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Me and My Kalashnikov

Well, it's not a true AK-47. A true AK-47 is a selective fire assault rifle. My rifle is an SAR-1, basically an AK-47 pattern built in Romania which can only fire semi-automatic, not full auto like a machine gun. I'm sure that the fun-loving folks at VPC would call it an "assault weapon" but there is no such thing as an "assault weapon" unless, of course, you mean any object that could be used to assault another human being, so anything could be called an "assault weapon." The SAR-1 is a military rifle design with a pistol grip and it will accept 10, 20, 30, and 40 round magazines.

Critique of the SAR-1

The SAR-1 is a Romanian offering, produced by ROMAK S.A. and then shipped to Century Arms to have the obligatory American parts installed so it won’t be an "imported assault rifle." In the case of the SAR-1, those parts are the trigger group, the bolt carrier and the pistol grip.

As one owner said, "The SAR won’t win any beauty contests." These guns tend to be assembled solidly, but cosmetics are a low priority. Many new owners of SAR’s immediately strip the varnish from the wood and do finish work like painting them with MetalKote. I didn’t feel it necessary to do those things although I might on another rifle. What I did was to buff the varnish on the furniture with a fine steel wool pad to smooth out the teeth and roughness of the wood finish. I then used Kleen-Bore Black Magic blue to touch up the parkerized metal of the receiver. I also did a bit of stoning on metal edges like the charging handle and trigger guard to smooth out little sharps. I did similar smoothing on the magazines.

One thing you will notice about these rifles is things are not always perfectly straight. On mine, the front sight post is canted ever so slightly to the left. The windage adjustment compensates for this fine, so the rifle shoots beautifully to point of aim. The furniture on my gas tube is canted slightly to the left – the gas tub itself is on straight (something a new buyer should check when purchasing one of these) – but the furniture is ever so slightly canted to the left. (Hmmm... leftward bias on a Soviet battle rifle – who would have thunk it?) For the most part, these are cosmetic issues and in no way do they affect the function of the rifle, although a seriously crooked gas tube could cause problems.

AK pattern rifles do not have a "slide stop" so the bolt does not lock open after the last round. This bugs me because it’s the only autoloader I have that has this behavior. Since the AK was essentially designed as a sub machine gun, I guess the thinking was that when it quits going "bang" it’s time to reload. Simplicity and economy of design is great, but I still wish the bolt would lock back when it’s empty.

After the first time I shot the SAR-1, I took it to a gunsmith to have him relieve the disconnector to reduce trigger slap and I also asked him to polish the sear surfaces to smooth the trigger. It took him three weeks to do the job, but he did nice work. I can't tell that the disconnector relief did a whole lot, but my finger wasn't hurting after 50 rounds the way it did the first time I shot it prior to the gunsmith work. The sear polish helped more. At 30 yards I was able to shoot a three inch group offhand easily with a number of the shots forming a ragged hole at the point of aim. This was with the Russian Wolf 122g FMJ ammo.

The Kalashnikov is not a sniper rifle. I see guys bragging about getting 1" groups at 100 yards. Unless they are using scopes and sand bags, I kind of doubt it. Offhand with iron sights at 50 yards, I can hold them in a 3" group. If you’re the kind who gets a charge out of shooting quarters at 300 meters, this is not the rifle for you.

The Gestalt of the Kalashnikov

The AK-47 is the ultimate "ugly gun." The very sight of it evokes memories of Viet Cong soldiers, terrorists and revolutionaries. Wherever the **** has hit the fan, the AK-47 has been there. It's cheap to build, effective and reliable. You can buy two AK-style rifles for the price of one AR-15, and many consider the AK to be more reliable and effective than the AR-15. Those sorts of comparisons are the subject of endless debate. My own opinion is that the AR-15 is better at longer range and against body armor whereas the AK is more reliable and launches a cartridge which is more effective inside of 200 yards.

The AK-47 is one of the world's legendary battle rifles. There have been more AK-47's produced than any other single firearm design. Its design was hammered out in the desperate forge of World War II. It was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1947 but didn't actually go into service until 1949.

What are the lessons of war reflected in the Kalashnikov rifle? It is easy, fast, and inexpensive to produce. It doesn't require a Swiss watchmaker to assemble it. Its assembly requires no hand fitting so the parts are interchangeable for easy repair in the field, although such repair is seldom needed.

The AK-47 is reliable. It is not sensitive to dirt and neglect. The safety and bolt close to prevent dirt and debris from entering the mechanism of the rifle. Even with significant amounts of crud and powder residue built up in the receiver, the gun will continue to fire flawlessly. Kalashnikov rifles chambered in the original 1943 cartridge, the 7.62mm x 39mm, run right new out of the box and just keep on running. Mine has never choked on ammo or failed to ignite a round.

