The Universal Gun—The AK-47

January 27, 2008


Romanian WASR AK-47

   The AK-47 is the most prolific gun on the planet. It’s used by good guys and bad alike. Most people are familiar with the history of this gun but here’s a short history. Back in the later years of WWII a Soviet army sergeant named Mikhail Kalashnikov designed this weapon which was adopted by the soviet army in 1947 thus the designation Avtomat Kalashnikova Obrazets 1947. To date there are over 30 million of these weapons in service with many countries; allies and foes alike. Some believe the AK-47 was the product of borrowing design features of the German STG44. The STG44 does have a striking resemblance to the AK. This is an issue that will be long debated. My personal opinion is that Mikhail Kalashnikov designed this weapon on his own and is a bonafied genius in firearms design. Over the years this design has spawned many variations in both caliber and use. Most any Russian rifle/squad automatic now in use has it’s basis on the AK-47 design. The original guns were forged models soon after were stamped when that technology was perfected. This reduced cost as well as allowing for greater production numbers. Some countries are so enamored with this weapon they have it on the nations flag. Mozambique being the most well known. While many liberal types look at the AK-47 as the poster child for the evil of guns. Those of us who’s main hobby is shooting know better. There’s no such thing as an evil gun the person or persons that use it determines whether it’s a tool for freedom from oppression or used to oppress.

   There are more types of AK’s made than I have room to name. This particular AK-47 is from Romania and is the most common in the USA. Prices are very reasonable. This rifle was $379 at Cott Firearms in Marshall, Mo. Ammunition is increasing in price as we all know but the 7.62×39 round at Midway Usa is priced at $109 for a case of 500 rounds. Not to bad at all for a rifle round. Certainly the least expensive large caliber rifle to shoot. Whether for just a fun time at the range, hunting or home defense the AK-47 fills the need nicely. This Romanian model has a chrome lined barrel for longevity. As AK’s go I found this one well made. The rifle also comes with a magazine pouch, a cleaning kit that fits in the butt of the rifle. It also comes with two 30 round magazines and a bayonet.
   When I brought this AK home the first thing I did was take it down to remove all the cosmoline that’s used to pack guns for long term storage. You certainly should do this as well before firing yours. After cleaning and lubing I loaded up and headed for the range. Of course I always use Militec to lube all my guns and I highly recommend it.
   I setup a standard police silhouette target up and decided to fire from the 25, 50 and 100 yard line. Firing from the 25 yard line was what I expected. I was able to maintain groups of 1 inch kneeling. From the 50 yard line I fired from a kneeling position and achieved the below group firing three rounds.

   From the 100 yard line the group opened up. The AK-47 is not known for great accuracy at distance. I do believe it is more accurate than many people give it credit for. This is the 100 yard group.

   The black area of the target is a 5 inch circle. For an AK-47 or any rifle with iron sights I consider this pretty darn good and much better than I expected considering what I have heard about poor accuracy. I completely enjoyed shooting this rifle! It’s just plain fun and handles well. If you’re used to an AR15 you do have some getting used to with the different manual of arms. I shot a total of 160 rounds with no malfunctions of any type. I expected no less considering the reputation the AK-47 has for reliability. I also emptied a 30 round mag as fast as I could pull the trigger and still no malfunctions. It was a blast to, literally:-)
   To disassemble the rifle is simplicity itself. At the rear of the receiver cover is a button that is pushed in then lift off the cover. Then grasp the recoil spring at the rear, lift it up and pull it out. After that just pull the bolt and one piece gas piston to the rear where there is a notch at the rear of the receiver allowing the assembly to be pulled up and out. That’s all there is to it. From this point just clean as usual and assemble in reverse of the take down procedure. It takes about 3 minutes to disassemble!
   I’ve also been in contact with some soldiers in Iraq who in addition to the issue M16/M4 they carry an AK-47 especially when riding in a vehicle. They refer to the fact that many of the hiding places for insurgents is behind a very common building material over there which are cinder blocks(commonly referred to as concrete blocks). From what they tell me the AK-47 round will go right through a cinder block wall providing more effective fire than the issue AR15 5.56 round.
  If you want an inexpensive gun that’s a load of fun to shoot I can certainly recommend the AK-47!


My AK with a Troy single point sling

http://www.ak-47.us/ A great website with tons of AK info.

