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May 4, 2005

The Evolution & Variants of the AK-47

Probably the single most recognizeable military firearm today is the AK-47. In fact this is not a single type of rifle developed in 1947, and there after mass produced unaltered; but rather an entire family of rifles and light machineguns in several calibers. In recent years semi-automatic sporting versions of the AK have become popular in the United States. In this thread i will do my best to answer the most common questions asked and give a brief account of the development of this series.

I. History


(Original 'Type I' AK-47, with a stamped receiver)

The AK didn't spring out of the void, in fact it was designer Mikhail Kalashnikov's third design and a highly modified one at that. During the Great Patriotic War, he first attempted to win a competition to create a self-loading carbine, using an intermediate cartridge. His design went nowhere and the Soviet Union adopted the SKS-45 rifle. After the war, he sought to produce an assault rifle, after Russian troops saw first-hand the effectiveness of the German STG-44 carbine in 8mm Kurz. This second design did much better in trials and was designated AK-46. Nevertheless, improvements were suggested and a major redesign resulted in the now famous AK-47 assault rifle.
AK-47s built between 1946 and 1948, featured a sheet steel receiver folded and welded into shape. The Type I receiver prooved to be too difficult to produce for that era in Soviet Russia. As a result, in late 1948, the original receiver was replaced by a more traditional unit created from milled steel forgings. The Type II was actually more costly than the sheet steel receiver, but since Russia already had tooling and the expertese from building millions of Mosin Nagants and thousands of SKSs, it was quicker and easier given that new machinery didn't have to be created at that time. After full scale production of the AK had begun, the 3rd and final receiver appeared. The Type III receiver was very similar to the Type II, but was machined from steel barstock. This measure decreased the cost some what and sped up the assembly process. Type II and III receivers can be told apart by differently shaped lightening cuts on each side, above the magazine; and the Type II has a lip on which the dustcover rests and the Type III does not.

(A standard AKS-47 folder)

The AK-47 was a selective fire assault rifle capable of either single shot or fully automatic fire. It chambered the 7.62x39 M43 cartridge, which was fed from 30 round metal magazines. The very first ones were slab sided and made of heavy gauge steel. Later, the magazines were changed to a ribbed pattern with thinner walls. Izhmash even produced a few magazines in the late 1950s made entirely of aluminium alloy. These today are called 'waffle mags' due to their appearance.
The AK-47's barrel was 16.25" and it utilized a two-lug rotating bolt with a long-stroke gas-pistin system. The first AKs had fixed wooden buttstocks with a downward sweep, intended to compensate for muzzle climb during full-auto fire. Soon after, a version was unvaled with a machined metal underfolding stock, which was based on the German MP-40 submachinegun's stock. This version known as the AKS-47, was intended for airborn troops and others needing a more compact small arm. Muzzle had 14mm threads on it and came from the factory with both a muzzle nut and blank fire adapter. At this time no flash hider or compensator was issued with the AK-47. Bayonet attached on a lug directly underneath the front sight block. AK-47s produced in the 1950s featured a surprisingly high level of workmanship and fit & finish, especially those made in Russia and Poland.

(Late production 'Type III' AK-47, with the well known milled receiver)

The rifle was officially adopted in Soviet service in 1949, but due to the various changes made in the receiver and the complexity of setting up assembly lines, it was not to reach the majority of Russian soldiers until well into the 1950s. After Russia fielded the AK-47 and AKS-47, most Warsaw Pact nations followed suit, including: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and East Germany. At first all nations received either completed rifles or parts to be assembled into such, from Russia; but later Poland and Bulgaria began domestic production. All of Romania's AK-47s were of Russian origin and it is unclear if Hungary ever produced whole rifles, or merely furniture and other minor components. At any rate, by the 1960s, most of East Europe was armed with Kalashnikov's rifle.


(Standard AKM)

In 1959, the second generation of the rifle was announced and began being issued to Russian troops. This new design wasn't really anything new at all. The AKM's Type IV receiver was a return to the stamped steel idea with then modern manufacturing techniques. The receiver was a stamped sheet of metal folded and riveted together, with two machined trunions at each end. The front trunion held the barrel, gas tube and front sight base, while the rear one held the stock in place and served as a backstop for the recoiling bolt and carrier. This switch from machined receiver to stamped took 3 lbs off the total weight of the rifle. One new mechanical element of the AKM was its rate-reducer. This device was actually put into place as an out-of-battery safety, not allowing the gun to fire until the round was fully seated and the bolt closed. It also had the effect of slightly reducing the rifle's rate of fire. The AKM's furniture was lightened and scaled down slightly. The buttstock lost much of its swept angle and the pistol grip and lower handguard became slimmer. Finally, the AKM's barrel was lighter and thinner than the one found on the original AK-47. Instead of having a muzzle nut, this design most often came with a slant style muzzle brake intended to help control muzzle climb by directing gases away from the ground. This is why the stock's angle was reduced. The operating system of the new design remained the same, and the ribbed pattern of magazine was standardized upon. The AKM could still accept older AK-47 magazines and vice-versa though. The bayonet lug was shifted from the front sight base, to a new style located under the gasblock. As you can see, the driving idea behind the new design was 'lighter-lighter-lighter. The AKM didn't show as high a degree of refinement as the AK-47, but nevertheless was just as reliable and durable.

(Standard AKMS folder)

The underfolding stock version was introduced as the AKMS, at virtually the same time as the fixed stock model. The new stock was generally the same as the one found on the AKS-47, however rather than being constructed of machined steel; it was made from stampings held together by rivits. It was stronger and more ridgid as well, with two locking lugs, rather than only one as on the original.
The AKM prooved to be even more popular than the original. In the 1960s, most East European nations began manufacturing a variant. With its light-weight and inexpensive manufacturing costs, the AKM rapidly spread around the world and was used in virtually every conflict beginning in the 1960s, through today. Many nations also produced the AKMS too.
In the 1970s, several production shortcuts and changes were introduced into the design. For example, the front sight and gas blocks went from being forged, to being made from castings. The safety selector, recoil rod, magazine catch, and dustcover all were slightly redesigned over time as well.
Beginning in 1968, some AKM magazines started to be made from a type of red/orange fiber glass, reinforced with steel locking lugs. Today, these are referred to as 'bakelite' mags.

(Custom AKML built with late production Izhmash kit and original AKML accessories)

A variant of the rifle, with a scope rail rivited to the left side of the receiver came into service as the AKMN. Later, a dedicated 'night fighting' version package was designated as the AKML. This rifle had the side scope mount from the AKMN, first generation night vision scope, a specially designed long birdcage flash hider, and a unique detachable light bipod. Both the AKMN and AKML were fielded in rather limited numbers.


(Original RPK)

The RPK is essentually an AK modified for sustained fire to fulfill the role of a light machinegun. In the 1950s, Soviet Russia was using the RPD belt-fed LMG in 7.62x39, which was both felt to be too costly to produce and unreliable. Indeed, the 7.62x39 cartridge had minimal power to operate a belt and if the gas system lost power due to fowling or poor containment the RPD could fail to cycle properly. As a result, the AKM design was upgraded to replace the RPD.
Changes from the AKM to the RPK are many. First and foremost, the barrel was made much heavier and extended to 22" long. The receiver was slightly lengthened and increased from 1.0mm thickness to 1.6mm. Likewise the dustcover was stretched and made 50% heavier. The front trunion was buldged outwords to accommidate the heavier barrel and itself was reinforced. The rear sight was altered to allow it to be adjustable for windage via a knob on the right side, as well as still being able to be set for elevation, like on the AK-47/AKM. The RPK received new furniture with a thicker wooden handguard and a buttstock designed very much like the paddle one found on the RPD. Most recognizeably, the RPK had a bipod attached just behind the front sight, which could fold under the barrel. This LMG was issued with either a 75 round top-loading drum magazine, or more commonly a set of 40 round box magazines, identical to the ones used in the AKM, only larger. Due to the longer receiver, the RPK's rate of fire was slightly lower than that of the AKM, which allowed for longer fire-sessions with fewer magazine changes and less heat build up.

(Earlier RPKS LMG for airborn units)

A side folding stock version was created for airborn troops, named the RPKS.


(Afghan war era AK-74, with original wood furniture)

After viewing the effectiveness of the American M16 and its 5.56x45 intermediate cartridge in the Vietnam War, the Soviet Union felt it was time for a redesign of its traditional AKM rifle. Ironically it seems that the M16 earned a better reputation in Russia than it did back in its homeland. Anyway, in the 1970s work began concurrently on a new cartridge and rifle to become the new standard issue small arm in the Red Army. The 5.45x39 cartridge was created to match or out-perform the American 5.56, while still remaining the same basic length as the previous AK cartridge. This was important because it meant radical measures would not be required in the redesign of the AKM. First prototypes of the new rifle appeared in the mid-1970s, and by 1977, selected units of the Army received the very first AK-74s. The new caliber and rifle began to be issued on mass in 1979 and saw extensive service in Russia's war with Afghanistan.
Mechanically, the AK-74 is little different from the AKM. In fact, many early rifles were built on the same production line, using some of the same parts. The biggest difference is of course the new caliber and smaller bore diameter. The AK-74's gas block was changed from the AKM's slanted 45 degrees gas port, to a vertical 90 degrees one. This was done to reduce bullet shear. The gasblock was also reinforced with brackets so a grenade launcher could be mounted underneath on a lug of the same type as the AKM's bayonet lug. Another major change was the front sight block. The AK-74's had a sleave which covered the end of the barrel and added 24mm threads. This meant the AK-74's barrel itself was not threaded, but rather the front sight block supported the muzzle brake. The brake itself was probably the rifle's most interesting and creative aspect. It compensated for recoil by redirecting the gases backwards, as well as decreasing muzzle rise and right-drift through a series of ports. It was not; however, a flash hider. The new front sight block also supported the bayonet. The lug was located under the sight and the ring of the bayonet fit around the end of the muzzle brake.
The AK-74 originally featured wooden laminated furniture with palmswells on the handguards and lightening cuts of an ovular design on each side of its buttstock. Original buttplates were of a ribbed design with a rubber coating over metal, but quickly this changed to simply a ribbed metal plate. Handguards were reinforced with spring brackets, to insure a tighter fit and less play. The first type of magazine was of the now famous red or 'rust' colour, held 30 rounds, and was made of a glass reinforced plastic. Magazines made in the 1980s, switched to a plum plastic, the better for concealment. A new feature of the 5.45 magazine was that unlike the 7.62 one, it could be loaded from 15 round stripper clips by using a special guide which fit into grooves on each side of the magazine, at its rear. The AK-74 used many of the same pins and springs as the AKM, furniture was even interchangeable. Naturally bolts, carriers, and gas pistins were not, but trigger groups were. A version of the AK-74, known as the AK-74N was produced with a side-rail mount, intended for the addition of night optics. Like the AKMN/L, it was produced in limited numbers.

(An AKS-74)

The first variant of the AK-74 to appear was the AKS-74. This was simply a standard rifle, which had a side folding stock and new rear trunion, instead of the traditional fixed stock and trunion. The stock was made from stamped and folded steel in a triangular shape. It folded to the left side and when folded was locked in place with a strong spring-loaded hook. When opened the stock was also held firmly inplace by another large spring-loaded catch. These rifles were designed for airborn units and replaced the AKMS. They were felt to have a stronger and more durable folding stock. It was also faster to manufacture, using more stampings and fewer total parts.

