Saturday, March 14, 2009

Guns & Ammo Special Issue: The AK47

The only disadvantage of having a subscription to Guns & Ammo magazine is that you don’t get the special edition issues – and this one is a doozey! The most recent special issue is the Complete Book of the AK47. As I’ve discussed in previous blog entries, the AK47 is perhaps the most demonized and least understood firearm in the world. I’m certain not coincidentally, it’s also the most produced firearm in the world with over 100 million AK47 variants having been produced over the years.

The issue opens, appropriately, with an article about Mikhail Kalashnikov himself. The article discusses Kalashnikov’s background in World War II and then goes on to give a brief history of the AK47. There are some great photos of early AK components including a Soviet fire control group machined from a steel billet. It is amazing to see how the fire control group changed over the years.

The next article is a real treat as it details AK variants from around the world. The rifles in the pictures for this particular article aren’t fully automatic originals, but rather semi-automatic clones owned by Stuart McDaniel of the Kalashnikov Collectors Association. His fine collection includes a Soviet AKMS, Polish PMKM, Polish PMKMS under folder, Polish Tantal, Several Romanian variants (including the ubiquitous AIM-G), Yugoslavian M92 and M70-B1, Hungarian AMD-63 and -65, various Chinese and Egyptian AK’s, and last, but not least the Iraqi Tabuk Carbine and DMR (although the barrel on his DMR is probably a sneeze too long as it looks like he built it with the unaltered Green Mountain barrel).

A rifle without ammo is fairly useless, and there is a good article on the 7.62x39 and the 5.45x39 cartridges used by the various Kalashnikov variants. Probably the most useful part of this article is the Cartridge Identification Guide. It lists the various types and markings on both cartridges by nation. There’s also an article on improving the ballistic performance of the 7.62x39 cartridge through the use of hand loading with high quality components. I may try to go this route once I have the Tabuk DMR together, but it seems excessive for the WASR-10.

Speaking of the WASR and the Tabuk, there are a couple of articles covering the WASR-10 in the issue. There are also a couple of articles about the AK in Iraq and the Tabuk – although in this case it is the Tabuk carbine, and not the more interesting DMR – which doesn’t show up in either article, unfortunately.

Lots of more good stuff in the issue as well including a visit to a Chinese factory, an article on zeroing, the ever enigmatic combination tool, and even creating an AK “black rifle”. Overall if you’re a fan of the semi-auto AK, this is the magazine for you.

Until next time!!!


Micah said...

Nice write up man! I don't usually get gun magazines but I might have to check this issue out. I love the AK...good stuff :)

Fingolfen said...

Thanks! This one is a keeper...