View Full Version : Romanian SAR-1 Question
03-05-2004, 08:08 PM
What are the opinions here of the Romanian SAR-1 AK-47 [7.62x39] variant? Good quality?
03-05-2004, 08:16 PM
A fair quality decent AK for the price. But they are plagued with problems and of the several I used to own, I ended up trading in all of them for the higher quality Bulgarian Arsenal milled AK's, and I've been almost 100% satisfied with them.
03-05-2004, 10:20 PM
SARs are a good place to start. They'll take a beating and keep going. The problem with the twisted barrels has been resolved, and they're decent rifles. They're getting harder to find with the AWB possibly sunsetting--no one wants a bunch of rifles with fixed stocks, no brakes, etc. if those are legal in 6 months.
Another possibility are the Saiga rifles, a little better finished and cheaper. You can convert them to AK style cheaper that you can buy a SAR. Plus, you can have a Saiga in .308.
The Arsenal rifles are nice, but over-priced.
03-05-2004, 10:40 PM
The Arsenal rifles are nice, but over-priced.
Over-priced is in the eye of the beholder! I used to think nearly $800.00 for an AK was too much too, but after I got over my initial reluctance to pay that much for one AK I found that the Arsenal rifles are worth every penny. I came to regret buying any SAR's. So, in a way, my "bargain priced" SAR's ended up not being such a bargain after all when they began to have problems with the crappy Century FCG's, gas pistons unscrewing, failures to extract with some brands of ammo, etc.
I guess my bottom line is, IMHO $800.00 is not too much for an AK you can totally rely on; $400.00 is too much for an AK you CAN't rely on. :)
03-06-2004, 05:14 AM
The perceived value of a product relates directly to one's expectations. I sense that Zoid may have higher expectations of a $300 than a lot of us. If you have the opportunity to inspect an SAR for canted sights or gas block before buying it, you can hardly go wrong for $300-$325. And I think this problem has, for the most part, been fixed. They aren't real pretty but can be fixed up to some extent without spending a dime. The trigger group is lacking, but can be massaged to eliminate trigger slap. If you need to rely on this rifle for your life you should probably replace the fire control group. For $40 you can get the G2 set from TAPCO. But now you've got a $340-$365 SAR1. Wanna install plastic furniture? Now you've got a $400-$425 SAR1. Would you want to install some sort of brake, like an AK74 type? You've now upgraded your SAR to look like an Arsenal rifle except that the metal finish still sucks, you've got some inferior cast parts, and it's a stamped receiver.
As far as reliability goes, Zoid is the first review I've read that hinted at anything less than 100% function from an SAR.
Get an SAR and use it as it is or pay the extra money up front and buy the fancier rifle.
03-06-2004, 10:24 AM
I answered a thread here that pretty much goes into detail about my problems with Romanians:
My reply is buried in with others, and my detailed list of problems with SAR's is pretty far down, but I go into some detail so I don't want to retype it here.
I've had a gut full of problems with Romanian SAR's, and I say, "Good Riddance." I'll concede that a lot of the problems with them are not the fault of the Romanian factory, but are in fact a result of what Century did to them to make them legal.
Actually, the appropriate price comparison is Romanian vs. Chinese. Back in the day, Chicom AK's could be had for about the same price as a Romanian, and to my knowledge, the Chinese AK's did not experience anywhere near the problems that the Romanians have.
03-06-2004, 11:35 AM
funny, mine eat anything i feed them, and never complain.
03-06-2004, 08:31 PM
Now you're talking my talk--the first AK I had was a MAK-90, and I have 4 of them--more than any other one type except Saigas. And 3 of them still have the thumbhole stock. (The other had been converted to underfolder--it had the original underfolder receiver.)
The Chinese had the heavier receiver and a good trigger group. (I have one with the milled receiver that I've kept NIB. In fact, I never found anything wrong about them. Even the TH stock wasn't bad after you shaped it to fit your hand. Even a friend's milled Bulgarian wasn't that much better, and his thumbhole stock was terrible. That was what kept me from buying some of the other AK models which appreciated so much more.
03-06-2004, 09:37 PM
I only ever really had four criticisms of Chinese AK's:
1. Poor accuracy: I NEVER had one that would do less than 6" groups at 100 yards. Now, older and wiser, I realize that the crappy Chicom ammo in sealed tins was probably machine gun ammo. Machine gun ammo is often deliberately manufactured with a dispersion factor built in.
2. Soft springs. If you compare the springs on a Chinese AK to anyone else's, the springs (especially noticeable in the mag catch spring) are generally not as strong as on any European AK. But, as a buddy of mine said, maybe the Chicom springs are adequate and the Europeans make theirs stiffer than they need to be.
3. Some were a little sloppily manufactured right before the 1994 assault weapons ban. I used to jokingly refer to these as "wartime" production. Now I realize that ANY AK, including the mighty Arsenal Bulgarian, can occasionally have a sloppily produced example.
4. Soft wood for the stocks. This wood was about as soft as balsa wood. I literally remember testing it with a fingernail; my fingernail easily dented it.
The good points of Chinese AK's (circa 1992);
1. They were readily affordable just like the Romanian SAR's are now.
2. More expensive examples like the milled Polytech Legend really were of higher quality than the rack grade ones. Truth be told, I'd trade any one of my Bulgarians (but ONLY one!) for a genuine NIB milled Polytech Legend.
3. The stamped receivers on Chinese AK's are thicker than their European AKM counterparts. In fact, the stamped Chinese is NOT an AKM but rather a true AK-47 modified to take a stamped receiver. European AKM's are rated for as few as 15,000 rounds; Chicom stamped AK's are generally believed to be good for at least 50,000 rounds before the structural integrity has been pummeled to the point that the rifle is no longer acceptably accurate.
