AR, AK, SKS? What to do?

Discussion in 'Auto & Semi-Auto Discussion' started by retleo99, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. retleo99

    retleo99 Guest

    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.

  2. dragunovsks

    dragunovsks New Member

    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.

  3. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    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...
  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    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 -

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  5. dragunovsks

    dragunovsks New Member

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  6. Boris

    Boris New Member

    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...............
  7. bkt

    bkt New Member

    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.
  8. Ermac

    Ermac New Member

    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.
  9. dragunovsks

    dragunovsks New Member

    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.
  10. janikphoto

    janikphoto New Member

    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).
  11. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

    Good points made by all of the above. It all comes down to what an "assault rifle" is in your mind. Are you looking for something more along the lines of a battle rifle or urban combat/close quarters type of weapon? Do you want something that is basically a "lead" hose, or something that will also be accurate? What about weight of the weapon? Some assault rifles, such as FAL's, H&K's, typically your main battle rifles can get hefty (down right PORKY), but then again it's all in what the user hangs all over it, too. What about length...what length of barrel do you have in mind? Caliber? Configuration? Wood -vs- Poly stock? Capacity? etc, etc, etc.:D

    Not trying to confuse your original question, just bringing out a few more that you have to ask yourself, too. Cost of the weapon itself will vary greatly. As some have pointed out, you can pick up an SKS fairly cheap, whereas an AR will run you anywhere from $600 and up. Cost of ammunition is also a consideration, due to the ongoing war(s), it seems that any of the popular ammunition has gone through the roof. No different than what the oil companies are doing I guess. At least the ammo companies don't raise their prices due to the threat of a hurricane, or threat that (insert name of country here) may think about doing something drastic some time soon :rolleyes:

    As for the weapon platforms themselves...ease of maintenance is kind of subjective, in that the more familiar you are with that particular weapon, the easier and quicker maintenance/cleaning/assembly/disassembly seems to get. As for the weapons themselves, without a doubt, the AK is probably the simplest and one of the most reliable designs in current assault weapons, and has been for a long time (going on 60 years and millions of units made and in use). No, it is not the most accurate of assault weapons, but depending on the user, it can be very effective. One could say, that most of today's assault weapons have borrowed from the AK design in one way or another. And interesting to note, quite a few of todays operators, spec ops, even some infantry folks, tend to favor the AK design over the current US issue weapon (M4). Why? Maybe personal preference, maybe reliability, maybe knock-down/penetration, maybe it just matched their outfit for that day. Who knows...they do.

    As for the M4/AR designs, nothing wrong with them, either. They can be very reliable weapons, too. But...they can also be more temperamental and more susceptible to failure due to environmental issues (dust, mud, sand, etc) than the AK. But if you keep it clean, it should, and in most cases, will work. Where the AR has a MAJOR advantage over any of the other designs, you can easily modify it to almost any need you might have, change the looks, handling, ergonomics, optics platforms, lights, lasers, grenade launchers, barrel/uppers, calibers, etc, etc, etc....YOURSELF! This gives you the ability to turn the gun into a variety of different weapons, simply by swapping/adding/removing parts - a TRANSFORMER:p It does have it's faults, as quite a few past and present armed forces will tell you. Keep any (working) weapon maintained, and it will function as it was designed to do. But you also want a weapon to be able to stop the threat. With the ability to easily change calibers, this problem can be fixed, too. Or...get the next size up in AR's...the .308 platform.

    That opens up another whole arena in assault rifles, too. That being the FAL's, H&K roller-block designs, M1A/M14 platforms, Steyr Aug, etc, etc, etc.

    The easy fix...get one of each. Except for the Aug, I almost do have one of each (several of certain types). But if I had to pick one, based on the threat of not being able to get any of them again...I might have to pick the AR. Simply because there are more parts available right now, so you could stock up on replacement parts, add-ons, etc. and not worry about it down the road. The others are a little harder to find replacement parts for, and usually more expensive, except for the AK/SKS's out there. Ammo is a toss for the most part. Maintenance, like I said, gets easier with practice. Cost...initial cost will be higher. It's all in whether or not the other pros/cons justify the difference to your wallet or not.

    Good luck with your choice, and hopefully one of us can help with anymore questions you might have.

  12. res45

    res45 Member

    Hmmm if I couldn't shoot any better than that I wouldn't want my face on a video. First off who wears dark shades in a dark shooting range,jerks the trigger like your setting the hook on a large mouth bass. Evidently neither one of those guys had any training to amount to anything with either weapon. Granted the AR is a more accurate platform,but that guy shooting it sure wouldn't make it on my rifle promo video. The AK guy who knows where his sights were set or if he even used them.
  13. Laufer

    Laufer New Member

    Still being a bit of a novice at all of this (despite my age), I just want to tell all of you how interesting and objective your descriptions are. This is the best such thread I've seen (although lacking in experience and can't judge anything), including 'Fireramsforums', 'THR', 'Thefiringline', 'Perfectunion', 'Warrifles' and 'SKSboards', although the other threads are also very informative. Too many owners on most discussions get defensive about their choices, or use a bit of personal ridicule.

