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Saiga rifle vs. SKS

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JImbothefiveth, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Well-Known Member

    Somewhere down my list of "I eventually want to get it", after a plinking handgun and maybe along with a .410 shotgun, is a good centerfire rifle. saw a Yugoslavian SKS in a sporting goods store the other day, and it got my interest. Then, I found you can get a saiga for about the same price.

    So, how do the 2 compare against each other? The saiga will probably be a little quicker to reload, but I'm not sure by how much, and even though they are not really collector's pieces, the SKS will be more "historical".

    So... Which would you pick, and why?

    P.S.: This is my "low budget" plan. Please, don't suggest that I instead get an AR-15, m1a, or Garand.
    However, suggestions below the $500 dollar range are welcome.
  2. Wedge

    Wedge Well-Known Member

    Well...you could get a Garand Field grade for $500 or a service grade for $600. okay, that is out of the way :)

    I preferred to shoot the SKS vs. the AK in my experiences with both firearms. Given the choice I would probably get a SKS. I just liked it better. Thought it was a little more accurate, a little more fun to shoot, a little higher quality feeling. Basically a lot of little things which added up to being a lot nicer.
  3. bang_bang

    bang_bang Well-Known Member

    I agree with Wedge.

    The SKS feels more beefy compared to the AK. I remember when I first shot an AK, I was kinda excited. Then after I shot it a few times, I changed my mind on one. Even with a muzzle break, the recoil was worse than an SKS.
  4. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Well-Known Member

    Would the saiga be significantly different from the AK's either of you shot?
    That's good to know!

    I think I'm leaning towards the SKS now.
  5. RyanM

    RyanM Well-Known Member

    That's sort of like saying that the recoil on a single-shot .410 is "worse" than the recoil of a .410 pump. Actually, 7.62x39mm pretty much does kick as hard as a .410.

    For the same price, I'd definitely get a Saiga. I assume it's a lowcap?

    You can always convert it to highcap later if so, and you have a ton more accessory options with a Saiga. 5 minutes with a dremel and you've got a gigantic supply of (currently overpriced) dead-reliable, incredibly durable 30 round magazines. Saigas, nearly all the highcaps are junk. You need to stick with the original 10 round for anything approaching reliability.
  6. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Saigas average about 2 MOA in all calibers. Not sure how accurate the SKS is, but the Saiga has proven itself to be a very reliable, very accurate weapon. I'm running 100% with mine. No malfunctions whatsoever.

    Are they significantly different from other AK's? They're a lot higher quality and a lot more accurate. They come out of the same factory that produces military AK's for Russia. Well-built and reliable.

    Bottom line: I'd like to have an SKS, but my Saiga's this wonderful beast that does exactly what I want it to do. I really have a hard time seeing how I could do better. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  7. dscottw88

    dscottw88 Well-Known Member

    SKS was a steal when they could be had for $150 or $200. But generally speaking, they are just as pricey as a Saiga now at $300, or $400. And although the Saiga doesn't lock back, it does take magazines which I think is a fair trade.

    Saiga is also chrome lined, not all SKS' are chrome lined. It's also Brand Spanking New, a feature not extremely common among all the SKS rifles. Converting one is also easier then it's made out to be, I was able to do it in my brother's garage in a couple hours as a teen.

  8. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    Saiga, anytime, anywhere. if you are worried about recoil, get one with the 22 inch bbl., and wood furniture.
  9. elmerfudd

    elmerfudd Well-Known Member

    I think the Saiga is a better rifle in just about every way, except perhaps for the safety and the lack of a LRBHO.

    SKS's have a number of serious shortcomings, the worst of which is optics mounting. I also find them very front heavy, particularly the Yugo models.

    As far as reliability goes, I think they're both outstanding. I think the Saiga has a slight edge in accuracy, but they're pretty close. Trigger wise they both suck, but when you convert the Saiga you can fix that. Also if you want to use high cap mags, the ones for the Saiga actually work and don't have funny duckbills on them. You can mount optics easily and securely on the Saiga too.

    The one thing the SKS has going for it over the Saiga is character. It's an authentic piece of history and it looks pretty cool with the bayonet, grenade launcher setup and night sights. You can almost imagine you're a Serbian conscript and ready for a campaign of ethnic cleansing. ;)
  10. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Some aftermarket magazines such as those by Surefire will do LRBHO, although then you need to pull the bolt back and lock it to keep it from closing after the magazine is removed.

    The Saiga's trigger is a bit better than a standard AK, reportedly. A bit crisper. I'm not a trigger snob, though, so I don't really notice things like that.
  11. InterWebGuy

    InterWebGuy Active Member

    I love my Yugo SKS- it's done everything I've expected from it and more- if you want a (near) MOA rifle, I couldn't recommend any SKS more than the Yugo SKS (59/66) in terms of accuracy and overall reliability; however, if you're looking for a rifle you can turn into a "black rifle" with relative ease, I've got to agree with the other folks here- an AK variant lends itself much better to modification than an SKS does. With a little work, however, an SKS is a terrific deer rifle and is as accurate as the day is long. If you can find an SKS in decent shape, and all you're looking for is a decent deer rifle, the SKS can't be beat (just be sure to use some decent SP commercial loads). If you really have your heart set on an AK variant, however, a saiga is your best bet (if you can find one, given the current climate...), but it wouldn't exactly be my first choice to take into the woods if I had other options (actually, I'd rather take my 7mm mauser, but that's a different story).
    Best of luck,
  12. elmerfudd

    elmerfudd Well-Known Member

    Saiga triggers are really pretty bad, but if you're comparing them to WASR's, then you're probably right. The thing is that a standard AK trigger can be made pretty darn good with nothing but a little filing, polishing and moly grease. A Saiga trigger has those two extra pivot points and their related linkage and until you remove them it's never going to be very good.
  13. dirtyone55

    dirtyone55 New Member

    I have a chinese sks and a saiga. I have my saiga converted to accept the hicap and the gun is balanced very well, and shoots very well. the sks is also pretty well balanced and hasn't given me any problems. the saiga feels like it is a very smooth shooting gun, and I would say I am leaning towards a saiga over the sks. either way, as long as you get functioning guns, either one will be a good choice.
  14. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    An SKS would be a good brush gun for hunting deer and such to 150yrds and they are fun plinkers! More comfy to shoot as is. Much longer and just as heavy as an AK. Even though they share the same caliber they are really worlds apart. An AK is what I would want if I knew I would be fighting. Also fun for plinking and tactical training. Get a decent AK74 muzzle brake and they are tame in the recoil department.
  15. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Well-Known Member

    I'll take a Saiga in 7.62x39... it will go well with my S.223
  16. anymanusa

    anymanusa Well-Known Member

    SAiga all the way.
  17. MountainWalk

    MountainWalk Well-Known Member

    I believe I would carry the SKS. When I lived in AR, it left little to be desired. It excelled at close to medium range close up fast hunting. It was utterly reliable in every sort of ugly scenario. And being able to use stripper clips is an awesome asset in a fight, plinking, or loading up for hunting.
  18. saigafreake

    saigafreake Well-Known Member

    The sks is wat it is. But the saiga can be made to look like any ak u want plus they are bout the same accuracy wise. Get the saiga.
  19. Starship1st

    Starship1st Well-Known Member

    I say to buy the Saiga first, convert it yourself and then buy an SKS. That is my plan. :cool:
  20. aka108

    aka108 Well-Known Member

    I my experience the SKS is more accurate than the AK but the AK is a much simpler design esp in the trigger grouping. The AK should be the most durable of the two.

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