Other than perhaps the length of the magazine, how different are the dimensions of 5.56 AK mags and 5.45 mags?
Do they have the same width from side to side and front to back?
I'm looking at different magazines for my Saiga, and obviously there is more selection in the 5.45 magazines. If the only effective difference is the follower, than I'm going to stock up on the 5.45 mags and just swap out the followers (and maybe the floor plate for parts count purposes).
Of course, my other concern is how well they lock up in the magwell. Is there a difference in how a bulgy .223 and bulgy 5.45 lock up? Do EG bakelite mags lock up just as well (they're obviously the cheapest)? Naturally this ties into the dimensions question.
Lots of questions, I know, but they're important in deciding what mags I want to buy for my Saiga.
Oh btw, after taking care of the parts count for the Saiga, a little dremeling on two lugs in the magwell allow for normal mags to lock up.
IIRC, bulgy .223 waffles were running about $11-12/ea when it was apparently discovered that Bulgaria didn't even start to manufacture them until 1996. I'd guess that most (if not all) of the bulgarian plastic mags weren't really pre-ban, but with the others calibers, the possibility was at least there. Anyway, as a result, all the big distributers stopped selling the .223 mags. KVAR, I believe, broke them down and sold the bodies as replacements. Anyway, now with the ban over and the date of manufacture no longer an issue, I'd expect to see more of them shortly, somewhere in the ballpark of the original cheap prices.
So... as Campy said, you may want to pass on tinkering with the 5.45 mags now....
Thanks Campybob and Rocko. I'll stick with the .223 mags. EAA is going to import "normal capacity" .223 mags specifically for the Saiga rifles, but they won't quote prices yet. Their 10 round mags were horrendously overpriced, and I fear that they'll pull a similar stunt again.
With a little dremel work on two lugs, the Saiga will take normal .223 mags.
In the meantime I'll work on converting the Saiga configuration to pistol grip. By next month I'll have enough parts to do the conversion, and I'll have a better idea about how .223 availability pans out.