Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
User Panel

Posted: 5/14/2002 6:41:11 PM EDT
ok, im looking to get a cheap 7.62x39. dont give me anything about ak clones vs ARs, i plan on getting a preban later this summer. im not 18 yet, so its my parents decision on what i get. my uncle is a big influence (hes the big shooter in the family) and he is recommending a mini30 or sks over an AK clone. I need help!!

if you guys could give some pro and cons....good arguments....andything, it would be much appreciated. thanks.
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 7:00:57 PM EDT
I'd leave the Mini 30 out, mags are too expensive.  The SKS would be cheapest, but I've heard that replacing the fixed mag with a igh cap dtetactable mag usually leads to misfunctions.  which of course leave the SAR1.  If you can visually inspect it first hand before you buy to make sure the front sight isn't canted, then I say go for that.  Plus it just looks meaner than an SKS.

editd to add: compared to an SKS or an AK, the mini 30 is a bitch to disassemble and clean, and it will need it the most out of the 3.
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 8:38:14 PM EDT
I have a mini 14 and I really like it damn reliable handy rifle have you thought about getting a 14 it shoots the same round as the military and as the AR you are planning on getting might as well just have one rifle round.
If I wanted really cheap I would go with one of those yugo sks rifles they look like fun, why don't you want a AK?
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 9:02:56 PM EDT
The best of these 3 rifles: is an AK clone. However a Bulgarian SLR95 is better than the SAR1.

The SKS is a good rifle..especially if your get the Russian - fixed mag. There is one exception...if there is any chance of getting one of Norinco's Type 68 SKS "sporters". Hop on it. These types of SKS rifles take AK47 Magazines. (IF you are living in California..you cannot own one of these SKS rifles that take detachable AK47 mags..nor can you own an AK clone for that matter since they are illegal in California.)

Forget the Mini30. Mags are expensive and unreliable.
The AK and SKS are far more reliable than the Ruger.
The AK is the most reliable of these 3 rifles.
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 9:14:45 PM EDT
I would have to agree on the SAR-1, my second choice would be the SKS.   I recomend to stay away from the Mini-30.    BTW: I own all three (except I have the mini-14 not the 30)
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 9:20:37 PM EDT

the Russian - fixed mag. There is one exception...if there is any chance of getting one of Norinco's Type 68 SKS "sporters". Hop on it. These types of SKS rifles take AK47 Magazines.

Yeah, I have one of these.  
When I bought it many years ago it was merketed as the "paratroop" model.  
Kind of crude BUT simple & reliable.  The AK mags are cheap.
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 9:59:18 PM EDT
What's so difficult about pulling the trigger guard down and lifting the reciever out of the stock.  You might have to have some aptitude to disassemble a mini-30(14), but give me a break.  An SKS is a great rifle for the price.  Still you get what you pay for,  and mini-30s aren't free,  or cheap,   because they are a quality product.  Like any Ruger,  reliability is unequaled.  Accuracy is acceptable by battlefield standards.  And,  they can easily be upgraded with say a new barrel.  Need I mention that my Mini-30 is one of my favorite firearms?  This considering that I have an AR-15, a Winchester mod 70,  and a Marlin G-30 levergun.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 1:54:12 AM EDT
My advice would be to go with the AK or the SKS. They are cheap, reliable and look cool. I happen to have all three types myself.

While I love Ruger firearms, the Mini-30 does have it's share of problems. The biggest is the fact that there aren't any decent high capacity mags around for it. These cheap ones will jam like crazy and many will not fit into the rifle properly. Mine was bought well before the 94 ban on high cap mags and they seem to be alright. But most of the mags on the market today were made in mass quantities right before the ban. This may explain the quality problems.

The AK has a reputation that preceeds it. Great gun, functions swell, and costs very little for the performance it offers. The mags and ammo are also cheap. The Romanian SAR's and WASR's along with the Egyptian MAADI's are the cheaper ones at around $300 each new. They function fine but may look a bit more crude than the more pricey AK's. The Arsenal SA-M7, the VEPR's and pre-ban Chinese Polytech and Norinco's are a step up from these in fit and looks, as well as accuracy. Any will work well though.

The SKS is the cheapest but by no means the worst rifle. They are as dependable as any rifle made and accurate enough. They use a 10 rd. fixed mag (30 rd. mags are made for them but avoid them like the plague as the blow) but are easily reloaded with 10 rd stripper clips that can be bought for under $8 per 20. I can buy the Chinese versions around here for $150 no sweat. I really like the rifle. Just because it doesn't have a big banana mag hanging down underneath it doesn't mean it isn't a great choice. Like I said, with the use of strippers you can send many rounds downrange fast.

