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Saiga .308 vs. PTR-91

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by maasenstodt, Jun 8, 2006.

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  1. maasenstodt

    maasenstodt Member

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    I've been determined to purchase a battle rifle since the start of the year, but held off on my purchase of a battle rifle for several months to do more research. The past week or so, I was getting very close to pulling the trigger on a PTR-91. It is undoubtedly a fine, accurate rifle (especially after the virtually required trigger job), and it meets or beats the competition (M1A, FAL) in a couple of areas that are important to me: bang for the buck and reliability.

    Then, on these very boards, I found out about the imminent availability of 20 round mags for .308 Saigas, and just as I thought I'd considered everything, another option arrives. :)

    Previously, with the 8 round mag limitation, I had ruled out the Saiga altogether. Now I'm reading everything I can about them, and the concensus seems to be that they are similar in both accuracy and reliabilty to the PTR-91. What's more, even a tricked out Saiga doesn't look to cost more than a vanilla PTR, and I like the 16" barrel to boot.

    With all of that said, I'd like your opinions on these two rifles, how they compare favorably and unfavorably with each other, and whether there's something important I might not have considered.

    Thanks. ;)
     
  2. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    well , first off i have never even seen a ptr 91 much less fired it. the saiga 308 is excellent, good mid balance, stiff heavy bbl, they are also hammer forged cold pour , chrome lined bbls. they are moa capable with you finding the right milsurp ammo, i got mine to do it with 5 diff milsurps. american , any of the old british empires, and the nazi heavy s. american countries. It is reliable, you can put a ton of diff furniture on it, though i like mine plain. You can mod the 8 rounders , and make them 10's, easy to do , just need a heavy pair of snips. Inexpensive to be sure, you cna find them on gunbroker, gunsamerica, and the saiga12forums, for 250 to 300 bucks , all the time.
    I have all three cals, they are all excellent, withthe 223 , being a one hole punch with black hills.
    they are consistent. I had one and sold it about 1.5 yrs ago, super accurate, missed it, got another one about 3 months ago, also super accurate. the 223 have a 1/9 twist, so you can fire the heavier stuff. i like piston driven system better,also I think, I may be wrong, that the twist is 1/10. although the ptr has polygonal rifleing, which is superior. Then again, for 300 bucks...."If you have the means , I highly suggest you pick one up!" Ferris Bueller
     
  3. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I own both a PTR91 and a Saiga .308 20" barrel wood stock version.
    The Saiga is an excellent hunting rifle. It will hold MOA to 400 meters with top notch ammunition and it is reliable.
    It is the only .308 rifle I own that I have no reservations about shooting steel case ammunition through and I do so.
    The drawback to the rifle is that it is in no way a battle rifle.
    Even with the heavy barrel it heats up quickly and the shot groupings begin to spread open fairly quickly.
    You would be lucky to hold a respectable grouping after firing sixteen rounds quickly downrange.
    The 16" plastic stock carbines are even worse.
    I have fired three of them and all become super hot, super quick, and begin throwing shots all over the paper.
    Plus the short barrel makes concentrated shooting difficult because the blast and muzzle jump is excessive.
    The 8 to 10 shot conversion idea doesn't work very well.
    I have tried it and the magazine reliability suffers and there is no imminent availability of 20 shot magazines in the US.
    King George the First saw to it that this won't be allowed with his non-domestic assault weapon ban.

    The PTR91 is everything the Saiga is not.
    It is a battle rifle design.
    It is designed to function hot and maintain groupability hot or cold.
    It is dead reliable and would probably run on a constant diet of steel case or less than top quality ammunition though at the price of the rifle I don't make a point of shooting cheap ammunition in it though I have just to see what would happen, no suprises.
    I could afford the rifle and I can darn well afford to feed it high quality ammunition.
    If I had to keep one over the other, I would keep the PTR91.
    It is more expensive, yes, but spare parts abound, 20 shot magazines can be bought for about five bucks each, a telescope can be readily mounted, and the rifle is pure fun.
    standard.gif
    standard.gif
     
  4. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Onmilo,

    20 round magazines should be available by August. Nothing to do with Bill Clinton. FBMG is building them here.

    I haven't seen the heat stringing problems that you mention either. That is kind of weird. Blast and muzzle jump is the same as any 16" carbine .308 with no muzzle attachment.
     
  5. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I can't disagree with your comments on the PTR. If you want to go further up the food chain, the M1A has a lighter recoil, a wood stock design rather than a pistol grip, and better sights. I would say the PTR still has the edge on magazines.

    I have never shot the Saiga so I don't know where it sits. For the price, I can see where it would easily beat the CETME's and other cheap clones. I also couldn't tell you where the DSA SA58 or Stg rifles. Probably up there with the M1A and PTR depending on where your interests lie.
     
