Help - Looking to buy an AK-47


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withoutink
March 12, 2011, 09:34 PM
Hi, Im starting to research getting an AK-47, and when I mean starting. I mean really just starting.

I know there are many different companies that produce AK-47's, I know there are a number of variants as well. So, hopefully the good folks here at THR can help me in the learning process. I dont plan on buying anything for a couple months, unless I see a great deal etc.

I would like to glean some knowledge prior to the gun show that is coming to town in a couple weeks. (In case there is a good deal)

So a couple questions:

1. What manufacturer should I select? - Looking for quality, reliability and accuracy. Im looking for a weapon I can keep forever, if well taken care of.

2. What variant should I look to get?

3. What accessories are deemed almost mandatory or cant live without?

4. Ammo how much will this thing cost to shoot? is it worth starting to reload just for this round?

5. I also plan on getting an AR-15 one day, which should I get first and why?

6. Wood stocks or plastic metal? Which is the most traditional?

Any other info that may be helpful would be extremely appreciated.

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nalioth
March 12, 2011, 09:53 PM
1. What manufacturer should I select? - Looking for quality, reliability and accuracy. Im looking for a weapon I can keep forever, if well taken care of.
If you're looking for "accuracy" in an AK, you might want to think about what kind of accuracy you want. An AK isn't going to be as accurate as an AR or other American design.
2. What variant should I look to get?What do you want to do with it?

3. What accessories are deemed almost mandatory or cant live without?Out of 124,000 members here, you're very likely to get 124,000 answers. Let's go back to the answer to question 2: What do you plan on doing with the gun?

4. Ammo how much will this thing cost to shoot? is it worth starting to reload just for this round?The majority of ammo is imported and utilizes steel cases. It's cheap enough to buy it outright, unless you someday plan on getting a bolt gun in the same caliber and want to work up target loads.

5. I also plan on getting an AR-15 one day, which should I get first and why?Flip a coin.

6. Wood stocks or plastic metal? Which is the most traditional?Both. Prior to the early '90s, military Kalashnikovs sported wood. From the early '90s on, they've been issued with plastic.

Any other info that may be helpful would be extremely appreciated.There's about a zillion threads here on this exact question. The info hasn't gone "stale".

ridgerunner1965
March 12, 2011, 10:39 PM
i purchased a romanian a few years ago for 350 buks.it functions perfect, the accuracy, alltho ive never checked it id say is prob 5" at a 125 yrds.with cheap ammo and my old needing glasses eyes.thats way more than i need.i feel confident i could easily hit a man sized target in the kill zone out to 250 yrds off hand. thats exactly what that gun is made for.it will do it all day long with any ammo.i have a bushmaster ar type rifle also.have shot it a lot. ill take the ak over it in a fight.

Hal Carter
March 13, 2011, 01:36 AM
Arsenal/Siaga is the way to go unless you are willing to spend 1500 or so for a custom by Krebs or Fuller. For around 750 you can get an arsenal/siage that is a great gun. That may seem high for an ak, but this is a true Russian made gun modified by Arsenal inc, to accept high cap warsaw and american mags.

Generally low grade AK's like wasr's are not so accurate, but an Arsenal will easily shoot 2.5" inch bench rest groups with high quality hunting sp ammo. Some Ar's will shoot 1.5" at 100. For me if I can hit a head size target at 200 I'm happy. It is a combat gun made to work in conditions that would choke most ar's. The safety and reload on an ak is not as user friendly as an ar, but 7.62/39 calibre, will punch through barriers that the 5.56 won't. Ak is not as sensitive to cleaning and lube as an ak.

If there is a ban in the future the ak's will likely be banned before ar's, IMO. I doubt you will find an arsenal ak at a gun show, so you will have to order from KVar, through your ffl dealer. Atlantic Arms and Impact guns on line keeps them in stock.

nalioth
March 13, 2011, 01:43 AM
Arsenal/Siaga is the way to go unless you are willing to spend 1500 or so for a custom by Krebs or Fuller. For around 750 you can get an arsenal/siage that is a great gun. That may seem high for an ak, but this is a true Russian made gun modified by Arsenal inc, to accept high cap warsaw and american mags.There is no such thing as a "high cap mag" for an AK. The USSR manufactured 100 round drum magazines for use by their mlitary.

