Can a coverted Saiga use its original magazines?


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epijunkie67
January 17, 2013, 12:09 AM
I've looked and can't find a reliable answer to this. I know that Saiga magazines have an integrated bullet guide in them. I know that to covert a Saiga in 7.62 you have to install a bullet guide and file down the magazine catch a little for it to accept standard AK47 magazines.

So my question is, if you convert a Saiga by making the required modifications to allow it to use a standard AK47 magazine, will the original Saiga magazines (or other aftermarket high cap magazines designed for the Saiga) still function in the weapon?

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Fishbed77
January 17, 2013, 12:14 AM
Yes, but you will need to file the file the front lip of the Saiga magazine down so the profile matches that of an AK mag.

Bhi curamach
January 17, 2013, 01:41 AM
Depending on your specific conversion plans its easily inserted.
I stripped one down to exactly the following, receiver, barrel and rear sight block, minus the lame 1 2 3 marked leaf. That last action is a bit of a pain if you don't know the trick.
I then handled a very nice Bulgarian 74 kit ( the saiga was a 7.62 but that's mostly not an issue. More on that at the end) and proceeded to install every part from fully populating the barrel all the way to the highly annoying original Bulgy mag release bracket, lever, and stupid evil spring... damn that thing to hell! ... the bulgy sight leaf install was also a small annoyance.
The end result was a fine looking AK that not only took all surplus/ new standard Mag's but retained the ability to use the factory 10 rounder.
I held off on the bullet guide install you see.
Normally people going full on conversion install it but I discovered in a range session testing the new GB and FSB location before pinning them on the barrel (buy a few extra drill bits for this by the way) that I could use FMJ or HP with no ill effects with any mag at any rate of fire.
Excepting full auto of course.
SP would only work with the factory mag.
I don't recall having SP 7.62 work in Mag's over the States wildlife authorities ever being anything remotely like a requirement so I called it a day and moved on.
Should the day ever come when one might desperately require soft points I believe there's a proper bullet guide packed up with the take off saiga factory parts and the few remaining unused parts from the Bulgarian kit. Excess rivets, front/ rear trunnions, RSB and the nifty FA FCG

dubya450
January 17, 2013, 01:48 AM
No, you have to modify the Saiga mags to work. I'm in the middle of doing all this myself right now.

WardenWolf
January 17, 2013, 01:02 PM
A few seconds with a decent file and you're done. My friend did this with his VEPR, which takes Saiga magazines. I watched him do it, and it didn't take much. Saigas are easier to adapt to standard mags than a VEPR. VEPRs have a non-standard magazine catch that either has to be filed down or replaced to allow a normal AK mag to lock up. With a Saiga, any AK-style mag will just lock in.

ThePenguinKnight
January 17, 2013, 02:57 PM
A few seconds with a decent file and you're done. My friend did this with his VEPR, which takes Saiga magazines. I watched him do it, and it didn't take much. Saigas are easier to adapt to standard mags than a VEPR. VEPRs have a non-standard magazine catch that either has to be filed down or replaced to allow a normal AK mag to lock up. With a Saiga, any AK-style mag will just lock in.
Not quite true. Factory saiga rifles need some minor filing for standard ak mags to lock in. I believe the saiga and VEPR rifles are the same in this regard, though I have not handled many VEPRs.

dubya450
January 17, 2013, 03:51 PM
Yep the Saiga needs to be filed as well.

SSN Vet
January 17, 2013, 04:47 PM
It depends on how you do the conversion....

Mil surp. mags have a larger lock tab on the back side, while the sporter mags have a skinny one. The hinged mag lock on the sporter rifle has a skinny slot cut into it that fits the skinny lock tab on the sporter mag. The fat tab on the mil. surp mag will not engage in the sporter's hinged mag lock.

Many like to make the rifle compatable with any mil. surp mag, so they file the slot on the rifle's hinged mag lock larger to hold the unaltered mil. surp mag. In this situation, the thin tab on the sporter mag will no longer be held tightly in place and is essentially no longer reliably useable in the rifle.

But....

Some people opt to leave the slot on the rifles hinged mag lock as is, and instead, file the tab on the mil. surp mags to fit. In this situation, only modified mil. surp mags are compatable with the rifle and the sporter mags continue to work fine.

There is also consideration that has to be given to the bullet guide.

The front edge of the sporter mags is built up higher than the mil. surp mags, and acts as a bullet guide. The mil. surp mags will not tip the bullet up and require a bullet guide to be installed on the floor in front of the chamber opening. The bullet guide may interfere with the raised front edge of the sporter mag, making it difficult or impossible to seat the sporter mag. But if the bullet guide is sized and fitted correctly, the raised front edge of the sporter mag will clear and remain perfectly useable.

WardenWolf
January 17, 2013, 05:06 PM
They must have changed it, then, as my Saiga .223 can lock in Galil and 7.62x39 AK mags just fine with no modifications.

chris in va
January 17, 2013, 06:01 PM
I had a x39 saiga.

In order for the regular AK mags to work, the mag catch has to be filed down a bit. You can still use factory Saiga mags after that but they'll be a bit loose.

Bhi curamach
January 17, 2013, 06:12 PM
All true, though as I mentioned in my waaay too long rambling post, a bullet guide will nearly guarantee flawless feeding of all bullet styles but sometimes are not required for every rifle if FMJ and a harder nose HP is used. Ive around 450-500 through w/no guide and NO issue. Ive seen a few other claims on the web. Probably not the norm and I want to say those claiming this had performed more than the grip/FCG/mag release filing conversion.
I'm probably wrong but that's what I'm remembering.

Not the point really so here's this fun fact. If you go reeeeaaaal slow with your filing and take frequent stops to insert both Mag's( factory and scary high cap surplus) you may be able to reach a point where the death spraying clip.. uh, magazine fits as well as the factory.
The factory will be slightly loose, slightly. The correct style Mag's will be varied in their degree of tightness.
I'm sure it was a fluke for that and the fact that I can launch all but SP with no bullet guide but it's actually quite true.
Christ on a bike, long rambling again...sorry.

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