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Anyone shoot a .308 Saiga ?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by regal, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. regal

    regal Well-Known Member

    Are these typical AK accuracy are do they compete with medium priced .308 AR's at all? I ask because they are a much cheaper alternative
  2. MikePaiN

    MikePaiN Well-Known Member

    I bought one from a member on this forum not long ago...I ended up selling it because the M1 Carbine I really wanted came along :).
    The Saiga .308 was a blast to shoot, I had installed a Kreb's rear peep, in the couple hundred rounds I put through in the short time I owned it felt the rifle shot accurately enough, I was smacking a 10" gong at 200yrd. no problem.
    That said, I doubt it the Saiga will stand in accuracy against the AR platform
  3. M1key

    M1key Well-Known Member

    Don't know how they compare with the AR platform, but .308 Saigas are capable of excellent accuracy. Not at all your "typical" AK. I have seen many groups in the 1-1.5 MOA range...even less.

    I plan on putting mine on paper this weekend if we don't get rained out.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  4. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    The saiga has as good of accuracy as its peers such as the G3, FAL, M1A (Although perhaps not national match or the multi thousand dollar tricked out M1As).

    The stock sporter configurated S308 (not the ver 21 with the slant cut reciever) has some limiting factors. First, it has the worst trigger I have ever pulled. The 308 uses a different trigger from the other saiga sporter rifles. It is simply put terrible. The good news is it is even easier to replace than on the other calibers. The second area that needs to be addressed is the sights. The sights are far from ideal for precision shooting. They can be replaced with peep sights or one can run optics with a beryl style rail.

    I would expect 2-3 moa out of a saiga. Hand loads might be able to do better. Indeed there are reports and photos of rather small groups from saigas. Sub MOA in some cases. My issues with the ones I've seen are 1) they are all three shot groups. If you are going to brag about accuracy don't show three shot groups. Shoot a five shot group our stay quite. 2) There is no evidence that the rifle is consitently producing those kinds of groups versus cherry picked groups. 3) Even if we take those 3 shot groups as legitimate it is not an indication that all saigas shoot like that as oppossed to the rifle in question being very acceptable.

    If I ever get some time I would like to work up some loads for my S308. It is not a real high priority as I have other rifles for when I am after maximum accuracy. I am currious to see what can be achieved however.

    The questions to ask yourself are what kind of accuracy do you need for the intended taks? What kind of ammo are you going to shoot? How are you going to shoot it (i.e. off a bench or from filed positions)?

    If you are running surplus ammo or cheap Russian stuff then the ammo is likely to be the limiting factor in either rifle.

    If you are after the utmost in accuracy then a AR platform built for that purpose is likely to do better.

    A saiga is like $450-550 for the stock rifle. $85 for a Dinzag trigger. $60 - $X00 for a stock and pistol grip. $100 for a Beyrl rail. $45 dollar magazines. I'm not sure they are really that much cheaper than a decent AR platform rifle. A DPMS LR 308 is what $900-$1000.
  5. Col. Plink

    Col. Plink Well-Known Member

    I've had very acceptable results from mine, the thumbhole stock 'converted' ver.21, currently available for $600 on MississippiAutoArms...
  6. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    What has constituted "acceptable"?
  7. TonyRumore

    TonyRumore Well-Known Member

    I haven't tested a .308 for accuracy, but several years ago I took a pair of NIB Saiga .223's out. I scoped them both with a Leupold 12x target optic and fired about 10 five shot groups from each gun at 100 yards with a bunch of different factory and hand loaded ammo. One gun averaged 2.5" and the other about 2.9".

    There were some groups down around 1", but it could never be repeated, even with the exact same ammo.

    So, as usual on the internet, I am sure it is possible to get a group or two at MOA....provided you shoot enough groups and throw out the bad ones.

    Tony Rumroe
  8. Col. Plink

    Col. Plink Well-Known Member

    1-2 moa
  9. JTH

    JTH Well-Known Member

    Why are the Saiga's .308 more expensive than the 7.62X39 and .223 models?
    Maybe it's just the retailer.
  10. M1key

    M1key Well-Known Member

    Oh ye of little faith...

    AKSarben shows at least one 5-shot group with Remington 150 Corelokt factory ammo under 1 MOA (.561"). His converted 308 Saiga has a 16 inch barrel if I recall. Has he done it more than once or twice? I dunno, ask him. He is a member on the Saiga forum.

    I have another picture of a five-shot group that measures 0.72" edge-to-edge. Met the shooter on the Glocktalk forum: "sopmodm4". He says the barrel was, "cut to 18" and recrowned with a benchrest facing cutter from brownells and a Millett DMS-1 scope on a cheapo siderail mount torqued down to the maximum."

    I know I have shot groups with match reloads that were around 1 MOA. If I get the chance, I will shoot some more groups and post pictures when I can...but it's still raining cats and dogs here.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  11. TonyRumore

    TonyRumore Well-Known Member

    If he has done it several times, back to back, he would be showing all the groups, right?
    You need to show all the groups you shoot, not just cherry pick them out for accuracy bragging on the internet.

    I have a Valmet 76 .223 that will shoot some five shot groups into .75" or so....but it's not a sub-MOA rifle. Some groups are 1.5" or so.
    Shoot a bunch of groups back to back and show them all. If you don't do that, it's bull****.

  12. M1key

    M1key Well-Known Member

    All I said was the Saiga was capable of MOA, if not consistent.
  13. csspecs

    csspecs Well-Known Member

    I shot a 2.5 inch 100 yard group with brown bear ammo the other day. And the three before stayed right around 3 inch. I don't have a fancy set up, just a reusable shopping bag with sand in it for a rest. One day I'll have to buy some good ammo to try in it.

