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AK reliability:7.62/5.45 vs. 5.56?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jagdpanzer347, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. jagdpanzer347

    jagdpanzer347 Well-Known Member

    Greetings all. As of late I find myself increasingly interested in the 5.56 chambered AK. Tales of unreliability on the internet have tempered my enthusiasm to a degree,however. I do realize each rifle in this caliber seems to more or less require it's own specific magazine. Other than that, what are your experiences like with this platform,as far as reliability goes?

  2. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    I would say that if you get an AK that was originally designed for 5.56 Nato, it'll be as reliable as any AK.

    Since nobody knows how the WASR-3 came to be (and it's not made of quality parts), I'm not sure it falls under 'original design'.

    I've got a Sar-3 that runs fine on whatever I load into it, but I only use Weiger mags with it.

    A factory Saiga is pretty reliable, but it's not really an AK, is it? A converted Saiga is as good as the person who converted it.

    As you say, using the specific magazine for the rifle, should offer the best in reliability.
  3. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    the 5.45 seems pretty cheap right now.
  4. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    I've shot a couple of milled Bulgarian 5.56mm AKs (no idea on their relation to Arsenal, there were .mil select fire models) that seemed as reliable as any other properly assembled AK. I used them to burn up a bunch of dirty, dusty and otherwise cruddy green tip and they went through them just fine.
  5. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, kinda like how those Springfield Armory 1911s aren't really 1911s.

    A Saiga is an AK, just with a sporter stock.
  6. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    It takes a whole lot of elbow grease to turn a Saiga into an AK type rifle. It takes opening the box of a Springer to hold a 1911 pistol.
  7. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    My converted Saiga in 223 is 100% dead-nuts reliable and more than combat-accurate. It's just about my favorite rifle right now. It uses $20 Galil 35rd magazines.


    The pic is a little dated - it now sports an Ace side-folder. :D

    I have a Romanian 5.45 set up the same as the Saiga; the 5.45 is cheaper to buy but the Saiga is a bit more accurate.
  8. Gun Wielding Maniac

    Gun Wielding Maniac Well-Known Member

    Umm..the Saiga IS an "AK-type" rifle. What you're saying is, it takes a lot of elbow grease to make it look like an AK-type rifle.
  9. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    Back in the mid to late 1980s I had a Valmet M-76 in 5.56mm that I used as a patrol-car trunk rifle... The guys with AR-15s made fun of me until one day out at the range (gravel pit) it was a few degrees below zero and their ARs started to gum up...
    I took my Valmet and pushed it into a snow bank, the pulled the trigger multiple times and emptied the magazine through the other side of the snow bank..

    I only sold that rifle for 2 reasons,

    1. George Bush the 1st made up an import ban and the price of parts and magazine went sky high.

    2. I was able to sell it for 3 times what I bought it for and bought a Colt transition model HBAR with the excess funds. It was more accurate but not as dirt/ice and snow proof.. Parts and magazine were easy to find at low cost.

    After being a cop/ mil-grunt and range rat for over two and a half decades the big problem with ARs always seemed to come back to magazine induced problems 90% of the time.. the AK systems lock the magazine into place....
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

  11. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    My Galil is not reliable at all, but I blame Century for a bad extractor. I should have bought the Arsenal Faux Galil.

    I expect the body taper of the 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 helps with feediong, but in my experience, it's usually something other than the cartridge shape that effects fuctioning.
  12. jagdpanzer347

    jagdpanzer347 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone, this is the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Does anyone have any experience with the Chinese variants?

  13. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Well-Known Member

    I have a Tomix converted Saiga that so far has been failure free and has been pretty accurate. The sights are still more crude than my Armalite so I doubt I could do an accuracy comparison until I get a scope or red dot.

    The Arsenal rifles are supposed to be very good but for a little more money.
  14. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Well-Known Member

    Put 250 rounds of mixed .223 ball and SP through my Saiga a few weekends back, no failures. Extraction was "vigorous".

    Had 3 hang ups in my buddies LMT AR though...

    Saiga is made in the same place the Russian AK10x series are made, they use a few different parts but they are AK through and through...

    I was also browsing through a book at the book store, the book was printed in the 70's... The Saiga rifles were in that book.
  15. MisterPX

    MisterPX Well-Known Member

    I'd say the 7.62 are going to be more relaible, given teh taper of the cartridge.
  16. Nameless_Hobo

    Nameless_Hobo Well-Known Member

    The 7.62 will be the most reliable. How reliable will the other calibers be? More than enough, if you use good magazines and don't try throwing it in mud or something.

    You can't loose going either way.
  17. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Part of the AK's reliability comes from the taper of the 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 rounds. A 5.56 AK would not benefit from that aspect of cartridge design. How much of a liability this may be is open to debate. I don't own a 5.56 AK (don't see the point, really, but that's just my opinion), but from what I've heard, they also run like tops. I suspect much of the decrease in reliability from the straighter-walled cartridge is theoretical.

  18. hank327

    hank327 Well-Known Member

    I have an original IMI Galil ARM in 5.56mm that I bought back in the 1980s. It has been as reliable as my 7.62X39mm AKMs. In fact I don't recall it ever having a malfunction.
  19. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    My original IMI Galil was the same way - dead nuts reliable.
  20. LeibstandarteAdH

    LeibstandarteAdH Well-Known Member

    The 7.62x39 round is tapered much more then the 5.45x39 and the 5.56x45 there for much less of the case actually contacts the chamber walls untill it is completely shut. that makes the bearing surface less and jams and failure to extracts ect.. in theory and practice (at least in my romanian ak 74 vs 47's case)

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