AK Help


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JohnGibson
January 2, 2012, 01:00 AM
Hi THR,

I read about AK's and still kind of confused about the whole thing. There are so many AK variants out there and so many company to look to choose from I don't know where to begin. Also I read that are two different caliber to choose from, 7.62x39 and 5.45x39. People say that 5.45x39 ammo is cheaper but when I was looking at pricing they were about the same price.

What I am looking for is a good AK platform to start off with. One that I can build up later if I wanted to. I don't know the difference or advantage from the AK-47 to the AK-74. I would be mainly using this for target shooting/fun but if there are other uses for it that would be great too. Could you guys school me and point me in the right direction?

Also right now I am not a fan of the wood parts of the AK, black polymer would be my preference.

Thanks

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Cal-gun Fan
January 2, 2012, 01:07 AM
For a first AK, I would recommend the 7.62x39. It is the classic caliber, is easily found, and is great fun. 5.45 is cheaper, but its harder to find (in stores) and there are fewer rifles in that caliber.

I would suggest two rifles for you. The first, for about $750, is the Arsenal SGL-21 rifle. It is probably the best new AK you can buy right now and is made from the Russian Saiga rifle, which is a true Russian AK-100/74m spec rifle in a sporting configuration. They're accurate, their fit and finish is great, and their are smooth shooters. They come in black polymer like you prefer :)

OR, you could get a Saiga rifle and convert it yourself. The performance of the rifle will likely be about as good as the arsenal and it will be less expensive, but it won't look like a normal AK. You could probably get a Saiga and the parts to convert it for about $450. There are plenty of guides on how to do the conversion on the internet.

RIATAC45
January 2, 2012, 01:15 AM
I can't say which is better for you, but for me the 7.62x39 is easier to get locally. I bought a 7.62 saiga, did the conversion and bullet guide, a midwest industries mount with a primary arms micro dot and called it good. I haven't got to do alot of shooting with it yet, but so far it has flawless.

I have heard that the 5.45 will blow the front legs off of a 100+ pound hog, but have not seen it with my own eyes. The person I heard it from reloads them with Nosler Ballistic tips for hunting use. If you look at numbers alone it is between the .22 mag and .223 rem. in terms of velocity I believe.

I don't know if that helps or not, its just my 2 cents.

JohnGibson
January 2, 2012, 02:30 AM
Buying ammo won't be much of a problem if I stock up from online retailers and if its cheaper or the same price locally. I also forgot to mention that I am from California if that makes a difference. I heard about those two brands a lot, where do I find the Saiga, are they consider AK's or under a different name/model?

What is the advantage or disadvantage of the two calibers?

LKB3rd
January 2, 2012, 09:12 AM
Saiga's are just called Saiga, with the caliber. ie: Saiga 7.62x39. In their stock configuration you may or may not like them, but if you are moderately handy, and willing to do a few hours research and work, they can be made into a standard AK for less money than say an Arsenal.

I would also research CA laws, there may be some restrictions (10 round mags?) that you'll need to be aware of. A good local shop should be able to help you with that if you can't find it online (which you should be able to do as well).

7.62 is a larger bullet, with more oomph. 5.45 is smaller, and by some reports more accurate, but out of an AK, I don't think either are going to be target shooters. That's not to say you can't hit what you aim at with either, especially out of a Saiga/any rifle made from one which are about as good as it gets for this style of rifle. You can also get a Saiga in .223, .308 or 12ga to make it more confusing :P

JohnnyK
January 2, 2012, 11:18 AM
dude, with so many AKs they are like anyother commodity... that's like asking which car is best? or which smart phone?... they are all "decent" just pick one you like and chances are when you pull the trigger it'll go bang... I own 8 AKs and keep each one for a different reason... but enjoy shooting them all... go to www.atlanticfirearms.com and check out their AK selection... they offer quality stuff... or check out www.gunbroker.com and search for AK in their firearms search... you'll see thousands of AKs for sale... which one you get depends on what you want it to do... I own 8 of em... a 12 guage for home defense, clays and 3-gun, one for 3-gun rifle, a hunting rifle... the rest for going bang at shooting range... 5.45 x 39 is very similar to AR-15 ammo... 7.62 x 39 is larger caliber both are easily found online at similar prices... what do you want the AK for?

