Need help, my first black rifle


February 6, 2012, 06:16 PM
I have been researching buying either and AK or AR variant. I find the AR's pricey and I have decided on a Saiga AK, my question is which caliber 5.56 Nato or 7.62x39?

I can get one in either caliber and I was leaning towards a 5.56 in an AR but the price of a Saiga cant be beat.

So Im planning on using the rifle for all around purposes, possibly having fun building a zombie killer, but probably leave it pretty much alone. I will admit I dont know much about military rifles so I dont know what choice to make.

Im looking for opinions on the caliber, not necessarily the choice of rifle. Can you all enlighten me on the pros/cons of both calibers.


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Rob G
February 6, 2012, 06:28 PM
There are scores of threads on here about 5.56x45 vs 7.62x39 and I'm sure someone much more knowledgeable than I about the two rounds will be along in a second to summarize them for you. So I'm going to point out just one little thing that's very important in your selection. If you're going to buy an AK it's best to get one in a native AK caliber. Basically that means 7.62X39 or 5.45x39. The reason for this is's really easy to get quality AK magazines in either of those two calibers, especially 7.62. The list of countries that built in that caliber is big and so are the surplus parts supplies. If you buy an AK in 5.56x45 you're always going to have a hard time finding quality magazines for it.

Incidentally if you really want a small caliber AK (which isn't a bad idea) look at the 5.45x39. It's very similiar to the 5.56x45 but the parts for AKs in that caliber are more readily available.

February 6, 2012, 06:31 PM
Rob G hit the nail on the head. Go with an OEM chambering of the rifle. 5.56 AKs have proprietary parts that can sometimes be hard to find.

February 6, 2012, 06:46 PM
x39 all the way. Try to turn your AK into a M4 and youll bring all the M4 problems with it. Works same the other way too.

x39 is more bang for you buck too.

February 6, 2012, 07:35 PM
so if i could get an endless supply of part/magazines would you all still reccomend the x39?


February 6, 2012, 07:39 PM
7.62X39 if you plan to possibly shoot a deer with it.
5.56 if you plan on it for more of a target and varmint gun.
5.56 has a little bit flatter trajectory.
5.56 is fine on deer up close.
most people that buy one of those go for the 7.62X39.

February 6, 2012, 07:56 PM
If you're just going to take it to the range every once in a while and put a mag through it, it's a toss up. It would just depend on which caliber you preferred. 5.56 will give you a flatter trajectory and the commercial 5.56 is usually going to be more accurate than some of the commercial 7.62x39 (thinking wolf etc here) and will definitely be more accurate than surplus 7.62x39.

If you plan to do more than just play with it once and a while on the range, I'd go with the 7.62. It is MUCH easier to find parts and mags for it, and those parts are not only plentiful, but they are cheap! 7.62 AK mags are about the cheapest mags out there (excluding the G3 mags) and it is very hard to do something to make one of them stop running. Most 7.62x39 ammo is much cheaper than 5.56, especially if you buy in bulk.

I believe someone earlier mentioned this also, but a number of the 5.56 parts are proprietary which means that not only are they going to be more expensive than the "normal" AK parts, but because there is no real standard, you run the risk of buying parts that say "5.56 AK" but still won't work in your rifle. If you have just piles of money to drop on the rifle, mags and a stockpile of parts direct from the manufacturer, some of this might not matter to you. But keep in mind, the extra money you put towards making sure you have all of that could be put towards upgrades to a 7.62 rifle (night sights, lights, optics) and you could come out with a much more useful rifle for the same price.

February 6, 2012, 08:13 PM
so if i could get an endless supply of part/magazines would you all still reccomend the x39?

no, in that case Id recommend an AR :neener:

303 hunter
February 6, 2012, 08:39 PM
Some of you failed to catch the fact that Tom is buying a Saiga AK variant. Standard AK mags will not work without permanent modifications. I do agree with the 7.62x39 cartridge recommendation though. I have found that the Bear brand ammo is the most accurate of the budget ammo. Three deer were put in my freezer last year with Silver Bear soft point. These rifles are lots of fun, and fairly accurate out of the box. I do wish they made a7.62x39 version with a 20" barrel!

February 6, 2012, 09:03 PM
All you need is a bullet guide to use ak mags. It only takes 5 minutes to install.

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