If you must choose a Ruger design...at the very least go with the .223 caliber Mini-14. The Mini-14 has been around longer than the Mini-30 and better aftermarket high capacity mags exist for them. You can buy PMI and John Masen 30 rounders for them, but they range from about $30-$40 each. These will work though.

Don't get me wrong....I love Ruger guns. I have found nothing more reliable than a Mini-14 or 30 with proper magazines and you can shoot many, many rounds through them without cleaning. But the Ruger does suffer from 3 problems: 1.) The good hi-cap mags are harder to find and more expensive than with AK's. 2.) The barrel gets heated up very fast on them and reduces accuracy. 3.)To get spare parts replaced, you must send your rifle back to Ruger. With that said, buy the AK or SKS.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 4:30:44 AM EDT
Out of those three, get the AK for sure. For many reasons.

First of all, it's going to be more reliable than the Mini 30. Secondly, the mags are cheaper.

Also, as compared to MOST SKS's you can buy lots of cheap 30 round mags. AND the mags are detachable (unless of course you get paratrooper model as mentioned before).

Don't forget the evil factor. The AK is the most evil out of the bunch. And evil equals cool.

Good luck, and have fun with whatever you get!
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 6:23:54 AM EDT
Another vote for the SKS here.  

Compact, (relatively) accurate, simple design, inexpensive.

Don't give in to the temptation to replace the fixed 10-round mag with an aftermarket 30 rounder.   These are a pain to fill with stripper clips after the first 10 rounds.  The 10 rounder is more than enough firepower for most needs, it doesn't get in the way when you're shooting prone or from a bench, it functions better than most aftermarket mags, and it's impossible to lose it.

I wouldn't recommend the AK because I don't much care for mine.  It is actually painful to shoot it.  Also, all that metal slamming around with each shot is pretty violent.  It gets hot very quickly, quicker than any other rifle I own.  The 30 rounders make it difficult to shoot from a bench.  It is not a pleasant gun to shoot.  The SKS feels much more refined in comparison.

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:07:45 AM EDT
your uncle is wrong. the SAR1 is the best. the SKS is second. if your planning on getting a preban this summer, i would say go forthe SKS and save the rest of your $ for ammo and optics for your preban. i was in your shoes a while ago. i went with the SKS. a year from hte date i got the SKS i had traded it for a SAR1 , been through a post ban ar, and finally got my preban. i still think go for the SKS. keep it simple, no hi cap mag or rambo stock. the best stock for shooting is the montecarlo, or the original if your a small guy. dontdontdont get the ruger. some like um, some hate um, but no one can deny the fact that they cost as much, and usually more than an SAR, and thier hi cap mags are expensive. persoanlly, ruger can go to hellhellhell.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 8:24:56 AM EDT
I vote for the SAR1. Lots of accessories, cheap to upgrade the stocks and such, cheap russian red dots that work great.  Mags are cheap, reliable, and TOUGH!  Steel that lasts for 6-10 bucks, versus Aluminum that needs to be babied, for15 to 30 bucks...no brainer.  I love my AR, but I wish that the mag situation was better.  Vote republican this year, maybe the AW ban will be history...:-)
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 8:49:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 9:07:54 AM EDT

Buy the SKS, it's a great rifle!
The cheapest and the best of those choices.
I think it's better to get an original than a clone.
With all the money you save on Mags. etc you will be able to afford an AK in no time.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 2:40:16 PM EDT
Another vote for the SAR-1, much more fun to shoot than the others, cheap mags, reliable, liberals are scared of it, etc...
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 3:07:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:35:30 PM EDT
FWIW & IMO, I've put 3-4 bricks of ammo through my my mini-30, and it  has never, ever jammed. My russian and chinese SKs jammed semi-frequently. Both failed to close bolt completely. Also, cleaning of a mini is not difficult at all. Barrel on mini does get hot, but so does barrel of the SKS. The sights on all are poor, but I hate fold down sights that come on Ruger.  They seem weak. Finally, hi cap mags for mini-30 suck!  BTW, the mini isn't "cheap". HTH  ZT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 11:01:09 PM EDT

FWIW & IMO, I've put 3-4 bricks of ammo through my my mini-30, and it  has never, ever jammed. My russian and chinese SKs jammed semi-frequently. Both failed to close bolt completely. Also, cleaning of a mini is not difficult at all. Barrel on mini does get hot, but so does barrel of the SKS. The sights on all are poor, but I hate fold down sights that come on Ruger.  They seem weak. Finally, hi cap mags for mini-30 suck!  BTW, the mini isn't "cheap". HTH  ZT


When you say bricks do you mean 1,000 rd. cases of ammo? Not picking on you here, I just usually relate "bricks" to .22 LR rounds.

