It's an ok gun, a conversion model but nice just the same. They are nice to add to any collection, in that they are "Russian" but looks wise, they miss the dimples in the receiver, are shaved of any hint of a bayo lug and pretty much are sporting rifles made to look like an AK . I have not had any problems with mine and will not part with it, but I prefer my Maadi's, Romies, and home builds just the same. Really it more or less boils down to, personal choice.
As for price, nothing is what it use to be. You can expect to pay anywhere from the low $300's to $400+, depending on who is selling. You have to definitely shop around. You can come across an SAR 1 for a deal now and then. It all depends on how bad you want one.
One more thing, once you get one, you probably will want another so ...........
The Saiga 7.62 is a great gun for the money... ok, so its not a "Real" AK. but think about it... if you want the AK reliability, functionality ,ruggedness then yes, buy it . You cant get a brand new "real" AK in the united states unless you build it .if you purchase an AK at a gun shop or pawn shop then its probably an old beat up mil surp rifle, For 200 to 500 bucks, you can purchase a brand new Saiga. Also some people prefer the polymer stock over the wooden AK stocks for the weather resistance.
the saiga 7.62 are built in the izshmesh factory where the original Kalashnikov's were produced and it is the same ak receiver that HAS been tweaked slightly to make it legal for import in the u.s. For Example .. It will Not, without some modifications ,function with a traditional AK magazine. so if you are a big AK fan then you will think its cheesy. I've modified a 30 round ak clip to work in my saiga WITHOUT modifying the rifle itself so its possible .
Ive also read that the saigas are a little more accurate that traditional AKs thanks to new innovations etc. so do your own research but i am very pleased with mine and would recommend it
ive posted on this site how to mod the ak clip(not messing with the rifle) to work so check it out if you are interested !