(A classic AKS-74U)

(An Ukrainian Marine in love with his AKS-74U)

The AKS-74U was the next variant of the AK-74 to appear and it was a much more extensive modification of the original design. First, the stock from the AKS-74 and rear trunion were taken. Then the barrel was shortened from 16.25" to just under 8.5". This meant the entire gas system had to be shortened accordingly. The gasblock and front sight block were combined into a single unit to conserve space and the handguards also had to be shortened. The rear sight was changed to a flip-style with two settings and was moved back to be on top of the dustcover. The dustcover itself was also redesigned to have a hendge at the front so that during disassembly, instead of being removed, it was simply folded forward. When dustcover was open like a carhood, a spring-loaded pin automatically retracted, allowing the gastube to be lifted off. Finally, the AKS-74U had a new muzzle device, on the same 24mm threads. This was a conical flashhider combined with a gas-expansion chamber, which was neccessary to insure reliable cycling with such a short barrel. This carbine could not accept a bayonet and took a specialized sling as well. It was primarily intended for special operations forces and mechanized units, but also was sometimes requested by airborn troops. It was extremely small and easy to handle, but for these attributes, it traded range and had a tendency to overheat. Nevertheless, the AKS-74U was popular among certain circles as it was an intermediate step between an assault rifle and submachinegun; very similar to the role the Colt CAR-15/XM-177 filled.

(Earlier production RPK-74)

The RPK was also rechambered for the new 5.45x39 cartridge and renamed the RPK-74. This new model was very similar to the original LMG but instead of having a muzzle nut on its 14mm threads, it had a 5 slot birdcage flash hider.

(Mid production RPKS-74)

An RPKS-74 appeared at the same time. This model used 45 round magazines. First generation ones were made of the same reddish plastic as the AK-74's and later generations were black or plum polymer. No drum was ever mass produced. Late examples could be fitted with muted purple polymer furniture sets, called plum by collectors today. Overall though, the new RPK was the same as the original, save a few other minor manufacturing changes.

AK-74M & the Century Series

(Modern Russian military AK-74M)

In the 1980s, Russia turned its attention to developing a new line of AKs, intended for the World market. They took their AKS-74 and began modernizing and upgrading it. Furniture was changed to ruggid polymer and buttstock became a solid body style that could still fold just like the one on the AKS-74. This new stock could even house a cleaning kit, a feature previously only available on fixed stocked models. Next, the side-rail mount became standard on all rifles and magazines were made of polymer with metal reinforcement in a 'waffle' pattern. The muzzle brake was also changed to both be tighter fitting (to allow for greater accuracy potential) and faster to machine. Dustcovers were changed from a ribbed style to a smooth style, at least on some models. Many other small changes also occurred both in design and manufacturing techniques. For example, rather than being pinned onto the barrel, front sight and gas blocks started to be dimple press fit. This new generation became known as the AK-74M.

(An RPK-74M)

At the same time, the RPK-74 also received a facelift. Its laminated furniture was changed to the same black polymer style as the AK-74M and its magazines were made from black polymer. This new model became known as the RPK-74M and came standard with a side-rail mount and left side folding stock.

(An export version of the platform, the AK-101)

Russia released an AK-74M chambered in 5.56 NATO for commercial sales designated the AK-101. Next out the door was the AK-103, the same design but in 7.62x39mm M43. This model was both for world sales and was requested by certain groups inside Russia, who felt the 5.45 caliber was not best suited for their needs.

(An AK-102 carbine in 5.56mm NATO)

To replace the AKS-74U and address some of its issues, the AK-102/104/105 carbine series was developed. These were of the same class weapon as the later Colt M-4 carbine. This series has a 12" barrel, conical style flash hider, combination front sight and gas block; but retains a standard length gas system and sight picture. AK-102 = 5.56 NATO, AK-104 = 7.62x39, and AK-105 = 5.45x39. All versions are in production today, along with the AK-74M, which is now the Russian federation's general issue small arm.

(An AK-108 with the 'balanced bolt' system)

The most recent AK designs are the AK-107 and AK-108. These have a counter-weight system to cancel out most felt recoil during automatic fire, but have not been adopted by any military in large numbers yet. The AN94 was not a true AK, and was never adopted by anyone. The AK-12 is little more than an AK-74M with more rails and gajets. Its future is uncertain at this time.

And there you have a brief history of the AK as a military firearm.

II. Military Variants & Accessories:

This is not a complete list by any means. The AK has been produced officially and otherwise in dozens of nations and used in hundreds more. Here are only the European nations, and by no means all the models they have created over the years.

Type 56: Used Chinese made Type-56-1s and later produced its own. Ironically, China first acquired the design for AK-47 Type III from Russia, but never the AKM. As a result stamped Chinese guns are partly based on original AK-47 and partly on reversed engineered AKMs.


(Arsenal SAM7R dressed as an AK47 M1)

AK-47: First received parts from Russia and Poland and then produced a copy of the original Russian design. When the AKM was developed, Bulgaria stuck with the milled receiver but simplified production and manufacture by switching from a barrel held in by threads, to one held in by a large pin, very similar to the way the AKM's barrel is held inplace. The furniture was also changed. wood was dropped in favour of bakelite handguards and a soft reddish pink plastic pistol grip. Fixed stock versions had stocks made of the same plastic and folders kept the classic milled underfolding stock.
AK-47 M1: modern milled AK in 7.62x39 with polymer furniture, vertical gasblock, 14mm threaded barrel, and plastic magazines. Ambidextrous safety optional.
AK-74/AKS-74/RPK-74: produced virtual clones of the first Russian styles, but with suddle differences such as not having a rubber buttplate.

(Arsenal SAM7SF, nearly identical to its select fire counterpart, the AR M1.48F)

AK-47 MA1/AR M1: milled receiver modern firearm firing the 5.56 NATO cartridge used in the Bulgarian Army today. Fixed and folding stock versions available.
Arsenal of Bulgaria also produces many modles with both stamped and milled receivers in both select and semi-auto only fire, for the world market. Variants include M2, M4, M6, M7, M8, M9 and even more.

SA Vz.58P/58V: Not actually an AK-47 design at all or in any way similar aside from the fact it fires the 7.62x39 cartridge; nevertheless, many mislabel the Vz.58 as an AK clone. No parts can interchange between the two designs. The Vz uses a gas pistin like the one found in FN FAL or SKS, not anything like the AK's. Bolt is of tilting block design and weapon is striker fired, not hammer. Receiver is milled but surprisingly light weight. Barrel is of 15" and magazines are of 30 rounds with bolt-hold open lever located in the gun. Stock can either be of fixed type (58P) or side-folding type (58V). This is still the main small arm of the Czech Republic and Slovakia today.

East Germany

(MPI-KM clone built using an original kit and NDS receiver)

AK-47: Issued but did not manufacture complete rifles.
MPI KM: built domestic version with either fixed buttstock or metal side-folding stock. Furniture could either be of wood or brown plastic, including buttstock. Grey furniture sets were also created.
MPI M72: Updated KM design with bakelite handguards and a right side folding wire shoulder stock. Used the slant brake also.
MPI M74/M74s/M74k: Beginning in 1983, and until the reunification of West and East Germany, the DDR manufactured a series of rifles in 5.45x39. Basic model was very similar to Soviet AK-74, but most likely would have had plastic furniture. The folding stock version had a right-hand metal folding stock, and a carbine (Kurz) version was also created with shorter barrel and combination front sight and gasblock.


(Debanned PARS Maadi ARM)

Maadi ARM: During the early Cold War period, the USSR setup the Factory 54 plant in Egypt and trained local workers on AKM production. For decades this factory has turned out near-exact copies of the original AKM. However, the Maadi folder is different with an East German designed 'crutch' wire stock. This is because by the late 1960s, Egypt had had a falling out with the U.S.S.R. and in 1972, the D.D.R. stepped in to provide parts and expertese in its place.


(Original Valmet M62/s with military grip and stock)

RK.62: Essentiallyan AK-47 with different furniture, a flash hider, new sights, and a high degree of fit and finish. The RK.62 and its later variants were and still are made by first Valmet and now Sako. Early versions had plastic handguards and pistol grips along with a steel buttstock. Later rifles could be fitted with a side-folding stock. All RKs have night-sights and use 30 round magazines.

(A Valmet M76/s in 7.62x39, with updated furniture and early polymer magazine)

RK.62/76: Stamped receiver version of the RK.62 with updated furniture. Somewhat like the AKM of the Valmet world.
M71: Finland's first attempt at a stamped receiver rifle, looks more like an AKM than an RK.62. Most were made for export in .223, but a few thousand in 7.62x39 were purchased by the FDF.
M78: LMG version of theRK.62/76 with folding bipod, heavier barrel, carry handle, and RPK style paddle stock. Receivers could be milled or stamped, and M71 type sights were used.
M82: Bullpup version of the M76, not that many made. It was tested and rejected by the FDF.
RK.95TP: A modernized and improved version of the RK.62 with longer and better vented handguard, enlarged trigger guard for the use of gloves, standard folding stock, and the addition of rails for various tactical devices. The RK.95TP is manufactured exclusively by Sako.
(additional info on RK.95 supplied by Sormus )


(Gordon Tech build using original Hungarian AK47 kit and Arsenal SLR100h receiver)

AK-47: Type III rifles, most likely built from parts received from Russia, with domestically manufactured furniture.

(Custom built AKM-63 kit on a NDS receiver)

AKM-63: domestic modified AKM with vertical pistol grip under a skeletonized front handguard, with exposed gastube, and wooden buttstock.
AMD-65: carbine version of the 63 with barrel shortened to 12" and slightly shortened gas-system. Fitted with wire folding stock with rubber buttplate. Typically was issued with 20 round magazines instead of 30 for easier operation and maneuvering in armored vehicles. Featured the unique 'snake brake.'
AK-63: A close clone of the AKM first fielded in 1977 and still in use today. Basically an AKM-63, but with a traditional handguard set.


(Original IMI Galil Model 361, imported by Magnum Research)

Galil AR/ARM: licensed produced copy of the Finnish RK.62 with FN style metal side-folding stock, M16A1 style sights, birdcage flash hider, 18" barrel, and chambered in 5.56 NATO. The Galil is not considered an AK but it was directly developed from an AK-47 copy. It uses 35 round steel magazines, themselves based off the AK-74's magazine. An LMG version with bipod, carry handle, and extended magazine is known as the ARM.
Galil SAR/MAR: carbine versions of the AR.
Galil Sniper: Israel chambered some Galils in 7.62x51 NATO for long range machine gun fire (ARM style) and others for sniper duty. These have heavier barrels and fixed or folding stocks. Magazines are of 25 rounds only.

KBK WZ.1960: Polish produced copy of the original AK-47. Had a high degree of fit and finish.
KBG WZ.1960: same as KBK model, but with the addition of a grenade launching feature and gas-cutoff lever.
KBK WZ.60/72: Modernized Polish AK, with both AK47 and AKM features.

(Allied Armament AKMS build, using original late production Radom parts)

AKM & AKMS: Radom produced virtually exact copies of these rifles, beginning in the late 1960s and running through the '90s.

(custom Polish Tantal build, on NDS receiver)

KBK WZ.1988: Commonly known as the Tantal. the 88 was a heavily modified AK-74 design with combination flash hider/grenade launcher muzzle device on 14mm threads. It had multi-coloured plastic furniture, except very final versions had black polymer sets. All models had a wire folding stock. Rifles were issued with an M16A1 style bipod which clipped onto the barrel, just forward of the gasblock. The Tantal had a separate safety lever on the right side, and fire selector on the left.
WZ.1991: same as WZ.88 but chambered in 5.56 NATO. This was a temprary measure until new rifle could be developed for Poland, after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
KBK WZ.1996: Commonly called the Beryl, this rifle has a 18" barrel, fires the 5.56 NATO cartridge, and can be fitted with a railed forearm for accessories. It uses a buttstock some what like the one found on IMI's Galil and accepts unique clear plastic magazines, which are not interchangeable with early 5.45 mags. Otherwise, the Beryl is similar to Tantal.
KBS WZ.1996 'Mini': a shortened beryl with 9.5" barrel.

(Second Generation Radom Archer-01, with Eotech sight)

KBK WZ.2003: A modernized version of the Beryl, with 4 position M4 type collapsing buttstock, vertical foregrip, enlarged mag catch, and weaver compatable POPC rail system, as standard equipment.

AK-47: received rifles from Russia
PM-63: a close copy of the AKM but with wooden vertical pistol grip located on the lower handguard.

