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AR and AK questions!

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Lvl21nerd, Aug 21, 2010.

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  1. Lvl21nerd

    Lvl21nerd Member

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    alright i will try to make this as concise as i can

    I want a semi-auto rifle, either in AR or AK config, but i dont even know where to begin

    i know i want reliability first and foremost, then good sight radius, then widely available mags

    i'm leaning toward a lower-end AR in 5.56 (or .223; or are they the same?)

    whats a good company to go with? BudsGunShop.com has Doublestar rifles right now for just under $700...seems like the sweet spot for price, but are they ok quality?

    local funstore has Rock River rifles (dont know the prices though)
    should i look into those instead?

    also, whats the best way to get .223/5.56 on the cheap?
     
  2. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Reliability. Both the AK and AR have plenty, but how much do you need.

    I can't speak for AK's. But for Ar's look towards BCM, Colt, LMT, Larue, KAC, Noveske for combat grade reliability.

    Lower price point, but most likely still very dependable Ar's: Stag, DD, M&P.

    What do you need your AR/AK to do? What preferences do you have?

    Reece? (AR with rifle length rails capable of CQB defense and longer ranges or 3 gun)
    [​IMG]



    M4, Kiss? (classic relic, but still respectable, light)
    [​IMG]



    SPR? (precision)
    [​IMG]
     
  3. RuAk

    RuAk Member

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    If you get an AK i think you would be happy. They're definitely more reliable than an AR, fun to shoot, plenty mags and ammo.

    If you want a bit more accuracy then go for the AR but the AK is plenty much accurate.

    Good AKs: Arsenal, Chinese AK variants, Bulgarians, Polish, Russian Saiga, Lancaster.

    All AK's work the same. Some are higher quality than others and you will find some priced high. What your paying for in those high prices is fit and finish and/or collectors value.
     
  4. Lvl21nerd

    Lvl21nerd Member

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    primary use? probably some occasional plinking, and maybe some hunting in the future

    primary reason i want to purchase? would be nice to have when SHTF
     
  5. philpost

    philpost Member

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    They're both going to be reliable, but an AK will often work when dirtier/less lubricated than an AR; HOWEVER, I'm not saying AR's are all delicate and tempramental like some AK lovers will. Sight radius is better on an AR, and mags are widely available for both. I went through a lot of research and soul-searching, and opted for an Arsenal SGL-20 AK. I like it a lot, and something about it just grabbed me when I picked it up. If I was doing more longer-range shooting (2-300 yds), I might have gone for the AR, but I'm really happy with what I got. Plus, you can get a top of the line AK for the same price as a bottom of the line AR. You used to hear a lot of "If the SHTF, you want your ammo/mags to be interchangeable with Nat. Guard/Police", but after Katrina that all went out the window- best case you got nothing, worst case you got disarmed. One other factor is that Russian ammo is cheap - as low as $3.59 a box.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  6. BigDeesul

    BigDeesul Member

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    Rather than an AR, or an AK, I'd recommend an SKS. The feel, operation, and reliability are similar to the AK, but the SKS is more accurate and is a much better design IMHO. It's made of steel, not stamped sheetmetal like the AK's. You can pick up and un-fired SKS for around $300, and accessorize it with ATI furniture, and have a very tough, reliable and accurate weapon for under $500. If you're dead-set on an AR, I'd recommend building your own. Check out http://www.ar15-kits.com. They've got some great stuff at great prices. You could build a custom AR exactly the way you want it for way cheaper, and most likely much better parts, than a factory gun. I think everyone should own an AK, but unless you spend the money on a custom one with a milled receiver and high quality parts (which would be in the AR price range anyway), they're really only really good for a fun or SHTF gun, in my opinion. We don't live in a third world country where you'll be pissing your gun clean, so I'd recommend a more accurate weapon with tighter tolerances. If you've got the money, get a gas piston AR. Otherwise get an SKS.
     
  7. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    Many, many people have run AR15s much harder than just "occasional plinking and maybe some hunting..." with no reliability issues.

    The AR is, on balance, a much more robust platform than the AK, and in the long run, the better design to choose.
     
