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Discussion Starter #1
JohnO and I were talking about this today, and I thought I'd just share my thoughts on what I'm hoping will be the next "Golden Age" of sport utility rifles.....

The 1980's are looked back on with a sense of longing.....growing up in the 80's and starting to sell guns back then, it was a great time for semi auto "assault rifles". HK, FN, IMI, Valmet, Colt, Armalite, Beretta, Steyr, SIG, Norinco, Polytech, etc. all sold and/or imported some of the finest rifles of the type. That all ended in 1989.

Now, after going through a long drought, it looks like we might have a second "Golden Age".

IF nothing stupid happens in 2009, we're going to see a whole new crop of sport utility rifles that will rival what was offered in the past.

FN already is offering the FS2000 and PS90, but they'll also be bringing to market the SCAR-L and SCAR-H. Bushmaster will hopefully have the Masada/ACR out to market by then as well, and Steyr has announced that they will be selling US made AUG A2's, and there are two US companies that are making decent clones of the AUG as well.

Beyond that, HK will hopefully have 416's and possibly 417's available, there are a bunch of promising AR piston systems coming to market, and we are able to buy real Czech weapons that we NEVER thought we'd be able to own back in the 80's, the vz-58 and vz-61. It also looks like SIG might finally be getting their head screwed back on with the 556.

I'm actually optimistic about things. Even if things don't go "our way" in the Presidential election, I personally feel that the likely hood of another AWB passing the House and Senate and being signed into law to be rather remote.

That does NOT mean that we shouldn't be vigilant and keep up the pressure, but I don't think the sky is falling either.

Unfortunately, I don't see the AK included in the good times. Unless the barrel ban is recinded, it's going to be a tough go of things.

Anyway, that's my two pfennigs. Feel free to discuss and if you think I'm off base, I'd like to hear your opinion too.
 

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i think the golden era for AK's has passed, that said im glad i stock pilled tons of kits. if the chinese guns were still flowing in though i dont think we would have seen any of the huge variety of parts kits that are out there now. AK collecting would be alot different.
 

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My philosophy has always been, "Buy it while you can." Many times I kick myself in the butt for not getting something that was once easily obtainable but is now either banned, sold-out, no longer exported, or just too damn expensive. Look how hard it is to find a SLR-105 (even used) or the rising price of a simple Saiga-12.

SCAR's, Masada, even that limited SIG-551 (not the 556)- That's what credit cards are for.
 

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Unfortunately, I don't see the AK included in the good times. Unless the barrel ban is recinded, it's going to be a tough go of things.
That sentence sums it up right there. It lets us know that like all things in life, you win some and you lose some.

I agree that it will be a good future for those who are very interested in those new products. With the import restrictions, things will be worse for many of the things we are interested in. Many folks right now who are really just getting into collecting and shooting (like me) do not have good options to own a lot of the nice things you cited from the 80s due to availability and cost.

On another front, for those who are interested in older historical firearms, things will not get better in anyone's forseeable lifetime, or at least generations to come. I am talking about being able to own actual Thompsons, Stens, etc. Remember, simple economics. They don't cost that much because they are worth that much, they cost that much only because they are illegal, or you can say they are only worth that much being they are illegal.

I guess you can call the coming time OK, but not a Golden Age, certainly not as compared to all those awesome guns available in the past. I'd rather see SVDs, NDM 86s, Valmets, SIG 551 (that are not limited and not $3600), HK rifles, Steyr AUGs, FALs, more Chinese stuff (like maybe the Type 88, or the Type 81?) etc. come in again compared with the few new offerings of the future.

It's funny you bring this up cause just last night I was talking to some older gents who told me that when they were 12 they purchased 22LR rifles from the hardware store for $15, or how milsurps could be had for less than $50 from Sears, and Woolworths. They were old enough by the time the 80s when all the cool semi military guns were coming in and were telling me how cheap SKS rifles were, and how cheap ammo was...

I worry that if I were 60+ yrs old, what would I tell a kid? Gas was $5 a gallon, and we used to be able to own guns when I was your age !
 

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Kisara said:
SCAR's, Masada, even that limited SIG-551 (not the 556)- That's what credit cards are for.
There's your biggest difference of then vs now. The FN's, HK's, AK's, etc etc were far more affordable 'then', and so were bringing more people into the hobby. Not too many newbies are going to be willing to put down 'now' price of $1.5-3k on a single purchase, despite the quality, rarity or cool factor. Seems like a lot of golden ages are ushered in by good quality variety that's cheap (like the AK build boom). Less variety + higher prices = end of the AK boom.
 