(Cugir WASR-10/63UF, with added foregrip)

PM-65: a close copy of the AKMS, but again with forearm pistol grip added. The grip's angle had to be reversed to allow the stock to fold. Interestingly, this model retained the original AKS-47 stock, with its single locking lug. Early versions were machined, and later ones were made from stamped hollow steel.
PM-64: copy of the RPK, but with a carry handle added to later models. Could have fixed or adjustable leg bipod.

(Cugir SAR-2, modified with folding stock, foregrip, and more)

PA-86: not a true AK-74, but rather an AKM rechambered for 5.45x39. All models had a folding wire stock and used a unique 22mm threaded barrel with AK-74 style brake. Handguards could be made of wood, bakelite, or a mix of both. One unusual thing about the PA was it was capable of 3-round burst mode, not just full auto. This model is still in use today with Romanian forces. An LMG version has also been produced.
PM-90: a modernized version of the PM-63 with folding stock and slant style muzzle brake, rather than a muzzle nut.
PM-90 Short Rifle: similar in concept to the AK-104, this carbine has a 12" barrel, folding stock, 14mm threaded barrel and slightly shortened gas-system. Original ones came with a conical flash hider, later ones come with either a birdcage or just a muzzle nut. This carbine comes in all three common AK calibers and may or may not have a vertical pistol grip. Handguards seem to always be made of wood. Some early buttstocks fold to the left, though most are standard right-hand wire folders.
PM-97: a commercial version of the PA-86 chambered in 5.56 NATO and intended exclusively for international sales.
PSL-54: Often mis-labelled as a Dragunov, the PSL is a scaled up RPK type firing the 7.62x54R cartridge. It features longer wooden handguards, an SVD style buttstock, AK bolt and carrier, bayonet lug, and muzzle brake. For export the PSL is also offered with a 14mm threaded barrel and removeable muzzle brake, though this could have a negative impact on accuracy; some nations request it for the ability to attach a blank fire adapter. All rifles have a side-rail mount and are issued with either a 4x or 8x scope. Magazines are steel and hold 10 rounds. All versions are semi-automatic only.
PL-54: Same as PSL but chambered in 7.62x51 NATO and with a new magazine type.

Izhmash Saiga 12: In addition to its standard AK line, Izhmash of Russia also produces a series of combat shotguns intended for military and law-enforcement sales. The most popular is the Saiga 12k-s, a 17" barreld 12g shotgun with an AK-74M style folding stock and handguards. It features a birdcage style flashhider and either a 5 or 8 round magazine. A version with a 23" barrel is known as the Saiga 12-s. Poland has been Russia's biggest military contract for these shotguns to date, but many other nations and private security firms have also placed orders.

(American export VEPR 12, with slightly extended barrel, flash hider, and standard 8 round magazine)

Molot VEPR-12: Developed in the late 1990s, Molot's VEPR-12 is a direct competitor to Izhmash's Saiga 12. It has several unique features, such as an AR15 style magwell, automatic last-round bolt hold open, henged topcover, and RPK tubular left sidefolding buttstock. It commonly has a 17" barrel and can have a wide range of muzzle devices. The standard magazine capacity is 8 rounds.


(Custom Zastava M70 built from a kit with reweld receiver)

AP M64/M70: altered versions of the AK-47 Type III with various features such as different kinds of bolt hold open mechanisms and lengthened handguards. None of these were officially adopted by Yugoslavia, but did see combat.
AP M70B1: Production model of a fixed stocked AK with a 1.6mm thick stamped receiver. The M70B1 is less an AKM copy, than it is a AK-47 with a stamped receiver. It retains the AK-47s heavier barrel, sling swival placements, and overall heavier design. Buttstock attaches in a unique way unlike any other AK design. Buttplate is of rubber and gasblock has a gascut off for launching of grenades. The magazine serves as the last-round bolt hold open.

(Citizen Armory M70AB2, with grenade launcher attachment)

AP M70AB2: same as B1 but with an underfolding buttstock.

(Custom M72 build on NDS receiver)

M72: loosely, an RPK version of the M70 with heavy and longer barrel, fixed buttstock and windage adjustable rear sights.
M72A: same as M72 but with an underfolding buttstock
M92: An AKSU type in 7.62x39 with a 9.5" barrel and other minor differences, such as an underfolding stock, rather than side folding.
M95: A 5.56 NATO Yugo AK with underfolding stock, grenade launcher, and night sights. Produced for commercial sales.
M21: Latest Zastava offering, intended to be Serbia's new standard issue rifle.
M85: Same platform as M92, but chambered for 5.56mm NATO. Also has a chromelined bore and 1.5mm thick receiver with buldged trunion.
M76: Like the PSL, the M76 is a scaled up AK design for designated marksman use. The M76 fires the 7.92x57 Mauser (8mm) cartridge, out of 10 round steel magazines. It has a milled receiver, heavy barrel, flash hider with interrupted threads for the use of a suppressor, and can mount a bayonet. Furniture is totally of wood with a pistol grip and military stock.
M77: Same as M76 but chambered in 7.62x51 NATO and i believe magazines are made from a polymer material.


AK-47 Milled Type:

This is the original type of bayonet used on the Type II and Type III AK-47s. It has a longer, thinner blade and scabberd has no wirecutting feature. This particular one is Polish.

AKM Bayonet:

This is the bayonet type that was created for the AKM rifle. Note the wirecutting feature and that the blade is shorter and thicker. This is an early Romanian bayonet.

AK-74 Bayonet:

This is the type of bayonet issued with AK-74 rifles. Note the different shape to the grip and plastic sheath. This one was made in Bulgaria.

AK-74M/AK-100 Series Bayonet:

This is the latest style of AK bayonet with black polymer grip and sheath. This one is a circle 10 Arsenal Bulgaria make.

Magazine Pouches

2 Pocket for 30 round magazines:

3 Pocket for 30 round magazines:

4 Pocket for 20 round magazines:

4 Pocket for 30 round magazines:

4 Pocket for 40 round magazines:

5 Pocket for 30 round magazines:

to be continued....

Mishaco fucked around with this message at 08:43 on Jan 25, 2014


May 4, 2005

III. Civilian Semi-Automatic Types

Beginning in the late 1960s, AK type rifles have been imported into the USA from many different nations and in many different configurations. In 1989, the AK was banned from import by name as it was declared non-sporting. Soon after importers installed thumbhole stocks and limited the rifles to 10 round magazines, in order that they might be allowed in again. In 1994, this loop hole was plugged and after that any AK brought in had to have no more than a set number of foreign made parts. Also in 1994, the Assault Weapons Ban passed which outlawed bayonet lugs, threaded barrels, folding stocks, high-cap magazines, pistol grips, and barrel shrouds. To be exact, what the AWB did was say that no civilian firearm would have more than any 2 of those 'evil' features. In most cases, the two features put on AKs were pistol grips and the ability to accept double stack (high-cap) magazines. If a gun had a thumbhole stock and only could take 10 round magazines, then it would have been ok to have a bayonet lug or flash hider. In 2004, the AWB was allowed to Sunset and once more AKs could be allowed un-nutered, but in 2005, the BATF ruled that barrels of a non-sporting nature were no longer importable. As a result parts kits, created from demilled machineguns by cutting the receiver, now also had to have their barrels cut up.
Today the AK has become a popular civilian platform in America and comes in two general types. The first type is Imported Rifles. These are rifles brought into the country with no bayonet lugs or threaded barrels and with thumbhole stocks. Once in the US they are modified by installation of a normal fixed or folding stock, pistol grip, bayonet lug, and threads on the barrel. These rifles have original foreign made barrels and receivers. The second type is that of Parts Guns. These are built from demilled military assault rifles on US made semi-auto receivers. As mentioned before, in recent years parts guns also have had to be made with US made barrels due to the 2005 BATF ruling. Generally speaking, imported guns are more desirable and collectable because they are all original. On the other hand, parts guns are normally just as reliable and accurate and some times are less expensive by a good bit. for example, you could pay $2,000.00 for an original Zastava M70 imported by Mitchell back in the 1980s, or pay $500 for a parts gun made from a military M70 kit with US made barrel and receiver.

Here is a brakedown of some of the most popular designs in the country today. For the most part i won't talk about pre-89 AK imports because they are not commonly encountered and are of high pricing when found. Most of the time pre-89'ers are just like their military counterparts, only with receivers which can not easily be modified to fire in full-auto.

Valmet Sporting Rifles
Worth mentioning even though all are preban, are the Valmet series of sporting rifles imported into the USA, as these were the very first semi-auto AK type rifles to be offered on the American civilian market.
The first was the M62/s, imported from the late 1960s through the early 1970s. These rifles had milled receivers, with the first 200 coming with an original Finnish military metal tube stock. This stock was not popular, and the next 800 or so to come in had a more traditional wooden stock. A few M62/s folders also came in, though I've never been able to uncover an actual number. All of these rifles were in 7.62x39, which limited their popularity, as in America at that time the caliber was uncommon at best.
Next was the M71/s, which came in only as a single version. This rifle appeared very much like an AKM, right down to the stamped receiver. About 2,000 of these rifles were imported during the early to mid 1970s; all in .223 caliber and all with fixed polymer buttstocks. The material of the stock prooved to easily crack, so the importer began offering replacement wood stocks to its customers.
The M76/s came next and was the largest Valmet import run and the most successful. Rifles could be chambered in .223 or .308, with a small run in 7.62x39 too. They could have either stamped or milled receivers, 16" or 18" barrels, and a wide range of stocks. These included an improved fixed polymer, traditional wood, fixed tubular, and folding tubular. In all, thousands of M76/s models were brought in.
The M78/s was an RPK LMG version of the Valmet semi auto, complete with 22" heavy barrel, folding bipod, and carry handle. It could have either a stamped or milled receiver, and be in .223, .308, or 7.62x39.
One of the last Valmets to come in was the M82/s Bullpup, which was offered only in .223 and wasn't all that successful.
The last M76/s came in in 1988, as the Valmet firearms division had closed its doors the year before. SAKO took over all production for the FDF and even offered a semi-auto as the M92/s, but none were ever officially brought over here.

Other Preban AKs
Several other companies exported semi-auto AK clones to the USA during the 1980s, as by that time, military style rifles were gaining in popularity among civilian shooters. Some of these included FEG in Hungary with its SA85m series, Zastava in Yugoslavia with a rather extensive lineup, Maadi in Egypt with its ARM, and of course China under the Polytech and Norinco labels.

<Postban AKs>

Arsenal USA

(An Arsenal SAS M7 Classic, configured like an original AKS-47)

Arsenal USA of Las Vegas is related to but not the same as Arsenal of Bulgaria. For legal reasons each is a separate company, though in reality they use the same machinery, blue prints, materials, and offer many of the same firearms. Arsenal of Bulgaria primarily sells select-fire weapons on the international market, where as Arsenal USA sells semi-auto only models for the civilian market.
Two basic lines of arsenals are offered (please note that the SLR-95 and SLR-100 series do not hold to the pattern)
1) SAM series: These are rifles in 7.62x39 or 5.56x45 and have US made milled receivers. These come in any number of configurations: standard AK-47, M1, MA1, AKS-47, even in AK-102 and AKS-74U lengths. Barrels can either have 14mm or 24mm threads and stocks can either be fixed, underfolding, or right-hand side-folding. They can accept all standard double stack magazines. Most models come with polymer furniture, though some limited edition ones have blond wood.
SA M-7 = 7.62x39 fixed stock
SAS M-7 = 7.62x39 underfolding stock
SA M7 Classic = Same as SA M7, but with AK47 features: heavier barrel, 45 degrees gasblock, Type I bayonet lug, wooden furniture
SAS M7 Classic = Same as SA M7 Classic but with an AKS-47 style underfolding stock.
SA M7SF = Recently reintroduced, this rifle is in 7.62x39, has 24mm threads, right sidefolding tubular stock, and Galil style leftside selector.
SA M7K = AKSU pistol in 7.62x39 with milled receiver, 10" barrel, and no stock
SA M-5 = 5.56x45 fixed stock (seems to now be discontinued)
Update: As of 2014, the fixed stock SA M7R and the folding stock SA M7SF are the 2 models in current production.

