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Saiga, Golani, or AR choice?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by christcorp, Dec 16, 2009.

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  1. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    In a nutshell; here are my choices that I've somewhat narrowed down to: Curious which you would choose, and more importantly; WHY????

    1. Saiga .223: (Locally available) Final price after mod to stock and hi-cap magazines to keep it 922r compliant; and tax... $500

    2. Golani (Galil) .223: (Locally available) Used, but in excellent shape. After the recall situation, so it's not an issue. Out the door including an extra magazine: $600

    3. Olympic Arms AR15 .223: (Online order). Final price after s/h, FFL, etc... $650

    My thoughts are:
    Saiga: Dependable AK architecture, chambered in .223, additional quality .223 30 rd mags $28. Cheapest initially, but manufactured by a quality company.
    Golani (Galil): Dependable AK architecture, heaviest and sturdiest of the AK frames. Chambered in the .223. More expensive up front compared to the Saiga, but it's complete and finished.
    Olympic Arms AR15: CHEAPEST of the AR15 clones/piece rifles. Complete. Chambered in .223. Mags and additional parts cheaper and more available. But I'd have to go through the ordering process, and any issues I might encounter, I'd have to deal with the manufacturer. The Saiga and Golani I can deal with the local dealer I bought them from. I've bought numerous guns from them and they are good people.

    So; any thoughts or opinions/suggestions?
     
  2. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    Of the choices, Saiga. Take a look at the Magnolia State Armory AR-15 mag adapters.
     
  3. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    Avenger; I appreciate your thoughts. I was wondering if you might be good enough to explain however, "WHY" you say the Saiga???? Also, the Magnolia adapter just added another $125 to the Saiga, bringing it now to $625. For that same $125, I could have bought 4-5 Surefire magazines. Trying to figure our why you recommend the saiga. Especially with the price getting up to the cost of the Olympic Arms AR15. Thanks. mike.
     
  4. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    Because I'd rather have a quality AK than a lower quality AR. Yes, the price was increased with the MSA adapter, but being able to use common AR magazines has a quality all of it's own.

    I wouldn't want anything to do with the Golani. At all.
     
  5. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    Appreciate the comments. Definitely something to think about no doubt. Thanks again. Mike....
     
  6. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Unfortunately, the "recall situation" did not address the horribly (and irreparably) out of spec receivers that many were saddled with.

    The "recall situation" only added a lawyer recommended spring loaded firing pin to the rifle (millions of military rifles have been made w/o this "feature").



    Get the Saiga. Don't buy guns made by drunk monkeys.
     
  7. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    With the Golani you'd likely be dealing with that dealer OFTEN.

    I'd steer a wide path around the Golani. Drunken monkeys indeed.....
     
  8. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    My 2nd Golani (replaced prior to the recall) has been 100% solid. But $600 for a used on is high.
     
  9. snakeman

    snakeman Member

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    these people that say olympic is low quality don't know what they are talking about. I owned an ml 2 for a good while and it had at least no hiccups while my dads Bushmaster jammed every time it got a little dirt on it. i would go olympic
     
  10. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    Yes, Olympic is lower quality. They cut costs so you pay less. That's just the simple truth. It may be fine for a plinking gun, but my firearms are intended for defense and are brought with an eye towards reliability/durability.
     
  11. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Another vote for a Saiga.

    If you decide to get an AR, get a S&W M&P15 for $800 or so. There are also some other options that are only a bit more than the Olympic but are better quality.
     
  12. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    Avenger; excellent points. Another question then.... Would a Saiga in .223 be better than say a traditional AK-47, say Romanian; and in 7.62x39???? I figured that the saiga .223 had the reliability of the ak, with the better availability of the .223. (Especially if the SHTF, or other bans by government). Obviously, the biggest drawback with a Saiga, is repair and spare parts. Other than magazines by Surefire or Promag; trying to find parts if needed, would be difficult. AR and AK parts are a dime a dozen. Saiga, and even the Golani (Galil) seem to be the odd balls. Your thoughts???
     
  13. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    A Saiga is an AK in all aspects other than cosmetics, magwell/bullet guide, and name. If you do a conversion on a Saiga you have an AK for all practical purposes. AK replacement and spare parts will work.

