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discussion of AK47, SKS, AR15

Old 03-23-2009, 08:31 AM
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Default discussion of AK47, SKS, AR15

Has anyone had significant experience with these rifles in their semi auto configuration?

What are the plusses and minus' of these 3?
Old 03-23-2009, 08:41 AM
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I would ask over at ar15.com I am sure someone there will give you all the info you want.
Old 03-23-2009, 08:42 AM
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AR15 - very accurate, not as powerful as the 7.62 round. Many attachments can be added. Also the most expensive.
AK - Not as accurate by design but extremely reliable. Shoots the 7.62x39
SKS - Cheap, uses stripper clips but aftermarket mag conversions can be done. Also shoots the cheaper 7.62x39

PS...I see you're from Couer d Alene...you have a gorgeous town. My wife and I were up there a couple summers ago when she did the Ironman out there. I happen to stroll over to the Sportsmans Warehouse and from what I remember they had a nice selection of rifles. Not sure what their situation is like since the buyout though.
Old 03-23-2009, 08:59 AM
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I'm pretty comfortable with firearms of various types, but not those 3. Thought it would be a worthwhile discussion to compare them, and some of their variations, by folks with more experience than me.

abeal, Thanks for the town compliment. We sometimes watch the Ironman near the finish from the boat. Truly a grueling competition. My hat is off to your wife, and anyone else who is willing to tackle it.
Old 03-23-2009, 09:26 AM
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I remember something about an AFT notice that there cannot be any new AR15s. It was a while ago, I might have the info wrong, but from I remember existing lower receivers that were built up could be possess, sold, used, but no new lowers could be built up -- meaning no new AR15s to the public.

Anyone know about this, or perhaps have corrected info?
Old 03-23-2009, 09:35 AM
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That was prob wheb the 10yr assault weapons ban went into effect under Clinton but that expired in 2004. I believe they are all being made currently as there are no federal restrictions on them. There may be state restrictions such as in Cali and like here in CT no more AK's. But AR,s ans Sks's are still made and sold in CT.
Old 03-23-2009, 10:07 AM
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I have and regulaly shoot an AK and an AR. I don't have an SKS. I wish I bought one two years ago for $100 bucks but they just are not worth the 400 or so people are asking for them right now.

My AK is a Yugoslavian M70. My AR is a Rock River Arms 16".

Both are super reliable, I've never had an issue with either, but I think the AK is more reliable without maintinance.

I can get maybe 3 inch groups with the AK on a good day. The sights are much worse on the AK, which is why it is always deemed less accurate. This can be fixed with a scope or some other improvement. The iron sights on the AR are much better, and it is much easier to mount a scope.

There are a million and a half after market things to put on an AR and it is all very easy to do. The AK is a little harder to work on.

What do you want to know or compare about them?
Old 03-23-2009, 03:50 PM
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I have AR and AK experience and would opt for the AR. I'm not really sure what you want to do with it, but the AR has more options available if you want it to "play" with.

I have always fired the AR better and liked the feel. We had AKs available but the only real advantage was the availability of ammo since the enemy was carrying them.

I assume since you are familiar with other weapons that you realize that this is not the choice for home defense, but geared more towards "zombie" slaying. Prices are crazy at the moment.
Old 03-23-2009, 03:58 PM
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The european versions of AK47 and SKS are considerred better quality than the PRC ones.

PRC versions are not consistanly universal with interchangable parts. I have seen some at gun shows that molded parts were installed even though the moulds had not been completely filled. I have PRC made MAK90 and SKS and they work fine but look them over carefully when buying. Most dealers have no objection if you ask permission to field-strip a weapon that you are serious about buying.

Some PRC SKS's are probe to "slam-firing." Due to faulty trigger group assembly, the hammer can fail to lock and the weapon will continue to cycle and discharge. This is technicaly not "automatic" fire since the hammer and block do not lock into battery. Even though it is a malfunction, BATF has prosecuted people for using weapons that operate this way. If you have a weapon that does this, return it to the seller or a qualified gun-smith for repair, or throw away the trigger group and buy another one.

The AK's are the easiest weapon to strip. Basically you remove the dust cover and the bolt and you are done.


