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retleo99 08-23-2008 04:23 AM

AR, AK, SKS? What to do?
Since there are 2 sub-forums, 1 for AK & SKS and the other for AR, and not wanting to post in both, I just KNOW there are droves of people out there who can lead me in the right (probably many) directions.

I've decided that I need to add an Assault Rifle to my collection, preferably before the Elections in November, just in case the anti-gunners win (God forbid!)

Despite spending 28 years in Law Enforcement, my firearms experience is limited mostly to handguns and shotguns. I have fired a few assault weapons, but few and far between. The last and most memorable was firing the Steyer AUG. At the last Gun Show (we have one each month here in Dayton, Ohio, more within an hours drive or so) I saw a "Domestic AUG," can't recall the brand, but I'm more interested in something along the lines of an AK, AR, Bushmaster, etc.

I saw on the Military Channel that the Galil (sp) is just an Israeli improved version of the AK-47. The AK's here run all different prices, $275-$400 or so, the Gallil's somewhat higher.

When you get into the AR's, Bushmaster, etc, it's what kind of top rail you want? This accessory, that accessory....Now I'm lost.

Do I want the .223 or the .30 cal 7.72 x 39? I've had Vets from 'Nam to present tell stories of slinging their M-16's over their shoulder and picking up a AK due to the higher caliber, adding that they were careful not to shoot them if there was a chance of running into Allied troops, due to the AK's distinct sound.

So what's a good choice in an Assault Rifle, based on easiness to strip & clean, cost to shoot, accuracy, etc.

I know this is a broad, open question, but any guidance is appreciated.


dragunovsks 08-23-2008 02:28 PM

Well, that's a good question that can only be answered by your preference in firearms. I have an SKS and an AR15A2. Yes the 7.62x39 round is bigger but the .223 round is smaller with lots of powder behind it, so it travels at a faster speed.

The AK/SKS rifles are powerful yes, but they aren't that accurate. They will penetrate car doors, body armor etc. with ease but so will the AR. The problem with the AR is that it needs to be cleaned pretty regularly where as the AK and SKS rifles can be thrown in mud and tossed in a closet and still fire months later. The SKS can be bought for around $250, for a rifle in excellent condition. I bought mine for $75 from a friend, it was in decent condition. I got my AR for $600 a couple of months ago.

These guns are good guns with thier own pros and cons. There's no reason why a guy couldn't own just one. I would buy a cheap SKS and then get a GOOD AR. You'll find out pretty quick that the SKS is cheaper to shoot than the AR.

RL357Mag 08-23-2008 02:51 PM

Depends on what you want it for. If you want to target shoot with some level of accuracy, get the AR. AK-47's and SKS's are notoriously inaccurate beyond 100yds. and will generally group in the 2-4" range at 100yds. If it is for self-defense at short ranges, the AK is a better choice. As far as cleaning, that to me is a non-issue since all of my guns get cleaned after each use. I also don't drop my guns in the mud and throw them in the closet for a month! The cleaning vs' reliability issues with the AR is a non-issue for AR-15's. In the military it IS only because full-auto weapons need to be cleaned often - M-16's more often that AK-47's., but in civilian life, you would be hard-pressed to suffer ANY failures with an AR-15 due to a lack of cleaning, unless of course you throw your weapon in the mud and leave it that way...

Dillinger 08-23-2008 03:57 PM

I am inclined to agree with the posts above.

Of the two Eastern Bloc platforms, I think the SKS is a more accurate and better option. They are also pretty cheap and ammo is pretty plentiful. For a close quarters, Zombies in the wire type of situation, it would serve you well.

The AK is a very simple design, but damn effective. It's easy to clean, easy to operate and you can probably teach your 8 year old to field strip it in about an hour. The weapon has it's short comings, one of the primary being it's accuracy because it is op-rod driven. An op-rod leads to a constant changing force on the barrel with follow up shots, so accuracy is marginal. I don't own an AK, or an SKS for that matter, but both of them are good, reliable, and pretty cost effective weapons. Ammo for them is very abundant and the round has some good knock down power.

Now, on the other hand, the AR is a well built and reliable platform that is gas driven, so you get better accuracy. There are a lot of myths about AR's - but the truth is, you don't need to break the bank to get one, and most of the parts can be installed by you, in your garage, with just a few tools. It does require more cleaning and care than one of Mikhail's brain children, but nothing outrageous.

