AK Rifles banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently do not own an ak or ak style rifle. I am not new to guns and have been shooting them my whole life. I currently own 10 and am looking to add to my collection. The only problem is that I haven't found a consensus online as to a good quality ak to buy. So far century arms (wasr-10 or vska), zastava, or Riley defense seems like a good place to start. Only problem is I see a ton of mixed reviews on the quality of nearly every manufacturer. Also, there seems to be a great variance in the quality of firearms within the same price point? Any suggestions?

I would say my price limit is around 1700-2k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,908 Posts
Do yourself a favor, avoid and do not consider a Century at all.

Wasr or Zastava would be my choice depending on options and accessories and price.

Being a builder myself I'm a but picky. I dislike the "it's just an AK" mentality when it comes to safety and build quality.

One of my friends just overpaid for a Riley Defense AKM in 7.62 his first venture into the AK world. While his head spaced tight and seemed like a good build overall, having put no rounds through it I would not recommend them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I have a WASR-10 that I bought new in 2019. It is not a bad AK but the wood furniture is rather cheap IMHO. You might to upgrade the wood furniture in the future if you purchase a WASR-10.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I currently do not own an ak or ak style rifle. I am not new to guns and have been shooting them my whole life. I currently own 10 and am looking to add to my collection. The only problem is that I haven't found a consensus online as to a good quality ak to buy. So far century arms (wasr-10 or vska), zastava, or Riley defense seems like a good place to start. Only problem is I see a ton of mixed reviews on the quality of nearly every manufacturer. Also, there seems to be a great variance in the quality of firearms within the same price point? Any suggestions?

I would say my price limit is around 1700-2k.
I like WBP Fox. Try to get it from Atlantic or armsofamerica, not gunbroker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
WASR is a common first gun for many. century imports them from Romania but rifle is the cheapest lowest quality piece of garbage that ever came out from European arsenal. It will work and it will be reliable just know that shitty build quality will is an issue for many of them, like excessive amount of lemons in the batches of WASR is kinda like a trademark of a WASR at this point. things you could easily see on the surface: canted sights, non-square bends of the receiver, junk furniture, junk finish even slightly bent barrels. The only way to buy a WASR is in-person (not online) where you have a chance to inspect it, or have a very knowledgeable AK person/builder or experienced AK smith who know what to look for in a AK in general and WASR in particular, and then possibly even shoot it to see if it's zeroed or can be zeroed. Even then WASR street price pre-pandemic is $600-700. I would not advice paying much more than that.

Another century import is a Serbian Zastava AKM-pattern derivatives. which is much better quality than WASR. recently they started importing on their own, so not all rifles you migh find will be marked as C.A.I. IMO this is MUCH better choice than WASR, BUT not every Zastava AK is a true Russian pattern AKM. Some are and some are not. if this is not an issue for you (parts interchangeability) then i would go with Zastava, NOT WASR. price-wise two are similar at least when it comes to century/CAI imported rifles. Not sure what Zastava-USA charged for theirs, but i can't imagine too much more since they both go after same market segment of AK noobs/cheapskates.

nothing else that century makes/sells should be ever touch with a 10-foot pole.

I hear good think about PSA and it seems like durability is there and quality is too, for the most part, although teething issues still show up, nothing serious - just minor stuff, but this is also a US-made gun by US gun maker, which means you can enjoy local customer/tech support by the same folks who actually make the gun. Watch a review on AK operators union YouTube channel. they give you all ugly truths, if there is such to find. Not just for PSA but all other AKs on US market, good channel, not schills, i would trust them.

best AK on the market (albeit used market at this point) is a saiga. you can't get any truer and better factory gun than russian-made izhmash-produced 100-series gun. if you can find converted one - good, if not even better. with some work you can turn saiga into fantastic 21st century AK from true AK-people. Literally the only thing russians are good at is making AKs. This is the path i took, after having experienced WASR 'quality', twice, 1st hand. No regrets! if you can swing the cash - you won't find better AK than saiga. Only downside that it's in a sporting config and some mods need to be done to it to bring it into a 100% military config. however if you don't care for authentic looks and just want a great shooter - saiga will be that and then some.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
I would recommend you gather parts and have a reputable builder like Troy sellers or others custom build you one. That way you get what you want on it.

Sent from my SM-A515U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
I would recommend you gather parts and have a reputable builder like Troy sellers or others custom build you one. That way you get what you want on it.

