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ACME - Weapons Division
04-14-2004, 10:32 AM
Howdy, folks!

I almost posted this under the rifle threads, but it is after all a gear question.

I am considering purchasing an AK type rifle, maybe after the 1994 gun ban (hopefully) expires, so I can have a wider range of configurations available. That said, I have a few questions for those of you familiar with this system.

1) Who makes good ones and who doesn't? We have AKs available from Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Egypt, China, etc., plus those cobbled together here in the U.S. And then there are variants such as Valmets, Galils, etc.

2) 7.62mm, 5.45mm, or 5.56mm?

3) Fixed or folding stock?

4) Milled or stamped receiver? Does a milled receiver really add any meaningful durability, or does it just add unneccesary weight?

Also, feel free to list any other options you like.

Thanks,

waturz
04-14-2004, 11:14 AM
Some of the nicer AK rifles I have seen are pre-ban Hungarians. Of the more recent rifles, the Bulgarian rifles look to be well made and finished. I've had several Chinese (Norinco) AK's and while they were not the most well finished rifles out there, they certainly operated fine. I've got buddies that currently have Romanian AK's and they operate fine.

I've heard of but havent seen problems with the Maadi Egyptian AK's. Also, I've heard of problems with rifles that have been chambered in 223.

I've got my fingers crossed that we may see Valmet's from Finland or Galil's from Israel some day in the near future. I've got a buddy with a Valmet and it is the finest looking AK variant I have seen.

Good luck!

billcameron
04-14-2004, 12:02 PM
Before you put off purchasing an AK I would weigh potential ban could be renewed and made more strict in a couple of areas. Presently AK can be sold if they have a certain number of US made parts. This "loophole" could be eliminated. Presently magazines with over 10 round capacity can be imported into US if magazines were made before 1994 (don't know how this is ascertain for mags made in old commie block countries). It would be quite easy for law to be rewritten to prohibit importation of magazines with capacity exceeding 10 rounds period with no "loophole" based upon date mag was manufactured.

I only bring this up in case you want to hedge your bets. I recently purchased a Romanian AK which had some US parts installed in by Century arms to make it legal. With AK mags presently going for around $10-$12 in like new condition I doubt if they will get any cheaper if ban sunsets. In fact mags may go up as demand increases because of more and cheaper AK rifles. Anyhow, just something you may want to consider. I will probably buy another AK if ban sunsets and prices drop, because no more of this stupid pull out perfectly good parts and put in some US made parts.

countymountie
04-20-2004, 04:34 PM
The Romanian AKs are great rifles...relatively cheap and they work! They are also good for customizing to your taste. I plan to put a Romanian side folder and laminated wood verticle grip on my SAR1(7.62x39) in Sept if the AWB goes bye-bye.

As far as caliber goes I'd stick with the original combloc calibers due to some rumblings about reliability of the 5.56 versions(probably due to magazines). In my experience the 5.45 AKs are more accuarate than the orig 7.62 versions. The recoil is also dramatically less and allows for faster follow-up shots.

If the AWB does indeed sunset, I might just have to get a 5.45 Krinkov just for the hell of it!! :D

Glocku2death
04-20-2004, 07:22 PM
I owned a Pre-Ban Norinco AK chambered in 5.56MM and never had any problems with mine. The drawback to it when I had mine was the availability of magazines. I will buy another AK if the ban goes bye bye but it will be in 7.62X39 this time.

V42
04-20-2004, 09:18 PM
I have no idea what will happen in Sept. I don't see the ban being let up and even if it is, another type of ban could be in place by the time they are ready to start importing pre-ban style guns.

I would go for a 7.62x39mm version.

I recently bought a post ban Romanian SAR 1 for $370ish (The guns now run between $350 and $450ish.

I wanted a post ban (less expensive than a $800-$1200 pre-ban). But I wanted one that looked like a pre ban (had the pistol grip but not the thumbhole stock). I settled for a Romanian SAR-1 and am very happy with the one I got. They are no longer imported and are getting harder to find.

Here is an online guide to Romanian AK's

http://www.gunsnet.net/Linx310/model.htm

The two main points are to try to get a SAR and not a WASSR. A Wassr was originally designed to hold a single stack ten round magazine and was modified to take the double stack 30 round magazines after it was imported. So it probably doesn't work as well and is not as desirable. The guns can be told apart because the SAR (bottom gun in the attached picture) has a sort of oval shaped indentation above the magazine well, while the WASSR does not. You cannot go by the color of the wood of the stock, as SAR1's come with several different colors. A lot of dealers do not know the difference and others try to pass off a Wassr as a Sar 1.

Second consideration is canted sights/gas port. Some Romanian guns come with canted sight fixtures and/or gasports. This is easy to fix and very simple for a competant gunsmith, and as hard to get as these guns are becoming I would buy it and have it fixed.

I found my gun on gunbroker.com. They can also be found on gunsamerica.com. You are not likely to find a SAR1 within driving distance of you.

ZOID ZODIAN
04-20-2004, 09:31 PM
Howdy, folks!

I almost posted this under the rifle threads, but it is after all a gear question.

I am considering purchasing an AK type rifle, maybe after the 1994 gun ban (hopefully) expires, so I can have a wider range of configurations available. That said, I have a few questions for those of you familiar with this system.

1) Who makes good ones and who doesn't? We have AKs available from Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Egypt, China, etc., plus those cobbled together here in the U.S. And then there are variants such as Valmets, Galils, etc.

