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I'd like to pick up my first Saiga, and I'm can't decide which would be smartest to get. It would be my second rifle after the 22lr, and probably my only rifle purchase for the next few years. I don't plan to convert it immediately, but I might pick up a few critical parts.

5.45 ammo (surplus) is really cheap right now, but it seems like availability could become a problem in the future.

7.62 is classic, presumably greater stopping power, and better ability to turn bricks to dust. Ammo seems slightly cheaper than .223. Surplus isn't much cheaper than new steel-cased stuff. Large enough caliber to hunt deer (if I have time to pick up that hobby) without running into restrictions, which is a plus since I don't plan to buy more rifles for a few years.

.223 is the most expensive ammo, but since the military uses it, I can't see availability becoming a huge problem. I've seen unconfirmed chatter that .223 (and maybe 5.45) might be more accurate because of a thicker walled barrel, which would be nice.

Any thoughts?
 

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I like the 5.45 better personally. It is a lot more fun to shoot. It does indeed have a thicker barrel, relative to bore size that is, as they use the same .51" (or something like that) that the 7.62 Saiga uses.

Domestic produciton of 5.45 is under way, but at the current prices of 5.45 you can buy 5 tins for a total of about $700 and have 9,000 rounds of ammo... I don't think you can do much better than that.
 

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المتخلف&
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My vote is 7.62x39, but you can't go wrong with 5.45 either. Both are more accurate and have longer ranges than most people think, and probably longer than almost any situation you'd use one in anyways. I also say stay away from .223...and the military doesn't use it either. There's a slight difference between 5.56 and .223, and .223 only rifles cannot use 5.56... http://www.thegunzone.com/556v223.html
 

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Thanks for the replies so far. Just wanted to add that my understanding of the Saiga .223 was that it is designed for .223 and 5.56, but that could be wrong of course.
I heard that they are indeed chambered 5.56 NATO but stamped .233 for import reasons. Makes sense to use the same 5.56 NATO barrels/chambers they have on hand than to require separate machinery.
 

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Magazines for the Saige .223 are usually pro-mag which equals junk. You can convert it to use AR15 magazines but the kit will run you 125 and require some light machine work. Personally, I would pick up and 7.62 and convert it over to using standard steel AK47 magazines. Just make sure to keep it compliant. Now I would consider a 5.45 if I could use original AK74 magazines.
 

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Magazines for the Saige .223 are usually pro-mag which equals junk. You can convert it to use AR15 magazines but the kit will run you 125 and require some light machine work. Personally, I would pick up and 7.62 and convert it over to using standard steel AK47 magazines. Just make sure to keep it compliant. Now I would consider a 5.45 if I could use original AK74 magazines.
THe 5.45's come out of the box ready to except the 74 mags, they lock right in place so no need to file/cut open the mag release (just need to add a guide like the 7.62 so you don't mash bullets).
 

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You said this would be your last purchase for a few years. (A) I dare you to try. (B) keep large game hunting closely in mind. What kind of area do you live in? When most folks hunt in your area, how far can you see? (C) How often do you go shooting? If you shoot more often ammo costs are a concern. If you do not shoot often, you're better off with a more stout caliber out of the bunch. Shot placement is everything, after that it's power.

Saiga's were intended to be 7.62x39 firearms. Might as well stick with it.

One thing on saiga's, it is known the trigger linkage is unreliable. When converted to pistol grip / AK47 style, the linkage is removed and the rifle's reliability increases. I would only buy a Saiga if you're planing to convert it to AK-47 form.

Here's a video on youtube

 

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It depends. I prefer my 7.2x39 rifles the best, but I have a good supply of chinese ammo from before they made the import of steel core difficult. I would sugest you go with 556/223 because of the availability of SS109 ammo. 7.62x39 is difficult to find in steel core, therefore defeating the "stopping power" idea.
As for the previous poster who suggested you go with an AR-magazine adaptor, I would STRONGLY advise against this. Use the Bulgarian circle-10 poly mags with metal reinforcements, or the Romanian/Polish steel magazines in 223. Both alternatives will prove more durable than the crappy selection of AR mags.
 

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5.45 ammo may be great priced now but lugging around say 9,000 rounds would be a bi***. IMHO.

.223 is US Standard and after the SHTF would more than likely be around somewhere here in the US.

