.223 and 7.62x39 Russian steel case are about the same cost. The .223 has the advantage of lower recoil, less weight, and more bullet variety. The 7.62x39 has the advantage of greater target penetration and better magazine availability. Out of a 16 inch barrel the practical range of both is going to be about the same and as about as far as you can see your target without a high powered optic. 16 inch budget ARs don't shoot cheap .223 any more accurately than an AK. High dollar, 20 inch bull barrel ARs shooting match ammo will out shoot a 16 inch AK shooting Russian steal case. If you want a match rifle in are in the wrong place. Both rounds kill live targets equally dead. I have AKs in both, like both, and would have no issue relying on either.
The .308 AK is a bad**s machine. Izhmash states it is the most accurate AK variant it has produced. I don't know where you got your mis-info that the AK isn't intended for .308. PSLs and SVD AK variants have been shooting full 30 cal. rounds for decades. The 22" .308 Saiga will throw 30 cal lead into a two inch hole if you set it up right and do your part. It is a heavy son-of-***** though. The magazine selection isn't that great. 20 rounders are a bit much - long and heavy. The 8 round factory mags are descent but nobody sells them. What it needs is descent 10 rounders like those for the PSL and Tiger. But those don't exist, or I haven't found them.
5.45 - I don't have an AK74 can't comment. Will probably pick one up at some point I'm sure. 5.45 has some ballistic advantages over the .223/5.56. It's a brilliant round. But not nearly as widely available in the US as the .223/5.56. Other than the AK74 variants there are no other firearms in the US which use it, at least not to my knowledge. Whereas in .223/5.56 you numerous offerings, and even in 7.62x39 there are some bolt guns, ARs and the SKS among probably others which use it.
The 308 AK is accurate compared to WHAT? I'd pit my M70 Winchester bolt action against a 308 AK ANYDAY. Please. The 308 is a fantastic round, has great range/power, etc... but is is best used in a pricision weapon (which the AK is NOT). So, you have an AK in 308 with limited mag capacity, heavy rounds which are bulky (so you're not carrying many), and for what?... mediocre accuracy? No thanks.
It is true that 308 is the round of choice for snipers (for good reason. It reaches out and HARD). Do you see any AK sniper rifles? I don't. I see M70's, 700's, Barrets (although they're known for the .50), etc.
A 308 AK is more of a "it MIGHT/COULD" (in 308) than "WILL" of a proper firearm meant to fire it (such as those mentioned).
When you have an AK, it's time to stop dreaming and come to grips with reality. It's a short(ish) range weapon that's reliable, robust, and can take abuse. Nothing more, nothing less. If 300m or less is your game (seriously, w/o optics... that's a stretch in itself) then the AK will serve you well in 223 or 7.62. Forget the 308.
Edited by Brian M1, 10 June 2012 - 12:49 AM.