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What to look for when buying a used AK-47?
Old 01-14-2008, 15:34   #1
CosaNostraUSMC
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What to look for when buying a used AK-47?

Say an individual has opportunity to take one off of someones hands, what kinds of things would one look for when determining to buy or not? How might an individual distinguish where it's made? More importantly, how would one perform a function check to ensure proper working order, when firing isn't an option at the transaction point?
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Old 01-14-2008, 17:33   #2
The Reaper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosaNostraUSMC View Post
Say an individual has opportunity to take one off of someones hands, what kinds of things would one look for when determining to buy or not? How might an individual distinguish where it's made? More importantly, how would one perform a function check to ensure proper working order, when firing isn't an option at the transaction point?

You might want to make sure that it is legal, i.e.; semi only, 922(r) compliant, not hot, etc.

I would not assign a wide variety of pricing to any of the generic AKs, usually the country of origin can be determined by the configuration. Guides are available by googling. The Polytech, Valmet, and Galil variants are the most expensive. Most of the semi-auto Eastern Bloc and Russian AK-47s are in the $300-$400 range new.

Given the dilapidated condition I have seen AKs in that still worked fine, if it is a factory gun and all of the pieces are there, it probably works. You could function test the trigger and safety when examining it, if you were concerned. You could also ask the buyer for a money back guarantee, if it did not function as advertised. If he will not, assume the worst and low-ball the price. You can tear it down and check the gas piston out, and the bore for signs of corrosion, but even that should not affect the function. It is probably worth a couple hundred as parts, so you should not be into it very deep, even if it did not run.

HTH.

TR
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Old 01-14-2008, 18:01   #3
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I was burned a couple years back on a rifle built on a Yugo kit with the flip up rifle grenade sight that also disables the gas system. The best advice I can give is to be sure that the builder has a good reputation, and a little research is never a bad thing. Take a look at the country of origin for the kit the rifle was built on, what type of ammunition do they use (corrosive/non) are the barrels chrome lined, etc?

Good Luck.

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Old 01-14-2008, 22:11   #4
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Caveat Emptor. I wouldn't pay more than $300-$350 without some serious incentives. I don't really consider Galils and Valmets to be AKs. They are more expensive and harder to find. They are uniformly higher quality (fit, finish, and some ergonomic changes) but functionally identical. Their relative scarcity means you'll be competing with collectors to buy them. Pre vs. post ban is no longer an issue. The ones without the compensator are cheaper though. If it's a factory gun (e.g. WASR etc.), and hasn't been obviously abused, it's probably ok. AKs are incredibly robust and the cartridge isn't that powerful. If it's a "Build" then you have all of the issues TR mentions plus the QC/experience of the builder. I'm in the middle of (re)building a couple of Yugo parts kits. I'm working with a professional gunsmith, using the best components I can find, and the finished product is (going to be) a quality weapon. I've examined a few that were assembled by people with less experience and I wouldn't buy them for parts. Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2008, 22:34   #5
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I agree with TR. AKs are unique in the way they are designed. Not much can go wrong, they are not that high tech. If you don't have a AR, I would go that route first.

I build my own ARs and AKs. When asked by a friend the difference? I said it is simple look at the armorers kit.

AR:http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2.../ARTollkit.jpg


AK: http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2.../AKtoolkit.jpg


My unfinished Tantal: http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2...475/Tantal.jpg
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOLLiS View Post
.........
I build my own ARs and AKs. When asked by a friend the difference? I said it is simple look at the armorers kit. .......




AK: http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2.../AKtoolkit.jpg
........
You left one Very important part out of the AK armorer's kit:
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Old 01-15-2008, 13:37   #7
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I just spit my coffee over that one!
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Old 01-15-2008, 14:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air.177 View Post
You left one Very important part out of the AK armorer's kit:
Ill see yours and raise...
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Old 01-15-2008, 14:17   #9
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There are a number of sites available for surplus military rifles and specifically the AK-47. Any of them will have the information you want in detail with history, manufacturers configurations and markings, maintenance, diagrams and photos as well as the latest buyer reviews and prices.

kalashnikov.guns.ru/

ak-47.us/

ak-47.net/

surplusrifle.com/ak47/index.asp

forums.gunboards.com/

parallaxscurioandrelicfirearmsforums.yuku.com/bparallaxscurioandrelicfirearmsforums

warrifles.com/forums/index.phpThe versions of AKs, for example STG, WASR, CZ-58s do not always interchange parts with the actual Russian AK-47s. There are remanufactured AKs available for around $400 and modern versions of the AKs up to $1000. Also, along the Uganda, Sudan and Kenya borders the cost of an AK-47 assault rifle has dropped from 10 cows in 1986 to two cows in 2007

This is a decent enough FAQ for a buyers guide. Current prices may be different do a search.

ak-47.net/ak47/faq.html

Also check the latest laws, since the lift of weapons bans some things are available that weren't... unless you live under an oppresive government like the Demokratic Socialist State of California.

Last edited by sf11b_p; 01-15-2008 at 14:37.
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.02
Old 01-15-2008, 15:17   #10
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.02

One thing I look for in a used AK, and Im sure with the experience on this board someone else here has had a similar problem, is the floating (or even spring loaded) firing pin. The Valmet I purchased seemed to be in really good shape and field stripping showed no signs of neglect or abuse. After a few rounds down range, the gun suddenly went full auto. Before I could get my finger off the trigger the ass end of the third round blew off while the bolt was out of battery. Apparently the previous owner like to keep the bolt well oiled and the coke build up on the pin and pin recess was so excessive that the pin stayed forward (Thompson M1A1). The reason I bring this up is that could have been a serious health issue. The dust cover contained most of the casing. A left handed shooter might not have been as lucky as I.
Hey, isnt OBL left handed?

The point is when buying a used gun, even an AK; its prudent to REALLY look it over before firing. If you cant do it, find someone who can. I figured; hey, its an AK. What can go wrong? After I got the remainder of the casing out of the chamber and the projectile out of the barrel, cleaned the carbon off the firing pin, the gun worked perfectly. Very accurate, too.
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Old 01-15-2008, 15:32   #11
Air.177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuukka View Post
Ill see yours and raise...
The Stoli was the best I could come up with in a hurry, I wanted to beat you to the punch. Of course, yours would be the proper brand for a professional armorer's kit, mine would be the field expedient version.

Good times,
Blake
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