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Saiga First Impressions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mauserguy, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Well-Known Member

    Ever since the mid nineties I have wanted to get a Saiga rifle. Well, I just took the plunge. After my ten day mandatory waiting period, I picked up the gun yesterday.

    I always liked the looks of the Saiga, and I liked that it would take detacheable magazines in a readily available caliber (my 30 carbine is difficult and expensive to feed). I also liked the 7.62x39 round for a suburban post disaster or riot caliber; it packs plenty of short range splat. Now that I have the rifle in my hands, I am confused.

    I'm impressed the the quality of the workmanship on the metal parts relative to other AK variants out there. I think that the Saiga is on the top end of the spectrum in terms of fit, however the plastic sporter stock is definately cheap.

    I thought that I could use a SKS sling I have in my junk box, but it turns out that the swivels are less than an inch wide, so I had to substitute a thinner sling for which I really don't care. That's a bummer.

    Also, the stock is too long. I knew that the gun would be muzzle heavy, but it is very awkward.

    Oddly, the rifle came with a standard AK cleaning kit and oil bottle, and a cleaning rod over twenty inches long. I don't think that there is any common AK variant that would use that length of cleaning rod. It's kind of strange. Of course there is no provision for mounting it on the gun.

    Being a Californian, I am limited to ten round magazines, so using high capacity magazines is pretty much out of the question, and converting it to a standard AK stock configuration would mean that I would have to instal a magazine lock, defeating the whole point of having detacheable magazines. I have a bunch of ten round AK magazines I may try to convert to the Saiga configuration. If I choose to install a bullet guide, I could run into 922r issues, so I may just choose to work on the magazines themselves. I'll have to think about that.

    I may send for the parts to convert the rifle to a standard AK stock configuration, but the legal constraints in California kind of ruin the purpose of the gun, a fast feeding, cheap to shoot plinker with backup riot responsibility.

    I'll probably take the Saiga out to the desert next weekend and see how she shoots. I'm really questioning if this was a good purchase.
  2. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    You may want to do a bit of research on 922r. I don't know anything about CA's silly gun laws but a bullet guide alone doesn't implicate 922r one way or another. Putting a mag it in the gun that holds more than ten rounds would, and that would be the case whether you had a bullet guide or not.
  3. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Well-Known Member

    You're sort of right, I think. I read the law, 922r and the referenced codes, and they don't say that putting a bullet guide in it would be illegal, but there was a 1989 finding by the ATF that vaguely alluded to it being illegal.

    Essentially, it's not illegal by code, but it may be against the wishes of the ATF. Maybe, maybe not. It's not clear. At any rate, I don't want to do anything remotely questionable.

    PS: And yes, California does have silly laws.
  4. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    when you shoot it, and see how accurate it is, you will say " schwing!"
    also, I say convert it, the trigger makes it so much better.
    and no, the bullet guide really doesn't have any illegality to it at all. go here.
    they are down right now,
    but when they come back up, go to the section that
    talks about 922 compliance; basically it means this- if you wanna use foreign type , hi cap ak mags, you have to replace a certain amount of parts on the rifle, to american made parts, so that the BATFE doesn't consider you to have , an evil imported black death assault rifle ak, but something more gential, and american made. If you think about it, you can use american made hi cap mags for it right now, and have to convert nothing else at all- mags by surefire or promag. Surefires are better, there may be another mag out there as well, starts with an 'M' I think, also a good mag. the promags have a raised piece on front of the magcatch, that a lot of dudes say breaks off- it is basically the built into the mag bullet guide. so if it does break off, then the mag won't work.
  5. Zack

    Zack member

    Sorry you live in Commy Kal :( You cant use surplus 30 rounders... Can't you modify them to HOLD only 10 but "keep" the looks?? I thought there was a way?

    I did the convert myself. The folks at saigaforums can really help you out. It wasnt that hard! even this dummy did it < :)

    My saiga is 992(r) compliant, US made buttstock,pistol grip, and Tapco G2 trigger system. I want to put a nicer handguard but it COST $80 to replace the gas system.... To even put the handguard on!

