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View Full Version : Saiga .223 or 7.62x39?


Kelster1574
10-12-2011, 3:39 PM
I have finally decided to pull the trigger and pick up an AK. Which caliber should I buy? I like the idea off a 7.63x39 because it's the caliber you think of when you think AK, plus I heard the ammo is cheap (haven't priced it out yet). Then again if I get the .223 I don't have to worry about adding another caliber to my stock. If it makes a difference I plan on doing some customizing to make it "mine"

Deadon
10-12-2011, 3:41 PM
5.45x39

bloodhawke83
10-12-2011, 3:42 PM
if .223, then you can't use 5.56. I'd go 5.45x39, "poison bullet".

powderedtoastman
10-12-2011, 3:44 PM
The obvious decision is one of each. Last time I bought 7.62x39 was at the big reno show and I believe it was about $160 for a 640 round tin of Wolf. 5.45 is another option, you can get 1080 round sealed tins for about 150. Every caliber has advantages and disadvantages. 7.62 will punch through barriers way easier than 5.56 or 5.45, but doesn't macerate fleshy creatures as much as the latter.

MrPlink
10-12-2011, 4:01 PM
commie gun, commie round!

dr_communist
10-12-2011, 4:02 PM
Actually you can use 5.56 in a .223 saiga. But to answer op's question. The saiga 7.62x39

pacifico23
10-12-2011, 4:03 PM
7.62x39

jubjubrsx
10-12-2011, 4:44 PM
7.62x39

0351USMC
10-12-2011, 4:46 PM
5.45

LBDamned
10-12-2011, 5:03 PM
commie gun, commie round!

yep. Seem a little unnatural to use .223

smattenson
10-12-2011, 5:11 PM
First ak? Id say try the 7.62x39 very fun to shoot. With that said can't go wrong with the other calibers.

Levetti
10-12-2011, 5:14 PM
.308! Oh, price is an issue, then 7.62x39. I'm about to do the same with J&G selling both calibers you mentioned at $299.

temilotzin21
10-12-2011, 6:22 PM
762!

cantcme
10-12-2011, 7:04 PM
7.62x39 It's not for real if it won't reliably go through strong house walls.

uxo2
10-12-2011, 7:14 PM
.223.................

and

7.62x39mm............

Bigtwin
10-12-2011, 7:19 PM
If only one caliber for now, 7.62x39 is the answer! Not sure if the .223 is really benifiting with that platform. Plus, it is a suitable caliber for taking game....if you intend to do so!

What caliber in an Ak pattern rifle really depends on your purpose!

Fot
10-12-2011, 7:32 PM
.308! Oh, price is an issue, then 7.62x39. I'm about to do the same with J&G selling both calibers you mentioned at $299.

What's shipping on J&G sales like?

pacifico23
10-12-2011, 7:41 PM
What's shipping on J&G sales like?

Honestly doesnt matter, it will still be cheaper than anywhere local, at least in so cal. Cheapest I found locally was 409 +tax and dros. It will be cheaper to get from JG Sales.

Arnelcheeze
10-12-2011, 7:44 PM
7.62x39

wooger
10-12-2011, 7:47 PM
6.5 Grendel.

pyro3k2
10-12-2011, 7:49 PM
if .223, then you can't use 5.56. I'd go 5.45x39, "poison bullet".

The rifles are stamped .223 for importation resons. They can not legally be imported as a sporting rifle with a military chambering. All .223 saiga's can reliably fire 5.56x45.

First ak? Id say try the 7.62x39 very fun to shoot. With that said can't go wrong with the other calibers.

For your first one 7.62x39 is the way to go. It will also be easier to re-sell the rifle incase for some reason you don't fall in love with it.

BHPFan
10-12-2011, 8:31 PM
From the two calibers the OP listed, 7.62x39mm. Why? Affordable ammo and it's a "real" AK. The other "real" AK is in caliber 5.45x39mm.

Fot
10-12-2011, 10:07 PM
why do they sell 'em separate?
http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/rifles/ak-pattern-rifles/p/saiga-5-45x39-sporter-rifle%2C-tgi-import%2C-new-/cPath/209_214/products_id/5887
http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/rifles/ak-pattern-rifles/p/saiga-223-sporter-rifle%2C-tgi-import%2C-new-/cPath/209_214/products_id/5886

What do you mean? Are you confusing 5.45 x 39 and 5.56x45?

