Best Overall AK on the Market


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WALKERs210
May 8, 2013, 01:23 PM
A simple question, or maybe not so simple. Of all the different Importers offering AK's and disregarding the prices what would be the general thought as to the best AK using quality parts, workmanship, dependability. I have seen some weapons that have been bashed then on next page praised. So who has the most consistent AK.

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C-grunt
May 8, 2013, 01:47 PM
Arsenal is always a good choice. I don't know if they are "the best" but they are really really well made. My buddy bought an Arsenal and that gun has changed a lot of people views on the accuracy of the AK platform.

Fishbed77
May 8, 2013, 03:17 PM
I know many folks will disagree with me on this, but there is definitely a point of diminishing returns that you hit pretty quickly with AKs. You can spend a lot of money to tune and customize them all you want, or buy a high end brand, and you will still not have gained all that much.

I agree with C-grunt in that Arsenal is almost alway a good choice, be it their Bulgarian milled or Russian stamped (Saiga) AKs. Actually, any well-done Saiga conversion will be a very good rifle.

You can certainly spend a lot more money on a Krebs Custom, etc., if you want to, and will definitely get a slick, nice-looking rifle, but functionally, it will work pretty much the same and be as reliable as a well-made production-line gun.

There are plenty of lower-end AKs that I would avoid, though (IO, Hesse, etc.).

nathan
May 8, 2013, 03:28 PM
The preban Chicom AKs were the best before the Arsenal SLRs.

Piratesailor
May 8, 2013, 03:32 PM
Saiga's.

You can get into the price/quality issue all day long though.

Dunkelheit
May 8, 2013, 03:45 PM
Finnish M62S

valnar
May 8, 2013, 03:50 PM
If you aren't sold on an AK per se, look for the Vz.58 from Czechpoint.

481
May 8, 2013, 04:05 PM
A simple question, or maybe not so simple. Of all the different Importers offering AK's and disregarding the prices what would be the general thought as to the best AK using quality parts, workmanship, dependability. I have seen some weapons that have been bashed then on next page praised. So who has the most consistent AK.

In my experience, the milled Arsenals are probably the most consistent AKs. The extra weight of the milled AKs (they go about a pound and a half or so heavier than stamped units) is nice to have as it dampens the already gentle recoil of the 7.62x39 round enhancing controllability even more. Of course, there are those who'll complain about that little bit of weight and then go on to slap four and half pounds worth of accessories on their favorite AR. :evil: All of their parts are new manufacture. (the receivers are hot die forgings with brand-new Steyr chrome-lined barrels)

I've got six milled Arsenals (3 SAS M7s, 2 SA M7 Rs and a SA M7 A1) and all are well finished (the baked on epoxy finish is tough and evenly applied) and very accurate rifles (the iron sights routinely yield 2" - 2 1/2" groups at 100m).

WALKERs210
May 8, 2013, 04:22 PM
In the early 90's I worked at a Pawn/Gun shop, had access to just about anything that one could want. Never had any real interest in the AK platform, but I did appreciate the SKS and how a cheap rifle could and would function so well. In the last couple years I have owned two AK's one being a Maddi that seemed to be a very decent build, don't remember who imported it. I recently decided to go ahead and start looking for an AK hence for this post about which is not so much BEST but a better choice. 481 your post has really solid information and will defiantly sway my choice. Thanks to all for their input.

Ar180shooter
May 8, 2013, 04:54 PM
While it's not technically a member of the AK family, IMO the Sig 551 brings the best or the AK and Ar platforms together. AR style ergonomics, optic mounting and upper/lower receiver design combined with an AK style long stroke gas piston and 2 lug rotating bolt. Hard to beat from a design standpoint IMO.

The newer Sig Sauer rifles have (from what I've heard) resolved the QC issues that the early 556's had. It's just another option worth considering.

