5 Best AK-47 Rifles Under $800 [Budget AK47 2021]

by Ryan Cleckner

July 26, 2021

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With increased talk of an Assault Weapon Ban, specifically bans on AK-style rifles (such as AK-47s and their clones), more and more Americans are looking to pick up an AK-style rifle before it’s too late.

If you’ve been researching AK-47 style rifles already… good luck! You already know that there’s a nearly endless supply of information on variants, features, pros/cons, etc.

It’s so much information that many can’t even decide what AK-47 to buy! Or, you (like me) might want to default to a higher-priced option just to make sure that you aren’t getting something that is a piece of junk (or worse, dangerous). This can work, however, spending $1,000 or more on an AK-47 defeats the purpose for many shooters.

Best Budget AK-Style Rifles

Best AK-47s

GunDetailsCheck It Out
#1
Century Arms VSKA
  • Carburized bolt
  • RAK-1 enhanced trigger
  • Stamped steel receiver
  • Accepts standard AK magazines
Check Price
#2
PS-AK47
  • Gas Nitride 4150 steel treated barrel
  • Stamped steel receiver
  • Forged Front Trunnion
  • Hammer Forged Bolt
Check Price
#3
WASR-10
  • Gas Operated
  • 30+1-Round capacity
  • Fixed Front Sight
  • Plain Muzzle
Check Price
#4
Century C39V2
  • 30+1 rounds
  • 10.6″ barrel with LH 14×1 threading
  • Milled receiver
  • Magpul® MOE
Check Price
#5
Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47
  • 30+1 round capacity
  • Adjustable Krinkov-style sights
  • Krinkov-style muzzle brake
  • Krinkov-style hinged dust cover
Check Price

Before we see the hate in the comments below, we get it: you get what you pay for. Some folks just want a budget AK so that they can at least have something or they merely want it for plinking or “just in case” and can’t afford to spend (or don’t want to spend) that much on a rifle.

So, we’ve collected the 5 best AKs for under $800. We were compiling a list and noticed a great video (from a great source) so we decided to share the video by AK Operators Union with you below and just list the AK rifles he features (after all, he’s one of the best authorities on these rifles).

So, if you’re looking to build your warzone loadout with your “AK 47 assault rifle” (ugh, we hate that term) you may need to stop playing so much Black Ops Cold War or Modern Warfare.

However, if you want to know what the best ak47 rifle is under $800, read on…

Each of these links to the rifles show the best prices online (yes, you can buy guns online)

Reviews of the Best Budget AK-Style Rifles

#1 CAI VSKA : Century Arms VSKA (American)

CAI VSKA

at guns.com

A “fixed” model of the CAI rifles, the CAI VSKA was a good move for Century Arms. Great for shooting and easier on the budget.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Reliability B+
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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VSKA Specs

  • Operating System Gas Piston (long stroke)
  • Caliber 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel Length 16″
  • Colors Black
  • Sights Integrated Iron Sights

CAI VSKA Review

As you’ll see, Century Arms is the most popular name in this list. This is because Century Arms is the biggest importer AND manufacturer of AK-47s – especially budget varieties!

They made a very popular American AK-47 called the RAS-47…BUT… it had some quality issues (serious ones) and it got a bad name quickly. Do not let this turn you off to all CAI rifles – there are plenty of good ones and this rifle, the VSKA, is their answer to the previous issues.

Previously, in the RAS-47, they used cast trunions and bolts. In this VSKA, however, they use S7 tool steel and mill the parts out of forgings (this is great news).

If you’re looking for an American made AK-47 with some classic styling, you should check out the VSKA! As you can see in this video, the VSKA is clearly a reliable rifle.

CAI VSKA Pros and Cons

  • Nice improvement over RAS-47
  • Great value
  • American made (something weird about that)
  • No bayonet lug/cleaning rod

#2 PSA PS-AK47 GF3 : Moekov Rifle (American)

PSA PS-AK47 GF3

at palmettostatearmory.com

Given the nature and history of the AK-47, the PS-AK47 has many added upgrades already installed. This is a solid winner in my book, but not as good as pricier models.

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  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Reliability B+
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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PSA PS-AK47 GF3 Specs

  • Operating System PSA
  • Caliber 7.62×39mm
  • Magazines Magpul Mags
  • Capacity 30 round magazine

PSA PS-AK47 GF3 Review

Palmetto State Armory is known for budget firearms.