  8. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Some people may take exception to what I am going to say but it is merely my opinion based on what I have seen so take it for what it is. If reliability is your highest priority a lower end AR is not the best place to look. ARs are much more reliable than many poorly informed sources would have you believe but it does require that the design be executed properly. The purchase price of the firearm is a one time expense and given the price of 5.56 ammo sweating a few hundred dollars in the purchase price is silly if spending it will genuinely get you a better product and ultimately some what of false economy if you wind up with something you are unhappy with.

    I'd look a little higher on the AR spectrum something like a Noveske or a BCM.

    A Noveske while not super cheap is reliable, durable, and more accurate than most people can make use of. It may well be over kill for plinking but if your highest priority truly is reliability (particularly under hard use) it is IMHO a better choice than a low end AR.

    What specifically will you be hunting. That might be an outcome determinative factor alone. Varmints call for some accuracy. In some states .223 is not legal to use on larger game.

    For plinking either an AR or and AK is fun IMO. I can find 7.62x39 cheaper and an AK for plinking duty can be had much cheaper than an AR. For plinking my Noveske doesn't really out preform a Wasr 10. For me when I hear plinking I think going out and shooting just for fun so if one would be more fun then go that way.

    If the gun is mostly just to have for comfort on the off chance social order breaks down then either will do as well. The AK is cheaper and what ever quantity of ammo makes you feel safe will come cheaper as well.

    Mags for ARs, 7.62x39 Aks, and 5.45 AKs are very widely available. Not enough of a difference to sway things one way or another IMO.

    Given your stated requirements there are AR and AK rifles that will do what you ask.

    Honestly, if it is just for plinking and having it around just in case a WASR10 will do that and for $700 you can have the rifle a stack of mags and 1K+ rounds.

    If carbine courses or serious varmint hunting, or other specific tasks that mandates requirements above reliability and accuracy to make com shots out to 200 meters are in your future or you want to have cooler toy than a WASR then save up and get a nicer AR.
     
  9. cbrgator

    cbrgator Member

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    If you want a reliable AR that won't break the bank, look into a Stag Model 2. It's a good, simple, optics ready rifle. If you want assured quality/reliability for a few extra hundred bucks, get the Colt 6920.
     
  10. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    What exactly will a milled receiver gun do that a converted stamped saiga (or similar gun) wont?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  11. mini14gb

    mini14gb Member

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    I have a Smith and Wesson M&P-15 which is their version of an AR-15 (M4-A3) and it has been flawless. No reason to spend Noveske kind of money IMO. I paid $899.99 for my Smith and Wesson.

    Here is a link to a video on YouTube of a guy shooting hogs from a helicopter using a Smith and Wesson M&P-15.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiHmYsyVniE
     
  12. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    AR. It's America's rifle.

    I would recommend a web site. I learned more common sense here than everywhere combined.

    http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?81462-So-you-want-to-buy-an-AR-15-huh

    It's aimed at cops, but it's good reading.
    AR-15 forum has too much technical information for the first time shopper.
    I ended up with a Colt, but that isn't the gun the cop recommended. But I know why I did it.
    ..........and I'm very happy with it.
     
  13. noyes

    noyes Member

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  14. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    For many users I agree. If you are after maximum reliability under harsh conditions, say shooting a carbine course with a suppressor attached or if you are after maximum accuracy from a fighting gun then there probably is. FWIW I paid a little over $1k for my Noveske upper and the complete lower I put it on. Granted I was able to get good prices but we aren't talking very much price difference at all. Although it should be noted that S&W ARs were selling for much less than $899 recently as well.

    In sum, for many people the price difference gets them little more than a name. But if one is after ultimate hard use reliability then the extra money might be well spent.

    As an aside I have to smile when people state that their weapon has been "flawless" without stating in anyway how they have used it. There is a big difference between, "I shot 75 rounds of slow fire at the indoor range and I completed a three day 2K round count carbine course with my suppressor attached. When people tout a weapon as flawless it is nice to know how they use it.
     
  15. ThePunisher'sArmory

    ThePunisher'sArmory Member

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    "local funstore has Rock River rifles (dont know the prices though)"

    I'm just guessing but by your location, the lack of prices, and mainly RRA rifles are you refering to Belleville Shooting Range? If so stay away they are way overpriced and "know everything.":rolleyes: As for your question I would go with the AR platform I bought my first, two years ago and I am now addicted!!! I'm on my second that I just pieced together. LEGOs FOR BIG BOYS!! :D
     
  16. BigDeesul

    BigDeesul Member

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    Stamped are cheap. It's not what a milled receiver will do, it's what they won't do, which is warp, bend, loosen, etc. You can build a custom AK with much tighter tolerances with a milled receiver than a stamped one. AK's obviously are a great weapon due to simplicity, reliability and price, but they're also crappy, flimsy, and cheap. Do you own one? I'd rather have an SKS than an AK.
     
