In the last installment I outlined my solution to the Tactical Hunter Project; an AR in 7.62×39. Some would ask, why not skip the challenges of an AR in this caliber and go with the tactical rifle designed around this cartridge, the AK?
First, one of the primary goals of this project was to be a do everything rifle. I needed to be able to use if for self-defense and hunting. I needed to be able to quickly and easily reconfigure it for each of these roles as well as the variations within each role. For self-defense I would want a red dot optic and a powerful white light. For hunting out of a blind I would need a magnified optic. At night I would need to attach a green light (green doesn’t seem to disturb the hogs nearly as much as a white light). The ability to mount a camera would be cool for hunting but not a requirement. At some point, when I can afford them, I might even want to be able to attach night vision optics. For stalking through thick brush I would need to be able to strip the rifle down to its lightest possible configuration. This doable with the AK but it is a piece of cake with the AR.
Weight, was the second factor in this. following pig trails through heavy brush is tough work of an old guy like me. Keep in mind that most of the brush around here comes with some sort of anti-personnel defenses like thorns, stickers, poisons, ticks…these go unnoticed by thick skinned feral hogs but are tough on thin skinned humans. Even an extra pound or two of weight on the rifle adds up when climbing/walking/crawling over/through/under this mess. This is another advantage for the AR.
The third, and probably the most important area of concern, with the AK platform is accuracy. Yes, there are AKs that are very accurate but let’s be honest most suffer from some degree of sloppy manufacture/assembly.
Can a buy an AK that is more accurate? Sure, but it will add to the cost. Lighter weight AK? Sure, but it will cost. More attachment options? Sure, but again it will cost. I was able to build the AR for this project for somewhere around $500. An AK with the required accuracy and features would run closer to $1,500 at the time. Today the price of the AR would be a bit less than what I paid a couple of years ago. The AK would be a lot less but still up around $900.
I really like AKs. My initial reaction was to start with that as the platform of choice and I could have done it but it would have cost more to accomplish the same thing.
That is why I didn’t go with an AK.