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Old 02-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default Saiga AK and standard AK magazines

Hi all,

I am planning to buy a Saiga MK in the next months


ain't it nice?

It's a Saiga which means:
+ pretty good quality for an AK (we get the original gun as comes out from Izhmash)
- it doesn't take original AK magazines
- Saiga magazine are outrageously expensive here (around 75-100 USD each)

My question is: do you have to work on your Saigas imported in the US in order to make them compatible with standard AK mags?
If so I would be more confident in my choice as am not at all experienced in gunsmithing. At least I know where i can ask for help...

I'd like to get some Tapco 20 rounds polymer mags. They are not easy to find but worth the effort from what i read.
We are not allowed 30 rounds mags as of now by the way..

Thank you for your suggestions!

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Old 02-05-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
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Yes, parts and fairly simple modifications are needed to allow the Saiga to accept AK magazines. Many Saigas are modified this way in the USA with good results. Many also move the trigger group forward to improve function. Anyway there are videos online (check Youtube) that are good references.

I would assume the same would be true in parts of Europe but as far as legalities I couldn't offer a guess.

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:25 PM   #3
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Yes, parts and fairly simple modifications are needed to allow the Saiga to accept AK magazines. Many Saigas are modified this way in the USA with good results. Many also move the trigger group forward to improve function. Anyway there are videos online (check Youtube) that are good references.

I would assume the same would be true in parts of Europe but as far as legalities I couldn't offer a guess.
Thank you! I also found this thread, same issue
http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f19/bullet-guide-installation-82494/

And this video:

Now am more confident about the mod. May be fairly hard to find a bullet guide over here, will have to check with my lgs.
Am not confident enough to make one.

Kind regards
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:25 AM   #4
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Making a bullet guide yourself isn't really that difficult and I don't think there are any commercial bullet guides available in Europe. There are some guides for making one, I had one bookmarked but apparently have lost it. I can take some pics and measurements for you this weekend if I have time.

I'm not 100% sure, but I've understood that it is due to Russian gun laws that some Saigas don't accept normal AK mags out-of-the-box. I remember reading somewhere that in Russia the civilian firearms are not allowed to accept "military" magazines. So on some Saigas you need to install a bullet guide and I had to use a dremel tool on my mag catch to remove a bit of metal.

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Old 02-08-2013, 09:41 PM   #5
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Making a bullet guide yourself isn't really that difficult and I don't think there are any commercial bullet guides available in Europe. There are some guides for making one, I had one bookmarked but apparently have lost it. I can take some pics and measurements for you this weekend if I have time.

I'm not 100% sure, but I've understood that it is due to Russian gun laws that some Saigas don't accept normal AK mags out-of-the-box. I remember reading somewhere that in Russia the civilian firearms are not allowed to accept "military" magazines. So on some Saigas you need to install a bullet guide and I had to use a dremel tool on my mag catch to remove a bit of metal.
Hi! Thank you you are very kind but as of now i don't have the rifle yet, so am not even sure if i'll need a flat or a curved bullet guide.

Do you have any idea what kind of steel I should look for? I don't have much experience on metal working. Kind on puzzling on how to bend that stuff too. I guess steaming or boiling will not work (am a hobby woodworker).

Maybe I should continue on the other thread to avoid duplicates?
http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f19/bullet-guide-installation-82494/

Kind regards
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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Hi! Thank you you are very kind but as of now i don't have the rifle yet, so am not even sure if i'll need a flat or a curved bullet guide.

Do you have any idea what kind of steel I should look for? I don't have much experience on metal working. Kind on puzzling on how to bend that stuff too. I guess steaming or boiling will not work (am a hobby woodworker).

Maybe I should continue on the other thread to avoid duplicates?
http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f19/bullet-guide-installation-82494/

Kind regards
It's most likely going to have a round trunnion if it's a 7.62x39. I made my bullet guide from a piece of steel tube I bought from the hardware store, I think it was originally meant to be used in plumbing. I still have that piece of tube and it has enough material to make three more bullet guides, so if you can check from your LGS that the gun you are going to buy has a round trunnion, I can make you one and test it on my Saiga to make sure it works right. For drilling the hole I suggest you find someone who has a drill press. Also, if the gun you are going to get is the MK model and not the EXP-01, it may already have the bullet guide from the factory. Atleast the MKs sold in Finland usually have it, but they also accept normal AK mags out-of-the-box.

