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List,

New (long ago member) here. I am wanting to try an AK (been a FAL/M1A guy for decades), and I do not know where to start. Would prefer to pay once for a higher quality piece with magazines, rather than buy/sell my way up the ladder.

So...I would like advice as to which rifle would be the 'best' first candidate. I have researched quite a bit and the options are overwhelming (Polytech, Norinco, Beryl, WBP, PSA, WASR, Hungarian, Arsenal, Yugo, Maadi, etc.). Stamped, milled, US made/foreign, etc. Not looking to pimp the piece, but keep it stock and as reliable as possible for the long run.

Spend amount - up to $1200 or so. Thanks very much for the help. (BTW I am in WY, and would prefer to purchase privately in state if possible).
Brand new? Wasr or zastava is fine. Used? Norinco, beryl, arsenal, etc are good if you find them at a good cost for the condition.

Also, stamped has more aftermarket support and will be lighter. Milled will almost always cost more if going new because Arsenal is expensive, and I don't recommend U.S made AKs. Even then I'd stay away from arsenal cause they aren't worth it.

You won't really see the benefit of stamped vs milled, just stick to stamped.
 
people always crack me up with the slightest can't to a ak sight. Third world countries build these its name of the game. You think when they put it in a jig they precisely measure and check the alinement ak are lose tolerance gun with a decent + or - spec to tight of spec. There not ar's
 
Thanks everyone for your kind replies!

More research has taught me this:

1) I am really surprised by the decline in Arsenal products. The older ones seem to be selling for stupid $$ 2-3k.
2) The polytechs are equally as expensive. The classifieds here have a couple norincos in the $1k range. Are chinese that good?
3) I found good reviews for the polish WBP (but hard to find), and the Beryls (even harder to find),
4) The zastava and wasr have mixed reviews. older wasr reviews are particularly harsh with bad assembly and canted sights
5) US made seem to be hit or miss > PSA, Riley. Although Kalishnakov USA seems to be ok.
6) milled receivers are way too expensive.
7) Izmash, maadi impossible to find and way too expensive.

Whew.

BTW...Nos mentions finding magazines. Where should I look, and what types should I buy? Thanks!
 
I'd go with a Zastava if you want a good AK you intend on actually shooting and not just buying as an investment. I own many.

PSA is a quality budget AK and there is nothing wrong with them. I own a few of these too. Never had a single issue.
I have a Zastava for years. One of my lesser used rifles but never a functional issue. The only problem is they are even less compatible with off the shelf AK accessories than most AKs.

It does have an offset rail for optics. Beside that, l believe a lot of furniture needs fiddling to fit.
 
Norincos are solid. Polytechs are now collector's items. For mags, I would avoid Korean-made. Surplus mags from China and Europe are cheap and plentiful in the American market.
 
Thanks everyone for your kind replies!

More research has taught me this:

1) I am really surprised by the decline in Arsenal products. The older ones seem to be selling for stupid $$ 2-3k.
2) The polytechs are equally as expensive. The classifieds here have a couple norincos in the $1k range. Are chinese that good?
3) I found good reviews for the polish WBP (but hard to find), and the Beryls (even harder to find),
4) The zastava and wasr have mixed reviews. older wasr reviews are particularly harsh with bad assembly and canted sights
5) US made seem to be hit or miss > PSA, Riley. Although Kalishnakov USA seems to be ok.
6) milled receivers are way too expensive.
7) Izmash, maadi impossible to find and way too expensive.

Whew.

BTW...Nos mentions finding magazines. Where should I look, and what types should I buy? Thanks!
New wasrs are fine, its just older ones you have to be careful with. Zastava should be fine now too, but wasrs never had receivers cracking as a common issue FWIW. Haven't heatd of the new zastavas after the split from CAI doing that.
 
Combloc surplus mags. Chinese "flat back" are my favorite, but not common any more. Euro steel after that.
I grabbed some AC Unity polys for giggles when they were $4 ea, not a terrible mag. Lugs look like they may be zamak ( zinc alloy ), and they are on the light side, but, for cheap range mags you dont care about, they work good.
I have never felt the need to try a Magpul, so no input.
Bulgy circle 10 waffles are awesome, but not $60 ea awesome.
Korean mags are meh, and I wasnt impressed with the cheaper "Bulgarian" poly mags ( "bullet mags")
 
I don't even like AKs...but I like listening to Rob's accent. :D
He has a bunch of informative videos on his channel.
That guy is great. He has recently branched out into some other rifles. He has one where he shoots an M1903 out to 700 yards.

Those workers are now building airplanes at Boeing.
The old guys who knew how to build things from the ground up are retired or retiring, and this is a big problem for US mfg.

people always crack me up with the slightest can't to a ak sight. Third world countries build these its name of the game. You think when they put it in a jig they precisely measure and check the alinement ak are lose tolerance gun with a decent + or - spec to tight of spec. There not ar's
If I am buying an AK in the Khyber Pass and I live in a cave, yes. For $1800 in the USA they need to put that on straight. It is not difficult to do.
 
Thanks for the mag info. I will start looking around.

Sounds like a norinco would be a good first rifle in my price range. That or maybe a Zastava. Sad that a US made version is not as desirable.

I assume the 7.62 x 39 is the preferred calibre? I know there are others versions available.
 
For under 1200 you can get quite a few options. Mak90 are great guns. There is one listed here for 1K right now. If you can find one, the SAR1 are good guns. I avoid just about anything USA made except Kusa and maybe PSA. Kusa offers the KR103 side folding or fixed stock options for about 1500. Stay away from Korean, Croatian mags. Combloc surplus and chinese metal mags are good. AC unity has a decent option polymer that can be purchased at low cost.
 
Combloc surplus mags. Chinese "flat back" are my favorite, but not common any more. Euro steel after that.
I grabbed some AC Unity polys for giggles when they were $4 ea, not a terrible mag. Lugs look like they may be zamak ( zinc alloy ), and they are on the light side, but, for cheap range mags you dont care about, they work good.
I have never felt the need to try a Magpul, so no input.
Bulgy circle 10 waffles are awesome, but not $60 ea awesome.
Korean mags are meh, and I wasnt impressed with the cheaper "Bulgarian" poly mags ( "bullet mags")
The flatbacks are the best for bench shooting. Also I have a gripe with bulgarian mags, because my smoke mags had feed lips crack, all of them. One even came off. Not the same as the black waffle mag but still.
 
Honestly I think any of the arsenal Sam series rifles are the best import you can buy. The other great option which is an improved AK action is the Galil Ace. I own a Sam7k 7.62x39 and Galil Ace gen2 5.45. I also have molot Russian AK's, and I would rank all of these close to the same level of quality. I run them all suppressed, and only the Galil has gas adjustment. So they all get beat on pretty hard as I only own high back pressure suppressors. I used to own a Zastava, and a PSA AR. Personally, they both cost cut in build quality to provide a lower price. I found the metallurgy weak on the Zastava, and cheap parts that wore out on the Palmetto AR. I would pony up the money for either a Sam7 or Galil

IMG_5863.jpeg
 

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