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The other day, I had to use my AK

Met up with Les a couple of weeks ago to take the WASR out for a spin. The WASR, like all Kalashnikovs, is quite clunky. The action is not as smooth as an AR15 and accuracy was about what is expected. We were shooting at what I would guess was between 20 to 25 yards. The rifle was consistently shooting about four inches to the left. Need to get a sight tool or I may just give it a couple of whacks with a punch and a hammer.

Foreign semi-automatic rifles, due to some arbitrary federal regulation, cannot be imported into the US if they are capable of accepting regular capacity magazines and have a random number of non-US made parts. Why these features are important to the .gov, I do not know. As such, the WASRs are imported in a configuration that allows them to accept single stack magazines as opposed to double stack (or regular) AK47 magazines. Importers then swap out a random number of foreign parts for US parts and cut out the magazine well and magazine latch a bit to accept the regular capacity magazines (on how to do it yourself, see here). The issue is that some of these importers do a particularly bad job of this. My WASR accepted the plastic Bulgarian waffle style magazines without any trouble. It had issues with the standard steel magazines, such as the magazines were hard to get into the magazine well without smacking the crap out of them; once in, they were difficult to remove; and occasionally when the magazine got to the last three rounds or so, the rifle would jam because the magazine was not seated properly.

Some importers also replace the internal parts with low-quality parts. They often just machine their own and mimic the parts that came with the rifles. Itís not uncommon for these rifles to have a disconnector that should actually be used for full-auto rifles. This will not cause the rifle to fire in full auto but can create trigger slap, which you can read about here. Fortunately, my WASR did not have trigger slap issues.

Once I got the rifle home, I consulted the boards at AR15.com and Robert to get the solution to my magazine issue. The fix involved my favorite power tool, The Dremel. I put on a grinding wheel and shaved a little bit off the rear of the magazine well (shave a bit, check magazine fit, repeat). I also shaved a little bit off of the magazine release. The WASR seems to take both types of magazines fine now but I have not had the opportunity to shoot it since the fix.

Impressions:

The sights are low relative to the stock which requires you to assume a fairly uncomfortable cheek weld. Itís more like a chin weld. Itís awkward for us tall Americans, I guess.

The gun still functioned fairly reliably despite the magazine issues. It failed to feed about three times out of around 200 rounds. A comparable AR15 with magazine issues either wouldnít fire at all because the bolt would not close or the magazine would be ejected from the magazine well upon firing in the event the mag was not inserted all the way.

It is not as comfortable to shoot as an AR15.

Recoil was milder than I expected. I found this surprising since the AK is lighter than the AR15.

The inability of the shooter to adjust the sights without a special tool is annoying.

The safety mechanism is awkward and inconvenient, unlike the AR15 where it is easy to reach with your thumb.

Steel magazine issues aside, the properly functioning plastic magazines were a bear to insert and release. The AK is designed for very positive magazine retention and the magazine rocks in, then locks in place. I find this is a bit of overkill for retention because it takes two hands to change a magazine, unlike the AR15 where magazine changes require a thumb and one hand.

The gun is extraordinarily easy to take down and clean.

Not nearly as accurate as the AR15.

Overall, a very good rifle. I like it. It will make an excellent truck gun. However, if the shit hit the fan, Iíd still reach for my AR15.

8 Responses to “The other day, I had to use my AK”

  1. SayUncle : Quote of the day Says:

    […]
    Quote of the day
    |By SayUncle|

    Regarding my AK, reader Robert writes: It’s really just a big, robust pistol […]

  2. countertop Says:

    I’ve got a SAR and have always wondered what the difference was. Were the SARs simply imported sooner? I can accept all sorts of magazines – though it certainly has some difficulties with more than a few of them – and doesn’t shoot anywhere near MOA

  3. Chris Says:

    Someone must have been doing a little target practice on Neyland Drive (shooting into the river), because I noticed a 223 or 7.62 x 39 casing yesterday while going out for a run.

    I trust that you weren’t the one taking target practice there.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    Not I. We were in Walland.

  5. robert Says:

    Shooter in Tyler used a thumbhole stocked Mak-90 Norinco. He has three 30 round mags and a 40 rounder. They all seemed to work.

    Biggest help for an AK configuration would be a peep sight on the back of the receiver cover, like the Valmet AK clones. IMHO

    It’s really just a big, robust pistol.

  6. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    You can get an AR style sight that your friendly smith can attach to the top cover from Krebs Custom. Or, if you’re a gambling man, Vulcan makes a top cover with the sight already on it.

    You can also, IIRC, get Mojo sights for the AK.

  7. SayUncle Says:

    I think the krebs’ sight requires drilling into the reciever otherwise the sight won’t stay sighted properly.

  8. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    BTW, if you think your WASR has lousy cheek weld, mine (with the folding stock) doesn’t really have one at all. My head is just kind of floating in space when the sights are lined up correctly.

    And, all things considered, when the SHTF, I’d take my M1A. Because I hate cleaning ARs.