AK -74 5.45 X 39 Self Defense & General Shooting Fun


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berkols
March 8, 2011, 10:38 PM
I'm seriously looking at acquiring a AK-74 (U.S. components) for home defense, I live in Arizona close to border trails used by our southern neighbors.
Would feel better owning a semi-auto rifle with more punch that AR. All comments welcome.

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Chopdoktor
March 8, 2011, 10:43 PM
If you want more punch than an AR, an AK74 is not the answer. The 5.45x39 and the 5.56x45 are very similar in external ballistics, and wound to a similar degree, provided you're shooting similar loads. If you want something more serious than an AR, I highly suggest you consider a .308. The platforms are pretty varied, and for a little over a grand, you can have all the familiarity of your AR15, but with .308 punch (I'm talking AR10's, of course.)

Chainsaw2
March 8, 2011, 10:43 PM
Gabe Suarez swears by them. Not knowing your entire situation, I'd respectfully remind you that rifles do tend to over penetrate, and you must be careful. If just defending your home from invasion, I'd stick to a 12 Ga. pump and some form of buckshot or buck and ball loads. If you have the space and must reach out there, then a rifle would be needed.

Good luck
jim

berkols
March 8, 2011, 10:50 PM
If you want more punch than an AR, an AK74 is not the answer. The 5.45x39 and the 5.56x45 are very similar in external ballistics, and wound to a similar degree, provided you're shooting similar loads. If you want something more serious than an AR, I highly suggest you consider a .308. The platforms are pretty varied, and for a little over a grand, you can have all the familiarity of your AR15, but with .308 punch (I'm talking AR10's, of course.)
I appreciate your quick reply. No doubt there are more powerful calibers and the .308 would work. But these rifles are more expensive to purchase, heavier and ammo is more expensive. That's why the AK-74 seems more appealing.

nalioth
March 8, 2011, 10:50 PM
Why not get an AK in 7.62x39? It's got the punch you desire, and doesn't have near the recoil of a full-bull .308.

Gabe Suarez swears by them.Billy Mays Gabe Saurez swears by any of his affiliate's products, no matter if they're worth anything or not.

He's a paid mouthpiece.

berkols
March 8, 2011, 10:53 PM
Gabe Suarez swears by them. Not knowing your entire situation, I'd respectfully remind you that rifles do tend to over penetrate, and you must be careful. If just defending your home from invasion, I'd stick to a 12 Ga. pump and some form of buckshot or buck and ball loads. If you have the space and must reach out there, then a rifle would be needed.

Good luck
jim
Appreciate quick reply, got the shotgun (12g pump) for interior safety. It's the exterior that is the most dangerous. I also have a CCW and carry Glock 36.

NG VI
March 8, 2011, 11:05 PM
.22 caliber service rifle rounds don't tend to overpenetrate at all, they tend to have very controlled penetration and lend themselves to variation of penetration depth by bullet selection better than most calibers.

They penetrate building materials usually less than handguns or shotguns, and are easier to get repeated hits with at any range.

There's a lot to be said for a service-caliber rifle, but a 5.45x39mm is not more powerful than a 5.56mm, and the AKs have some ergonomic issues that to me screams AR supremacy, unless you just want an AK.

Chopdoktor
March 8, 2011, 11:11 PM
These guys are on the right track, for sure. If you wanna keep it cheap and still have the comfy ergonomics of an AR15, just stick with one, but get a full-length upper. The extra velocity will pay off in a big way, when you are pushing rounds out at over 3000 fps, so they can do the damage inside the target the way they were designed to: at high velocity. The cheapest option may be to just get a good 20" upper, if you want more deadly range.

Rem.222
March 8, 2011, 11:13 PM
If more than AR is desired and less than 308 the AK-47 in 7.62x39 would be only option that I can see for less than a grand.

HorseSoldier
March 8, 2011, 11:32 PM
As people have stated, 5.45x39 isn't going to give you any more thump than 5.56x45 (actually a smidge less, though it's narrow enough nobody on the shooting or receiving end is likely to notice).

But the AK-74 pattern rifle will certainly fit the bill if you're looking for a rifle caliber defensive gun for a worst case scenario involving a run in with members of America's guest worker program or freelance pharmaceutical industry. Ammo is relatively cheap, so you should be able to practice and train with it, and there's some decent aftermarket options. The downside is that there are some real crap 74s out there on the market, so buyer beware and do your research.

memphisjim
March 8, 2011, 11:35 PM
I think the ak74 would do just fine. And it's probably
The cheapest centerfire rifle round to shoot. It isn't really more powerful than the 223 though

ISO1600
March 8, 2011, 11:38 PM
in 7.62x39, why not a Mini-30? I know the accuracy isn't great, but it's a good little rifle.
Also, another option (though an expensive one) would be an AR or Ruger in 6.8mm SPC.