2) SLR series: These rifles are in either 7.62x39, 5.56x45, or 5.45x39 and have stamped imported receivers with Bulgarian made barrels. Most often they are in AK-

(An SLR104FR, with traditional triangle folding stock and Bulgarian handguards)

101/102/103/104 configurations with left-hand side-folding stocks and 24mm threaded barrels. All models come with polymer furniture. Please note that some models come with solid side-folding stocks, while others have metal triangular ones. Most Arsenal rifles come with a sling, cleaning kit, and either a 5,10, or 30 round polymer magazine.

(An SLR107CR, with cutdown 12" barrel and perminantly attached extended Bulgarian 4 piece flash hider)

SLR-107 = 7.62x39, SLR-106 = 5.56, SLR-105 = 5.45x39 (fixed stock), SLR104 = 5.45x39 (folding stock)
FR = AK-101/103 style CR = AK-102/104 style UR = AKSU style
SLR101: In late 2012, Arsenal imported a relatively small batch of these rifles. They are modern AK101 types with fixed stocks and have a Bulgarian milled receiver.

(An SLR104UR, with Russian triangle folding stock and modern Bulgarian handguards, and PBS-5 faux silencer)

Update: As of 2014, the SLR107FR, SLR104FR, and SLR104UR are the models being offered.

Saiga (EAA & RAA,)
The Saiga is a wholey Russian made rifle, assembled in the original Izhmash factory and modified into a sporting/hunting configuration. Trigger group is moved rearward and hunting forearm and stock are added. No bayonet lug, no threaded barrel, and rarely with a muzzle brake. For a brief time in 2004, versions were imported with standard military pistol grip, buttstock, and muzzle brake, but no longer. These rifles are commonly chambered in 7.62x39, .223, .308, 12 g, 20 g, and .410. A whole industry has sprung up around converting these rifles into many different layouts and for diverse usages. In the beginning EAA imported the Saiga, but now RAA has taken over the dueties. Saigas come with a cleaning kit and low-cap magazine.
Update: Even more recently, companies such as Century Arms and FIME Group have also started importation of Saigas.


(An Izhmash SGL31-94, imported and modified by Arsenal)

Beginning in 2008, a partnership was created between Arsenal and Izhmash to bring Russian Saigas into the USA in military configurations and with proper military rather than sporting markings. These rifles are still wholey made in Russia, with the exception of their required US made parts: stock set (3) trigger group (3) and muzzle brake (1). Receivers are Russian made, as are the chrome-lined barrels, bolts, carriers, trunions, front sight and gasblocks, and rear sight base. These rifles accept standard furniture and magazines. SGLs come with just a 10 round magazine (in the case of SGL-41, its a 4 round mag).
SGL-20/21 = 7.62x39 SGL-31 = 5.45x39 SGL-41 = .410 shotgun.
SGL31-94: A model in 5.45mm equipped with a Izhmash solid body AK-74M style side folding stock.
SGL31-84: Same rifle as '94, but fitted with a traditional (but modern production) metal triangle folding stock.
Update: In 2012, FIME Group took over SGL importation and distributation from Arsenal.
SGL12-07 & 12-09: models of Saiga 12 shotgun with factory pistol grip, military stock, and properly located trigger group.
SGL12-61 & 12-67: Versions with US furniture, which are 922(r) legal. The '67 model comes with an Izhmash factory 8 round magazine, which is considered 'high-capacity' for a shotgun.
SGL12-94: A version of the shotgun fitted with an original Izhmash folding stock. Its high cost has kept this model from wide acceptance.
Update: As of 2014, Arsenal/FIME claims their partnership with Izhmash has been discontinued.

Molot VEPR

(A VEPR 1v 'RPK' style rifle, with folding stock and bipod)

The VEPR has had a very spotty record of being imported into the USA. Molot makes fine weapons, but it does not ahve the production capacity of either Izhmash or Tula. Also, its USA partners have been less than reliable. VEPRs came in about 10 years ago from Robinson Arms, but then stopped. Recently, TGI and Royal Tiger have both started bringing in rifles again, and shotguns for the very first time.
The rifles can be found in 7.62x39, .223, 5.45x39, .308, 7.62x54R, and even .30-06. Barrel lengths range from 16" to 20" and even 23". Some have so-called 'slant cut' receivers, while others have a traditional square cut back. Furniture can be either polymer or wood.
There are 2 Molots of special note currently being imported.
VEPR-12 = A 12 gaugeshotgun with 18.5" barrel, RPK polymer handguards, railed dustcover, and more. It can be bought with either a fixed AKM/AK74 style stock (wood or plastic), or most recently with an original tubular metal sidefolder, with rotating cheak piece. All VEPR-12s are imported with factory pistol grips and a cutdown 5 round magazine.
VEPR 1V = Just released, the 1V is the first factory Russian RPK type sporting rifle to be offered in the USA. It is in .223 and has a 23" heavy barrel, folding bipod, and RPK-74M polymer folding stock.

So so so very much can be said about these rifles, some good and some bad. Their import began in 2003, after the discontinuation of the SAR series. From the factory the WASR accepts low-cap single stack magazines of 10 rounds. This is why its receiver has no dimples on each side of the magwell. WASRs can be fitted with standard AKM furniture as well as most AK-74 sets. Barrels are chrome-lined and of 16" and are Romanian made, just as the receivers are. Century Arms is the main importer of this series and offers the rifle in many configurations.
After the AWB sunset, the GP-WASR was released. This is a WASR with threaded barrel, slant style brake, and bayonet lug. The WASR comes with 2-30 round magazines, sling, cleaning kit, bayonet (for modles with a lug), and some times a mag pouch.
WASR-10 = 7.62x39 WASR-2 = 5.45x39 (currently not imported) WASR-3 = .223 (currently not imported) WASR-22 = .22 LR (limited numbers)
Stock Types: fixed (either of woode or plastic), Galil style side-folder of plastic, Romanian style side-folder of metal, Russian style under folder (either stamped or milled), M4 style collapsable
Handguard Types: Standard wood (with or without pawmswells), Galil style plastic, wooden with vertical pistol grip, tri-rail


(Late import AES10B, with adjustable bipod and carry handle)

The AES-10 is basically a WASR-10 with 22" barrel and bipod located behind the gasblock. It also has an RPK style buttstock but standard handguards. This rifle generally comes with 2-30 round magazines and has been discontinued.
The AES-10B is almost identical to the military RPK, but with a semi-auto receiver. It has a 22" heavy barrel with bipod located behind the front sight, RPK furniture, windage adjustable rear sight, 1.6mm thick receiver, thicker dustcover, and carry handle. it generally comes with 2-40 round magazines and is currently not being imported, yet again. In 2012, a few hundred did make it in, but this supply only lasted a few months. All AES10Bs are Romanian built, with Cugir receivers and barrels. Three types of bipod have been used: quick-detach short PKM type, standard fixed RPK type, and late style Romanian RPK type with adjustable legs.

Drako/Champion 2007 Pistol

(A WASR10/63 KR; a factory carbine with a Draco type front end and extended muzzle brake)

The Drako is a semi-auto version of the Romanian M90 Short Rifle, without a forearm pistol grip or buttstock. These changes legally make it a pistol, and thus importable as a complete gun not requiring any US made parts. It is chambered in 7.62x39 and comes with 2-30 round magazines and a cleaning kit. It has a 12" barrel with 14mm threads under a muzzle nut. A rifle version is also available with metal folding stock and extended barrel, the GP-WASR-10/63 KR. The KR has been discontinued and the Draco is only on limited availability-- probably soon to also be discontinued.
The Champion 2007, is the same gun but in .223 or .22LR. It comes with 2-30 round proprietary magazines.
A couple of years ago, Century imported a small batch of Mini Dracos, which had 7.5" barrels and shortened wooden handguards.
Most recently, a batch of Micro Dracos came in with 5.5" barrels and no handguards at all.


(A typical SAR-1 rifle, fitted with PM-63 furniture)

Beginning in the 1990s, Romania started importing the Romak series. This was an AKM limited to semi-automatic fire only and complying with the AWB: NO threaded barrel, bayonet lug, or folding stock. IN 1999, the Romak switched to the SAR. Both types could accept standard magazines and came with 1-10 round mag, 1-30 round mag, sling, and cleaning kit. Importation of the SAR ended in 2003. Generally speaking these rifles have a good reputation for workmanship and a great one for reliability. All models came with wooden furniture. All came into the country with thumbhole stocks; some had these replaced with a military stock and US plastic pistol grip.
Romak I/1 SAR-1 = 7.62x39, Romak II/2 SAR-2 =5.45x39, SAR-3 = 5.56x45

PSL-54c/Romak III
The civilian legal PSL is identical to Romania's military version, except that its receiver is missing the 3rd axis pin, which the ATF ruled made it a machinegun, even though all PSLss are limited to semi-auto fire from the factory. For importation the bayonet lug is also ground off, but can be reinstalled once in USA, though then its a question of 922(r). The rifle has been imported under many names but is the same: Romak III, FPK, SSR-97, and PSL-54c. It comes with 2-10 round magazines, sling, cleaning kit, mag pouch, and 4x scope with cover. furniture is always of wood. No 7.62x51 NATO version is imported.
Update: It appears that PSL importation from Romania has effectively ended.

Postban Maadis
Just over 2,000 Maadis were imported by Steyr in the early to late 1980s, so the vast majority out there today are postban and from the 1990s. All are factory built rifles, imported with thumbhole stocks and no bayonet lugs. some had threaded barrels covered with a protector; others had their threads milled off.
Intrac and PARS were the first to import the postban Maadi under several designations, including ARM, RML, and RPM, from 1993 through 1995. Most had a 16" barrel, though a few had a lightweight 20" one instead.
Then Century began bringing in the MISR in 1996, which was the same as earlier imports. In 1997, federal law changed and the MISR10 came out, which was configured from the factory to only accept low-cap single stack magazines. Some of these rifles were sold as-is, while others were milled out to take standard magazines and had their thumbhole stocks replaced with standard stocks and US made pistol grips. Finally, there is the MISR90, which is a mutt made with an Egyptian Maadi receiver and Chinese parts from demilled MAK90s which were caught in customs in 1994.

Romie 'G' Kit Builds
What is commonly known as a Romie-G in America today, is actually the Romanian Guarda PM.63. This is a standard PM.63 limited to semi-auto only and intended for their version of the National Guard. Many of these guns have been demilled into kits and imported in recent years.
Century Arms makes a few different rifles from these kits under the name GP-1975. Early ones had original Romanian furniture. Recent ones have US made black plastic furniture with various tactical 'upgrades.'
Another company to build up these kits is I.O. Inc. They use the metal parts from the kits along with a Tapco 'Galil' handguard, pistol grip, and plastic side-folding stock.
Lancaster too uses Romie-G kits to build their stamped AK designs. These rifles usually have better finish than Century's but are still made from used military kits on US made receivers and possibly also barrels. These guns have red stained Romanian furniture, meant to memic the Russian style.