Good luck!
Old 03-23-2009, 04:40 PM
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I have fired many thousand of rounds through both the m-16's (AR15) and m-203's (same weapon combined with a gernade launcher). I slept with this weapon every night for year. I have seen them work fine after being smashed onto rocks and submerged underwater. I was in charge of a platoon of 25 to 30 men and never saw a failure of the m-16 in combat. I don't remember much about training - except that it was more accurate than any deer hunting rifles I had experience with. Once a 203 (mine) had a malfunction that would not allow it to work in repeating mode. They are accurate rugged and extremely lethal weapons. We were taught that the .223 ammo allowed us to carry more ammo and especially killing power (higher muzzle velocity being exponentionally more important than the mass of the bullet) than the NATO round weapon such as the m-14 or AK-47. I have no experience with those weapons. It was designed as a light hi-powered anti -personal weapon- especially in extreme environments. I have no idea how it is compared to any other target shooting or hunting guns. I did not experience the sort of "jamming" problems that early versions of this gun had in Vietnam. They were apparantly remedied by 1970. Cleaning/ Maintenance usually involved a soak in diesel oil and or spray with WD-40 - then a good blow dry. :-) Maybe we ran a brush down the barrel from time to time.
Old 03-23-2009, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by LI Sound Grunt View Post
I have fired many thousand of rounds through both the m-16's (AR15) and m-203's (same weapon combined with a gernade launcher). I slept with this weapon every night for year. I have seen them work fine after being smashed onto rocks and submerged underwater. I was in charge of a platoon of 25 to 30 men and never saw a failure of the m-16 in combat. I don't remember much about training - except that it was more accurate than any deer hunting rifles I had experience with. Once a 203 (mine) had a malfunction that would not allow it to work in repeating mode. They are accurate rugged and extremely lethal weapons. We were taught that the .223 ammo allowed us to carry more ammo and especially killing power (higher muzzle velocity being exponentionally more important than the mass of the bullet) than the NATO round weapon such as the m-14 or AK-47. I have no experience with those weapons. It was designed as a light hi-powered anti -personal weapon- especially in extreme environments. I have no idea how it is compared to any other target shooting or hunting guns. I did not experience the sort of "jamming" problems that early versions of this gun had in Vietnam. They were apparantly remedied by 1970. Cleaning/ Maintenance usually involved a soak in diesel oil and or spray with WD-40 - then a good blow dry. :-) Maybe we ran a brush down the barrel from time to time.

That is all true... But you are also shooting a good Carbine on good ammo... It's the government after all!

The myth does perpetuate that AR's require more maintenance and are more prone to jam, yadda yadda.... But those myths come from cheap guns with cheap barrels and cheap ammo. A non chrome barrel gun shooting wolf ammo, sure you will experiance fouling and corrosion.
Old 03-23-2009, 05:56 PM
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AK's are for bad guys and AR's are for good guys. Ak's are known for being highly reliable while somewhat lacking in the accuracy department. They use a very simple operating system and could be manufactured out of an old hubcap. Some top manufactures of Ak's would be Polytech, Norinco, and Arsenal. AK's can be had in 7.62 and 223 calibers. AR's are very reliable but should be kept clean to be in tip top operating condition. They are more precise in their manufacture, fit & finish, and accuracy. As someone mentioned there are a trillion things you can add to the AR which makes it a "Barbie" for men. AR's can be had in 5.45, 5.56, 9mm, 6.8, 308, .499, and probably others. Traditional AR's use a direct impingement system which forces hot gasses back towards the chamber to eject the spent shell. Some design "improvements" have been made in recent years by several companies to manufacture an AR that uses an operating system similar to that of the AK. LWRC (Land Warfare Resource Company) makes an awesome gas piston AR that is reliable even when extremely dirty and several SWAT and special forces are moving towards this design. Colt, Noveske, LMT, & LWRC would be several brands of AR's that would be considered top tier AR's. Ak's used to be alot of fun because the ammo was so cheap but that has definitely changed. SKS is a fine weapon but not in the same league as the other two. One rifle not mentioned but should be is the Robinson XCR which uses a highly reliable gas piston operating system and can be had in a variety of calibers. Go find a gunshop that has several of the above and get the one that feels good in your hands then start stockpiling ammo and mags. Have fun!
Old 03-23-2009, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cave man View Post
AK's are for bad guys and AR's are for good guys.



Yea I was gonna mention that. I just skimmed a Wikipedia article that I thought was pretty good . I think we did feel that the 30 cal stuff was better at cutting brush. We would carry extra (m-60) guns if we were pretty sure we were going to hit the sh*t in thick jungle. ( But the m-60 was also better in a prolonged battle as the ammo was dropped in the belts ready to use.) And, yes weight was very important on a 15 day operation.

Wikipedia does talk to the maintenance issue mentioned by the guys above also. I was there in 1971 and didn't see any corrosion issues - I suppose they kept improving throughout the war. And it did rain twice a day most of the year. The worst thing I remember about it was that it was pretty noisy (the loose plastic parts). and we often taped them. We also would protect them with panchos, plastic bags or towels during dusty/sandy lift-offs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari..._AK-47_and_M16

Apparently there are several manufacturers and several versions. I htought of buying one several years back just for nostalgia sake but they were more than $500. then, I would guess much more now. This should be a pic of my last m-203.
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:15 PM
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I do.

The SKS and AK are very similar systems in various formats. SKS rifles are most commonly of Chinese or Russian manufacture. The AK is made in a number of differently countries, many of which are available stateside. My experience with Romanian AK parts has been favorable.

