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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK. Comment
    Gregory Morris, 2/1/09 8:21:54 am
    So, we just got our tax return back. (Beth is a complete tax-prep ninja, who can out-turbo Turbo Tax, out-quick Quicken, and leaves top-tier H&R Block pros looking like a bunch of drooling babies.)

    Most of the money is earmarked for certain necessities, like paying off the "6 months interest free" credit we bought our new bedroom furniture with before we have to pay interest. However, there is enough leftover to have a little fun. As tempting as a week in Mexico would be, I'm out of vacation time, so our first choice is out of the question.

    My birthday is coming up soon, and Beth, besides being a ninja, is a completely awesome wife. She said to me "Greg, you need a black rifle." Not only because they are nice to have, and I've been wanting one for a while, but as she put it, "As a 'F@$# You' to the government." We all know a ban in in the works, even if it takes a while to get off the ground. It is part of the ruling party's platform to re-instate the Clinton Ban, only with all the "loopholes" removed. It is on Obama's to-do list, right after "spend a metric fuckton of our children's money" and "buy a dog for the girls".

    So, we've been shopping.

    And the infamous question arose... do I want an AR-15 platform rifle, or an AK clone? Or do I want something else entirely?

    The closest gun shop to us actually specializes in EBRs, and they have a decent assortment. They also apparently have a sweet stockpile of stripped AR lowers. $200 each, but the store owner said I could buy "as many as I want."

    Anyway, the AR platform is more accurate, amateur-gunsmithable, and customizable than the AK. None of those things, of course, are different by a large margin. The AK platform is cheaper, shoots a cheaper round I already stock, and seems to make liberal reporters poop their pants more often than AR rifles. The AK is the go-to evil assault gun, whereas the AR is just black and scary. Either one would accomplish my "scare liberal weenies" goal, and both are "accurate enough" for zombie work. Buying an AK would leave me with a little more money (for ammo, or a stripped AR lower), but buying an AR would give me more options for expansion down the road (I could buy additional uppers for different purposes.)

    Then, there's the "none-of-the-above" response. I've looked at: FN FALs, VZ58s, Robinson Arms, Dragunov-style rifles, M1 Carbines, M14-ish rifles, Ruger Mini-14s, Auto-Ordinance Thompson (drool), etc.

    The only real criteria I have is that the gun definitely has to be something that:
    A) makes Paul Helmke cry and
    B) shoots a common caliber (unlike Robb I don't drool over the latest .293 Blastomatic Magnum)
    C) something I can buy locally (there's a decent selection)
    D) be either a rifle or pistol-caliber carbine

    So what says the blag-readers?

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    SayUncle, 2/1/09 1:42:54 pm
    Death match:

    http://www.saysuncle.com/archives/2005/09/14/ar_v_ak_death_match/
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    guy, 2/1/09 5:26:14 pm
    I would buy the AR.

    If you want an AK later on you could make one yourself a hell of a lot easier than an AR. So I would drop the cash on a decent AR now instead.

    For dumping lead downrange I like the AK better(I have one for my SHTF gun), for any sort of lower round count, accurate long distance fire I like AR better - I have an AR-10 for that.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    David Fox, 2/2/09 8:17:07 am
    AK-47. You can get all the "tacti-cool" accessories just like on the AR. I've got two AKs and have never had an issue with trigger slap. If you got one and did have an issue with trigger slap, just replace the trigger group. Accuracy is great - I don't know why some people like to say the AR is more accurate (guess they just can't shoot). Definitely get the AK.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    ZerCool, 2/2/09 8:18:47 am
    AR.

    I owned an AKlone, and traded it away for a S&W revolver about five months later. It was reliable, fed cheap ammo just fine, but horribly inaccurate and just felt flimsy.

