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Saiga-M 223 bolt head/bolt carrier compatibility

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Hello, folks. Once again, back to technical questions. I got my greedy hairy paws on Saiga M (HBAR) 223/5.56. Problem is - it has no bolt head. Got a bolt carrier though. The only bolt heads available are Bulgarian from K-Var. So.
a) Will Bulgarian bolt head work with Saiga 223 bolt carrier? Will it lock properly onto the rifle during action.
B) In case it won't. Will Bulgarian bolt AND Bulgarian bolt carrier work correctly on Saiga 223?

Thank you


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First of all you'd better have the right carrier. The Saiga needs an AK-74 type carrier.


Contrary to some of the old information in the links above, an AK-74 bolt WILL work in the Saiga .223, as long as it headspaces OK. You'll need to find a gunsmith that knows what they're doing with an AK.


Russian, Bulgarian, or E.German 5.45x39 AK-74 bolt will work. I believe a Tantal bolt would also work but not 100% sure.


The bolt may need to have the extractor claw tuned to properly grip the .223 rim, but plenty of people have built AK-74 kits with .223 barrels and have had zero issues with the AK-74 bolt as-is, no modifications made to the extractor.


I have a spare AK-74 bolt that headspaces OK with the Saiga and runs fine. And I just put a 5.56 barrel into an AK-74 parts kit build that will run .223/5.56. It passed first headspace/feed/extraction tests OK.


The AK-74 bolt does NOT have a spring-loaded firing pin, which makes some people worry that it could slamfire on soft-primered commercial .223. It's something to consider.


Yugoslavian, Israeli, Romanian and Bulgarian 5.56 bolts are all NOT compatible with the Saiga.

Edited by mancat

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