I could not stop wandering about all of this, so I called Izhmash directly today.
All Saiga 7.62 x 39 models could have a stepped chamber. Apparently, they use whatever is in stock at the moment of assembly.
Models that are meant for export are not checked for this gun control measure. Well, that confirms the suspicions.
I asked if it was possible to order a model that would accept standard AK magazines, but the answer was no.
On the other hand, it is possible to get a non-stepped one. The lady could not tell on the phone if that would mean any extra costs, though.
It’s also not possible to have a standard AK-103 converted to semi-automatic (as obligated by the laws in my country.
Apparently it is a different part of the Kalashnikov Concert that does military productions and they do not supply to civilians.
This is just a guess from all of this: the bodies of Saiga and actual AK are manufactured in different plants, but the barrels are not.
Actually when you think about it, Russians do love the 7.62 diameter. ( Nagant revolver, Mosin Nagant, AK and so on… )
I got a catalogue meant for European export and a price list by e-mail. Any further specific questions I was supposed to ask by mail as well.
After I have placed an order, I would get the prices for any custom modifications and requests. I’ll have to see if I can pull this off.
In fact I just started to wonder if I would even get an export license out of Russia with all the stupid sanctions and embargos at the moment.
A long bureaucratic journey awaits…