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Page AK-47 » Russian
Posted: 8/28/2004 6:22:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2004 6:29:58 AM EDT by RBullCZ]
Hi, I am new to AK's and have just purchased new Izmash Saiga MK (7,62 x 39). I do not live in the US and I guess this variant is not available in US, however I hope that some of the issues are well known to the experts here, so I might get at least some answers.
The gun is sporting black fiberglas furniture - regular AK upper and lower foregrip (although the sheet metal heat shield in the lower foregrip was missing), pistol grip and folding buttstock and bolted on optical sights rail mount. What it DOES NOT have comparing regular AK, are the pressed dimples in magwell area, bayonet lugs on frontsight and on gas chamber, rear sighs are marked only "1, 2, 3" instead of full range and the firing mechanism is semi auto only, of course.
I am sure that despite the AK-103 look, the gun is in reality quite different in many hidden details, and I would like to know which ones. For example, what is the barrel twist, is it the same, or different from AK?
I noticed on some pictures of real AK, that the AK-74 style muzzle brake has some sort of insert piece pressed inside, but mine is plain hollow behind the baffles, although externally it looks right.
Also, the gas piston does not have grooves on the cylinder.

Magazine catch: I can insert regular AK magazine in to the well, but it does not click, the mag release/retention will not engage. Is that part of the de-mil package? The mag I tried to insert, has the face of retaining dent roughly 2,5 mm thick. The two mags I received with the gun were some odd refinished ones, although at least one of them is real military type (40 rnd russian), but there are file marks on the lower face of the dent to make it only approx 1,5 mm thick at the rear face, so it could be, that the sales company just adjusted the mags to fit this Saiga MK. Should I then file down the mag catch by 1mm to accept the mil mags?

And at last, I need help with removing the cleaning rod from under the barrel! :) Seriously, I can not get it out, as it is stuck behind the muzzle brake. I noticed the muzzle brake have ome sort of groove on bottom, but at front, not rear... I would expect it to be at the rear part, exactly for the reason to enable the cleaning rod to be removed without need to remove the muzzle brake (which is secured by pin on the right side BTW). Any ideas, or I am doing somethong wrong there?

Thank you for any thoughts! :)
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 6:34:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2004 6:35:52 AM EDT by EricTheHun]
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:47:18 AM EDT
The Saiga 7.62x39mm rifle is a modified AK 100 series rifle. It was designed as a sporting rifle not to use AK magazines so that is why there are no dimples in the side of the receiver. The magazine catch is slighly longer so the tang on the back of the magazine is slightly thinner. This was done so it would not accept AK magazines. There is not a feed ramp in the receiver of the rifle and the magazine is different from the AK. It is like a AK-74 magazine as the cartridge feeds directly from the magazine into the chamber. This is the reason the front of magazine is higher than the AK magazine as you can see in this pic.

The large diameter of the AK-74 muzzle brake makes it nessary to remove it to get the cleaning rod off the rifle.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:59:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RBullCZ:
Magazine catch: I can insert regular AK magazine in to the well, but it does not click, the mag release/retention will not engage. Is that part of the de-mil package? RB

I think this is the sad part. His AK-103 is demilled.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 11:29:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2004 1:50:07 PM EDT by RBullCZ]
Many thanks for your answers. JA545 - bingo, I re-checked the "odd looking AK magazine" I received with Saiga and compared it to the propper AK mag I have... and it is exactly as your picture shows. Now I understand why the follower is not sunk so deep as in the original AK one.
Is there any solution for using regular AK mags in this gun? How it will feed from regular AK mag, if I just shorten the mag catch?

Edit to add: Now I am looking at the three magazines I have - one is true AK ribbed stamped metal 30 rounder, second is the Saiga AK-like 30 round also ribbed steel (comparsion of those two is exactly as per you pic) and the third one is original military 40 rounder - also ribbed steel. The 40 rnd is interesting, because it have the same higher front lip, but the follower is sunk deeper inside as on the AK 30 rnd. I received this 40 rounder with the saiga, but as I mentioned before, the rear catch is filed down to the Saiga specs, so it click inside just fine - not sure about the feeding then though... ??? I will have first chance to test shoot the rifle not sooner than in 2 weeks, because the legal purchase paperwork is still in process.

Roger on the cleaning rod, I though I would have to remove the muzzle brake, but then I do not understand, why is the brake pinned by the additional pin on its right hand side. I have to drill the pin out for disassembly to reach the cleaning rod - maybe the designers intended to clean the gun only when visiting a gunsmith once in a while, like per 100 000 rounds fired, or such hat

Eric, I believe that our firearm law in Czech Republic is rather linked to the tradition of manufacturing firearms in our small country, than to Prague Spring, however the sad truth is, that we are one of very few remaining EU countries allowing their citizens to carry concealed handgun for selfdefense.

Thanks again!
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:16:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:03:11 AM EDT
Thanks! Your posts are very helpful MRW, now it is crystal clear to me. Basically, I have only to install the feed ramp and adjust the mag catch lever lenght - perfect! heIn fact, I did some reearch before I posted here, but as I did not understand the essence of my problem, the search results were not much help. Now I hope K-Var are shipping overseas, will send them an e-mail now...

PS, I love CZ firearms too, although I prefer the older ones for their quality (Czech Mausers Vz.24, BREN, or even Vz.58 for example). I have ben lucky to tour CZUB factory in February this year together with Hakan from CZ Forum, being in their hailroom was quite impressive experience - examining CZ-75 serial number 000001 and such...here,
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