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First AK Style Rifle

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I recently got interested in obtaining a -nother out of date bolt action rifle. Being a left handed shooter has it's pitfalls since the knobs are on the right. I widened my prospects.

After some thought I came up with the AK. After all it's almost an antique now. So far I have fired three rounds in 7.62 x 39. My first thought was the new Zastava ZPAP. I also considered tried and true milled receiver. I almost got a Galil Ace when they came out. I still think it may have the most to offer. So is the $1600 Ace going to satisfy that ich?
 
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I love the AK but the market for them is haywire. A lot of low quality stuff out there, and parts don't easily interchange.

You're going to pay $800+ for a NPAP. That's nuts. I own a few and like them, but I probably paid too much at $600. The NPAPs are good rifles, but some rumors circulating about longevity issues. And good luck finding replacement stocks.

Why not an AR? About 1/2 the price for a similar quality rifle. Serves the same role. And prices today are inverse what they were 10 years ago... (e.g. ARs were $1000 and now $500, whereas AKs were about $400, and now about $800). Both are great guns. With an ambi charging handle you may find it more ambi friendly. If you require a pistol semi-auto, AR uppers are easily changed out and piston variants available. The AR is far easier to customize and parts interchangeable.

As for bolt actions, they make left handed variants. Also, allegedly right handed bolts offer an advantage for lefties. I can't confirm but apparently Oswald (a lefty) was supposedly advantaged using his Carcano over a right handed shooter. [If you buy into that myth.]
 
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As for bolt actions, they make left handed variants. Also, allegedly right handed bolts offer an advantage for lefties. I can't confirm but apparently Oswald (a lefty) was supposedly advantaged using his Carcano over a right handed shooter. [If you buy into that myth.]
The "alleged" advantage is while proned out with a bipod or locked into a tripod system the action is operated with the right hand while maintaining a firing grip with the left. I've know a couple right handers that built custom left-handed bolt gun for this purpose.
 

MechaNik

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I've bought several AKs just because on the cheap. The last two I bought were an NPAP and an m+m m10, combined total about $750 for both. They work and scratch the itch just fine. Don't necessarily have to spend big bucks if you look for deals, though you generally will get what you pay for. And don't worry about shooting right handed rifles as a lefty. I've been doing it for years and it feels normal to me.
 
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I recently got interested in obtaining a -nother out of date bolt action rifle. Being a left handed shooter has it's pitfalls since the knobs are on the right. I widened my prospects.

After some thought I came up with the AK. After all it's almost an antique now. So far I have fired three rounds in 7.62 x 39. My first thought was the new Zastava ZPAP. I also considered tried and true milled receiver. I almost got a Galil Ace when they came out. I still think it may have the most to offer. So is the $1600 Ace going to satisfy that ich?
Wasr, not zpap. For some reason zastava isn't as good as they used to be.
 
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I love the AK but the market for them is haywire. A lot of low quality stuff out there, and parts don't easily interchange.

You're going to pay $800+ for a NPAP. That's nuts. I own a few and like them, but I probably paid too much at $600. The NPAPs are good rifles, but some rumors circulating about longevity issues. And good luck finding replacement stocks.

Why not an AR? About 1/2 the price for a similar quality rifle. Serves the same role. And prices today are inverse what they were 10 years ago... (e.g. ARs were $1000 and now $500, whereas AKs were about $400, and now about $800). Both are great guns. With an ambi charging handle you may find it more ambi friendly. If you require a pistol semi-auto, AR uppers are easily changed out and piston variants available. The AR is far easier to customize and parts interchangeable.

As for bolt actions, they make left handed variants. Also, allegedly right handed bolts offer an advantage for lefties. I can't confirm but apparently Oswald (a lefty) was supposedly advantaged using his Carcano over a right handed shooter. [If you buy into that myth.]
It's going haywire in a good way. Just look at Shot Show announcements already. There is definitely crap out there (IO, Century, etc).

I had an N-PAP and liked it, but sold it for an O-PAP. There are definitely reports of soft receivers on N-PAPs, but not sure which or how many batches were affected.

FWIW, the newly imported ZPAPs are the $800 ones. Used NPAPs will go cheaper.
 
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OP - Here are a few tips from the AK world:

  1. "What should I get for my first AK?" -Standard answer is a WASR. Tried and true from a factory that's been doing it since the 60s. Lowest price point for a legit import. Don't listen to the "I got mine for $300 years ago" folks. Gas used to be .$99 a gallon, and ARs used to be $1000 for an entry level. Times change.

  2. Stay away from IO, Pioneer, Century-made, PSA Gen 1 & 2, and any other builds not using in-spec materials. AKs need forged, not cast parts where it counts. Century imported are fine (e.g. WASR), just not Century-made (e.g. RSA, C39, VSKA, etc).

  3. Zastava / Yugo rifles can be great, and stocks are not hard to find per a previous post. Yugos use different handguards and stocks than standard AKM rifles, but they are readily available many places. I'd look for an O-PAP if you want one, or a Z-PAP newly imported by Zastava USA if you want a Yugo.