Sent from my SM-A515U using Tapatalk
this IS a good way to go although expensive. could cost you anywhere between 50-100% more than a factory gun once all said and done.

if you go this way make sure:
a) you get a matching (if not number-matching then at least original model/country matching) kit, not a jumble of parts.
b) have a REPUTABLE builder do the work, not some Joe Schmo you never heard of.

i think you can still find Hungarian AKM kits. typically undefolders - legit pattern AKM. i wouldn't touch their other 'inventions' but AK-63d is a decent kit to go with. These typically came with miss-matchd trunnions in the last couple of batches, so i would say don't stress about that part, that's how you going to find them 99% of the time. There are earlier imports with original barrels and all-matching serials, but i wouldn't overpay for those if you want a just a shooter. If you are collector and intend to make it 'just right' 100% correct than by all means it's probably better to get one of those.
BTW if you don't like underfolders, you don't have to build your kit as underfolder, even if that's how it came. You can build it as a fixed stock or a sidefolder, parts for those are available, just make sure you get a receiver for whatever type of stock you planning on building. if you get a receiver cut for underfolder you can't make it into anything else, same goes for a side folder. if unsure - get fixed stock, those can be converted to anything you want during the build. but better buy what you know you would want to build. while converting fixed stock receiver is possible it'll cost couple-three hundred more, since it's extra work for a smith, that he otherwise wouldn't have to do if you supply a correct receiver.
also buy a receiver w/o trunnion holes drilled - saves you on miss-matched holes down the line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
BTW i would recommend of all the folder variants an AK-74 sidefolder. like a legit steel triangle or solid polymer. not those POS aluminium look-alikes that some company here in US makes/sells. those don't look right on otherwise well made AK. hard pass if you are into proper military configs appearance. just FYI.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,970 Posts
Do your home work and a lot of reading to not make an expensive mistake.

Lot of sage advice already dispensed here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussing what NOT to buy is as important as what to buy.

My bottom line: build your own is (in my opinion) less expensive and higher quality than buying retail. When I say build your own, I mean do it yourself, in your shop/garage. It isn't hard, isn't expensive, and you DONT NEED all the expensive tools people right here will tell you you need.

Having said that, the era of cheap AK parts kits is over. Two years ago the cheapest AK was in the range of $550-650. That made building your own slightly less expensive than buying retail, if you got a kit for about $300, barrel, receiver, & rivets etc for a total of about $550+/-.

But then kits went through the roof. Receivers are scarce now.

So, while just a few years ago it made more sense to build, nowadays probably I would just buy a factory made gun retail. However, I would recommend you scour all the local pawn shops, used gun stores, etc and try to find a used AK.

I recommend:
-WASR
-Zastava OPAP (not NPAP) or M70
-Chinese anything -MAK90 stamped (7.62X39 OR 5.56) MAK90 milled, NHM91, NHM90.
-Norinco/Chinese SKS
-Norinco/Chinese SKS-M, SKS-D, SKS-30, SKS Sporter, etc (that take std AK magazines)
-ANYTHING SAIGA (either 7.62x39 or 5.56) converted or not, (you can easily do this at home)

Some AKs to avoid:
-Pioneer ("Polish" but modern crap)
-anything I.O. (Inter Ordnance)
-anything Hesse
-anything that looks "Bubba'd up" or home built with crappy rivets, shitty finish, etc.
-generally anything Century built. They imported a BUNCH of great guns, but their in house build quality has a VERY POOR reputation.
(please note that the Century Polish model 1960 is an exception. Century farmed out the build, and these milled guns enjoy a fine reputation with those who have owned them.

I'm sure I left something out, but this was off the cuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
i mostly agree with above, with some caveats regarding self-building.
Just an average random dude will NEVER build a gun as good as a Pro, ESPECIALLY if said dude have never built an AK before in his life. You can watch all the videos on youtube on AK building and read every book you can find, but there is no substitute for actual hands-on experience. I have built AKs for 11 years now, i have pretty well-equipped small hobby machine shop and most of the quality AK building tools, I have a diploma of a mechanical engineer from the Old Country and machine shop experience from college shops and then years doing machine work for my own needs. I still make mistakes, do an odd crappy rivet now and then, overshoot a cut, pop a spot weld, etc. I'm super anal when it comes to build quality and if it's not 100% it will bug the hell out of me until i re-do it just right. With that being said i have met plenty of people back in the day at your typical AK build party who were more than satisfied with a shity smash-job of a build with inadequate tooling in half-drunk state. I'm not trying to be super discouraging but to rephrase an old pro-verb: 'what's good for a russian is death to german'. What i'm trying to say is that not everyone has same amount of skills and same expectations for the final product. i don't know what yours are only you can know extent of your abilities. I just don't want anyone to get a false sense of confidence and end up with a screwed up build/kit and substantial out of pocket monetary loss. i saw enough of those situations too. it was maybe an acceptable risk of errors 10-15 years ago when you can get a kit for $150 any time of the day at the dozen sources online, but today is not those days. just something to keep in mind.