NG VI
March 8, 2011, 11:43 PM
Yeah a 20" AR may really be the best all-around choice, though some just like the style of an AK better. If you want a little more penetration than the easy fragmenting rounds can deliver, there are some really outstanding soft point and the Barnes TSX bullets, things like Federal's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, those can deliver hella good performance, and let's face it, for shootability and ergonomics nothing beats a 20" AR. Everything made since has attempted to copy the control layout, or has come across as weird.

Davek1977
March 9, 2011, 02:34 AM
in 7.62x39, why not a Mini-30? I know the accuracy isn't great, but it's a good little rifle.

However, an SKS or AK in the same caliber.....with more aftermarket accessories availble (if into that sort of thing)....can be had for roughly half the price, giving one a pretty big mag and ammo allowance before approaching the price of a new mini-30. While I'm sure the mini-30 is great for mini-14 fans who wanted a bit more punch, I never really see them as competition for AK series when it comes to more than plinking or maybe hunting. The SKS and Ak series are proven battlefield reliable, something the Mini just can't claim. I have always regarded the Mini-30 as a "solution" for a rpblem that doesn't exist for most of us..... a demand for an American made semi-auto rifle in 7.62x39. Most of us are fine with out 7.62x39s coming from Russia, Yugoslavia, Romania, China and the like.... Other than those that need to see that "Made in the USA" stamp, the Mini-30 isn't really "better" than the SKS or AK to any measurable degree, aside from the price, which is roughly double that of its commie brethren. Theres nothing "wrong" with the M30, but it doesn't do anything that other rifles weren't doing well before it was introduced....

brnmuenchow
March 9, 2011, 03:03 AM
The 5.45x39mm is actually inferior to the 5.56Nato (.223Rem.) in terms of power. Make no mistake, I know you say you want more power than an AR but for home defense and shooting fun the AK-74 & AR rifles are good choices. If you are set on more power than I will suggest an SKS, or AK-47 in 7.62x39mm.

Ignition Override
March 9, 2011, 03:37 AM
Notice how the AK's looks have been used by Hollywood to brainwash the public with the idea that the guns are evil devices, and only used by terrorists, Communist guerillas etc intent on ambushing people.

If you carry the rifle around in the day time on a mountain bike, horse, or on foot, are there any neighbors or workers who will be disturbed by the looks, or want to later break in and steal it when they watch you drive away to work?

At least the 7.62x39 has decent punch, is cheap (.20/rd.) and shares ammo with several well-known "sport utility" rifles, i.e. SKS, VZ-58, Mini 30.
Ruger sells 20-rd. mags for the Mini 30, and it looks much less harmful than an AK. If it will not attract undue attention, have you tried out an AK?
The sight of the large mag has been known to deter assailants, and (Hispanic) gang bangers walking over to threaten neighbors. A guy in southeast Memphis had this happen to him and told me the story. The AK was in his truck, parked in the driveway.

axeman_g
March 9, 2011, 05:39 AM
Wow... in my opinion there is a ton of hyperbole in the above replies.

I think the ak74 is a fantastic option if your looking for a trail gun. I would assume this might be for a truck or while working in a ranch scenario. The 5.45x39 is slightly ballistically inferior to the 5.56x45 of the AR platform, but it seems to be the superior design. The bullet itself is built with a small air pocket directly behind the nose. This air pocket, created by accident by the way, forces the bullet to yaw and turn within 3" if impact into a mass. AK74 rounds have been know to turn almost 90 degrees within target media, and penetrates the same 12" of the 5.56x45 round. While the typical 5.56x45rd need a 18"+ barrel to give the required velocities needed for the round to fragment and tumble, the smaller russian round reliably tunbles all the time, but it does not fragment. I see it was a wash. Fragmentation gives a little extra damage to the temp cavity, but the Russian round create a larger more damaging cavity. Apples and oranges.
It seems that the Russians stumbled upon the correct formula of power, size, mass and design when they attempted to reverse engineer our 5.56x45 round. They copied some succesful Yugo experiments they did with the 7.62x39 and air pockets in the tip. The round produces almost no recoil in the AK74s, is fascinatlingly cheap right now and deadly.

