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Get the latest facts on the new NY SAFE gun laws that effect you!

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The Saiga Rifle 101 - An Introduction

the saiga rifle 101 an introduction

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#1 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 11:50 AM

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The SAIGA RIFLE - An Introduction & Retrospective


The Russian Saiga Rifle is an AK platform self-loading long gun manufactured for the civilian market in the Izhamash Factory, in the Udmart Republic, the very same factory that make military AK-74s. The late Kalashnikov himself held a title at the factory.

The Saiga (pronounced Sigh-guh) -- Canta in Russian --is named after a hardy Russian antelope.

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It is offered in the following calibers; 7.62 x 39 mm, .223, 5.45x39 mm, .308
Several factory variations and barrel lengths are offered (see Izhmash link below).

http://www.izhmash.r...uct/saiga.shtml

NY Times Business Article about the Izhmash Factory importing Saigas to America
http://www.nytimes.c...wners.html?_r=0




The receiver is a quality AK style receiver with sought after “dimples” on the mag well.
The barrel is a mil spec AK barrel. The Russian authenticity and quality makes it one of the best makes to convert into an AK-47/74 build stateside.
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Stock imported "sporter" version Saiga rifle (bottom) and "converted" rifle (top).
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--Saiga Rifle Schematic--
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US SALES & IMPORTERS

As with any foreign made product, it must be imported into the US. Business deals are struck with importers stateside, and they get contracts to be dealers. These contracts expire and change over time.

Years ago Russian American Armory (RAA) started out as an exclusive importer of Saiga rifles. Only a few big stores like Centerfire Systems sold them. Now many other importers sell them and some even immediately convert them into Pistol Gripped AK-47 types stateside, and sell them that way (Century Arms).

The reason you see that fuzzy “Velcro” looking patch on many Saiga receivers is that the new importers will laser etch out the name of the old ones. This is very common. Basically the factory pumped out so many and this “Velcro mark” is an old importers name that has been scribbled out.

Currently Russian Weapon Company (RCW) in PA is the exclusive importer for Saigas. Izhmash announced this contract in 2012.

russianweaponcompany.com


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SPORTERIZED IMPORT VERSION

So why does this AK format rifle not look like an “AK”?

Due to US import law, the Russian Saiga must be shipped into the United States devoid of any “military style” features. So Izhmash marketed it as a “sporter rifle” removed the pistol grip and added a sporter stock, removed or put a permanent integrated shroud over the threaded barrel, (and also the trigger group is now moved back to where the PG would be on most AKM rifles). Because this neutered version contains no military features it is a great option for ban states, such as NY, where the SAFE act would deem any semi auto rifle that accepts detachable magazines, with one feature such as pistol grip (PG) an Assault Weapon (AW) that must be registered. The sporterized Saiga rifles contain no such features and it would stand to reason that they are thus not defined as AW under the SAFE act.


The import version is devoid of mil features, making it ideal for "ban" states.

A non threaded barrel with an integrated permanent muzzle shroud:
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The superior 10 round double stack Izhmash factory magazine.
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There are "bolt on" aftermarket stocks that allow for a PG without moving the FCG forward.
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#2 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 11:50 AM

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THE SAIGA 12


The Saiga 12 deserves it’s own mention as it was introduced as a unique gun that gained a huge cult following.

The Saiga 12 is a 12 gauge semi-automatic gas powered AK pattern shotgun, fed by detachable magazines.
When it was introduced it was basically the only detachable magazine semi-auto shotgun on the civilian US market.

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--Saiga 12 Schematic--
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It also gained some pop culture status in movies and Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior TV show during the Spetzna episode, as well as Youtube videos of S12s demonstrating it’s destructive ability vs. cars.

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FACTORY PRODUCTION & QUALITY CONTROL ISSUES

As with any manufacturing process there was varying output to meet demand. The Saiga 12 in particular was effected by this. Izhmash at some times really tried to pump them out to meet the unexpected demand of this favorite. In this time, quality control became sloppy. Many S12s were shipped with poorly drilled gas ports, some only with one or two gas ports (as opposed to the correct 3 or 4 hole configuration). They became known by Saiga collectors as “Vodka Specials” and would have to be manually drilled in order to cycle correctly. These range around 2008 production and the serial number range can be found online.

Fortunately this blemish seemed to only effect the S12 and the rifle lines have no known major QC issues.

The correct four gas ports pictured.
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CONVERSIONS


Because the Saiga is imported in a non military configuration per import law (see above) many convert it stateside back into a true AK style pistol gripped rifle. This involves drilling out the old Fire Control Group (trigger, etc.), which is located where the pistol grip will go and installing a new FCG up against the magazine. Federal 922r compliance comes into play in conversions, so be sure there are enough US made parts added. Many also change the furniture of the gun and the stock, and use real AK mags, ultimately ending in an AK type rifle on a true Russian receiver with a mil spec AK barrel.

A few examples of "converted" Saiga. Notice the pistol grip is now where the original trigger was, and the new trigger assembly is moved up against the mag well.
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MAGAZINE COMPATIBILITY - THE BULLET GUIDE

Saiga rifles are shipped with factory Izhmash 10 round magazines. These are very high quality magazines. However if you want to use AK magazines you may or may not have to do some minor modifications.

5.45x39 mm -

Saigas do not need modification to accept AK-74 magazines. AK mags will fit and feed fine into the mag well without any filing or other parts. Surplus steel, Bakelite, Bulgys, Polish, Tapco etc. all should fit and feed.


7.62x39mm and others-

You need a bullet guide drilled and tapped into the trunnion in order to feed AK-47 magazines (surplus and modern poly).

