My first rifle (aside from a .22 LR bolt action and a .410 O/U when I was a kid) was a Yugo SKS I purchased from J&G Sales in Prescott shortly after my 18th birthday, back when they were only $110 out the door (or $100 a piece if you bought two or more). Over the next couple of years I also had a cheap WASR-10 (I think I paid $330ish for it. Those were the days…) and a Mini-30 that I picked up for some reason at a gun show instead of the Russian Red Lancaster that I had my heart set on. The latter was such a POS that it almost turned me off from Ruger firearms forever, but that’s another story…
They have all long since been sold off, but I’ve developed the bug of late for a rifle chambered in an intermediate .30 caliber. I’ve been impressed with handling and shooting my buddy’s Arsenal SLR107, but I’m not crazy about the left-side folding stock or spending 4 figures on a piece of stamped ComBloc steel. Pricing also eliminates the higher end milled Arsenals like the SAM-7R, as well as anything from Krebs Custom or Rifle Dynamics.
Staying on the cheap side, the hot ticket seems to be another Century built rifle; either the Yugo M70 N-PAP or (if I decide that the barrel’s lack of chrome lining is a deal breaker) the American made C39. Both of these seem like decent quality, affordable gats for blowing through some cheap steel-case at the range.
On the other hand, I’m not 100% committed to the Kalashnikov pattern yet and the contrarian side of me wants to go with another oddball (despite the fact that I still have a bad taste left from that Mini years later). There’s always the VZ-58 series rifles from CZ, but they’re currently out of production (although still easy enough to find online) and require different mags than run-of-the-mill AKs. I don’t have much faith or any real interest in any of the lesser 7.62x39mm ARs like the Rock River LAR-47, and availability (or the lack thereof) rules out the unobtanium KAC SR-47. Ignore any reports you may have read about these rifles over the years, they simply don’t exist.
Pictured: the final resting place of the SR-47
Which brings me to the PTR 32.
Really, how can you say no to that face?
Match grade, chrome lined barrel, takes AK magazines (reviews indicate it prefers Bulgy Circle 10s, but who doesn’t), with HK durability and AK reliability. What’s not to like? Well, PTR Industries has them listed as “Temporarily Out of Production,” but they still turn up on Gunbroker and certain online dealers. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a top railed version (Model 32 KFR) at the gun show this weekend.