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv172/Ar180shooter/100_0411_zpsc867394a.jpg
http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv172/Ar180shooter/100_0417_zps6ff66ec0.jpg
http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv172/Ar180shooter/100_0413_zpsba0f6d1a.jpg
http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv172/Ar180shooter/100_0415_zps0282d2a3.jpg
Swiss made 551 SB (technically a Canadian legal PE90 Classic Green Carbine)

silicosys4
May 8, 2013, 04:57 PM
As far as bang for your buck, I would have to agree that the Norinco ak's were/are the best value.
No more expensive, generally, than WASR's, or other cheaper ak's, but they were all properly built and used thicker receivers and barrels.

aka108
May 8, 2013, 05:52 PM
I have a old Arsenal SA M7S and those were well built with a lot of attention to fit and finish. Also have two stock Saigas which are mass built and inexpensively finished. The Arsenal holds a slight edge on accuracy. If I had to carry one around all day, the Saiga is much lighter. Either povide the same level of shooting enjoyment. Really depends upon how much you wish to spend.

nathan
May 8, 2013, 05:58 PM
The best sights goes to the Sig 551 A1 rotary rear sight. I ve handled the 556 model and like the sights. The weak design was the mag release button that be accidentally press causing the mag to drop.

481
May 8, 2013, 07:27 PM
In the early 90's I worked at a Pawn/Gun shop, had access to just about anything that one could want. Never had any real interest in the AK platform, but I did appreciate the SKS and how a cheap rifle could and would function so well. In the last couple years I have owned two AK's one being a Maddi that seemed to be a very decent build, don't remember who imported it. I recently decided to go ahead and start looking for an AK hence for this post about which is not so much BEST but a better choice. 481 your post has really solid information and will defiantly sway my choice. Thanks to all for their input.
Glad I could help. There are a lot of good options out there- the VEPR series offers an especially robust stamped receiver (1.5mm) and is known for being quite accurate. I have one of those (done by Krebs with an baked epoxy finish, -74 brake, and a skeletonized stock) also- it is a very nice rifle.

-Jake-
May 10, 2013, 02:45 AM
I recently got an early import Maadi and it is a thing of beauty. Also my Chicom AK is sweet. If money is no object though I'd go with an Arsenal with all the Kreb$ goodies.

justice06rr
May 10, 2013, 03:05 AM
Top 2 on my list is Arsenal and Polytech AK's.

PavePusher
May 10, 2013, 03:19 AM
Isn't this sort of like asking what's the best disease to contract, rabies or syphilis?

:evil:

tnxdshooter
May 10, 2013, 04:56 AM
I recently purchased a Norinco MAK 90. It is stamped with a square cut receiver. The receiver is 1.6mm thick compared to most ak 1mm thick receivers. I plan to add pistol grip and stock instead of the thumb hole and make it 922r compliant. I've heard from more than one person that the MAK 90's and the norinco type 56's are some of the best out there. If you get a MAK 90 make sure you get a square cut receiver. That elk make things slot easier when going to change out stocks.

Sent from my mind using ninja telepathy.

ShooterGuy
May 10, 2013, 05:09 AM
I have almost a dozen AK platform rifles currently, and have owned almost double that over the years and learned a lot of lessons through trial & error + wasting a lot of money in the process. The 3 of them I would mention here for reliablity/accuracy ("go to guns")....

Arsenal, undisputedly great rifles. However you can do the same things they do to an Izhmash Saiga for far less money yourself and educate yourself on the platform in the process.

Vepr, a bit more weight but so far I've been in love with the two I have, they're with me for life, just like my Saigas.

Zustava PAP m92, when I first got it I had some feeding and reliability issues. Widened/Polished the feed ramp, polished the receiver rails, tuned the bolt carrier, now it's one of my favorite to shoot...just tons of fun.

You're going to run into tons of opinions from blowhards talking up all sorts of different AKs primarily because it's what they own, and they're proud of their toy... However don't let this sway your opinion. Find some friends with different AK variants, ask to see them/shoot them. Pay attention to quality of construction, materials used, reliability, accuracy, etc.

However at the end of the day....for your first AK I would suggest starting with an Izhmash and build from there. You might find this informative...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCtuNP10__c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gir2YgAmOL0&NR=1&feature=endscreen

meanmrmustard
May 10, 2013, 07:28 AM
Best of the best?

