AK/SKS questions

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I'm still here and following along.
I'm familiar with both the AK and SKS as platforms.
My questions are geared more to how they're made. What is better stamped or milled and why?
I've also heard that some countries produce better guns over some other countries.
If I'm going to spend stupid money on something I want to make the best choice I can.
My take away so far is that stamped is better for add ons. But milled might be more rigid and maybe last longer?
And that no one can agree with what countries are better over others except that those made or assembled in the U.S. are not built as well.
Am I right so far?

The AK-47 as originally intended was a stamped gun. QC issues forced the introduction of the milled receiver. The AKM, which came out around 1962, 1963, ended the milled versus stamped debate for every military except Bulgaria. Bulgaria's state arsenal, now known as Arsenal JSD, stuck with milled receivers and still makes them. Besides Arsenal, WBP in Poland also makes milled guns.

If you stick to the major former Cold War manufacturers, you really can't go wrong. Today, for new guns, these would be Arsenal (Bulgaria), Zastava (Serbia), Cugir as imported through Century Arms as the WASR (Romania), and FB Radom (Poland).

Previously available were FEG (Hungary), Izhevsk and MOLOT (Russia), Valmet (Finland), Norinco/Polytech (China), and Egypt - you can find all these used or you can build a gun.

There's also WBP as I mentioned above. WBP started off refurbishing AKs for movie companies and militaries that had AKs in need of maintenance. WBP maintains Egyptian AKs, for instance. They actually just posted some pictures of their marketing team down in Egypt a couple weeks ago.

If you stick with those manufacturers, you're fine. Out of the US manufacturers, only Kalashnikov USA really gets any love. KUSA is somehow involved with Mossberg.

Because a milled receiver is a milled block of steel, the receivers cost around $500 to $600 retail. Stamped receivers cost around $100 to $200. Now, I'm betting you're not buying a new receiver, but that should give you some context.

And again, because a milled receiver is a big block of milled steel, milled guns weigh between a pound and two pounds more than stamped guns.

Does a milled receiver have more longevity than a stamped one? Yes, but it really only shows its value when you're talking tens of thousands of rounds of full auto fire. The added weight and lack of versatility are significant enough drawbacks for militaries to stop using milled receivers, except Arsenal.
 

Miguelito

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I'm still here and following along.
I'm familiar with both the AK and SKS as platforms.
My questions are geared more to how they're made. What is better stamped or milled and why?
I've also heard that some countries produce better guns over some other countries.
If I'm going to spend stupid money on something I want to make the best choice I can.
My take away so far is that stamped is better for add ons. But milled might be more rigid and maybe last longer?
And that no one can agree with what countries are better over others except that those made or assembled in the U.S. are not built as well.
Am I right so far?
The base SKS would not be stupid money, at least. If cost is a primary determinant (I mean it's always a determinant for everybody) then advantage SKS. As I mentioned, $450 (plus certain other costs) on GunBroker right now. And there were some for $399 only a month ago.

And my apologies for participating in the thread hijack. I mean some drift is inevitable and even desirable or this site would be boring, but still.
 

paul73

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Yugo is junk?

Please, tell me more.
i am tired of kicking this horse.
listen. certain things represent certain history and certain aspects that makes them worthy the effort. an authentic soviet AK47 is one of those things. not a chinese ak56, not a yugo or a bulgarian.
all the same analogy with a chinese made colt python replica - buy it and proudly present it to friends saying - it is my favorite colt, made in china.

so, that is why original soviet guns cost as much as they do, and an original tula sks 1949-1955 something is worth having. and all the rest is, pretty much, junk, as it represents nothing, means nothing, shoots like shit - and i don't even care how it shoots, at all - it does not have any specific value.

and same with mosins. those who pray by type 53 for what i care can shove it up their ass, full length including the bayonet.
 
