Better length, better cheek weld, all around superior ergonomics simply make it a better shooter. My Hungarian instantly became my primary SHTF go-to gun simply because of that stock. ;)
Nice score, imabballer !!

Uncle Mike
April 12, 2010, 10:00 PM
Dangit! I sell the stupid things and can't get a deal like that! Good going! you did great!

zoom6zoom
April 12, 2010, 11:12 PM
You did well. My buddy just turned down an offer of $800 for his.

ifit
April 14, 2010, 01:47 AM
awesome purchase you have one of the finest built ak variants out there, heres my mak90 as i had replaced the thumbhole stock with some NOS chinese stock
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y211/kadiindo/220-3.jpg
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y211/kadiindo/065-1.jpg

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