The rifle is designed for fast, close quarter combat. It is short and is easy to handle and turn quickly. It has a pistol grip which makes firing from the hip easier, and it can be fired one-handed if you have the strength in your arms. The gas piston operation greatly softens the recoil, making the rifle easier to control for fast strings or full auto fire.

Ballistics:

A common comparison is made between the 7.62mm x 39mm and the Winchester 30-30 cartridges, so let’s look at that.

170g Federal 30-30 vs. Type 1943 122g 7.62mm x 39mm FMJ:

Slightly higher muzzle velocity for the 7.62, 2350 fps vs. 2200 fps of the 30-30.
Trajectory at 200 yards: 5.12 inches for the 7.62 vs. 8.3 inches for the 30-30.
Slightly better energy delivery for the 30-30, 990 fp vs. 846 fp for the 7.62 at 200 yards (but this is with a bullet that is 40% larger).
In other words, the cartridges are pretty doggoned close. The 7.62 has better range and the 30-30 hits a little harder. There is, of course, no armor-piercing incendiary available for the 30-30.

From the tactical point of view, the AK has 20, 30 and 40 round magazines, does not require cocking between shots, reloads faster, and has better penetration of body armor less than Class III. Since it is a gas operated autoloader, its recoil is significantly less than the lever gun, making follow-up shots quicker. If you fire a 30-30 with it's steel butt plate against your shoulder without some sort of padding, it will hurt you (unless you have a lot of muscle or fat mass on your shoulder that I don’t have). With the AK, you'd have to fire 100 rounds or more before you'd start to get tender. The AK is faster, more fun and less punishing. If it was a matter of 1 shot inside of a 150 yards, I'd take the 30-30. It hits harder and is more accurate. I am considerably more accurate with a Winchester Model 94 than I am with a Kalashnikov. If I had to engage multiple targets within 200 yards, I would prefer the AK.

But most important: Box of 20 30-30 shells - $10; box of 20 7.62 x 39 - $1.80.

Also, there is nothing as sublimely politically incorrect as teaching your 15-year-old the manual of arms on your gun show AK-47.

Some history on the SAR-1 and the AK-47

"Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov was born in 1919 to a peasant family in the village of Kurya, Altay region (southwest Siberia). He entered a primary school in 1926, but was forced to leave his village when pursued by authorities for possessing a revolver he had picked up from a civil war battlefield.

Young Mikhail went to Alma-Ata, where he later found employment as a technical secretary in one of the departments of the Turkestan-Siberian Railroad. Kalashnikov was drafted into the Red Army in 1938, and then sent to a school for tank driver- mechanics. Here he distinguished himself in the design of an instrument for monitoring tank engine hours, and in 1939 went to Leningrad to participate in the production of the device. When the Great Patriotic War began in June 1941, Senior Sergeant Kalashnikov found himself commanding a tank at the front. Seriously wounded in combat around Bryansk in October 1941, Kalashnikov was evacuated to the deep rear for recovery. While on a six-month convalescent leave, he returned to Alma-Ata, where he found a position in a weapon production facility run by the Moscow Aviation Institute. Here he began a career in small arms design and production that would last more than a half century.

In 1946, while working at the Kovrov Weapons Plant (about 250 kilometers east of Moscow), Kalashnikov began work on the weapon that would carry his name around the world – the AK-47. This 7.62 x 39mm assault rifle was accepted as the standard rifle for the Soviet Army in 1949, and retained that status until it was succeeded by the modernized Kalashnikov assault rifle (AKM) in 1959.

Kalashnikov and his design team would eventually design and produce an entire family of automatic weapons based on the AK-47 assault rifle design: the AKM and AKMS assault rifle, the RPK and RPKS machine gun, the PK and PKS machine gun, the PKT tank machine gun, and the PKB machine gun for the armored transporter.

The AKM bears a strong mechanical and cosmetic resemblance to its forebear, the AK-47. Design differences include a retarder in the trigger mechanism that moderates the weapon’s rate of fire; improvements to the bolt-locking system that contribute to better horizontal stability and thus accuracy; a 1000-meter rear sight leaf instead of the 800-ineter leaf on the AK-47; stamped receiver, receiver cover, and other parts; plastic magazines and pistol grip; muzzle compensator; and a bayonet-knife in place of a plain bayonet. Cosmetic differences include a slightly larger fore end, laminated wood stock and fore end, and parkerized bolt and bolt carrier on the AKM. A loaded AKM is approximately 1.5 lb. lighter than a loaded AK-47.