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I started a thread like this over on the Warrifles board quite a while ago.I talked mostly about all the AK variations available now, when back in the eighties, we were limited to the commercial variants being imported at the time. As much as I love the preban AK's, our choices are much broader now I think. Of course, the thread that I started back then was well before the barrel ban got enacted. You do bring up some good points about current manufacturers bringing their new offerings onto the market, plus the fact that we can buy the Czech vz-58 and vz-61 now. Going back to AK's, you never saw an AMD-65 or a Polish Tantal for sale back in the eighties. Plus, most of today's AK's are actually built from the real thing, being assembled from milspec parts. Beyond the US compliance parts, these guns are rebuilt from military issue weapons which, to me, makes them more interesting than a gun built only for commercial sale.
 

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all good things must end. so it is with the kit builds.
 

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It's good to see the new variety of quality arms come in.. but if they're not affordable, you just won't see a ton of people buying them. I guess it all depends on the definition of 'golden age'. Golden age, to me anyway, also seems to imply that one day it must inevitably end. I'm usually not overly optimistic, but I feel as though passage of anti gun bullshit propaganda/laws and etc are sling-shotting back in our favor for the next few decades at least. Things would have to regress to find ourselves losing ground on weapons already approved for import.
 

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I'm with Kisara, I wouldn't worry about the golden age to come, worry about the golden age NOW.
 

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SA58 said:
Kisara said:
SCAR's, Masada, even that limited SIG-551 (not the 556)- That's what credit cards are for.
There's your biggest difference of then vs now. The FN's, HK's, AK's, etc etc were far more affordable 'then', and so were bringing more people into the hobby. Not too many newbies are going to be willing to put down 'now' price of $1.5-3k on a single purchase, despite the quality, rarity or cool factor. Seems like a lot of golden ages are ushered in by good quality variety that's cheap (like the AK build boom). Less variety + higher prices = end of the AK boom.
Yes, and know..

Ever look at an old Gun Digest, etc?

Some things were not cheaper. A nice FN was still a $2k rifle, even in the 80s.

Steyr Maadis', Hungarians were not cheap either.
 

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I agree about the market, it seems that it has finally recovered from the last Assault Weapons Ban and designers are looking introduce new products. Also, military spending is up and new requirements are being driven by armed forces around the world

Question, is the age of the cheap AK really over? Isn't there supposed to be some 10k Bulgarian AK-74 kits inbound (yeah in know minus the barrels) .

I'm a little worried about the elections. I know that a US political party has stated they will make an Assault Weapons Ban a plank in their platform for their convention.
 

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grp said:
I agree about the market, it seems that it has finally recovered from the last Assault Weapons Ban and designers are looking introduce new products. Also, military spending is up and new requirements are being driven by armed forces around the world

Question, is the age of the cheap AK really over? Isn't there supposed to be some 10k Bulgarian AK-74 kits inbound (yeah in know minus the barrels) .

I'm a little worried about the elections. I know that a US political party has stated they will make an Assault Weapons Ban a plank in their platform for their convention.
i think the problem with the cheap ak's(or other parts sets for that matter). is that there is not a big profit margin to begin with. now if you ad the cost of removing the barrel, or cutting it to batf specs. you diminish the profit margin, plus you will have to sell it for less without the barrel. add to that the end user now has to buy a barrel along with compliance parts and your getting to the point where it is cheaper to buy a saiga or a wasr and build your kyber clone(or whatever) from. so in mho the days of the ak builds as we know them are over or soon will be.

the only thing that would change that is if the gov lifted the barrel ban. and i don't think that is very likely. if i could find a cheap supplier of blanks, i would turn and chamber. and sell them at cost if for no other reason than just to keep the party goin for awhile longer.
 

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Stottman said:
Ever look at an old Gun Digest, etc?

Some things were not cheaper. A nice FN was still a $2k rifle, even in the 80s.

Steyr Maadis', Hungarians were not cheap either.
I bought my first AR in '83. I wanted a .223 badly but absolutely could not afford an AUG or HK (although they look cheap now). Personally I thought the Golden Age was the 60's when my dad took me to fun shows and I recall seeing Lugers there for $30. Everything is relative, enjoy the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Stottman makes an excellent point.

Looking back, a lot of prices seem to be a lot lower, but if you adjust for inflation, they really aren't all that different.

Chinese stamped AK's were always affordable, but the Hungarian, Yugoslavian, and Egyptians were going for about what they'd go for in today's adjusted dollars.

Galils were $1K when you could get a Colt AR-15A2 Carbine for $700.00.

Steyr AUG's weren't ever inexpensive, and as Stottman pointed out, real FN FAL's were $2K.

