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Saiga and AK Buying Questions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dynasty, Dec 24, 2007.

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  1. Dynasty

    Dynasty Member

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    I just have some questions regarding the Saiga and AK rifles before I buy. They are just general questions, but I hope those with experience will chime in and lead me to best decision. I'm having trouble deciding which one to get as my first rifle. I want something that will last me a long time without problems.

    Which would you rather have?
    Which is more fun to plink with?
    Which is easier to maintain?
    Which is cheaper to shoot?
    Which has a bigger after market?
    Which is more accurate up to 150 yards?
    Which would you feel safer with (self defense)?
    Which, out of the two, would be your choice as a first rifle and why?

    Thanks for taking time out of your holidays and helping me out!
     
  2. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    I'd rather have the AK because its a classic design.
    The Saiga is a nice enough design, but the fact that it exists as a compromise for the gun-haters offends me.

    The Saiga and the AK are equally simple to maintain.

    The Saiga and the AK shoot the same ammo. Cost depends on you.

    AK's hold their (already low) value well. No reason to think the Saiga would be any different.

    Accuracy of this species varies from one rifle to the next. These are el-cheapo mass-produced guns. Most are OK. A few are a wreck. These are basically the same gun, but with cosmetic differences. There is no basis for suggesting that one configuration is more accurate than the other.

    Self defense with a rifle? By the time you are shooting (back) at somebody with a rifle, you are in a gunfight. Gunfights are inherently highly unsafe. Your safety in a gunfight depends on your ability to avoid it. Which has nothing to do with what hardware you have in a bag under your bed. You should be asking which rifle is more RELIABLE. For my answer to that question, see the preceding paragraph regarding accuracy. The same principles apply.

    My first choice would be the AK for the reason stated in the first paragraph of this reply.
     
  3. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    I'd like to chime in and say that a Saiga's accuracy is far better than your average run-of-the-mill WASR. The Saigas a much better gun than your lower-level AK varieties.
     
  4. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    I don't think your question is very good, as you are asking about the same exact rifle, just with different appearances.

    The Saiga is just an AK with a sporting stock on it.
     
  5. baz

    baz Member

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    Except that the Saiga is equally available in .223 or .308 (for a bit more).
     
  6. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    You can get AK variants in .223 and .308

    Sar3/Wasr3, Arsenal Sa M5, and current Arsenal offerings (slr106/107) are available in .223

    IO and Century have imported PSL type rifles in .308 (the PSL is basically a beefed up Kalashnikov design)
     
  7. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I have two Romanian AKMs, but seven Saigas. The Saiga (converted back to AKM format) is simply a better AKM than any SAR/WASR.

    The real question would seem to be which is better between an UNCONVERTED Saiga and a SAR/WASR. In that case, I still pick the Saiga since it represents a better overall value (bang for the buck).
     
  8. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Can you support this conclusion with fact in the context of the SAR-1?
     
  9. 357fan

    357fan Member

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    Well, I don't know about the SAR-1, but I can compare my Saiga 223 to my Wasr-10. They both go bang every time I pull the trigger, but the Wasr prints groups that are 2 or 3 times the size of the Saiga's groups. I love them both, but the Saiga is far more accurate.

    Also, my Wasr has lots of slop in it, while my Saiga is much tighter. The mag well (if you can call it that) on the Wasr is far too wide, thanks to the dremel-happy folks at Century, the bolt carrier is sloppy on the rails, there are tooling marks everywhere inside, and the furniture it came with looks like unfinished scrap wood.

    Compare that to the Saiga, where the mags fit perfectly, the bolt carrier has enough room to ensure reliability but no real slop, there are still tooling marks, but not nearly as many. Sure the furniture is plastic, but once you convert it, you can pick some really nice stuff and make it into whatever you want.

    In the end, get them both, but if you can't get the Saiga and take the time to do the conversion. You'll be very happy.
     
  10. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Member

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    Don't forget the 30.06 Saiga... though it is a tad bit harder to make it look like a plain ol Vanilla AKM
     
  11. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    Or the 12, 20, and .410 gauge shotgun versions.
     
  12. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Within the context of my relatively small sample of each, the Saiga exhibits better accuracy, better fit-n-finish, and better worksmanship. I also can get the Saiga in either a 16" or a 20" variant.

