Which AK? AKM vs 100 series; PSA vs others

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by westernrover, Aug 21, 2022.

  1. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I think I want an AK. So which one? I'm looking at PSA because they're available and seem like a good value. They cost less than Krebs, Arsenal and Rifle Dynamics and I don't think I need to pay as much as those cost to do what I want. My purpose is simply to enjoy the rifle, learn and teach my sons to shoot it. They're competent with a bolt-action deer rifle but could learn to shoot a rifle like this too.

    I'd want an optic because my eyes don't work as well with irons. I think I'd get a EO Tech or one of the big 34mm Aimpoints. Side-rail? Dust-cover rail? Fore-end top rail? I suspect the side-rail that holds the optic over the dust-cover is the way to go, but will take advice on that. What about the hinged dust covers? Do they hold zero?

    I like AK furniture rather than AR fore-ends and buffer tube stocks on an AK. I think I'd prefer a side-folder over a fixed stock, but it might depend on the LoP. I don't want a brace or a pistol or SBR.

    So here's an AKM style rifle. PSA calls it "GF5"

    51655113608n.jpg
    From what I can see, it's got a traditional AKM style gas block, a slant muzzle device, and the bolt is AKM style with the internal extractor. This one has an angular AKT-EL trigger. If there's any other distinctions, I don't know.

    Here's a "103" style

    51655115674_1.jpg
    It looks like it has a gas block and muzzle device modeled after the (Russian) 100 series. I understand the PSA version has an AKM-style bolt rather than the bolt with the external extractor like the Russian 100-series. It has a curved single-stage trigger.

    Otherwise, these both have FN CHF barrels and forged bolts, carriers, trunnions, and stamped receivers.

    I'm supposing the biggest practical difference might just be the muzzle device. I generally hate brakes for their noise, but a 7.62x39 AK might be one of the most sensible places to use one.

    So what haven't I thought of, and what don't I know?
     
  2. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    The PSA guns look good and seem to have a pretty good rep, at least the few Ive seen. I got burned back in the 90's with the early US guns assembled from kits, and stayed away from them. The Russian and Romainian guns I had all shot the best, and their only problem was the crappy US compliance parts most seemed to come with.

    I had one of Krebs' early Saiga conversions that was done before he started putting his name on them (it was one of the defunct Kalashnikov USA guns). It was a good gun, but other than fit and finish, really no better than my SAR's or WASR's when it came to function or accuracy.

    As far as mounting the optic, I still prefer the Ultimak upper rail mount. Its rock solid, puts the optic low and forward, out of the way of both handling and blocking your peripheral vision. The dot cowitnesses with the irons too.

    This was the Krebs AK103K (14" barrel) that I had with the Ultimak and an Aimpoint ML2.

    8WJYzQR_q_dc-F5BNyntOLdWDP5ZdA7LI-ODz-HPGOhFEF-I6uVqgDvsaVo?cn=THISLIFE&res=medium&ts=1190387860.jpg
     
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  3. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I'm not a big fan of muzzle brakes either. But the AK74 style brake used in the 100 series isn't bad.
     
  4. David Hoback

    David Hoback member

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    Go with what you like best. If you plan on an optic, do a side mount. The dust cover rails are horribly inaccurate. The cover isn’t screwed down to the Action or Barrel in any way. The Ultimak above is ok. I don’t like them as they are Scout Mounting & make the rifle look a little too “Tacti-Kewl”.(Although the AK-103K above doesn’t look bad at all with it, as it’s a blackout, Polymer furniture 74.) But that’s just me. A side mount like the Mission Industries (MI) with QD lever is my pic. They go on rock solid & stay put.

    Although I had moved on to AR’s long, long ago…I do miss the days of building AK’s. It was fun, and CHEAP! I still regret selling the last one I built; a Hungarian FEG SA-85 with solid wood stock. I built it using a 1.6mm receiver. What a beautiful rifle that was. Also the most accurate of all the AK kits I built. Parted with it & moved onto AR’s in 2005. Only firearm I regret getting rid of. Not to mention it would be worth 5x what I spent to build it in today’s market!
     
