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Thread: Entry Level AK purchase advice.

  1. #21
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    OP,

    My apologies for getting a little sidetracked. You're looking for a good low-cost AK. There are potential problems with all the options. AK costs have soared and the imports are cutting corners on things like the wood furniture to keep prices reasonable. US made AKs appear to be getting better, but I'm just not personally confident enough that they've got things nailed down to recommend them in good conscience. They've had a hell of a time in the recent past figuring out simple things like parts hardnesses.

    In all honestly, there's no easy answer. Your best shot would likely be one of the WBP Polish AKs at around $1000, but they appear to be sold out everywhere right now. The next best thing is probably a WASR 10 at around $700, but the wood handguards and stock they come with now are cheap and will quickly wear out and/or break. Replacement laminate or polymer furniture can be had on Gunbroker or elsewhere on the internet for around $150 or so, so a WASR 10 and an additional $150 for furniture might be the way to go.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aries144 View Post
    Just because they use the same method of manufacture as FN and Steyr doesn't mean you get the same quality product. The quality of the material chosen and the attention to QC make huge differences. It's why you don't see barrels with diagonal/non concentric bores from Steyr, but you do see them from Romania.

    I'm going to reiterate that all stresses can't be removed from a barrel made by CHF. What this means is that the alloy used had better be nearly perfectly uniform in it's distribution of alloying elements and impurities, and also had better have been worked perfectly evenly by a mandrel and hammers in good condition and proper calibration, else you're going to have slight variations in the way the barrel expands along its length as it heats during firing. Variations in expansion mean the barrel Bends slightly as it heats, meaning your POI will walk.

    The difference with button rifled barrels is that it's much easier and cheaper, via stress relief through the manufacturing process, to eliminate POI shift from a button rifled barrel.

    Thing is though, the AK can't really be a free float barrel anyway. The piston/gas block interaction would wreck any harmonics the barrel might have gained if it were a higher end precision barrel. Finally, you are shooting primarily steel jacketed bulk ammo. So not sure if a precision barrel would even be worth it on AK unless you couldn't get an import rifle. Now as far as RC hardness, there's a guy that tests AK barrels on youtube giving an idea of the factory military grade barrels along with some US made ones. Here are the results in order; Romanian WASR 22.16RC, Chinese Norinco 22.83RC, Atlantic Firearms 4150 23RC, Bulgarian SLR 104 25.16RC, AK Builder 4140 27.33RC, Bulgarian SAM 7 26.83RC, Green Mountain 4140 27.33RC, Polish Tantal 29.66. Some of the US made barrels are very hard and likely last a long time if it's worth building a US made AK over getting a factory import. Personally, I like the imports.


    Last edited by RetroRevolver77; 11-04-19 at 13:45.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetroRevolver77 View Post
    Thing is though, the AK can't really be a free float barrel anyway. The piston/gas block interaction would wreck any harmonics the barrel might have gained if it were a higher end precision barrel. Finally, you are shooting primarily steel jacketed bulk ammo. So not sure if a precision barrel would even be worth it on AK unless you couldn't get an import rifle.
    Harmonics isn't something I wanted to touch on because it isn't well understood. There's very little scientific documentation on it pertinent to shooting precision. I think this is probably the best paper I've seen concerning harmonics. It seems to me a more scientifically sound explanation than the cartoonish "barrel whip" idea.

    Personally, I completely ignore harmonics because I haven't found the notion to be relevant in any testing with any modern firearm that I've used or experimented with, with the exception of Mr. Long's explanation as it pertains to optimum barrel time and hand loading. You can make a sub MOA AK by just using a quality match barrel and "match" ammunition. In my experience, the only difference between a free floated barrel and a non free floated barrel is POI shift when applying too much pressure to a non free float handguard when resting against a barrier.

    A better barrel is always better. Firearm dispersion is barrel imperfection + ammo imperfection + shooter error. Reducing imperfection in any one of those is beneficial.
    Last edited by Aries144; 11-04-19 at 14:08.

  4. #24
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    I don't know enough about US made Ak's to comment on them so my recommendation would be an older import. Say a MAK-90, SAR-1 or Hungarian model. Switch out the required parts for 922r and put the furniture of your preference on it. You could always look for an unconverted Saiga since they at one time could still be had for under $1000 and convert it to get the grip back in the right spot. You should end up 922r compliant in the conversion process. Then you would have a Russian AK100 series rifle.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwhitehorne View Post
    You definitely should inspect any AK (or other firearm) you are looking at. They are hit and miss.
    Fixed that for you.

    Any firearm being purchased should be inspected carefully. AKs, by the very nature of their design and manufacture, are prone to a series of flaws that create a large range of rifles, from those so canted and misaligned that they nearly shoot around corners, to ones that are laser straight.

    When it comes to the key data points of AK purchases, a buyer needs to consider if the trunions (and bolt) are cast or forged (forged is better), trunion and sight alignment (colinear, non-canted), and the barrel metallurgy & manufacture (4150 CMV, chrome lined vs something else). The WASR hits all of these, and as long as you can hand pick one with trued up trunions and sights, you're golden.

  6. #26
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    Romarm WASR and WPB Fox rifles are about the only ones being imported these days that have an optic side rail, chrome lined barrel etc.
    Last edited by RetroRevolver77; 11-06-19 at 11:57.

  7. #27
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    Entry Level AK purchase advice.

    I am fairly new to the AK-47 and I bought a WASR-10. It shoot fairly well given the price too. I bought a Romanian surplus wood set and I refinished the wood furniture. I like darker finish better rather the than light wood finish on the original WASR-10 furniture.
    Last edited by Tony617; 11-07-19 at 00:12.

  8. #28
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    Stumbled upon this video from AK Operators Union and thought of this thread. Five AKs under $800. At least in Aug. 2019.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AvXYgqiT7Q

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevslatvin View Post
    Stumbled upon this video from AK Operators Union and thought of this thread. Five AKs under $800. At least in Aug. 2019.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AvXYgqiT7Q
    Two of those being actual imports are the Zastava M70 and the Romarm WASR.

  10. #30
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    Ditto on the WASR
    Zastava O PAP
    Hungarian post ban AKM

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