M70B1/AB2 & M72 Sporter
The M70AB2 Sporter was Century's first AK parts kit build up, released immediately after the AWB sunset in 2005. These rifles are built from Zastava military rifles which had their receivers cut. Original barrels were not used because so many of them were dark and pitted from long and hard use. Instead US made barrels have been utilized. Rifle retains all the features of the military rifle, including underfolding stock, grenade launcher sights with gas-cut off, threaded barrel with slant brake or muzzle nut, bayonet lug, flip-up night sights (dead), and polished steel bolt carrier. The US made barrel and receiver do a very good job of reproducing the original Zastava designs, down to the proper thickness and the reinforced dustcover latch. Handguards can either be of wood or polymer and are not interchangeable with standard AK types. In fact most parts on Yugo rifles are unique and not standard.
Three different versions are available. The M70B1 is built from a fixed stock kit, the M70AB2 from a folding stock kit, and the M72 from an LMG heavy barrel kit. All are very accurate reproductions and are some of the best products that Century has ever offered. They normaly come with just 2-30 round magazines, though some early M70AB2s also came with sling, cleaning kit, bayonet, and mag pouch.
Please note: no M70 type Yugo either military or sporter ever had a chrome-lined barrel.
Update: In 2012, Century introduced the M70AB2T Sporter. This underfolding rifle is built using original M70AB1 parts kits, so its the same as an M70AB2 but with a thinner 1.0mm receiver and lighter weight barrel.
Update: As of late 2013, both the M70AB2 and M70B1 are back in limited production. The M72 appears to be discontinued though.

M76 Sporter
Like the PSL, the M76 in military service is not a select-fire weapon, nevertheless it is not allowed into the country because it has too many evil features such as pistol grip, flash hider, and bayonet lug. Thus Century contracted with Ohio Rapid Fire to manufacture receivers for the M76 kits which became available a few years back. The receivers are milled, just like the originals, minus the 3rd axis pin. Barrels are US made and of a heavy contour. Scopes are original though, as are many of the other parts including all of the furniture, flashider, sights, bolt and carrier, and adjustable gas system.
Early ORF M76 receivers had issues with having had been improperily heat-treated, but ORF promises that the latest generation (5th if you were wondering) has resolved this issues and is Zastava milspec. The rifle comes with 2-10 round magazines, bayonet, military scope, and hardcase.

Vector Arms AK Builds

(An RPK74 with plum furniture, built by Vector on an NDS receiver)

Vector Arms has offered AK type rifles and even pistols, on and off for years. So do not be surprised to find their rollmark on one if you find it there. They mostly have done standard AKM, folding AKMS (both under and right side), AMD65, and RPK74 builds. They've used Bulgarian, East German, Hungarian, and even some Russian parts. Quality is good, with attention to detail and a decent finish. On the otherhand, production has always been limited, and therefore Vector AKs often bring a higher price when sold.

AMD-65 Sporter
These rifles are built from demilled Hungarian AMD-65 kits, using a USA made receiver and barrel. Because the original gun had a 12" barrel with a 2" snake-brake, to make these Sporters legal Century used a 14" barrel and welded the brake on to have an overall length of 16". Features include a wire folding stock with rubber buttplate, wooden or plastic twin pistol grips, and compact light design. This is one of those designs that some people love and others find extremely ugly. Judge for yourself. AMD-65 Sporter comes with 2-30 round magazines, mag pouch (usually a nice 5-cell one), cleaning kit, and rarely a leather sling. No major problems have ever been associated with this model.
Update: All AMD Sporters are out of production as of 2013.

Tantal Sporter
The infamous Century Arms Tantal Sporter. It is true that Inter-Ordnance did make some Tantals, but the majority of them out there today were made by CAI. These use specialized receivers with a spot for the left-side safety lever and demilled Polish WZ.88 Tantal kits. The kits themselves are of a high quality and saw light to medium use. They all come with a right-hand side folding buttstock of wire design with a reinforced locking system. Handguards are of the now well known multi-coloured pattern. Lower handguard is standard AKM/AK-74 but upper handguard is unique to the Tantal. There is a lug infront of the gasblock where a bipod can be attached. The muzzle device is a combination flashhider and grenade launcher. Even though the Tantal has 14mm threads, it can't accept any other muzzle device currently available because the barrel goes past the threads about 3/4ths of an inch.
The Tantal sporter would have been a great design, firing the now cheap 5.45x39 cartridge; except Century had a cock-up on the barrel front. They got the twist rate wrong and even used some barrels with 5.56 diameteres instead of 5.45. Despite internet rumor, there are no specific serial blocks with improper barrels as they just used whatever barrel was at hand at the moment. Additionally, the bullet test has also proven to be unreliable. Why is this all a problem? Because without the proper twist rate or bore diameter, the 5.45 bullet tends to keyhole part of the time. For many shooters this is unacceptable.
The Tantal Sporter comes with 2-30 round magazines and detachable bipod. Magazines can either be polymer or steel.
Update: This rifle is still in limited production as of early 2014.


(An ORF built AK74, with original barrel and wood)

Ohio Rapid Fire has built up manyAK-74s and AKS-74s from demilled Bulgarian kits, on US receivers and using original Bulgarian barrels. Both fixed stock and left-hand side folding stock variants have been offered. Handguards can either be of wood or polymer. The kits that are being used are medium to heavily used but still quite accurate. These rifles consistantly get good reviews and come with 1-30 round magazine, sling, cleaning kit, and bayonet.
Update: Not only are these rifles out of production, ORF has been out of business for a few years now.

Waffen Werks AK74 Classic
Picking up where ORF left off, Waffen Werks has been building AK74 and AKS74 semi-auto rifles for a couple of years now. They are built using original Bulgarian kits, and USA made receivers and chromelined barrels. Generally, these rifles have received positive reviews; however, recently their prices have climbed up to nearly as high as an Arsenal's.

TGI FEG AMD65 Sporter

(A standard TGI AMD, with a rear sling swivel added)

Though out of production now, for a couple of years, these were one of the best (and least well known) deals on the semi AK market. What TGI did was to import single stack SA2000m receivers from Hungary, complete with carbine sized boxes. Then they would build them up using a numbers matching AMD-65 kit, using the original 12" long chromelined barrel. An extended muzzle brake was welded on to give an overall length of 16". All parts were Hungarian, except the Tapco trigger group. Inexpensive and reliable, about the only downside to this sporter was its rather weak sprayed on paint finish. An TGI AMD shipped with 1 - 20 rd Tapco magazine and a multi-piece Hungarian cleaning & tool kit.

Golani Sporter
these are semi-auto clones of the IMI Galil AR built from original parts kits on ORF made milled receivers and using green Mountain 20" barrels. They retain the Galil's folding metal stock, birdcage flashhider, polymer handguard and pistol grip, and ambidextrous safety. As with the M76, ORF did not properly heat-treat early Golani receivers. This problem was resolved by 2007 they claim. And why Golani Sporter and not Galil Sporter? Actually the first batch of rifles were marked Galil and then IMI/IWI threatened Century with legal action because the name had been pattened. Therefore CAI had to change the name to satisfy the original manufacturers. The Golani comes with 2-35 round magazines. Bayonet lug is an optional feature.
Update: Golanis manufactured since mid 2010 were built using a new receiver made by Caspian. These receivers have prooven of better quality than the older ORF ones.
Update: As of 2014, the Golani appears to be out of production due to lack of surplus parts to build with.

Zastava Arms

(An OPAP M70 rifle, featuring a 1.5mm receiver, medium heavy barrel, and military furniture)

Since Cugir in Romania has started to become an unreliable partner, Century Arms started looking for an alternative source for AK pattern rifles a couple years ago. They have now formed a partnership with Zastava Arms of Serbia (formerly of Yugoslavia). Several Zastava AKs are currently being imported.
PAP M70 = This was the first and now is no longer being offered. Features a 1.5mm thick receiver, buldged trunion, non-chromelined medium heavy 16" barrel, weaver rail on dustcover, and takes standard M70B1 type furniture and mags.
NPAP M70 = The replacement for the original, with the main difference being the unstable dustcover rail has been replaced with one rivited to the left side of the receiver. Also, has an AKM style 1.0mm thick receiver and standard trunion.
OPAP M70 = Basically same as the NPAP, but built with original military surplus furniture. It is a return to the 1.5mm receiver and buldged trunion as well.
PAP M77PS = Similar to the PSL, the M77PS is chambered for .308 and comes with a 20" long barrel and polymer thumbhole stock.

(An M92PV with factory flash hider, and SB47 shooting brace)

PAP M92PV = This is a Serbian built AKSU Krink pistol, with 10" barrel, factory 1.0mm receiver, wood handguards, and no buttstock.
PAP M85PV = Same as M92PV, but in 5.56mm NATO. Also has a 1.5mm receiver, buldged trunion, and chromelined bore.
NPAP M70DF = an NPAP fitted with an AB2 style underfolding buttstock.

Radom Archer
Just over a year ago, Royal Tiger/I.O. Inc. began importing a semi-auto version of the WZ.2004 Beryl, under the name of Archer-01. The Archer is built in Poland by FB Radom and is factory, except for the 922(r) parts. It has a 18" barrel, POPC rail system, and collapsing buttstock. Like the Beryl, it is in 5.56mm and takes the same magazines. The Archer is a market competitor for the Arsenal SLR106 line.

SiG Sauer SG55x Series
Due to popular request, I am including the SIG55x line in this thread. Really, the design is not like that of an AK, except for the bolt group. The SIG's bolt is virtually identical to an AK's. The carrier, cocking handle, and piston are also similar; except where as these 3 parts are fixed together in an AK, they are easily separated for cleaning in the SIG. What the SG55x does do is to manage to combine the AK's reliability, with accuracy nearly as good as can be found in a standard AR15 carbine. Also, it is easier to mount optics and other devices onto one, than it is on most AKs. Unlike with an AR15, the SG55x can easily be fitted with a true side folding buttstock.
There are 4 basic versions of the SIG on the market right now. All are chambered for 5.56mm NATO/.223, except one.
1) SIG556 - This is the original US semi-auto version, which is patterened after the Swiss SG551-2 carbine. It has a 16" long barrel, a rail on top of the receiver, and takes standard AR15/M16 magazines.
2) P556 - This is the pistol version, which is loosely based on the Swiss SG553-2, but it has several differences. It as a slightly extended 10" long barrel, longer handguards, and of course since it is a pistol; no buttstock. Like the fullsized SIG556, it has a rail on top and takes AR magazines.
3) SIG551-A1 - Introduced in 2011, this is SIG's attempted to produce a rifle which more closely resembles a Swiss SG551-2. It is the same firearm as the SIG556 Classic, except its receivers and gasblock are grey and it takes original Swiss SG550/551/552 magazines.
4) SIG556R - The R stands for Russian and means this is a SIG556 reworked to fire the 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It uses standard AK47/AKM magazines; but due to the design of its lower, it can not fully seat a drum.

I will add and update this section for questions that are commonly asked and address points of interest.

Q: Tell me about the differences between milled and stamped receivers?
A: They are made is machined from a block of steel. The other is a single pressed sheet of steel that is then folded into a U shape with rivets and pins. They take the same forearm furniture though its of different shapes. Their buttstocks are not interchangeable.

Q: Will my Yugo (Serbian) Sporter take standard furniture?
A: No, the Yugo's handguards are longer than standard. Its buttstock is held onto the rifle in an entirely different way too. Only pistol grips can interchange.

Q: Will my Tantal Sporter take standard furniture?
A: It will take any standard fixed buttstock for a stamped gun and any right-hand folding stock that uses normal rear trunions. It will also take standard pistol grips and lower handguards. the only part that is unique on the Tantal is the upper handguard.

Q: Can i put one of those K-Var solid side folding stocks on my rifle?
A: Probably not, unless your rifle is say one of the ORF AKS-74 builds. The K-Var stock is a left-side folder, which uses a totally different rear trunion, separate latching piece, and even a different receiver. To modify say a WASR to use one, you'd need to make quite a few new holes in the receiver and change the angle of the back of it too. Its just not practical. Just by an Arsenal SLR if you really want a rifle with that stock. If you do have an ORF AKS, then go for it. Nothing could be more simple. All you need do is drive out 1 single pin, take your old stock off, put the K-Var stock in, and drive the pin back in: Done!

Q: Are WASRs made from rejected military parts?
A: No concrete evidence has surfaced to proove this is the case. Rather in recent years they have begun building WASRs from actual military rifles so by definition they can't be of reject parts. If there is a triangle with an arrow in it or just an empty box on your front trunion, then your WASR was made from a real military gun.