Polish Archer.

jehu
May 10, 2013, 08:47 AM
Isarelie Galil, Valmet M62/M76,Polytech Legend,Polytech folder,Norinco type 56 or 84S in that order and yes I own them all! :what:

Jcinnb
May 10, 2013, 08:55 AM
VEPR: AK action, RPK specs!

SabbathWolf
May 10, 2013, 09:00 AM
Another vote for milled Arsenal.
This one is a fixed up original SLR95 from Bulgaria, but, the milled Arsenal guns from Nevada are excellent as well.


http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t532/479WAbd/0032_zps011b628c.jpg

Adam123
May 10, 2013, 09:36 AM
If you see a Sig 556R, run. They are crap... period.

To the OP, your question is pretty simple. The best AK is just about any foreign AK with A CHF, CL barrel. If you get a good one, it'll be just as good as any other AK. A good WASR is every bit as good as a good Arsenal. Anyone who says otherwise, is wrong. However, you threw in the word "consistent" and that changes things. I would not hesitate to buy a WASR if I could inspect it first. However, I would buy an Arsenal online, without an inspection and would be fairly confident that it would be issue-free. That said, if you think Arsenal owners don't have some of the same complaints as WASR owners, you are mistaken.

Lastly, I have owned several VEPR rifles and have gotten to the point where I don't even bother inspecting them when I pick them up from my FFL. They are always straight as an arrow and tight. VEPR rifles are the superior mass-produced AK variant.

Also, there is no distinctive advantage to a milled AK. If you want a heavy AK, get one that's heavy where it counts - the barrel.

GCMkc
May 10, 2013, 03:46 PM
Arsenal and milled. Stamped receivers are good to go as well. I have an SLR-101s and it's a great rifle. In terms of function my WASR/10 was just as good as the Arsenal but the fit/finish was below that of the Arsenal.

fireside44
May 10, 2013, 05:38 PM
A simple question, or maybe not so simple. Of all the different Importers offering AK's and disregarding the prices what would be the general thought as to the best AK using quality parts, workmanship, dependability. I have seen some weapons that have been bashed then on next page praised. So who has the most consistent AK.

I have a little experience with AK's and here is what I have determined. Nearly any AK that fires and feeds will also be dead reliable. However, quality control is another matter. Canted gas blocks, canted sights, sights that require adjustment to make up for canted sight blocks, sloppy magwells, mag release in need of work, etc etc. All this crap is commonplace. No big deal if you can examine the weapon pre-purchase but buying sight unseen you never know what you might get. You could find a great cheapo WASR that is as good as any high dollar AK out there or you can get one that looks like it was assembled by someone who was blacked out when they put it together.

Here are my recommendations for models and manufacturers

Krebs
Saiga conversion (I have a Century conversion that is as good as any AK, take that!)
Polytech
Arizona Response Systems
Arsenal
VEPR

I have seen these weapons and they consistently seem to have straight gas blocks, straight sights, and function flawless right out of the box. Flawless function from the box seems to be sorely lacking in today's gun market. Pathetic. It's nice to rip the sucker open and have at it without having a "break in period" excuse from the manufacturer or have to return it for work. Nothing irritates me more.


If you see a Sig 556R, run. They are crap... period.


Totally disagree. The early models had lots of problems, the newer Swiss stock equipped models are quickly developing an excellent reputation.

Ar180shooter
May 10, 2013, 07:19 PM
Totally disagree. The early models had lots of problems, the newer Swiss stock equipped models are quickly developing an excellent reputation.

Agreed. It's a shame that initial manufacturing issues have damaged the reputation of a well designed rifle.

dcarch
May 11, 2013, 01:11 AM
I have a converted Saiga, and I absolutely love it. It's accurate, reliable, and fit my needs well. That being said, that's simply my experience. YMMV. :D

krinko
May 11, 2013, 01:50 AM
I love me some 5.45x39 rifles---

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL165/1109208/13726244/399713554.jpg

And the Arsenal converted SAIGA is right up there with the rest, a Plum that will never turn into a Prune*---

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL165/1109208/13726244/401899275.jpg

-----krinko

* Like a SIG 556, for instance.

