Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, let me say that up until recently I was never actually very interested in AKs in general. I always thought they were boring, then about a year ago I got myself an SKS on a whim. The gun proved itself to be such a workhorse that I fell in love with Russian small arms in general. Don't get me wrong, I'll still take the feel of a german bolt action over that of any other gun, but for shooting I wont take anything over Russian. Since then I've obtained an AK in x39, and more recently I bought an SVT40. I love the SVT but it's not the workhorse that I was expecting, It's very finicky.

Now I want something with a bit more bite than the SKS or my AK, but the only AK variant in x54r that I've handled is the Molot Vepr. I was just wondering what everyone's experience with various AKs in 7.62x54r was so I can start looking.

Thanks in advance
-Mike
 

·
Silver Bullet Member
Joined
·
7,719 Posts
Not really much choice in AK action in caliber 54r other than a PSL or a Vepr. (Dragunov SVD price and action are not AK type or price).
Now allegedly, Century Arms is/has imported (ing) and to release this year., the Zastava M91 model DMR type rifle in 54r. Not sure what exact configuration it will be in as far as sporting importability but it could be a good option. Price unknown. There is a thread here on the rifle or if you Google Zastava Arms etc.

As to a 5.45x39. A Vepr or a Arsenal are two good choices or a Saiga if there are any around right now. Various configurations., folding stocks, sporterized etc.
Waffen Werks builds a kit type AK74 with USA barrel for the $650 +/-. They had some bad reports a few months ago about the feed on the new receivers but this seems to have been remedied. See Atlantic Arms site.
 

·
Diamond Bullet Member
Joined
·
9,096 Posts
The best is, of course, a Russian Dragunov, followed by a Chinese one. An Russian SVD "Tigre" variant (the somewhat more common "sporting" version with shorter barrel and different furniture) is also first-rate and some members here love theirs -who wouldn't? I have a Chinese Norinco SVD, but it cost $5000, while a Russian one could be double or triple that and "Tigres" seem to be perhaps $4000+. My SVD will do 1.5 MOA with good Novosibirsk ammo and is absolutely my dream rifle, except for my 43 Tula sniper.

PSLs vary vastly in accuracy, quality and reliability as they are mostly built on imported parts. The original "Cugir" PSL imports are reputed by many to be excellent in both accuracy and reliability. Many members here have gotten very good results for PSLs and they look cool as well, in the $1000-$1500 range. Be careful of build quality on US-assembled ones. Again, some of these are very accurate, but results vary. The only one I ever shot for accuracy could only do about 3 MOA with decent ammo, but several members have done much better -depends on the build and ammo. They hold their value well and seem excellent for near-SVD performance at a lot less money.

VEPRs are really closer to the Kalashnikov action than SVDs and should do well, though these are not MOA rifles. Professionally built with all-Russian parts, they are probably the most affordable of the new rifles in 7.62X54R and reports of problems seem pretty rare. I don't own one, but have considered it - there are lots of variations available, but not much in aftermarket parts. The VEPR long-barrel version is probably very close to SVD ballistics, though not so accurate at longer range due to non-milled receiver and different bolt and gas piston. I got a whole book from Russia on their many variations as I wanted one before I got my SVD. I think there is a thread on them including accuracy reports if you dig here a bit, but I haven't shot them enough to say much.

Another option, if top accuracy is not in your requirements, is to find one of the Saiga sporters in .308 and build it up a bit with, say, an aftermarket Dragunov-style stock and a 4X POS scope in the sidemount. That will be a very reliable 2-3MOA rifle with total costs of perhaps $700-$800 including scope. These are built at Izhevsk on the regular AK line - I have one in 7.62X39 that is as reliable as you could ever want, but, like all Kalashnikov's, a bit low on accuracy in exchange for reliability.
 

·
Silver Bullet Member
Joined
·
7,719 Posts
On a PSL build quality.., I will add that Romanian build quality is not particularly highly regarded in the AK world. Adequate is a good description.
The condition of the kit and the build quality are the variables.
In essence the original Romanian PSL's were built from all new parts in Romania as the normal case..., but the parts are identical whether built in the USA or Romania. (exceptions are some USA squareback receiver (NDS) builds that are in service)

Some USA parts kit builds were brand new with grease paper in the bores others were built from demilled used rifles etc. Quality does vary as with the Romanian builds.