Variants on the AKM design have been produced in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and North Korea. Total world-wide production of the AK-47 and AKM and their foreign variants is estimated at between 30 and 50 million, making the Kalashnikov assault rifle the most widely produced rifle in the world.

Kalashnikov has received numerous prestigious awards for his life-long labor in the design bureaus and factories of the Soviet defense establishment: Hero of Socialist Labor (two awards), the Lenin and State prizes, three Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, Order of Labor Red Banner, Order of Friendship of Peoples, Order of the Red Star, and other lesser medals. He has an earned doctorate in technical sciences, and on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 1994 was promoted to major general (reserve)."

Source: The Official Soviet AKM Manual translated by Maj. James F. Gebhardt, U.S. Army

"The SAR-1's arrived in the US the first part of 1999, around February, if I am not mistaken. Around the mid part of 1999, the SAR-2 (AK chambered for 5.45mm x 39) arrived, and the latter part of 1999, the SAR-3 (AK chambered for .223 Remington) made it's debut. The 1999 SAR's had some minor, easily corrected problems. Soft hammers, canted sight towers and gas blocks, all of which Century would gladly repair for free, all you need do is call and get a return authorization. The SAR-3's also had problems with out-of-spec hammers, these too were corrected in the 2000 series and any 1999 version with an off-hammer they will also replace for free. I consider 1999 to be the golden age for AK owners. This was the year the US factories started cranking out very high quality AK's and good reliable basic AK's. Ammo was cheap. Magazines were plentiful and relatively inexpensive and super quality. 2000 was likewise a very good year for us. Still, it's only a matter of time before the companies bring over Bulgarian and Romanian technicians to set up barrel and receiver production lines here. I believe it will be a year or so before the dawn of the silver age for AK enthusiasts."
– TinMan99

"It's a common (and incorrect) story that the AK was "based on a German assault rifle in 8mm Kurtz". Strip the two of them and you can see there is almost no similarity. Mikal T. Kalashnikov actually used US arms features in his design: he took the bolt from the M1 Carbine (yes, I know the Carbine bolt is the same as the Garand in functioning – but it was the Carbine that inspired him), the trigger from the Garand, even the safety from a Remington semi-auto hunting rifle. He based the concept on the STG-44 and it's predecessors perhaps, but the idea of the "assault rifle" or "machine carbine" was around before. In my opinion, the AK-47 and AKM were better weapons than the STG-44. Factoid: the detailed shape of the MP-43 and MP-44 were created by a typewriter company that was chosen to make the stampings.

Incidentally, the M43 cartridge (7.62mm x 39mm) was a German design, stolen before 1938 (I believe). And even stranger, it was based on the Italian 6.5mm cartridge. The design was modified further (after the Soviet spies stole the earlier design), but lost out to the round that became the 7.92 Kurtz. The Germans managed to get equal velocity for a very similar bullet with a cartridge 1/4" shorter." – Packrat

Rant:

The official Soviet Army AKM manual defines the intent and purpose of the rifle succinctly: "The 7.62 modernized Kalashnikov rifle is an individual weapon intended for the destruction of enemy personnel." No mamby-pamby equivocation there. The Kalashnikov rifle is a fighting gun. It wasn't built for duck hunting. There are a lot of folks including one former president who question why a civilian "needs" to own a battle rifle of any sort. That same previously mentioned president, who thankfully no longer occupies that office, even went so far as to issue an executive order banning the importation of foreign-built "assault rifles" (really any "ugly gun" since there are actually very few true assault rifles imported into the US and the so-called "assault rifle" ban has been extended to include semi-automatic rifles which aren’t "assault rifles" at all because they are not selective fire or full auto), as if reducing the supply of Kalashnikovs and FAL's would reduce crime or make America a safer place to be by forcing domestic terrorists and criminals to buy American made AR-15s (I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the logic here). Like the rest of that particular president's diversionary maneuvers, his "assault weapon ban" had absolutely effect on crime or personal safety.

But, do I "need" to own a gun like this? I really hope not. That's not the issue. It's my right to own a gun like this plain and simple. I own it because I want to. It's fascinating and it's fun to shoot. That's the only justification I need. Could I imagine a scenario in which I would "need" this rifle for something other than recreation? Yes. Widespread civil disorder brought about by natural disaster or coordinated terrorist strikes on the homeland could leave one feeling very glad to have the Kalashnikov by your side. Short of a cataclysm such as this, I doubt that I'll ever need this rifle for its intended purpose. But, such a crisis is far from impossible and the AK-47 is a great WTSHTF ("when the **** hits the fan") gun. It can hunt, fight, and provide an intimidating defense. Ammo is cheap and fairly light. It's short and compact for close quarters. All of those pistol issues of stopping power and mag capacity sort of fade away with the AK. It can endure extended periods of operation under very adverse conditions. Admittedly, I'm a big bullet kind of guy, but I have more confidence in the 7.62mm than I do in the .223.

