I remember my first AK, right after the sunset of the assault weapons ban in 2004. Romanian WASR-10, canted sights, sloppy magwell, trigger slap and all. In all her glory, she was as roughshod as they came, but she was mine, and I was happy. Complete with a case of 7.62×39 and five surplus steel magazines for an extra $100 from an old Vietnam vet, I strolled through the door of that gunshow out a princely sum of $450. And boy, did I have some things to learn. Learn I did. But times changed a bit in the past 14 years, especially in the gun world, some for the better and some, not so much.
One of the issues that always plagued the AK was the magazine- not the design, but finding a good one. Sure, there was the surplus market and you could pick up a crate for pennies on the dollar. After a good scrubbing to kill off that cosmoline, some of them would be ok and some of them were trash. But that’s what you got with surplus, a roll of the dice. As the AK got popular primarily due to inexpensive ammo, so did the demand for good magazines. At today’s prices on them, I don’t think they represent any sort of value for a shooter looking to stash some away.