Fot
10-12-2011, 10:08 PM
Honestly doesnt matter, it will still be cheaper than anywhere local, at least in so cal. Cheapest I found locally was 409 +tax and dros. It will be cheaper to get from JG Sales.

Unless you can find em for $325 with free shipping.

LBDamned
10-12-2011, 10:11 PM
What do you mean? Are you confusing 5.45 x 39 and 5.56x45?

oops, indeed I did... I thought he was referring to 5.45 (so used to 5.56 being AR, I automatically was thinking AK74 :o)

his post clearly says 5.56 - I should stop speed reading :rolleyes:

Scratch705
10-12-2011, 10:45 PM
5.45 cause they are still cheap so buy lots and stack it deep. since they are in sealed containers they will last a lifetime.

NYY
10-12-2011, 11:21 PM
5.45. :) saiga. then convert :)

bigboy91
10-12-2011, 11:54 PM
7.62x39

PhoPoweR
10-13-2011, 12:23 AM
7.62x39

Rekrab
10-13-2011, 2:53 AM
If magnetic ammo isn't an issue, definitely go with 7.63x39 since surplus is cheap. If it is an issue I'd go with .223 just for the broader selection of range safe ammo.

But if magnetic ammo isn't an issue and you really want to stay on a budget, I'd kick it down to 5.45.

RAFA
10-13-2011, 7:55 AM
What's shipping on J&G sales like?

$15.XX

zfields
10-13-2011, 8:12 AM
762x39, then 545x39 : )

rsrocket1
10-13-2011, 8:34 AM
If you already have .223, then go with 7.62x39.
That is, unless the .223 is an old Ruger Mini-14 that can't hit the broad side of a barn.

A Saiga with open sights is a ton of fun to hit things within 3" at 100 yards. It's an absolute dog if you expect the same accuracy as you do with a 20" AR or a bolt action .223.

You can use any and all ammo in 7.62x39 and they all shoot about the same in a 16" Saiga, and that's 3 MOA. Can you do better? Maybe, but it will probably be an exercise in frustration. If you don't expect any more, then you're happy.

What you lack in the surgical precision of a 1 MOA 55 grain bullet is a nice big sledge hammer of a bullet 2.5-3 times heavier being spit out semi automatically with just a touch more jump and push back than a .223 out of an AR.

5.45x39 is just another 55 grain 3k fps varmint round. Might as well stick with .223 if that's your choice.

BTW, get the 16" gun instead of the 20" gun. It's a lot more fun swinging that short barrel around and you aren't going to get much better accuracy out of the 20". A lot of 20" owners regret not getting the 16", but I haven't heard many 16" owners wish they got the 20" barrel.

Try to keep it for a while in the original configuration and see if you like it. I thought I'd be converting mine into an AK-47 looking gun, but kind of like it as is. It's compact, easy to pop up and shoot and I don't need 40 round magazines, it just blows ammo quicker.

40calpunisher
10-13-2011, 8:55 AM
both! If not both, 223. Its a smaller/lighter round and you can carry more of it. I personlly would go 5.45 over both your choices. The 5.45 is cheaper, period. You can buy 1080 rds of steel core ammo in 5.45 for ~$140, 223/556 is 3-5x more for steel core stuff.

Richard Erichsen
10-13-2011, 8:58 AM
I have finally decided to pull the trigger and pick up an AK. Which caliber should I buy? I like the idea off a 7.63x39 because it's the caliber you think of when you think AK, plus I heard the ammo is cheap (haven't priced it out yet). Then again if I get the .223 I don't have to worry about adding another caliber to my stock. If it makes a difference I plan on doing some customizing to make it "mine"

Your caliber list for AK should include 5.45x39 mm as well. Some excellent deals still to be had and even some domestic manufacture if you care to try Hornady SST or new manufactured ammo from Silver Bear (Burnaul), Tula, etc. Bulgarian and Russian surplus comes up pretty frequently and though it's not the cheap deal it used to be, it's still cheaper than 5.56x45 NATO much of the time or most of the commercial .223. 5.45x39 mm has some excellent characteristics over distance due to the very long, streamlined bullets (higher BC) while maintaining a small form factor, light weight and low chamber pressure.

7.62x39 mm is just the most common caliber for the AK and more sources exist, so prices can be close to the 5.45x39 mm for surplus or new manufacture at much of the time. Unlike 5.45x39 mm, we have plenty of domestic and foreign new manufacture in this caliber for proper soft point hunting bullets with projectile weights up to 150 grain.