I suppose if you could find a 101 round magazine, that'd be 'high cap'.

Can we stop using meaningless buzzwords invented by antis, please?

Generally low grade AK's like wasr's are not so accurate, but an Arsenal will easily shoot 2.5" inch bench rest groups with high quality hunting sp ammo.Generally, it's up to the shooter.

A factory AK is a factory AK is a factory AK, and if the shooter does their part, the rifle will perform - no matter how it looks on the outside or what you paid for it (there's no telling with a US-made monstrosity [they use black powder rifle barrels in some])

FC
March 13, 2011, 01:44 AM
I recently bought a Century built GP75 sporter, black synthetic furniture and a 30rd steel magazine for $429 from J&G. Only 80 rounds through it so far but it hasn't had any malfunctions and seems to be relatively accurate at least.

chineseboxer
March 13, 2011, 05:15 AM
Get it while you can...rumor has it the ATF is all over Century Arms and will likely try to hit the Ak market pretty hard including ammo importation. Heard this from my local dealer who deals quite a bit with Century. Funny how Mexico's problems play a role in our freedoms.

nalioth
March 13, 2011, 05:43 AM
Heard this from my local dealer who deals quite a bit with Century.It is amazing that nobody hears about these rumors except from their LGS.

FUD sells guns.

BananaClip
March 13, 2011, 06:52 AM
Nothing against the Romainian, thats what I own. The Romainian is the cheapest. I examined more than one at a gun store where I live before I chose.I made sure the sights weren't canted and nothing looked outta place. When I first set out for an AK, I told myself I wasn't going to spend over $400 for an AK.

Not saying that the AK isn't worth it, I just feel that you should either spend very little money for an AK or spend $700-$1000 for the quality of an Arsenal (jus my opinion). An AK is an AK if you are going for reliability.

The Yugo, Bulgarian, Polish and Hungarian are all slightly different in looks, quality, characteristics and price, ranging from $500-$700. If you start collecting AK's then they're all worth buying.

The 7.62x39mm is fairly cheap to shoot as well. Here in Hawaii it's $8 a box of 20 Wolf ammo, which is pretty reasonbale considering it's a bigger caliber than the 223 which is the same price here in Hawaii..

Yugo slightly heavier than the rest because of it's grenade launching features. Hungarian has the nice muzzle brake with the fore vertical grip. The quality of the bulgarian is sorta the same as the Yugo but has the chrome lined barrel which only the Yugo doesn't have..I think.. The Polish (Tantal) is another nice one that a lot of times comes with the side folder stock and the mixed bake lite and wood fore grip combo.

There is also the Saiga AK from Izmash. If you want the legit Russian deal then they're nice. They only come in the sport style stock and have to be coverted to a pistol grip config if desired...they also dont fit normal AK mags..

There are many American made AK's out there like IO Inc., Century, Krebs etc. Good Luck on your hunt!

sv51macross
March 13, 2011, 11:13 AM
Get it while you can...rumor has it the ATF is all over Century Arms and will likely try to hit the Ak market pretty hard including ammo importation. Heard this from my local dealer who deals quite a bit with Century. Funny how Mexico's problems play a role in our freedoms.


...wow...can you please tell your dealer to suck Dr. Evil's submarine?

gearjammer-2000
March 13, 2011, 11:38 AM
well I have a colt ar a2 and a polytech ak, I enjoy both and while ak ammo is still fairly reasonable it is hard to get boxer primed brass, there has been thousands of rounds thru it without ANY malfunctions.
the ar is pretty accurate but is a bit touchier when it comes to cleaning and maintenance not a major problem but one you should be aware of,it is a blast to shoot and boxer primed brass is the norm rather than the exception, since I reload,if I have to part with one it would be the ak because of the availability of finding the fixins to load for the ar, not that I would get rid of any of my guns!!