It's flat shooting, has a very high velocity, and very minimal recoil, especially when used with the AK-74 muzzle brake. The Russians essentially found a way to "cheat" the Hague Conventions which regulate military ammunition. The Hague Accords ban the use of hollow point, exposed lead, or other type of bullets that are designed to expand and cause maiming of humans. Because of the Hague Accords, military bullets are full metal jacketed and specifically built NOT to expand. The Russians took the idea of a small caliber bullet that was very stable and accurate in flight, but that destabilized once it hit, and tumbled, causing greater wounding. They developed the 5.45x39 round which was specifically made to tumble wildly on impact. The bullet has a mild steel outer jacket with a copper plated coating to prevent rust and to lubricate the bullet during feeding. Inside the outer jacket is a slightly harder steel core, which is NOT an armor piercing core, even though it's reported to be able to penetrate both sides of a US steel helmet at 300 meters and author David Fortier was able to put a 5.45x39 through both sides of a US Kevlar helmet at 300 yards. This mild steel core is flat on the ends and slightly tapered on both ends. On top of the steel core and surrounding it on the sides, is a soft lead cap. In the tip of the bullet is a hollow air space. This produces a bullet that's weighted toward the rear, and makes it very stable in flight, but which causes it to destabilize once it hits.

While the 5.45x39 is not as accurate or powerful as the US .223/5.56x45, it does appear that the Russians have succeeded in fielding a bullet that out performs the US bullet. The Russian military including Spetznaz prefer the 5.45x39 and consider it the best rifle and round in the world.

Here's a sectioned 52 grain 5.45x39 7N6 PS bullet.
Note the mild steel outer jacket, the slightly harder tapered and flat ended steel core, the lead cap on top and around the core, and the hollow air space.

I researched this round alot and am sold on it and the platform as a good all-around LIGHT performer. If I am looking for a carbine, this would be it. It is not a MBR round, and I would not take it over a 7.62x51 or one of the slightly lighter 6.* offerings. But then again... for $600 you get a combat ready carbine and 2K rounds to practice with and use. Great deals.

I got the image from a similar post on the TFL a little while back.

HorseSoldier
March 9, 2011, 06:10 AM
The Russians engineered 5.45 to tumble because at the time it was believed 5.56 relied on tumbling as its main wounding mechanism. They out tumbled us just as it was figured out bullet fragmentation was the actual mechanism that allowed 5.56 to punch above its weight. It's not an either/or where their approach is as good or better, it was a screw up on their part.

Now the round still works (as does 5.56-- fragmentation is overblown). Tumbling doesn't do anybody any favors but it isn't as helpful as the Soviets hoped.

Russian SOF have at least partly gone back to 7.62x39 for whatever reason

LemmyCaution
March 9, 2011, 04:32 PM
Appreciate quick reply, got the shotgun (12g pump) for interior safety. It's the exterior that is the most dangerous. I also have a CCW and carry Glock 36.

Is this a carry piece? Truck gun? Trail gun? Ranch gun?

If you have home defense taken care of with a shotgun, what is this rifle for? Please don't say 'Running out of the house to confront someone in the yard.'

Beyond that, if I were seriously budget constrained (and I am) the 5.45x39 round is going to give you the greatest opportunity to fire a lot of training rounds.

It's also a perfectly adequate SD round. As the others have said- slightly lesser than the 5.56x45 in external ballistics, but just fine on the terminal ballistics. The external ballistics are plenty good for civilian SD ranges.

As the man says- mindset, skill set, tool set, in that order. You need to shoot a lot to develop the skill set. Choose the rifle/round that will allow you to do that.

kalashnikov74
March 9, 2011, 04:48 PM
Arsenal has great ak-74's for $799 the AK rifle is less ergonomic than a AR-15. However a great desert gun, great mud gun and just about everything inbetween get's 2 inch grouping at 100 yards and very easy to clean. The system take training but I personally like the pros which outweigh the cons to me.

nathan
March 9, 2011, 06:10 PM
5,45 x 39 is perfect for ranch style property defense. As long within the 150 -200 yd distance , its flat as the 5.56.

NG VI
March 9, 2011, 07:31 PM
While the 5.45x39 is not as accurate or powerful as the US .223/5.56x45, it does appear that the Russians have succeeded in fielding a bullet that out performs the US bullet.

I'll roll with most of that, but the only way the 5.45 outperforms the 5.56 is in service ammunition, and our new stuff puts that down.

Our commercial stuff should be much more effective than any of the military-issued rounds.

True Grit
March 9, 2011, 07:51 PM
The AK-74 is a great gun. You get the durability of an AK with the accuracy of an AR. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be shot with an AK-74! There's a guy on youtube with a video shooting into wet newspaper to give you an idea on the expansion and I was impressed. I think he was using the hornaday 5.45x39mm ammo instead of surplus ammo. AK-47s are great guns but there designed to be used in a group assult to get as much heavy lead in on direction as possible. Not so great if your using it buy yourself. With the 5.45x39mm you can get more hits on target faster with more accuracy. If I can't do it with an AK-74 an AR won't help me! The only down side to the AK-74 is ammo availibility. It's hard to get it unless you order it, but maybe as they become more popular more places may start keeping it. Everyone keeps 7.62x39 but I would probably get an SKS before I would get an AK-47.

atblis
March 9, 2011, 08:06 PM
ARs are more durable than AKs. The reason AKs are in general more reliable is also the reason they do not last as long.

