The saiga 308 (/ˈsaɪɡə/, Saiga) (Russian: сайга, tr. Sayga) are a family of Russian semi-automatic rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash), which also manufactures the original AK-47 and its variants, Saiga-12 shotguns and Dragunov sniper rifle. Saiga rifles are a sport version of the Kalashnikov rifle, and are marketed for hunting and civilian use. They are sometimes referred to as Saiga Sporters.
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Named after the Saiga Antelope, the Saiga series of rifles is based on the AK-47 weapon system originally designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The series was developed for shooters who wanted the reliability of an AK pattern rifle in a non-military package.
Originally designed in the 1970s, the first rifles were chambered for .220 Russian (5.6×39mm). The project was not a success and only about 300 rifles of this design were produced.
The Saiga was reintroduced in the 1990s and was marketed as a rifle capable of hunting medium-sized game. Improvements were made to the initial design from the 1970s which made the rifle capable of handling more powerful cartridges such as the .308 Winchester/7.62×51mm and the more prevalent .223 Remington/5.56×45mm, 5.45×39mm, and 7.62×39mm calibers. These improvements contributed to the modern line of the Saiga rifles being adopted by many different hunters.
The rifle is currently made in the Izhmash factory in the town of Izhevsk, the same plant that makes Kalashnikov military AKs. In fact the Izhmash factory is the factory that Mikhail Kalashnikov worked at for so many years.
Design and operation saiga 308 for sale:
The Saiga 7.62×39 rifle disassembled. The charging handle is attached to the gas piston. Also the recoil spring and Saiga bolt are visible.
The Saiga uses the same type of gas system that the AK series rifle uses: Long-stroke piston. A piston is pushed by the force of the gases from the firearm when a round is discharged, and it keeps powder residue and carbon from impeding the action of the Saiga. It is widely accepted that this type of action provides greater reliability than most other semi automatic actions. This piston is located inside the gas tube. As gas is siphoned into the gas tube, the gas piston is sent rearward.
While the gas piston is sent rearward, the bolt, attached to the gas piston, is unlocked from the trunion and ejects the spent casing. When the bolt and gas piston reach the rearmost position of the receiver, the recoil spring pushes them forward again picking up a new round and chambers it, and the cycle repeats when the trigger is pulled