Saiga 04 (AK103) staight pull Kalashnikov

The AK is an iconic rifle and I'd always wanted one. This one I bought from FSU Connection ( last year in a sale they had for about £425 with the woodwork. Oleg is a great guy to deal with as well.

Saiga produce the AK's at the Iszmash factory in Russia that has been producing AK's for 60 years. The AK103 is essentially an AK74 that is chambered in a the AK47's 7.62x39 calibre. The biggest difference to a layman is the AK74's muzzle brake that the AKM's and AK47's didn't have.

The AK103 comes with black plastic furniture but you can easily fit AK47 woodwork if you want the authentic look. I went for the non-folding stock version as this gives you a manual bolt hold open feature which is useful if you are at places where the safety brigade are a bit nannying (namely Bisley!). This is seen in the photos as the silver tab button just above the trigger and works in much the same way as the Ruger 10/22's. You also get the trapdoor in the stock that contains the cleaning kit and tools that allow a full strip of the rifle.

Great fun to shoot

To shoot these is great fun. You get the AK sound and thrill. The sights are fairly rudimentary and are gradiated out to 1000 metres, which is on the stupid side of optimistic. I can generally hit the black of the target at 300 yards regularly, but that is the absolute limit. The kick is very small, but if you take off the muzzle brake, it is noticably increased. Be careful though as if you do this, the cleaning rod will gradually work it's way out of it's housing under the barrel with each shot!

Primary and secondary extraction are faultless and easy, but you do need to be positive with your rearward pull off the cocking handle to ensure the round comes out fully and doesn't fall back into the breach causing a stoppage. I use graded ex-military ammo that costs £125 per 500 and it runs perfectly with it. With the lack of accuracy inherant in AK's, there's not much point in reloading or in using high end ammunition in my view.

This photo shows the AK fully field stripped. It's also pictured with it's proper magazine - a plastic item. The magazine in the main picture is a converted AK47 magazine. You have to do a small amount of machining/filing/dremelling to get AK47 mags to run in AK103's as the design was improved slightly. If you do this though, you can then use the traditional style AK 47 magazing as well as the 40 round RPK and 75 round drum magazines!

Get an AK

This picture shows the gas system which is blanked off as per straight pull laws.

AK's are always a talking point on the range. Everyone has AR's or bolt actions and always knock the accuracy of AK's. Then they ask for a go and have fun. So many people walk up and have a chat to you that you've never met before. If you want to compete, get an AR, if you want to have fun at under half the price - get an AK!!




Fun fun fun at the range

Finally - here's a clip of my first ever firing of my AK on the Bisley zero range with the camera on a tripod. Thanks for reading my ramblings!

Author Pete