  4. If you want to buy an American-made AK, the PSA gen 3 rifles have been deemed "good to go" by the community, as they use forged parts and are proving to be well-made thus far. They've already announced a huge array of new rifles this week, and are taking their AK line very seriously. Check out Shot Show for announcements.
Hope this mini starter pack helps. Galil Aces are great rifles, and it's hard to beat a milled receiver on an AK from a smoothness standpoint. I picked one up last year when they were dumping them for $1k. Can't go wrong with one as long as you're ok with shelling out the money. I'd also check out an Arsenal SAM7-SF if you're looking for a nice milled AK.
 
OP
Rudedog
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Thanks for your input. I prefer the milled to the stamped as the comparitive lightness of the stamped receivers are not an issue . The issue on most AK's is the lack of modern fixtures. The Galil has them all. The only thing I don't like about the Ace is the polymer lower and the stock buffer which is not a AR type buffer. A side folding stock is a must. It may as well be adjustable. The forearm needs to be capable of mounting a light ect.
 

Tony617

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I have a WASR-10 and it is my only AK for now. Pretty happy with the quality. I bought some Romanian military surplus wood furniture since I did not like the light furniture that was on it by default. I also was not sure how well the wood furniture would hold compared the Romanian stock set. I refinished the wood since it was well used.

I also replaced the “shepherds hook” with a retaining plate instead. I also bought a Romanian surplus Bakelite pistol grip to replace the black plastic grip.

WASR-10
 
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Thanks for your input. I prefer the milled to the stamped as the comparitive lightness of the stamped receivers are not an issue . The issue on most AK's is the lack of modern fixtures. The Galil has them all. The only thing I don't like about the Ace is the polymer lower and the stock buffer which is not a AR type buffer. A side folding stock is a must. It may as well be adjustable. The forearm needs to be capable of mounting a light ect.
The receiver isn't polymer, but the magwell is to your point. Many people remove those (below). The OEM stock is adjustable, but I replaced mine with an OG Galil folding stock. I also replaced the OEM hanguards for a lightweight RS Regulate mount. The below photo illustrates what I'm talking about. I think it looks much better and offers more function.

Ace.jpg
 
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Ak prices have flipped on their lid in the last decade...sounds like budget isnt much of an issue if youre looking at Galils tho...
If you are looking at milled, Arsenals are hard to beat for the money, but you are still talking the 1k mark and above...
For a "starter", WASRs are hard to beat, personally, I have not been impressed with any US made AK yet, but...PSA seems to be in pretty good standing.

FWIW, I've had a dozen different AKs over the years and have used them in competitions for going on 20 years....The milled vs stamped is semantics, they both do the same thing ;)
 

BSDave

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I’m also left handed and the AK does seam to work out well for me. I got a i/o inc. from another member not to long ago. I didn’t know what I was getting but so far so good. I then started doing a bunch of research to find out that most of them are in fact real junk. But the one I got from him don’t seam to have all the problems. It doesn’t appear to have cast parts. I am unable to find a casting mark on a single part on it. In my research I guess way back in the day when i/o started out they were good rifles until they ran out of parts kits and started casting there own junk parts. Although I have only put maybe 300 rounds though it. I’m happy with it so far. And if I do have a problem I’ll just fix it myself.
 
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It's going haywire in a good way. Just look at Shot Show announcements already. There is definitely crap out there (IO, Century, etc).

I had an N-PAP and liked it, but sold it for an O-PAP. There are definitely reports of soft receivers on N-PAPs, but not sure which or how many batches were affected.

FWIW, the newly imported ZPAPs are the $800 ones. Used NPAPs will go cheaper.
Basically assume any two rivet npap.
Thanks for your input. I prefer the milled to the stamped as the comparitive lightness of the stamped receivers are not an issue . The issue on most AK's is the lack of modern fixtures. The Galil has them all. The only thing I don't like about the Ace is the polymer lower and the stock buffer which is not a AR type buffer. A side folding stock is a must. It may as well be adjustable. The forearm needs to be capable of mounting a light ect.
Folding you say...
4E98D024-542E-41AF-97DE-D5A9C16FDAFE.jpeg
 

BSDave

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I don’t need another AK I have two now. But if I did I was just looking at a Romanian under folder parts kit with a US built hammer forged barrel already populated for $599.00 free shipping $100.ish for a 80% receiver milled is about $50. More $20. For the drilling pattern $50.ish for a wood hand-guard set rivet set $10.00 rivet jaws for bolt cutters $100.00.

But I’m not quite sure if the AKM and milled trunnions are interchangeable?
 

Tony617

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I’m also left handed and the AK does seam to work out well for me. I got a i/o inc. from another member not to long ago. I didn’t know what I was getting but so far so good. I then started doing a bunch of research to find out that most of them are in fact real junk. But the one I got from him don’t seam to have all the problems. It doesn’t appear to have cast parts. I am unable to find a casting mark on a single part on it. In my research I guess way back in the day when i/o started out they were good rifles until they ran out of parts kits and started casting there own junk parts. Although I have only put maybe 300 rounds though it. I’m happy with it so far. And if I do have a problem I’ll just fix it myself.
I have shot almost a 1000 round case of ammo through my AK that I bought back in June 2019. I am running out of ammo so I bought another 1000 rounds.
 

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