I agree about the Mini-30. It isn't really a bad gun. With factory 5 rd. mags mine has never jammed. But the hi-cap crappy aftermarket mags are for the most part junk. From time to time you can find one that works decent. BTW, the ones I have found to work best are the USA stainless 20 rd. versions. These seem stronger made than the blued ones and the 30 rounders.

The Mini-30 comes in two styles. Standard or Ranch. If you get the standard model you will get rear peep sights like those on a Garand or M-14. The Ranch model is intended more as a scoped gun...hence the flip-up rear sights. I think you can order the other sight to replace these with though if you want one.

But I would still recommend the SKS or AK for an all around rifle. Hard to beat, especially if you want more than 5 shots.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 11:28:36 PM EDT

I'm not trying to avoid your question, because I really don't know!!

Good question though, cause I've been looking into the same thing.  I've been debating with myself, and reading posts on AK-47.net and ar15.com to get a good idea as to what a good 7.62x39mm rifle is.

Decided on a VEPR K from
as they take standard AK mags, and are a good price, and got good reviews on AK-47.net.

Hey 1911greg, omnus34, zutrooper, & charginghandle,

I've been through hell with my Mini 14 and after market hi caps.  I love the little rifle, and it's a snap to disassemble and clean, but out of a dozen aftermarket mags, I've got 1 30 rd. PMC that works great, (the other one from that order looks like it was dropped on the top) and the 5 rd. factory mag that works.  The rest are junk.  I even paid $35.00 per John Masen 30rd. mag because I read on the no longer mini14world.com web site that they were the best after market mags.  They LOOK GREAT, work like crap!!!!  I even emailed John Masen Co. about the problems and was basically told "to bad so sad return them to where you bought them from".  Crappy response!!!!

That's the big reason why I decided not to by a Mini 30.  I just do not want to go through the same thing.

Thanks for the tip on the 20rd SS USA mags, I'll give 'em a try.

I'll tell you though, I'm getting tired of buying junk mags for the rifle looking for one that works.

Any one got a lead to somewhere that sells ruger factory hi caps?

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 11:41:06 PM EDT
Get a Model D SKS. They were manufactured to accept AK mags.  I have one and half a dozen AK mags.  Fun to shoot, gets 2 1/2 in groups at 100 yards, and wolf ammo works great in it.

The one thing I don't like is that the bolt doesn't lock open after the last shot.  Just need to be more safety minded with the model D version.

This is my 3rd sks and I've never had any problems with any of them.  The first one I owned would shoot 1 in groups at 100 yard with Wolf ammo, should have kept it. Oh well.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 12:36:20 AM EDT

I saw some Mini-14 20 and 30 rd. factory mags at a good price at www.kyimports.com the last time I was there. Just be careful and make sure they are what they say they are before buying. Factory Ruger mags will have their name and logo either on the floor plate, the mag body or both. If it doesn't have these, it isn't a Ruger mag. You can also find them at auction sites such as gunbroker.com but they usually sell for ridiculously high prices.

I have about 4-30 rd John Masen mags that function flawlessly. Just out of curiosity, you didn't get your's from gunaccessories.com did you? By the way, the PMI's are also a great Mini-14 mag....these can be bought at www.deltaforce.comfor about $40 each. These are probably the best non-Ruger mags made. I really like the ones I have. Good luck in your hunt.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 5:50:29 AM EDT
SAR1 for sure then. Triggers are cheap parts count bits that vary from gun to gun in how well they work. If you need better, Gordon makes them for $40 and Redstar Arms makes a bitchen fully adjustable for $80. But since you are heading toward an AR later this summer, consider a SAR3 in .223. It WILL need a new hammer from Redstar Arms due to bad us parts geometry, but you will have AK cheap, simple, reliable and need only 1 caliber in stock. Mags are easy to get since Robinson Arms sells new .223 followers for the 5.45 ak74 mags (and the mags are only $5-6 now).
Ak, AK, AK more reliable than a sack of hammers!
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:52:55 AM EDT
IMO these are all basically the same rifle, with the same basic purpose.

Relatively inexpensive, cheap ammo, cheap mags (cept fer the Mini) very reliable (cept maybe fer the Mini) and fairly inaccurate.

