I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

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mekender
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I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby mekender » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:29 am

ok, so I want an AK. I will be starting an AR build soon so it is only proper to give my AR a counterpart.

The problem, there are eleventymillion choices and I have no idea what they are.

So, I ask for help from those that might be more experienced.

I want a rifle that looks like this.

Image

I do not like the pistol grip front end that I see on some of the AK's. Just a simple, classic AK.

Now, caliber is not too important, I am willing to go with 7.62 or even 5.56... I've even thought about a 5.45 gun but I am afraid that the ammo supply isnt all that steady and I would hate to buy a gun that was going to be hard to shop for.

So, any advice?
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Kommander » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:08 am

The pic you have there is of a milled AK, which is going be be more expensive and harder to get then the usual stamped AKM type. Anyway here are some sites that sell AKs and should have what your looking for.

J&G

Atlantic Firearms

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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Darrell » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:14 pm

I'm sure the Romy defenders will show up, but I'd say to spend $550 or so and get a good one.

ETA: Wow, I hadn't checked prices in a while. I went over to Atlantic's website and looked around, the $550 AKs are now $650-850. Consider a Saiga conversion (made by Izhmash, the real AK maker), a Lancaster, Vector or Bulgarian. Some would say Yugo, though they generally don't have chrome lined barrels.

Go over to ak47dotnet/ar15dotcom and read up in the AK pages to learn about the different makes:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=4

Personally, I don't like cheap AKs, though some say that's what the AK should be... hence Romys and such. I have a Russian one and a Bulgarian, both quality firearms; both are accurate and run like tops. I'm not a fan of the slant brake/compensator, I prefer a muzzle brake or flash hider, or nothing at all.

For caliber, 7.62x39 is of course the standard. Ammo is cheaper than .223, but more expensive than it used to be. .223 would be your best choice for availability down the road. the 5.45x39 is still cheaper than the other calibers, though I'd say to buy it cheap and stack it deep while you still can. Much of the cheap 5.45 out there is corrosive, so you'd need to clean the gun right after use. Any AK should happily digest the steel cased stuff, so no worries there.
Last edited by Darrell on Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Kommander » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:30 pm

The Rommys are not bad, but the aren't the value they were 5 years ago when they could be had for $300. If you do decide to get a Rommy buy it locally so you can check for problems. (cant, loose magwells, etc) If I was to buy one mail order from the two pages I listed I would go with the Vector Arms AK 47 Classic Wood Style or the AK47 Rifle Russian Red by Lancaster Arms. The Vector has a longer butstock, whereas the Lancaster has a better finish, Gun-Kote over parking vs. just parking on the Vector.

My personal AK is a Bulgarian similar to this one (and available with wood at both sites) but I am reluctant to recommend it since it has a thicker 1.6mm receiver that makes it incompatible with standard AKM type furniture.

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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby FelixEstrella » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:29 pm

I second a the Saiga conversion choice. You can even do the conversion yourself and gain valuable kow-how and experience.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Darrell » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:09 pm

I'll probably sound like a broken record, but since this is a new forum I get to say it once more: My VEPR II in 7.62x39 absolutely rocks. It's a pity they're not available anymore, maybe down the road they'll be imported once more, though I doubt Robinson will ever do them again... A friend has a VEPR II in .223, it is probably the best AK type I've ever shot. He wouldn't sell it to me, so I got an Arsenal (Bulgarian) SLR 106 FR .223 AK, it's a very good gun, but it doesn't quite measure up to the VEPR. If you're willing to buy used, the VEPRs are on the various auction sites, though you'll pay through the nose for them.

One thing to consider about .223 AKs, magazines aren't standard as they are with the x39 AKs. Not all .223 mags will work with all guns, as far as I know.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Kommander » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:47 pm

For a first AK I also recommend that you get it in 7.62x39. You will have absolutely no problems with ammo or magazine availability if you do.

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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Darrell » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:19 pm

This thread inspired me to take out the AKs for some shootin' today, so thanks! :) I was picking off clays at 100 yds with both, the VEPR with iron sights, the SLR with the PK-AS sight. The PK-AS on the VEPR got knocked off zero somehow, so I just shot it with the irons.

I took a gander at a couple of interesting guns for sale while at the range, one a .223 AK; it was a "Golani" Galil, looked very nice, they were asking $850 for it. I gather it's actually a Century make, they just tag the Golani name on it. If it's a Century, I'd be leery of it, though it did look and feel good. And the Galil is an example of .223 AKs needing particular magazines. The other was a DSA FAL, wow! Very nice, but it had a $2,400 price tag on it. Too rich for my blood.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby AZMARK » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:40 pm

The pic in the OP looks pretty much like a Lancaster, so I'll second them.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Kommander » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:04 am

While many century guns can be ok I have head tons of bad things about their Galil rifles. I would stay away.

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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Jeffro » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:58 am

I'll second Darrell on a VEPR. I've got an early thumbhole stocked rifle in .308 that is a very well made example of the type. But, like he said, they are hard to find and can be pricey. I've also owned a preban Polytech Legend (had to sell) with a milled receiver that was very good, too. I've had a couple Norincos that were good, too. But, it helps out the Chicoms if you buy one new.

Another option is Century's Yugo M70. It's on a heavier receiver, the crack monkeys at Century seem to be consistently good on these, and it is well built. However, it doesn't have a chrome lined barrel and the handguards are proprietary - standard furniture kits won't fit it because they are a bit longer. When I got mine, there were rumors that there were no more kits available, and what was out there was it. This may still be the case, because I just looked at the Classic Arms site where I got mine, and all they have in the Yugo line are M72s. The M72 is a heavy and long barreled (with built in bipod) replica of an RPK. $529.95 list - w/o shipping. I've dealt with these people in the past, and they may or may not be the cheapest, but they are among the best.