    I'm in the process of building up a couple ARs. Interchangeable uppers for different purposes sounds real nice to me. .223 for varmints and fun, .22 for cheap fun, 6.5/6.8 for medium game... yeah, this is good. Hell, .50Beowulf if you really want to have big booms. :)
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    hsoi, 2/2/09 8:21:01 am
    Ah, the stuff of religious wars. :-)

    When I was going through this same decision some months back, I ended up going AR. The platform is just so versatile (think LEGO), the aftermarket is huge, and I think that, long-term, gives me a lot more options and applications. I also appreciate the increased accuracy of the AR, but a well-tuned AK works just fine. I'm not dragging my rifle through mud, abusing the heck out of it, but I try to train well, use the AR as a home-defense tool (i.e. it's not just a babied range queen). Anything mechanical can and will fail, and the AR's reliable enough and fine for my needs and application.

    I also have an M1A Scout Squad, which is just plain wonderful. Ammo's expensive tho.

    I would love to get an AK someday, just not a high priority.

    But these days one deciding factor may be that you have no choice... you just have to get what's available because pickin's can be slim and/or more expensive than your budget allows. And not just on the rifle itself, but ammo, parts, magazines, and so on. But it sounds like you've got a local guy that can set you up, so hopefully this won't be an issue.


    Of course if you've got the money, buy both. :-)

    Good luck.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Nomen Nescio, 2/2/09 9:07:34 am
    i admit it, i've got a thing for the AK. granted that the stock iron sights are sucky --- i'd prefer some add-on peep sight myself, if possible, or at least an optic on the receiver side mount otherwise --- but the AK just seems to have that indefinable something the AR plain doesn't.

    folks'll tell you the AK is less accurate than the AR. by the time that becomes an issue, you're a good enough rifleman and shooting at long enough distances that you'll want something M14-based instead anyway. at carbine distances (300 meters and below), the AK will do just fine.

    plus, there's the convenience. it's not that i mind cleaning rifles, but one look at the AR's ridiculous "barrel extension" imitation of a vagina dentata told me i'll surely mind cleaning that.
    Ruger Mini 30
    Rustmeister, 2/2/09 9:14:10 am
    Shoots the 7.62x39, but more accurate and made lots better. =)
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    knot, 2/2/09 10:01:41 am
    1. Avoid the Mini-30 like the plague. I\'ve got one.

    2. Either platform is fine, but. . .

    3. You said you wanted either a rifle OR pistol caliber carbine. That statement tells me that you really want the AR. I recommend starting with an AR in a light carbine configuration(No HBAR), w/ chromed chamber. Emphasis on starting. It\'s a big world of rifles, we should all get to know as many as possible.

    4. $200 for a stripped lower is pretty steep. AIM has some for $85 ish to $140ish, so your dealers markup is steep unless they are brand name babies. I wouldn\'t start with a brand-name baby.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    aczarnowski, 2/2/09 10:07:52 am
    Scalpel or machete? Both can do great work, but one takes a bit more care and feeding to stay sharp and shiny. You'll need to clean it and make sure it's happy, but you'll get precision in return. The other will get hung up on a nail somewhere until you have a need to bludgeon out a path. The handle isn't very comfortable, but hacking away is still satisfying.

    The debate is more about personality than technicalities since both scare GFWs. What do you want to do with it?
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Gregory Morris, 2/2/09 10:12:20 am
    The mini14 is on "the list" to be banned, but it doesn't make helmke cry as much as an ak.

    200 is steep, but no other local shops have them, and ordering online entails shipping costs, transfer costs, and waiting. In the end, spending a little bit more isn't a huge deal.

    As for what I want to do with it... I don't NEED this gun. It is purely for fun, and scaring liberals.

    I am leaning toward the ak so I can complete my commie rifle collection.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    dock, 2/2/09 12:15:03 pm
    Go buy an AK rifle, and an AR lower.

    Build AR lower out as time and money permit.

    Having had both, I tend to favor the AR, as it seems someone went out of their way to design a rifle in the AK that absolutely, positively does not fit my body in any way, shape or form.

