I suspect what you saw was the SK, the semiautomat, rather than an AK design which has been modified to being purely legal now.
There aren't many Yugo for sale in the US.
Actually, from what I understand, they are supposed to be from among the upper end as far as quality goes.
Most AK and SK in the USA come from China, and are generally considered inferior. The stock is pine, not as finished as it might be, etc. Also,
fewer machined parts are finished. Upper receiver plate is rough on the inside from being cast, etc.
I bought a china-made SKS about 15 years ago, and have been entirely pleased with it. Today they sell for around $200. I've put it through h-e-ll,
and it's been great. The pine stock is a little scarred underneath, from where I rested it on a piece of metal when I was taking extreme aim, but
other than that, it's great.
Most of the Chinese came with a folding. stilleto-type (non-sharp) bayonet. People frequently use the bayonet for a monopod, to stabilize shooting.
Other fitttings are worth more. Usually, there's a springloaded cleaning kit hidden in the butt-plate; sometimes there is a built on muzzle brake,
The drawbacks to SKS/AK are:
-gas operated, so it has vents on the top of the barrel that shoot GOUTS OF FLAME when you fire it. Looks cool at night though. There is only one
way to hold an SK/AK without burning your hand. period.
-most of the ammo exhausts a corrosive gas. In order to prevent decay to the barrel and lock/block/firing pin, you have to clean it thoroughly after
each use. There is American-made, non-corrosive shells available, but they are much more expensive. Basically, communist infantry believed in
daily rifle maintenance.
-some used guns may have been allowed to corrode. Have someone pull the bolt back, while you look down the EMPTY barrel. If you put the corner of a
piece of paper in front of the bolt, it will reflect light into the barrel, and you should be looking down a mirror-smooth tube. Any black spots are
probably pitting from corrosion. The more pitting, the less life the gun has, and the weaker the barrel (!)
-kicks like a lovesick mule
-the sound is distinctive, and usually brings Vietnam vets out of cover. You can only hear it for 5 or 10 miles, though.
-some cheap models don't have a safety. The safety is a lever that swings down on the side of the trigger.
-If it is cleaned properly, it basically spews an oily mist the first couple of times you fire.
-the lead in the bullets is VERY soft, and really accumilates in the barrel. It's hard to get it all out of the grooves. You have to really apply
-the 30 rd clips are often hard to find. Worse, they are not compatible with every gun. The SKS clip has a bullet-shaped prong in front of the
opening. AK lacks this. The military rd is longer than the police version, because hollow points violate the Geneva Accords. Military rds won't
fit in a Police clip, but the reverse will work.
-SKS/AK will not take a scope. There is just no way, without damaging it, to mount a vibration-proof scope. It's a carbine, and you'll have
to be satisfied with that.
Good points of the AK/SKS family.
-cheaper than just about any other rifle
-ammo is cheap. I used to buy it in cans, 1000-rd drums litterally packed like sardines, with a little key to open it with.
-tough. You can clean it without fear of breaking it. It will fire even when soaking wet, or immediately after being dug out of a hole in the ground
-most important of all: it has the flatest, truest trajectory of any carbine I've ever seen. You could drive nails with it. I shot an antelope at
300 yards, with the iron sight, and put the bullet in the animal's ear, when I was aiming for its neck. And I'm not a particularly good shot.
I love mine, and hunt with it frequently.