  5. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    PSA AKs seem to be good. They had some initial issues on the first ones (several years ago at this point) but the new ones sound like they’re good.

    I’m also a big fan of Arsenals. They are great guns and mine is one of my favorite rifles. Rifle Dynamics makes a VERY nice rifle, but it’s definitely in another league price wise.

    I would recommend going with an AK-100 style rifle. The brake does a a decent job of reducing recoil and it is not a loud/obnoxious brake like some others out there. The only downside is that it can be a bit brighter at night compared to something with a proper flash hider (though there’s probably not a huge difference between the AK-100 brake and a slant brake on an AKM).

    The AK-100 style front end is likely going to have 23mm threads (integrated with the front sight block) while the AKM style front end should have 14x1mm LH threads. Doesn’t really matter unless you plan on putting another muzzle device on the gun. You’ll have a much easier time finding a “normal” flash hider for a 14mm thread pitch.

    As far as stocks go, if you want a folder the side folder is the best. Be aware that there are 2 types of side folders: an AK-74 style with a 4.5mm pin and an AK-100 style with a 5.5mm pin. There are very slight differences between the two (slight change in the stock angle) but one is not necessarily better than the other. The main difference is compatibility if you want to make a change to something like the AK-100 solid folding stock.

    There’s not a whole lot of consistency across countries with this. Russia moved to the 5.5mm with the AK-100, but Arsenal (Bulgarian) AK-100 clones still use an AK-74 4.5mm style folder. I don’t know what PSA uses, but if you don’t plan on swapping out the stock this is all academic. Just be careful (and measure) if you want to put a different stock on the gun.



    For optics, I’d recommend going with either a railed gas tube like an Ultimak or a side mount from RS Regulate. Most dust cover rails don’t do a good job of maintaining zero because of the attachment system. The exception would be Zenitco or Texas Weapon Systems which both make good dust over optics mounts, but those are expensive and lean more towards a modern/modular design (which I think you said you didn’t like?).

    I would also avoid the Eotech for an AK. It has a fairly high optic window (designed for use on an AR without a riser) and it sits very high on an AK. It might be ok if you’re trying for a high optic for use with NVGs, but in general I’d recommend going with something like an Aimpoint micro with a low mount. Something like an Aimpoint T2 with a low mount on an Ultimak railed gas tube will put your head only slightly above where it would be when using your iron sights (and you might even be able to cowitness the sights through the optic). This is a much more comfortable position when shooting.



    Other AK things -
    AKs tend to get hot if you’re putting more than a few rounds through them. I’d recommend at least having a glove on your left hand.

    A US Palm pistol grip and a safety with a tab (that lets you manipulate the safety with your trigger finger) are both worthwhile upgrades that make the gun much more useable. Not required by any means, but you can probably get both for less than $100 and it makes a big improvement if you’re doing any sort of shooting that’s not on a bench.
     
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  6. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    I would recommend you the KalashnikovUSA or Zastava AK
     
  7. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Find whichever type AKM here…If….you ultimately plan to use thousands of rounds :

    “AKOU” on Youtube.

    Once Rob gradually reaches 2,500 rds. in any specific rifle while limiting barrel heat, he clarifies whether headspace is still safe, and also shows us the wear on various bolt lugs etc.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Back when I owned an AK (a Romanian SAR-1 that I greatly miss), I had a siderail-mounted optic and had a good experience with it. I also tried a metal folding stock for a while, but went back to the traditional wooden AKM-style buttstock after a while. The folders look cool, but unless you *need* to store the rifle in a shorter, wider container, the loss of shootability doesn’t outweigh the storage convenience, IMO.

    [​IMG]

    I also found that I really enjoyed shooting with the Hungarian 20-round magazines like the one in the pic.
     
  9. Mars5l

    Mars5l Member

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    Me personally I wanna try one of the new WPB Jacks.
     
  10. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    I’d choose a Zastava M70 or a WBP Polish first. I’d even consider a Romanian WASR before an American made PSA gun.

