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View Full Version : Mini or Saiga for featureless "fun gun"


Rigma
02-29-2012, 5:27 AM
With some of my tax money soon to be returned to me I have decided I would like a featureless rifle to have some fun with. To keep in my price range I am thinking about at sporter-type configuration in .223 or 7.62x39, and the obvious choices so far are a Mini or Saiga. I'm not looking to convert an AR or AK to "featureless", my goal is to keep it simple and have myself an affordable range toy that is pretty much stock and would not require major conversion for some non-bullet button fun.

For .223 I would prefer a Mini-14, but I would like to know if a Mini-30 has positive reviews. If I were to take the 7.62x39 route I would prefer a Saiga...but my desire for double-stack and AK compatible magazines seems to kill that option.

I have forgone the .308 route due to price considerations of the rifle and/or ammo. The other options I have come across in my search are the SL8, Benelli MR1 Carbine and even the SU16, but they seem to miss the target.

Please let me know if I have missed another option, or if I am fooling myself in straying from the AR platform. I have also thought an AK would be fun, but there is just something appealing to me about a basic detachable magazine rifle as well.

Your advice and criticism is appreciated, so long as it is constructive.

ZX-10R
02-29-2012, 6:02 AM
Mini...For 7.62x39...Saiga and you won't hear that from me often.

cannon
02-29-2012, 7:25 AM
Saiga all the way and here's why.

1, Cheaper to buy.
2, Uses cheap nasty corrosive ammo and doesn't care.
3, Do a little 922r compliance and add a bullet guide and you are using your old double stack +10 round mags.
4, Cheap featureless fun.

Don't get me wrong I love the Mini 14 but the rifle and the ammo costs more than the Saiga. If you got a Mini 30 would you really want to shoot cheaper corrosive ammo in it? I wouldn't.

sd_shooter
02-29-2012, 7:52 AM
Saiga all the way.

If you just want to plink, also consider the 5.45x39 version. Supposedly they don't even need a bullet guide, just buy regular AK mags.

The main reason is the low, low cost of ammo. $150 buys you over 1000 rounds of ammo. Performance is similar to 223, you'll have no problem "reaching out" to 600 yards although at that distance you'll also need optics.

7.62x39 isn't bad either (I have both), but even my wife and kids shoot my 5.45 AK. It's almost as soft to shoot as a 22 LR (I'm running the big fat AK74 brake...)

FourLoko
02-29-2012, 8:00 AM
problem with 5.45 is the surplus is bi-metal jacket

can't shoot at any ranges and sadly many of us don't have time to drive to BLM land every week

sd_shooter
02-29-2012, 8:18 AM
problem with 5.45 is the surplus is bi-metal jacket

can't shoot at any ranges and sadly many of us don't have time to drive to BLM land every week

Hmm... that's true. 7.62x39 in that case.

evolution1974
02-29-2012, 8:53 AM
With some of my tax money soon to be returned to me I have decided I would like a featureless rifle to have some fun with. To keep in my price range I am thinking about at sporter-type configuration in .223 or 7.62x39, and the obvious choices so far are a Mini or Saiga. .. my goal is to keep it simple and have myself an affordable range toy that is pretty much stock ..

From an overall cost perspective the Saiga in 7.62x39 is the best choice from the options you provided. The Saiga in 5.45x39 is an even better choice if you want something inexpensive to plink with. If you shop around you can get a sporter-type Saiga in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39 for $450 or less, out the door. The cost of 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 ammo is less than .223/5.56 but most shooting ranges wont let you use steel core ammo, so that might be something to think about.

For .223 I would prefer a Mini-14, but I would like to know if a Mini-30 has positive reviews. If I were to take the 7.62x39 route I would prefer a Saiga...but my desire for double-stack and AK compatible magazines seems to kill that option.

In my opinion, the Ruger Mini is a good gun but the current prices have increased to a point where other options are more appealing. I purchased my Mini 14 at a time when prices were reasonable and am happy with it. However, at its current price, I would purchase an inexpensive AR variant in .5.56 or the Saiga in 7.62. I would also prefer to own a Saiga over the Mini 30.

Generally speaking, I take my AR variant to the range while my Mini 14 and Saiga in 7.62x39 go with me to the desert when Im camping and shooting. Good luck with your decision.

http://i808.photobucket.com/albums/zz6/evolution1974/Center%20Fire%20Group/1327703124.jpg

As a side note, I also own bolt guns with matching calibers when I feel more precision is necessary.
CZ 527 FS in .223 Rem (top), CZ 527 Carbine in 7.62x39 (bottom)

http://i808.photobucket.com/albums/zz6/evolution1974/CZ%20Family/1328780169.jpg

RAMCHARGER
02-29-2012, 9:25 AM
Saiga all the way.

If you just want to plink, also consider the 5.45x39 version. Supposedly they don't even need a bullet guide, just buy regular AK mags.

The main reason is the low, low cost of ammo. $150 buys you over 1000 rounds of ammo. Performance is similar to 223, you'll have no problem "reaching out" to 600 yards although at that distance you'll also need optics.

7.62x39 isn't bad either (I have both), but even my wife and kids shoot my 5.45 AK. It's almost as soft to shoot as a 22 LR (I'm running the big fat AK74 brake...)

Yea but with 5.45 ans 7.62 you CAN'T shoot at public ranages, only the desert. Trust me, this gets old real fast.

APOCALYPSE70
02-29-2012, 9:35 AM
SAIGA!!!!!!

gunn
02-29-2012, 9:43 AM
Yea but with 5.45 ans 7.62 you CAN'T shoot at public ranages, only the desert. Trust me, this gets old real fast.

I believe this is a SoCal thing.