The AK-47 and US Soldiers

Middle East – AP
>U.S. Troops Use Confiscated Iraqi AK-47s
>Sun Aug 24, 2:15 PM ET
>
>By ANDREW ENGLAND, Associated Press Writer
>
>BAQOUBA, Iraq – An American soldier stands at the side of an Iraqi highway,
>puts his AK-47 on fully automatic and pulls the trigger.
>
>Within seconds the assault rifle has blasted out 30 rounds. Puffs of dust
>dance in the air as the bullets smack into the scrubland dirt. Test fire
>complete.
>
>U.S. troops in Iraq (news – web sites) may not have found weapons of mass
>destruction, but they’re certainly getting their hands on the country’s
>stock of Kalashnikovs – and, they say, they need them.
>
>”We just do not have enough rifles to equip all of our soldiers. So in
>certain circumstances we allow soldiers to have an AK-47. They have to
>demonstrate some proficiency with the weapon … demonstrate an ability to
>use it,” said Lt. Col. Mark Young, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 67th
>Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
>
>In Humvees, on tanks – but never openly on base – U.S. soldiers are
>carrying the Cold War-era weapon, first developed in the Soviet Union but
>now mass produced around the world.
>
>The AK is favored by many of the world’s fighters, from child soldiers in
>Africa to rebel movements around the world, because it is light, durable
>and known to jam less frequently.
>
>Now U.S. troops who have picked up AKs on raids or confiscated them at
>checkpoints are putting the rifles to use – and they like what they see.
>
>Some complain that standard U.S. military M16 and M4 rifles jam too easily
>in Iraq’s dusty environment. Many say the AK has better “knockdown” power
>and can kill with fewer shots.
>
>”The kind of war we are in now … you want to be able to stop the enemy
>quick,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tracy S. McCarson of Newport News, Va., an army
>scout, who carries an AK in his Humvee.
>
>Some troops say the AK is easier to maintain and a better close-quarters
>weapon. Also, it has “some psychological affect on the enemy when you fire
>back on them with their own weapons,” McCarson said.
>
>Most U.S. soldiers agree the M16 and the M4 – a newer, shorter version of
>the M16 that has been used by American troops since the 1960s – is better
>for long distance, precision shooting.
>
>Two weeks ago, Sgt. Sam Bailey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, was in a Humvee when a
>patrol came under rocket-propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire. It
>was dark, the road narrow. On one side, there was a mud wall and palms
>trees, on the other a canal surrounded by tall grass.
>
>Bailey, who couldn’t see who was firing, had an AK-47 on his lap and his M4
>up front. The choice was simple.
>
>”I put the AK on auto and started spraying,” Bailey said.
>
>Some soldiers also say it’s easier to get ammo for the AK – they can pick
>it up on any raid or from any confiscated weapon.
>
>”It’s plentiful,” said Sgt. Eric Harmon, a tanker who has a full 75-round
>drum, five 30-round magazines, plus 200-300 rounds in boxes for his AK. He
>has about 120 rounds for his M16.
>
>Young doesn’t carry an AK but has fired one. He’s considered banning his
troops from carrying AKs, but hasn’t yet because “if I take the AK away
from some of the soldiers, then they will not have a rifle to carry with
them.”

Staff Sgt. Michael Perez, a tanker, said he would take anything over his
standard issue 9mm pistol when he’s out of his tank.

And the AK’s durability has impressed him.

“They say you can probably drop this in the water and leave it overnight,
pull it out in the morning, put in a magazine and it will work,” Perez
said.

Update 1/31/08

I’ve wanted to attach a single point sling to this AK like the type I use on my AR15’s. The trouble was in searching the internet I found very little information or hardware to attach this type of sling to the buttstock of an AK. I came up with a simple and inexpensive solution for those who would also like to put a single point sling on their AK.

AK Sling Attachment

I found some parts I had to attach a sling to my Savage 10FP. You start with an eyelet screw. Depending on the size of the screw you drill an undersize hole then place the eyelet screw in the location shown in the picture. After that you just attach the sling attachment and your done. I used a Troy Industries single point sling I have never used. It has the H&K type single snap hook. Just snap the hook in and pull the elastic part to cover the parts of the hook to prevent accidental release which is unlikely even without it.

Troy Sling

This setup is sturdy and holds the rifle in the vertical high ready position allowing you to bring it to your shoulder very fast. It also allows you to let the rifle hang on either side to use your handgun or just rest awhile. I hope you find this inexpensive solution helpful!

Update 4/3/2008

I’ve made some changes to my AK that I have found to be very useful. I changed the wood furniture out with polymer type rear stock and front handguard.

