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Note: This is my first post on this forum. I’ve given this idea a lot of thought. Maybe I'm not the first to do this, but I thought I’d submit it to you guys to see what you think. – Bubba Zanetti, March 2014. “Saiga Defender” Concept in 7.62 x 39 I bought my Saiga 7.62 x 39 “Hunting Carbine” at a gun show three years ago. I’ll never forget my wife’s surprise when I brought it home: “What’s this box that says $349!??” That seemed like a lot of money to her, but I knew the Saiga was substantially undervalued. Unboxed, it looked plain and non-threatening, a kitten. But I knew it retained its tiger heart in the form of the Russian made AK 100 receiver. For a time, I kept my 7.62 dressed in its black polymer pajamas, but it wasn't long before I wanted more. What to do? The most popular Saiga conversion is the “Classic AK”: the modern, semi-auto version of the rifle that would have been used by hordes of dismounted Soviet infantry as they stormed NATO defenses. Much fun & satisfaction can be had when smithing your Saiga into this tiger! Valid option, but no…not for me. I thought briefly of adding a scope and converting it to a “Scout Rifle”, but decided that’d be more fitting for the Saiga .308. What else… I’m old school, a Cold War guy with a taste for older milsurp main battle rifles and carbines. I like carbines. I have an old IBM production M1 Carbine, and it’s still pretty tight. Those .30 carbine rounds hit like a .357 at close range. Good defense against home invading Hobos, but at longer ranges .30 carbine lacks the “ass” of the 7.62 x 39 round. Inspired by my M1 Carbine, I evolved the “Saiga Defender” concept. The Defender retains the rear mounted trigger assembly, eliminating the need for a pistol grip. Wood furniture replaced the factory issue polymer stock. Wood brings the classic lines of an old-school military carbine, married with the solid “smash” capability generations of soldiers took for granted. To get this, I refinished a surplus Romanian AK butt stock and an American walnut forward hand guard. A hard rubber pad extends the butt stock an inch and gives the shooter a bit more rifle to work with. This Defender wears a heavy bolt-on muzzle break. It was not cheap, but I believe this is an excellent example of you get what you pay for. It mounts over the barrel and slides up snug on both sides of the forward sight post. A separate piece secures the brake behind the post, locked down by 4 long hex screws. It’s solid and effective. It will not come off until I want it too. Others may opt to thread their barrel and install a permanent brake – that’s cool. I like this muzzle brake. When you combine this brake with the heavy wood furniture some of the wild “jump” is negated when firing the 7.62 x 39 round. I have not yet made the bullet guide modification. This will be a summer project. Who doesn’t want to use AK mags & drums? It did wear a surplus SKS sling, but it didn't match the new wood stock. I replaced it with a 3' long brown leather cobra sling, polished the sling to match the wood grain. The Defender is meant to be fired from the shoulder, delivering US style “aimed fire” (versus Soviet volume of fire). It retains the standard AK sights, but these are “zeroed” via standard 25 meter targets simulating the 250 meter silhouette. I have swapped out the standard Saiga dust cover for a US made cover that has a built in dovetail. If you have bad eyes, you can mount an optic. I’m searching for a low profile peep sight or leaf sight that I can use with the AK forward sight post. My goal is to increase the sight radius and accuracy to mirror the M1 Carbine. (UPDATE: Will be adding Tech-Sights model AK200S sights to meet this requirement - thanks Inebriated & Think1st). My end game combines the accuracy and physical ruggedness of an M1 Carbine, with the firepower and reliability of an AK. It is heavy, defense of compound weapon. It is meant to be fired from cover at short to mid-range. Not intended for CQB (we're not clearing jihadi’s in Fallujah) but if pressed, you could swing it like a club – old school! I attached a photo of the Defender, on the bench in my workshop. What do you think? Regards, Bubba Zanetti