Averageman
March 13, 2011, 12:57 PM
You might want to go to a board that is more AK directed.
There are many out there that have a wealth of information that you will find helpful.
http://forums.officer.com/showthread.php?107080-AK-47-74-rifles-from-around-the-world
http://www.theakforum.net/phpBB3/index.php
http://www.warriortalk.com/index.php
That should keep you busy for the next month.
Everyone has an opinion on these guns, although usually not as accurate as Sporters or AR's they can be very accurate for their purpose lots of fun to shoot and perhaps the best bang for your buck on a defence rifle.
I would get about $500/$750 together and buy a decent mid range AK to begin with and at least 10 mags and 2K rounds and see where you go from there.

Hal Carter
March 14, 2011, 09:05 AM
There is no such thing as a "high cap mag" for an AK. The USSR manufactured 100 round drum magazines for use by their mlitary.

I suppose if you could find a 101 round magazine, that'd be 'high cap'.

Can we stop using meaningless buzzwords invented by antis, please?

Generally, it's up to the shooter.

A factory AK is a factory AK is a factory AK, and if the shooter does their part, the rifle will perform - no matter how it looks on the outside or what you paid for it (there's no telling with a US-made monstrosity [they use black powder rifle barrels in some])


The Arsenal will accept 30/40 round mags. Are you suggesting I call them something other than what they are to pacify a group of people who do not apply logic to their rediculous attempts to pass laws? Should we call these things low cap/ball cap/handicap and hope people won't notice?
Should we hide our talk and guns, like we are doing something illegal? We are not. No matter what we do or say the anti's will be anti's, and we will be within our rights as law obiding citizens to buy/own and talk about our high cap guns. You can go to any gunstore or web site and any mag over 10 rounds is called a high cap mag.

It always seems strange to me that people who make public outcries about banning certain guns after some nut goes on a shooting spree, but when a drunk driver kills innocent people, nobody says; lets ban alcohol or cars. Just a thought.

They are what they are; civilian versions of military guns. If dems or others don't want them, they don't have to buy them.

nalioth
March 14, 2011, 11:42 AM
You can go to any gunstore or web site and any mag over 10 rounds is called a high cap mag.They are called "high cap mags" solely because of the 10-year-long AWB.

If Congress legislates that dogs are to be called cats, that isn't going to make canines start climbing trees and meowing.

If magazines were designed for use with a weapon system, they're "standard magazines" for it, or in this case "magazines for an AK".

Hal Carter
March 15, 2011, 08:58 AM
When people switched from 1911 45's to 9mm and 40, 1 of the main reasons was for higher capicity. If I remember corectly these wonder 9's were called high cap guns. This term is what is used by all retailers of magazine sales that I'm aware of. Check out CDNN web page, or J&G sales web, KY imports ect. That was well before the Clinton ban. Tomato/Tomaato.

At any rate, people are certainly welcome to call anything under 100 rounds AK mags if they want to. But with Siaga in particular, unless they are modified they come standard with 5 or 10 round mags because that is the only way they can be imported.

Not trying to cause heartburn, but high cap is a common term and has been used by gunnies and anti's for many years.

nalioth
March 15, 2011, 09:14 AM
Not trying to cause heartburn, but high cap is a common term and has been used by gunnies and anti's for many years.Agreed.

. . . but not for any magazine over 10 rounds as it's being used today.

I'm not concerned what the antis think. I'm concerned about what John Fence-sitter thinks when he sees that everybody thinks 11+ is a "high cap" (which is the message we're sending every time we use the term for a regular ol' magazine).

sansone
March 15, 2011, 09:42 AM
the op is asking about AK rifles, why are we fighting over what name to call the magazines. :rolleyes:

for the op: IMO an AK needs the chrome bore because most of the milsurp ammo is corrosive. I have shot some commie ammo that claimed to be non-corrosive that almost ruined my un-chromed bore.

benEzra
March 15, 2011, 01:04 PM
1. What manufacturer should I select? - Looking for quality, reliability and accuracy. Im looking for a weapon I can keep forever, if well taken care of.
If cost is no object, a professionally converted Saiga would be a good choice, or any of various other high-end civilian AK's.

