AKs, AKs and AKs
One of the decisions we have to make in our survival preparations is “Which rifle?” It should be easy to use, durable, extensively field tested, affordable, reasonably accurate, and have respectable power. Ammunition and accessories should be easy to find and reasonably priced. There are several rifles which meet these criteria. This article will deal with the AK-47s and near AK-47s.
Types of AK-47s
AK in 7.62×39 Caliber
- A Romanian model is currently selling for $380 with one 30 rd. magazine at jgsales.com
- This caliber is approximately equal in power to the 30-30.
- The advantage of this round is more knock down power compared to some of the other choices.
- The disadvantage is that with more power comes more weight. (twice as much as the .223’s 62 grain bullet vs the 122 grain bullet for the 7.62×39)
- Another disadvantage is that ammo is mainly mass produced in Russia and then imported. A presidential order(theirs or ours) or other trade disruption could cut off the main supply.
- Thirty round magazines are readily available for $10 each, Aim surplus is having a sale now, 10 at $4.95 each.
- Ammunition is currently between .20 to .25 a round, when buying a case of 1000.
AK in .223 (5.56mm current military issue)
- Major advantage: Ammunition is more commonly available than the other calibers. (Most ARs use it and the Mini-14 as well)
- Major disadvantage: When the .223/5.56 round first came out it was classified as a “varmint” round. Made for killing praire dogs, gophers, weasels, racoons, foxes and bunnies. Not for killing people. I would use a .223/5.56 rifle over many other choices, but I would always keep this in mind. To those that would say: “Yeah but the American military uses it and have upgraded the round”. I answer that the people in the Pentagon that chose it are the same kind that saw how wonderful it was to downgrade the military pistol from a .45acp to a 9mm. Ask our troops how that is working out.
- A Romanian AK in .223/5.56 caliber is currently being sold by j&gsales.com for $429 with one magazine.
- Magazines are about $20 each, and ammo starts at .20 a round.
AK in 5.45×39
- This was the Soviets answer to our M16 .223/5.56. The result was a round that perhaps just barely matched the M16 round when we were using the 55 grain bullet. It will not match the 62 grain bullet.
- Advantages: Currently ammo can be had for as low as 11 cents a round and magazines are $10. (Aim surplus)
- Disadvantages: Main source of cheap 11 cent ammo is Russia and has the same problem noted above for the 7.62×39 ammo. The 11 cent ammo is corrosive, which is an annoyance for some since prompt cleaning after shoooting is a must.
- Currently selling at j&gsales.com for $429 and comes with one magazine.
- Of the three calibers made by Romania, this rifle seems to have the best accuracy.
- An AK with a standard rifle stock, no pistol grip.
- Priced slightly less than the traditional AK, and for a reason. They do not accept standard AK magazines without modification.
- There was a story going around that the Saiga arms factory was declaring bankruptcy. It was the auto manufacturing branch that was doing so.
- Made in Russia.
- For our consideration purposes, it is made in the above calibers and308. The 308 is selling for $449 at classicarms.us. That would be great except…….an eight round magazine sells for +/- $50. Too bad Tapco doesn’t make a 20 rounder for these and sell them for $20. The 308 saigas would sell like hotcakes.
- This is an Israeli piece of work. They took good ideas from the AK and the HK and put them together. They exist in 308 and 223, but only the 223 is considered in this article. (308 = $$$$)
- This rifle has a side folding stock, and the rear sight has been moved all the way back and turned into a peep sight.
- There is a magazine adapter that allows the use of M16 magazines, which would be great except it is hard to find a seller and very expensive.
- Earlier this year these rifles could be bought for $499, reason being was that the magazines were scarce. A 35 round magazine was going for up to $50 used when you could find them. Then Tapco started making a 30 round mag for it and selling them for $15. The Galil/Golani is much harder to find now.
- This also is made in Romania. Available for $600 at j&gsales.com. It comes with two 10 round magazines and a scope.
- Advantages: Uses the 7.62x54r round, which is slightly less powerful that the 30-06 and more powerful than any of the above in this article. Increased range and penetration. Ammo price starts as low as 20 cents a round.
- Disadvantages: The 20 cent ammo is corrosive (again, no big deal, just clean it after shooting). Magazines hold only ten rounds, usually sell for about $20 ea. and can be hard to find at times. The rifle is longer and heavier than the others above. Cheap ammo is currently abundant, as military surplus sells out this will change.
Buying an AK-47
A good AK is not always the easiest to find. You have to shop hard and be patient. Guns.com and Palmetto State Armory are probably going to be your biggest sources to find something. Of course, at the rate AKs can chew up ammo, you’ll also want to watch for bulk ammo deals.
The average shooter should expect to be able to use any of the above (excluding the Romak) and defend themselves out to 200 yards. A better than average shooter using good quality ammo could expect to have an effective range out to 300 yards, but that would be pushing it. I stress the “defend” part, I am not talking about putting holes in paper.
Concerning the Romak 3, with good quality ammo, a better than average shooter would be able to extend the effective range out to 500 yards. If I were picking from the above for myself I would take either the Romanian AK in 7.62×39 or the Galil. I have mentioned several websites above. I have not received compensation in any form from any of them.
And – of course – don’t rule out any Made in the U.S.A. AKs.