Sam1911
March 9, 2011, 08:20 PM
ARs are more durable than AKs. The reason AKs are in general more reliable is also the reason they do not last as long.
Interesting. I don't personally know anyone who has actually put enough tens of thousands of rounds through an AR to wear it out. Or enough hundreds of thousands of rounds downrange to wear out an AK, either. 'Course there are many AKs from the '50s that are still running in the world's war zones. But there's probably some AR/M-16 pattern guns from the '60s still ticking along, as well. Can't be their fault they weren't invented sooner! ;)

Kind of hard to realistically pick one over the other -- for any common use a recreational, civilian self-defense, or even competition use -- with durability as a compelling criterion. The practical "life spans" of the parts are just too long to worry about. Heck, you'll have shot out the barrels several times over long before the major components need to be retired.

axeman_g
March 9, 2011, 08:54 PM
"ARs are more durable than AKs. The reason AKs are in general more reliable is also the reason they do not last as long." - Pardon me? i am sorry can you clarify this comment? Thanks.

In the case of the 5.45 vs 5.56 bullet itself, I personally like the tumble over fragmentation. One style over another.

Personally, give me a 7.62x51. But if I have to go light, I like the AK74 platform.

JAV8000
March 9, 2011, 08:54 PM
I'm sorry, but the 5.45x39mm is not as good as the 5.56 NATO, especially for the civilian market. You can get excellent soft points for the 5.56 that will do much more damage and penetrate much better than any 5.45x39mm round available for purchase here in the US. Beyond that, a quality AR works. I can attest to this fact as I use it in the field on the regular. It requires maintenance, but is reliable if aforementioned is executed. The AK series of rifles have crap for iron sights, plain and simple.....thats my biggest issue with the AK series other that its horrific ergonomics compared to the AR. The new Mini-14 581 series are great little rifles and can be found for under six hundred bucks. Mine has run flawlessly for a few thousand rounds with nothing but the barrel being cleaned....a bit of a test. Anywho, get what you will, but don't listen to the "propaganda" associated with the AR or the new Mini series weapon systems. If you're looking for value, look no further the the Mini 14...JMHO.

Ingsoc75
March 9, 2011, 08:55 PM
I'm quite happy with my SGL31-84. Every time I go to the range, lots of folks, including AR shooters, come by and ask me about the rifle and the calibre. :)

True Grit
March 9, 2011, 09:11 PM
Lol it's about time that AR vs AK got the right two calibers together instead of 7.62 vs 5.56... I know the AR is a tough rifle but man not everyone has the money to buy a nice one. The AK is also responsible for the most kills too due to it's vast abundance around the world of commies =]

axeman_g
March 9, 2011, 11:30 PM
this was not a AR sucks thread, There are enough of them here. This was a AK74 discussion and it's merits.

Affordability is a merit. You can get two AK74s right now for the price of a good AR. Thats one and 4500 rds of ammo. I think that would hold most people ready for awhile.

It is a good ranch weapon, and self defense. Optimal... now. Good choice... yes.

HorseSoldier
March 9, 2011, 11:34 PM
You can get two AK74s right now for the price of a good AR.

And when you're buying AK74s at that price point, buying two isn't a bad idea, since it helps ensure at least one of them will run and won't keyhole at 25 meters . . .

If you're planning to possibly bet your life on a a weapon, "cheapest I can find" might not be the right selection criteria to be working with.

nathan
March 10, 2011, 01:32 AM
Both 5.45 and 5.56 will be up to the job . The two great armies used them in large numbers with proven combat records. The question should be cost of ammo and which one you like. One that feels right to you.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Soviet_naval_infantrymen_DN-SN-86-00829.jpg

axeman_g
March 10, 2011, 09:18 PM
Horse... you basically have a woodie for anyone that does not agree with your point of view dont you. Did say go buy a Centrury POS with a bad barrel? Not everyone wants the same gun you have or what you carried in the sandbox in every thread. So if you would like to seek further validation, maybe you should hang out at one of the single brand forums and discuss how cool your guns are and how everyone elses suck.
And if you would like to discuss historical firearm failures I can show you videos of a Marine dying while he attmepted to clean his M16 in battle. I am pretty sure the OP would not want that to happen either.

Sam1911
March 10, 2011, 09:32 PM
CLOSED. Civility and politeness and respectfulness, even in disagreement. Those are cornerstones of our forum culture. If those aren't standards that appeal to you, please don't frustrate yourself by trying to box yourself into the THR mold. There are plenty of other forums where guns are discussed which do not have such stifling requirements. Seek one out.

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