Where are you from btw? I'm just wondering if it's legal for you to own 30rd mags that are limited to 20rds as there are plenty of them available here. The steel mags you can get for 10 euros a piece. There are also standard issue RK mags and their earlier prototype versions available, that are fairly easy to modify for 20, 10 or any number of rounds by shortening the magazine and the spring. The newer black plastic mags go for ~30 euros and are considered more reliable than the older green mags, but the green mags are much cheaper at 15-20 euros and work well too.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AleksiR View Post
It's most likely going to have a round trunnion if it's a 7.62x39. I made my bullet guide from a piece of steel tube I bought from the hardware store, I think it was originally meant to be used in plumbing. I still have that piece of tube and it has enough material to make three more bullet guides, so if you can check from your LGS that the gun you are going to buy has a round trunnion, I can make you one and test it on my Saiga to make sure it works right. For drilling the hole I suggest you find someone who has a drill press. Also, if the gun you are going to get is the MK model and not the EXP-01, it may already have the bullet guide from the factory. Atleast the MKs sold in Finland usually have it, but they also accept normal AK mags out-of-the-box.

Where are you from btw? I'm just wondering if it's legal for you to own 30rd mags that are limited to 20rds as there are plenty of them available here. The steel mags you can get for 10 euros a piece. There are also standard issue RK mags and their earlier prototype versions available, that are fairly easy to modify for 20, 10 or any number of rounds by shortening the magazine and the spring. The newer black plastic mags go for ~30 euros and are considered more reliable than the older green mags, but the green mags are much cheaper at 15-20 euros and work well too.
You are very kind but I don't want you to trouble yourself so much. I guess i can look for something similar, the tube idea is good. Should find something with a close enough diameter and then sledgehammer it into shape I guess
I have a drill press, did some machining on aluminum. Will do much practice on scrap pieces before getting on the real deal.

Really? the EXP-01 has a bullet guide already?
Then I've found it!
http://www.armydelite.it/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=productdetail s&virtuemart_product_id=291&virtuemart_category_id =15
For Americans: don't look at the price, it will break your heart...
Will try to write them about it. If that is the case all i have to do is just file a little the magazine.

Am from Italy. We have some pretty quirky gun laws here. Since magazines are not seen as parts of a weapon anymore you can have them in any capacity, including 100 rounds drums provided you never actually use them. So collecting ok, firing at the range no.
Previously before being put on the market each gun had to be 'registered' by a special agency. They would define if it was ok for civilian use, give it a unique number and decide how many rounds it could have: usually either 5 (eg. .223 in 'sporting firearms') or 10 rounds (eg. 7,62x39, .308 for 'hunting firearms' as they were called). Now that agency, thanks to EU policies, has been disbanded (was also a waste of public money). So basically the official norm for now is there are no limits to magazines for calibers not used by military. Firearms in 'military caliber' have max 29 rounds allowed (not bad! )

The problem with modded 30 rounds mags is that the law says the mod should be such that one could not revert the mag beyond the limit. That is matter of possible controversy with a LEO (and if things go bad with a judge). Basically the only safe option would be to cut and shorten the mag as you suggest, again not sure if i am able enough to do that with standard magazines. No RK magazines around here, mainly stuff coming from ex-Easter Bloc countries + China

Kind regards
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:52 PM   #8
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You are very kind but I don't want you to trouble yourself so much. I guess i can look for something similar, the tube idea is good. Should find something with a close enough diameter and then sledgehammer it into shape I guess
I have a drill press, did some machining on aluminum. Will do much practice on scrap pieces before getting on the real deal.

Really? the EXP-01 has a bullet guide already?
Then I've found it!
http://www.armydelite.it/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=productdetail s&virtuemart_product_id=291&virtuemart_category_id =15
For Americans: don't look at the price, it will break your heart...
Will try to write them about it. If that is the case all i have to do is just file a little the magazine.