Q: What's the deal with SGLs? Why not just buy a normal Saiga?
A: They were never Saiga Sporters with a pushed back trigger group and hunter furniture. They were made as thumbhole stocked guns with their triggers in the right spot and with normal forearm furniture. Also they have markings that more closely resemble Russian military ones, than the Saiga Hunters do. Finally, their receivers have the dimples on each side of the magwell, to complete the military look. In short, the reason to buy an SGL is to get a rifle that closely memics a real Russian AK-74M/AK-103, but without the folding stock.

Q: I see PSLs but no SVDs. Why isn't someone importing or building an SVD clone?
A: They are banned from import by the 1989 restrictions by name and in 1994, Russia agreed to stop exporting Hunting versions of the sVD into the USA. No one is making one here because it would be too drat expensive and a US made SVD would loose its Russian mystique. In short, its not profitable.

Q: How do i field strip my AK?
A: Like this....
1) Again my SAR-1 a good solid AKM clone, completely assembled:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

First remove magazine and triple check that the chamber is empty.

2) Remove the dustcover:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

Push the button in all the way, which is located at the rear of the dustcover. While holding it in, pull the dustcover up and off at a slightly tilted angle towards the front of the rifle.

3) Remove the recoil spring & rod:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

With the dustcover off, you can see the internals of the rifle. Push the same button again and now with the cover off it will move all the way out of its guide grooves and then let go. Spring tension will push it back forward but just make sure it goes above its grooves. Then just pull the spring and rod out of the bolt carrier.

4) Remove the bolt carrier, with bolt in it:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

Grab the charging handle and pull all the way to the rear of the receiver. You will feel minor resistance as it passes over the hammer. Once in the rear most position, simply lift the bolt carrier out of the receiver. It will take with it the gas pistin and bolt.

5) Taking the bolt out of the bolt carrier:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

Push the bolt back until it impacts the rear of the bolt-carrier and then rotate the lugs out of the way. When it is in the correct position you can then push the bolt back forward and it will come out of the carrier.

6) Remove the gas tube:

Click here for the full 2028x1521 image.

Now that the bolt-carrier is out of the rifle, you can remove the gas tube, which houses the upper handguard. Look on the right side of your gun, on the trunion, just below the rear sight. You will see a lever. Move it clockwise to about the 11:00 position. This might require a good amount of force so you might want to use a small hammer. On other guns, this lever can be moved by hand. When the lever is in position, you just lift the gas tube off.
On rifles with the AK-74 style spring-loaded gastube, you will need to push the tube rearwards a small amount, and then lift it off.

This is as much as you should take your AK down for standard cleaning. Do not remove the lower handguard excessively or it could become loose. Buttstock is held in place with 2 screws. Just remove these and pull it out, if you are replacing the stock. Otherwise do not remove it excessively either. Lower handguard is held on with a lever and spring clip.
Removing the barrel is not a good idea either. Only do this if it is100% neccessary.

Q: What's the difference between 'Warsaw' and "NATO' length stocks?
A: Short answer, NATO is longer. The Warsaw stock was the standard length used in most all of those nations during the Cold War. The NATO length is based on the length of the M16A2's stock. The NATO is 1" & 1/4th" longer than Warsaw. There is also an intermediate length stock which is 3/4th" longer than Warsaw and is currently being offered for both milled and stamped receivers by Arsenal USA.

Q: I'm thinking about building a stamped AK and I need a receiver. What do the percentages mean?
A: A 100% receiver is prebuilt and ready to have the trunnions riveted in. These are serialed, and must be transferred through an FFL just like a completed firearm.
An 80% receiver is a length of square steel tubing. While this can ship directly to your door (no FFL), you will need to drill all axis pin and trunnion rivet holes, as well as cut out the magazine well and install the center support and internal rails.
A 0% receiver (or 'flat') is simply a piece of sheet metal that must be bent into a receiver shape. Most flats have the holes predrilled and the magazine well already cut out, but you'll still need to install the internal rails and center support. With good quality 100% receivers available for a reasonable price, there's really no need to invest in the tooling to build up an 80% or less receiver.

Q: What are compliance parts and why should I care?
A: US Federal law prohibits some weapons from importation, and further prohibits the construction of a weapon that would be banned from importation in certain configurations. You can build your own stamped AK at home so long as you use no more than 10 imported parts. Here is a list of AK parts. Remember that no more than 10 may be imported:

Front and Rear Trunnions
Muzzle Attachment
Bolt Carrier
Gas Piston
Pistol Grip
Magazine body
Magazine follower
Magazine floorplate
(donated by ShaiHulud )

Q: Tell me about the AK buttstock cleaning kit.
A: Here is a great TFR exclusive write-up.
"What What (in the buttstock)"
by ShaiHulud tool.jpg
the cleaning kit. A marvel of functionality, its presence next to your cheek every time you pull the trigger should serve as a reminder that AKs do in fact need to be cleaned.
Look at all the great stuff it contains!

The parts of most AK cleaning kits are as follows:
A: Cap
B: Tube
C: Multitool
D: Jag
E: Bore brush
F: Pin punch

Each component is plenty useful on its own, but when they combine like a ghetto Russian Voltron they can do even more useful stuff.
If you unscrew the cap of your cleaning kit and it contains a smaller cleaning kit nested inside, return your AK to the manufacturer immediately.

Placing the multitool into the tube as shown allows you to tighten buttstock and pistol grip screws, depress the spring-loaded muzzle device detent easily, and lift up the lower handguard locking lever.
Phillips head screws were outlawed by Stalin.

Sight Adjustment
The small hole in the end of the multitool is the perfect size to sit atop your front sight pin. Reversing the multitool's orientation in the tube allows you to adjust elevation. adjustment.jpg
Stop ruining your front sight pin with pliers.

The Tube
The tube itself contains a long narrow slot at one end, designed to fit over the tab of the gas tube locking lever. tube lock slot.jpg
The long slot gas tube correctly.jpg
Stop scratching your finish by using pliers or a hammer.

Pin Punch
This punch is perfectly sized to allow you to disassemble your bolt. In a pinch, the bolt carrier itself makes for a decent field-expedient hammer.

The Cap
In addition to its obvious function keeping the various components in place, it also fits over the end of your rifle's barrel, keeping the cleaning rod aligned and preventing damage to the crown.

Jag, brush, and general cleaning procedure
A boresnake is a much easier way to clean your barrel, but if you're bored or playacting the Fulda Gap invasion in your backyard, you have all the necessary tools at hand. We won't discuss the relative merits of using urine, diesel, or vodka rations as barrel cleaning agents, but a scrap of cloth or even some string wrapped around the jag does an adequate job.
First, insert the cleaning rod into the large hole in the tube, then angle the rod slightly so it exits the tube through the smaller hole directly opposite. Drop the multitool into the tube so the large hole is covered and the cleaning rod is effectively captured within the tube. You now have a T-shaped cleaning apparatus that is easier to grasp while wet and grimy.
If you have trouble tightening or removing the jag from the cleaning rod, use the multitool as a wrench by inserting the flattened area on the jag into the semicircular cutout in the multitool. cleaning rod.jpg
Here is everything thrown together.

Q: What is the difference between a NPAP and an OPAP?
A: Both are built at the Zastava factory in Serbia, and both are patterened on the M70. They are very similar, but do have some differences:
1) The NPAP has a standard 1.0mm thick receiver; the OPAP has a heavier 1.5mm thick receiver.
2) The NPAP has a standard AKM type front trunion; the OPAP has a buldged RPK style trunion.
3) The NPAP has an AKM profile lightweight barrel; the OPAP has an AK47 profile medium heavy barrel.
4) The NPAP comes with new wood furniture, with a commercial grade finish; the OPAP comes with surplus refinished military furniture, with an oil finish.
5) The NPAP has the modern BHO notched safety; the OPAP has a traditional safety.
6) The NPAP has a standard front sight base and rear sight leaf; the OPAP has M70B1 style sights, with holes for attaching flip-up night sights (though they are not installed).

Q: What is the difference between the SLR101s and SAM7R from Arsenal?
A: Nothing, it was a change in name only, to allow the rifle to be sold in California.

V. Useful Links:

English version of Izhmash's Official site:
(current manufacturers of the AKM, AK-74M, and semi-auto SGL series)

Arsenal USA's Official Site:
(Importer and manufacturer of semi-automatic AK clones)

Arsenal of Bulgaria's Official Site:
(In Bulgarian)

List of USA manufacturers of the AK and AK parts:
(also has links to pictures)

List of foreign manufacturers of the AK:

The Wikipedia homepage for the AK-47/AKM:
(they have a few errors, but not too bad for the AK-47, but when you branch out to the variants, they get worse)

Max's site. He lives in St. Pitersburg Russia and has a lot of first-hand AK experience.
(AK-47 & AKM)
(AK-74 & AK-74M)

Links to different field manuals related to the AK.
(donated by Miso Beno )

'the Big Guide to Romanian AKs'
(a great write-up of the Romanian military PM-63 & PA-86)

7.62x39mm caliber AK47 & AKM Magazine Variations Guide

5.45x39mm caliber AK74 & RPK74 Magazine Variations Guide

That's all i have for now. I hope you found some part of this write-up helpful or informative. I am willing to update the OP with any new FAQs and correct any errors that you find. I would like this to become a good all-around resource for all things AK.

After all of that reading, you deserve a drink!

Mishaco fucked around with this message at 08:44 on Jan 25, 2014

May 4, 2005

I told TFR I would do this...and yes i put quite a few hours into typing and getting pictures.

Call it my Christmas Gift to you all.

May 4, 2005

I normally don't ask this but guys, lets not let this one go to the archives boneyard.

I put some serious effort into it. For my part, i will keep the OP up-to-date and put Questions that commonly arrise in the FAQ section, so people don't have to dig through pages to get a simple answer.

I love the AK and i enjoy sharing what i know. Its just such a simple but drat good design. Its the best thing maybe to come out of Communist Russia perhaps....besides my wife naturally.

I picked up one of those Polish milled guns so i hope to have some pictures to post in the OP next week, when it gets in.

May 4, 2005

Heh, yes I know that the scope/sight mounting question will arrise. Truth is...i am not qualified to answer it. I thought about just saying something simple but no. I will wait to voices of experience chime in, see whats working for people and then make a FAQ about it in section IV. Likewise with links, I will get some good disassembly diagrams and decent parts sights that i've bought from myself and review them. Maybe in a new section V later?

Really cleaning an AK is a breeze if you are using non-corrosive ammunition. Just clean the barrel out, and also the bolt and parts of the carrier that get dirty. Its important to note that the internals of an AK require next to no oil. They like running dry, though white lithium is some times a good thing if your rifle is a bit sticky.

If you are using corrosive, Cyrano's guide to cleaning milsurp is great. On an AK though also remember to remove teh muzzle device and clean it and the threads good. Also remove the gastube and clean it out. Also cleaning the gasport well. I just advise if you can get Wolf ammo in your area, pay the extra couple of bucks and shoot that if you have a high-end AK like an Arsenal. Now if you just have a WASR or TGI truck gun..whatever. Go for it.

Again, next go around, i will put up a more complete cleaning guide, or a link to one.

Keep the suggestions coming! I want the OP to be as complete as can be.

May 4, 2005 comment

But about not cleaning your AK to see how much it can take.
If you are firing non-corrosive..why not? the risks are minimal. Let your AK get as dirty as you like, just so long as the barrel doesn't become so fowled, that its plugged.
But if you are firing surplus corrosive will do serious damage to teh bore & gas port, as well as bolt face and pistin. What will happen will be extreme pitting which will destroy your rifling. This will be perminant and never reversable after it sets for a few weeks. Once a bore is pitted...there's no way to unpit it. Rust will continue to collect on your pistin and in your gas system. If it gets really bad, it will even gently caress up your extractor and firing pin.

Firing enough corrosive ammo through a gun without proper cleaning will basically turn it into a pile of rusty junk.

May 4, 2005

thanks again guys...