The last time I read the Second Amendment it didn't say anything about actions, calibers or cosmetics. It didn't say I had to justify my ownership of a rifle with some kind of "need." It said "shall not be infringed."

Having Fun

Took the AK to our IDPA match. Sometimes, after the official match is over, we'll experiment around with unconventional guns that don't fit into the IDPA classifications. Sometimes it's mouse guns or shotguns. On this day it was military rifles. We had a Mauser K-98, an M1A and the AK-47. We shot a couple of the IDPA stages with the little ugly rifle. One stage represented fighting a gang around the corners of a building and rescuing hostages. Everyone who used the gun on this stage particularly noticed the speed of handling and the ease with which accurate shots were placed.

It's a butt-kicking little rifle. I like the way it feels and sounds a whole lot more than an AR-15. I like the wood and the heft of it. Yesterday, I fired 200 rounds at a cost of $18. Recently I bought a pack of four 30-round mags, mag pouch and field cleaning kit for $35. Price for the basic rifle was $327 – I could buy three of them for the price of one new Colt AR-15. The more I work with this rifle and learn about it, the more I like it. You can't beat it for economy and the fun factor is terrific.
 

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Wow, that's a lot of great information!

I will second the vote for the AK. The first rifle I ever owned was an AK variant - a Russian-made Saiga with the US/hunter stock set.

Talk about an ugly gun! But it was only $159 plus shipping and transfer, NIB. How many other reliable autoloaders can be had for so little? And it's a LOAD of fun to shoot!!!

And I love the heavy metal-on-metal sound the bolt carrier makes after the initial bang from the powder charge. Of course, the sound of cycling the lever on my new 336 sounds pretty nice too =) =) =)

A hundred dollars and a few months later I did the US-parts + pistol grip & standard mag conversion and now I have a "proper" AK.

It's definitely not a sharpshooter, but I have out-shot kids at the range with bench-queen AR-15's on two occassions. Obviously this more a reflection on their poor shooting technique than anything else (and I would love to have the opportunity to shoot a nice AR one day) but it certainly put a smile on *my* face.

The only things I really don't like about my AK are:

- the crappy open sights & limited options for mounting aperture sights close to your eye where they belong. it seems the only options for accurate/fast sighting are red dots, which just add weight to an already heavy gun.

- i can't aim it with one hand like i can my marlin - not something i expect to do often, but if you ever expect to use it in a defensive or chaotic situation, i think that's a nice feature to have.

- poor selection of expanding ammunition. for an urban self-defense situation i'm not comfortable with a 120+ grn FMJ round that will likely blow through four walls and a street sign before slowing down. one of my coworkers said he was able to fully penetrate a 1" thick steel manhole cover at 30 yards with his Saiga. on a separate occassion he was able to shoot cleanly through both front doors of an old american passenger car without noticable expansion on the final exit hole. great if you need to shoot someone who's trying to run you over with their car, but kinda scary if you have neighbors nearby.

but overall i LOVE my AK. i just wish i had someplace close to shoot that wasn't as structured as the local range - somewhere i could shoot milk jugs, coke cans, tannerite, etc. =)

thanks for the info!

-jacob
 

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Excellent post. The AR guys are going to be all over this one!

You touched on "reliability" which is often the most overlooked / ignored point when fans of the AR debate fans of the AK. Often the focus in soley on accuracy of which the AR definitely wins but it is accomplished through tighter tolerances of mating parts making the AR more suseptable to dirt/debris.

One thing that really turns me off on the AR is the charging handle. First, there is no way to cycle the bolt without dropping the weapon from your shoulder and if the lock fails, your own weapon can effectively take you out of the fight. From everything I read, this was done to streamline the weapon's profile and then the profile was de-streamlined by adding the forward assist so I ask every time, where is the advantage?

Second point is that if you do get a round jam hard in the action, the charging handle attached to the bolt is much easier to beat on with anything handy to get it moving.

Third, if you already have your paw on the bolt handle, it does not require repositioning to go from pull to push if necessary.

Back to accuracy, there is no reason why the 7.62x39 cannot be as accurate as any other round, the basis of accuracy lies on the platform. Adding a little chrome to the chamber and bore can tighten up the tolerances enough to turn a 4-5 MOA AK into a 1-2 MOA very quickly at a lower cost than building a whole new barrel. But, tightening the tolerances also comes at the price of reliability.