Polymer Stock Set

As it looks now


After Refinishing in AK Black


Troy Sling On Polymer Stock

You’ll notice the rubber butt pad I also added. I have since removed this item finding it somewhat cumbersome to use. It’s just to large and catches on your clothing which loosens it. This is one add on I would not advise adding unless it is the same size as the original butt stock and is attached with screws. Another item I put on was the replacement receiver cover that has the optic riser attached. You can use the iron sights with this model. With a red dot scope it’s rather fast getting on target. The only difficulty with this arrangement is every time you remove it to clean your rifle the sight must be adjusted. It will not hold zero. Since I’m an old guy and have used iron sights for many many years I also removed this because I simply don’t want to have to re-zero the rifle after each cleaning. I have to face facts that with the natural pointing attributes of the AK you don’t really need an optic unless you just really enjoy them. They do look kinda cool:-)

mount

The above mount works much better. It’s very solid and in spite of how far forward it is the red dot view is very good making a fast sight picture a snap. This mount is from Ultimak at http://www.ultimak.com/m1-b.htm. I prefer the Aimpoint type red dot on an AK. Rather than spending the money on a real Aimpoint I have chosen to purchase an Aimpoint clone from http://www.1337tactical.com. The prices vary from $75 to $105. The difference is the $105 variety comes with a lever throw mount rather than the hex mount. For $30 I decided that the type that attached by hex screws would work just fine.


The above is the type which attaches with hex screws

This is the one with the throw lever. Both come with mounts rather than having to purchase them separately as you do with the higher priced Aimpoint.

This pretty much covers the additions I’ve made or am in the process of making. One last thing is the attachment of the single point sling on a polymer stock. The process I wrote above for wooden stocks works better on polymer than wood. It holds the sling very securely. I hope this saves you some time and money by revealing those parts which don’t work very well.

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15 Responses to “The Universal Gun—The AK-47”

  1. mossycreekcustom Says:

    Love your site. I added you to my blogroll. If you get a chance, check me out.
    mossycreekcustom.com

    Thanks Jeff

  2. Gunner Says:

    Jeff,

    Thank you very much! I’ll be glad to add you to the blogroll:-)

    Phil

  3. DoubleTapper Says:

    I’ve already added you to my blogroll.

    Keep on posting!

  4. Gunner Says:

    DoubleTapper,

    Thanks very much I certainly appreciate it! I’ll add you to my blogroll as well.
    All the best,
    Phil

  5. Michael Lane Says:

    Great report on the AK47. I have the GP-WASR10 AK47 and I love it. There are not a lot of weapons that can take the abuse that an AK can take and keep on firing. I think this gun’s reliability and ease of use makes it a very capable home defense weapon. However, rule number four of the “four rules” will need extra attention as it was correctly mentioned that the 7.62×39 round will penetrate, a lot.

    I rate my GP-WASR10 AK47 as follows:

    Design 8/10 – Stamped receiver and huge safety lever are detractions.

    Assembly & Disassembly 10/10 – Field stripping takes mere seconds and cleaning is easy.

    Accuracy 7/10 – No bulls eye at 200 yards, but you shouldn’t be trying with a generic AK clone.

    Value 10/10 – Under $400 for an AK that takes a beating and shoots all day? That’s value!

    Michael Lane
    North Georgia, USA

  6. Gunner Says:

    Mike,

    Thanks very much for your kind comment. I appreciate your input on the WASR. It’s one heck of a value and a lot of fun to shoot! Your right about penetration. I set a log up vertically and measured it’s circumference at 12 inches. That round went through it like butter. Impressive:-)

    All the best,
    Phil

  7. Terry Says:

    The AK design was borrowed from multiple weapons especially the Sturmgewher. This is common knowledge. Not an negative thing to say, the weapon stands on its own merits. There are plenty of very decent WASR’s but there are also a whole lot of really bad ones. A buyer should learn about what to look for before buying one. If you want to drop $1000 on an AK look at Krebs or Arsenal. Very nice. Militec btw is an OK lube but thats about it. Most of the claims on their web site are false, specifically those having to do with rust prevention. They give away SOME samples to military but it is for marketing purposes so I wouldn’t get too excited about it. The building material used in the Middle east is just cinder block btw. Nothing special. Finally your military anecdotes about the AK puzzle me. I don’t know what your point is. first American soldier are NOT allowed to carry AK except for a very few units. There was some of that during the initial stages of the invasion but not any more. You quote a soldier who talks about “spraying” AK rounds which is not a very effective way of using any assault rifle. He also doesn’t seem to know much about AK’s.