    About the only thing that the SAR-1 does better is (presuming it's a no-ban version) provide mounting points for a bayonet. Well, that and not having that stupid chamber ring that the Russians require of the Saigas.

    I like my SARs (and I've had more than a few, still have a SAR-2), but the Saiga is simply a better beast.
     
  13. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    IIRC, the SAR series was only imported in 2000, and 2001 (maybe some in 2002 - but I've never seen one).

    Unless you mean you modified your SAR, where did you get a "no-ban version."

    I will concede that the Century triggers that came with the SAR rifles were the worst. Simply horrible trigger slap. I replaced mine as soon as the TAPCO G2 triggers became available.
     
  14. FMJMIKE

    FMJMIKE Member

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    Saiga

    I love my Saiga .223/5.56 rifle........Of course I altered it a little.:D
    [​IMG]
     
  15. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    IIRC, Century had a bunch build up right after the AWB sunsetted in 2004. Either that, or a whole bunch of folk all went out and had pre-ban FSBs put on their older SARs along with G2 trigger groups. I had several that I purchased in early 2006 configured with G2 triggers and bayo lugs/muzzle brakes; since they were identically configured, I presumed that CAI did the work.

    It may be that the SAR doesn't even have that over the Saiga, altho the ability to retrofit a standard AK FSB certainly exists for the SAR ande I'm not sure that the same holds true for the Saiga.
     
  16. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    You can easily replace the neutered FSB on the Saiga with a military FSB.
     
  17. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    all these things are the same, except two things, I kept my saiga stock, so it looks not so evil. If I ever get pulled over, this may not freak out a cop as bad!!!! Accuracy wise, you will see time and time again, that unless you go with a custom build or a very high end ak type, the accuracy of the saiga is double tough. I have had 3, sold them all, then got two more back about 2 years later. I still haven't bothered to scope them, and their accuracy was no
    diff, as compared to the first ones I got.
    i recommend Saiga.
     
  18. Dynasty

    Dynasty Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far. I am still having trouble deciding which to go with. I like the AK, well because it's and AK and everyone knows what it is. However, I want the rifle that is best for the money. Maybe someone who owns both or who has shot both can tell me what's better in terms of quality of parts, feel in terms of solid or cheap, and accuracy. Is the accuracy really a big difference?
     
  19. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    We have.
    Merry Christmas. :)
     
  20. Kenpo

    Kenpo Member

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    Here is a link I found in doing research on the Saiga, you may find it helpful as its breakdown is simple and concise. It explains the basic differences between the Saiga and the "classic" AK design. At the end of the article you will find what is essentially a "highlights" table.

    http://www.savvysurvivor.com/saiga_rifles.htm

    For those of you in the know, the only real fault the article points out about the Saiga is long-term parts / accessories availability (with regards to the parts that are dissimilar to standard AK builds, namely, the trigger group) this is mentioned again in the table at the end under maintenance. Any thoughts?? Otherwise the Saiga sounds like a no brainer for a simple, inexpensive, reliable, survival, defense SHTF gun.
     
  21. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    That is a 'non problem', as in less than 60 minutes you can put the Saiga in the same condition as any standard Kalashnikov design.

    After you wear out your factory rube goldberg trigger setup, you might be up for a "whole new gun" anyway...
     
  22. Kenpo

    Kenpo Member

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    What is entailed in the complete conversion? I understand there is some manipulation required to fit it with a pistol grip. My main concern is the ability to use AK mags. That is a separate alteration correct? How difficult is it, and what would the cost be to have a gunsmith do it?
     
  23. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Kenpo, http://forum-saiga-12.com has loads and loads of info on converting Saigas.

    The conversion processes are quite easy and I personally think it's a waste of money to send it out for a basic conversion.
     
  24. Kenpo

    Kenpo Member

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    Thanks for the link Nalioth.
     
  25. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Member

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    Saiga

    I've owned both. I had the fortunate opportunity to own an Armory USA SSR-85C2 with the 1.6mm Bulgarian receiver. Awesome rifle, super accurate, I loved that AK. Never should have gotten rid of it. I've also had my share of Saiga's and with very little work, can easily be modified to whatever form you're comfortable with. Here's a pic of my last 7.62x39, 20" barrelled Saiga.
    [​IMG]
     
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