AK-74 Clones?


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Cosmoline
May 2, 2012, 02:17 PM
A friend of mine had a tricked-up and surprisingly accurate AK-74 (not 47) clone at the range the other day. Long ago I had a nice Romanian AK-47 semi clone, but I've pretty much been there, done that. The 74's, however, are new to me.

Which ones should I look at for high quality and reasonable accuracy? Do these offer anything over a 47, or are they pretty much the same rifle in practice?

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M1key
May 2, 2012, 02:32 PM
Tantal '74s are a little different than your typical AK-47.

My first choice is still Saiga, either factory config or converted.

I would get moving on buying '74 mags. They seem to be drying up and when you find them they are more expensive.

M

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 03:12 PM
Mine is a Bulgarian AKS-74 parts kit built VERY nicely on a Nodakspud AKS-74 receiver. It exhibits exemplary accuracy with surplus 7n6 ammo. (Never tried Wolf, though.)

In general, -74s are the same gun as the AKM, though there are minor changes, like the fantastic muzzle brake/compensator device and the rock-solid side-fold mechanism (if you go in for that).

Mine was assembled in a pal's garage shop, so I don't have the scoop on who's building the best AK-74 clone right now.

I will point out that a Tantal does have some differences from a standard AK-74, including a right-side safety lever and a wire type folding stock which is considerably inferior to the AKS design or those that followed it.

FIVETWOSEVEN
May 2, 2012, 04:56 PM
I have a Interarms Tantal and love it. I plan on switching out the furniture in the future for Beryl furniture but it's a good gun as is.


I will point out that a Tantal does have some differences from a standard AK-74, including a right-side safety lever and a wire type folding stock which is considerably inferior to the AKS design or those that followed it.

That safety is very hard to use so I don't bother since I can use my pointer finger to work the safety. The buttstock might be inferior but I wouldn't know. I've learned to use it and can operate it with just my shooting hand.

Since threads are useless without pictures, here is mine being shot by my Girlfriend.
http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/559473_2912178138136_1671140721_1730589_1743920529_n.jpg

LAK
May 2, 2012, 05:43 PM
Since threads are useless without pictures, here is mine being shot by my Girlfriend
By golly that gal is smiling!

JustinJ
May 2, 2012, 05:50 PM
I have an Russian Arsenal 74. Given the receiver, barrel, trunions, bolt and carrier are made by Izhmash its more genuine than clone, minus the fun switch. They're going new right now for about $800.

Rob G
May 2, 2012, 05:50 PM
There are some significant differences between the new production '74s and the older '47s. The most obvious things are the caliber and muzzle brake. Those two differences alone change the whole shooting experience. The 5.45x39 round has recoil on par with 5.56 and combine that with the '74 style brake and you have very little recoil in the rifle, although it is very loud. There are also some differences with the internal parts between the old '47s and new '74s which have improved the overall quality and accuracy.

As for current production the biggest problem is that imports are down and sales are up so there's not much in stock at the moment. The Polish Tantals being made by Interams and Century are probably the cheapest '74 variants you can find right now and they're quality guns. The M+M M10 5.45s are also quality guns at a lower price but they're not entirely a '74 variant. What I mean is they're not an attempt to copy a rifle that's in service, or has been in service, with any country. Cugir and M+M just sort of made up the design using various parts. Last you have the Arsenals. These are as close to a current Russian issue AK-74M as you can get. The only difference between that and what Russian soldiers are carrying is the trigger group (no full auto), lack of a chrome lined brake, and no pistol grip reinforcemnt plate. They're some of the highest quality AKs you can currently buy, but they're not cheap. Price range right now is from $800 to $1200 NIB depending on model.

You can always but just a plain stock Saiga and convert it yourself though and honestly it's not that hard, plus you can customize it your way. Also, if you can find a used Waffen Werks or TGI '74 then buy that. They're awesome rifles but there's no new production at the moment.