You also need to file the mag catch lever a bit in order for the magazine to snap into place.




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Sources for aftermarket Saiga Parts:

Carolina Shooters Supply

http://www.carolinashooterssupply.com/


Mississippi Auto Arms

http://www.mississippiautoarms.com/


Dinzag Arms

http://www.dinzagarms.com/


Tromix Lead Delivery Systems


http://www.tromix.com/


K-VAR

http://www.k-var.com/shop/home.php

Edited by Destro, January 13 2014 - 11:53 AM.

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#3 Sheeple

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Posted January 13 2014 - 11:53 AM

Definitely putting an aftermarket stock on if the SAFE Act is overturned.


The Saiga 12 is a no no now right? Would love to purchase one of those next.

Edited by Sheeple, January 13 2014 - 11:56 AM.


#4 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 12:01 PM

Definitely putting an aftermarket stock on if the SAFE Act is overturned.


The Saiga 12 is a no no now right? Would love to purchase one of those next.


The Saiga 12 is an AW in any configuration under the SAFE act (unless you heavily modify one you have by permanently attaching the mag. The detachable mag however is one of the main selling points--and useful features-- of an S12). Any semi auto shotgun + detachable mag = AW, so it can no longer be sold and transferred in NY.

#5 akmax

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Posted January 13 2014 - 12:09 PM

Thanks for the info destro. That antalope looks like its from another planet.
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#6 Sheeple

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Posted January 13 2014 - 12:49 PM

The Saiga 12 is an AW in any configuration under the SAFE act (unless you heavily modify one you have by permanently attaching the mag. The detachable mag however is one of the main selling points--and useful features-- of an S12). Any semi auto shotgun + detachable mag = AW, so it can no longer be sold and transferred in NY.


Yeah, that's what I figured....Thanks for all the information. Very interesting stuff. I got Izhevsk and Izhmash mixed up when I went to pick my Saiga up. :blackeye

#7 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 12:53 PM

the following currently show "in stock":



Saiga 5.45 10 round factory mags $12.95
http://jesticearms.c...-Saiga-10rd-mag

7.62 10 round Izhmash Factory Magazine $16

http://whatacountry....d-magazine.aspx

https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/2568


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Saiga Sporter Stock - 5 for $10!!!!
https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/3311
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https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/2568

#8 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 12:57 PM

Yeah, that's what I figured....Thanks for all the information. Very interesting stuff. I got Izhevsk and Izhmash mixed up when I went to pick my Saiga up. :blackeye


Izhevsk Machine Works is merged with Izhmash. They also make cars and other things.
http://en.wikipedia....shnikov_Concern

http://www.nytimes.c...ners.html?_r=1
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#9 Sheeple

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Posted January 13 2014 - 01:00 PM

Izhevsk Machine Works is merged with Izhmash. They also make cars and other things.
http://en.wikipedia....shnikov_Concern

http://www.nytimes.c...ners.html?_r=1


Well, I guess I was inadvertently sort of right then! Haha. Very cool stuff! Love learning more about these things.


Now off to read those articles, except for the New York Times one. Screw them.

They make some ugly looking cars.

Edited by Sheeple, January 13 2014 - 01:02 PM.

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#10 SigSauer228

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Posted January 13 2014 - 01:00 PM

I like the Saiga so much I may have to pick up another one. My older 7.62 Saiga does not have the dimples. The next one will.

#11 do0zer

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Posted January 13 2014 - 01:32 PM

the following currently show "in stock":



Saiga 5.45 10 round factory mags $12.95
http://jesticearms.c...-Saiga-10rd-mag

7.62 10 round Izhmash Factory Magazine $16

http://whatacountry....d-magazine.aspx

https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/2568


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Saiga Sporter Stock - 5 for $10!!!!
https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/3311
Posted Image

https://www.apexgunp...roducts_id/2568


Thanks for the dime on the 5.45 mags

10.95 each if you pick up 10 or more
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#12 Asharus

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:05 PM

great info. i just got a 7.62 saiga a few weeks ago. she aint purdy, but she gets the job done.
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#13 Sheeple

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:19 PM

great info. i just got a 7.62 saiga a few weeks ago. she aint purdy, but she gets the job done.


Same here. Really easy to disassemble. Have not had a chance to shoot it yet though. Bolt is a little annoying to put back in

#14 Asharus

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:33 PM

ive shot it twice so far. its fun. going back to 5.56 the same day it feels like you're shooting 22LR.

putting the dust cover back on requires some skill.

#15 Destro

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:42 PM

ive shot it twice so far. its fun. going back to 5.56 the same day it feels like you're shooting 22LR.

putting the dust cover back on requires some skill.


Like most AKs the best way is to fit it into the front lip --make sure you get it in the gap --then forcibly smack the back down. If you try to push in the carrier spring in and simultaneously gently fit the dust cover over it, it's PITA and will drive you crazy.

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#16 Tonto

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:44 PM

Nice write & info...makes me want to get a Saiga
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#17 Sheeple

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Posted January 13 2014 - 02:59 PM

Any pointers for keeping the bolt in place while you slide everything back in?

#18 beretta31

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Posted January 13 2014 - 03:14 PM

Awesome info. I picked one up last year in .223 just when the prices were crazy. Now that they have fallen a bit I think its time for a 7.62 version

#19 NYDeer

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Posted January 13 2014 - 04:14 PM

Great Info! Thanks Destro.

#20 Gman86

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Posted January 13 2014 - 04:27 PM

Any pointers for keeping the bolt in place while you slide everything back in?


Hold the carrier in your palm, with your thumb, middle and index fingers holding the bolt in place. Don't be afraid to manhandle it, it's not an AR.
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