  17. mini14gb

    mini14gb Member

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    I've shot a local carbine course at Western Montana Shooting Sports and it did just fine. I'm sure Smith and Wesson is producing a Mil-Spec weapon unlike some others who claim to be Mil-Spec but are anything but.

    It depends on what you order with you rifle. Your writing has a note of sensitivity in it as if your pissed. As though I got screwed by paying to much or that I'm not a "real" weapons user so I'm not qualified to comment. I'm didn't mean to offend you if I somehow did.
     
  18. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    the forums.officer.com advice has improved since the last time i read it a few years ago. it seems he updated it to provide mostly similar info to rob_s' infamous chart discussion, but he also expands the scope considerably past the chart which is limited to M4. many sections are pretty much in line with what you hear from carbine class instructors, but other sections are dismal. e.g. calling MPI and shotpeening 'voodoo', and saying he doesn't know of a bolt that failed the test. where exactly does he think gunshows, bushamster and RRA get all their bolts?

    he's also wrong about staking castle nuts and the color of extractor inserts. but overall, it's not a bad writeup.
     
  19. 95cougar

    95cougar Member

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    A lot of good things have already been stated.

    Ultimately, you need to pick what will work best for you. Before you jump on one bandwagon or the other based on internet advice, you should probably handle both weapons to get a good idea of what fits you best/feels right. I would even go so far as to try and find a local range that rents a variety of rifles to try both types. If you have a friend/relative willing to let you shoot his/her rifle, even better.

    What type of ammo do you plan to buy/have available? If you plan to shoot only cheap steel case, you may want to factor this into your decision as some platforms work better with this ammo type than others. Do you want caliber flexibility? If so, the AR offers different options (.22LR, 5.45x39, etc.), albeit at additional cost.

    One final bit of unwanted advice- there are a lot of alternative .223/5.56 rifles out there under $700 (used or new) that may better fit your needs than strictly an AR or AK (Mini 14, Daewoo DR200, AR180B, Golani, Century C93, etc.)

    Good luck in your decision.
     
  20. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    The major reason the AK has a reputation for reliability is the magazines. The major reason the AR has a reputation for unreliability is the magazines.

    Kalashnikov designed the magazine to be a highly reliable feeder of ammunition. It's curved to match the taper of the case, has machined steel feed lips, and a robust construction that can survive vehicles driving over them. Stoner's team accepted the concept of a disposable 20 round stamped aluminum magazine that could be shipped loaded direct to the soldier. The AR has a straight mag well as a result, and 30 round magazines have to be doglegged in the follower travel to feed, and can be damaged if dropped on the feed lips when fully loaded.

    The rest of the AK design is third world, and based on 1940's technology and ergonomics. A fixed bolt handle on the right forces the trigger hand to be used, the safety has to be off to charge the weapon, and there's no bolt hold open, which forces the user to not only load the magazine against the bolt, but then charge it against the pressure of the fully loaded magazine spring.

    The AR has an ambidextrous charging handle, but that still requires the users trigger hand. The safety can be placed on next, securing the trigger from accidental discharge, the magazine loaded without the bolt in the way, the bolt dropped to charge the chamber without struggling to pull it back over a fully loaded magazine.

    The barrel on the AK has a gas mounted piston, which stresses it when charged and bends it, but in normal operation, it's not significant. During the action cycle, as the case is extracted, gas flows into the action in minor amounts. The barrel on the AR has a gas block which directs gas into the chamber of the bolt carrier group, which expands and directs gas out the two holds in the side, where it escapes through the ejection port - because after the first shot, the cover is open. As the gas tube is exposed from the rearward moving BCG, it has residual discharge which strikes the upper part of the action. . Once the case begins extraction - just like the AK- gas is pushed out the barrel and coats the lower part of the action.

    Both actions release gas from the chamber, and both actions eject dirty brass. Don't let the less informed spout old wive's tales about it.