When considering the AK & 7.62x39, the emphasis was placed on most infantry battle taking place at ranges of 100 or 130 meters or less. 4-5 MOA was more than sufficient to fill this need and is why less attention was put into accuracy and more into reliability. However, the numer one factor in the design was cost of manufacturing both weapons and ammunition. I wish I could remember where I saw it but the 7.62x39 round was toned down a bit from its original specs by shaving a little off the bullet weight & powder which allowed for a little weight to be shaved off weapons and make more of everything without loosing much in performance. Niether the AK nor the 7.62x39 were designed for work beyond the 100 - 130 meter nominal battle range. For work beyond the nominal range, the Red's preferred having squad snipers armed with the SVD and regular snipers armed with the 91/30.

The US military, especially the US Marines, focus on individual marksmanship more so than any other military forces which placed accuracy on the front burner. The idea being to have a smaller number of forces being able to pin down the enemy at ranges beyond their effective ranges while the Red's viewed larger numbers as the key to winning battles. They did, and maybe still don't, view the regular infantry man as having the need to engage targets at 300 meters or more which means less training requirements too. The per-man savings on regular infantry is put into giving more advanced training to the squad and regular snipers and having more of them.

I'm not trying to turn this into a debate between the AR & AK but simply pointing out why I'm not fond of the AR. Personally, I feel the Ruger mini 14 is far superior to the AR yet would not be my first choice of a battle weapon. I'm also not a fan of itty bitty bullets either.

Jacob,
S&B has a 122gr soft point available with a MV of 2438 and ME of1629
Wolf has a 122gr HP with MV of 2396 ME 1555 and a 154gr SP with MV of 2104 & ME 1514
Remington has the 125gr PSP
Federal has a 123gr SP
Didn't look for others but I'm sure there are more out there than these.
 

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I have owned several AKs over the years and enjoyed them. Cheap and fun to shoot. My latest two are the Saiga 308 with 16" barrel and the Saiga 12 ga with 22" barrel. These guns have the AK 100 series updates. The 308 is very accurate and will print cloverleafs with match reloads at 50 yards. The 12 gauge will print the Remington Slugger slugs into 1 and 1/2 inch and was sighted in perfectly at 50 yards. The 12 ga also has a light recoil. about 2/3 of a pump gun. I fired up about 100 slugs of various types in a couple of hours with only a slight ache in the shoulder. I can only go about 20 rds with the 870 before I am ready to put it dowm. I'm going to put on a recoil pad and a recoil buffer that reportedly cuts recoil of the Saiga in half. Dont overlook the Saigas,they are a blast to shoot, especially the 12 ga. BTW, EAA is no longer importing them but a new company named Russian American Armory will have a new shipment soon.
 

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For what it is worth on the AK slant, when we were going to go into Cambodia we needed ammo for all the captured AKs we had picked up in SEA.
Lake City AAP made up a couple million rounds and they needed weapons for function/casualty/inspection requirements so they asked for 50 to be sent in. They got them figuring they would fall apart in a couple thousand rounds and they were going to shoot 60,000 I think it was.
Well they took three Russian made ones and ran the entire 60,000 rounds.
The AK as a target rifle is poor. Basically a E silhouette at 300 yards/meters is about the whole ballgame and from then on the M16A2/M4 will at least make the opposition consider a long coffee break in a defilade position.
Now if you want to consider AK variations you have to consider the AK-74. Now here we have a flat out match for the M16A2 w/ M855. Back in the dark ages when the M16A2 was being tested at Aberdeen there was another test at the same time conducted. They realized they had a rare chance to get some good poop so they got the same test shooter that fired the dispersion tests on the M16A2 to shoot the AK-74. In those days there were only two 74s in captivity. One in a museum and the other MI had along with a 55 gallon drum of battlefield pickup 5.45MM.
The test was conducted to 800 meters and basically the dispersions were identical between the two shooting SS109 FN Made (very good stuff) and the battlefield pickup that was only matched by looking at headstamps. Wasn't a single box to be had.
The M16A2 had a definent advantage because of the sights. The 74 had a scope rail but alas no scope.
Being closely involved in the effort one has to make observations. First off the muzzle device on the 74 sucks big time. **** thing was loose as a M19llA1 slide. I remember getting a big kick out of seeing someone had made one to go on a AR.
Next only two kinds of folks carry 74s. Those that want to be killed shortly and those that will be. Especially at night. Touch off one round much less a fire fight and night vision is gone. The Russian ammo puts out a pretty white muzzleflash about the size of a soccer ball!!!!!!!! You might as well carry a Coleman Double Mantle Lantern around because after one round the whole world including the guys in up high are gonna know right where you are and call the world in on your pos.
So bottom line is every system has its plus and minus column. Now if I were in a situation where I had to grab a rifle, mags and ammo then bug out for a survival type scenario with no cleaning equipment it would be the AK-47 because it will keep going far longer without TLC.
 

