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Hi all. Newbie here with AKs. Been a hunter for years but really want an AK for fun. I live in Colorado so plenty of open space.

I am looking for 7.62 only. Fixed stock and 16" barrel. I have $750 to spend for the gun only.

I have spent maybe 5-6 hours total reading up on them, so I have a long way to go. But if you had $750, what would you consider. Accuracy is less important than something that just shoots every time. Ideally I would like a black composite furniture and a collapsible stock. But not a requirement now. Can add that later.

Also I am open to add some additional parts for better reliability over the next few months. But I don't want to ever exceed $900ish.

I have heard good things about Zastava PAPs, Egyptian Maadi's and Saiga. I hear that some of the WASR 10s can be decent but that its hard to know whether you have a a lemon or not. But again I am a newbie.

I would be open to both new and used. I would buy sight unseen if I know what ask about and what I need to see via pictures.

Since I live in gun country there's tons of people on ARMSLIST selling AKs. Plus we get some pretty major gun shows in Denver.

So aside of the guns itself, are there things I need to ask or know before buying regarding reliability? Thank you all.

Gregg
 

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Honestly I would wait for Black Friday and Christmas sales... in the meantime, watch the marketplace for used guns to pop up.

You say you want a fixed stock but later you say you want a collapsible one.. I'm assuming that means an AR style stock. You might consider getting a side folder if it's legal in your state/local area. I find that the polymer folding stock features the comfort of a regular stock with the compact storage of a folder.. but there are quite a few choices out there.
 

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Thanks 10Gauge. So Black Friday applies to the online gun outlets? Or local gun shops too? We have Bass Pro Sports and Cabela's by us. Could they be worth checking out?

Sorry on the fixed stock comment. What I meant was that I don't want side or under folding. I love the AR-style collapsible style though.
 

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I would think you could do better than that particular conversion, but maybe not.
It doesn't appear that they bothered to instal the lower hand guard retainer, so you wouldn't be able to use any of the standardized AK handguards.
Not a deal breaker for function, but I don't like anything that clamps onto the gun over the gas tube because it makes it impossible to remove the gas tube for cleaning without tools.
FYI, it is the installation of the hand guard retainer that separates the men from the boys on Saiga conversions. The reason being that you have to have a hydraulic press to remove/instal barrel components. All the other conversion can be done pretty easy in your garage.
That being said, there are also aftermarket hand guard retainers that clamp onto the barrel.
Even if you don't care about any of this, I would recommend you try to find something that doesn't have Tapco furniture on it for the same price.
Just keep in mind that the meat-and-potatoes of a truly excellent AK are present in all Saigas.
 

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Thanks 10Gauge. So Black Friday applies to the online gun outlets? Or local gun shops too? We have Bass Pro Sports and Cabela's by us. Could they be worth checking out?

Sorry on the fixed stock comment. What I meant was that I don't want side or under folding. I love the AR-style collapsible style though.
Typically online stores run specials as well as retail outlets. Online is useful if you don't feel like hacking your way through the sea of people all out trying to get a deal. However retail offers product in hand and you don't have to worry about getting the wrong item shipped. Deals vary so it pays to shop around.

Ah.. thanks for clearing that up. I'm not well versed on the different manufacturers of AR style stocks, but I'd steer clear of Tapco.. they don't have the best of reputations even though some people have found them serviceable.
 

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If you get a chance take a look at a Chinese MAK 90. They have a little thicker receiver, so adding different furniture would require a little work.
 

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Thanks you Corrosive. Great info. I do have access to a 12 ton press if I cannot find a conversion with this already done. Are there other items or things to know about with a Saiga conversion? Would I be better off trying to do it myself or this a pretty advanced thing? I can do anything to a car so I would think this would be not too difficult. Thanks all.

And thank you all for the info on Tapco. Didn't realize they were junky.

I will check out the Mak 90 as well.
 

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I can do anything to a car so I would think this would be not too difficult.
I say go for it.
Just read up on the numerous Saiga conversion threads and go slow on your first rifle, you should do okay.
The receiver is already bent and formed perfect, so its a huge head start on a build.
 