  6. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Corriea.
    To be clear I didn't say stringing, I said the groups begin to open up.
    By open up I mean the groups begin to double or triple in MOA measurement depending on the ammunition and temperature.
    The rifles don't string shots vertically or horizontally, they just open up faster than almost any other semiautomatic rifle on the market that I have personally fired or owned and I have shot, and owned, oodles of these rifle designs, both semi-auto and full auto versions..
    Well OK, I can't legally own the full auto versions in Illinois, but my buddies in Indiana can and do(lucky bast**ds).
    The only rifles worse for this tendency were Reminton 742 and 7400 rifles.
    At least from my own personal shooting experience.
    As for blast and muzzle flip, there is a reason I do not personally own any .308 rifle with a barrel less than 18" and that rifle wears a very effective Smith Enterprise Vortex muzzle break.
    Short barrel, full bore, rifles are unpleasant, for the shooter, and for anybody unfortunate enough to be standing nearby when the rifle is fired.
    Don't misunderstand me either, I like my Saiga .308 rifle and I like my Saiga 7.62X39 rifle, I like them a lot.
    But the comparison between a PTR91 and a Saiga is sort of like comparing a groundhog and a ground squirrel.
    They are similar in design but not the same in execution.
     
  7. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Member

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    I agree that the two are different breeds entirely, but I certainly haven't noticed my groups 'doubling or tripling' after extended shooting sessions. Any rifle firing a full size rifle cartridge is rapid succession is going to have some issue with that, as I'm sure the saiga does, but I just haven't seen it to any noticeable degree.

    I heart AK's, so my vote is for the Saiga, pending 20 rnd mags. Reliable, accurate, sights work just fine, and optics options out the wazoo.


    Edited to change: I have not noticed massive group size increase...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  8. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    I can see the groups opening up, but I'm not seeing a massive degredation in accuracy. Not enough that I've ever noticed it while hosing. (and for those that have shot with me in 3gun, you know I'm a HOSER.) :) I've never really benched one, rapid fired some mags, and then benched it again. It is much lighter than a PTR, so it probably will be hit by heat more.
     
  9. Tankcommander

    Tankcommander Member

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    I had a Saiga 308 with a 16 inch barrel and now own a PTR91. The PTR wins hands down. The iron sights much better on the PTR. 4 way adjustable rear peep not the half way down the barrel on the Saiga. The PTR trigger is stiff the Saiga is horrible. It pulls up not back so a conversion to pistol grip required. 20 rounders for the PTR abound now as low as $2.99 for surplus will the Saiga be that good. The quality of manufacture PTR way on top. I outfitted mine with a scope and surplus wooden stock. I actually traded the Saiga in toward the PTR and never looked back.

    In Jersey we can't have muzzle brakes so I have seen the muzzle flash on each and the PTR is a bit less then the Saiga. I have been able to get 1.5 inch groups with the PTR at 100 meters without a trigger job.

    PTR you will not be sorry.

    TC
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  10. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Comparing the $350 unconverted Saiga to the $800 standard PTR, then the PTR is nicer, and costs twice as much. With a converted Saiga, the trigger is better than a PTR, weighs less, can have a folding stock, and better sights, and still costs less.

    But obviously I'm biased. :p So keep that in mind.
     
  11. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    Got a picture of the optimized Saiga?
     
  12. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Member

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  13. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Correia, you're going to have to let me fire one of these. Eventually I'm going to get my FAL back from Arizona Response Systems, and I'd like to see how it stacks up.
     
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious as to why the M1A and FAL washed out of the "competition" based on reliability and accuracy? I understand the M1A's price would be a deal breaker, but a good FAL fits into the price range, has good accuracy (notice I said a good FAL, is dead reliable and has a gentler recoil.
     
  15. WeedWhacker

    WeedWhacker Member

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    I'm still trying to get a PTR-91 after choosing it over the FAL (paranoid about fine sand), M1A (price, number of parts[?], and/or some other downside which I can't recall?), Saiga (lack of aftermarket parts/addon market), and a few others.

    The selling points of the PTR-91 were reliability of the rifle and availability of parts. It'll be the main .308 shooter, right after the Galil, the latter which is 1. stupid expensive and 2. hard to find parts for.

    For those that may have orders pending with various distributors, you may want to consider cancelling them and order one dealer-direct. JLD is now shipping to dealers, and Impact Guns only waited two months to cryptically tell me "they're not making the PTR-91 anymore" (!?). JLD's lead time is roughly three weeks, when I'd asked on Friday.
     
  16. maasenstodt

    maasenstodt Member

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    Thanks for all of the replies to date. I'm glad to have read them and am certainly interested in others. Particularly, I'm interested in whether Saiga owners feel that it is in fact a battle rifle or not.

    The reason that the M1A and FAL didn't make the grade is two-fold. The first reason is cost. I could swing a quality M1A or FAL, but that would leave me short on storing up ammo, accessories, etc. It would also preclude the purchase of some other firearms that I'd like to buy. Something no more expensive than a PTR better fits my budget.

    The second reason is reliability under adverse conditions and without gunsmithing support. The M1A and FAL are not unreliable, but based on my study, neither does either quite match the HK-91 or AK designs in this area. I want a rifle that will work, period, in poor environments for extended periods - a guerilla's rifle, one might say.

