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Saiga 5.45 mm Rifle

The AK-74 (or '"Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974"') is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47). It uses a smaller intermediate cartridge, the 5.45×39mm, replacing the 7.62×39mm chambering of earlier Kalashnikov-pattern weapons.

Saiga 5.45 / AK-74 Type

The "Tapkalokov", an AK-74 inspired Saiga 5.45mm rifle using Tapco parts.

The AK-74 rifle first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in the 1979 Afghanistan conflict. Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR. Additionally, unlicensed copies were produced in Bulgaria (AK-74 and AKS-74U), the former East Germany (MPi-AK-74N, MPi-AKS-74N, MPi-AKS-74NK) and Romania (PA md. 86).Beside former Soviet republics and eastern European countries, Mongolia, North Korean Special Forces, and Vietnamese People's Naval infantry use AK-74s.

The Saiga Rifle

The Russians invented the AK and still produce it in their famed armories. But due to US import laws, a true AK, in its intended pistol grip configuration cannot be sold to the US. So the Russians are producing the Saiga rifle, an inexpensive “sporterized” version of the AK, which has become widely popular in the US, for it’s affordable price point, Russian origin, and ability to be converted back into an AK-type using US parts.

The Saiga Semi-Automatic Rifles are a family of Russian semi-automatic rifles manufactured by Izhmash, who also manufacture the original AK-series assault rifles and SVD sniper rifles. The Saiga rifles are a sporter version of the AK-series rifles, and are marketed for hunting and civilian use.

Saiga ("Canta" in Russian) is the name of an Antelope (Saiga tatarica) indigenous to the steppes on Northwest Mongolia.

They are chrome lined hammer forged barrels that are produced in a Russian plant that makes them for the Russian military. Mr. Kalishnikov still holds an office at the plant.
Russian Milspec barrels of high quality, you can't do much better on a AK.

Original Saiga Rifles(7.62mm top, 5.45 middle, and a converted 12 gauge Saiga) in their sporterized configuration, can be had for as low as $299!

The Saiga is a genuine Russian AK style, made in the legendary armory, Izhmash, and their custom shop, Legion. Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant or IZHMASH is a weapons manufacturer based in Izhevsk, founded in 1807 at the decree of Tsar Alexander I, and is now one of the largest corporations in its field. It makes the famous Kalashnikov series of assault rifle, along with a host of other Russian arms, including medium cannons, missiles, and guided shells.


The Tapkalakov

Desert Camo Saiga AK-74 style rifle. (click for larger photo)

Tapco Parts + Krylon Fusion Paint

Krylon Fusion is a spray paint brand with a special formula that bonds to plastics, circumventing the need for primers. It's flat camouflage line has become a favorite with gun owners, and even active duty snipers.
Krylon Fusion Camouflage - Zombtac's "Afghan Desert Camo" - Flat Khaki, Flat Brown, Flat Black. Comprehensive degreasing and prep work with 70 percent alcohol wipes.

Tapco stuff is good for what it is: affordable, compliant, moderately sturdy, and generally available.

Tapco T6 Stock (fixed version, from Mississippi Auto Arms, Inc.) and Saw Pistol Grip (bolt-on version for Saiga, meaning it designed for the original FCG configuration. Many Saigas are converted with the Fire Control Group - FCG moved up and the pistol grip also moved accordingly). Galil hand guard with galil picatinny rail and short vertical grip (all by Tapco). Tapco 10 round 5.45 mm polymer magazine. Tapco G2 trigger (modded for original config.) and US made gas piston.Tapco AK-74 style muzzle brake. (Krebs bolt-on adapter - Saiga's have non threaded barrels).
Eastern Germany Bakelite and Steel Magazines also used. Matching painted scope is a NcStar Mark III rubberized 3-9x42 Scope with illuminated P4 sniper reticle and integrated red laser.
Tromix knurled charging handle knob. UTG Side Rail aluminum scope mount.

The Afghan Poison Bullet 5.45 and AK74 Kalakov








“It’s the Kalakov everyone wants,” the arms dealer tells Abdul-Ahad. “The Taliban like it because it pierces body armor.”
The Kalakov, evidently, is the name the Afghans give to the AK-74, a Russian weapon based on a 5.45mm cartridge. This is confirmed when Hekmat shows the comparatively smaller round for the rifle.

Source: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/09/taliban-seek-rifles-with-more-punch/

An online post by US active duty soldier re: the 5.45 round:

Find it very amusing some are suggesting the 5.45mm round is somehow inferior to the 5.56.Have heard of plenty of complaints about the lethality of the 5.56, especially beyond 300m, and its inconsistent performance within 300m.
Very simply the 5.45mm standard round is tail heavy and will tumble on impact by design.
The Hague convention bans ammunition designed to deform on impact like soft nose ammo, which is why military forces use full metal jacket ammo.
The 5.56mm standard round was designed to fragment and when it does fragment inside the target it is effective, when it does not, it is not.
The West could not complain about the 5.45mm round tumbling on impact when they use a round designed to fragment inside the target.
The 5.45mm round remains in one piece but tends to turn inside the body 90 degrees after initially tumbling, which often makes finding the exit hole difficult and the internal damage extensive.
The lower recoil and longer slimmer bullet design makes the 5.45mm round much more efficient than the original short stubby 5.56mm.
BTW there is no such thing as accurate or inaccurate rounds. A round is consistent or it is inconsistent.
The length of the shell case has nothing at all to do with the consistency of a round.
The 7.62 x 39mm round was the basis via the Russian .220 for the 6mm PPC, and .22 PPC bench rest rounds considered to be the most accurate currently available.

The 5.45mm round (AK74) between the 5.56 NATO(right) currently used by US Forces (M4/M16/AR-15) and the 7.62mm AK-47 round (left).

(more pics below)

With East German Steel 5.45 mm 30-round magazine.

With Tapco 10-round polymer magazine.

The INTRAFUSE® AK RAZR™ Muzzle Brake is another option from Tapco.

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