    When a buddy at work (no LEO or soldier background-he was a Navy pilot), who is on the Navy Rifle Team was asked (by me) whether he would prefer an AR-15 or Russian-desgined rifle for a dirty, dusty combat scenario, he said "Probably an AK-47". His response surprised me, as they use AR-15s at Camp Perry or Quantico matches etc.

    Although this is heresy to many AR-15 owners, my only goal is to have relatively inexpensive fun and don't need an accurate rifle, but enjoy the heck out of having only military-styles guns (plus ancient Savage .22).

    Used Mini 14, 30, two MN 44s but only one SKS.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  14. Angeleyes

    Angeleyes New Member

    M14 M14 M14 M14 M14 M14
    Are you feeling the sumliminalnis?
    M14 M14 M14.......
  15. Northwoods

    Northwoods New Member

    As stated above, different tools for different tasks. It may help to think of your "threat environment" as a series of concentric circles with you in the center. This metaphor won't cover all possible weapons but it may help you evaluate your individual needs. It has worked for me. All weapons referred to below are simply "as issued to common grunt" guns. It is a "given" that you can extend range by accurizing a weapon. Grunts don't get to do that in the field.

    Always remember: "Your weapon was made by the lowest bidder"

    The first ring covers 50 to 100 yards/meters. Weapons effective here are pistols and shotguns. Of course, weapons with longer ranges work here also, but we are talking about limits. If you have issues at 0 to 50 yds/m, you have some serious problems that even rocks and sticks will probably help cure.

    Next ring is 100 to 200 yds/m. AKs, M1 Carbines, submachine guns are examples for this ring.

    Third ring out from you is 200 to 400 yds/m. ARs, maybe SKS. I don't know about SKS as I've never owned or shot one.

    Forth ring is 400 to 600 yrds. Maybe ARs, certainly M1 Garand, 30-06 A3 Springfield, M14, FAL, SMLE, ect (full sized battle rifle).

    At 600 to 800 yrds/m probably the battle rifles, but the skill of the shooter becomes really critical. Bot action, scoped .308s probably are much more effective here.

    800 to 1000 yrds/m is really scoped bolt action range. .308 probably, 300 Win Mag better.

    1000+ yrds/m is what I think of .50 cal scoped sniper range.

    The above are just "rules of thumb" I picked up decades ago. Maybe they are out of date, but they have worked as a rough guide for me.

    All rules, guides, ect., have exceptions.......
  16. Ram Rod

    Ram Rod New Member

    If you can find an AK-47 (quality) for $275-$400 as the O.P. stated in his post, then I'd go for it! I realize this thread has been around a couple of months, but those prices are really good just in the year 2008 alone!
  17. janikphoto

    janikphoto New Member

    I could hit a target at 200 yards with my sks. Never tried 400 yards, though.
  18. Northwoods

    Northwoods New Member


    My comments above are just my opinions. They are mostly based on an extended live fire experiment the U.S. and French governments conducted in a small southeast asian country about 40 years ago. I didn't have an overall, or high level view of the parameters or structure of the experiment. My participation could most accurately be described as one of the white mice in the maze.:D

    Those were the rough guidelines I noticed though. However, 40 years is a long time ago, and lots of technology has changed. So maybe they are not applicable anymore.:eek:

    However, I did get a wonderful, graduate and post graduate level education in the practical application of guerrilla warfare covering all aspects and levels; i.e., social organization, political indoctrination, media manipulation, social control and military tactics and strategy (whether I wanted it or not).

    I haven't had any opportunities to use that knowledge yet, but you never know when it might come in handy. The government, in their infinite wisdom and perfect knowledge, thought it was important for me to know (at age 17).:eek:

    So, that's the basis for my 2 cents worth.
  19. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    I was faced with same decision and bought 2 dpms bull barreled ARs as not only are they VERY accurate for the money,I can almost instantly change uppers to suit almost any need within reason. I can actually varmit hunt with them as they are very practical,unlike most of the AK varients. IF I had the money,I would buy a highly accurate M1A. Yes,I realize I could have bought a new springfield armory M1A for the costs of the 2 ARs I bought,but then what would my best friend do for 1 then as the 2nd AR was for him. Also,you can easily convert an AR to .22LR to practice and get used to it as well as squirrel hunt with it.