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Old 10-29-2019, 06:49 PM
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Default Saiga .308 rifle



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So an update on the Saiga .308 I was talking about in my Scout Rifle thread if anyone out there still cares. Figured I'd make a new one as the old thread has run its course.

Some baseline info:

Rifle: Saiga .308, 21" barrel manufactured 1999.
Scope and mount: Leupold IER FX-II 2.5x Scout scope mounted on a Midwest Industries AK side rail mount using Vortex 2" forward mounted 1" picatinny rings.
Ammo used: Hirtenbergers 7.62x51 NATO 147gr, Malaysian L2A2 Ball ammo, Zeroed to Hirtenbergers at 50yrds

So far I have 280rds through the rifle, all in a single range session, all surplus ball ammo with 146-147gr projectiles. From a cold barrel I was able to achieve 2" groups at 100yrds (rangefinder actually showed it to be 96yrds but whatever) consistently without a rest in prone. After about 60rds the groups opened up significantly as the barrel got hot, with the largest groups being about 4" towards the end and an average group size of 3.5" between everything I shot. 10rd groups with "fliers" included in the group size. The first 10rds were used to zero the scope to the rifle so I did not measure or include them in my group size average. I did let the gun sit for about 30 mins after zeroing to let the barrel cool as well.


I feel that if I were using Match grade ammo and not surplus ball ammo the groups would be a bit better as I consider myself a better than average rifleman. I've yet to put the rifle in a rest, which made zeroing a bit difficult but I managed to do it using 10rds. Of course a better shooter could have eeked out a bit more in the accuracy department.

The 2.5x scope I have was relatively hard to zero with such little magnification at 50yrds but I was able to do it with 10rds. I know to some that is too many, but keep in mind I did not have access to a bench rest.

Now on to the magazines:

So the factory Saiga magazine as Fragout had said, worked the best. I did have 3 CSSPECS 20rd magazines and of the 3 only one worked initially without issues.

At this point I shall note for the sake of transparency that I opted NOT to contact CSSPECS for replacements as I prefer to figure out how to fix things or make them work myself. It should be known that CSSPECS has great customer service and I am sure they would have replaced the two magazines that didn't work right out of the box

Anyway, now that that is out of the way the problems I encountered with the two magazines that didn't work right were all follower related. After trying to get through a whole magazine of failure to feeds and double feeds with one magazine, I got frustrated and gave up setting it aside. The 2nd magazine, the follower appeared to be too wide for the magazine body and after loading more than 12 rounds, the follower would get stuck in the body and all the ammo in the magazine would fall out of the body through the feed lips. At this point I decided to swap the followers and springs on both of the magazines for a quick field fix, and that appears to have been the fix.

Between both of the problematic magazines I've got about 90rds through them without issues AFTER the follower swap. I will continue to test and evaluate the magazines and look for further issues. The rest of the range trip was shot through the factory 8rder and the 1 CSSPEC 20rd magazine that worked right out of the box. Apart from those issues the magazines appear to be built strong. Do note these are 2nd Generation CSSPECS Saiga .308 magazines.

Reliability of the rifle I feel would have been perfect if it weren't for those two magazines giving issues. It's a fairly heavy rifle, though it's balanced pretty well and easy to carry with a standard rifle sling. Everything was shot outside with 60F temperatures with almost no wind. Don't know or care about altitude.

Complaints about the rifle are few. So this is a 21" barreled rifle which I like, but Kalashnikov Concern put the front sight block basically on the end of the barrel which means that it has to be removed and holes drilled elsewhere on the barrel if I ever want to thread it for a suppressor or other muzzle device and retain the FSB. Also because of this there are no provisions to mount a bayonet on. I do realize that this was imported as a hunting rifle and not a fighting rifle and that is the reason why both of those things are the way they are. I guess my complaint is more about gun control than the gun itself.

Anyway I will continue to evaluate the rifle and magazines and update as needed but so far the rifle itself meets the expectations and purpose of my purchase of it. Hopefully all I needed was the follower swap for the CSSPECS magazines and they will be good to go from this point forward.

Just thought I'd post this update in case anyone cares.
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Old 11-20-2019, 04:22 PM
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Quick update on the Saiga:

Put another 120rds through the rifle since the last post using just the two magazines that gave issues initially with no issues. I only shot Hirtenbergers 147gr 7.62 NATO through the rifle this quick range trip.

The main change was that I sold my Leupold IER FX-II Scout scope and bought a Vortex Crossfire II 6-18x44 1" tube'd with illuminated dot. The increased magnification allowed for a much more accurate zero than the scout scope at 100yrds, which means the initial accuracy testing I did on the rifle was the result of human error and the rifle was much more accurate than I previously reported.

Using the Hirtenbergers and the new magnified scope at 100yrds I was able to achieve on average 1.25" groups with my best group being just under 1" and my worst being roughly 1.75", counting fliers using 5 shot groups.

I am curious what type of accuracy I can actually squeeze out of this rifle but at the moment it's taking a backburner as I just built my first 9mm pistol and am having fun playing with that.

Will update again when I have time if anyone actually cares.
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Old 11-23-2019, 01:59 PM
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That sounds pretty decent using surplus ball. Hirtenberger is pretty good.

Was this done from a rest, or bagged? Or just a bench lining up on target?

If just lining up, mayhaps you’ll show further improved grouping via a rest/bagged. Just to see what the rifle can do, vs the shooter, with that ammo.

Edit: reread your OP, Mia culpa! No rest, prone.

