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Saiga experiences?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Harold Mayo, Oct 6, 2008.

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  1. Harold Mayo

    Harold Mayo Member

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    I'm looking at a Saiga in 7.62x39 as a utility rifle. Anyone have any experience?
     
  2. TheDriver

    TheDriver Member

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    I have one, and another in .223. Great value. Hit up the saiga-12 forum for all the info you will need.

    Centerfire has them right now, I think.
     
  3. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Saigas are great I have several and have a very high opinion of them.

    +1 on the saiga forum. There is a wealth of info there.
     
  4. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Get one. And look at possibly converting it, also. They are basically what the SKS was through the 90's - cheap and practical, nothing to complain about for the price. The Saigas are much better made than most AK's being imported that sell for more money (but are generally sold in "evil" configuration).
     
  5. saigafreake

    saigafreake Member

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    Are a very nice ak variant. They are starting to get kinda high in price for a sporter. I have several like them all.
     
  6. REOIV

    REOIV Member

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    I have a Saiga 308 and a Saiga 12.

    Know the following about Saigas before you buy them.

    PROS:
    High quality
    Inexpensive (usually under $300 for .223 or 7.62 or 410)
    Russian AK Reliable
    Can use most AK stamped receiver parts

    CONS:
    Standard Saiga mags are expensive compared to AK mags.
    You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to covert to pistol grip and get them to use basic AK mags.
    Hand guards are goofy looking and if you want to use AK hand guards you have to press off your gas block or buy a clamp on hand guard retainer or make one, again this costs more money.
    The gas tube isn't a standard AK gas tube so again if you want AK hand guards you need to buy an AK74 gas tube to use standard AK hand guards.
    They don't have threaded barrels so if you want a flash hider or muzzle brake you will have to get it threaded by a smith or do it yourself and again you have to buy a brake or hider as well so that costs more money.
    You have to put in a bullet guide to get the gun to use normal AK mags (this is only true for .223, 7.62x39) 308, and the shotguns don't need guides.

    All that said to get your 'cheap' saiga to look just like an Arsenal gun with a fixed stock you're looking at this.

    Saiga 7.62x39 $299
    K-var-Furniture set $110
    Tapco Trigger Group $35
    Muzzle Brake $20
    Bullet guide (dinzagarms.com) $25
    Hand guard retainer (dinzagarms.com) $75
    Gas Tube (dinzagarms.com) $31
    TOTAL: $595

    And that doesn't include the shipping (50+) or the cost of a Dremel (50), power drill (25), drill bits (10), spray paint (5), tap and die rental (20) or purchase for the barrel threading and your time spent converting it.

    When you could just buy an Arsenal SLR 107 F or FR for $800 or less (And you get the $250 folding stock with it) that works great out of the box.

    Saigas are great guns but don't get them because you think they will be a good way to save money, get them because they are quality guns.

    If you want a cheap AK get a GP WASR10 for $350 to $400.


    EDIT: Changed
    "You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to get them to use basic AK mags."
    To
    "You need about $100 in power tools and $150 to $200 in parts to covert to pistol grip and get them to use basic AK mags."
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  7. frankd4

    frankd4 Member

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    The most bang for the buck a great gun.
     
  8. GRB

    GRB member

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    I read the list of so called cons with interest, and realized that there is only truly one con listed for the Saiga that objectively deals with its fit, finish or function as a Saiga (as opposed to as an AK). That one con, that objectively can apply to the Saiga as a stand alone rifle would be that it does not have a threaded barrel. While that can be a con to some, it might not be so to others; but it can be seen as a con about the Saiga.

    As for all the other cons listed, if you want an AK just buy an AK. This rifle/shotgun was not meant to be an AK though it is based in part on that design. It is meant to be a legal rifle in more places than are AKs. To say that because it does not do this, that or the other thing, or fit this that or the other thing, as does an AK, is kind of distorting what would be an objective description of the pros and cons of this rifle since it is not an AK.

    So are there other cons about the Saiga, or are almost all of them dependent upon whethwer or not someone wants to make it look like an SK? I hope someone will let me know since my son is considering one for a purchase. Thanks.

    All the best,
    GB
     
  9. akodo

    akodo Member

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    I have come to the conclusion if you want a pistol grip detachable mag AK type weapon....get a nicely built AK, don't get a Saiga and convert.

    however, if you want an inexpensive intermediate caliber semiauto rifle with a detachable mag (or 3) then the Saiga is the way to go.

    As others have said, it is the SKS and the Mini-14 of 2008
     
  10. wally

    wally Member

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    Obviously if you don't already have basic metal working tools converting a Saiga makes no sense, but its not too hard to find well done conversions for under $600.

    OTOH if you've basic tools and shop skills its not too hard to convert one which lets you spread out the expense, $~$300 for the gun and get other conversion parts as funds permit.

    You can do better on parts if you shop around. I got the Tapco single hook trigger set for $20 at a gun show, although you have to grind off about 0.060" from the right side of the hammer axis tube or leave out the Saiga bolt hold open lever. I think the Saiga hand guards look OK and function great, so you only really need the trigger parts, bullet guide, pistol grip, screw & nut set, and buttstock to have an AK work-alike initially. This is in the same cost ballpark as the Romanian in cost (if you do the work yourself).