  8. Gunner Says:

    Terry,

    I do know the gas system from the STG44 was used in some variation on the AK. As far as other weapons and features used you’ll find a difference of opinion among gun historians. As you said the AK47 does stand on it’s own merits and my intent was to review this gun not go into the complete history and differing opinions from various sources.
    The WASR’s that are being imported now are good weapons and affordable. The early ones that were imported had problems. I haven’t heard of anything recently a potential buyer should be concerned about. Yes there are makers who sell AK47’s and other types for $1000 but that is a different animal altogether. The companies that you mentioned along with others make fine examples of forged receiver models. Some would even be classed as custom guns. It again wasn’t my intent to cover these guns just the one I reviewed.
    As far as Militec is concerned Lanigan Performance sends a good deal of Militec as well as the products they make to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m not excited about it just appreciative of the efforts they make to give away products to our troops. I do know they have sent a considerable amount over there to any Army,Navy personnel or Marine who ask for it at no charge not even shipping. Entire companies have been sent care packages of several bottles of various products. They don’t advertise the fact just put a link on the website so the military as well as police officers can request it. I know this to be fact since my son is in Iraq right now.
    I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill but I have seen test with the 5.56 fired into cinder blocks.Yes I made an error and when I do I admit it. They are cinder blocks not concrete. I’ll change that. The 5.56 didn’t penetrate but I saw the 7.62×39 go all the way through and shatter the block.
    As far as making a point on US troops using AK’s I wasn’t trying to make a point just posting an Associated Press article. Those were the words of the correspondent not mine. I wouldn’t know about the soldier you mention since again this was an AP article to be taken for what it’s worth.
    Just curious if you are military? Again on some things we just have to disagree. No harm in that:-)
    Take Care,
    Phil

  9. Gunner Says:

    Terry,

    One other thing I thought of. I was watching some unedited video from Iraq yesterday and saw a US not an ING soldier carrying an AK.
    I get some video or pictures from time to time from a correspondent in country.

  10. Richard Kerr Says:

    Hi Gunner,

    I bought my WASR10/63 with the (IMHO) crummy dragunov style stock with one from Cheaper N’ Dirt. Since the new one is considered a “Thumbhole” stock the 922r stuff dosen’t count. The new one is made of polymer and is of an “In-line” or straight stock design so it is in line with the axis of the barrel. It also has much better handgrip clearance and is more of a NATO length. I changed the hand guard with the “Galil” style and a gas tube without the flanges for the old wood hand guard cover for better cooling. I also added the “Phantom” four port Comp/Suppressor, and a UTG side-rail scope mount for my dot scope. Now with the rifle “modernized” it has become a very accurate CQB / Defense carbine, I can easily punch under 3″ groups at 100yds. As you can tell I really enjoy mine.

    Rich

  11. Gunner Says:

    Richard,

    They are much better rifles than a lot of people give them credit for. I agree a little modernizing helps the handling and function of the rifle a lot and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do it unlike AR15 parts:-)
    I sure enjoy mine as well.

    Phil

  12. Pete Says:

    I also have a WASR-10, love it. You didn’t mention that you also upgraded the flash suppressor from the stock slanted to the AK-74 style. I did that to, and added a Tapco folding stock and some plastic hand guards. After firing it a bit, I went back to wood with the standard slanted muzzle brake. I liked the way the wood looks better (more aesthetically pleasing to my eye) and didn’t notice a sizable difference in recoil with the AK-74 sytle muzzle brake that warranted the extra size and weight.

    Something also about US troops using AK’s, its nice to have a weapon on board your vehicle that you can easily find ample ammo for in your environment. Many households in Iraq (legally) have an AK with ammo as allowed by law for protection.

  13. Gunner Says:

    Pete,

    They are certainly fun to shoot and surprisingly more accurate than you hear about. Just a fun rifle to shoot. I really didn’t notice a change to any great degree with recoil after putting on the AK74 suppressor but I left mine on just because I liked the way it looked. I agree on the wood. I also went back to wood and it looks very nice. I ordered a set made of a bit nicer wood. One thing I found with the stock would is the upper handguard tends to crack but not with this wood. I had to change my forward upper several times after it cracked.
    Nothing new under the sun in combat either—- guys in Vietnam grabbed them also.

    Thanks for writing!
    Phil

  14. Paul Says:

    I just found this site and enjoy the comments on the WASR-10’s here. Looking for some help on getting accuracy better. Seems 100 yds. is a bit much for mine even after mounting a scope. After what I’ve read am considering removing the scope and trying 50 yd. shots w/iron sights. I did purchase a UTG tool to help with adjustment on the front sight. I put the slant brake back on as felt the flash brake might affect trajectory. Any feedback on that? Love the looks I get at the firing range. Any other input you may have will be greatly appreciated.
    Love the looks I get at the firing range. Apparently not many folks here in Houston take theirs out to shoot. Finding ammo has become a real job/chore.

  15. Jim sexton Says:

    I dont know why our army has such inferior weapons, the m4 is underpowered and unreliable. The 5.56 round is a varmit round!! What happened to our powerful m1 garands and m14 s?? The 7.62×39 round has way more knock down power than the m4 s “poodle shooter” round. The ak is also way more reliable and cheaper. I dont see why we switched from the good ole garands and colt .45s to the underpowered and unreliable m4 s and beretta m9 s. The ar-15 is an exelent varmit rifle, but its just that; a varmit rifle wich has no place in the military except for taking out those pesky iraqi prarie dogs… -Jim


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