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daekken

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I'm still here and following along.
I'm familiar with both the AK and SKS as platforms.
My questions are geared more to how they're made. What is better stamped or milled and why?
I've also heard that some countries produce better guns over some other countries.
If I'm going to spend stupid money on something I want to make the best choice I can.
My take away so far is that stamped is better for add ons. But milled might be more rigid and maybe last longer?
And that no one can agree with what countries are better over others except that those made or assembled in the U.S. are not built as well.
Am I right so far?
Milled will be heavier and have less recoil and more "longevity" although a good stamped AK is going to outlive all of us.
There are some milled turds, still, like the c39v2 - milled, but trash.
As others have noted, milled AKs, like "Yugo" pattern AKs, are not the most common standard so they have less furniture/accessory interchangeability.

For an SKS, the only accessories you're really looking at are stripper clips and a sling. There's people that put aftermarket junk on them like scopes and stuff, but don't be like those people.

For AKs, Saigas are pretty good but you'll almost certainly have to go used unless you can find NOS due to the import bans. Chinese prebans are out there, and there's Arsenal (Bulgaria) and WBP (Poland), and FB Radom (Poland). I'd put those in the "good" camp. The fit and finish on my WBP is the nicest of any AK I've owned. Zastava (Serbia) and Cugir (Romania) have also made strides the last few years. Zastava in particular have been putting out nice-AKs and increasing their US presence. Post 2015 or so WASRs (Cugir) are much better than their earlier counterparts.

I have a Yugo/Zastava M59/66A1 SKS. When cold it's very accurate, but once it heats up it tends to wander on the target. Extremely comfortable to shoot, and a lot of fun. East German SKSes are awesome, but spendy and hard to find. Soviet SKSes are also incredible, but command a premium.
 

daekken

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i am tired of kicking this horse.
listen. certain things represent certain history and certain aspects that makes them worthy the effort. an authentic soviet AK47 is one of those things. not a chinese ak56, not a yugo or a bulgarian.
all the same analogy with a chinese made colt python replica - buy it and proudly present it to friends saying - it is my favorite colt, made in china.

so, that is why original soviet guns cost as much as they do, and an original tula sks 1949-1955 something is worth having. and all the rest is, pretty much, junk, as it represents nothing, means nothing, shoots like shit - and i don't even care how it shoots, at all - it does not have any specific value.

and same with mosins. those who pray by type 53 for what i care can shove it up their ass, full length including the bayonet.
My Yugo SKS was hand selected 1 in 50,000,000 and I can shoot a gnat's neck at 1000 yards using the iron sights!

Remember, the Soviets never licensed the AK or SKS, nor did they provide any tooling or expertise to anyone else, they kept it for themselves.
 
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Milled will be heavier and have less recoil and more "longevity" although a good stamped AK is going to outlive all of us.
There are some milled turds, still, like the c39v2 - milled, but trash.
As others have noted, milled AKs, like "Yugo" pattern AKs, are not the most common standard so they have less furniture/accessory interchangeability.

For an SKS, the only accessories you're really looking at are stripper clips and a sling. There's people that put aftermarket junk on them like scopes and stuff, but don't be like those people.

For AKs, Saigas are pretty good but you'll almost certainly have to go used unless you can find NOS due to the import bans. Chinese prebans are out there, and there's Arsenal (Bulgaria) and WBP (Poland), and FB Radom (Poland). I'd put those in the "good" camp. The fit and finish on my WBP is the nicest of any AK I've owned. Zastava (Serbia) and Cugir (Romania) have also made strides the last few years. Zastava in particular have been putting out nice-AKs and increasing their US presence. Post 2015 or so WASRs (Cugir) are much better than their earlier counterparts.

I have a Yugo/Zastava M59/66A1 SKS. When cold it's very accurate, but once it heats up it tends to wander on the target. Extremely comfortable to shoot, and a lot of fun. East German SKSes are awesome, but spendy and hard to find. Soviet SKSes are also incredible, but command a premium.

Just to add a little:

(1) East German (DDR) stuff is its own discussion. Here's a DDR SKS that sold for $11,500 in 2019.
East German SKS Semi-Automatic Carbine | Rock Island Auction

And used DDR AK-74 is around $6k.

That's a totally different market from the typical guy looking for something sub-$1k.

(2) @daekken and I have been egging each other on for awhile with new AK purchases lol, so, we've both gotten familiar with different kinds of AKs that the other has.

