Here is a comparison, made by my friend. Hope you enjoy!
I have the pleasure of being able to compare two nice Kalashnikov descendants side by side for a while, so I'd thought I'd share it too.
I have here civilized versions of two quite interesting military rifles, namely AK-103 (civil.: Saiga M3 EXP - Izhmash, Izhevsk Russia) and Sako M95 (Sako M92S, Finland). At first glance these two rifles are very similar but there are quite a few differences too, some of which make a huge impact on performance of the weapon. Sako is improved version Valmet RK-62, a modified Kalashnikov design upon which the Israeli Galil is also based. Both Galil and Valmet/Sako have dubbed as "The best AK based gun" over the years. There is very little difference between them.
Here are the rifles, Sako on top AK in the bottom. Both have some custom parts: AK has OD Krylon paint job and recoil buffer, Sako has custom vertical grip and Take-paja muzzlebrake. Also featured are the standard brake for the the Sako and sound suppressors for both of the rifles. AK can is a phosphated BR-tuote production, and Sako one is Take-paja reflex can.
Noticeable differences can be seen in the gas system and sight layout, the grips and the stock (both are fixed although military models feature folding ones).
Differences in surface finish: Painted AK (factory black covered with Krylon) vs. phosphated M95. Treatment on the M95 is corrosion resistant and a lot more durable compared to the paint. Other differences are the angled cocking lever on the M95 and the factory modified safety on the AK.
On the inside it is pretty much the same. Differences come mainly from the machined receiver of the Sako compared to the stamped receiver of the AK. One thing worth noting still is the surface treatment of the parts on the Sako giving it the edge on weatherproofing and ease of maintenance. On the other hand AK has really loose tolerances between the receiver and the bolt carrier making it virtually immune to any kind of fouling any way, and it ain't easy to cause a failure even on the Sako despite it's tighter fittings.
AK uses traditional open tangent rear sight giving very fast target acquisition. Sight is adjustable to 100, 200 and 300 metres, military models have even further settings but the accuracy of the AK (due to primitive sight, short sighting distance and tolerances in the parts) pretty much limits the effective distance to 300m anyway. Accuracy wise this AK can shoot about 5-6MOA @ 100m, but there are large differences between individual weapons. Rear sight on the Sako is a 3-position diopter that has two settings for the actual diopter, 150m (combat sight, good to 225m) and 300m (350m max) and middle position where the sight allows the shooter to use tritium night sight located in the front part of the rear sight. Sako sight is very good for plus 50m distances, but suffers from large blind areas in close quarters (although it is possible to use the open night sight for CQB). This Sako is cabable of roughly 1,5 MOA at 150m.
Sako front sight is overall of sturdier construction than the AK sight, and has adjustment screws for elevation and windage. Also in the sight there is front tritium ampule (folded down). Worth noticing also is the location of the sight over the gas block compared to the original AK style muzzle piece. AK sight can be adjusted vertically with a tool, and windage is set with e.g. hammer.
Magazines are roughly similar lightweight plastic ones. AK magazines are of rougher worksmanship and have been adjusted with "dremel"-tool already in factory, whilst Sako mags have no tool marks coming simply out of cast. AK mags also lack the strengthening ribs and have a metal floorplate, but there has been no problems with durability. Whilst Sako mags can appear slightly slippery in conditions despite the ribs, AK mags have a sandy texture and excellent grip.
Bolt carriers are similar to each other with the exceltion of the cocking lever and the elaborate cleaning system on the Sako gas piston that scrapes the gas tube clean on every shot.
Sako bolt (light colored) is sturdier and shorter of the two and features a closed extractor, while the AK extractor is cut to the side of the bolt.
AK gas tube is part of the hand guard and has traditional star-shaped cross-section. This shape makes the tube difficult to clean properly, also the gas tube is held in place with a seperate lever that may require a tool to open. Sako tube is simple round tube that is held in place with the receiver top cover. Tube goes through the two-part handguard but is not connected to it.
Muzzle brakes and front sights, also Sako with the standard brake this time.
Take-supressor installed on the Sako. Because of the front sight location the suppressor tube can go over the barrel all the way up to the gas-block reducing the increase in length. Also worth noting on the side of the front sight is the gas block valve that can be closed for shooting rifle grenades or sub-sonic loads if the user wants to eliminate the sound from cycling the action.
Suppressor taken apart to show the operating principle.
Here are two more pictures of the sights. It doesn't obviously tell how the sights work with your eyes in the real life, but gives at least some idea on how different the sight picture is.
Also further info about the two weapons (world.guns.ru):
Sako M95 (= RK95)
Neat pictures! Having never had my hands on a Galil or Valmet, I'd always wondered how the guts of them compared to a standard AK.
Thanks for the great review!! BTW, do you happen to know, Mikael Johansson, Jukka Leikos, or Jarno Renatnen?