    The drawback to a Saiga .223 is magazines. There are options, but none are terrific. Bulgarian AK-223 mags and Galil Orlite mags are probably the best options. If you get a Saiga in 7.62x39 or 5.45 you have better and cheaper magazine options (after a compliant conversion).

    Basically, if you want a good stock of magazines, a converted Saiga 223 won't be much cheaper (including magazines) than a lower end AR-15 with the same number of magazines. Then it simply boils down to what you want. Both are good, and in practical usage, with sufficient practice, they will perform quite similarly (Saigas are accurate for AKs and low-end ARs are 2 MOA guns, generally).
     
  14. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    I don't know if I would say a Saiga in .223 would be better or worse than an AK variant in 7.62x39...

    If you already run an AR or two (or other gun) running .223 and especially if you reload .223, then an AK in .223 makes a lot of sense, and doubly so if you've got a large stock of .223. The prices of a case of Wolf in .223 and 7.62x39 are within $10 of each other, so cheap plinking ammunition is about the same for both calibers. BTW, promags are worthless. And if I had an AK in .223, I'd get a magazine adapter to run AR mags and have the rifle set up with that rather than relying on one manufacturer of magazines...

    If ammunition imports are cut off, that cheap 7.62x39 (and that cheap .223) imported by Wolf is going to disappear. AK owners are going to be in a world of hurt. Have you seen the prices of 7.62x39 as loaded by the domestic manufacturers? At the very least, mid priced domestic ammunition is available for .223...

    A Saiga is essentially an AK, so after conversion your parts would be the same. I still say the best backup against parts breakage is another rifle and some spare parts on top of that.

    For ammunition, your best bet would be to have a large stockpile of your own, IMHO.

    To me, the AK is a good match with 7.62x39 because that's the caliber it was originally designed for. Also, the AK's accuracy and purpose matches the range of the 7.62x39 (i.e., 300-400 yards), giving it a good match. Magazines are widely available, and the ammunition availability isn't too bad.

    I'd be fine with going with .223, AK or AR, but I wouldn't be against going with 7.62x39 in the AK.
     
  15. Norinco982lover

    Norinco982lover Member

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    I really like my converted Saiga 7.62x39. If you do get the .223 I will also recommend getting the AR mag adapter.

    Basically what you will get from the internet is this:

    Good AR > Good AK variant in .223 > Cheap AR > Cheap AK

    Then you have to add $$ to the above:

    Good AR ($800+) > Good AK variant in .223 ($500-625) > Cheap AR ($600-800) > Cheap AK ($250-400)

    My recommendation: get a Saiga .223 and convert it. THEN keep your eyes open for a cheap WASR (I'm picking one up soon from a friend for $250). Now you have 2 decent guns that should cover all of your bases AND they use similar replacement parts (probably identical FCGs).

    ~Norinco
     
  16. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Three words for ya: "Galil magazine adapter".

    A fellow nicknamed RenegadeBuck makes them for the Saiga, and they just pop in like a regular AK mag on some .223 Saigas (some require a little tweaking - this is the nature of mass production).

    With one of these adapters, you can use commonly available AR15 mags all day long . .

    Please get it into your head: A Saiga IS an AK.

    Don't let the stupid butt stock mislead you from this fact.
     
  17. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    nalioth; thank you for being straight forward and blunt. Too many people worry about feelings; and thus are vague. You answered exactly what I needed to know. So, I think I am now leaning about 70% towards the saiga in .223. I will definitely do some research on the galil mag adapter. But the other 30% still has me looking at the goloni (Galil) that is also available at a local gun shop; used. I can get it; out the door; price and taxes; plus 2 magazines; for $600. But there are still some people that say to stay away from the galil. I know it weighs a ton; but is that mostly because the parts/material are better? Is it better forged and heavier steel? Why is it so much heavier? Also; are there really problems with them?

    If I get the saiga; my modification would be the ultimate basic conversion. $60 for a new stock/pistol grip. Plus, american made surefire 30 round magazine. It's 922r compliant, and not a lot of money out of pocket. Total price $500. The golani (Galil) would only be $100 more; but there's no conversion required. But are the golani (Galil) a POS or are they OK. I've heard nothing bad about a Saiga. But I've heard mixed reports on the Galil-Golani. I think most have convinced me to stay away from the Olympic Arms AR15. Thanks for opinions..... mike.,
     
  18. Norinco982lover

    Norinco982lover Member

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    christcorp,
    I don't know anything about the Golani but I can tell you this: the Saiga is extremely well built and there is no way the Golani is better than it. The Saiga rifles are very "heavy duty" plus you get the ability to modify them to YOUR needs and on your schedule. They can be found for sale on the internet for $339...may be be cheaper in your local shop since you won't have a transfer fee but then of course you have taxes...