Any properly assembled AK has an equal chance of being either really accurate or not. Buy any of the above and you'll probably be happy with what you have. It's really more a question of style and budget than good vs. bad. Unless it's a Lancaster, run far far away from those.

TurtlePhish
May 2, 2012, 06:23 PM
I have a Century-built standard -74, K-Var plum Warsaw stock set. Century guns aren't bad if you get a good one. Mine's great. One of my favorites.

DesertFox
May 2, 2012, 09:23 PM
Saiga 5.45x39 here. Works with 30 round Pmags I bought too. Highly recommended.

AethelstanAegen
May 2, 2012, 09:48 PM
+1 on the Interarms Tantal. The side folding wire stock may be a bit inferior to the triangular folding stock of the Russian AKS-74s, but it does have the advantage of allowing you to keep an optic on the rifle while the stock is folded (the Russian stocks fold to the left, covering the optics rail). The wire stock has certainly been sufficient for my uses with no problems and is quite comfortable to shoot with.

I have 100% reliability with my Interarms Tantal. It's been accurate, rugged ( the parkerized finish holds up very well), and just an all around great gun. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about it.

86250rrippin
May 2, 2012, 11:33 PM
saiga 5.45 here, gotta love a decent,accurate enough ,trustworthy,beater gun ....

GunTech
May 3, 2012, 03:17 AM
Interarms or Waffen Werks seem to be the best guns for the money. That cheap 5.45 is corrosive, so a chrome bore is pretty much standard. The arsenal guns are all Russian but the extra money doesn't buy you any more performance, and the guncote finish one my WW 74 is much nicer than my Arsenal.

No matter what anyone claims, you aren't going to get a 74 that shoots tiny groups with surplus 7N6 ammo. The gun may have a good bore but the QC on the ammo is pretty poor by western standards so the ammo is the limiting factor. However, I have found that handloaded ammo can be pretty accurate out of a good 74. The question is, why bother? At $125 per 1080 can (or less) if you shop around, the surplus stuff is usually good enough for casual blasting. If you want a tack driver, you are looking at the wrong rifle.

86250rrippin
May 3, 2012, 04:04 AM
^^^^^ that sums it up there ^^^^^^^^^^^ 3" groups @ 100 is good for the surplus ammo. im going to try some hornady to see if it tightens up a bit. if it does ,good !! if not, its still ok . its just a fun gun anyways to me

Sam1911
May 3, 2012, 07:19 AM
No matter what anyone claims, you aren't going to get a 74 that shoots tiny groups with surplus 7N6 ammo. The gun may have a good bore but the QC on the ammo is pretty poor by western standards so the ammo is the limiting factor.
True enough. I really don't know the accuracy potential of my AKS-74 as all I ever shoot is suprlus stuff.

But, that will give me true 1.5" groups at 100 yds, and that's actually a bit better than what I need for the tasks I use that carbine for.

Snowdog
May 3, 2012, 10:13 AM
Personally, I really like the 5.45x39 cartridge. I nearly purchased an IZ-240 Saiga last year just to have something chambered in it. I wish I had as they were selling at Centerfire Inc for $189 at the time and now they seem to be selling in the $300 range when they can be found at all.

At least 7N6 is still cheap. Last I checked, a tin of 1080 was still at around $140. I recently spent nearly $400 for 1k rounds of XM193.

JustinJ
May 3, 2012, 03:43 PM
My 74 does 2" groups with 7N6 consistently. The hornaday stuff is actually less accurate in my rifle.

M1key
May 3, 2012, 04:33 PM
Try some Silver Bear...

M

LAK
May 5, 2012, 06:53 PM
My 74 does 2" groups with 7N6 consistentlyAnd that's plenty good enough for a combat weapon. Input in other threads concerning the accuracy of issue M4s - and let's emphasize that means general issue M4s - indicate they are no better than this with average service loads. So this issue ought to be easily laid to rest right here.