Rob G
January 2, 2012, 12:48 PM
I also forgot to mention that I am from California if that makes a difference.

Yeah it does actually. You have all kinds of local laws to deal with that I can't even begin to fathom since we don't have them here. As others have said there are lots of options out there from buying a ready made one to converting your own Saiga and a few in between as well. Since you are in Cali though you have to be VERY careful exactly what features your rifle has.

Honestly if it were me, I'd just buy an Arsenal (I already own one and love it) since they're as close to a new production Russian AK as you can buy. They come in the black polymer which you said you liked. Also, and very importantly, they make versions that are CA legal so you know that your rifle will be good to go with the local authorities without having to make any modifications.

As for caliber that's a tough debate. The 7.62x39 is widely available and is a very useful round, it has roughly the same performance as a 30-30. The 5.45x39 on the other hand is much more similiar to 5.56x45 and is also a little more difficult to find. I only have one store locally that sells it and it's expensive Monarch ammo. Mostly I order Russian 7n6 (milsurp) by the spam can (1080 rounds) from online vendors. Doing it that way I can buy the 1080 round can for as little as $120+S/H although the average price is around $135+S/H. Cheapest I've seen the 7.62 recently was about $200/1000 rounds. Both rounds do similiar soft tissue damage based on ballistics gel testing. That's using milsurp ammo though. Using different ammo you get all kinds of different results. Also bear in mind that ranges are different. 7.62 is good out to about 300m, 5.45 will push out to 500m so if you want to do longer range plinking the 5.45 may be a better option.

I hope I've helped a bit. Either way enjoy your AK when you get it. They're a blast to shoot and I'm already trying to decide what my next one will be.

Cal-gun Fan
January 2, 2012, 12:50 PM
I'm also in California! Arsenal makes a California-specific model, its the SGL-23.

LKB3rd
January 2, 2012, 07:35 PM
I'm also in California! Arsenal makes a California-specific model, its the SGL-23.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNIY-B5G2bU

Looks pretty slick. Why the key to lock in the magazine? I'm not sure I even want to know, I am sure it will be dumb :/

animator
January 2, 2012, 07:39 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNIY-B5G2bU

Looks pretty slick. Why the key to lock in the magazine? I'm not sure I even want to know, I am sure it will be dumb :/
Because detachable mags are a no-go with any other "evil" features.


To remove the magazine, a "tool" is required, hence the lock.

Rob G
January 2, 2012, 07:40 PM
Why the key to lock in the magazine? I'm not sure I even want to know, I am sure it will be dumb :/

It is very dumb. I don't know the full specifics of the law but it's something about not being able to have a detachable magazine in that type of weapon. Or more specifically one that can only be removed by use of a "tool." That key lock you see is called a "bullet button" and it basically prevents you from hitting the mag release with your fingers. You have to use a "tool" to reach in there and push the mag release.

Cal-gun Fan
January 2, 2012, 08:06 PM
It is very dumb. I don't know the full specifics of the law but it's something about not being able to have a detachable magazine in that type of weapon. Or more specifically one that can only be removed by use of a "tool." That key lock you see is called a "bullet button" and it basically prevents you from hitting the mag release with your fingers. You have to use a "tool" to reach in there and push the mag release.
I'm a bad boy...I hot glue my key to the lock :O

JohnGibson
January 3, 2012, 02:45 AM
Thanks all for the suggestions. I think the shop guys told me the same about the tool to remove the mag which I think is stupid. California makes all these laws to make it harder for law abiding citizen to own a gun or defend themselves while the "bad guys" have fully automatic weapons. Does that gun come in a 5.45 version? The gun will be mainly for target shooting/fun. Would not want to use as a home defense, hope it doesn't get to that point.

Rob G
January 3, 2012, 06:33 AM
Does that gun come in a 5.45 version?
Yeah, the Arsenal SGL 33-61 is the 5.45 CA compliant version. I don't know if you'll be able to find one sitting around at your local gun store but there are lots of places to order them from.