Might give a rest or bags a try from a bench. Just to see what it can do with that ammo without any “extra” shooter influence.
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:08 PM
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Interesting thread, and I hope you keep it going

A few questions:

1. Total weight of rifle with loaded 20rd mag , sling, rings, and the second optic you mentioned in 2nd post?

2. Match loads? When, and how many different match loads are you planning to try...by name?

3. Shooters log or equivalent?

4. Any pics? ( Close up pics of your trouble maker mags would be interesting as well)

5. What did 1 of those 20rd mags end up cost wise?

6. Any plans to try loads designed for hunting?

7. A 20rd 100 yard group would be interesting simply to see what she can do with a hot bbl.

8. In your opinion.....could this rifle be a possible replacement towards your G3 clone if you were to choose, or is it too early to to tell as yet?

11B
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:16 PM
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I'd contact Csspecs. Those mags aren't cheap.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drobs View Post
I'd contact Csspecs. Those mags aren't cheap.
Here ya go drobs...........

https://stores.csspecs.com/saiga-308/

They also have a 30rd M14 mag, but it aint cheap either.
I will take a pass on the 1 mag they have in stock however.

11B
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camelfilter View Post
That sounds pretty decent using surplus ball. Hirtenberger is pretty good.

Was this done from a rest, or bagged? Or just a bench lining up on target?

If just lining up, mayhaps you’ll show further improved grouping via a rest/bagged. Just to see what the rifle can do, vs the shooter, with that ammo.

Edit: reread your OP, Mia culpa! No rest, prone.

Might give a rest or bags a try from a bench. Just to see what it can do with that ammo without any “extra” shooter influence.
I realized that I left it out, but the second post was actually from using a rest that I built sitting in a chair in ideal conditions ( no wind, bright and sunny, probably 60f). It was the first post that I got 2-4 MOA based on certain factors from prone without a rest.
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Old 11-28-2019, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragout View Post
Interesting thread, and I hope you keep it going

A few questions:

1. Total weight of rifle with loaded 20rd mag , sling, rings, and the second optic you mentioned in 2nd post?

2. Match loads? When, and how many different match loads are you planning to try...by name?

3. Shooters log or equivalent?

4. Any pics? ( Close up pics of your trouble maker mags would be interesting as well)

5. What did 1 of those 20rd mags end up cost wise?

6. Any plans to try loads designed for hunting?

7. A 20rd 100 yard group would be interesting simply to see what she can do with a hot bbl.

8. In your opinion.....could this rifle be a possible replacement towards your G3 clone if you were to choose, or is it too early to to tell as yet?

11B
1.) The rifle weighs roughly 12 lbs with a loaded 20rd magazine, scope, the mount and rings.

2.) I have not shot any actual match loads through the rifle. I have a box of Federal GMM and a few of PPUs match lines I eventually plan to shoot, but they do not fit in the CSSPECS magazines (COL too long) so I plan on saving that for a future testing and eval and not anything soon. They just barely fit in the factory magazine, so it should be doable. I do have roughly 1,500 various 175gr match bullets from when I was still deep in to 7.5 Swiss to shoot through so I might save the assembled ammo and work up some loads on my own.

3.) I do have a shooters log I am working with the rifle.

4.) I'll post some pictures here in the next day or two. I don't have regular access to a computer, only when I am at my parents house. I don't have an opportunity to upload them or even post too much, but I'll be here all weekend so I will try to get a few posted up. I brought the rifle with me to do some competitive shooting against my dad this weekend.

5.) After shipping roughly $43/magazine

6.) I don't hunt so it wouldn't be relevant to me, but I do have a lot of different .308 hunting ammo I can test for accuracy. Performance not so much.

7.) Next time I'm at the range I will try to remember to do so, but in my first post I did say the groups opened up significantly as the barrel got hot, and there was plenty of evidence in the 2nd range trip with it that would continue to be the case.

8.) Replacement, no. I don't think this would make a good replacement rifle ffor any current do it all/jack of all trades gun, but I think it would make an excellent backup rifle or one that can be pressed in to a specific purpose. Magazine and spare parts supply being the biggest reasons why it wouldn't be a plausible replacement.

Only update that I have on the gun right now is that I picked up a Surefire 20rd magazine for like $20 so I figured I'd give that a whirl. CSSPECS is having a black friday sale on their stuff so I'll likely pick up another 3 magazines. The 10rd magazine does not say in the description that it has the same limited COL as the 20rd magazine so I think I'll get one of those, though I'm not sure why the dimensions would be different.
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Old 11-28-2019, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragout View Post
Here ya go drobs...........

https://stores.csspecs.com/saiga-308/

They also have a 30rd M14 mag, but it aint cheap either.
I will take a pass on the 1 mag they have in stock however.

11B
They're out of stock on all the m14 magazines, that's a placeholder.

Anyway I won't contact them for a replacement as of this time as the magazines are working fine now, but as mentioned in the OP I have no doubt that CSSPECS would make it right if I did feel the need to return them.
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Old 01-04-2020, 06:13 AM
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Well this has kinda fallen to the wayside like everything else I try to do.

I did end up getting 3 more CSSPECS magazines and they worked 100% out of the box so far but I haven't been regularly testing any of the magazines like I originally planned to do. Too much going on in life right now.

The 3 I had originally in the OP still work without any more hiccups so far and CSSPECS offered to replace them for me at no charge to me so they could identify any problems with the magazines, which I declined.

Overall I'd recommend the magazines, seems like CSSPECS really makes a quality product and they are willing to back it. A lemon isn't unheard of for any company, it's how the company handles lemons.
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