    My .223 takes stock Galil mags fine, the 7.62x39 needed a little filing on the mag catch lever but after that, stock AK mags work fine once the bullet guide is installed.

    --wally.
     
  11. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Gas piston: $25

    USA made mags count as 3 parts, so all you need is a gas piston for legal usage in your factory rifle.
    USA made magazines do not seem to need a bullet guide, but if you want one for certain reliability:

    Bullet guide: $25

    All you need is a drill to install both items.

    Not sure where the "$100 worth of tools" and "$150 to $200 worth of parts to get them to use basic AK mags." comes in.
     
  12. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Get one, NOW.

    That is all.


    Also, vent your handguard.
     
  13. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I bought my Saiga .223 already converted. It has been a great rifle.
     
  14. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    nothing but good to say, ping me up, there is s dude near san atone, selling one with extra mags, for 375
     
  15. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    Saiga's are awesome!
     
  16. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Many of us already own a Dremel and a drill press and don't need to buy additional tools, with the possible exception of the tap for attaching the bullet guide.

    Your list would be for a Saiga made to look like an AK. If you are OK with the stock handguard, which is a matter of personal preference but IMHO is superior to an AK handguard, then your list is reduced by $106. You can also shop around a bit on furniture and you could realistically get a buttstock and pistol grip for $70 or so, maybe even less.

    If you want looks for collecting or what not, the Saiga probably isn't it. If you want function and durability at a low price, the Saiga is great.
     
  17. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Just one note-

    These are completely NEW AKs, they're not parts kit guns. They just have to be imported in sporter configuration.

    After that, your budget's the limit on what you want them to look like/do.

    Accuracy wise? Most I've seen shot with a scope hold near 2" at 100 yards with good ammo.

    Several in the family. Some are stock, some have been converted by tromix. All have been flawless in operation to date. Money well spent.
     
  18. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    I disagree strongly. I can buy, convert, and customize a saiga for much less money than a weapon like an arsenal. After threading the barrel and even duracoating it you are money ahead if you do it all your self. Too many people just lack the confidence to try the work themselves it really isn't very hard.

    As far adding in the price of the tools. It seems to me things like a dremel and a drill are pretty handy to own and one might want them irrespective of saiga conversions thus placing there full cost in the cost of the gun is skewing things a bit.

    I am in the camp that leaves the handguard (for the most part) I dont find its looks onjectionable and I really like the vented ones. I also like its greater surface area. Changing it out is far from necessary at any rate. If you just want AK looks there may be cheaper routes.

    I care more about performance than looks, and it the performance department dollar for dollar a converted saiga is hard to beat. There are some real lookers though too.
     
  19. jhansman

    jhansman Member

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    My converted Saiga is now my favorite rifle. Like Girodin said, many lack the confidence to tackle the conversion job (I was one for a couple months), but it really isn't that difficult, and you end up with a better trigger (if you get the Tapco), a PG, and a much better understanding of how the AK functions. Add to that the fact that the Saiga is pure Russian, a plus in my book. Prices are increasing, due to the weak dollar, so if you are gonna get one, do it now.
     
  20. Harold Mayo

    Harold Mayo Member

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    Thanks for the advice about conversion but if I wanted an AK, I would have been asking about an AK, not a Saiga. I didn't even have any idea that people converted them.

    For those giving advice about the Saiga in it's original form, thank you very much. I've been reading up on them all day now, in part in the forum mentioned above, and have come to the conclusion that I'll probably be getting one.

    Again, thank you.
     
  21. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    I highly doubt you'll be dissapointed in any way.

    Get it. Enjoy it.
     
  22. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    good for you homie, I bought mine when they cost 250. and for straight outta the box, I'm telling you, as far as accuracy goes, unless you are going to run a galil or valmet or vepr against mine, mine is going to beat your ak in the accuracy dept., every time. Would a nicer trigger be better? would I like a pistol grip better, especially for humping around in the woods? yes, but I do just fine with them , the way they are.
     
  23. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    My Saiga had the AK mag conversion done, and I think the gunsmith charged me $50.00, money well spent given how cheap AK mags are compared to Saiga mags. I strongly suggest the conversion.

    I like my Saiga, mostly because it just works. I get acceptable workman-like accuracy out of it (about the same as Ben), and it seems to feed and cycle just about everything. I doubt seriously that you would be disappointed in one as long as you understand you are not buying a sniper rifle or a Steyr Scout or something. What you get is a ranch rifle that is arguably better at what it does than the ranch rifle, and I am saying that as an admirer of the Mini-14! I really, really wish that I had bought a Saiga-12 back in the day...
     
  24. jackdanson

    jackdanson Member

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    Yeah get one. You don't need to convert it either as long as you don't mind lower cap magazines. That is the only real advantage to converting, everything else is looks/preference. For some reason people think slapping a pistol grip on a rifle makes it %500 more effective, I don't get it.
     
  25. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    I already had the drill press, so all it cost me was the K-var butt stock/pistol grip ($60), Dinzag bullet guide ($32), Tapco G2 ($30), and pistol grip screw and nut ($8). Maybe $15 shipping for all of the above. So about $145 from soup to nuts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
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