This is both good and bad.

It’s good because someone with a tight budget can get a functional firearm. It’s bad because many folks believe that Palmetto State Armory firearms are just as good as more expensive options.

Here’s the truth: these rifles are a great value and, for the money, you’ll be happy with it. However, it is not better than higher-end options.

If you’re looking for “upgraded” Magpul furniture on your AK-47 (especially the folding stock), then this may be a great option for you because this rifle already comes with the “upgrades” installed. The downside to this is that there is less money left for the quality of the base rifle underneath – we are amazed that they had enough money to make a functional rifle (they did).

This rifle is the cheapest AK we recommend because it’s the only one that passed the torture test below:

PSAK-47 GF3 Pros and Cons

  • Comes with Magpul AK furniture and folding stock
  • Incredible Value
  • American made AK (something weird about that)
  • Lowest level of quality we’d recommend

#3 WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle

WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle

at brownells.com, sportsmansguide.com, gritrsports.com, and palmettostatearmory.com

The WASR-10 is an excellent model of the AK-47, even though it is the cheapest. I don’t hesitate to recommend.

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  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Reliability B+
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle Specs

  • Host Platform WASR-10
  • Caliber 7.62x39mm
  • Weight 7.5 lbs
  • Length (collapsed) 34.25’’
  • Capacity 30 rounds

Century Arms WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle Review

The WASR-10 is where it’s at!

I know, I know, there’s some AK purists out there laughing at me right now for typing that. But, hear me out.

The WASR-10 has long been known as the bottom of the barrel/cheapest possible AK-47. Guys that like expensive AK-47s look down their noses at WASR-10s.

However, they are really great rifles (especially for the money).

First, they’re made in Romania where they have a LONG history of knowing how to make quality rifles. I have heard WAY WAY WAY more complaints about American AK-47s (even pricier models) that I have every heard about a WASR-10.

Of course, there are some complaints about “I don’t like them” but I don’t hear about reliability nor safety issues like I have with other AK-47s.

Yes, they’re cheap. No, they’re not very accurate.

They’re not supposed to be! You are probably going to be shooting the absolute cheapest Russian ammo you can find anyway!

Cheap/Plinking/End of the World Rifle: AK-47.

Accurate, premium, precision, etc rifle: AR-15.

Something about the WASR-10 just screams AK-47 (in a Russian accent) whereas the American versions seem like AK-like rifles, kind of.

With all the talks of an AK-47 ban, these will go quick.

WASR-10 Pros and Cons

  • Made in Eastern Europe!
  • Insanely Reliable
  • It’s a great AK, but not a premium rifle.
  • Usually don’t include a cleaning rod

#4 Century Arms C39V2 : AK RIFLE

Century Arms C39V2

at brownells.com, sportsmansguide.com, gritrsports.com, and palmettostatearmory.com

Century Arms is probably one of the the only US manufacturers we trust when it comes to a US made AK-47. So with that being said, the C39V2 is a solidly made AK firearm and can be trusted to deliver.

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  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Reliability B+
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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CENTURY ARMS C39V2 Specs

  • Host Platform Century
  • Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
  • Magazines Removable
  • Weight 8.2 lbs
  • Length 35.25″
  • Capacity 30+1-Round

Century Arms C39V2 Review

The C39v2 by Century Arms is their milled-receiver AK-47.

If you want a milled receiver under $800, then this is your only option.

Why a milled receiver vs a stamped receiver on most AKs? Well, it’s actually a matter of personal preference.

If you want an AK-47 style rifle that is more traditional, you want a stamped receiver. The stamped receiver is lighter and it is more flexible allowing for some forgiveness when shooting.

However, a milled receiver can be more precisely manufactured and give a more rigid platform for your rifle (at the cost of a higher weight).

A milled receiver is NOT necessary, but if you’ve decided that you want one, the C39v2 is your best bet for this price range.

C39V2 AK47 Pros and Cons

  • Milled receiver
  • Milled receiver

#5 Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47

Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47

Sold at Guns.com

Given that the AK-47 can be modified in lots of different variations, the Zastava does not disappoint. It has many different specs that allow it to be just as versatile as any AK-47 on the market today.