For .223, you probably already know. 5.56x45 mm NATO surplus can be had fairly cheaply when manufactured overseas, particularly the original M193 55 grain loadings.

If it were me, I'd choose the 5.45x39 mm or 7.62x39 mm rifle, .223/5.56x45 last.

Good luck.

Coldies
10-13-2011, 9:17 AM
As mentioned above you wont find any range safe ammo for the 5.45x39. I have both the 47 and the 74. I love both of them! I feed them anything under the sun and they love it, I'm gonna be trying out Golden Tiger this weekend in the 74 to see how that go's. If you already have a 223/556 stick with the commie caliber. Also if it helps I bought a 47 and then bought a 74.

I promise you that regardless which one you purchase first (47 or the 74) you will buy the other shortly after. Good luck

NorCalK9.com
10-13-2011, 12:45 PM
545x39 thw best imo

ns3v3n
10-13-2011, 1:10 PM
7.62x39, because you said you already have other rifle chambered in 223? ya?

vincewarde
10-13-2011, 10:53 PM
What do you what to do with it?

***and***

What do you have now?

These are the most important questions.

If you want to hunt deer sized game, 7.62x39 or .308. If you want an over sized plinker, .308 is too expensive. If you want to hunt pigs, the .308 is the only choice. There is also a lot to be said for keeping it simple. If I had it to do over again, I would reduce the number of calibers my guns are chambered in.

Russian ammo is still cheaper than American - but it is going up. In addition, you can't reload it. Reloadable ammo in the Russian calibers is much more expensive. The nice thing about .223/5.56 is that you can by Russian ammo, but brass is also common and cheap. Of all the calibers mentioned here (except .308), it has the most ammo options. If Russian ammo dries up, the Russian chamberings will be much more expensive to shoot, especially the 5.45 because it is the rarest of the bunch.

I have a nice SKS that I have done a ton of work on (cut and crowned the barrel, drilled and tapped for scope mount, bedded synthetic stock and, of course, a trigger job) - but now that 7.62x39 is more expensive, I wish it were an su-16 in .223/5.56. I can load 5.56 m193 clone ammo for under .10 per round, half what 7.62x39 costs.

So, if I ever buy one it will be a .223 or .308 depending upon my intended use. YMMV

dr_communist
10-13-2011, 11:20 PM
I bought the 20" x39 saiga and I don't regret getting the shorter barrel. They are both the same to me. Plus the reason I don't get the 5.45 is the only ammo out there is online and its combloc surplus. None of my local stores carry the round. And if the do they charge 20 for a box of 20

SideWinder11
10-14-2011, 12:11 AM
commie gun, commie round!
^

+1

Kelster1574
10-14-2011, 7:14 AM
What do you what to do with it?

***and***

What do you have now?

These are the most important questions.

If you want to hunt deer sized game, 7.62x39 or .308. If you want an over sized plinker, .308 is too expensive. If you want to hunt pigs, the .308 is the only choice. There is also a lot to be said for keeping it simple. If I had it to do over again, I would reduce the number of calibers my guns are chambered in.

Russian ammo is still cheaper than American - but it is going up. In addition, you can't reload it. Reloadable ammo in the Russian calibers is much more expensive. The nice thing about .223/5.56 is that you can by Russian ammo, but brass is also common and cheap. Of all the calibers mentioned here (except .308), it has the most ammo options. If Russian ammo dries up, the Russian chamberings will be much more expensive to shoot, especially the 5.45 because it is the rarest of the bunch.

I have a nice SKS that I have done a ton of work on (cut and crowned the barrel, drilled and tapped for scope mount, bedded synthetic stock and, of course, a trigger job) - but now that 7.62x39 is more expensive, I wish it were an su-16 in .223/5.56. I can load 5.56 m193 clone ammo for under .10 per round, half what 7.62x39 costs.

So, if I ever buy one it will be a .223 or .308 depending upon my intended use. YMMV

It would more than likely be a range / fun gun. I have other rifles I prefer if and when I go hunting. Everything I have heard says I could shoot 5.56 out of the .223 even though it doesn't say it on the gun, correct?

vintagedude88
10-14-2011, 11:32 AM
I have a Saiga .223 Its converted and featureless. I have an MSA mag adapter on it to use pre-ban AR mags and its a lot of fun at the range. Quite accurate and you don't have to clean it like an AR because its an AK.

Its up to you which you want, they're both good. Keep in mind that you will need to install a bullet guide on the 7.62x39 if you decide to use AK metal mags or any AK mags other than the Saiga specific mags.