    Once converted, the Saiga is essentially an AK. You will need to grab some handguard retainers if you want an AK handguard but all other parts will work fine on it.

    ~Norinco
     
  19. jobu07

    jobu07 Member

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    I have several AK variants, several AR variants, one Galil (Golani), and no Saiga's (not to say the Saiga is a bad rifle). They have all proved reliable and accurate under any conditions. You'd probably be happy with any of the above.
     
  20. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    I've been doing a lot of research. That combined with you'alls comments have brought me to certain realizations.

    1. No one seems to have anything NEGATIVE to say about the Saiga.
    2. About 3 in 10 say to stay away from the Golani (Galil); with the other 7 saying they're great.
    3. Most everyone says the AR platform is excellent if you are on the high end of AR's. Most say that the low end of the AR's have a lot to be desired. And about 50/50 say that Olympic Arms AR-15 is crap/good.

    Definitely a lot to think about. thanks. mike.
     
  21. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Several [hundred|thousand] Golanis shipped with irreparable defects in the receiver. Century stopped using the vendor that provided the receivers and jumped into bed with another manufacturer for the receivers.

    The Israelis designed the Galil with the help of the Finns, manufactured several hundred thousand of them, and subsequently removed them from front line service in deference to the M16A2 / CAR-15.

    IMHO, Galils not worth the money today (unless you've got lots of money and are a collector), and the "Golani" is something I'd never recommend anyone purchase . .
     
  22. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    excellent info and position. Obviously, there are reasons things are the way they are. So, the question BEGS to be asked.

    Except for the Saiga and the Gilil (clones); are there any other AK derivatives chambered in the .223 caliber? Except for the Saiga and Golani; are they just so rare, that they cost a lot???
     
  23. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    Arsenal makes or at least used to make one. Course, I believe they deal with some Saigas, too, nowadays.

    There are a couple of other variants scattered here and there, too. I think one of the WASRs (WASR-3?) was/is in 5.56. Maybe there was a Chinese in 5.56? I don't know- all of that was before my time. I think some of the Valmets were in .223, too.

    Other than that, I don't know. There are bound to be more, though.
     
  24. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Romanian WASR-3 (currently imported) and Romanian SAR-3 (no longer imported, but findable (at an affordable price) on the used market).

    Cost a lot? A WASR?

    Chinese .223 AKs are not a good idea, because they use magazines that are designed to work with those models - only. IOW, unless you find one with mags, you'll just have a headache trying to find mags for it. Plus the chinese guns are RARE, as they've not been imported in a couple of decades, and you know what 20 years will do to a [​IMG] - it'll drive it's price up to stupid levels (the Chinese AKs were the WASRs of their day).
     
  25. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    Well, I was right at about 90% ready to pull the trigger on the Saiga today. But before I got to that store, I stopped off at one of the other gun shops. They had a Kel-tech SU-16 there. Price wasn't bad. Right around $550. The 2 things I really liked about it was 1)It uses standard AR-15 magazines. also: 2) There really isn't any need to modify it. There's a rail to add accessories like a scope, light, laser, etc... These 2 things would definitely save quite a bit of money. And it's USA, so there's no 922r issues.

    Most reviews of the gun was very positive. Most forums were pretty positive. However; the vast majority of posts that compared guns, still thought HIGHER of the Saiga .223. So; I will hope that the other gun shop still has the Saiga in stock. They only had 1 left. If they do, I think that is the way to go. For the following reasons.

    1. It's the caliber I want. .223
    2. It's got the dependability and reliability of an AK
    3. The vast majority of the parts ARE AK parts, so repairs are easy.
    4. While magazines are a bit more than AR magazines, it's not a real issue for me. I'm not the type that needs 20 magazine. 3-4 30 round mags are enough.
    5. The price is right
    6. If I did decide to do upgrades, it's very common. Including retro to AR magazines.

    Anyway; we'll see if they still have it in stock tomorrow. mike
     
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