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Posted: 10/15/2008 2:32:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2008 3:29:33 PM EST by erichmess_]
Okay guys, I'm wanting to pick up my first AK and I've got it down to 3. I want to see what ya'll, the experts, think.

First, I want something under $600, I'm on a tight budget, so no high end AKs for me. But I do want something that works and is easy to get replacement and/or aftermarket parts for. And I'm simply using it for defense, nothing fancy.

1. Saiga 7.62 (converted) $520 from another website with collapsable stock and regular stock, two mags, sling, cleaning kit .

2. Yugo M70 with folding stock $499. I'm a little concerned on this one, since they're not made anymore, don't know how long spare parts are going to hold out.

3. Bulgarian SSR-85 $550. Haven't really been able to find out much about it.

So any suggestions guys? Or maybe something else in the same price range...though I'd like to avoid have more decisions, rather than less, to make. Thanks guys. And, in all honesty, is there really a "bad" choice here? Or are they all at least good picks?
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 2:49:40 PM EST
I didn't vote here, simply because my overall knowledge is pretty limited. Having said that, my choice for my first AK was the Bulgarian SSR 85 C. Do some research, you'll find that folks either love them or hate them, some have good reasons for either position, some just chime in because they read it on the internet an have no firsthand knowledge. I'm OK with mine.

The Saigas get both good and bad reviews, depending on who did the conversion on them.

The M70, as I understand it, is just another AK parts wise. I don't know why parts wouldn't be available pretty much forever.
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 2:58:04 PM EST
The Saiga's price is a little high. (you could probably find a converted one on one of the forums for cheaper)

The M70AB2 is a great rifle but I'd get a fixed stock first if it were my only AK.

The SSR-85s are hit or miss. Some have been good and some have come with pitted rusted parts and had their muzzle brakes go flying off during firing.

If I had to choose between those, probably the M70. I really prefer a fixed stock for shooting, but it's the best gun of what you have selected here.
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 3:12:00 PM EST
Unfortunately, I can't directly link to the Saiga deal, because the website has all it's guns listed on the same page. But it includes both a collapsable stock and fixed stock, 2 mags, mag pouch, cleaning kit, sling.

The Yugo parts, based on the answers to my questions in the Yugo forum, are not directly interchangeable with any other AK.
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 4:04:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2008 4:09:31 PM EST by zaskar017]
check classicarms.us/ they have the saiga for $475

ETA: if you are looking for something that is going to work but not too fancy, check out henderson defense. the guys that buy this AK are happy with them

Link Posted: 10/15/2008 4:15:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2008 4:20:04 PM EST by bloodsport2885]
SSR85's from Atlantic firearms are new and have all the evil features you could desire (slant brakes no longer shoot loose - threaded). They ship with a pro mag so you will have to replace the FCG to use foreign mags. Everything feels solid and mine was dead on once I re-aligned the front sight drum with the witness mark from the factory. Remember it has an AK47 pattern barrel so AKM bayonets will not fit. The 1st gen bayonets will.
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 4:20:22 PM EST
Yeah, the classicarms.com is the one I'm looking at, but with the collapsable stock, which puts it up from $475 to $520.
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 4:22:05 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 7:16:24 PM EST
I like the Bulgy option for best compatability with other AKM parts, I like the Yugos for their history, i like the Saiga for it's receiver and rail, all have their plusses and minuses

I lean more strongly toward most compatible parts, the commonly available is important in most of my firearm choices, but also certainly respect others who differ in their preferences
Link Posted: 10/15/2008 8:55:06 PM EST
Saiga - do the coversion yourself. ITS NOT HARD!! You'll save about $100. Great gun, real russian parts, accurate.
I got a wasr and wish I knew about saiga at the time.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:33:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By RS39:
I'm not a fan of underfolders, but find out what hg is on the 85. If a US part, only kvar makes them with heat sheilds. Otherwise, you know the Saiga has a side rail for future optics options, and see the Russian forum to see if you want to convert your own $


It is a US marked handguard, but mine did not have a heat shield for some reason. I swapped it out with some furniture I had lying around anyway.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:35:46 AM EST
Is the fact the SSR is assembled out of different parts, stamped and milled, a strength or a weakness? I've seen some comments that they're second rate or reject parts, anyone have any opinions on this?
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:50:46 AM EST

Originally Posted By erichmess_:
Is the fact the SSR is assembled out of different parts, stamped and milled, a strength or a weakness? I've seen some comments that they're second rate or reject parts, anyone have any opinions on this?