I also follow Kisara's advice. If there's something I want and it's available, I jump now. I've seen too many deals come and go and the object of my desire become unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

I'm just thinking out loud here folks. :cool:
 

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Shoot, you guys are lucky that you can afford these rifles. The last (and only) rifle I bought that was already completely assembled was my Romanian M44 for $60 :oops: I pieced together my Krinkov, my 607 clone (which isnt done yet..) and my 601 clone.
 

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fullautotogo said:
grp said:
I agree about the market, it seems that it has finally recovered from the last Assault Weapons Ban and designers are looking introduce new products. Also, military spending is up and new requirements are being driven by armed forces around the world

Question, is the age of the cheap AK really over? Isn't there supposed to be some 10k Bulgarian AK-74 kits inbound (yeah in know minus the barrels) .

I'm a little worried about the elections. I know that a US political party has stated they will make an Assault Weapons Ban a plank in their platform for their convention.
i think the problem with the cheap ak's(or other parts sets for that matter). is that there is not a big profit margin to begin with. now if you ad the cost of removing the barrel, or cutting it to batf specs. you diminish the profit margin, plus you will have to sell it for less without the barrel. add to that the end user now has to buy a barrel along with compliance parts and your getting to the point where it is cheaper to buy a saiga or a wasr and build your kyber clone(or whatever) from. so in mho the days of the ak builds as we know them are over or soon will be.

the only thing that would change that is if the gov lifted the barrel ban. and i don't think that is very likely. if i could find a cheap supplier of blanks, i would turn and chamber. and sell them at cost if for no other reason than just to keep the party goin for awhile longer.
Even with the barrel ban gone, the parts kit market is/was going downhill.

The US dollar has dropped allot since Bush took office, and really took a nose dive once Iraq kicked off. The E.European nations that were cleaning out old Arsenals just a few years ago are now European Union members. Their economies are ALLOT better then they were just 5 years ago, and they are not as willing to sell Military weapons to a civilian company.

Add the US buying 7.62x39 AKs for Iraq and Afghanistan, plus "gifts" to them, and you have a slight shortage....

I had hoped that the barrel ban would mean that more "10rd Sporter" factory original AKs would come in, but it hasnt..If anything, its gotten less. Still plenty of countries out there that are unexploited AK wise.....
 

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Don't forget the lack of quality that goes along with some of the major players in the game here lately. Granted some of the issues are easily fixed and to some only a minor aggravation. But when a manufacturer like Arsenal, Interarms, Century etc. expects top dollar for their products the quality control should be likewise.

I don't recall any of my pre-ban rifles having the kind poor QC we are seeing today in a rush to get them out the door and make a quick buck. I hope Templar is right and we are seeing a new Golden age for military style rifles, yet I still mourn the loss of the old golden age when everything came straight out of it's original country and there was no scrounging around for 922r parts, everything came factory as it should be. Just my .02
 

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just like how 922R forced us to make domestic AK parts, the barrel ban will force us to make decent AK barrels. domestic stuff is way harder to ban.
WIN.


i'm fairly optimistic as well. the government has a lot more important things to do right now than infringe on citizens rights. it's the old "idle hands are the devil's workshop" thing.
 

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OK I get what you guys are saying about the prices being relative, but the point to me is that they were allowed to be here then. Now, they are much much more even with price adjustment simply because they are no longer allowed, possibly ever again.
 

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Agree: The 922 ban made us better, we now make tons of AK parts that sometimes are better than the original.
Agree: the barrel ban made us better, we found a way around it and can use better barrels and customize them. (although I am an original chrome barrel fan)

You guys bring up great points. I agree too that the sheer variety of AKs we've had in the last 5 years is great, compared to the 80s standard AK types. And adjusted for inflation, the 80s prices arent that great afterall. In the 80s my allowance was $5 :)

The golden age? I think it was 2000-2004, with that, guns and ammo were plentiful. AIMs catalog had every caliber at decent prices. The AWB was going away and there was quite the variety. TONS of SKSs coming in, C&Rs, SARs cheap, FALs cheap, and parts kits too. My gun collection went from 5 to .....well, a LOT more in a short amount of time. Everytime a new SOG/AIM/etc catalog came, I bought a lot!

Now all that is gone BUT you have a few hi-tech uber expensive rifles. In my opinion the golden age is about getting stuff at good prices and having a great selection for new gun buyers. A $1600 cool rifle isnt that.
A 2000 or an AUG is cool for the gunnut, but the the total gun market.

I think the next golden age will be when the $ gets higher again. Then imports of milsurp ammo and guns will be revived.
 
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