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Can somebody explain the deal with AK conversion?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by xxxleafybugxxx, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. xxxleafybugxxx

    xxxleafybugxxx Well-Known Member

    Why are there some sporterized ak rifles, that need conversion, and others that are in the full AK configuration? I don't seem to understand, but am assuming it has to do with laws.
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Complicated answer.

    The simplest answer is that most semi-auto clones of military style auto-loaders cannot be imported for sale to the public. They are "non-sporting." :rolleyes:

    There are a couple of ways to avoid having to comply with the intent of this law (but staying within the letter of the law).

    To be imported, they must be configured into "sporting" versions with some set of compromises that superficially alter their form. Once they are here in country, they can be re-built ("converted") into something closer to their original design -- so long as no more than 10 of a specific list of parts on the finished rifle were made outside the US.

    So, you can buy a Saiga "sporter" rifle, for example, with a thumb-hole stock, long, unthreaded, barrel, small-capacity magazine, etc. and -- as long as you're using a select few US-made parts -- you can build it into a very nice semi-auto clone of a modern, new-production AKM rifle.
  3. xxxleafybugxxx

    xxxleafybugxxx Well-Known Member

    what about the wasr 10 I bough fully configured that came with a 20 rd mag?
  4. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    It was converted to use standard magazines after it entered the country.
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Exactly. Some of the WASRs, IIRC, came into the country set-up for "sporting" use with single-stack magazines. Century grinds out the magwell to take original style magazines and swaps out some number of parts (trigger group coutnts as 3, gas piston can be one, stocks, etc.) to get the "parts count" compliant with 922(r) and then sells them.
  6. Rob G

    Rob G Well-Known Member

    As Sam1911 stated the WASR 10s don't come in to this country fully configured. Century just modifies all of them before they offer them for sale.

    Saigas on the other hand are offered in their original imported condition for a number of reasons. Mostly it's because they're more expensive to convert but it's also because they're easy enough to convert that a lot of people would rather do it on their own rather than pay someone else for the work. For those who prefer an already converted one Arsenal handles that. In simple terms:
    Century is to WASR 10/63 as Arsenal is to Saiga.
  7. xxxleafybugxxx

    xxxleafybugxxx Well-Known Member

    Thanks rob. I think i understand you.
    So IF i got an sgl 31, it would be a company that converted it already?
    The reason I'm asking is because I've heard saigas ak 74 are the best, and will probably get one this summer
  8. Cal-gun Fan

    Cal-gun Fan Well-Known Member

    The SGL-31 is definitely the highest quality factory AK-74 on the market right now. They are built from Saiga rifles and are the best conversions on the market. They'll function 100%.
  9. xxxleafybugxxx

    xxxleafybugxxx Well-Known Member

    Would that be better than a converted saiga?
  10. csa77

    csa77 Well-Known Member

    iv heard some people pay a small premium for the single stack wasrs.IIRC early on afew had the chicken foot and original carriers.....i dunno tho but iv heard this befor.
  11. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    The Russian Izhmash factory is the original maker of AK rifles for the Russian military, and that's where Kalashnikov did the development of the AK rifles.

    They manufacture sporting type AK's under the Saiga name.
    These have a conventional sporting type stock and a trigger group moved back in the receiver, along with no muzzle attachment and different forward hand guards.

    They also manufacture a special modified Saiga rifle exclusively for Arsenal, Inc.
    These special rifles are designed to be more easily converted. As example, they don't have a trigger group installed when imported.
    This allows Arsenal to more easily convert the rifle and not have to do extra work moving the standard Saiga trigger group forward, and dealing with the extra holes in the receiver the standard Saiga has.

    These are made in the AK-74 format and in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39, and offer options like various folding and fixed stocks.
    These have the same quality parts and hammer forged, hard chrome lined barrels as Russian military rifles.
    Quality and accuracy are first rate, and are considered to be the best AK rifles on the market.
    The current Arsenal SGL 21 and 31 series rifles are as close as we'll ever see to a real Russian AK full auto rifle.
  12. Rob G

    Rob G Well-Known Member

    Yes, the SGL 31 is a "full conversion" done by the folks at Arsenal in Las Vegas.

    It basically is a converted saiga. My understanding is that Arsenal has an agreement with Izhmash (the Russian arms factory that makes saigas) to acquire incomplete saigas, i.e. they don't have the parts Arsenal would remove and throw out anyway, in order to make the conversions easier. But at the end of the day they're still basically doing the same thing you would if you converted a saiga yourself. The only difference is they do it on a large scale and have been for years so it could be argued (and I'd believe it) that their gunsmiths are able to do a better job of it than the average Joe. The fit and finish of an Arsenal is certainly impressive and mine shot POA right out of the box.

    You'll hear a lot of arguments on this particular subject. There's a guy on here who loves cugir (Romanian arms factory) built rifles and thinks Arsenals aren't really all that good. Then there's a fair amount of guys who think home converted saigas are just as good as anything else. Some of theirs probably are. Then there are also Waffen Werks and TGI AK 74s. Those are both good manufacturers although they're using American receivers and barrels now which is why I'm not personally interested.

    IMO the Arsenal SGL 31 (converted saiga) is a fantastic rifle and mine was certainly worth everything I paid for it. If you like that rifle then by all means buy it. They're very well made and the 5.45 round is not only fun to shoot but cheap as well.

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