Both the AK and the SKS fire the 7.62x39 cartridge, which is the caliber equivalent to the 7.62x51 NATO. The second number indicates the length of the cartridge (not the projectile). Of course, there are all kinds of projectiles: armor piercing, tracer, etc.

Generally, both rifle systems are extremely durable and reliable. They're not pretty; usually stamped fabrication and parts fit rather loosely. They will run and run, however.

A year ago, you could have purchased a ChiCom SKS for less than $200.00. I don't know what prices are like today, but it's a safe bet they're higher. Frankly, this is an excellent emergency rifle, but really isn't worth spending more than $200.00 on. That's only my opinion.

The AR platform as been around for a long time, and has seen several refinements. If you're anything other than a collector, you're going to want to stick to the A2 (and later) variants. If for no other reason than the original AR and A1 variants cost a fortune.

You'll hear all kinds of horror stories about the M-16 in Viet-Nam, Irag, and Afghanistan.

As a civillian end-user, I would (and do) ignore these stories. The AR design is more delicate than some and does require that you keep it clean to some degree to ensure reliable function.

I have a Colt R6550 (ca. 1988) that I haven't cleaned since 2005, and I fire it regularly without issues. Of course, I'm not in Afghanistan or Iraq. I would imagine that this would get me killed over there. If not by the enemy, by my squad members.

You can safely ignore any arguments about the 7.62 vs. 5.56 projectile. They're both deadly, and for the average Joe (like you), either is just fine.

Issues you'll have to contend with nowadays are ammo prices and availability. Both calibers in a commercial grade (Wolf, Winchester, Federal) are expensive and difficult to find. Military grade (Lake City 5.56, Eastern European 7.62, etc.) is even more expensive and difficult to find.

To make a long story short: if you're considering one of these platforms for home defense and whatever-may-come, I'd go with the AR. It's more expensive, but parts are more available and ammo is somewhat more available (at least now), and a lot more folks are likely to have them making parts, magazines and ammo availablity more likely.

If I were slugging it out in AFG or Iraq, I'd take the AK/SKS.

As always you mileage will vary.
Old 03-23-2009, 07:25 PM
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LI Sound Grunt, my Dad was an FO, 1st Air Cav DIVARTY. He was there for three years. He's gone now, but I'm thinking 67-69.
Old 03-23-2009, 10:06 PM
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you can get ak variants chambered in .223. Vepr makes a very accurate ak thats chamber in several different calibers. I guess one of the biggest differences is the ak is piston driven chamber as opposed to the ar that is gas operated. ar's are more fun as there is a never ending supply of add ons. You really can't go wrong with either weapon. If you want an ak I would try to get one with a milled receiver. As far as ar's go rockriver, dpms, colt, remington(pretty sure they bought bushmaster), bushmaster, s&w, fulton armory are all very good manufacturers. I probably left a few out. I like dpms and own several of them as well as a couple of bushmasters. Heres dpms's website. They have some interesting calibers as well. www.dpmsinc.com
Old 03-24-2009, 03:55 AM
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Nobody mentioned Ruger's mini 14. I bought one a couple of years ago and really like it. Not bad in the accuracy dept. and fun to shoot. Barrel does get hot and i heard of problems with them cooking off rounds. I doubt that would be much of a problem for a semi-auto, though.
Old 03-24-2009, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro View Post
Nobody mentioned Ruger's mini 14. I bought one a couple of years ago and really like it. Not bad in the accuracy dept. and fun to shoot. Barrel does get hot and i heard of problems with them cooking off rounds. I doubt that would be much of a problem for a semi-auto, though.
Apparently the new 580 series of the mini's addressed the overheating barrel issue. Haven't shot one of the new ones but yes, the old ones would definitely get hot. Plus the magazines for the minis are ridiculously expensive.
Old 03-24-2009, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by davepen View Post
... Both the AK and the SKS fire the 7.62x39 cartridge, which is the caliber equivalent to the 7.62x51 NATO. The second number indicates the length of the cartridge (not the projectile). ...
Performance wise, the 7.62X39 round is like a .30/30 and the 7.62X51 is close to a .30/06 (7.62X55?).

You can get chamber inserts to so you can fire the X39 and X51 in a .30/06 rifle. I don't remember if anyone I know has used these devices so I don't know how well they work. The range settings on the sights would be way off for the X39 cartridge but for short range plinking, would be ok.
Old 03-24-2009, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro View Post
Nobody mentioned Ruger's mini 14. I bought one a couple of years ago and really like it. Not bad in the accuracy dept. and fun to shoot. Barrel does get hot and i heard of problems with them cooking off rounds. I doubt that would be much of a problem for a semi-auto, though.
My friends that collect guns and are active shooters agree with this. I no longer do either so may have given you old information.

Now I need to find how to do 2 quotes in the same post so I can answer the other Cav question before my edit time expires - if not i'll post again

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