Here's the answer: get some trigger time with whatever you want. Meet up with friends, meet up with the guys in Mass in this thread like @Picton and @Grendizer138 and @Mountain, and go to a rental range.

If I were considering buying a Valmet, which is in my opinion the coolest AK, there's no doubt I would want to see one in person and talk to someone who owns one. Those are $4500 to $6000 rifles.

On the flip side, I've met up with folks and shot a SKS versus an AK and I could tell that the SKS wasn't for me. Eliminating a gun from your want list is still a productive thing to do. One or the other might appeal to you more.
 

daekken

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If your use case is sporadically bench shooting at 50-150 yard targets and you want to keep costs reasonable (and you're in MA), then SKS is probably the better choice.

It'll get the job done and be more economical. The recent Chinese SKS imports, reportedly by way of Albania, have been somewhat rough based on what I've seen on different forums. A Soviet SKS will run you a good deal more, but they are very nice. As I've mentioned before, Yugos will get the job done as well.

If I recall, @mikelawtown has one or more "older" Chinese SKS, as in, before the batches from the last couple of years, and might be able to tell you more on those ones.

So, again, really boils down to:
a.) use case
b.) budget
 

daekken

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As for the historical impact with the SKS as well, I guess the Vietnam War, Balkan Wars, etc. have "no significance" and "mean nothing." They also represent nothing.

1641398735588.png1641398750518.png

Neither of the SKSes in these photos were made in Tula.

But also apparently they shoot like sh*t but it also simultaneously doesn't matter how they shoot?! 🥴🥴
 
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I dont think anyone's making SKSs anymore. The prices are pretty crazy now.

The Serbian AKs (zastava? Cant remember exactly) have good reviews... I think the firearm blog held them in really high esteem for what they are quality wise and cost.

I currently only own one AK, a converted Saiga in 5.45. Probably should of also sold that prior to moving but I decided to keep it.
 

Pilgrims Pride

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If your use case is sporadically bench shooting at 50-150 yard targets and you want to keep costs reasonable (and you're in MA), then SKS is probably the better choice.

It'll get the job done and be more economical. The recent Chinese SKS imports, reportedly by way of Albania, have been somewhat rough based on what I've seen on different forums. A Soviet SKS will run you a good deal more, but they are very nice. As I've mentioned before, Yugos will get the job done as well.

If I recall, @mikelawtown has one or more "older" Chinese SKS, as in, before the batches from the last couple of years, and might be able to tell you more on those ones.

So, again, really boils down to:
a.) use case
b.) budget
Budget is maybe 2500.00 tops.
I'll use it for everything up to and including shtf if ever required.
Comparatively x39 ammo is cheap and pretty easy to come by.
Ive got other rifles If I need something for more precision shots.
 

daekken

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Budget is maybe 2500.00 tops.
I'll use it for everything up to and including shtf if ever required.
Comparatively x39 ammo is cheap and pretty easy to come by.
Ive got other rifles If I need something for more precision shots.
OK, with that budget and use case, I'd say go AK unless that $2500 also includes your ammo budget.
I left Mass years ago so I'm not up to date with the current prices there, I'm thinking a Chinese AK like a MAK90 would be in play. I'm not sure how many Maadis are floating in MA or their price either.
 

Mountain

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So much purse swinging in a thread dedicated to peasant rifles. Please stop the cat fight, I dont want to give timeouts.
LOL yes sir. I don't think anyone is coming unhinged so at least it has been in good fun.

There's some good info still pouring in, such as mention of Valmet by @C. Stockwell . Hadn't thought about those in years. We'll behave, don't kill it.
 
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Budget is maybe 2500.00 tops.
I'll use it for everything up to and including shtf if ever required.
Comparatively x39 ammo is cheap and pretty easy to come by.
Ive got other rifles If I need something for more precision shots.

If you want something you can use for everything, go AK and don't look back.

Or AR.