I've always liked the "eared" front sight on a European AK versus the full ring on a Chinese AK, but this is just a preference, not a criticism.
03-08-2004, 01:26 PM
I forgot to mention the mag release and it's spring. I never had a problem with it holding, but it's so much softer than the European springs. Being used to it, that was standard, the European was too strong (especially the Saigas!). Also, the Chinese release is slightly longer and has a flat "paddle" end; the European ones with a strengthening ridge in it are painful to me. I love the feel of the milled ones; I wanted to mill one with the lever longer, about 2" overall and slightly wider. I intend to put an extension on my Saigas, but you really need a drill press to drill them. The steel is pretty hard.
Some (maybe all?) of the milled-receiver MAK-90s were very close to or identical to the Legends. I have one that I've kept NIB in hopes that the value will someday increase. If not, after I shoot out all the others, I'll have that one to fall back on (or pass on to my great to the 5th grandchildren).
03-08-2004, 08:36 PM
I like mine took some work dialing it in! but well worth the cash!!!great first AK!
I have an SAR-1 and its my first and only AK. The FCG that was in it was junk and changed it to a double hook GT FCG and its great. No problems with it other than the FCG. Nice AK for the money
03-23-2004, 12:16 PM
Romanian SAR work fine, except for the poor geometry of the fcg, the Romanian ak parts kits sold by joeken, are said to be much better quality than the newly made SAR parts.
03-23-2004, 12:32 PM
I consider the replacement FCG's by K-VAR to be the best of all. They are a drop-in fit with no hand-fitting, and I stand by them 100% for replacement in a Romanian SAR. I ended up using the K-VAR kit on all but one of my SAR's.
03-23-2004, 12:35 PM
My SAR was OK out of the box, with a straight front end and not a lot of trigger slap. I've since polished the rails and bolt carrier, installed an RSA trigger group, and a muzzle device of my own design and making. It's not a great rifle, but it's reliable and fun!
My next one will be an Arsenal, tho.
what needs to be dont to a saiga to convert it to an ak style? im thinkin the pistolgrip and stock...what else? and do these accept standard ak mags?(is it 7.62x39?) im findin saigas locally for 250-280 in pretty good shape, and sar1's for 335 out the door.....the sars are in pretty good shape also. im thinkin for the little bit of money difference the sar would be a better buy...what do you guys think?
03-23-2004, 01:13 PM
I have owned a Romanian SAR-1 for about 3 years now. I have three to four thousand rounds through and never had a problem. The accurracy is good and I can hit what I aim at without a problem. Some people say that the Bulgarian milled AK-47 is better but I'm not sure that's true. The only difference I can find is that replacement parts seem to be harder to come by. My research on the internet leds me to the following: Bulgarian replacement parts are everywhere, but Romanian parts are harder to get.
03-23-2004, 03:38 PM
Naturally, my experience has been just the opposite. My first AK was an Arsenal Classic. It was way to nice to shoot.I felt bad about bumping and abusing it. I got a Sar 1 and a 2 for beaters to take out and shoot. I sent the sar2 out to be refinished and now it's too nice to shoot. I still have the Sar1 to take to the pit. I added a RSA trigger and will put a slant brake on soon, but that is it. I have my share of pretty guns, but I just love them Romanians. What an Ak should be.
03-23-2004, 06:35 PM
I had so many problems with Romanians that I just traded or sold them off to my local dealer and used the money to buy Bulgarians. I've never had a problem with a Bulgarian other than cosmetics for the most part.
I was left thinking of the Romanians as extremely shoddy and not a rifle I would want to rely on. Admittedly, most of the problems with the Romanians have to do with what Century had to do to them to make them legal, but the whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.
03-23-2004, 10:24 PM
The Saigas (7.62x39; .308 is a little different, and I've never been able to get my hands on a .223 long enough to tear it down) need a little work, but a fast worker could do it in a long evening; for most, it would probably take a weekend, depending on what they did.
You have to change out the FCG (fire-control group; trigger/sear, hammer, and disconnector) and buttstock, and add a pistol grip. The bottom of the receiver has a plate with the trigger guard on it. This covers the opening for the AK trigger. Take that off and throw it away, but remove the trigger guard first. It can be salvaged and used, leaving the Saiga magazine release mount as-is. The release itself needs to be shortened (at least, mind did) so an AK magazine will lock into place. It's only about .040", so the Saiga mags still work. Just put an AK mag into place and pull back, like you were locking it in, then scribe a line on the release. Take it out and shorten it (leave the line just showing). You can also put an extension on at that time. For mine, about half the mags I tried worked, and that was good enough for the first one. On the second, I made a feed ramp so all mags worked. I've heard of sanding the underside of the front of the mag lips to make them work. The rounds need to ride a little higher and tip up a little so they will chamber.
The forearm is more work than I wanted to put in, so I left the Saiga forearm on--I like the length, and I wrap my hand around the forearm, so the high sides work as well or better than the separate upper handguard. Someone took an AK forearm retainer, cut it vertically so they could put it over the barrel, then TIG welded it back together. I designed a milled piece that would do the same thing, except it was milled out at the top so it would slide on from the bottom.
I tend to be interested in things that work; the converted Saiga was cheap ($175 OTD for the rifle) and most of the parts I had on hand. It doesn't look exactly like an AKM, or an AK-74, but it works like them. It's a light, fast rifle, it has the scope base on the side, and it uses AK accessories (except the sling; it has 1" sling swivels. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I can't use a sling anymore anyway.).
i appreciate the reply packrat, a little more work than ill have time for anytime soon, but it helped me a lot. thanks
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