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Converting a Saiga isn't that hard depending on how far you go with it but the price of Saigas nowadays is the deciding factor. The question is do you spend $499 + whatever the compliance parts cost, buying/renting tools(especially a tap for the bullet guide), etc. versus buying a complete rifle.
 

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Folding stocks on AK's are hit and miss. Most complain they can't get a good cheek weld and end up trading them for something else. There are less complaints about the Soviet/Russian and Bulgarian issue side-folders. Before buying any folder I'd try to fire it and see what you think.

That said, East German, Romanian and Egyptian side folding stocks can be added without modification of any kind to your rifle and converted back in minutes. They're relatively cheap too. Be advised the Egyptian and early East German versions have greater an angle between the rifle and stock and are the source of more complaints.

As for rifles themselves I'm not a fan of Yugo rifles. Between the non-chrome lined barrels and many of the parts being incompatible with other AKM parts I avoid them.

Romanian can be hit and miss. Some were built here in the US by crack-addicted monkeys. Do a search on WASR's and you'll see. That said if built right they're as good as any other Kalashnikov.

Egyptians are good to go, again, provided they're built by a good builder. Someone else mentioned Chinese. They take different furniture but not a big deal. Take a look and see if you can dig up a MAK-90 with a straight cut/uncut rear receiver and restore it to its intended glory. Folding stock wouldn't be easy unless you found one that was born a folder and had the holes riveted shut for import.

Below is a link for Atlantic Firearms. I've had nothing but outstanding service from them. If for some reason you had problems with anything you bought from them I have no doubts Blaine would make things right.

AK 47 Rifle Wood GP 1975
 

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Thanks you Corrosive. Great info. I do have access to a 12 ton press if I cannot find a conversion with this already done. Are there other items or things to know about with a Saiga conversion? Would I be better off trying to do it myself or this a pretty advanced thing? I can do anything to a car so I would think this would be not too difficult. Thanks all.

And thank you all for the info on Tapco. Didn't realize they were junky.

I will check out the Mak 90 as well.
I appreciate the guns I've worked on far more than any of the ones I've bought, I think converting the Saiga is the best route. Our Build It Yourself section contains all the info you'd need and fellas willing to help ya out with any questions - Build It Yourself

Welcome to the forum!
 

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And thank you all for the info on Tapco. Didn't realize they were junky.
SOME Tapco stuff. Their FCG's and gas pistons are good to go. I think most of us on this board have their FCG's and pistons in our AK's
 

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davehal9000, brought up a good point on the MAK 90, be sure it's a straight cut receiver. Ironwood makes stocks to fit the slant cut receivers, but are sorta spendy.
 

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Honestly, spend a little extra coin and get one that already has a threaded muzzle, bayonet lug. If I could own only one, I'd get a 107FR.
 

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I agree with 7n6 the folding stock SLR-107FR would be my choice if I could only buy one AK It is a little more that the $750 you want to spend but worth saving for. My next choice in the $750 range would be the Vepr 7.62X39. If money is a problem look on Gunbroker there are alot of shops now a days that do lay-a-way you will usually pay aliitle more for the service but it helps instead of shelling out $1000 at one time $250 over 4 months helps alot. I buy two or three guns a year like this. Here is a couple GB links to guys who offer this I have bought from both of them and they are great.
Colt LE6920 SOCOM M4 Carbine AR15 5-Mags Layaway : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com
This seller has no 7.62 AK's listed in his auctions but if you contact him he can order you anything you want for Lay-a-way.

And this is my second choice for a AK.

Mach 1 Arsenal Vepr 7.62x39mm EASY PAY $73 : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com

The Vepr is a true russian AK and it uses a thicker receiver, a bulged heavier trunnion and a heavier barrel. I have a couple saiga's and the Vepr is twice the gun compaired to the saiga.JMO I hope this helps you out.



 

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for the Black Friday / Christmas deals, just go down to the vendors section on this forum, browse to their website(s), and then sign up / subscribe to their email coupons or newsletters. You can also search the forum for last year's deal threads & see what sources pop up there.
I think last year Centerfire or Copes had certain Saigas for 389-ish. I know it can be a lot to look at when you're just getting into something, but hopefully that helps you at least enough to be able to price shop / compare...
 
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