    So depending on your use of the rifle I'd say they work rather well. They function decently when dirty, and when used with low grade blasting ammo (like wolf and brown bear). They are a nice utility rifle, much like how .30-30 lever guns are used.

    One thing I did notice, when shooting a group don't hand chamber the first round as it will go high or low.

    (EDIT: wanted to point out that I was using low quality ammo, logically it should do a little better with good stuff)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  14. regal

    regal Well-Known Member

    From what I understand researching the forums these rifles have some of the best accuracy you can get in its price range with surplus Nato rounds, better than the Savage.
  15. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Well-Known Member

    I haven't pulled it out to our neighbor's 120yd range yet but in the 40yd driveway all the holes were touching with horrible milsurp 7.62 (that shoots 3-4 MOA out of the LAR-8s which will group 1-2MOA with match stuff at 120yd). I'll post an update hopefully this week with better ammo on the longer range. Provided it can shoot well (2MOA would be nice with an AK pattern 308) I'll start converting it and throw on some optics.
    Another benefit I hear is they are easier to convert to AK form than the x39 and 5.56 siblings.
    I'd listen to Tony when it comes to Saigas considering he's probably worked with more of these rifles than anyone.
  16. mshootnit

    mshootnit Well-Known Member

    I just fired a 4 shot group with my Saiga 308 and a Kobra red dot with Hornady 150 gr SST ammo. It measures 1 and 3/4 inches center to center. The group was fired at 200 meters. More typical for the rifle is 1.76 moa. Yes the rifle is capable of firing as accurately as a give AR-10. Also much lighter. Yes they are easy to revert.
  17. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    I rarely shoot to worry about group size, but while sighting in a converted Saiga 7.62x39 off sandbags with a 6X PSOP scope, it seemed to me POA/POI could shift quite a bit with changes in pressure on the front handguard. On my Saiga .223 with a 4X PSOP I didn't notice the issue -- could be the stiffer barrel from the smaller bore diameter or the 1/3rd less magnification gave me enough extra aiming error to obscure the effect, but shooting steel plates I've always felt the Wolf .223 shot better then the 7.62x39 in my Saigas, where in my ARs the 7.62x39 and .223 group much better and not significantly different in size between 5.56 and 7.62 and a bit less than half the group sizes I get with the Saiga

    As I said I don't worry about group sizes, I worry more about cost, and if the gun/ammo runs 3moa when sighting in, I'll just set out 6moa plates and have fun (no shooting benches where I shoot steel plates).

    I haven't shot my Saiga .308 much the past few years since .223 and 7.62x39 cost what decent .308 used to, but I recall 2.5-3" groups zeroing at 100 yards using Brown Bear ammo was pretty easy with a 6X PSOP scope.

    I don't call it a "group" unless its got at least 10 shots in it and I try to shoot it in a couple of minutes, so I get an idea of the cold to hot barrel spread.

    In any event the Saiga .308 is one of the best deals going in a full power battle rifle. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone who has converted a Saiga to the AKM configuration and regretted doing so.
  18. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    I'll repeat what I said before and echo Mr. Rumore. A cherry picked group is not the same as having a sub MOA rifle. Further one exceptional exemplar is not what ought to be expected from every rifle off the line. Also call me cynical but unless it was witnessed by others I just cannot help but being a bit skeptical. How do you know it wasn't shot at 25 yards?

    The fact that a saiga rifle could shoot one (or even more) MOA groups doesn't really speak one way or another to the kind of accuracy that is typical, which is what the OP asked about.

    How does one four shot 1.75" group get you to that conclusion? Also any reason not to shoot another shot? I like policy used by some forums dedicated to precision shooting that if there aren't multiple 5 shot groups (and relatively close to point of aim) they delete the posts.

    My guess is economies of scale.

    I like saigas, a lot actually. It has all the accuracy I can use shooting from field positions with open sights. Particularly with cheap ammo.
  19. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    A question for Mr. Rumor:

    I saw a picture of a .223 saiga you built with a pac nor barrel and a free floated hand guard. Did you ever have a chance to test that rifle for accuracy?
  20. mshootnit

    mshootnit Well-Known Member

    it was a five shot group that went sub 2" at 200 meters not four. I had to look close because 2 shots went through the same hole almost. Reminds me of a similar group with an Arsenal once... anyway all I can say is MY Saiga 308 with me behind the trigger is a solid 2 MOA rifle often exhibiting 80% of the shots inside of that. And that will put you in the AR-10 ball park, but to compare apples I am not talking about the heavy stainless AR's
    My saiga now has an aftermarket trigger, but the factory trigger was not bad like some claim. It actually had a takeup and break that was quite predictable and nice. It may have loosened up if I had left it in there. Mine was purchased along about 2 years ago. I have shot several handloads through mine, and through my Vepr, and honestly its hard to make improvements over factory loads in these rifles. They seem to be indifferent to bullet seating depth, and they really mame brass. Its a one time or two time proposition at best. Given I didn't try alot of heavier bullets ( I thought the velocity out of the 16" barrel was already slow enough) I have never experienced any failures with the rifle or slam fires.
    One final note on the group size snobbery: Use 3 shot groups to sight in, and occasional 3 shot groups to verify POI, and you will be fine. Going up to 10 shots you really begin to test the ability of the shooter along with the rifle. The longer you go the more eye strain, and technique become a factor. Also you increase the chance that wind will change, and that the barrel will heat up. Really what is most important to those who use their rifles as a tool instead of a write up, is where the rifle will hit from a dead cold barrel. This would indicate that long wait times between shots are in order.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010

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