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Old 03-25-2020, 12:14 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is online now
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For some time, I've wanted to get an AK. Won't get one until after the corona crisis is over, but.... I have been searching and digging into AK's. The more I dig, the more confusing it gets. So, I'll toss this out. What makes a good functional AK? Not a collector gun, a shooter.

American made vs Eastern European? Russian vs Czech? Milled receiver vs stamped? Wood (and which wood) vs plastic furniture? Brand or model? Seems like opinions are all over the place.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:05 PM
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An AK expert in Nevada once told me that 2 "very good" AKs are:

1. the Yugo M70AB2 (which apparently is no longer imported)
https://www.classicfirearms.com/yugo...fold-ri1588-x/

2. the Romanian SAR-1 (which is no longer imported)
ROMANIAN SAR-1 AK-47 (NOT WASR 10/63) W/AMMO,12-30RD MA in lexington, Kentucky gun classifieds -gunlistings.org

Edit: between the 2, I'd choose the Yugo.


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Old 03-25-2020, 01:30 PM
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Right now there are fewer choices than a few years ago. One place to look is Atlantic Firearms, they cater to AK’s and will usually have a decent selection. There are some new imports from Poland that are looking promising. Pretty much stay away from the US AK’s. There are some guns that are made with US receivers and barrels but using de milled foreign AK parts sets, some of these can be quite nice.

When in doubt always go with a ex Comm Block factory rifle

AK 47 / 74 Rifles - AtlanticFirearms.com
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:31 PM
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These are not really my thing, but in my observations the ones that seem to go for the most money seem to be those with milled (instead of stamped) receivers, along with Norinco from China, Valmet, and Arsenal. I'm sure just about any make works fine but these are the ones that get the big bucks.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:35 PM
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Anything built by Arsenal. I prefer the sheet metal receiver as it is lighter than the milled models. I like the polymer stocks over wood for functionality. That being said, I have several with wood furniture because I like the way it looks. I have a number of AK's but the two that get the most use are sheet metal receivers with polymer stocks. Both are Arsenal's and both have about 15K through each of them. They are a very reliable battle rifle and if that's what you are looking for, go with an Arsenal.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:37 PM
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Lots of great AKs out there. If money isn’t an issue, buy a pre-ban.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:49 PM
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I like the Arsenal AKís the best. They just run forever and you seldom hear about problems with them. Having said that, the out-of-production models have gotten really, really expensive. I had two, a Russian SGL-21 in 7.62 and a Bulgarian SLR-104FR in 5.45. Never used the 5.45 rifle so I sold it recently on GB. That thing went over $2400, and that seems to be the going rate for them these days! I guess that tells you what the market thinks of these rifles. Go with Arsenal if you can but be prepared to pay for it.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:53 PM
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I had a Romanian SAR-1 for a number of years and really liked it. It had a milled receiver and the sights were not canted, which seemed to be something to look for when buying. I hunted with it and killed a few feral hogs and one nice buck during deer season and I found it to be as accurate as your average .30-30 lever gun with open sights.

I sold mine a couple of years ago because it seems my cousin wanted in more than I did, especially when he offered more than double what I paid for it. Otherwise, it was a real fun gun.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:44 PM
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The Bulgy AKs are robust but heavy. Many Saiga rifles were converted to AK style after the AWB bill sunset. They are stamped but the metal is plenty thick. The 20" versions are used as the basis for building fake RPKs. My only complaint about the Saiga I used to own was that it was drastically over gassed. Thw WASR 10/63 that re[laced it was entirely different, recoil wise.
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:07 PM
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From a durability stand point based on data from machine gun ranges, milled AK's are superior to stamped ones from a durability standpoint regardless of how thick your stampings are. That said most people will never even approach shooting their AK enough for it to matter.

Arsenal makes a good albeit expensive product. You can buy with confidence but you are paying for it. Saiga AK's are probably the best stamped ones out there but you will be looking secondary market. Romanian and Bulgarian would be my close second to Saigas. I would stay away from Yugos, some are no longer imported and there are some non-standard configurations out there. My experiences with them have been hit or miss so I tend not to recommend them. I recommend staying away from state side offerings right now, jury is still out on quality and durability.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:03 PM
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Thanks guys. Good stuff.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:14 PM
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Well for me: Arsenal -OK to expensive at 1300.00+, M70 Quite Good but now no longer made, The SAR 95...a Milled Thumb hole was the Best AK I ever Owned..Styer Barrel, Nice machine work, their 1300.00 if you can find them. For 2000.00 + or so Valmets are Outstanding rifles. Notice all are Used/no longer made. I would Not buy anything New ..just my 2 cents. Forget Pre post ban Stuff...its all going to become a Ban item sooner or later. Oh Yea Chinese Ak are fair at best...I Shoot a Older Galil myself .... and my M 70 folder.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:27 PM
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Iíve heard a lot of good coming from the newer generation PSA AKs... but wonít say yay/nay until I physically have one in hand.

Waiting on UPS to pick up my AK-P (black MOE with their triangle brace; Krinkov clone in 7.62mm) from their warehouse... and ship Ground to ME. First day I can pick it up, Iíll find out.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:33 PM
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I went through the AK phase once upon a time -- eventually had Chinese, Romanian and US-made versions. All worked flawlessly, BUT -- lousy accuracy, weighed a ton, and are the most uncomfortable/inconvenient weapons to carry ever devised.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:42 PM
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I have a WASR which I think is a good choice for an entry level AK. The sights on mine are straight and not canted. I think it's a 2017 vintage. I replaced the wood with something more to my liking and put a peep sight on it. It's a fun gun.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:55 PM
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Skip the milled receivers, they offer no real world advantage, add weight & negate the 'flex' that most stamped receivers are designed with, skip the US made other than Arsenal which is good if you want to spend the money otherwise any good Bulgarian, Polish or Romanian AK is a good choice. Additionally East German is good, just about any Euro made AK will be good to go but stay away from the Maudi (Egyptian made). Also Yugo is not standard parts configuration for gas tubes & furniture and possibly a few other things.

If your are into variants you can't go wrong with the Hungarian FEG AK AMD-65. Additionally don't get hung up on chrome lined barrels that's not a deal breaker.

I'll second Atlantic Firearms. Also you can Contact Mark AKA Gunplumber at Arizona Response Systems LLC...he makes top drawer AKs.

My 2 AKS (Hungarian AMD-65 & Polish Under folder) are both very good rifles & accurate for me, no issues what so ever. Rather than fixed stocks I prefer underfolders or side folders., much more flexible in terms of modes of use & carry options. And yes, all Wire Under Folders and most side folders will have some slight wiggle sooner or later, if you're OCD then better get a standard furniture fixed stock AK LOL.

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Old 03-25-2020, 05:46 PM
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Default Yugo M70AB2

My only AK, but it's grown on me. Yugos have flip-up night sights and -- of critical importance to be sure -- are set up to launch rifle grenades.

The barrel that came with it was a mess; bullets found their way out of the muzzle, but it looked like the proverbial rusty water pipe inside. Still had fair accuracy though. I lucked into an unissued Yugo barrel a couple of years ago, and now it has much improved performance.

Keep in mind that unlike most other AKs, Yugos don't have chrome-lined barrels. Clean it!

I feel so naughty every time I use it.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:16 PM
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So many flavors, like skittles!

For a standard Mark I Mod 0 shooter, a Bulgarian or Romanian will be fine.
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