2) 7.62mm, 5.45mm, or 5.56mm?

3) Fixed or folding stock?

4) Milled or stamped receiver? Does a milled receiver really add any meaningful durability, or does it just add unneccesary weight?

Also, feel free to list any other options you like.

Thanks,

I've owned almost 40 AK's over the last 15 years, so I feel uniquely qualified in this matter. I've shot them, carried them, repaired them, and even rebuilt one off the barreled receiver (luckily the serial number of the bolt matched the receiver).

So, without further ado, here's my humble two-cents worth:

1) Best, in order of preference: Israeli (Galil), Bulgarian (including those licensed to be made in Las Vegas, Nevada), Finnish (Valmet), Russian, Chinese, Yugo, Romanian, Egyptian. I consider the Romanian and Egyptian to be bottom feeders with poor quality control. U.S.-made "cottage industry" AK's are still new and of such unknown quality that I'm careful to steer clear of them for now. An exception might be Firing Line.

2) Your preference. 7.62x39 used to be the king, due to the availability of cheap ammo and magazines, but this is changing. Some areas (like this town) are almost devoid of 5.45 ammo. Another thing to consider: if your rifle has a free-floating firing pin, use only foreign ammo with Berdan primers (any military ammo or ComBloc ammo), otherwise, your rifle could slamfire. Arsenal of Bulgaria, with a plant in Las Vegas, Nevada, has begun installing spring-loaded firing pins on its rifles. The spring and new firing pin both are extremely heavy duty; do not worry that this arrangement is cheesy or fragile. In these rifles you can fire U.S.-made Boxer-primed ammo with complete safety.

3) Your preference. If you do not think you will need to conceal the weapon in a short duffel bag, I would opt for the fixed stock. I will say this, though: if you DO go with a folding stock, sidefolders are better. The rails of an underfolder will generally become more and more wobbly with use and this can affect accuracy. It may take several thousand rounds to do this, but I personally fired an underfolder that was so wobbly it wouldn't stay on target. Underfolders also often have sharp edges that can cut your cheek as you fire the rifle (no kidding!).

4) It's been debated endlessly whether the milled is better than the stamped. I believe the milled is more durable, but it is also heavier. The standard service life for a stamped Hungarian AKM is rumored to be 15,000 rounds. A milled AK in the Arsenal museum in Bulgaria has fired over 300,000 rounds with all original parts. The Finns originally made the Valmet with a stamped receiver, then switched to a milled receiver because it was more durable. They may, in fact, be back to using the stamped receiver. After studying every available weapon, including the stamped AKM, the Israeli's opted for a milled receiver on their Galil. You do the math.

As far as I know, there are only two sources of milled receivers currently being produced for the American civilian: Arsenal, and Firing Line. Arsenal makes complete rifles with the milled receiver, but has just announced that they plan to all but discontinue the milled receiver and concentrate on stamped ones, so you'd better hurry. FAC and Lew Horton's are the source for Arsenal rifles. The reason they give for retooling for stamped receivers is that the milled receiver is much more expensive to produce than the stamped. (This reason alone is enough to recommend it: you get what you pay for).

Firing Line, to my knowledge, sells only receivers, but they may also make complete rifles. They definitely appear to make a quality product as well.

5) Polymer stocks: uglier but more weather proof. Arsenal of Bulgaria also makes standard a longer buttstock than the standard AK. A lot of people find this longer stock more comfortable.

6) If you plan to keep the rifle forever, try to get one with a side rail for mounting optics. As your eyes get older, like my 70-year old Dad's, you will be less and less likely to be able to see iron sights and align them quickly.

Hope this helps.

MTS
04-21-2004, 05:46 PM
Does anyone know what distance to zero a 5.45 AK for the battlesight setting?

I have heard that you zero at 25M with the rear sight at 200M but I think that was for the 7.62X39mm. Does this work for the 5.45.

I have done on-line searches and everything seems to come back to the 7.62X39.

dgg9
04-22-2004, 06:16 AM
Another vote for aftermarket synth stocks:

1. They increase the LOP, vastly improving ergonomics.
2. A US-made stock set easily puts your AW "parts count" into safe territory.

ACME - Weapons Division
04-22-2004, 07:20 AM
Howdy, guys!

I really appreciate you posting your experiences with Kalashinikov's.

I have one further question about the American-made stocks. How does their length-of-pull compare to the AR15, A1 or A2 style? (I am of the opinion that many arms makers design their stocks a bit too long for fighting guns. Of the AR-15's, I think the A1 pull length is preferrable to the A2.)

Thanks,

TacticalSquirrel
04-23-2004, 03:07 PM
The USA stocks come in Warsaw legnth (Origninal short stocks like the A1, work great for close, quick shooting and shouldering when wearing heavy clothing in the winter or deer season) and an extended legnth called the NATO. I haven't shouldered one of thse, but for me, I prefer the Warsaw. I can put a buttpad on it if I need to extend the legnth, and remove it when I use heavy clothing. It gives me a bit more flexibility I think.

I own an AKUSA Saiga conversion to an AK104. I love the rifle, and even though I also own a couple AR carbines, a STG 58 FAL, and use a CAR15 and MP5 for work, I still prefer grabbing my Ak104 for close shooting. The MP5 only beats these when used inside houses and hallways.