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markkw said:
Excellent post. The AR guys are going to be all over this one!

You touched on "reliability" which is often the most overlooked / ignored point when fans of the AR debate fans of the AK. Often the focus in soley on accuracy of which the AR definitely wins but it is accomplished through tighter tolerances of mating parts making the AR more suseptable to dirt/debris.

One thing that really turns me off on the AR is the charging handle. First, there is no way to cycle the bolt without dropping the weapon from your shoulder and if the lock fails, your own weapon can effectively take you out of the fight. From everything I read, this was done to streamline the weapon's profile and then the profile was de-streamlined by adding the forward assist so I ask every time, where is the advantage?

Second point is that if you do get a round jam hard in the action, the charging handle attached to the bolt is much easier to beat on with anything handy to get it moving.

Third, if you already have your paw on the bolt handle, it does not require repositioning to go from pull to push if necessary.

Back to accuracy, there is no reason why the 7.62x39 cannot be as accurate as any other round, the basis of accuracy lies on the platform. Adding a little chrome to the chamber and bore can tighten up the tolerances enough to turn a 4-5 MOA AK into a 1-2 MOA very quickly at a lower cost than building a whole new barrel. But, tightening the tolerances also comes at the price of reliability.

When considering the AK & 7.62x39, the emphasis was placed on most infantry battle taking place at ranges of 100 or 130 meters or less. 4-5 MOA was more than sufficient to fill this need and is why less attention was put into accuracy and more into reliability. However, the numer one factor in the design was cost of manufacturing both weapons and ammunition. I wish I could remember where I saw it but the 7.62x39 round was toned down a bit from its original specs by shaving a little off the bullet weight & powder which allowed for a little weight to be shaved off weapons and make more of everything without loosing much in performance. Niether the AK nor the 7.62x39 were designed for work beyond the 100 - 130 meter nominal battle range. For work beyond the nominal range, the Red's preferred having squad snipers armed with the SVD and regular snipers armed with the 91/30.

The US military, especially the US Marines, focus on individual marksmanship more so than any other military forces which placed accuracy on the front burner. The idea being to have a smaller number of forces being able to pin down the enemy at ranges beyond their effective ranges while the Red's viewed larger numbers as the key to winning battles. They did, and maybe still don't, view the regular infantry man as having the need to engage targets at 300 meters or more which means less training requirements too. The per-man savings on regular infantry is put into giving more advanced training to the squad and regular snipers and having more of them.

I'm not trying to turn this into a debate between the AR & AK but simply pointing out why I'm not fond of the AR. Personally, I feel the Ruger mini 14 is far superior to the AR yet would not be my first choice of a battle weapon. I'm also not a fan of itty bitty bullets either.

Jacob,
S&B has a 122gr soft point available with a MV of 2438 and ME of1629
Wolf has a 122gr HP with MV of 2396 ME 1555 and a 154gr SP with MV of 2104 & ME 1514
Remington has the 125gr PSP
Federal has a 123gr SP
Didn't look for others but I'm sure there are more out there than these.
The problem you immediately run into is the complete lack quality ammo for this weapon that the AR has oodles to choose from.

For example...take the tap ammo recently released by hornady...which appears so far to be a superbly performing round.

Corbon has an offering in 7.62x39. but I have no experience on this one.
 

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Un-ugly Ak

I just couldn't resist a SHOW & TELL.

This is a Mak-90 in 7.62x39 that I bought in 1994. The Mak-90 has an excessive amount of heavy wood in the form of an ugly thumbhole stock and here I have made an attempt to beautify this weapon by removing the wood and installing black plastic furniture. The sling is standard AK/SKS. One 100 round and two 75 round drum magazines.

I have fired over 1000 rounds and it has never jammed or failed to fire except for an occasional misfire due to bad ammo, not the weapon. It is nowhere near as accurate as my heavy barreled AR-15, but it will keep most rounds in an 8" pie plate at 150 yards. The ones that missed are probably my fault. With a receiver sight and younger eyes, the results would have been better.

AK ugly? YES. Reliable and dependable? You betcha.

BTW, does anyone own one of the new Century Arms AK with a folding stock. I saw one on either "GUNS & AMMO TV" or "AMERICAN RIFLEMAN" TV this past week. Interesting.
 

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NITRO said:
I just couldn't resist a SHOW & TELL.

This is a Mak-90 in 7.62x39 that I bought in 1994. The Mak-90 has an excessive amount of heavy wood in the form of an ugly thumbhole stock and here I have made an attempt to beautify this weapon by removing the wood and installing black plastic furniture. The sling is standard AK/SKS. One 100 round and two 75 round drum magazines.