Fishbed77
May 11, 2013, 05:57 PM
I have a converted Saiga, and I absolutely love it. It's accurate, reliable, and fit my needs well. That being said, that's simply my experience. YMMV.

That's my experience as well.

A well-converted Saiga is hard to beat, whether it comes from Arsenal, or is a "home-brew" like mine. It's a real Izhmash-made Russian AK with a tough chrome-lined hammer-forged barrel and the product improvements of the AK-100-series line. The bolt-hold-open is a nice little feature most AKs don't have. There's not much that's not to like. The finish (a baked-on black paint-like finish over what looks like a very thin grey parkerization) is quite tough, but not that pretty. On a more subjective matter, some folks just have to have a milled receiver (and I agree the weight helps soak up a little more recoil), even though stamped receivers are just as tough (and supposedly have a longer service life per Russian service manuals). Personally, I'll take the lighter weight of the Saiga receiver.

Doing the conversion yourself is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the rifle. I'm not terribly mechanically-inclined, but was able to the do the conversion in a Saturday afternoon. Here is my 7.62x39mm Saiga.

It started life as this (stock photo of Saiga IZ-132):

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ieCsd2UkWmI/TyYZkMqTOwI/AAAAAAAAANE/__7R9o00zzs/s1600/IZ132.jpg


I converted it to this:

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff427/Fishbed77/DSC_0002-rotated_zps6832e8ba.jpg

About the only thing I still might do with it is thread the barrel for a muzzle brake (even though recoil is not bad at all).



.

Fremmer
May 11, 2013, 09:50 PM
I would take a close look at the WASR and buy extra ammo.

Hokkmike
May 11, 2013, 11:47 PM
Chinese. Milled may be more accurate but stamped are more durable and have a longer service life.

InkEd
May 12, 2013, 01:32 AM
Arsenal

Cryogaijin
May 12, 2013, 06:41 AM
My vote for factory guns would go to the super VEPR.

For reworked, Saigas.

DCP
May 12, 2013, 09:27 AM
Arsenal is a great rifle.

PGT
May 12, 2013, 09:53 AM
My Saiga 308 Version 21 came converted from the factory and was functional but not as nicely made as my Sig 556. That said, 308 is nice but one of the benefits of the AK is the ability to buy cheap ammunition (which 308 isn't). If I had it to do over again, I'd have gotten the 5.45x39 variant.

sanman513
May 12, 2013, 11:27 AM
Arsenal Sam7r....if you have more purchasing power, Krebs Custom :):beer:

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

bigdaa
May 12, 2013, 04:36 PM
Bulgarian Arsenal vintage 1994, Milled.

Hungarian SA-85

-v-
May 12, 2013, 05:11 PM
Saiga, VEPR, or Bulgarian SLR line are at the top. I would also say Krebs, but they are a custom gun builder, so I don't think it's really fair to include them. They tend to be the most consistently put together AK lines with the best new components.

Kabal
May 12, 2013, 08:24 PM
My vote goes to the Molot Vepr. It's based on an RPK receiver which should be stronger than that of the Saiga and most other AKs.

There are several high-end versions such as the Vepr Hunter (available in .30-06) or Vepr Super (550 mm bull barrel). Some time ago, a Sporter version with a 620 mm barrel was offered here in Germany, and apparently, there's even a "sniper" configuration with a 700mm barrel:
http://www.shotgunnews.com/2011/10/26/new-molot-products-debut-for-the-u-s-market-the-sniper-vepr/


I thought about getting a Vepr Super or Sporter, but then went for an Izhmash Tigr instead.

Sebastian the Ibis
May 12, 2013, 11:51 PM
I have a converted Saiga, and I absolutely love it. It's accurate, reliable, and fit my needs well. That being said, that's simply my experience. YMMV.

+1

For the life of me I can't figure out why people want milled receiver AKs. They just add needless weight and expense. They don't make the platform any more reliable or accurate. My Saiga has had one jam over the course of probably 7k rounds in the past 4 years (and it was mag related). It's not a precision rifle, with that big heavy piston and bolt carrier flying back and forth the added metal in the receiver doesn't mean squat.

