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Posted: 11/26/2001 6:58:31 AM EDT
Are the Romanian SAR-3 actual 5.56mmx39 rifles? This isn't the AK-74 that shoots 5.45mm is it?

How reliable are they? I would think that if you could combine the .223 round with the reliability of an AK...this would be a good combination.

Also, what's the availability/price of the magazines?
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 7:38:21 AM EDT
The SAR3 is a 5.56x45 (.223) rifle. You're thinking of the SAR2 that shoots the 5.45x39 (AK74) round.

So yes, the SAR3 is a true .223 rifle.
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 7:47:41 AM EDT
The Romanian SAR series comes in three variations:
SAR-1=7.62x39
SAR-2=5.45x39
SAR-3=5.56x45

So the answer is
1)Yes, the SAR-3 really is a 5.56mm
2)Yes, the AK-74 is the one that shoots 5.45mm
3)They are reliable. They are an AK after all. .223 AKs are not a new idea. I own a Norinco .223, and it's my favorite AK. While not "authentic" because the Soviet Union never built it that way, it still makes great sense and works fantastic. Other .223 AKs include the Galil, the Valmet, Polytech, and a few other odd-balls. The Daewoo K2 uses the AK gas system, though the forged alloy construction of the AR.

Mags for the .223 are quite available. I believe the Bulgarian waffle mags work, and there are modified AK-74 mags that work. AK-74 mags go for $5 for a 30rd mag. My Norinco mags are about a buck a round ($15 for a 15rd/$30 for a 30rd). I ahven't tried any of the cheap mags in my Norinco yet, but I'm going to give it a shot to find out.

Oh yeah, the .223 AKs love that cheap steel case Russian ammo as well. They were made to use that kinda stuff.

Ross
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 7:57:53 AM EDT
Ooops, thanks for correcting my error...I did mean 5.56mmx45 (not 39).

So, essentially I could have an AR and AK with the same rounds! Cool. I am embarassed to say that this is a revelation to me. Now I have a new rifle on my "to have" list. And at $5 per 30-round mag, got to LOVE that. I think I'll buy 20!!!

Any suggestion on a quality make of 5.56mm AK in the $300-400 range...and where to buy it? I would prefer new.
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 8:09:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/26/2001 8:02:12 AM EDT by brouhaha]
Before AIMSurplus ran out, they were selling the SAR3's for $249. Now, everyone is selling them in the price range that you set. Too bad I only picked up one SAR2 while they had them...

Try looking on GunsAmerica or even right here in the equipment exchange.
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 8:46:07 AM EDT
Looks to me like the VEPR II and the Galil are the best AKs in .223. Anyone have any idea on prices and availability?
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 9:46:48 AM EDT
5.56 is not a native Romanian/SAR caliber with the result that the SAR-3 is somewhat "cobbled together" to handle the cartridge. There have been problems with headspacing & hammer geometry on some models. However, once fixed others have reported being very happy with them. Best (most reliable) mags for the SAR-3 have been the steel Wieger mags from IO (4 mags w/pouch for $69 if memory serves). I agree, a decent AK in 5.56 would be a very interesting combination.
Tomac
PS- Veprs are of excellent quality but I don't think I want a 9 lb .223!...
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 11:35:19 AM EDT
I bought my MAK-90 .223 for $400 with a bunch of mags. I also bought a pre-ban 84s (same gun, just pre-ban) for $700. I sold it once I figured out that the post-ban pretty much did the same thing and I had other stuff to buy. The AK-74 mags (the $5 ones) aren't reliable in .223. You have to swap followers, or make some sort of mods, but most say they work fine wonce that's done. The Weiger mags are supposed to work great.

I personally like the Chinese .223 MAK-90. It's fit and finnish is higher quality, and it's not much more expensive nowdays. It doesn't suffer from the hammer not hitting square, etc. but it does suffer from more expensive mags and having to be "upgraded" with US parts to use a pistol grip.

My Mak-90 is more accurate than my other AKs (which are 7.62) but less so than the AR. Recon had his Norinco modified with an adapter to use M-16 mags. I've shot it, and it worked great. One of these days I might pick up a spare and have it done myself.

So I'm a Norinco fan, but the SAR-3 has a pretty strong following that's hard to argue with. The SAR-3 is cheaper because the gun costs less, and you won't need to change any parts to get a pistol grip. Even if you spring for the Weiger mags (and I'd recommend it), those ae still cheaper than the Norinco mags as well.

So for practical purposes, the best bet is the Romainian SAR-3. If you want to spend more for higher quality finnish(though not functionaliy) then the Norinco would still be in your ballpark.

Ross
Link Posted: 11/26/2001 11:56:34 AM EDT
Tailgate: The SAR-3 is a true 5.56mm rifle. I had the hammer geometry problem with mine (see thread over on the AK side) but I had it fixed. Go with the steel Weiger mags from IO - I got mine for $49/4 plus a pouch. Once the hammer problem was fixed, I've had no problems with funtioning. I've shot IMI SS109, WINQ3131A, and some of the PMP/SA stuff - all worked fine. I bought mine to replace the SKS that I sold - wish I would have gotten the SAR-3 to begin with. It's nice to have two rifles (AR, AK that shoot the same ammo)
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