Saiga AK and standard AK magazines

Discussion in 'AK & SKS Discussion' started by _winer_, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am planning to buy a Saiga MK in the next months
    [​IMG]

    ain't it nice? :D

    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!
     
  2. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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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.
     

  3. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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    Thank you! I also found this thread, same issue :)
    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f19/bullet-guide-installation-82494/

    And this video:
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXMA9qF35xg[/ame]

    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
     
  4. AleksiR

    AleksiR New Member

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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.
     
  5. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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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). :D

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

    Kind regards
     
  6. AleksiR

    AleksiR New Member

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    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.
     
  7. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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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?...mart_product_id=291&virtuemart_category_id=15
    For Americans: don't look at the price, it will break your heart... :p
    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! :cool:)

    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
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. AleksiR

    AleksiR New Member

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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 :p

    [​IMG]

    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 :confused:

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    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.
     
  9. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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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!
     
  10. AleksiR

    AleksiR New Member

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    No problem, glad I could help. :cool:
     
  11. eastgun

    eastgun New Member

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    I have some ak mags for selling.
    Any interest please contact me.
     
  12. Mark_Van_Goth

    Mark_Van_Goth New Member

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    AK Saiga

    Hm....Wouldn you buy another AK instead of a saiga? Saigas are basically hunter rifles and as you know, they're have been slightly modified.

    What are you looking for, exactly? I know the AK platform very well, and I would be glad to give you some pieces of advice.
     
  13. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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    Hi! Well, there are some reasons why I would prefer a Saiga, of course there are cons too. That is as far as i got them by searching and reading, have no direct experience (except for some handling of AKs when i was in the army, no shooting, sadly)
    Pro:
    + quality is rather good considering the average of the AK platform, so less likely to run into problems my inexperience may not immediately see at purchase time
    + slightly better accuracy on average (better barrell). I don't know by how much though
    + we got them 'as out of the oven' from Izhmash, no modifications into an hunting rifle for import
    + ex-ordnance AKs over here tend to cost just a little less and they are usually rather old (usually '70s - '80s made from ex-arsenals in eastern Europe). Given my limited experience I'd rather stick with a new product.
    + side sight mount just in case i decided to go that way
    + given current directions (not law, everything is quite confused right now) ex-military weapons have a 5 round limit. Other firearms which shoot military calibers have a 29 rounds limit.... I don't mean to start a war on anyone but 5 rounds just ain't fun to shoot at the range :D
    Still, laws will arrive to define things better (it may take years) but firearms born for the civilian market are less likely to be as restricted as ex-military ones.

    Cons:
    - they don't feed from standard AK mags (unless modified)
    - they cost a bit more (it's ok, I don't mean to buy a new rifle each year)

    Basically am looking for a reliable, easy to maintain, cheap to shoot (well, in comparison at least), 7,62x39 (or .223) fun rifle. I don't intend to enter competition target shooting, I just want to compete with myself, trying to improve focus and control. SKS may be an alternative but i prefer the AK handling better.
    .223 was not appealing to me before due to rounds limitation to 5. With the new regulations is the same, 29 rounds. But on average .223 rifles are much more expensive. For instance, I love the Sig PE 90 (civilian conversion of the 550) but they cost more than 1300USD than an AK. I'd rather spend that money on ammo and training

    Please feel free to share your thoughts, as said am inexperienced and would like to learn

    Kind regards
     
  14. JerryOnly

    JerryOnly New Member

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    SGL is based off the saiga but is imported ready to be converted to ak (magwell dimples, large magwell, no saiga receiver holes, holes ready for ak config....go with an SGL I've owned and or own 2 and it is quality. Arsenal no longer converts them there sister company does and I'm unsure about the quality of those but if you can find an arsenal SGL jump on it I regret selling my 31
     
  15. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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  16. _winer_

    _winer_ New Member

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    hmmmmmm unfortunately swat.fi wont let me buy magazines there as they cant export them. Bummer. Over here they are seen just as plastic boxes with a spring, not weapon parts. That is until you mount them on a weapon of course.

    Too bad, ill keep looking...
     
  17. AleksiR

    AleksiR New Member

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    That sucks...I'm guessing the problem is Itella (Finnish Post), because they in their infinite wisdom (or obvious anti-gun agenda) decided some time ago to stop carrying any packages containing weapon parts, even wooden stocks are a no-go...

    You can still try to contact Defendor.eu and see if they have figured out any alternative methods for shipping mags out of the country. There are courier services that transport weapon parts, but they are usually very expensive :(
     
  18. Mark_Van_Goth

    Mark_Van_Goth New Member

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    Mauser K98-Accuracy,facts and suggestions

    ..................................