    Or just get a milled Arsenal and have a fantastic rifle. Mine is my most used and favorite rifle I’ve ever owned.

    93-E138-A5-3-BA2-4-EB3-8-CE5-4-D381-B488612.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2022
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  11. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    A large shipment of Polish WBPs (maybe also the “Fox” version) recently arrived at Atlantic Firearms.

    That company constantly receives many compliments for its customer service.

    My “intell” on AKMs always come from reading “AKfiles”.
    Why pretend otherwise?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2022
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  12. brunowbe

    brunowbe Member

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    Import > Domestic made. Krebs and other boutique AKs aren’t going to do anything better. While you are still able, get a quality import. You would be foolish not to and go with a US made one as our glorious leader could ban them from import at any time.

    In no particular order, as I don’t know your budget, get a Zastava, Arsenal, Beryl, WPA, WASR, used Saiga, used Vepr, used ChiCom, Galil Ace, Feg, Sar, Romak, etc. before getting a domestic. Deals can still be found.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2022
  13. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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  14. Mot45acp

    Mot45acp Member

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    I returned my PSAK. They fixed half the problems, ignored the other half. Front trunion mounted crooked and more. With that said my AKV Is flawless. The other one just felt cheap. And I have no problem with com-bloc guns fitted with a hammer.

    Right now KUSA side folder (because it comes with CHF barrel) or Zastava is best bang for buck. Atlantic just got in some WBP too! Might be next on my list.
     
  15. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    Ditto for a Zastava. The best AK, The best AK ammo & The best AK mags are all made in Serbia.
     
  16. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I have a Gen 2 PSAK-47 that I purchased as a "blem" for less than $500.

    It has given me no problems. Robski seemed to like that iteration as well, and after his 5k round test it was still shooting just under 2 MOA. I hear that newer rifles from PSA are even better, but I am happy with mine.

     
  17. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    Zastava receivers use the RPK configuration. Its quite a bit heavier then an AKM receiver. Is important to remember, the durability reputation in no way extends to the M receiver. They are not even close.
     
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  18. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    Whats that on the barrel behind gas block?
     
  19. stanley_white

    stanley_white Member

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    For AK variants I am an imports only guy.

    Regarding Yugoslavian AK variants, unless you plan on launching rifle grenades the thicker receiver probably isn’t necessary.

    -Stan
     
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    The AK (even with an AKM-style 1mm receiver) can be rather heavy for its size and caliber. Stepping up to a 1.6mm RPK-style receiver, or a forged/milled receiver, adds significant weight on top of that. For me, the drawbacks of making the rifle heavier would outweigh the benefits; I would think that given a properly heat treated receiver, the barrel of an AK would be worn out many times over before even a a 1mm steel receiver would fail from metal fatigue.
     
  21. ID-shooting

    ID-shooting Member

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    I am going to back a few things already mentioned, com-block AK > US made AK but this is one of those time where the used market is far more cooler than the new market. The reason is that the best AK's are made from true military gun that were converted for the US market. CHF barrels, proper markings, poper furniture and the like. That said, new WASR 10's are good AK's, don't own a single US made one so I can comment there other than what we all read. Do check out Rob Ski's reviews. He will comment good and bad. Boy did you pick the wrong time to enter the AK world though. The cost points of current AK's are way too high in my mind but I have been at this for a while. Instead of reccomend a manufacturer, I am instead going to reccomend some specs and features to consider.

    AKM in 7.62x39. Ammo is still cheap compared to other calibers AK's run in (5.45x39 and 5.56x45). Although there is a current import restriction on Russian made ammo, there are plenty of other sources for 7.62x39. The reloading market is also ramping up with 7.62x39 componnents.

    Usually 7.62x39 rifles are threaded 14x1LH for muzzle devices. Most will come with slant brakes on them. Toss the slant brake as they are only meant for full-auto use. I find the Tabuk or AKML style to be top performing for flash hidding but there are other good options as well. The other calibers with be threaded different so other than a 5.56 version, muzzle devices can be hard to onbtain and costly.