Also, the Tapco G2 trigger in mine is awesome. It is 10 times better than the factory trigger in my M92, it is also better than many ARs. I had them both out at the range today, and had forgotten how good the Tapco is.

GunsBlazing
May 13, 2013, 12:47 AM
Hey Fishbed77 -- If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to convert your Saiga? It looks great! That's exactly the route I'm looking to go.

Averageman
May 13, 2013, 08:45 AM
I would love to find another SKS that took AK magazines.
Although heavy it would seem to be the best of both worlds and rock solid.
I own two Saiga's and I'm happy with both.

Fishbed77
May 13, 2013, 12:07 PM
Hey Fishbed77 -- If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to convert your Saiga? It looks great! That's exactly the route I'm looking to go.

I used a conversion kit from Carolina Shooters Supply (CSS) to do the basic conversion (relocate trigger, new FCG, new stock & pistol grip). It was about $140 (they do have less expensive ones available with Tapco stocks, but I wanted the higher-quality Kvar stock). The bullet guide kit to take AK mags was about $20. Add in a few tools (center punch, die handle to tap the bullet guide screw, etc.) and my basic conversion cost ~$175.

To do the forearm conversion, I used a bolt-on handguard retainer from CSS, rather than a normal press-on AK retainer, along with a Kvar US-made handguard (so 922(r) will allow a foreign muzzle attachment if I ever decide to add one). The bolt-on handguard retainer is a seriously over-priced part at $50, but it works very well. The handguard was ~$50, but less expensive Russian or Bulgarian ones are available for around $30, and they are practically identical. You will also need an AK gas tube (~$40). So you are looking at $120-150 for the forearm conversion I did.

FYI - the stock Saiga forearm is actually quite nice, so you are not really missing out on anything if you decide to keep it rather than going with an AK forearm set. It has no heatguards, but it is a rather beefy piece that mitigates heat quite well, and offers a much longer surface to grip. Many folks elect to keep the Saiga forearm and save money here.

hedrok
May 13, 2013, 01:20 PM
It'd be tough to pick between the old Robinson Arms Vepr and, again the older Bulgy milled from the mid 90s. Both accurate with good to great triggers.
I'm not gonna pick...I'll keep one for each arm:evil:

Okiegunner
May 13, 2013, 05:45 PM
I will admit that I do have a prejudice.

For consistent quality every time....Arsenal!!

Fit, finish, trigger, etc.

I currently own a SGL21, SAM7k, and a Waffen Werks 74'. I have previously owned a SAM7-A1R.

BTW, the Waffen Werks (Bulgarian kit built) is a very nice rifle. Arguably as nice as an Arsenal SLRr.

SabbathWolf
May 13, 2013, 06:32 PM
Just bought a new SGL31-68 today on-line.
Probably won't be here for another week or so.
But I figure I may as well have a stamped gun to go with my milled gun.
lol....

fatcat4620
May 14, 2013, 11:01 AM
Nice AKs are like nice pickup trucks. The scratches hurt a lot more when you use them for their intended purpose. A WASR also cleans up nice with a little stock refinish and some VHT paint.

JustinJ
May 14, 2013, 11:41 AM
In my experience, the milled Arsenals are probably the most consistent AKs. The extra weight of the milled AKs (they go about a pound and a half or so heavier than stamped units) is nice to have as it dampens the already gentle recoil of the 7.62x39 round enhancing controllability even more. Of course, there are those who'll complain about that little bit of weight and then go on to slap four and half pounds worth of accessories on their favorite AR.

The differentce is that unlike many AR accessories, a milled AK receiver adds weight but no improved function. If one really needs to reduce an AK's recoil the 74 style muzzle brake is a much better option than an extra pound and a half of unnecessary steel.

To the OP, any Arsenal is good to go, Russian or Bulgarian. I'd highly recomend sticking with a stamped receiver. The Arsenal stamped rifles are built in the original factories as opposed to being assembled from parts kits in the US with US made receivers. The stamped also have original Russian or Bulgarian barrels. The guns are almost identical to what those countries issue to their soldiers.

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