Am from Italy. We have some pretty quirky gun laws here. Since magazines are not seen as parts of a weapon anymore you can have them in any capacity, including 100 rounds drums provided you never actually use them. So collecting ok, firing at the range no.
Previously before being put on the market each gun had to be 'registered' by a special agency. They would define if it was ok for civilian use, give it a unique number and decide how many rounds it could have: usually either 5 (eg. .223 in 'sporting firearms') or 10 rounds (eg. 7,62x39, .308 for 'hunting firearms' as they were called). Now that agency, thanks to EU policies, has been disbanded (was also a waste of public money). So basically the official norm for now is there are no limits to magazines for calibers not used by military. Firearms in 'military caliber' have max 29 rounds allowed (not bad! )

The problem with modded 30 rounds mags is that the law says the mod should be such that one could not revert the mag beyond the limit. That is matter of possible controversy with a LEO (and if things go bad with a judge). Basically the only safe option would be to cut and shorten the mag as you suggest, again not sure if i am able enough to do that with standard magazines. No RK magazines around here, mainly stuff coming from ex-Easter Bloc countries + China

Kind regards
Wouldn't have been that much trouble The outer diameter of the tube I used is ~27mm and wall thickness 2,55mm so look for something like that and it should fit quite well. I didn't take the bullet guide out yet because I didn't have my heat gun (for the loctite in the threads) close to hand, but I eyeballed it with calipers and it's ~20mm long, ~15mm wide. It's not like you're doing brain surgery when you drill the hole, just make sure you get it straight. You can go all the way through the trunnion, but don't drill a hole to your receiver.

Here's a (crappy) pic of the bullet guide. Yes, I know it's dirty



I meant that the MK-versions may have the bullet guide. The EXP-01 most likely won't have it, but it doesn't hurt to ask from the gun shop. Also, don't file the AK magazines. File the magazine catch, as the original Saiga mags will still work in the gun with very minor modification.

Italy, cool! Been there a few times. Cattolica, Pesaro and Venice on vacation and just last summer I was in Breganze on a work trip for three days. You sure have some interesting gun laws there

The RK mags can be modified permanently. The shorter mag in the picture used to be a 30 rounder, now it takes only 5rds. From the second pic you can get an idea how easy it is to shorten these mags. You just "cut" the vertical ribs and then file the horizontal ribs until the base plate can fit on them.






There are atleast couple of shops that sell these mags and also deal with international customers. I have no idea what the shipping fees are like, but you can ask them that via email.

www.swat.fi <- Switch language to english and write "magazine" in the search.

www.defendor.eu <- They don't have the RK mags in stock at the moment, but they can probably get more if you ask them.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #9
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Wouldn't have been that much trouble The outer diameter of the tube I used is ~27mm and wall thickness 2,55mm so look for something like that and it should fit quite well. I didn't take the bullet guide out yet because I didn't have my heat gun (for the loctite in the threads) close to hand, but I eyeballed it with calipers and it's ~20mm long, ~15mm wide. It's not like you're doing brain surgery when you drill the hole, just make sure you get it straight. You can go all the way through the trunnion, but don't drill a hole to your receiver.

Here's a (crappy) pic of the bullet guide. Yes, I know it's dirty



I meant that the MK-versions may have the bullet guide. The EXP-01 most likely won't have it, but it doesn't hurt to ask from the gun shop. Also, don't file the AK magazines. File the magazine catch, as the original Saiga mags will still work in the gun with very minor modification.

Italy, cool! Been there a few times. Cattolica, Pesaro and Venice on vacation and just last summer I was in Breganze on a work trip for three days. You sure have some interesting gun laws there

The RK mags can be modified permanently. The shorter mag in the picture used to be a 30 rounder, now it takes only 5rds. From the second pic you can get an idea how easy it is to shorten these mags. You just "cut" the vertical ribs and then file the horizontal ribs until the base plate can fit on them.






There are atleast couple of shops that sell these mags and also deal with international customers. I have no idea what the shipping fees are like, but you can ask them that via email.

www.swat.fi <- Switch language to english and write "magazine" in the search.

www.defendor.eu <- They don't have the RK mags in stock at the moment, but they can probably get more if you ask them.
Thank you! You are most helpful!
Interesting sites! RK magazines sure sound like a good option... i could 'shave off' the 30th round that right now is illegal and have a 29er

Thank you!
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:08 PM   #10
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Thank you! You are most helpful!
Interesting sites! RK magazines sure sound like a good option... i could 'shave off' the 30th round that right now is illegal and have a 29er

Thank you!
No problem, glad I could help.
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