    Magazines for 7.62x39 area easy to find and very affordable. Basic Euro-steel surplus mags run $20ish or so each with RTG currently offer AC Unity mags at $100 for 20. Ya, as in $5 each. I bought a set as did a buddy of mine. They work flawless in all of our AK's. For other calibers, magazines can be very expensive, need to match the gun especially for 5.56 magazines though some new AK's have an AR mag adapter so that is less of thing than it used to be and may make sense for you if you already have a pile of AR mags and support for 5.56x45.

    AKM is the way to go for furniture options. Everything from surplus, to MagPull, to metal folders from CnC Warrior to surplus wire folders are all desined to mount right up to any in-spec AKM tang rear trunnion and front handguard retainers. Stamped spec AKM is the standard and has the widest choices in after-market parts.

    AKM side rail is the way to go for optics. The RS Regulate mount is very solid and repeatable. a low mount optic is best for proper presentation. I personally like a 400 yard POSP scope but those are getting hard to find. That said, AK's are AK accurate and ammo choice plays a huge role in accuracy the other is crude sights. "minute of bad guy" at 300 yards is the standard. Anything better than that is icing and usually requires the higher end or reloads to accomplish along with optics. Only reason to mention this is I have more than once seen guys compare to thier accurized bolt guns and gripe about how in-accurate the AK is. Just so you manage expectations you should be fine.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but those are my reasons in things to consider. Happy shopping!
     
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  22. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I think I have shot or used in some capacity about every genuine military AK that there is (and had a bunch used against me). I've also fired a number of different civilian variants. Most of my "hands on" experiences with them was the result of me instructing indigenous forces in the best use of them, because the AK is what they had. While they have different features, furniture, etc., and some have more "traditional" VS "modern" appearances, I have never seen significant differences in performance when they are fired. Sighting is problematic on every AK I have ever encountered- the irons are far from user-friendly as compared to something like what you get with the AR type rifle, I highly recommend spending the $ on the quality sight tool made by magna-matic VS the cheaper C clamp types sold at gun shows, and keep some penetrant oil in your range box to help move that front sight that is likely full of cosmoline, rust, or gunk of unknown origin, and watch a few youtube vids on how to zero the AK before you go to the range. The only optical mounting system I would consider is one with a side rail coming off the receiver. Larue used to make something called the "iron dot" that mounted into the rear sight dovetail- I saw some people in afg, using these that said that they worked well, but I never fired it myself. Dust cover mounts and the mounts that go on the gas tube aren't nearly stable enough IMO. The safety is definitely not "user friendly"- there are aftermarket safeties that are extended and can be activated easily with the trigger finger if you are a "righty", which I highly recommend. I also recommend finding a couple of "post ban" 10 round mags for your AK (if you get one). These are useful for zeroing the AK as the huge standard 30 round mags are in the way when you are firing prone or from a bench to zero the AK off a sandbag. As you may have figured out, the AK is not my favorite rifle, but I have been forced into a few "marriages of convenience" with them. Some people love them, and I say to each his own. I'm just sharing some of the issues I have encountered with them and some of the remedies I have used to make the marriages a little less "rocky".
     
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  23. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    If you go Polish, steer clear of Pioneer! The Fox line is solid, as are the Zastavas. If your dead set on a triangle side folder, there’s Arsenal if you can find one. I’m a com bloc snob… But I do own a K-USA KR-9S
     
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  24. JB111

    JB111 Member

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    It's best to stay away from USA made ak's. Stick to the imports all the way.

    Wasrs are the best of the budget offerings.

    Zastava zpap m70s and Wbp Jack's are a step up from wasr.

    Arsenal is over priced but a great choice. Milled receiver and the action is smooth as silk

    Galil is quality as well and is a good choice.

    Those are about the best imports you can get right now. Stay away from pioneer. They may be import but they are garbage. Most of the USA made ones are trash. Riley, IO, Century made rifles, all dookie.

    If you Google ak buyers guide there is a good list of what is good to go and what to avoid.
     
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