    The AK was made with a removable cover over the bolt, which prevents mounting optics at the rear of the receiver. The AR is made with a rail that extends to within an inch of the users nose, when placed on the charging handle. Getting appropriate eye relief or using a red dot with a co witness iron sight is only possible with the AR.

    As for the rest, if an option exists for the AK, it was likely designed for the AR first, and used first, in combat. Reliability is good for either, but using either means choosing one that an user can operate reliably - without charging with the safety off against a fully loaded magazine.

    We haven't even got to caliber - .30-30 looper, or high speed flat shooting.

    Better off with the rifle pro's use.
     
  21. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    This.
     
  22. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    Very good point.

    I've got an old SP1 I bought back in '74 that has who knows how many tens of thousands of rounds through it at this point, might even be in the hundreds, who knows, and I cant ever remembering it having a stoppage, though I'm sure it has. At least none were memorable. It has often been shot by a number of people, to the point of being so hot you could not touch bare metal on the barrel and other parts of the upper, and was uncomfortable to hold. It would only be allowed to cool enough that it was somewhat comfortable again, and it was back to blasting. Many times it had more than a case through it at an outing, and sometimes two. Its been maintained and cleaned after every outing, and it just keeps on chugging along. At this point, so far, nothing has broken, and nothing has been replaced.

    I have (well, my kid has it now) a Bushy Dissapator that is nothing like the Colt. Its had lots of troubles and is also the least accurate AR I've ever owned. For quite awhile, it was a great "stoppage drill" gun, but I think we have most of the quirks worn out of it now. Still, its not all that accurate, or at least as AR's usually go. Its also had a number of small parts replaced.

    My Armalites have always run like my Colt, and I think they are right up there with it in quality and workmanship.

    Other than the Bushy, the only problems I've really had with the AR's has been with "home built" guns, and they, like the home built AK's, are something I stay away from now. Just not worth the aggravation to me. Personally, if I were to buy another, I'd stick to the Colts and Armalites, but thats just whats worked best for me up til now. Not saying others are not as good, but I think you tend to go with what works best for you. At this point, I dont want to waste any more time and money "experimenting".



    Nothing.

    They only made "real" AK's with milled receivers for a short time. If they were really that much better, they'd still be making them that way.

    The stamped guns work and shoot just fine.

    You obviously dont own an AK by your comments, or have much experience with one.

    I have both AK's and SKS's, and the AK is by far the better choice, no matter what you do to "try" and improve the SKS.



    Oh, and since were talking about both, two of the biggest internet myths that continue to be perpetuated are...."The AK's are inaccurate, and the AR's are unreliable". Of course, NEVER, is the operator ever at fault, in any case. :)
     
  23. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Ah, my friend, how misled you are (The kool-aid is tasty, isn't it?).

    Please review the available slo-mo videos showing the milled receiver guns in action, and tell us they don't "flex, warp or bend" during firing.

    While you're there, let us know about all those "crappy, flimsy and cheap" stamped AKs that have been in constant use since 1959 in many third-world countries (If they're so bad, why are they still functional?).

    As far as "an AK with tighter tolerances", you've missed the point of it's design entirely. The beauty of the AK is it's loose tolerances. it's not a precision rifle, nor was it designed to be.
     
  24. bri

    bri Member

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    For a quality AR at a good price, check out the spikes mid-length (longer sight radius than carbine length). $800.

    For a quality AK, check out the offerings from Arsenal (new, Russian builds) or just go for a WASR 10 if you can look it over in person. $700 and $400, respectively...
     
  25. BigDeesul

    BigDeesul Member

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    I do own both, and the AK is in NO WAY the better choice, unless you do not plan on EVER cleaning your weapon. Please don't tell me what I do or do not own, as you do not know what you are talking about.

    There's nothing you have to do to improve the SKS. The SKS is by far a superior weapon and design. Unfortunately the SKS costs a lot more to manufacture.

    Obviously the only reason they switched to the stamped receivers is ease and cost of manufacture. Compare the materials and labor that goes into milling a receiver as compared to stamping and bending a peice of sheet metal with some holes drilled in it. The stamped guns do work and shoot just fine. Like I said the AK is a great fun or SHTF gun, and everyone should have one.

    You obviously don't own an SKS by your comments, or have much experience with one. If you did, you'd know the obvious advantages of the SKS over the AK. The only reason the AK is more popular is ease and price of manufacture.

    Just why do you think the AK is so much better?
     
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