Of course after the SHTF finding Bulgy Circle 10 mags to fit the 223 might be a bit** so getting the AR adaptor may be a good investment. IMO Stealing a magazine from an AR guy post mortem (not by yourself of course) is probably going to be common if SHTF and EOW stuff happens.

7.62x39 is the 'world-class' round but again shortages may become an issue.

I may be buying a 5.45 version just to buy the 1000 rounds of ammo for under $200 bucks. :thumb:
 

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المتخلف&
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It depends. I prefer my 7.2x39 rifles the best, but I have a good supply of chinese ammo from before they made the import of steel core difficult. I would sugest you go with 556/223 because of the availability of SS109 ammo. 7.62x39 is difficult to find in steel core, therefore defeating the "stopping power" idea.
I don't mean to burst your bubble, but who told you that? and I think your ideas of SS109/m855 and steel core chinese ammo is a little wee bit misleading...
 

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legendary ape
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Take a look at the .308's too.:thumb:
You said this would be your last purchase for a few years. (A) I dare you to try. (B) keep large game hunting closely in mind. What kind of area do you live in? When most folks hunt in your area, how far can you see? (C) How often do you go shooting? If you shoot more often ammo costs are a concern. If you do not shoot often, you're better off with a more stout caliber out of the bunch. Shot placement is everything, after that it's power.

Saiga's were intended to be 7.62x39 firearms. Might as well stick with it.

One thing on saiga's, it is known the trigger linkage is unreliable. When converted to pistol grip / AK47 style, the linkage is removed and the rifle's reliability increases. I would only buy a Saiga if you're planing to convert it to AK-47 form.

Here's a video on youtube

YouTube- Step 1 - Saiga 7.62x39 Conversion
+1 on what they said
 

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I would suggest the 7.62X39. Out the door from Atlanticfirearms.com with the rilfe and 1000 rounds of ammo for around $550.00. That is a real value. As far as the rounds stopping power, the 39 is the best in my opinion. That is subjective around here. They are well made and other than the .308 the best value I think.

Good luck in your hunting and pic's are a must when you are done.

HH54r
 

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I don't mean to burst your bubble, but who told you that? and I think your ideas of SS109/m855 and steel core chinese ammo is a little wee bit misleading...
I ran a test of the SS109 against top of the line Israeli AP stuff a month ago. I actually did a review over at saiga-12 here is a link son:

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=47189&st=0&p=435417&#entry435417

The 109 is the best choice for this guy assuming:
1: he really wants penetration/stopping power
2: he does not have access to the kinds of ammunition I do.

Please do your homework before writing $hit like: "I hate to burst your bubble". I don't appreciate people who don't know what they are talking about talking down to me. Thanks again.:thumb:
 

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I ran a test of the SS109 against top of the line Israeli AP stuff a month ago. I actually did a review over at saiga-12 here is a link son:

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=47189&st=0&p=435417&#entry435417

The 109 is the best choice for this guy assuming:
1: he really wants penetration/stopping power
2: he does not have access to the kinds of ammunition I do.

Please do your homework before writing $hit like: "I hate to burst your bubble". I don't appreciate people who don't know what they are talking about talking down to me. Thanks again.:thumb:
Nice write-up on S12 BigSal ;)
 

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المتخلف&
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I ran a test of the SS109 against top of the line Israeli AP stuff a month ago. I actually did a review over at saiga-12 here is a link son:

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=47189&st=0&p=435417&#entry435417

The 109 is the best choice for this guy assuming:
1: he really wants penetration/stopping power
2: he does not have access to the kinds of ammunition I do.

Please do your homework before writing $hit like: "I hate to burst your bubble". I don't appreciate people who don't know what they are talking about talking down to me. Thanks again.:thumb:
So penetrating a 3" steel plate = stopping power vs. human flesh? Please explain... Also, how is Chinese steel core any better in the "stopping power" area as normal M67 or M43? I'm truly curious here. I figured the slightly added penetrating power would have led to a tendency of not fragmenting or large wound channels similar to standard...As far a ss109 is concerned, I am not convinced of it's stopping power anyway. But I do want you to enlighten me on that chinese 7.62...

My views could very well be completely wrong, so please inform me further...I'm being serious. :)
 
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