My rec's:

*WBP
*Zastava
*Arsenal milled
*FB Radom
*Arsenal stamped
*KUSA

If you want a pre-94 or -89 gun, be careful what you buy, because some of the guns sold in the US between 1989 and 1994 are wonky in terms of aftermarket parts. MAK-90s are hard to thread and sometimes don't work with regular stocks.
 

daekken

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*WBP
*Zastava
*Arsenal milled
*FB Radom
*Arsenal stamped
*KUSA

If you want a pre-94 or -89 gun, be careful what you buy, because some of the guns sold in the US between 1989 and 1994 are wonky in terms of aftermarket parts. MAK-90s are hard to thread and sometimes don't work with regular stocks.
These are good choices, it'll just depend on how many are floating in MA. Older Zastavas like NPAP and whatnot are probably available. There's also Arsenals.

WBP (and nu-FB) being recent entrants, it might be harder to source unless there's shops giving the finger to Maura (could be).
 

Grendizer138

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Budget is maybe 2500.00 tops.
I'll use it for everything up to and including shtf if ever required.
Comparatively x39 ammo is cheap and pretty easy to come by.
Ive got other rifles If I need something for more precision shots.


Or buy like 5 SKSs and arm your compatriots if there’s a CW2.0 😎
 
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Or buy like 5 SKSs and arm your compatriots if there’s a CW2.0 😎

Oh Christ, not with the "minions" again lol
 

andrew1220

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If looking for a SKS, make sure to check proxibid. The auction/internet premiums can be high but I think stuff is still getting sold for less on proxibid compared to Gunbroker. That's where I bought my last gun in December.
They've got a ton of SKS's on there now.

Couple ending in a few days:
Russian:
Chinese:
Yugo:
 

daekken

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LOL yes sir. I don't think anyone is coming unhinged so at least it has been in good fun.

There's some good info still pouring in, such as mention of Valmet by @C. Stockwell . Hadn't thought about those in years. We'll behave, don't kill it.
One interesting thing with Valmets is that, despite the funky stocks, I've not heard many people complain about them like I do hear with more common underfolders, the AMD-65 stocks, and even the vz58 side folders.

Then again, those other types are a lot more commonly encountered than Valmets, so it could be related to that. Or, someone dropping thousands on a Valmet might not want to admit they don't like the stock. [smile]
1641399987408.png
 
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One interesting thing with Valmets is that, despite the funky stocks, I've not heard many people complain about them like I do hear with more common underfolders, the AMD-65 stocks, and even the vz58 side folders.

Then again, those other types are a lot more commonly encountered than Valmets, so it could be related to that. Or, someone dropping thousands on a Valmet might not want to admit they don't like the stock. [smile]
View attachment 560531

The polymer (fakealite?) stocks crack, so it isn't uncommon to see half wood, half polymer Valmets.

But, guy's budget is $2500, so no Valmets.
 

Picton

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At $2500?

Get an AK made in Asia or Europe and don't look back.

I've owned stamped and milled, and I kept the milled. Not because it's a better rifle, or because of the weight differential, but because the furniture I happen to have on there is perfect for me and it shoulders well. I'd have had no qualms selling the milled and keeping a stamped, in terms of design or workmanship. A stamped AK will do you just fine, because as others have said, you're unlikely to be putting enough rounds through it where the differences will be apparent, longevity-wise.

But if you can find a Vz58, it's well within your budget. And it's definitely a better rifle. I understand the appeal of the AKM (BELIEVE ME, I understand it!) and I support everyone owning one, but if you only plan to own one single 7.62x39 firearm, the Vz58 is IMO the best one in your price range.

Though I'd dearly love a Valmet...
 

Grendizer138

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At $2500?

Get an AK made in Asia or Europe and don't look back.

I've owned stamped and milled, and I kept the milled. Not because it's a better rifle, or because of the weight differential, but because the furniture I happen to have on there is perfect for me and it shoulders well. I'd have had no qualms selling the milled and keeping a stamped, in terms of design or workmanship. A stamped AK will do you just fine, because as others have said, you're unlikely to be putting enough rounds through it where the differences will be apparent, longevity-wise.

But if you can find a Vz58, it's well within your budget. And it's definitely a better rifle. I understand the appeal of the AKM (BELIEVE ME, I understand it!) and I support everyone owning one, but if you only plan to own one single 7.62x39 firearm, the Vz58 is IMO the best one in your price range.

Though I'd dearly love a Valmet...
I am legitimately starting to question if Czechpoint is paying you.
 
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