It's still a stamped receiver AK made from "surplus" and U.S. parts , what really matters is
the quality of the assembly process.

Personally - cosmetics aside - I vote for the Saiga.
100% made in Russia , with some parts replaced by US ones.
(chrome bore and scope base too! )
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 5:00:37 AM EST
Does anyone know how interchangeable the Saiga is with other AKs? I know it has a longer barrel and the trigger is different somehow. Is there a lot of compatibility? I do like that fact it's a pure Russian gun. And since it starts out life as a hunting gun, will still be sold (hopefully) during an AWB.

The likelihood of a coming AWB is really what seems to be guiding my decision here for some reason. I guess I just want to make sure I have a gun that works well for at least 10 years (or more, depending on who's in power then) and will be easy to repair should anything break.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 5:11:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2008 5:11:51 AM EST by bloodsport2885]

Originally Posted By erichmess_:
Is the fact the SSR is assembled out of different parts, stamped and milled, a strength or a weakness? I've seen some comments that they're second rate or reject parts, anyone have any opinions on this?


No one has proven or disproven this myth yet. There is no evidence to show they are "reject" military parts. I personally like the heavier barrel and TypeI AK47 styling. The 1.6mm receiver they are made of also lends the rifle a more solid feel without a noticeable change in weight.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 11:46:13 AM EST
for saiga interchangability. After a conversion all parts will be interchangable except the front hand guards(which can be fixt for $85). The trigger group is replaced with an authentic one.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:01:03 PM EST
All three are excellent choices.

I went with the SSR.

I'd put the Yugo last. They're a full pound heavier than most other AK's, the bores aren't chromed, and the furniture sucks. On the upside, they're probably the most accurate of the three.

Link Posted: 10/16/2008 6:23:22 PM EST
I did not vote because I think the Saiga and SSR are tied in my book. I own both and I guess I would say if you want an original type AK go SSR and if you want a tactical mutt go with the Saiga. I am partial to the tactical mutt my self but my SSR is a fine rifle.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 6:50:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2008 6:53:03 PM EST by kar98k]

Originally Posted By GenghisKhan:
I did not vote because I think the Saiga and SSR are tied in my book. I own both and I guess I would say if you want an original type AK go SSR and if you want a tactical mutt go with the Saiga. I am partial to the tactical mutt my self but my SSR is a fine rifle.


+1

From the selection given, it's a toss-up between these two. I'd prefer a converted Saiga to have standard AK handguards though, not like the one pictured.

Link Posted: 10/16/2008 6:52:32 PM EST
The SSR has no reject parts I own two and they are both great. The ones at atlantic and peach state guns are imported by TGI and are Bulgarian single stack rifles. TGI opens up the magwell and installs the compliance parts. These rifles are solid and get a bad rap from ppl who do not own them and dont know shit about them. I have seen only one guy who owned one that was imported by TGI that had a bad rifle and I gurantee you I have researched this rifle more than most ppl have. The rifle is solid the only downside is the parker on the rifle is thin... ask ppl who own them not some guy who only knows what he saw one guy say on the net. I had the same options as you a couple months ago.. did my homework and I ended up purchasing two SSR-85s from Atlantic.
Link Posted: 10/17/2008 7:08:57 AM EST
i voted for the ssr-85. i picked one up back in march and it's been a great rifle. the finish is thin but other than that i have no complaints i would buy this rifle again.
Link Posted: 10/17/2008 9:54:23 AM EST
Hey guys, I appreciate all the input, it's been helpful. I think I'm going to go with the Saiga, though I'm not ordering till Monday, so who knows if I'll change my mind. I really appreciate all the help ya'll, you've been great.
Link Posted: 10/18/2008 4:55:40 AM EST
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