You will have the choice of milled receiver vs. stamped. Milled looks a little nicer but is considerably heavier, and stamped is plenty durable and accurate (actual Russian military AK's are stamped). AK's are heavy for their size already, IMO. The main thing if you want accuracy is to ensure you have a quality barrel.

Having said that, even a cheap Romanian AK should last several lifetimes if taken care of. My own AK is an inexpensive Romanian SAR-1.

2. What variant should I look to get?
Decide what you'd like to do with it, which will determine the caliber (5.45x39mm, 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington, or 7.62x39mm). 5.45 and 5.56 AK's are more accurate than 7.62x39mm AK's, kick less, are lighter, and have less drop at long range; 7.62x39mm is a bit more powerful than the 5.45/5.56 and is suitable for short-range deer hunting; 5.56x45mm/.223 AK's may be a tad less reliable than 5.45's and 7.62's and magazines are harder to come by.

3. What accessories are deemed almost mandatory or cant live without?
If you can afford one, an Ultimak forward rail and an Aimpoint Micro red dot are wonderful, and will improve accuracy and speed compared to the factory iron sights while still allowing you to use the irons.

For an HD rifle, a light is a handy feature as well, but you can add one later. I like LED's by Surefire or similar.

4. Ammo how much will this thing cost to shoot? is it worth starting to reload just for this round?
AK's are pretty cheap to shoot regardless of caliber, if you don't mind shooting inexpensive Wolf/Tula steel case or similar. Milsurp corrosive 5.45x39 is even cheaper, but I don't like running corrosive ammo in my guns (just a personal preference). Reloading would save you a lot of money if you want to shoot a lot of rounds with premium bullets (e.g., varmint hunting with nice JHP's), but won't save you nearly as much if you're just plinking with steel-case FMJ (and steel cases aren't reloadable).

5. I also plan on getting an AR-15 one day, which should I get first and why?
For an all-around first carbine, I like Bravo Company (BCM) 16" midlength flattop with a fixed front sight and flip-up rear, adjustable buttstock, and a flash suppressor, but there are many good choices. For long-range shooting or varmint hunting, you might want a longer barrel for more velocity. Whatever you get, make sure the gas key screws and castle nut are staked properly (a lot of lower- and mid-tier manufacturers don't bother), and unless you are looking for the last quarter-MOA of accuracy I would recommend a 5.56x45mm chamber and chrome-lined barrel for added reliability and durability.

6. Wood stocks or plastic metal? Which is the most traditional?
Wood is "traditional" if you want a 1950's-1960's look, but most of the newer, higher-end AK's (both civilian variants and actual military AK's) have polymer furniture. I like either. Polymer stocks are a little less slippery when wet, and hold up to moisture better over years of use.

high capacity magazines
As far as magazine terminology, the AK was designed for 30-round magazines, so 30 rounds is "standard capacity" for the AK. I think it would be fair to call 40+ round RPK magazines "high capacity" for the AK, since they do indeed offer higher than standard capacity for the platform, just like a 30 round magazine for a Smith & Wesson 9mm is "high capacity" in the sense that it exceeds the standard 15 to 17 round capacity.

As others have pointed out, calling anything over 10 rounds "high capacity" is ridiculous, since civilian repeaters have exceeded 10 rounds since the early 1860's.

JustinJ
March 15, 2011, 02:02 PM
Arsenal is the only way to go. You may want to consider an ak74. The 5.45 is generally more accurate than the 7.62 russian and there is very cheap surplus available. Yes, I know it's corrosive but follow proper cleaning protocol and its not a problem. Just dont forget to clean out the gas tube as i once did.