Their designed for cover fire / suppressive fire / mass- waves- of- humanity type invasions.

As such, pay the least you can to get basically the same thing.

Get the SKS (or the SAR if you can find one cheaper) At an equal price, the SAR gets my nod, as the mags are more user friendly.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 9:44:07 AM EDT
I have 3 SKSs, 2 AKs one being a SAR1 and a Mini 30.

The Mini is by far the best of the lot but it is primarily a hunting rifle and never came with factory 20 or 30 round mags. Most of the aftermarket mags for the Mini are junk and the rifle is not inexpensive. BTW, the Mini 14 came with standard sights or the Ranch Rifle sights, the Mini 30 came with or comes with the Ranch Rifle sights only.

My SAR 1 is reliable but it is a piece of junk in terms of quality.

I have a preban Chinese short SKS, a preban fullsize one and a Russian made in 1953.

My experience with the SKSs that used AK mags was bad. I bought and sold 2 of them and couldn't find one that worked.

Get an SKS. They are the quintessential sport utility rifle, are still quite inexpensive and ammo is still cheap. It seems to me the Yugo one is the only one available these days.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 4:23:18 PM EDT
After reading all your posts and doing a bit more research on my own, i think im going to drop the cheap 7.62x39. I got a letter from work saying how my pay got upped by a whole dollar. I am gonna go with an AK clone. My uncle wants me to get something of High quality and my dad doesnt want me getting a "Cheap POS." So much for the cheap idea, doesnt look like a SAR-1... We talked about it and my uncle mentioned the VEPR. Thanks for the hint to the VPER starsil9. I think thats what im going to get, also my dad may chip in for a bit too

thanks for all the comparison info! it really helped me choose which one.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 4:59:19 PM EDT
How does a VEPR K compare to a SLR-95?
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 5:40:49 PM EDT
A VEPR is a great rifle...more accurate and better put together than a MAADI or SAR. But they don't look like a traditional AK if that is important to you. Otherwise, they are a great gun.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 6:51:05 PM EDT
7.62X39 Siaga Carbine, $179.99 from CDNN investments. Best deal in a 7.62x39 rifle.
Russian made, Chrome lined bore, 10rd detachable mag.(Converts to cheap AK Hi-Caps easily)  & Best of all "Easily converted to
AK-47 configuration"; The only way to get a Russian made AK in the USA.
I own a Ruger Mini-30; This rifle kicks its ass Hands down.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 8:16:32 PM EDT
I dunno..I like these..

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 12:10:50 AM EDT
If your looking at VEPR's, they have a .223 mod.
I have one and the Russian scope/rail mount and am very pleased.

They also pass the cool test as they are black from stem to stern.

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 12:23:08 AM EDT

To answer your question YES!!!!!

OH GOD NO!!!!!!

I did get the John Masen Mags from gun accessories.

Why what are they selling factory rejects or something like that?

You are the second person to tell me that they function flawlessly, I'm kinda bummed mine don't.

Where should I buy them if the ones I got are such crap?

Next, I also bought 2 PMI mags from Deltaforce, and like I said 1 of them is the best shootin' 30 rder I have.  The other looks like it was dropped on the top, and bent the tabs that hold the bullets in.  I'm sure that I could repair it, but just haven't taken the time to do it.  I've been really disappointed in the mags for the Mini 14 in general, and once I got my Bushmaster, it was all I wanted to shoot!!!!

Also, Milkman, you are another satisfied VEPR owner, just another feather in the cap of good reviews telling me I made a good decision on buying one.  Still waiting on delivery!!!!

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 4:18:58 AM EDT

Check out www.riflescopes.com. The last time I checked with them they had John Masen 30 rounders for $29.95. You may have to email them and ask though...because they didn't have them listed on their site. This is a good company and I think you will be satisfied with their products and customer service.

The reason I mention gun accessories is that I have heard nothing but complaints from their "so called" John Masen mags. The mag body looks like a Masen but there is something weird looking about their floorplates...like the mags have just been pieced together or something. I had one guy tell me that he inserted a mag and fired it to see how they functioned and after the first round the mag fell from his rifle! Evidently these are not what they are advertised as.

Don't completely give up on the mags you have. You still have the mag bodies and you can always find replacement springs, followers and floorplates. Brownells has some nice stuff for them that isn't too expensive. If they mags fit good, try changing these and see how they work. I would almost guarantee it will make them 100% better.