Most of the ranges up in the Bay Area don't care. AFAIK, I've never had issues at Coyote Point or Chabot.

-g

gorenut
02-29-2012, 9:46 AM
Look around for a used 581 series Mini. Can't go wrong with Saiga either though.

ns3v3n
02-29-2012, 10:23 AM
I believe this is a SoCal thing.

Most of the ranges up in the Bay Area don't care. AFAIK, I've never had issues at Coyote Point or Chabot.

-g

Yep, OP is in norcal, and ranges up here dont really care.

mackey
02-29-2012, 10:24 AM
saiga 5.45 for cheap featureless fun

may need a bullet guide to use 74 mags

sd_shooter
02-29-2012, 10:32 AM
Yea but with 5.45 ans 7.62 you CAN'T shoot at public ranages, only the desert. Trust me, this gets old real fast.

Oh come now, 7.62x39 is even available at Walmart (WWB.) It is one of the most common calibers.

peterhodges
02-29-2012, 10:35 AM
Saiga

Everyone should have one.

Bug Splat
02-29-2012, 3:58 PM
Saiga without a doubt.

ns209
02-29-2012, 4:30 PM
Whats a good price for a new saiga 7.62

chrisf
02-29-2012, 4:38 PM
If your in norcal I would go with either the 5.45 or x39 saiga (5.45 to save money) Most ranges with the exception of san leandro dont care.

SURVIVOR619
02-29-2012, 4:39 PM
NICE FAMILY EVO1974!

Philthy
02-29-2012, 5:05 PM
I have both. Both are fun, both aren't exactly accurate, both require specific mags (with certain exceptions), both will eat whatever garbage you feed them, both have an excellent choice of mods/parts out there.

If you aren't going to convert the Saiga, I say flip a coin, go with one and don't look back. The nice thing about the Saiga is you could decide to convert it down the road...

Also, there is no 922r game involved with the mini.

SVT-40
02-29-2012, 5:09 PM
If you go 7.62 go with the SAIGA.

Firstly for ease of magazine choice and cost. You can buy TAPCO SAIGA mags cheap and they do function well. On the other hand many if not most after market mini thirty mags are cheaply made and don't always work well. Original Ruger mini-30 mags are outlandishly expensive.

Secondly scope mounting. The SAIGA has the standard COM Block scope side rail so there are literally hundreds of choices for scopes, red dot and mounts. On the Ruger you get their proprietary rings which can only mount 1"scopes unless you pop for a rail which will cost you extr*****$

Lastly with the SAIGA you always have the option to modify it to accept standard AK mags and or put a pistol grip on it.

Plus the SAIGA is a real Russian made AK. It will work rain or shine and ask for more!!!

Don't get me wrong I like the Ruger mini-14 in .223. It's a nice and functional rifle. In fact I'd like to pick up a well used one for a trunk gun.

But Go SAIGA if you go 7.62

Or 5.45 for that matter.......... And the 5.45 SAIGA's do accept all AK-74 magazines W/O modification, and function well W/O installing a bullet guide when using the AK-74 mags.

Using the dedicated SAIGA 5.54 mags, whether originals or TAPCO's ($14.00 each) function is 100%.

jasonnorcal
02-29-2012, 7:00 PM
Saiga Saiga Saiga

Rigma
03-01-2012, 4:12 AM
Thanks for the thoughts, thank you all. If I were to go the Saiga route, and want to stick with the featureless aim, where can I find a featureless Saiga that has already has been modded with the bullet guide?

I'm not afraid of tools, but my lack of experience in this area and desire for reliability makes me hesitant to do my own hack job.

It seems my ideal rifle is a Saiga in 7.62x39...or 5.45x39. If the only option to own one that accepts AK mags is a DIY project, then I guess I have some reading to do. I was hoping that there was a retail option there.

Any advice on landing that in CA is appreciated.

sd_shooter
03-01-2012, 5:09 AM
Thanks for the thoughts, thank you all. If I were to go the Saiga route, and want to stick with the featureless aim, where can I find a featureless Saiga that has already has been modded with the bullet guide?

I'm not afraid of tools, but my lack of experience in this area and desire for reliability makes me hesitant to do my own hack job.

It seems my ideal rifle is a Saiga in 7.62x39...or 5.45x39. If the only option to own one that accepts AK mags is a DIY project, then I guess I have some reading to do. I was hoping that there was a retail option there.

Any advice on landing that in CA is appreciated.

SVT-40 just posted the answer above. Get the 5.45 Saiga and don't look back! No bullet guide to add, and the cheapest centerfire ammo available. :oji:

The Tapco 5.45 mags are the only US made mags I've found though, my others are 10/30 mags that I have converted myself from standard AK74 magazines (ie. added a block.) The Tapco mags seem to be readily available and seem solid.

Freagan
03-01-2012, 8:47 AM
I wish there was a way to upgrade the trigger to a Tapco G2 while keeping the trigger in the position that the stock rifle comes with (ie non-converted)

I don't know if that made any sense, I am basically wondering if you can just take a stock saiga rifle and simply replace the trigger group without any other work done

stix213
03-01-2012, 9:54 AM
You won't regret getting a saiga.

orangeusa
03-01-2012, 10:09 AM
I love my 7.62x39 Saiga. Even non-corrosive ammo is cheap and I have 6 mags, a sling, and scope. Great, inexpensive fun. I seriously looked at the mini, and wasn't wild about the weight and cost. But the mini looks cool as hell. :)

The 10 round stock Saiga mags can be bought for $5-10 if you shop around. A lot of guys have Saiga mags left over after they've converted them....
I ended up buying a slide-on recoil pad and it helps a lot. It's a light gun...

I bought mine about a year ago for $420 out the door. They've gone up in price maybe $50, and are harder to find, but are out there...

.