High cap is a relative term. Since there are neutered AKs and other "Assault Rifles" that take only 10 round mags a doublestack 30 or 40 round mag is considered high cap in relation.

JFtheGR8
March 15, 2011, 04:50 PM
Saiga, then do the conversion on your own. Russian AK variant with a chrome lined barrel. The conversion is pretty simple with common tools. I have not converted mine yet but it is a project I hope to do soon.

Hal Carter
March 16, 2011, 09:48 AM
Plus 1 on the Bravo co. AR. They have all the mpi/pressure tested parts from the factory. Very few other makers do .

The AK used to only be considered for people who could not afford an AR. With the new piston ar's getting all the hype I think some people, (like me) are thinking, "Hey the old AK is a piston type gun". I have an ar and a couple of AK's. If I could only have 1 or the other it would be hard to decide, because like everything there is good/bad with each design. To me the AR is more user friendly, especially for mag changes. The pluses for AK are well known, but for me cleaning is a big plus for AK. The AR just has so many hard to reach cracks/crevices it is hard to get to them all. Field cleaning for an AK could be done in 5 or 10 minutes.

With the AR generally if it has an mpi bolt/carrier and an H buffer, it will be good to go. I have a fail zero bolt/carrier in my DD m4 and it makes cleaning easier and less often.

Like most things it comes down to this; Whatever you get, buy the best you can afford. If you can only afford an AK you will be more likely to get a good working Ak for between 500-800, but a good working AR will be near twice that.

Most likely it will not happen, (we hope) but in case of economic colapse or other anarchy type scenarios we can think of, it is at least possable that a person with an AR might be seen as military or LE, but a person with an AK would likely be seen as something less desirable. Certainly not a deciding factor but maybe worth a thought.

Either way, good luck with your choice.

nalioth
March 16, 2011, 09:54 AM
Like most things it comes down to this; Whatever you get, buy the best you can afford. If you can only afford an AK you will be more likely to get a good working Ak for between 500-800, but a good working AR will be near twice that.This is a fallacy.

Factory-built Kalashnikovs (original commie factory - not Cousin Jed's machine shop out in the township) are all built to the same specs and to perform the same function.

"The best AK" exists only due to marketing (you know, where the marketing department convinces you to pay $1100 for a rifle that may cost $100 at the US dock), because aside from aesthetics, all factory-built AKs run the same.

1stmarine
March 17, 2011, 11:11 PM
Saiga converted.
100% Russian pedigree all internals factory original, barrel, carrier, trunions, receiver, chrome lined....
everything but a new G2 trigger and all the other compliance cosmetic parts (Stock, handguard, grip)....

Stay away from Romanian junk yard systems with US barrels and receivers.

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/Saigas/100_6152b.jpg

nalioth
March 17, 2011, 11:23 PM
Stay away from Romanian Century and other junk yard systems with US barrels and receivers.Fixed.

Please keep in mind that not all US-made barrels are made by black powder rifle makers to the lowest bid (IOW, ask where the components are sourced from).

1stmarine
March 17, 2011, 11:26 PM
Stay away from Romanian Century/others junk yard systems with US barrels and receivers.

Fixed.

While some are having luck I run into a few that are pure junk. out of spec, canted posts, etc... nothing like the original.
I agree that you didn't see much of these years ago. The good imported stuff is gone. What is left is the surplus junk.

Fixed now!

JDMorris
March 17, 2011, 11:50 PM
I like AR's I shoot an AR alot, I have shot an AK, I don't like AK's as much as AR's.
Get an AR...

1stmarine
March 18, 2011, 12:02 AM
JDMorris,
they are two different things right? I love ARs too and shoot precision NM rifles and M4s but the AKs are a lot of fun. I think they great in defensive shooting drills switching between carbine and pistol and and we all know reliability is between 99.999% and 100%.
Have you tried this type of shooting whether against the clock or not? If not you should.
Cheers.
E.

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