    Saigas are brand new, I heard WASR's are like reused? parts? I do not know.. But saiga is brand new parts , thats why I went with this. The price was only $400 compared to $700 ak47's at the time LOL :)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2010
  6. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Well-Known Member

    Hi Zack. If I was going to convert it, I would do pretty much what you did there, less the evil high capacity magazine, of course. I would have to install the California magazine lock, though.
  7. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    Mauserguy; the trigger alone is so much better, it is worth the conversion itself.
    cost is about 60 to 100 bucks, for all the parts necessary; including bullet guide kit. You will then have an ak , that can run with the 1000 dollar babies. plus knowing that you did the work yourself, satisfying. plus then you can add other parts as you like; I put in hi vis front site posts, rear peep sites, and am gonna put these on next;
  8. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Well-Known Member

    Ranger, yeah, the stock trigger isn't smooth, but it doesn't seem horrible. I just don't like the idea of converting it and having to instal the magazine lock. I guess I could install a MonsterMan grip to get arround the California law, but that is even dumber than the current configuration.
  9. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear you're disappointed, M-guy. I've got a Saiga or two here and like 'em a lot. Mine are unconverted at this point and may stay that way.

    Only thing awkward I've found is the safety location. I've gotten used to everything else, even the rather heavy trigger. Shoot yours a bit and you may find you like it well enough. Saigas are different. They take a little getting used to.

    The thing I like most about the Saigas is that I feel no need to baby them, nor do I feel guilty about using them hard or feeding them cheap steel-cased ammo. I have enough emotional attachments with guns and don't need more. With a Saiga, there's no fine blueing to mess up, no pretty walnut stock to ding, and the bore & chamber are chrome plated, so it's no big deal if you forget to clean. The thing is made to take abuse. With normal care, it'll probably last three lifetimes, cheap plastic stock and all.

    Saigas are made for shooting and reliability afield, which is great if that's your plan. If pride-of-ownership is the goal, they fall short.
  10. Zack

    Zack member

    I want to add wood"so its not that Evil black rifle look...." But I do not know if they make US MADE wood parts and if they do its probly A LOT...
  11. telomerase

    telomerase Well-Known Member

  12. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, if you add a bullet guide, you instantly enter 922r territory.

    It's not enough to actively have a "non sporting magazine" in the rifle, but if it's "capable of accepting non sporting magazines", it has to be 922r compliant as well.

    The bullet guide certainly adds this capability.
  13. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Well-Known Member

    That 20+ inch cleaning rod was probably meant for a 20" barreled Saiga. One of mine is a 20 incher. Most likely the only rods provided with Saigas are 20", because that's all I've seen provided, even with 16" barreled guns.
  14. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Well-Known Member

    I picked up a Saige a few months ago and liked it so much I sold my Mini-14 and bought a ton of 7.62x39 ammo.

    I just got back from shooting mine on Tuesday in the desert. I shot about 300 rounds with no problems. It just chugs a long. I fired 100 rounds as fast as I could and had no problems. I was able to pretty much hit anything I aimed out inside of 200 yards.

    I am going to leave mine un-restored. I like the regular rifle feel of the stock.

    Have fun with your new rifle.

  15. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    Nalioth typically knows his stuff. I have not done anything apporaoching adequate legal research on 922r. This seems to indicate that a Saiga is per se non sporting and in violation of 922r then since one can buy thirty rounders that will function flawlessly in it (surefire and Promag although these may not be flawless threoretically they are the same).

    The implication would also be that Saiga 12s are in violation since they accept 8 10 12 and even round round mags sans modification.

    A bullet guide is a step towards making it function with magazines that were not technically designed for it so I see a difference but if the standard for non sporting is that a gun can accept non sporting mags then it is in violation already. Further a BG doesn't allow one to use foreign mags since you still need to either modify the mags or the mag latch so while it might be a giant step towards making the gun function with non sporting mags it does not really get you there (at least in theory).

    Again I haven't done real legal research into this point at all I am just thinking out loud mostly.
  16. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    When these laws were written, US made "non sporting magazines" were not available.

    Let's not prompt any updates, shall we?
  17. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    I actually thought that while I was typing it, although I'd need to read whats actually on the books because if what relevant statutes and decisions actually say is ability to accepted a mag over ten rounds equals violation there is no need for an update we are already there.

    To the OP perhaps just buy these:

    More expensive than surplus mags but you can buy several for much less than it would cost to have an attorney do enough research to even come to an informed opinion on the issues we are discussing.
  18. Big_E

    Big_E Well-Known Member

    You don't have to use a MM grip those are hideous. They do make a bullet button for the AK variants. Just google "AK bullet button" some of the AK's in one of my local shops have them.
  19. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    He pretty clearly said he does not want to use a bullet button and wants to keep the gun in a configuration that it wont be required.

  20. twkremer

    twkremer Well-Known Member

    20" rod is for a mosin, says I.

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