The Capt
January 3, 2012, 01:17 PM
JohnGibson,

I'm NOT an AK expert whatsoever, but the BEST built and Highest quality AK rifle is by Arsenal Fire Arms and that is exactly what every gun shop has told me when I too inquired about AK-47 rifles. Arsenal's are not cheap, but they work, are accurate and beautiful. Here are three photos of my Arsenal SA M-7 Classic AK-47. :)

http://www.arsenalinc.com/usa/home.php?cat=

The patches, incase anyone is interested, came from: http://www.campaigncasuals.com/hunting-club-military-patches.html

Yellow Box
January 4, 2012, 08:27 PM
here is the deal with ak's in cali
if you leave them as they come, *with no pistol grip they are perfectly legal in cali
if you had 30rd mags before the 2000 ban you can even use them in the ak

You can also cover over the pistol grip with a kydex cover and do the above


Now if you have to have a pistol grip all you need is a mag lock device. Then use a tool to drop the mag and only use 10rd mags

thats it
very simple to understand
if you start changing the ak how it originally comes, like stocks, flash hiders etc then you need the mag lock tool and 10 rd mag


the unconverted saigas, can be used as is in cali
30 rd mags, drums etc as long as those were owned before the 2000 ban

there are evil features cali states for centerfire rifles
pistol grip, flash hider, telescope stock maybe another cant remember
but since the ak comes with only 1 evil feature (pistol grip) they are great to own in cali
either use a mag lock, take off grip, or cover over the grip

JustinJ
January 4, 2012, 08:35 PM
the unconverted saigas, can be used as is in cali
30 rd mags, drums etc as long as those were owned before the 2000 ban

As i understand it one would be in violation of federal low if a high cap magazine or drum were used in a Saiga that fails to meet 922r compliance.

Yellow Box
January 4, 2012, 09:01 PM
Unconverted like the sportster models
the ones with the hunting type stock can be sold in Ca ive seen them just today for sale
If it needs the 922r it will come that way when you buy it
Im no expert on the unconverted ak's though
But I know on other rifles like the mini 14, kel tec su16 you can use the high cap mags(owned before 2000 ban) on those because they have no evil features too

But lets say they are using the mag as part of the 922r count
all you need is one mag, not every mag
so as long as you have one mag to fulfill the 922r you are still cool
I usually keep that mag in the rifle when not in use
Or change out the follower, plate to usa made on your older mags
your allowed to rebuild your old high cap mags if you need to, so if you like the plastic mag bodies or whatever you can legally rebuild them to that, as long as you destroy the old one it replaces

Anyways I thought these rifle importers make sure there are enough 922 internally anyway to be safe
like changing the trigger group and maybe because the saiga does not have a pg then thats one less 922 you need on it anyways


Myself I like the kydex wing over the PG
its actually quite comfortable to shoot that way

fallout mike
January 4, 2012, 09:21 PM
7.62x39 AK is generally a 4-4.5 moa gun. The 5.45x39 is generally a 2-2.5 moa gun. 5.45x39 is quite a bit cheaper ammo. If you handload the 5.45 is quite difficult.

Jenrick
January 4, 2012, 10:40 PM
Most sporting good stores sell 7.62, 5.45 is a little more difficult to find. However online it's very easy to find 5.45 for very good prices. In terms of ballistic performance the 7.62x39 performs rather poorly in thin skinned targets (man or beast). The wounding track has a very long "neck" meaning it will largely pass through the target before it begins to rate and increase the wound size. 7.62x39 rounds will almost never fragment. 5.45x39 does much better, as it upsets and rotates much earlier in the wound track. However the 7.62x39 has more mass, and thus penetrates intermediate barriers better. For a general hunting cartridge, both are poor choices due to their wounding mechanism. In terms of shootability, the 5.45 has less recoil, higher velocity, and in general is more accurate.