No i dont own 23 AKs....i own 24 ...just don't have pictures of the Polish AK-47 milled up yet.

What I like them?

So what? they were cheap when i got into them!

Merry Christmas Eve...

May 4, 2005

Not preachy at all man.

I told in the beginning, i wasn't going to list all the European AK variants. There were several Zastava designs i didn't talk about either. I knew there was an RK.95 but have never seen one and know next to nothing about it aside from its the 'new & improved' version. I dont like talking about things i am not knowledgeable on.

If you'd like to do a small write up on the RK.95, especially telling about the upgrades and changes from the 62, I'd be greatful. With your permission, I'd put into the OP.
Please PM this write-up to me if you want to do it (or about any other Finnish AK varaiant for that matter) and i will include it the next update of the OP.

How does your national pride feel about my new KP.44 and KP.31? What's a Finn's attitude towards those old machineguns? They are over in my shipping thread.

May 4, 2005

Sormus , well at least here in USA they get second lives as civie legal semi-autos or as full-auto post-dealer samples.

As for the SGL-31...i like mine. Its the nicest 5.45 i own and aside from having a folding stock and go-fast parts, its pretty close to the current Russian military issue.

I got to fire a full auto one in 2005 while in Russia and the SGL-31 feels a lot like it.

Also interesting note. Izhmash is marketing their quad-stack 5.45x39 magazines quite heavily now. Maybe eventually some will make it over here to the USA?

May 4, 2005

Merry Christmas and all that....

Yeah, I've never had a dustcover come off during fire, especially semi-auto fire, when its installed the right way. The front of the dustcover is buldged and might fit into the notch tightly but it should go in with minimal force. The rear of the cover is held on by the lip of the rear trunion and the recoil rod. No way the rod is to blame, but i think that has already been established.

We'll get you worked out. Worst case is your cover is hosed up and you have to get a new one. They aren't spendy.

Now, get out of here you looser, this is a family holiday. Open some gifts, eat some food, get a normal person. Stop looking at commie guns today!

All the best TFR, have a great one

May 4, 2005

SGL-20 doesn't have the 'accessory' lug under the gas block and the 21 does. In military use, this lug could be useful in attaching a grenade launcher. For civie use? I have no idea what it could be much good for. Its like the appendix of the AK-74 world.

May 4, 2005

Once they did have SGLs with railed handguards. They will probably still do a batch now and again.

May 4, 2005

$50 for a lower handguard?

PM me...i can get you a K-Var one with heat shield for less than that.
As i said in the oP, Tantals (WZ.88) can take standard lower handguards.

As for SGL-20s, if they dont have rails now, they never will. This batch that K-Var has are the last ones that Arsenal will ever make. They actually thought they were completely out of them, and then found a few hiding in the back of something, somewhere.

drat but i want one of those RPK-201 clones that Arsenal is selling. That's an RPK-74 but in 5.56 NATO and with a milled receiver. Your choice of wood or polymer furniture. But the price is high.
A milled RPK must be insanely heavy but stable.

May 4, 2005

posted a new AK in the OP.

May 4, 2005

I should have some time tomorrow to give the OP its first update.
I will stick Warsaw v Nato stocks in the FAQ part, add some info about the RK.62 and 95TS, and a few other bits.
I still don't know what to tell you on the rail thing.

Truth is...there is no 'best' one...different people prefer different mounts. The traditional comblock method was a side-rail, with a Cobra sight.
But most AKs that were issued, didn't come with any optic what-so ever, since the AK is a relatively short-range weapon. For longer fire, that could benefit from a scope, they had the SVD (PSL in Romania and M76 in Yugoslavia).
Additionally, the RPK had slightly longer range than the standard AK, but even they were not normally equiped with a sight/scope.

May 4, 2005

My friend brought those WASR-2/3s to my attention with muzzle nuts.

Speculation..they probably do not have standard 14mm threads. The romanian military PA-86s and commercial M-97s had 22mm threads located on the front sight base, like the AK-74's 24mm threads.

Now the external barrel diameter of the WASR-2/3 is less than the one of the WASR-10/SAR-1 or whatever. So if it were to be threaded...most likely it would be 12mm or less?

That company is fine, just another stocker of Century Arms imports. They don't build the WASR-10/2/3, just import them and modify them to military style.
In my experience cantted blocks on WASRs do happen but not so often as some people like to think. It is also a very easily corrected problem.

And AK-74 brakes are great for what they were meant to do. They really do help with muzzle raise and drift.

May 4, 2005

7.62x39 mags are less diverse than 5.45x39 ones.

The first ones were slab-sided steel, which were blued and held 30 rounds. These were used by everyone.
The second types were 30 rounds as well, but with ribbed sides. These were either parkerized or blued and made by everyone. Yugoslavia's version had a bolt-hold open built into the follower and a different pattern on the side. The only real differences from country to country were the patterns of welds and of ribbing.
Along the same time, 20 round ribbed magazines were developed and used primarily in Hungary and Romania. Russia never officially had 20 round mags.
When the RPK was released, 40 round ribbed magazines also came out to go with it. Again these could be blued or parked and were used by basically everyone. Differences were minor from nation to nation.
In the 1970s, bakolite 30 round 7.62x39 magazines also appeared.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Russia and later Bulgarian began manufacturing polymer 7.62x39 magazines in both 30 and 40 rounds. These could be either slab sided or waffle patterned and were most often blue or dark grey.

Drum magazines were primarily of 75 rounds and top-loading, but China developed the 75 and 100 rounds rear-loading drum. There were later adopted by Bulgaria and Romania (in 75 rounds, the 100 rounds version never caught on to great extent). Russia on the other hand never widely issued drum magazines of any kind.

Additionally, 5 and 10 round magazines were made in the '90s for the US export market. Romanian ones were of steel and double stack. Hungarian ones were of clear plastic and single stack. Later Bulgarian made ones were of a waffle pattern and made of black polymer.

Saiga magazines are a unique double stack design and of 8 or 10 rounds and made from polymer.

Most recently, WASR-10s come into the country with single-stack steel magazines.

May 4, 2005

Saukkis posted:

If someone is wondering about the little loops on the bottom of the finnish mags, that is for the little leather belt that loops around the barrel so you won't drop your precious magazines in the woods.

Yeah you crazy Finns like your mag loops. Look at the Suomi's mags.

Anyway, the OPs have been updated. If you have good links, PM them to me, and i will add them to the Links section of the second OP. I addressed the Warsaw v Nato stock question in the FAQ as well as adding info on Finnish RKs.

May 4, 2005

Well if that's what people are paying for them...why not? Back during the AWB i paid $15-20 for an E.G. bakelite pretty regularly.

If they are in good shape...$18 doesn't seem too bad. I'd probably pay it if i needed one to complete a pouch or something. They are neat in a very comblock way.
5.45x39 mags have gone up in demand ever since the cheap surplus ammo hit the market.
Back in 2002 i paid $9 for NIB Arsenal circle 10 30 round polymer mags. Now, they cost me at least twice that. Why? demand pure and simple. Back than few people owned rifles in that caliber. Now its the hot thing.

On a side note, i was looking around TGI's site and noticed the price for one of their 'truck guns' is up to $499 now.
For that i'd suggest saving a bit more and getting an SGL-31, or spending nearly $100 less for one of those WASR-2s. Really the WASR isn't a bad gun if you can get it for $400ish and it comes with sling and other goodies.

I've had some time to go over my new Polish milled AK-47 (WZ.1960) and i really like it. The original parts are in good shape (maybe even great?) The US made receiver is pretty close to milspec, at least good enough for me, comparing it to my Arsenal milled receivers. The US made barrel is of the heavier type like they used on the original Type IIIs, and it even came with a double-hook trigger.

Century says these are a limited run item. The only reason they even did them is because they had milled receivers made for their new Centurian-39 and those Polish kits recently hit the market.
The Centurian-39 is a 100% US made AK but with 'modern' furniture (i.e. rails and stuff).

I posted some new stuff in the OP, keep it coming TFR and i wll hold up my end. How about some pictures? Not something i could do on my own well you understand.

May 4, 2005

yep, its what i do.

I too love both the AK and FAL. Those are my 'assault' type guns. I can't afored as many FALs as i have AKs but oh well. They also don't come in as many different configurations.

I am 95% happy with the Polish AK. Being parked instead of blued is a bummer. Also would have been nice to have the original barrel, but hey Century and every other AK builder would probably say the same. They didn't make the ruling of '05.

The Vz.82 is a nice gun. Its only detraction is the safety. You can't engage it unless the hammer is back and there is no decocker. Aside from that, its small, especially for a double stack, durable, great trigger, easy slide, and just comfortable to fire.

Really CZ is a good company in general. The Vz.58 is a superior gun in many respects to the AK, except its more expensive to manufacturer and has more small parts. On the other hand it has a milled receiver thats almost as light as a stamped one, its striker fired instead of hammer, lightweight magazines with bolt-hold open in all of them, short-stroke gas pistin which gives better accuracy, and just looks badass. Its interesting it comes exclusively with a 15" barrel, instead of the standard 16.25" which most AK models share.

Comparing the Vz.52 rifle to the SKS-45; there is no contest. The Vz is better in most every regard. More accurate, removeable magazine (they were issued with 2), much easier bolt disassembly, and really no more expensive to produce. Too bad the Soviets made Czechoslovakia discontinue the 7.62x45 CZ cartridge.

May 4, 2005

yeah, technically its not bakelite but if some one says "bakeliteAK mag" everyone knows what they are speaking of.

But magazines are one of the most time-consuming things to get just right. And though you really want a 40 round bakelite mag and i am sure others would too, the demand would be small for 2 reasons:
1) people who want such 'rare' things mostly only want real Russian/Bulgarian made things, built back in the '70s. Any US made one would simply be considered an inferior copy and therefore less desirable.
2) Cost...simple cost...if a US company made bakelite (again i know its not really) 40 rd mags, to exact original specs, with the same original quality...think about how much it'd cost to set up the production line. When i was talking with MSAR about their mags for the STG-556 they claimed the molds for the mags alone cost $55,000.00. So how much would a US made AK bakelite cost? Now compare that to how cheap steel 40 round surplus mags are & the fact that Arsenal sells brand new waffle 40 round magazines for $30-35.00.

Is it really practical?

Right now there is just so much inexpensive AK stuff still coming out of East Europe, but that all won't last forever. If companies like Arsenal who are already tooled up to make it can continue to import things, prices will remain 'ok' but still not as good as surplus. If not and we ahve to begin relying on US made stuff....either prices will rise noticeably or quality will decline.

My advice? buy all the mags, pouches, slings, and whatever now; while you can still find them and they are cheap. Those warehouses in whatever-Stan aren't infinite. I am not saying it will all go away in 6 months..more like 6 years? Ok maybe 3 or 4 years? Hard to say.

I might also point out...Century is doing tha t100% US made AK now....ask yourself, 'why?' Why not just continue building AKs out of kits? why invest so much time and money into setting up production lines and supply lines for all the parts, instead of just demilling military firearms?
Not too long ago, FAL parts kits were cheap and plentiful. Now, how are they doing? This is the nature of surplus things.
Aks are no exception, even if they were made in large numbers.

Lecture over. For homework tonight, read pages 110 through 160 from The Big Book of AKs.

May 4, 2005

I also know some PSLs came in with threaded barrels and non-welded muzzle brakes. That's a pretty big no-no according to 922(r) and the '89 import thing.

In other news.
Apex has some Romanian 30 round steel 5.45x39 magazines in vg+ to excelent condition. Kind of neat just because Romie steel PA-86 mags aren't common now. Back in the day Romak IIs came with them, but the SAR-2 series all shipped with East German bakelite mags, at least the vast majority of them.
The mags are $25.00 so not insanely high, but not cheap. If they are in great shape, they might be worth it?

Apex also has Yugo 30 round magazines with the bolt-hold open follower for $13.00. That's a better value for sure and not a bad feature to have in your rifle.

