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
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).
Each of these links to the rifles show the best prices online (yes, you can buy guns online)
#1. Century Arms VSKA (American)
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.
|Operating System||Gas Piston (long stroke)|
|Sights||Integrated Iron Sights|
CAI VSKA Pros and Cons
Nice improvement over RAS-47
American made (something weird about that)
No bayonet lug/cleaning rod
#2. PSA PS-AK47 GF3 MOEkov Rifle (American)
PSA PS-AK47 GF3
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” magpie 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
American made AK (something weird about that)
Lowest level of quality we’d recommend
#3. Century Arms WASR-10 AK-47
WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle
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. Here are the paces we recommend:
WASR-10 Pros and Cons
Made in Eastern Europe!
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
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
#5. Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47
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
How Does an AK-47 Work?
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