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  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Reliability B+
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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TBD

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Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47 Specs

  • Host Platform Zastava N PAP
  • Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
  • Weight 7.7 lbs
  • Length 36.25’’
  • Capacity 30 rounds

Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47 Review

Honestly, we don’t have much (any) experience with the Zastava AK offering but it comes recommended by AK Operators Union and it passed their torture test (in the video below) which is good enough for us!

Zastava M70 Pros and Cons

  • Novel design, small, can utilize same cartridge in pistol
  • No real prcatical use, expensive ammo

History and Buyer’s Guide for the AK-47

If you’re looking to pick up a new budget AK-47, you should at least learn a bit about one. It’s a gun full of rich history and uses.

What is an AK-47?

The AK-47 is a select-fire, and was designed to be a very simple and reliable automatic rifle. It touts a 7.62×39mm round, air-cooled, long-stroke-piston gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle, with a rotating bolt…that is a mouth full and no I cannot say it 10x’s in a row fast!

The goal for this firearm was to be able to be mass produced for a very low cost. The Soviet Union adopted the AK-47 in the late 1940’s and over the years, it has developed and is the most widely recognized firearm in the world today. The barrel and bolt were milled out of steel and hardened chrome, with a sheet metal receiver . The furniture on the Ak-47 is wood which was specific and helped the Soviet Union achieve the type of weapon it was hoping for in mass production.

Now days the Ak-47 has had so many overhauls and updates, that it has changed quite a bit. However, the process and guts are fairly the same today as when it was created so many years ago. A Lot of the parts now days are metal casted with a number of synthetic and plastic pieces added. There is an estimated 100 million AK-47’s that have been manufactured to date around the world.

How does it work?

The AK-47 is the most widely used, and a favorite, of fighting forces around the world. A big reason is because of how easily the firearm operates. The AK-47 is made up of fairly simple and large pieces, which allow for it to cycle in many different conditions, like sand, mud, and even water.

The moment the operator pulls the trigger, it releases the firing hammer then striking the pin. This will then ignite the bullet primer which ignites the gunpowder to launch the bullet. The pressure and gas that pushes the bullet out also pushes back on the bolt carrier, ejecting the empty shell, and resets the hammer to fire again.

The bolt will then grab a new round from the magazine, and place it into the barrel. During that action, the bolt hammer does not move because of the sear that is holding it in place, that is until the carrier returns to its original position.

What should a buyer think about when purchasing?

As much as I would like to say you can get a good AK-47 in the US, they’re just hard to find. The top things to be aware of when you’re looking for an AK-47 are the following:

  1. Canted Sights– If you find an AK-47 with these type of sights, it’s probably more headache than its worth. There are better options, so I recommend staying away from these.
  2. Safety and Trigger– make sure the safety moves easily and locks into its grooves on the frame. The trigger needs to be a clean pull and strongly resets.
  3. Magazine– This needs to fit “easily” into its slot, and if it does not, it is likely the gun is not cut to spec and you should walk away.

When compared to an AR-15, the AKM has a bit more recoil and a bit slower bullet velocity.

This is because the rifleshoots ammo with a much bigger bullet. This bigger bullet sacrifices some recoil control for many shooters and doesn’t have the same range as an AR-15, but the recoil and bullet velocity come with a positive that makes the AK platform popular: more energy on target (although the effective range is decreased, arguably the damage range is increased).

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. In 1977 I found myself unloading battlefield pick up AKs, raided AKs, and trade good AKs which I was told the value of was $210. Nobody told me how they came up with that figure but these AKs were the real thing. In 1992 the local sport shops were selling the legal (neutered) AKs for about $210. These guns were considered relics or curiosities with most people wanting to buy hunting type rifles. Fast forward to about 2010 or so these neutered Ask have gone upwards of $1000. The spirit of the AK was to arm allies for the world revolutiona. There was no such thing as a patent on these the plans were supplied to the Soviet client states. There was no profit motive in the AK proliferation. It’s hard to get interested in these pricey steers.

  2. I don’t know if these are ranked in order from best to worst. But if they are I question anyone’s sanity who would put a cast trunnion rifle at number 1 and and a forged trunnion at number 2. Don’t get me wrong PSA has turned out some very cheaply made firearms that are just awful however, I have yet to hear of one their trunnions breaking apart like several of century’s rifles. I guess if you’re not planning on putting thousands of rounds through it sure get a cast trunnion.

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