I ordered a couple of each as i was already placing an order. We'll see how they look.

May 4, 2005

The continuous question of which AK is best for me?

There is no one-size fits all answer.

First, which caliber do you want? 7.62x39 )classic AK) or 5.45x39 (AK-74)
The 7.62x39 caliber is popular and a lot of commercial manufacturers make it.
The 5.45 is cheap right now do to large amounts of surplus but that surplus will dry up eventually so if you go this route, stock up a few thousand rounds. Also note that it is corrosive.

Read the OP for a brake down of imported guns vs. parts guns.

I speak about wASRs and Lancasters there as well.
I dont think WASRs have had much issue with trigger slap since they went to the Tapco G-2 trigger. The Yugo and Lancaster builds also use G-2 triggers so anyway the chance of slap is equal in all of them.

WASRs do have chrome-lined barrels. Most of the NDS-2 type guns and all Yugo builds will not have this feature.

I am quite happy with my milled Polish AK from J&G (made by Century, same as the Classic Arms rifles).
But it really doesn't give you anything better as far as shooting. The main reason to want one of these is just to have the original style of AK-47 for collecting purposes.

The WASR is about as standard as you can get for taking accessories and add-ons. Same with fixed stock Bulgie parts builds.

My advice? do a little more research, get a better idea of what you want, and ask specific questions. Some one here will help you out, promise.

There is no 'best' AK, nor is there one out there right now that is the absolute 'worst'.

May 4, 2005

Yeah, 3rd'ing the spacer idea not being great. replacement parts are quite inexpensive, but if the AK is that god-awful, it might just need to be rebuilt, or if its a screw build...get an SGL or something with some class.

I think it is funny that now Century is selling AES-10Bs with folding 'paratrooper' stocks. It is true though that Romania did use that style of stock on their RPKS analogues.

May 4, 2005

No, AMD-65 forearm furniture is slightly shorter than standard. a 'new' gas tube say from a WASR or SGL wouldn't fit the AMD properly. If you have another AKM type rifle, take the bolt carrier out of the AMD and the other and compare the lengths of the gas pistins.

May 4, 2005

In that case, the WASR-10 seems right for you. Its not really pretty but normally they are reliable and not insanely inaccurate. Just a basic AK. Trigger slap has to do with the type of trigger used and since the G-2 is in lets see...Yugo M70/M72, AMD-65, Galoni, ORF AK-74, Lancaster, and pretty much everything except the Arsenal/Saiga guns; the likely hood of it is the same in all guns. I never notice it and i shoot quite a lot of AKs.

As for the M72..i respectfully disagree..with one condition: That the price of the AES-10B is $550 or less.

The M72 Sporter is a neat gun, but it is a parts gun with US made receiver and barrel, while the AES-10B is complete with a Romanian made Chrome-lined barrel and original receiver. Once more, the lack of dimples on the AES's receiver isn't an issue as RPKs didn't have them anyway. The M72 is a Yugo LMG, some what based off the RPK, but the aES-10B is pretty much an exact RPK, but restricted to semi-auto only.

Back when you could get an AES-10B w/ 2-40 rd mags and accessories for around $500 and Yugo M72 Sporters came only with 2-40 rd mags and nothing else and cost $700, to me, the best one was clear.

I still think the AES-10B is one of the neatest AK variants ever imported. Then again, I've always liked the RPK.

I see Century is offering a folding stock version but not a fixed one for the AES and the price tag is pretty up there. Perhaps they will import another batch, and the price will go down $100-200?

May 4, 2005

If it makes you feel better, that SAR-2 has the same trigger as both my SAR-1 and SAR-2. It wasn't actually mine, it was my dad's but i did buy it for him back when they were importing them (new, don't worry you are only the 2nd owner). Those old Century 'C' triggers did suck. The G-2s are pretty good on the other hand. In some ways i like them better than teh Arsenal stamped triggers but by far the AK in my collection with teh best trigger is the SA M-5R. Its just..insanely smooth and quite light.

Ok differences between the M72 and RPK. I won't get them all because there are lots. In fact virtually no parts interchange.

Here goes:
The RPK is an LMG version of the stamped AKM. The M72 is an LMG version of the M70B1, which itself is a stamped version of the milled M64/70, which itself is a redesign of the original AK-47.

Both RPK and M72 have 22" heavy barrels with folding bipods but the RPK's barrel has step-downs, where as the M72s is the same thickness. The M72 also has vertical cooling fins on the barrel below the gastube, infront of the lower handguard.

Both guns have a 1.6mm thick receiver, but the RPK's is a bit longer. The M72 uses the same buttstock as the M70B1 and the RPK uses the paddle style originally from the RPD.

Both use 14mm threads and windage adjustable rear sights.

Their sling swivals are in different places entirely. The bipods are also different in many small ways but function in the same basic way, though they attach to the barrel differently.

The folding stock version of the RPK (RPKS) uses a side-folding stock and the M72's (M72A) uses an underfolding one.

I guess that's a pretty decent run down. Just grab an aES-10B and an M72 if you are ever able, they just are different LMGs, both AK patterns. As far as i know, the M72 was issued with 30 round standard Yugo mags and the RPK could be issued with either a 75 rd drum or a 40 round box mag.

What makes the AES-10b neat is it has an original East European heavy RPK barrel. Also all the serial#s match (or should, you never know about those Romanians).

May 4, 2005

The problem with the spacer idea is repeated impacts and what it will do to everything. It could cause damage .

Yes, that's the AES-10, not the AES-10B.

Look in the OP for the differences.

May 4, 2005

thanks for getting around to that cleaning kit write up. No one is saying they are perfect, but for size and price, they are a great multi-purpose AK field tool kit. I keep one in every buttstock of every AK i own and for those guns that have wire folding stocks, i keep one in every magazine pouch, along with an oil bottle. Why not? complete teh commie play-set look.

If you dont mind, i might graft your cleaning kit post into the OP next time ?

Also, nice use of the Butter's Song "What What In My Butt?"

May 4, 2005

Yeah, not calling your mom a liar at all, please don't think that, but maybe there was just some confusion.

Russia never had a buttstock with a mag in it at all; nevermind 10 or 20 round shorties (in fact Russia never used either size).

Russia basically stuck to the 4 pocket pouch w/ 30 rd mags inside the whole while.

May 4, 2005

I blame the Ukrainians. I have no idea what we are blaming anyone for, but if its weird or goofy, it sounds like a Ukrainian idea to me.

On a related note I'd buy a VEPR or Fort-14/17 in a heartbeat.

Bullpup 5.45 AK & poly framed double stack Makarov, oh yes....
Bringing old communist designs into the 21st century!

May 4, 2005

Would you gladly be the rear end-mule for an SVD barrel?

I am still scheming a way to get a Tegr-S over here.

Seconding and thirding and forthing the idea that the bolt itself really never needs to be disassembled during normal (even heavy duety really) cleaning of an AK. There is simply no point. Its happened on TFR more than a few times that people get something new, and instead of just field-stripping the thing to see what makes it tick and how to clean it, they take it down to as many separate parts as they are able, normally doing damage of some kind during the process.

As for a collapsable stock on an AK, i find your reasons worthy i guess? At least you aren't wanting to make your AK look like an M4, but rahter are just wanting an adjustable length of pull. I can't really give advice though, as that kind of equipment isn't in my field of knowledge.

I will add, do not get a Tapco stock. Do not get Tapco forearms either. Their pistol grips are 'ok' but only because thats not a part of the rifle that receives a great deal of stress or heat.

I got a couple of Polish 3-pocket mag pouches from Apex and they came in looking quite nice, if anyone cares. Also picked up some Sterling mags from there, but that doesn't really fit in this thread.

May 4, 2005

Yes, Mishaco does have a Drako. Right now the one i have is in 7.62x39. Previously, I had one in .223 just for being different. My dad bought one off me and my friend Ace also got one. Otherwise, i've sold about 5 of them total, not counting mine and their's.

I can't really say they have any issues. I mean they are just a Romie built AK pistol. They might have rough wood and the finish on the metal is very much military grade, not commercial; but they go bang and are pretty neat. Also, no 922(r) US made parts are required in the importation of a pistol.

Up to you. They aren't terribly practical, but they are unique and fun to plink around with. Also i'd lay good odds that in years to come they will begin to get collectable.

As for the AMD-65's stock, its not especially useful or comfortable because it was a secondary feature of the rifle. Primarily the 65was to be fired from an armored vehicle using both pistol grips and the stock either folded or just as a 3rd point of body contact. Afterall it was a close-range weapon. For normal assault rifle ranges, they had the AMD-63.
That said, the stock isn't really wobly nor does it beat the hell out of your shoulder. It has a rubber buttplate and the forward pistol grip helps redirect some of the recoil. Besides the 7.62x39 cartridge is not known for recoil anyway.

The AMD-65 is one of those AKs where you either strangely like its looks, or find it quite hedious. Either way, its rather unconventional.

May 4, 2005

VFG? what about buying a Romanian wooden handguard with it?

I can't, not recommend Tapco furniture enough. Its crappy looking, doesn't stand the test of time great, and is just plastic, not reinforced polymer of any kind.

May 4, 2005

I love shark-fin soup....

We're talking about what to have for lunch right?

May 4, 2005

haha yeah i know. I remember you talking about it on IM once.

But when i posted i was making lunch and i really do like good shark some times.

I should have TFR over to my house. Its nice having a good bit of Russian food in my diet these days.

Does any one know where i could get one of those reverse forearm grips for a Romie underfolder? Preferably both the upper and lower wood so they match.

May 4, 2005

exactly right. Its perfectly normal. You can try turning it another fll rotating if you like by depressing the pin and turning it clockwise. It will probably go say a quarter of the way and then tighten up. Just reverse back to the pin. Your good. If it does make another complete circuit, fine too, just make sure the pin locks back into the groove.

May 4, 2005

$200 is a good price for a WASR-10 even with issues. But honestly, it sounds like to me maybe some of them were previous owner caused?
cantted sight blocks and magwell burs are common, but bent dustcovers? not really. Also what did you mean by the 'slide' needed some filing? I will assume you mean bolt-carrier. In that case where did it need such treatment and how did you come to this conclusion?

By the way the price of new WSR-10s is over $400.00, not $300.00ish. They've not been $300.00ish since hmm 2005 or 2006.

I see no reason to tape your Arsenal's muzzle brake. There is no harm in it being a little loose. The threads and pin will hold it secure,no problem. That's Soviet milspec.

May 4, 2005

Yeah we did talk about that.

Really my concern was for voiding warrenties on the WASRs, if people did noticeable alterations to them.

I guess I've not seen the most recent batch of WASRs. the last ones we got in were back in September. Or was it October?

Nice to know cugir isn't worrying themselves with pesky things such as quality control or errr....making something that isn't an expensive and awkward club.

With SGL-21s now availble for a reasonable really kind of makes you want to ask where the WASR fits in the market now? I mean if they worked and had decent finishes, fine $425 is still a lot less than $600 for an SGL, but considering the SGLs both look good and go bang every time, perhaps its worth the extra $$$?


May 4, 2005

I remember last year when the SGLs came out. people were really reluctent to get into them. Yes, they were $800, not $600 but also they had the stigma of being 'converted' saigas and people still remembered the now mythical $175.00 Saiga 7.62x39 hunter.
I guess now that the price of a base saiga is $300-350 and at the same time teh SGL-21 has dropped several dollars, they are quite attractive. Also i think the great rumour and opinion mill that we call the internet has finally given its mostly positive approval to the SGL series.
They really are the best value in the AK market today and also....'real' Russian made semi-auto AKs that haven't been nutered.

The WASR-10 is probably worth $400, IF it works like it should. After all it does have an original chromed barrel and should come with 2-30 rd mags, bayonet, sling, cleaning kit, and oiler. Unfortionately, most distributers strip some of the goodies out and Q.C. over at Cugir seems basically 1 drunk Romanian old man wearing glasses with a hook for his right hand and a weak bladder.

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