I have fired over 1000 rounds and it has never jammed or failed to fire except for an occasional misfire due to bad ammo, not the weapon. It is nowhere near as accurate as my heavy barreled AR-15, but it will keep most rounds in an 8" pie plate at 150 yards. The ones that missed are probably my fault. With a receiver sight and younger eyes, the results would have been better.

AK ugly? YES. Reliable and dependable? You betcha.

BTW, does anyone own one of the new Century Arms AK with a folding stock. I saw one on either "GUNS & AMMO TV" or "AMERICAN RIFLEMAN" TV this past week. Interesting.
Does anyone here know anything about AK USA? I ordered a Polish AKMS underfold type parts kit from Centerfire Systems, and am condidering having AK USA build it up on an Armory US 1mm type II receiver. Any input?
 

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mikej said:
Does anyone here know anything about AK USA? I ordered a Polish AKMS underfold type parts kit from Centerfire Systems, and am condidering having AK USA build it up on an Armory US 1mm type II receiver. Any input?
There is a great company (everyone raves about) on Surplus Rifle, that does some great builds. I am an" AR Guy" and I'm not bashing your choice, or anyones choice! I have owned AK's SkS's and they don't light my fire. To each his own. The 7.62x39 is a nice round and will perform very well in a nice firearm. I got rid of mine when steel core ammo disappeared. I used to like "burning" holes in Split semi rims at the pits, discarded rims of-course. JP
 

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jpattersonnh said:
There is a great company (everyone raves about) on Surplus Rifle, that does some great builds. I am an" AR Guy" and I'm not bashing your choice, or anyones choice! I have owned AK's SkS's and they don't light my fire. To each his own. The 7.62x39 is a nice round and will perform very well in a nice firearm. I got rid of mine when steel core ammo disappeared. I used to like "burning" holes in Split semi rims at the pits, discarded rims of-course. JP
I'm an AR guy too (I have 3), but I like other rifles as well. I have an SKS, and an AK, and an FAL, M1A, Garand, Mini 14-the- list goes on, but I did want a smoothed out underfold style AKMS, not just a rougher than a cob AK. I have one of those already, and AK-USA builds AK's that are supposed to be top notch, according to other web sites, but I was looking for opinions here, as I've found that most of the responders on this site are pretty knowledgable. Thanks for the tip about Surplus rifles, I'll check it out.
 

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Warlock, Getting quality 7.62x39 ammo is not a problem, S&B is top end and not priced as high as the less quality domestic ammo. I don't know how many thousands of rounds of 7.62x39 ammo I went through with only a few misfires which were all from China. African, Barnaul, Wolf, Romanian, Yugo, Czech, USA & a few others and all functioned perfectly.

As I said above, there is a definite trade off made between reliability and accuracy. The more accurate the rifle, the less reliable it becomes. The difference may not be readily noticable on the range but when rifles start getting slopped through the mud & sand and ammo gets slammed around in trucks and packs or dropped from the air...things go south quickly. If you're highly accurate weapon won't eat a little dirt or dinged up ammo, it'll be your downfall. If you spend time fighting your weapon, the enemy will use this to their advantage.

The two biggest differences always seem to come down to "accuracy" and "range". So let's have a real look at them. First, as jmartinson said, shooter skill has a lot more to do with things than the actual weapon. Battle weapons are designed for one of two purposes, kill the enemy troops or break the enemy equipment. Battles and wars are won one of two ways, killing enough of the enemy or breaking enough of his equipment but none have every been won by who can put more rounds into a pop can at 300 meters.

Okay, we all agree the AK types are not intended for shooting pop cans at 300 meters and some will say the lack the range that comes with the AR...so who will be the first to stick their head out of the foxhole at 400 meters with a boatload of .310" bullets coming down like hail on your position? They may not be accuratey placed but as long as they are coming in, they pose a serious threat thus making them quite effective!?!

I don't recall the exact numbers but if we look back to vietnam, the round hit rate was something like 5000:1 For every 5000 rounds fired, only one enemy troop was hit. Doesn't say a whole lot for accuracy does it? We go back a little further to Korea and the hit rate was something like 1200:1 and WWII it was around 800:1 .... if the weapons became more accurate over the years as is claimed, why did the hit rates drop considerably?

General grunts during WWII received much less training than grunts of the vietnam era did so what happened to the hit rates? How can more accurate weapons and better trained soldiers result in less hits?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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More guys carrying full autos.
 

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I have a MAK-90 that is just a wonderful shooter. I put a brown plastic East German stock on it to get rid of that horrible thumb hole stock. accuracy is as much as I will ever need maybe 3MOA, never measured just a guess. I've used tons of WOLF ammo with it, cheap and I've never had a jam.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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Another shout for the reliability of the AK!!!!