    Based on my research, those criteria point strongly at the PTR and Saiga. Were I to get a Saiga, I'd certainly trick it out a bit (or go with a converted model), mitigating the sights issue. Perhaps it just comes down to a matter of the Saiga being lighter (easier to handle but more prone to heat up) and the PTR being heavier (a bit more to carry but better able to tolerate heat)?
     
  17. Fingolfin

    Fingolfin Member

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    The standard chrome lined barrel on the Saiga is a big selling point for me. If they would offer some options and improvements on the PTR(rework the mag release, offer a chrome lined and lighter barrel, improve the factory trigger) I would probably break down and buy one.
     
  18. WeedWhacker

    WeedWhacker Member

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    Yep - the heavy barrel is better able to dissapate heat, another one of the features of the PTR I like.

    One caveat: it doesn't come with a bolt hold-open gizmo. It can be added later by a good 'smith, but just be aware of it.
     
  19. Drakejake

    Drakejake Member

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    If the promise of 20 round mags for the Saiga proves out, this rifle will become an extremely attractive option for those looking for a .308 carbine. The Saiga is strong and reliable, as well as compact and handy.

    Drakejake
     
  20. American By Blood

    American By Blood Member

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    In the vein of what Drakejake said, if I had known about those soon to be produced 20 round Saiga .308 mags I wouldn't have put that DSA SA58 carbine on order in April. I wanted a hicap .308 and love the AK's ultra-reliable design (I already own a Bulgarian), but the limited capacity (at the time) of the Saiga was a deal-breaker for me. Ah well. Perhaps I'll just have to own two .308s.
     
  21. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    What is with the Saiga not being a 'Battle Rifle'? I mean, come on, it's an AK. Just what, other than the magazine issue, prevents it from being a battle rifle? The fact that no armies have fielded it in .308? For my money, the AK action is about as proven as could be. All those AK 47s are in a .30 caliber, so I am not sure whether the barrel issue is real.
     
  22. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Actually, I think that the M1A, FAL, and G3 designs are all pretty equivelent in reliability. All three work rather well.

    You may want to do a search, I did a massive comparison of each of these, (including pouring sand in the actions) a few years ago, and posted it here. :) That was before I owned a Saiga though. :p
     
  23. SnakeEater

    SnakeEater Member

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    I'd like to chime in and clear up one misconception about the PTR's recoil. JLD reduced the number of flutes in the chamber which cut recoil substantially in comparison to original HK's. After adding an HK21 rubber buttpad my PTR has less felt recoil than my LRB M14. IMHO the PTR wins due to spare parts, modular design, heavy barrel, mag prices, sights, and lastly looks.
    PTR002.png
     
  24. TruckSTR

    TruckSTR Member

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    Put me in the PTR column. I bought one back in January and have enjoyed it immensely. It has been dead reliable and very accurate (more accurate than I'm capable of shooting).

    As SnakeEater said, adding the HK21 rubber butt pad helped reduce felt recoil. My shoulder can witness that.

    I also added the real HK furniture, low profile scope mount and a 10x mil-dot reticle equipped scope. I will be adding a good bipod soon. Why? Because the beast is HEAVY!

    I ordered 20 magazines from Cheaper than Dirt. All of them were genuine HK and at least 10 of them were brand new. Only one was dented significantly and it serves as a parts mag for any others that will need parts.

    I plan on having Bill Springfield do a trigger job on it.

    Saiga .308? I can't say as I've only had the opportunity to shoot the AK-47 and AK-74. It should be reliable, however, it would likely need more than a little work before it would be as accurate as the PTR.

    M1A? I've heard good things about them, but I already have it's grand daddy, an M1 Garand.

    Like I said, for me, I'd get the PTR. Just make sure that you aren't buying a "parts gun" (PTR receiver with the rest being from various suppliers) and don't get one with the "match chamber" (early production had a chamber tighter than the current NATO spec. and would cause case head separation problems - from what I have been able to gather. S/Ns above 2000 should be safe).

    Of course, YMMV. Have fun!
     
  25. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    I too am interested in a good .308 battle rifle. I do keep briefly pondering the Saiga and the M14, but for issues of parts availability (Saiga) and price (M14), my main two considerations are the PTR and the DSA. Right now I am favoring the FAL because I like the idea of a 21 inch barrel in a battle rifle. I already have an AK to cover anything out to 200 or 300 yards, so if I am packing a battle rifle, it is likely for the range. Also, I've been told it is friendly to lefties and easier to clean. The PTR, lacking a gas system, apparently has the same problem with fouling in the reciever as the ARs, although it doesn't appear to affect reliability as much. When you add the price of a trigger job and paddle mag release, the PTR is priced similarly to the FAL. The PTR is a nice rifle, but I don't think anyone in their right mind doubts the reliability or durability of the "right arm of the free world."

    I have little or no experience with the battle rifles, so this is just where my research seems to lead me.
     
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