P.S. i'm not trying to offend anyone here or hurt anyone's feelings or diminish anyone's personal past experience. I speak of my own, that may or may not correspond to yours. If you feel like things went for you substantially differently than for me - good, i'm happy for you. try to be civil if you disagree with my post in part or as a whole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the advice. I'll be sure to buy one in person and not online. Any hints or anything specific to look for or avoid? Or is it just about making sure you're not getting a lemon?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
WASR is a common first gun for many. century imports them from Romania but rifle is the cheapest lowest quality piece of garbage that ever came out from European arsenal. It will work and it will be reliable just know that shitty build quality will is an issue for many of them, like excessive amount of lemons in the batches of WASR is kinda like a trademark of a WASR at this point. things you could easily see on the surface: canted sights, non-square bends of the receiver, junk furniture, junk finish even slightly bent barrels. The only way to buy a WASR is in-person (not online) where you have a chance to inspect it, or have a very knowledgeable AK person/builder or experienced AK smith who know what to look for in a AK in general and WASR in particular, and then possibly even shoot it to see if it's zeroed or can be zeroed. Even then WASR street price pre-pandemic is $600-700. I would not advice paying much more than that.

Another century import is a Serbian Zastava AKM-pattern derivatives. which is much better quality than WASR. recently they started importing on their own, so not all rifles you migh find will be marked as C.A.I. IMO this is MUCH better choice than WASR, BUT not every Zastava AK is a true Russian pattern AKM. Some are and some are not. if this is not an issue for you (parts interchangeability) then i would go with Zastava, NOT WASR. price-wise two are similar at least when it comes to century/CAI imported rifles. Not sure what Zastava-USA charged for theirs, but i can't imagine too much more since they both go after same market segment of AK noobs/cheapskates.

nothing else that century makes/sells should be ever touch with a 10-foot pole.

I hear good think about PSA and it seems like durability is there and quality is too, for the most part, although teething issues still show up, nothing serious - just minor stuff, but this is also a US-made gun by US gun maker, which means you can enjoy local customer/tech support by the same folks who actually make the gun. Watch a review on AK operators union YouTube channel. they give you all ugly truths, if there is such to find. Not just for PSA but all other AKs on US market, good channel, not schills, i would trust them.

best AK on the market (albeit used market at this point) is a saiga. you can't get any truer and better factory gun than russian-made izhmash-produced 100-series gun. if you can find converted one - good, if not even better. with some work you can turn saiga into fantastic 21st century AK from true AK-people. Literally the only thing russians are good at is making AKs. This is the path i took, after having experienced WASR 'quality', twice, 1st hand. No regrets! if you can swing the cash - you won't find better AK than saiga. Only downside that it's in a sporting config and some mods need to be done to it to bring it into a 100% military config. however if you don't care for authentic looks and just want a great shooter - saiga will be that and then some.
Even the WASR-10 from Atlantic Firearms is rather costly now as well.

AK 47 Rifle WASR 10-AK47 for SALE - AtlanticFirearms.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
sounds like you set you sight on a WASR?
if so i still I would recommend to reconsider at least in favor of Zastava.

however if your mind is set, then here are the most glaring things to look out for:

1. canted sights - this one is probably most common problem. depending on severity could be easier or harder to spot. get yourself a cheap Laser Marker and use it to run the center line from the back of the top cover to the front. see if both sights and the gas block end up centered on that line more or less within couple of degrees. this simple exercise will show you how straight sights are and how bad cant is.
2. while laser is still set on center line of the rifle and assuming sights look centered, observe that front sight post is intersecting the laser line. if sights are straight and post is not on the laser it means there is a slight bend to the barrel. this is a much lesser issue but i did come across it twice in the last 10 years on the rifles that my friends had hard time sighting in.
3. finish is nothing you can really do about, so just consider this aspect when you are contemplating asking price.
4. same goes for original junk furniture (non necessarily an issue for all guns). some folks might have replaced it already with surplus wood or modern poly, just know what you are looking at. you can use a nail test on the wood. if you can press your thumb nail (assuming you have thick hard nails, lol) into wood and create a noticeable dent then wood is too soft.
5. out of square receiver is only visible when you remove butt stock, which i doubt many sellers would let you do, so taking a gamble on this one.
6. needless to say check headspace if you can but if can't, you probably be OK.
7. ideally you would want to run a couple of mags or at lest 10-15 round through the gun to ensure proper function. it should function with ZERO malfunctions of any kind. if buying locally through third party this is a 'must do'. this sill also give you an idea if gun is sighted and whether front post needs to be pushed over from the center of the sight to hit POA. also allows you to see ejection distance and ejection pattern - a good indicator of gun function. inspect ejected cases for signs of abnormal wear, dents, etc.