-Jenrick

Rob G
January 4, 2012, 11:31 PM
Anyways I thought these rifle importers make sure there are enough 922 internally anyway to be safe
like changing the trigger group
On an unconverted saiga the parts are 100% Russian. There is nothing on them that's made in the USA. It's only when they're converted back in to regular AK style that the importers swap out parts to make them 922r.

and maybe because the saiga does not have a pg then thats one less 922 you need on it anyways

True, but an unconverted saiga with a foreign made magazine actually has 16 foreign made parts (the same as an actual AK) that are counted for 922r. You'd need to swap 6 of them for US made parts to be compliant.

animator
January 5, 2012, 09:17 AM
If it needs the 922r it will come that way when you buy it


Not true. If a Saiga comes into the country in a "sporting" configuration, it does not meet the requirements of an "assault-type" weapon, and is therefore exempt from 922r. If you go ant modifiy it by adding any features that remove it's "sporting" classification, you are then also required to conform to 922r.

If you add a pistol grip to your Saiga, you now must ensure the ENTIRE rifle is 922r compliant.




But lets say they are using the mag as part of the 922r count
all you need is one mag, not every mag
so as long as you have one mag to fulfill the 922r you are still cool



This is not true. If you are relying on magazine parts to stay compliant with 922r, then EVERY magazine that's put into the gun MUST also enure that the gun STAYS 922r compliant.

If 3 of your parts come from a US mag, and you remove that mag and add an imported mag, you are now 3 parts shy of being in compliance with 922r.

leadchucker
January 5, 2012, 11:02 AM
I shopped for "a good AK platform to start off with", and I chose the Saiga IZ132. They are very affordable right now, like $299. (Shipping and FFL fee are extra.) I chose 7.62. Forgive me for using a worn term, but I consider the 7.62 to be a better "general purpose" round. IMO, ammo cost and availability are really about the same, either way you go.

I converted it to the basic AK configuration using a US made stock, pistol grip, trigger, disconnector, and hammer, so it is 922r compliant, without any worries about what mags I use. A complete kit with black polymer stuff is available from Carolina Shooter's Supply for around $150. You'll probably want to add the bullet guide and file the mag latch, so it will take standard AK mags. Converting the handguard is another issue I haven't tackled yet.

JustinJ
January 5, 2012, 11:21 AM
5.45 ammo is considered cheaper because surplus 7N6 military ammo can be had in tins of 1080 rounds for about $140. In regards to newly manufactured steel imports the price is about the same.

All AKs are not equal and for production guns Arsenal is by far the best. The bulgarian and russian are both top of the line.

JHenry
January 5, 2012, 11:24 AM
According to Classicarms the Russians are reevaluating the importers they allow to bring in their rifles and classic is sold out of all 100% unconverted saigas, except the 308 which you have to call in for a price. Finding one for $300 could prove to be difficult for several months but the good news is it wont stay way. Theyll be back soon enough but if your trying to scratch that AK itch you probably need to consider something else.

Their are several other great options. Interarms, Arsenals, waffen werks, and m70 variants are still in abundance for their respective prices and they are all good-to-great builds.

I really wish mak 90s werent such a rarity anymore, i would love one of those but the ones on online auctions run the same price as m70s and with the stock set to replace the thumbhole you really start to overpay for what it is. But ive found it impossible to find one in Alabama(then again all i have found was mostly WASRs and a few overpriced Arsenals[asking price over a grand])

Good luck with your hunt

leadchucker
January 5, 2012, 04:26 PM
Centerfire Systems lists the Saiga IZ-132 for $299. For the past couple of months, the listing has said that it's temporarily out of stock, but backorders are being accepted.

I inquired as to when they would be available, and they told me about a week. I sent my money, and they had one to my FFL within a week. The listing has said "temporarily out of stock" all along. :confused:

YMMV.

JohnGibson
January 5, 2012, 06:54 PM
Thanks for all the info. I can wait for an AK and I think I'll go with the 5.45 round for range shooting. I believe all the AK in Cali requires the mag lock but I still have to look into that. The shop that I deal with builds their own AK's, even to bending the plate to form the body cover. One of the parts kit the name was from Romanian and I think the other one was from Bulgarian, not sure. I don't think they had any parts kit from Russia. The AK's they had were around $700. I need to talk to the main person who builds it to see how it's built before I justified buying it from them or online with an Aresenal kit.

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