AK74 from CAI - question


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gunsrfun1
January 8, 2011, 08:40 AM
Hello - Wondering if anyone knows anything about this rifle or has any experience with it. I'm a newbie to AKs, looking for just one AK to own, so I can say I own one. This appealed to me because it's less recoil then the 7.62, supposedly slightly more accurate, and a good price. I called CAI and was told that the barrel and receiver are American-made, which for me sort of makes it not a real AK. But it might be better quality, who knows. It's model RI1620 on CAI's web site. Any thoughts or experience on this? Or is there another make, model, or brand of AK74 (that’s affordable) that you’d recommend?http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/rifles/ak-47-and-rpk-rifles/p/akm74-m74-sporter-rifle%2C-5-45x39-caliber-w-side-rail-by-cai-/cPath/214/products_id/4498?SID

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nalioth
January 8, 2011, 09:23 AM
A 5.45x39 original Saiga would be a good choice.

They are cheaper than most AK-74s (factory and American-(re)made and are easily converted into whatever style you like.

Their barrels are milspec (hammer forged and chrome lined) Russian AK-74 barrels, as are their receivers (just w/o the select fire functionality).

If you go the Saiga route, after conversion you'll have a very nice example of "functional AK" that will last a long, long time.

Arsenal Saigas are way overpriced.

wally
January 8, 2011, 01:30 PM
I agree doing the Saiga conversion is the better way to go, especially for the chrome lined barrel if you plan to shoot the cheap corrosive ammo.

I also have one of these CAI "bulgarian" AK-74 and mine functions well, although as with anything form CAI its best to inspect it before you buy instead of placing an order and being stuck with what they ship you. Although JG Sales is an honest bunch in my experience, they don't make the rifles.

But you won't be able to do a Saiga conversion for anywhere near this price. I've shot both with Wolf 5.45x39 using a 4X PSOP scope off sandbags and at 50 yards if there is a difference between the two rifles accuracy, the ammo obscures it.

If you don't plan on shooting the cheap corrosive ammo and want to save some cash up front I'd say go for it, however I agree converting a Saiga will be better in the long run.

Buy the Arsenal if you want to admire how "nice" your AK looks but that is all you are getting for all that extra cash.

GunTech
January 10, 2011, 09:03 AM
My CAI AK74 shoots well and is 100% reliable. If you get a problem gun, Century is very good about fixing/replacing it IME. I bought and early Golani rifle that wouldn't function properly, and Century replaced the rifle with a new updated one that works well.

There's no doubt that CAI guns can be hit or miss. I bought my rifle just to have a cheap shooter for low cost 5.45x39 ammo. It's actually quite accurate for an AK (About 2.5 MOA before the barrel gets hot). Given that you can buy 5.45 for around $150 per thousand, it's like buying a few cases of ammo and getting a rifle free.

wally
January 10, 2011, 09:45 AM
Given that you can buy 5.45 for around $150 per thousand, it's like buying a few cases of ammo and getting a rifle free.

Remember this is corrosive ammo, not a big deal, but given how little cleaning AKs would otherwise require, and that currently non-corrosive Tula 7.62x39 can be found for about $180/1000 the advantage is largely negated.

A year or so ago when finding Wolf for $250 a case was difficult I shot lots of the 5.45x39 corrosive surplus, it is good ammo but I can't always count on having time to clean guns when I get back from shooting so unless the price is really compelling I prefer non-corrosive ammo.

migkillertwo
January 10, 2011, 05:19 PM
There are two things you should be aware of before getting either a Saiga or CAI ak-74

-The Saiga cannot take high-capacity magazines unless you drill a hole for a bullet guide and install it yourself. It's easy if you have a mini-mill or access to a machine shop, and it's very inexpensive. You dont have to modify the magazine well.
-The Saiga barrel is not threaded. So if you want any muzzle break, you will have to thread the barrel yourself or install a new FSB with 24mm threads.
-I think you will have to install a bunch of new parts on the Saiga if you convert it to accept hi-cap magazines because, AFAIK, the Saiga is imported as is from Russia because, as far as the ATF is concerned, it is a "sporter" rifle that isn't suitable for defensive use. So you might have to do a lot more work than just install the bullet guide.

Regarding the CAI, be aware that the barrel is not chrome lined. This means 2 things
1: You absolutely will have to clean the gun within hours of shooting corrosive ammo. This is actually the same for the Saiga because the gas tube, piston, and bolt carrier will start to rust within hours, but in the CAI, the barrel will also start to rust within hours.
2: The barrel on the CAI is not chrome-lined. This will mean that accuracy will degrade significantly faster than on the Saiga as the throat erodes. Many owners of 5.45 rifles have found that the throats on their rifles are corroding after less than a thousand rounds. Others have said that their rifles last thousands of rounds. Throat erosion leads to a slight loss in accuracy AFAIK, but otherwise functionality is not affected.

If you aren't mechanically inclined, get the CAI and remember to clean your gun with windex or hot soapy water if you shoot corrosive, or just buy silver bear 5.45. It's actually about as cheap as wolf or golden tiger 7.62x39

nalioth
January 10, 2011, 06:01 PM
-The Saiga cannot take high-capacity magazines unless you drill a hole for a bullet guide and install it yourself.I think you meant "military surplus magazines", and if so, you'd be correct.

However, if one has the money, there are US-made Saiga-specific magazines that do not require a bullet guide. Just keep in mind that US-made AK mags tend to suck.
1: You absolutely will have to clean the gun within hours of shooting corrosive ammo. This is actually the same for the Saiga because the gas tube, piston, and bolt carrier will start to rust within hours, but in the CAI, the barrel will also start to rust within hours.It's actually "the same" for any factory AK. None have chromed parts, save the factory gas piston and barrel lining¹.

[1]Factory Yugo AKs do not have chromed barrels, but their barrels are hammer-forged.

Carter
January 10, 2011, 06:27 PM
Tula 7.62x39 can be found for about $180/1000

Care to share where?

wally
January 10, 2011, 07:19 PM
AIM surplus and Cheaper Than Dirt is where I got mine just after Thanksgiving.

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