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Question about Saigas

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by junyo, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. junyo

    junyo Well-Known Member

    I know a number of threads have been posted on Saiga rifles, and I've read several, but I need to validate a specific list of questions if owners/users with more experience wouldn't mind. Thanks in advance.

    My understanding is that Saigas are an AK platform clone/derivative, and have different/modified furniture to comply with import restrictions. My further understanding is that the chief plus of the AK platform is reliability, usually at the sacrifice of accuracy. Is that generally correct?

    If it is, is it further safe to assume that Saigas generally inherit this reliability? Does it hold true for all chamberings, specifically .308? Does it usually continue to be true after a Saiga is modified back to a standard AK configuration, assuming the mod is done competently?

    If you had to rate solely on reliability, in what order would you score the following: M1A, FAL, PTR91, Saiga?

    What general level of accuracy can be expected from a .308 Saiga? Does a competently performed mod back to AK configuration generally affect the accuracy?
  2. damagedworld

    damagedworld Active Member

    i have had several Saigas (and still have), none of which were chambered in 308... to me the concept of 308 is long distance shooting..

    a Saiga IS essentially an AK... literally... and the reason that the AK is not super accurate is due to the loose tolerances it takes to be reliable....

    Loose tolerances between parts - allows less cleaning and generally will run longer when abused... in turn loose tolerances will also produce a less accurate rifle..

    tight tolerances - generally need to be cleaned more often and better cared for, but due to tighter fitting parts produce more consistent accurate shot groupings...

    with that said there are varying degrees of these tolerances.. i have heard of many AK owners discuss the horribly inaccurate results they get with the rifles they shoot.. some countries have produced some horrible AK copies.. the Saiga does better with this (maybe because its a more quality production.. it is after all a real russian AK).. i have had experience with both 7.62x39 and 223.. i have converted and worked on many in those 2 calibers.. with the restoration back to true AK configuration both rifles were incredibly reliable, BUT you must keep in mind.. these are "battle rifles" these are not marksman rifles.. i can standing, sitting, etc.. hit a man sized target repeatedly with the 223 or 7.62x39.... the shooting i do with these types of rifles is less "bulls eye" type shooting and more "hit a critical area (center mass)" type shooting, as i realize that is the type of rifles these are... dont get me wrong i do on occasion try to shoot them as accurately as i can.. and while they are NOT terrible by any standard they are just not really designed to be marksman type rifles.. all the shooting i do with these is sub 300m.. bringing us to the 308 Saiga.. while i have never personally shot one.. i would imagine the performance would be similar, just with more distance and punch due to the round.. meaning that it would be a reliable battle rifle that could reach out rather far and still make center mass hits... will you be shooting any golf balls at 800m? no probably not.. but it would be reliable.. this is why for my 308 gun im looking at a bolt savage or AR platform, as i feel the tighter tolerances will be more conducive to the shooting im trying to do with a 308..

    the modifications you can do to a Saiga will only make it better,but they will not overcome the AK design..
    the rifle is a BLAST to shoot...
    IF you get one i would go with the Tapco FCG from Dinzag it is VERY smooth..

    I feel that if you are after an AK clone there is no where besides a Saiga i would look..

    good luck
  3. Col. Plink

    Col. Plink Well-Known Member

    Hope to have a range report for my Saiga308v21 soon. Waiting on the scope mount and actually getting a big batch o' surplus .398 today! Yea!

    Ordering a Tapco g2 trigger and the 'conversion' is complete! (the ver.21 comes w/thumbhole stock w/everything where it should be.
  4. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    As stated, the Saiga is a Kalashnikov (albeit one in funny clothes to get into the USA).

    If you have a sense of "a job well done", your Saiga will be as reliable as any other Kalashnikov when you're done converting it.

    If you buy one that is already converted, make very sure you know the converter's reputation (one converting firm has used glue before on their conversions). Personally, I think buying a pre-converted one or sending a Saiga out for conversion is a huge waste of money. There are dozens of stories over on the Saiga forum where folks who've never done anything mechanical before did their own conversions in just a few hours.
  5. damagedworld

    damagedworld Active Member

    first modification i ever did.. it was so much fun i did several more after that.. lol
  6. Col. Plink

    Col. Plink Well-Known Member

    OR get the Saiga 308 ver.21!

    Wooden thumbhole stock, trigger group where it should be, (slant-cut receiver) and just ONE part to change out o make it 922r compliant. Drop in the better trigger you'd want anyway and go to town! Trouble is they were a limited run and still command a higher price than other sporter saigas (other saiga308s as well...)
  7. chauncey

    chauncey Well-Known Member

    they are all pretty close in my opinion, but since you asked, i would say the AK and HK designs are a dead heat, and the FAL and M14 designs are regionally sensitive. FAL may be better in the mud, M14 in the sand.

    no real evidence, just my opinion based on "the bs i heard"

    none of mine have ever jammed, except due to magazine problems

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