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922(r) Worksheet for Saiga Rifles

Also, see the main 922(r) page
Also, see the Saiga shotgun 922(r) page

This chart is for Saiga Rifles ONLY. The Shotgun is different and has its own chart here!

The United States has a lovely bit of import law, which prevents most of the more interesting rifle designs from being directly imported into the US. It prevents the direct importation of AK-series rifles, and has ended up creating a market for demilitarized parts kits.

However, the "sporterized" Saiga rifles are allowed to be imported because, although based on an AK action, they do not have pistol grips or the capacity to accept an AK-47 magazine. However, because plenty of folks ardently desire a Russian-made AK, they buy Saigas and convert them into AK-47's. But because they have a different initial parts count than the AK-47, folks get confused and start thinking that it's somehow easier to convert a Saiga to be 922(r) compliant than a normal AK-47. This is not the case, particularly since folks typically want to keep the Russian-made receiver, which requires them to get into changing out the gas piston or other such silliness. At any rate, it is not necessary to alter a Saiga for 922(r) compliance unless it has ceased to be a sporting rifle. Adding a pistol grip or folding stock to one absolutely triggers 922(r). However, it is not certain that converting one to accept AK-47 magazines automatically triggers a need for 922(r) compliance. One other special consideration for the Saiga is that if you're doing a conversion which utilizes a pistol grip, the pistol grip becomes a counted 922(r) part. But in the base Saiga, there is no pistol grip so it doesn't count.

At any rate, the sum of all the check boxes in the form below will automatically add themselves up as you click and unclick them. This allows you to easily consider how you can ensure that your rifle is as 922(r) compliant as it needs to be.

NOTE: The default is now for the boxes to start off checked, and you un-check them for each compliance part. When viewing the forum threads which link to this page, I was seeing FAR too many people who weren't reading the instructions, and were only selecting their compliance parts instead of the imported parts as intended! So now all the boxes start off checked and you de-select your compliance parts. Hopefully this will be safer for people who don't/can't/won't read instructions!

Checklist for 922(r) compliance on Saiga Rifle builds

Please note that the as-imported configurations are compliant. This checklist becomes important whenever you wish to replace original parts on an imported rifle, or if you are building one from the ground up.
  Part Available Notes
Receiver Yes Typically, folks hold onto the original Saiga receiver.
Barrel No  
  Barrel extensions N/A  
Mounting block (front trunion) No Only the front trunion matters.
Muzzle attachment Yes Unless you've threaded the barrel of your Saiga, this doesn't apply.
Bolt No  
Bolt carrier No  
  Operating rods (cocking handle) N/A  
Gas piston Yes  
  Trigger housing N/A  
Trigger Yes  
Hammer Yes  
  Sear N/A Combined with the trigger in AK designs
Disconnector Yes  
Buttstock Yes  
Pistol grip Yes Not installed in stock configuration.
Forearm, handguard Yes  
Magazine body Yes See below
Follower Yes See below
Floorplate Yes See below


Compliance count script by tearsinraine


  • Parts which are not named in 922(r) DO NOT COUNT towards your compliance parts count! Just because you installed a bullet guide to make your Saiga take AK magazines, it does NOT magically count "against" your foreign parts count. Bullet guides are not counted 922(r) parts and can't be used for compliance purposes!!!
  • As per an ATF letter located here, magazine parts are not subject to constructive possession. If you need US-made magazine parts in order to reach 10 or fewer imported parts, then you don't have to replace parts on all of your magazines - only the ones which you intend to use with this rifle. The easiest solution is to only own US-made magazines, of course, but this is not always feasible, particularly if no US-made magazines are available for the weapon in question or, for legal reasons, you can't buy domestic full-capacity magazines to replace your old imported magazines.
  • Saigas's don't have trigger housings, apparently, within the meaning of 922(r).
  • Operating rods are used on SKSes, however the AK design (and hence the Saiga) combines the operating rod and gas piston into one part.
  • Sears are combined into the trigger. The few-moving-parts design of the AK-47 contributes to its importability.
  • Barrel extensions would only be there if you welded one on, and that'd make it a domestic part.
  • If you're building your AK without a pistol grip (IE, you live in California), that's one less part you have to worry about replacing.

Disclaimer: There are no lawyers on this site. At least, none who are writing authoritatively as such. Section 922(r) is clear enough for anyone to read, but if you can't be bothered to read it for yourself, neither of us will take responsibility for your not doing so. This page is presented as a helpful refresher / worksheet, not as a replacement for your personal reading of the law.

-- SeanNewton - 17 Nov 2008

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Topic revision: r6 - 03 Jul 2012 - SeanNewton
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