So it is possible that a USA assembled PSL from an all matching 1970's kit is no different than a Romanian build other than who installed the barrel and set the headspace and set the 13 rivets for the assembly. Both origins have good and bad builds.

I have built, inspected, handled and built PSL rifles and owned both types of builds and there is no appreciable difference as long as the build was done correctly.
There are variables in canted components, tight receiver rails, oversized scope rails etc.
Overall a PSL in my experience as an average skilled shooter., using milspec ammo.., a PSL is a solid 2-4 MOA rifle and ammo is cheap compared to other full power cartridges
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
+1, a Vepr is a russian made factory weapon with a heavier barrel than a PSL and not a parts gun built state side.... The Vepr 54r is IMHO the best option at around 1k and under and the Tigre is the next best in the 4K+ range... Now if century ever imports the Zastava M91 I would interested to see how they are and what the price range is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I love my PSL but don't shoot it all that often. The Vepr is probably a better shooter. One of my beefs, albeit a minor one, is that magazines are single stack and 10 rounders protrude much more than double stack PSL mags.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
I love my PSL but don't shoot it all that often. The Vepr is probably a better shooter. One of my beefs, albeit a minor one, is that magazines are single stack and 10 rounders protrude much more than double stack PSL mags.
Yes the single stack mag for the Vepr is the one weakness it has. But a few people have donr some mods and opened up the mag well to use double stack mags.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Sold my Romak III and bought the Vepr. Shooting 2 MOA consistently with the Vepr and mil surp ammo. The Romak would start wandering off diagonally after 2-3 shots upwards of 12+ MOA by the 10th round. May do some research to see if anyone has worked up a load for the Vepr. Unlike the Romak III, the Vepr is designed to handle the heavier ammo, so there is some opportunity to see how grain weight effects accuracy. Would be nice if it was possible to use the regulator system the Vepr 12 uses so manual adjustments are not required. Just my 2 cents worth. New here and really appreciate all the great info under one roof!
 

·
Diamond Bullet Member
Joined
·
9,096 Posts
See if you can get any of the white box Novosibirsk light ball ammo. It has headstamp "LVE" and the date, like "LVE 11", and is the best and most accurate modern non-corrosive ammo I have found -we buy it from Russia to give to our Afghan allies and police.

I have shot it to under 1/2 MOA in my best PU Mosin sniper and shoot it in my SVD and SVT-40 with great results.

Sold my Romak III and bought the Vepr. Shooting 2 MOA consistently with the Vepr and mil surp ammo. The Romak would start wandering off diagonally after 2-3 shots upwards of 12+ MOA by the 10th round. May do some research to see if anyone has worked up a load for the Vepr. Unlike the Romak III, the Vepr is designed to handle the heavier ammo, so there is some opportunity to see how grain weight effects accuracy. Would be nice if it was possible to use the regulator system the Vepr 12 uses so manual adjustments are not required. Just my 2 cents worth. New here and really appreciate all the great info under one roof!
View attachment 766086
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Thanks for the tip, you just gave me the incentive(excuse) to visit our local Gander Mountain! Same results with my M39 rifles. Despite many MN rifles liking the heavier grain weight, my 2 keepers do very well with the LVE 148 grain stuff. Will try to post some Vepr results soon.
 

·
Diamond Bullet Member
Joined
·
8,355 Posts
As others have said the VEPR and PSL are the only AK options that come to mind. There is also the dragunov, but that is well out of your price range.

I have owned now 4 PSL's, I enjoyed each of them but got rid of all but one that I recently acquired for the express intent of doing a video review and then likely sell.
The VEPR is a better quality firearm but I feel both the PSL and VEPR are about the same in the quality department and it really comes down to a couple things and a question.

The russian finish/trigger are much nicer, but its nothing you cannot do to a PSL.
Another thing is you are comparing a military firearm to one made for commercial use.

So it comes down to looks. Do you prefer the black russian or the wood/dragunov lookalike romanian?

Both rifles will serve you well, and while you may like shooting the vepr(its the nicer of the two), you may ENJOY the PSL more because its just a fun gun thats gained popularity.

I will be selling my fourth PSL here soon once I am done doing a video review.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top