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Thread: Optics for AK?

  1. #1
    Registered User louColt's Avatar
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    Sep 2016

    Optics for AK?

    I've been wondering for a while now. From what I understand, the AK is simply not designed for being used as a sniper rifle. Or a hunting rifle. And yet, we can see a perfect example of the opposite in another thread on this subforum. And it's equipped with a scope (which one is it, by the way?)

    I tried to figure out what would be the best scope for an AK, but I didn't find much, except a short list of scopes. It's really short, with only a handful of scopes on it. And I prefer Vortex scopes anyways, which weren't there. Don't they make scopes for AK?

  2. #2
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    sniperdoc's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    An AK is not accurate enough to benefit from a proper scope.
    A red dot works very well, however.
    If you are really dedicated to a scope, something in the 4x range is all you need.

    The ballistic property of the 7.62x39 cartridge is basically the same as the 30-30, so it is adequate for deer and similarly sized game to a range of approximately 150 yards.

  3. #3
    Registered User DistalRadius's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Both cartridge and platform are suitable for hunting. Pretty much all rifles benefit from an optic. AKs generally are 2-3 MOA guns which will never be a "sniper rifle" but is plenty accurate for hunting at intermediate ranges, same as grandpa's .30-30 Marlin. Soviets have been using optic equipped AKs for some time now. The best ones that are original to the platform are the side-rail mounted optics. The AK's receiver must be equipped with a side-rail similar to this:

    There is literally a whole universe of AK specific optics and mounts, most of which are intended to be used in conjunction with the side-rail. Kalinka Optics has a large selection you can browse. Most magnified optics will be calibrated for the larger 7.62x54R caliber for the Dragunov but they do make the same optics calibrated for 7.62x39. The POSP 4x24V being one example.

    There are a variety of US made solutions for mounting a scope on a non-railed receiver, like railed dustcovers and the like, which are functional but generally inferior to the originals. One can even mount a conventional scope to the side-rail with something like this or this. There are more options out there too but I don't feel like Googling them right now.

    Hopefully this these links will give you enough reading material to get you started. There is a lot to learn about AK optics and mounts and it can get confusing pretty quickly. Best of luck.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Jan 2017
    Round Rock, TX
    Any rifle can benefit from good optics - magnified or otherwise. AK optics and mount options are far superior today than they were just 5-6 years ago.

    I have been running "modernized" AKs for over a decade now. I love the gun and have some 7 variants, each having a distinct feature set.

    Yes, I do think that the AK is first and foremost a battle carbine - assualt rifle - pick your wording for what is basically a 300 meter and below weapon. It can go beyond that - and is accurate to a degree. It is not sub-MOA, it is not a sniper rifle and probably not a good pick for DMR.

    If you want to put holes into holes, don't grab an AK, but deer hunting doesn't require that.

    But some AK types are quite accurate and some Optics are very much capable of being mounted ergonomically and increase the capabilities of the AK in ways that those who have not been shooting them and studying them much in the last 10+ years have experienced.

    Here is a cool video (AKOU's Robski behind a VEPR @ 500yds

    Here are some relatively inexpensive products to research:

    Midwest Sidemount (RS-Regulate is better, Arsenal's is longer - but this is cheaper and solid)

    3x power ACSS reticle and a great optic - its in the video I posted above

    1-6x variable Power with ACSS. These are longer and bulky, but like a reddot in close - out to 6 power

    What is cool about the AK over most other rifles is that it is surprisingly versatile. Most variants have QD side mounts - that means you can have a couple different optics packages kitted and switch between them quickly. Likewise, the muzzle devices are QD - just unscrew your jetbrake for long range and stick on a 4-peice 99% flash hider in seconds.

    The lessons I have learned:

    1. except for the more expensive and well built options, the dust cover mounts are terribad - stay away at all cost. Even the more expensive and well made ones are really unnecessary.

    2. Dot sights can be accurate at longer ranges. 2MOA dots @ 2-300yds is not that hard - probably not something you want to hunt with, but have much better applications too - plenty of guys reaching out farther without magnified optics or even red dots.

    3. Just like the world of ARs, AKs have many innovative accessories and they have thier place. Check out the interwebs for what shooters are doing.

    4. Get good AKs. Research before you buy. WASRs are not crap. Yugos are OK. American made AKs generally are not good investments (some new developments here, but not tried and true yet). AKs from Combloc countries are the best right now.

    5. DO NOT BUY I.O.

    Anyways - lots more info out there than I know.

    Don;t hesitate to throw a magnified optic on your AK - cost like $4-500 to do it right and that isn't an arm/ leg of money.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2007
    Just because I'm an "AK guy" and an avid whitetail deer hunter this past year I outfitted one of my AK's for hunting. I really just planned on using the hunting AK for one or two hunts out of the 20+ hunts I make each year.

    I have a Norinco MAK-90 that I put the required number of U.S. made parts into and added a regular AK stock.
    To hunt with it I added a side rail, a RS Regulate mount, and a Leupold VXII 3-9x40 scope.

    Where I hunt in the foothills the vast majority of shots are at 60 yards or less. I actually could have just used the iron sights but I am used to using optics on hunting rifles so it just seemed like the right thing to do.

    Zero'ing a decent scope on an AK can be a bit of a challenge. It is more a matter of averaging shot groups more so than having repeatable tack-driving precision.

    At the distances I hunt using an AK it is an ethical hunting tool. Much past 60 yards I personally would not take the shot because I want a clean shot and clean kill.

  6. #6
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    Battering ram NIB's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    i have cheap red dots on my 2 ak' son got a deer with it....problem with mak 90 is the scope sits up too high....on my pap i drilled the top cover and it sits down correctly

    if you want to know what i put on my sons AK ill get it out of the safe and check...i believe its a 2x one with a cabellas name on it......bad eye relief and i think i paid $150....does the job

    on my PAP i bought the cheapest bushnell red dot and drilled the top cover to put a rail on it...nice thing is it mounts nice and low

  7. #7
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    Mar 2013

    This is a great resource for all Russian AK optics. Very detailed and most of these scopes can be bought in the states. BTW, I use the PO 3.5x21P scope (made for Venezuela with a 7.62x39mm cam) and have excellent results at 300+ M.
    Last edited by Soylent_Green; 02-09-2017 at 08:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Gaujo's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I have had several AKs with side mounting rails. I also bought an AK that came with a side mounted tasco. It is clunky and off bore axis, and I traded it away at the first opportunity. If you want a scope in that caliber, buy a bolt action or put one on an SKS. If you want an optic on an AK, I recommend the Texas weapons systems picatinny dust cover. I use a red dot on mine and am quite satisfied.

  9. #9
    Registered User Inkognito's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    An AK makes a great deer rifle. As already stated, an AK is not going to be accurate enough for a traditional sniper role which would demand accuracy out to great distances. but out to 300 yards they are quite effecitve and adding a small scope does make them much more effective. Something in the 1x to 4x range is perfect. Personally, I think the Vortex 3x Spitfire is a great optic to mount on an AK.

    Keep in mind, adding a scope or an optical sight to a rifle does not increase the rifles range or accuracy; it increases the operators range and accuracy. Most rifles will shoot far more accuracte than the user is capable of, this includes AKs. As the range to target increases, the users limitations exponentially increase which results in increased deterioration in accuracy. Magnified optics aid the shooter and help reduce the users diminishing ability to acquire and hold on to a target as the range increases.

  10. #10
    Registered User Paul Kersey's Avatar
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    Feb 2017
    I like a simple red dot on mine.

    Last edited by Paul Kersey; 11-28-2018 at 12:27 PM.

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