The 5.56 round is a fast moving one, and it is a smaller round than the 7.62x39, but the military is prevented from using hollow point ammo by the Hague, so accurate field "knock down & out" stories are difficult to compare because of the ball ammo they are using. If the round doesn't expand, and is moving fast, it's going to punch right through and not leave much of a wound channel.

I don't think there would be much argument that the 7.63 x 39 is going to be a better knock down / knock dead round, but it's also not the rangey / distance shooter that the 5.56/.223 is.

Your personal needs would probably better dictate what would be a good choice for you and your home. There are some good threads here on the AR, and one real bad one at the moment :rolleyes:, so there is plenty of research material. The AK, by contrast, not so much because, personally, I just don't see the same level of BS floating around about the weapon. Those that love it, LOVE IT, and those that don't, don't buy one.

Hope that helps some -


dragunovsks 08-23-2008 06:41 PM

I saw this video on military channel, what it and it will explain alot.

Also, nor do I through my guns in the mud and then into a closet for a month but I've heard from Vietnam vets that did that with AK's will in country.

Boris 08-23-2008 06:58 PM

I have just been working with a group of guys that have been working convoy duties in Iraq,they where issued with AKM's but could make private purchases to use when working. From what they told me they pretty much all went back to the AKM, although it is fair to say they bought their own which where newer models as issued to the Iraqi Armed Forces.

I was shooting an M16A4 last weekend with the military spec 14" barrel, and 'clip on' sound moderator, nice piece of kit, but expensive (about 1950 euros here). I have acquired a factory refurbished British military (inch) SLR (FAL). For a bare bones military rifle I don't think you can hardly beat a quality milspec Simonov SKS, I think they are better shooters than the AK' 02 for what is worth...............

bkt 08-23-2008 08:45 PM

Like others have said, it depends what the application is.

A 223/5.56 is smaller but the kinetic energy is much higher, thus turning it into a pretty powerful bullet. Look up ballistics test result comparisons on that round and the 7.62x39.

Both platforms (AR and AK) have ammo readily available and parts are everywhere.

The AR is regarded as more accurate, the AK is more tolerant of dirt and grime.

I had exactly the same question as you a few year back and tried friends' SKS's, AK's and AR's. The AR won me over hands down. YMMV.

Ermac 09-04-2008 06:54 PM


Originally Posted by dragunovsks (Post 37544)
I saw this video on military channel, what it and it will explain alot.

Also, nor do I through my guns in the mud and then into a closet for a month but I've heard from Vietnam vets that did that with AK's will in country.

Personally I think the video is bs, I'll post a video of my own someday and prove that the AK is accurate to 200 yards.

dragunovsks 09-04-2008 07:50 PM

Cool, I'll watch it too. I don't know if it's bs or not cause I don't own an AK, although I do have an SKS and an AR.

janikphoto 09-04-2008 10:08 PM

I think everyone that posted above has provided you with some pretty good insight. I will only add this:

It REALLY depends on what you want the rifle for. I own an sks and an RPK (a longer barrel, heavy version of the ak). I also own an m1 garand and an m1 carbine. They can all do different things...

If I were wanting a home defense weapon, it would be the m1 carbine or a short-barrel (16" or so) ar-15. If I wanted something to store away for a possible break-down of society, it would be the sks or ak (they are easy to shoot, easy to take care of, and mix of steel core/fmj/hp ammo will cover you for just about any scenario. If I wanted a sniping rifle, I'd get a 22" or longer ar-15 or a remington 700 bolt action (heck, a mauser or mosin are cheap alternatives that can shoot really far with a little work).

I LOVE my sks, but would not want to carry it through the house to defend myself. I have been thinking about an AR for a while, but don't want to depend on it if I need to run for the hills (minimal maintenance/maximum reliability is the key for a "Red Dawn" sort of situation).

As far as the .30 carbine goes, I've seen proof that its ammo has been able to penetrate some bullet-proof glass at close range. It shocked me, but something about that round allows it to. The tokarev round and the .50 did as well, but you'd expect the .50 to go through... However, the .30 carbine won't do much at long range.

The point is, you need to decide what you want the rifle for... If it is purely for financial investment, just about any semi-auto assault rifle may increase in value within the next couple years. Some people are buying up ar-15 lowers/receivers now, since that is the part that counts as the actual firearm. Even if a ban takes place, these registered lowers can still be built into rifles (assuming a grandfather clause is in place, which SHOULD be the case).

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