On another note, check out www.fourfourmag.com. Pro Mag is making a new 10 rd. mag for the Mini-14 that has been getting great reviews. Evidently, Pro Mag has the new contract to build factory 5 rd. Mini mags and these 10 rounders are suppose to be almost identical in construction to these. Finally a decent mag that holds more than 5 rds. can be had for these rifles.

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 7:09:48 AM EDT

1. AK Clone
2. SKS
672. Mini-30


LOL! How true!

Here's another vote for the AK clone.

I never hear anything good about the Mini-30. Many mag related problems.
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 7:14:52 AM EDT
By the way, there's currently a Chinese MAK-90 advertised in the Little Nickel for $400. Says it comes with US parts, so it may already have already been converted a pistol grip. Private party sale, too.

I have two Chinese MAK-90s and they are good, well built guns.
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 8:08:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 8:33:27 PM EDT

Thanks for the URL, just bought 2 10 rd. Pro Mags SS. From fourfourmag.com.  Also, emailed riflescopes.com about the 30rd. John Masen Mags.

gunaccessories.com said that they would take back the mags on a return.  Since 2 of them have never been unwrapped, I am going to take them up on the offer.

Funny you should say that they are selling fake John Masen mags, cause when I emailed John Masen about the problems, she acted like I had some wierd disease, and just told me to return them to where I bought them.

I had gone as far a taking one of them apart and replacing the follower with a ruger factory follower from Brownells, but still functioned like crap.

I also noticed that the floor plates had no marking on them, and that the Mag bodies looked twisted.  After about an hour of tweaking and bending on the one mag, it managed to cycle dummy rounds OK by hand.  Haven't tried it at the range yet, I was hoping to tweak the other PMI mag I got from Deltaforce and see if I could at least get 2 working 30 rd. mags.

Ya know it was the first rifle I ever bought, and I've had it for a while, and I was considering dumping it for a cheap price just to get rid of the headach.

If Rifle scopes has REAL John Masen 30 rd. mags that work flawlessly, and those 10 rd. Pro Mags turn out OK, I'll probably reconsider and hang on to it.  If not, I'll dump it, cause I'm tired of fighting the damn thing.

Hey thanks for the links, and I'll let you know how the new mags work out.


Link Posted: 5/20/2002 11:53:25 AM EDT
I'll say it again the best value in a 7.62x39 rifle is the Russian Siaga, $179.99
If you leave it without a pistol grip it is a 20 minute job to convert it to cheap ultra reliable AK-47 Hi-Caps.
If you add a pistol grip you have to add enough US parts to make it 922R compliant.  
Link Posted: 5/20/2002 4:49:19 PM EDT

I dunno..I like these..

I didn't know that these came in 7.62x39.

For all those who slam the Mini30, have you ever owned one or did so and so say a friend of his knew someone who knew someone who had one?  For that matter, how many have even had an AK or SKS?
Link Posted: 5/20/2002 5:06:45 PM EDT
A guy on auctionarms.com is selling mini 30 mags saying there is a big BAN coming.  What the hell is he talking about?


Link Posted: 5/20/2002 5:40:38 PM EDT
i think he is just saying that so he cna get more sales and/or charge more for them.

on another note, i just learned that the choate stocks for Mak90/AK47 do not fit romanian AKs

Link Posted: 5/20/2002 5:59:22 PM EDT
How about the Izhmash Arsenal AKs?
Link Posted: 5/20/2002 11:19:20 PM EDT


For all those who slam the Mini30, have you ever owned one or did so and so say a friend of his knew someone who knew someone who had one?  For that matter, how many have even had an AK or SKS?

Hi Larry,

I have all three, MAK 90, Russian SKS, and Mini 30.  The SKS and the Mini never seem to make it out of the safe.  When I head out shooting I usually take three or four rifles and they never seem to be the ones, though the AK comes out as much as the AR.  More fun to bump shoot I guess.

I like all three, but the Mak is the one I use so that is what I am reccommending.  But most of my shooting is just basically plinking.  If I was going out to get pigs or something, I would take the Mini because it is scoped.

I wish I woulda had the sense to get a "preban" when I was 18.  My buddy got a used CAR for $250 bucks and another friend picked up a Galil for under $300.  Ugh, woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Close Join Our Mail List to Stay Up To Date! Win a FREE Membership!

Sign up for the ARFCOM weekly newsletter and be entered to win a free ARFCOM membership. One new winner* is announced every week!

You will receive an email every Friday morning featuring the latest chatter from the hottest topics, breaking news surrounding legislation, as well as exclusive deals only available to ARFCOM email subscribers.

By signing up you agree to our User Agreement. *Must have a registered ARFCOM account to win.
Top Top