    That said, the dead nuts reliability of an AK is tough to beat. You might consider the 5.45 variant as it seems to be a much sweeter shooter than the 7.62 and the ammo is cheap-n-plenty (right now). You have to get mags anyway. :)

    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Matt, 2/2/09 2:34:01 pm
    AR all the way. I've owned and I am building AK pattern rifles but I much prefer the AR platform. Not going to improve on the many good reasons for an AR although I concur with the idea of an AK and getting an AR lower. Doing that, though, assumes we aren't facing an HR.1022 situation where you would never be able to get the "conversion kit" for the lower post-enactment. If you're willing to bet that won't happen, punt and get both. You won't be disappointed.

    At least you aren't asking about a .308. Then you will be spending a metric fuckton of your own money to own one of them. :)
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    formerflyer, 2/2/09 3:36:33 pm
    AK has always been my doomsday platform. Have owned multiple copies of both, but the claw-hammer reliability of the AK has always led me back to them in the long run. I've lent out an AR to my brother to get it back 2 weeks later totally frozen solid. Took gunsmith intervention to get it apart and a couple of hundred dollars worth of work to get it back to running. I've simply NEVER had an AK malfunction. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I've never had it happen. Used to by my 7.62X39 ammo by the 1200 rd case from J&G Sales in Arizona, and in over 30 cases worth they've never let me down.
    I now own an amazingly accurate AR that is enormous amounts of fun to shoot at long range. It is a marvel of precision engineering. Shoots groups so tight that I don't even mention it anymore for fear of being called a liar. Just suffice it to say that, "If I can see it, I can hit it." My AK's, on the other hand, are salad-plate accurate out to 300 yards, good enough for feral pigs out to 200 or so, but no better. Of course, that's enough accuracy for anything I might ever HAVE TO USE A RIFLE FOR (as opposed to want to use a rifle for). Townsend Whelen, I think, used to say that, "Only accurate rifles are interesting." But Jeff Cooper put that into context by pointing out that in his day, TW was used to rifles that wouldn't routinely hold their ammo on a dinner plate. To him, an accurate rifle was 2-3 MOA. All but one of my AK's fits that criteria.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    name, 2/2/09 7:23:47 pm
    I built an AR since it's simply no use shooting an AK in Service Rifle at 200-yards.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Gregory Morris, 2/2/09 7:51:49 pm
    Update:

    Found me a "cheap" SAR-1. It is in darn good condition, although the previous owner had obviously not heard of Hoppes #9.

    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Rivrdog, 2/2/09 8:51:58 pm
    AK. For $750, J&G Sales has the Romanian PSL semi-auto sniper which shoots the VERY manly 7.62X54R AND comes fitted with an okay Russkie scope.

    http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/products_id/2392
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Rivrdog, 2/2/09 9:02:28 pm
    OH, and about Mini-30's. It IS a well-made rifle, but it has quirks. (1) It doesn't like East Bloc ammo because it has a .308 barrel, and needs a .310 or .311. (2) The hammer doesn't fall hard enough to ignite Russ primers, you have to refit with a Wolff hammer spring. (3) It's VERY finicky about magazines. There are a million out there, but only the Rugers seem to work all the time, and they are hard to find. (4) If you change stocks from the original, you will probably have to relieve any new one you get, since a tight fit for the receiver can set off action malfunctions. (5) They disfigure your brass and fling it into the next county. You can fix that with an adjustable gas block.

    So, if you buy one, you have a fine gun as long as you shoot your own reloads or US ammo, which will eliminate problems 1 and 2. Keep shopping for those Ruger magazines, pay whatever it take to get them, and use the original stock.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Fûz, 2/2/09 9:22:48 pm
    Factory-built AKs seem to be hovering in distributor price around what it costs to get a sound COMPLETE kit and tooling to build one. The kit lacks one thing the factory-built AK does not: a form 4473.

    Much harder to build an AR without one of those---still did, have a look at my place.

    Another commenter already suggested: get full AK and an AR lower. Build the AR out later with parts acquired at your leisure. Can't fault that.
    Re: Decisions, Decisions. AR vs AK.
    Harp, 2/3/09 1:10:10 am
    Go with the AR-15. It gives you a lot more options. You can get an upper for 7.62X39. You can add 4 or 5 different calibers as you go along.
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