that''s all I can think of. folks might add something else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
sounds like you set you sight on a WASR?
Not necessarily, if I find one that appears to be a quality gun I would be comfortable buying it. It seems like zastava or saiga would be a much better bet. Especially since from what I have seen zastava seems to be in the same price range as the wasr, just higher quality.

It will probably be the only ak I buy, so I want to get a good one. I am a hunter but want something a little more comfortable and affordable to run a couple hundred rounds through in a day vs a 338, 7mm mauser, or 12 gauge. But also don't wanna spend too much over 2k as I could a get a pretty bomb a** hunting rifle for that. I also want one that has the more "traditional" AK look, wood grips, solid stock, ECT.. probably won't put an optic or any attachments on it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Under the current conditions go with a Zasatava MPAP M70. Solid rifle to get your feet wet and reasonable at about $1,000 to $1,100.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
Not necessarily, if I find one that appears to be a quality gun I would be comfortable buying it. It seems like zastava or saiga would be a much better bet. Especially since from what I have seen zastava seems to be in the same price range as the wasr, just higher quality.

It will probably be the only ak I buy, so I want to get a good one. I am a hunter but want something a little more comfortable and affordable to run a couple hundred rounds through in a day vs a 338, 7mm mauser, or 12 gauge. But also don't wanna spend too much over 2k as I could a get a pretty bomb a** hunting rifle for that. I also want one that has the more "traditional" AK look, wood grips, solid stock, ECT.. probably won't put an optic or any attachments on it
saiga would be the best of three. if this is the only AK you are gonna own that i would suggest to spend the most you can. sub-2k puts you in a quality AK category. i.e. custom build, full conversion saiga or number of Arsenal-made AKs.

my suggestion to you is to call every friend and family member as well as range acquaintances to let you try their AKs. ideally you want to find a true AK guy and try a variety of rifles, just to see what you like and what really float your boat. it could be pretty disappointing after you bought a WASR to find out that there are much better things out there, especially when 6 month later you run at the AK guy at the range and find out that there are actually good AKs and bad AKs out there and they are not all the same.

this is also can be applied to a caliber. make sure you get an AK in a caliber YOU like. no reason to jump onto 7.62x39 band wagon just because all kids are doing it. IMO 5.45 and 5.56 AKs are better AKs than 7.62x39. and if you are not hard-set on 7.62x39 in particular - those options are worth exploring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,946 Posts
Another vote for a Z-PAP in the current environment. Other suggestions are just as good, just not widely available at reasonable prices. Keep your eye on local classifieds too. You might stumble across a gem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
978 Posts
AK is like Lays chips, you can't do just one!
Everyone should own a WASR 10-10/63.
It's like a rule. The Cugir built Romy guns are solid, and below your price point. For now.
The fit and finish are not fantastic, but they are reliable and not as QC challanged as the CIA originals. I consider them the 350 Chevy of the AK domain. Solid w/lots of room to tinker.
The Mc90s are nice. Just above your price point, and you will have to spend extra on furniture to "make it look like an AK". Unless you are one of the special breed that enjoys the thumbhole stock. I've met a few, actually.
I like the Saiga. An AK really ought to be Russian, right? But above your price point and again the conversion process to MILLAA.
The FEG AMDs were good, if you can get into the look and layout. Hungary makes good guns.
I'm not sure what's up with the USA AK crowd.
Seems like they are all struggling to get it right.
Like everything in today's USA, the cost for labor leads to shortcuts in materials and QC.
Meaning the owners of the companies need low 6 figure vehicles and low 7 figure houses. So that money has to come from somewhere, I guess. MAGA! USA! USA! USA!
Which puts those in with the kit builds. IMO
You need quality components to start and then someone tooled and trained to assemble them.
So, start w/a WASR. Es La Ley!
Then a Norinco. Then one of every caliber and national origin. Because AKs are kinda like Covid.
Now let's talk about collecting magazines........
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top