Another thing I'll toss in is how to determine if the build is worth a crap - if you cannot snap the receiver cover back on without five minutes of fiddling around, then the parts were probably stamped from worn machinery. Every bargain basement example my mitts have handled had this tendency. Also look for canted front sights. Some of the less expensive models (WASR10) were originally imported with thumbhole stocks and use inline ten round mags, until they were converted to pistol grip configuration and had the magazine well hogged out. They lack the dimples in the side of the receiver that help locate the larger mags, so the wider mags tend to wobble quite a bit. Apparently this doesn't seem to affect feeding - but it is something you should know.

At any rate, AKs are fun, and the contrast between them and the AR platform is pretty kewl to actually see and appreciate.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby clyde621 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:46 am

Mekender: Century is located just out side Charlotte. If you go to their site they offer a location that you can buy from them with just a little fee.
http://www.classicarms.us/
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:00 am

clyde621 wrote:Mekender: Century is located just out side Charlotte. If you go to their site they offer a location that you can buy from them with just a little fee.
http://www.classicarms.us/


classic arms doesnt sell directly, they have an FFL in charlotte that does their transfers for them. My FFL will do em for half of what he charges. But thanks, i hadnt thought of classicarms... only problem is that i have to pay tax
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Whirlibird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:38 am

Lancaster, Vepr's, Arsenal (Bulgarian), not necessarily in that order.
All make quality products and are generally worth the extra cash outlay.

However, I have had surprising luck with the Romanian WASR's, both in single stack and conventional magazine form. Some garbage too.

If I were going to do another AK, (might just have to) I'd consider the 7.62x39 cartridge pretty much exclusively. Of the three choices, (inc. 5.45 and 5.56) it's the most useful and unlike the 5.45, there's US commercial ammo made readily available.

Building one, I'd have to go with a NODAKSPUD receiver http://www.nodakspud.com/ and most likely a Yugo M-70 kit of some sort. For the price, they're hard to beat.
However if I could get a decent Romanian Kit and didn't want the front pistol grip, there's a whole mess of front handguards available in various styles and colors.
The Bulgarian Kits are the more desireable, from the builders I've spoken to but I haven't messed with them yet.

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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:58 am

ok so for building one, i am fairly competent with my hands, why should i not choose this option?

and how complex is it?

i know that AR's arent that hard, but an AK is a whole different beast
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Whirlibird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:48 am


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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:21 am

ok see that looks like a whole lot of mess that i dont have the money to buy the tools for...

least with an AR i can do it with $30 worth of tools... no fuss, no grinding no bs...
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Catbird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:41 am

mekender wrote:ok see that looks like a whole lot of mess that i dont have the money to buy the tools for...


The advantage of building an AK is that you're really building it. You aren't just assembling parts, you're fabricating a new, unserialed, off the books firearm. Some folks like the idea of that.

I looked into this a year or so ago. I get the impression that the non-gunsmiths who go this route are the ones who already have the tools, (especially a hydraulic press and tack welder), and who have the skills to make the dies. These guys often go in with some friends to make several receivers and split the cost.

I hear there is a bolt-together method for assembling AKs, but it's generally not recommended.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Jeffro » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:55 pm

NPR has built several, two of which are pictured in the Gratuitous Gun pic thread.
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Postby Netpackrat » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:44 am

See, this is why we shouldn't have a "newbie" forum. I generally don't follow it, because the topics are almost never interesting to me. So I didn't notice this thread until it had already run its course, when I could have actually contributed something useful.

Anyway, as you have already figured out, because of the tooling requirement, it's not generally worthwhile to build your own AK unless you are going to do several. And whether or not to build your own receivers is a whole 'nother ball of wax, which I have skipped so far by buying 100%, factory built receivers that have to be shipped through an FFL. Making your own receivers has the advantage of being cheaper if you are making a bunch of rifles, plus "they" theoretically won't know you have it (unless of course, you brag about it on teh intarwebz). I buy the pre-made ones because the end result is better than if I had tried to make my own. A first quality AK receiver from NDS, Armory, or Ewbanks is going to be dimensionally correct, and it will be uniformly heat treated throughout, rather than just spot hardened with a torch at the wear points as most home-brew receivers are. This results in a more rigid, better functioning rifle.

Even buying the 100% receiver, building an AK can be a challenge. First you have to remove the old receiver pieces from the parts you want to save, which means precise work with a Dremel tool, punch, and hammer. Then you need to locate all of the parts correctly on the new receiver, drill new holes, and drive rivets into those holes. There is a method of using screws, and it can work okay if done properly, but there are aspects of a screw build that can make it just as difficult as a rivet build. Driving solid rivets is not the end of the world, and there are lots of different ways you can go. Most builders use various squeezers and/or jigs for a hydraulic press, which you can make yourself. Removing and re-installing the barrel can also be a chore, but there are tools for doing this that won't cost a bundle.

I'm somewhat unique among home builders, because I'm a professional A&P Mechanic, and have done a fair amount of aircraft sheet metal work. Since I have lots of specialized aircraft tools for driving solid rivets, I use those wherever possible, so my riveting methods wouldn't necessarily be useful to you. The only specialized AK riveting jig that I have is for riveting the trigger guard to the receiver using my hydraulic press, which is still a chore even using the jig.

Not trying to scare you off, but unless you already bring some metalworking experience to the table, or have a local builder who is tooled up and willing to help you, you are probably better off buying one of the many AK clones on the market. You can get a basic WASR, or pay a bit more for better quality, but they all work about the same.
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