I too own the mak-90, the Norico Version of said AK, and, if I can find it, I have an article on how the SEAL teams prefer the mak-90 to any and all of their assault long guns.
I can't stop mine, just keeps on a'shootin. Being lefty, I recountoured the thunbhole to fit my chunky left mitt, and man o man, did I say I just can't stop this gun???
Accuracy, is well non existant in the target sense....pie plate at 100, garbage can lid at 200.....

But fun, just plain cheap fun.....
 

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Well, I guess I've been bitten by some kind of bug. I went out and purchased a Century Arms AB70 underfolder, because I wanted a nice AKMS. It is pretty nice, and shoots pretty well too. I'm getting 3" groups off of sandbags at 100 yds with S&B steel cased ammo, and 5" with Wolf 122 gr steel cased HP. From sitting I'm keeping all shots inside of 8", which with my eyesight nowadays, and the AK sights is pretty good. I plan on trying an Ultimak forward mount with an Eotech or similar and see if that helps.

But on to the virus I caught. While perusing other websites I've noticed increased rumors of the BATFE hassling guys buying AK's and those who manufacture them. Don't know if the internet rumors are true, but my natural distrust of the ATF, as well as the possibility that the Dems will take over Congress has made me nervous, so I went out and purchased three parts kits, and two receivers, and plan to have them built up ASAP. At least then If the Dems pass another AWB, I'll have four decent battle rifles stashed, as well as extra parts and mags.
 

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I do not mean to belittle my own, but Americans do not undestand the AK. It's genesis is based off studies from WW2, in which the Russkies discoverd the same thing tha the Germans discovered that took the US until Korea to figure out:
Most combat ocurrs at less than 300m, and most often a soldier will wait until the enemey is at 100m, due to fear of being able to hit the enemy, lightling, terrain, etc. Also, we in the US ae a nation of Riflemen. The russkies are not, and never were. What does this mean? Simple. The Army and Marines teach that "this soldier shoots here" The Russians thought process is "The SQUAD shoots here" Lastly, at the time of the USSR and the AK's development, the USSR had about three major and 3 minor laguages to contend with, coupled with a very large populace portion that were basically illiterate, so the gun had to be oh-so simple. Lastly, of course, is the legendary reliability. Not too long ago, I saw where the Sout African Army was finding piles - literally - of AKs rusting in the inclement weather in Mozambique, where they were being allowed to look for these hidden caches that criminals were bringing into SA. Pull the magest dirtest rustiest one off the pile, pour motor oil over it, make sure the bore is unobstructed, then load and shoot!

Point is, don't compare it to the M16. To do so is a mistake.

I have owned many, and currently own a "franken gun" and they are great. you will be well-served by this weapon
 

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Mike I sent you a PM the other day suggesting a DCI receiver instead of a Global. The Century Yugo is built on a DCI receiver and is a great buy. To bad Century didn't try to match the serial # of the receiver to the parts kits instead of grinding on the trunnion. The parts kits they used to build these were used in the Bosnian war and have a ton of history. The Yugo is one of my favorite AK variants.
 

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bsn said:
Mike I sent you a PM the other day suggesting a DCI receiver instead of a Global. The Century Yugo is built on a DCI receiver and is a great buy. To bad Century didn't try to match the serial # of the receiver to the parts kits instead of grinding on the trunnion. The parts kits they used to build these were used in the Bosnian war and have a ton of history. The Yugo is one of my favorite AK variants.

Thanks bsn, I PM'd you back. Good info. I also like my Yugo UF, and plan on giving it a thorough workout as soon as I can find the time. With luck, I'll be living on my 70 ac in TN, upon which I had the excavator who put in my driveway use the excess dirt to make a 7' tall, 20' wide, 10' thick berm for my 100 yd range. I'll have alot more opportunity to shoot then.
 

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There are lots of undercover super snoopers at the gunshows and more than likely on all of the forums.I read a comment on one forum about an sks conversion with an after mkt stock and responded that it wasn't legal in CA never got a response so I suspect it was from either a fed or state member sniffing around.I was helping my dealer at a gunshow when a customer approached and something just didn't sound quite right with the story so I listened then I told her I was retired from LE in the county we were in and gave some advice letting her look at a handgun ,she said she'd have to go to her credit union to get the money,we never saw her back at our table instead she was off in the other bldg giving the same spiel to other exhibitors.We figured she was an undercover working the gunshow.
 

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kiddekop,
All of my AK builds are going to be 922r compliant, so I shouldn't have any problems with the ATF. I have read about the ATF hassling dealers, especially in CA, and closing them down. Thanks for the info.
 
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