Cosmoline
May 5, 2012, 10:39 PM
Thanks for the input!

I took a look at a Saiga and a Tantal Century import. The Saiga had badly canted rear sights, and didn't impress me much at first handling. Are the sights often that badly installed?

The Tantal looked a lot more squared away than the typical Century ape-made stuff. Not that that's saying all that much. I don't care too much for the wire stock. I wonder how hard it would be to swap the furniture around a bit.

AethelstanAegen
May 6, 2012, 02:06 AM
I wonder how hard it would be to swap the furniture around a bit.
On Tantals, the stock is replaceable with anything you'd like as is, IIRC, the lower handguard. The upper handguard is quite different from other AKs and so would only be, easily, swappable with other Tantal or Beryl furniture.

I've been hearing that the Century Tantals are much improved, I'm not sure if they have chrome lined barrels yet (the Interarms does which is a nice addition given that 7n6 is corrosive). Some of the early Century Tantals had 5.56 barrels installed and so had a lot of problems with keyholing. As with any other Century product, you can get a good one for sure, but best to inspect in person if you can swing it (or be sure that the Tantal you order is of new manufacture, which is still not a guarantee).

FIVETWOSEVEN
May 6, 2012, 01:34 PM
I only know of two upper handguards for the Tantal, the Tantal handguard and the Beryl Handguard.

Dave Markowitz
May 17, 2012, 10:35 PM
If you've never shot an AK in 5.56 or 5.45 you're in for a treat. The recoil is even lighter than the 7.62x39 and with an AK-74 brake, the rifle hardly moves. Recoil impulse is only around 2.5 ft.-lbs. for the 5.45 round.

From what I've read, the 5.45 AKs are generally a bit more accurate than those in 7.62x39. I haven't shot mine enough to confirm this, however.

I got into the AK-74 game late, shoulda done it several years ago when the milsurp mags were ~$5 each. Oh well, at least the ammo is still cheap. Today I received 1500 rounds of Silver Bear 5.45x39 from AIM for ~$300 shipped. I decided to get the Silver Bear since my '74 is a Century NDS-2, which has an American made barrel with no chrome lining. This way I don't need to clean it the same day I shoot it, as I would with milsurp 7N6 (though I already had a case of that on hand).

The NDS-2s have a generally good reputation as cheap blasters. They are built from a mix of Bulgarian and American parts. They use a Tapco G2 fire control group, which is good. The US-made furniture they come with sucks, though. The butt doesn't have enough drop and some guys have reported melting the handguards in rapid fire. I replaced the furniture on mine with a set of K-Var OD plastic, which has a stainless steel heatshield in the lower handguard. It looks, feels, and performs a lot better than the Century crap.

Buck Kramer
May 17, 2012, 10:45 PM
Mine are Bulgarian home builds, shoot about 3 MOA, and that's my fault.

Techsan
May 17, 2012, 11:26 PM
I've been pondering a 74 for a while now and broke down and ordered a VEPR today. But damn if the usual sources for ammo are all out at the moment.

ironhead7544
May 17, 2012, 11:35 PM
Best bang for the buck: convert a Saiga. Easy to do. Made in the original factory.

blackwalnut
May 17, 2012, 11:41 PM
I have had great performance with accuracy and reliablilty with my M10 and Saiga 5.45. Also have a Century that is reliable and accurate. The Century though has a 1 in 10 twist and is accurate with 55 grain loads. Anything heavier and it yaws and even keyholes. The other 2 rifles are 1 in 8 twists and shoot everything well.

You may have to go mail order for ammo at times. My favorite shop seems to have a problem getting 5.45 for me so I buy it from one of my other less favorite shops. But they do transfer them for me and I cant discount that.

The first mention favorite shop has a bit of a "thing" against the 5.45. They are heavily stocked in AR gadgetry and are AR enthusiasts. They carry 7.62 X 39ammo and maybe 1 0r 2 AK47s though otherwise they are a good shop!

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