Hello from hurricane-ravaged South Florida!
Well, now that it seems I may have a window of opportunity to purchase an assault rifle for me and my 3 teenage boys (the one girl thinks guns are "silly"), and having convinced the spouse that I need a weapon about as much as she needs another pair of shoes, it's time to do the homework before plopping down the cash.
I've narrowed it down to an AK or AK-variant due to 1) the reputation as a reliable performer, 2) the history of this weapon and 3) economic constraints.
I looked at a new WASR 7.62x39 Romanian model at a local (Ft. Lauderdale) gun dealer and was not too impressed: it seemed somewhat "cheap" in that the receiver and furniture was rough (standard wood stock and grips). Price: $399.00 + tax, but no FFL transfer fee ($30) and no shipping charges.
Some internet sites offer models with "chromed barrels", "parkerized" finish and laminated or polymer furniture. Can someone explain the benefits, if any of these items?
Then there is the question of country: Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Egyptian Maadi, SKS from China, and Russian Izmash Armory. Which are considered good, better, best or crap?
Caliber seems to be another factor: .308, 7.62x39, .223, 5.45??? What are the pros/cons?
Finally, there are some websites that offer deals that seem too good to be true. One in particular has great prices and I almost placed an order, until I came accross this forum and found some threads that question the integrity of this dealer - that I will identify only with the initials JK.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
I looked in the equipment exchange, but no one in Florida seems to have anything to offer and the shipping charges and FFL transfer fee would put others out of my budget.
Thanks for any help you can give this humble newbie.
PS: The AMD65 looks really nice. Any good?
What do you want to spend( or what can you spend)? That will make a big difference in what you can get into. If you budget is more toward the WASR end of the spectrum, then that is probably what you will need to get(the rough finish can be overcome with a little ingenuity and elbow grease).
All models should have a chrome barrel. This is mentioned as a selling point by some dealers, but in reality it is a "standard feature".
Parkerizing is a type of finish, along with blued, or in some cases painted on. Parkerizing is pretty common for Euro variants, while Chinese tend to be blued.
Laminate furniture is just that-furniture that is made from laminated wood(various pieces of wood bonded together to make a very strong and durable composite). Polymer furniture is made of essentially plastic. There are pros and cons to both. Polymer is more weather resistant, wood is a little more traditional. Unless you are really going to abuse the rifle, then get what looks/feels best. If it is going to get really hard use, or get a lot of exposure to the elements, polymer may be a better choice.
As far as the "best" country of origin? That is a topic that I will leave to those with a lot more experience than I. In general, the greatest numbers of complete guns that came to the US are probably Chinese or Romanian in origin. I would guess that of the remaining choices, the majority are built from parts kits, and the quality of these guns will depend on the quality of the kit, and who put it together.
I have to run, and can not comment on the other questions...
Good luck in your decision, and welcome to the dark side
I managed to find a MAK90 (a chinese ak47) for $350 and it had never been fired. This was at a place that was selling WSAR-10s for 400$. My MAK90's finish and overall quality of the gun is much better than my buddies wsar-10. They both shoot the same but the chinese models usually look very good. However mine came with the undesirable thumbhole stock.
I would check out gunsnstuff.net they have a WSAR-3 high capacity for 308$ Reason I like them is because they shoot .223's instead of 7.62x39. So you'll probably be more accurate with it, less re-coil, and much easier to find good quality shells.