Though most Russian firearms can no longer be imported to the United States, the Saiga rifle is still widely available on the market, as are the conversions. The most popular configurations are as a “sporter” rifle or a “converted” configuration.
Sporters generally look like semi-automatic hunting rifles: old-fashioned with long handguards and Monte Carlo stocks. Rifles in this configuration are becoming less popular, but they can still be purchased from online sellers for around $700. Sporter Saigas are a great way to start a conversion project. Usually some modification is necessary to make Saigas compatible with AK-47 magazines and grips.
Converted guns look much more like the traditional AK-47 that is so popular. They usually accept standard-capacity magazines and conventional furniture. Depending on the professionalism of the conversion, such a rifle might cost $800. Expertly-converted Saigas can cost more than $1,000.
Saigas are available in 5.45x39mm, 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm, and .308 Winchester calibers. Regardless, you’ll get a gun manufactured by the same machines that have been building them for decades. All Saigas are made at the Izhmash factory in Izhevsk, Russia, and feature well-made Russian chrome-lined barrels. Many shooters want the prestige of owning an authentic Russian-made AK-47.