Thunder Roads LA MS Magazine DEC2017 - Page 18

BULLET POINTS The Kala shn i kov P t. 1 PHOTOS AND article by: brody kennen Everyone, within the firearms community, has a platform that first brought them into said community. The Kalashnikov platform held it for me early on. It was entirely based on an unmatched simplicity and a higher reliability than other rifle platforms available on our market. Of course, there is no such thing as the perfect machine, but the AK and its derivatives come very close. With the endeavors of American companies, followed up by the pursuits of the Russians, the Kalashnikov platform can be made as modular as any AR-15. Spetsnaz rifles started showing up with Texas Weapon Systems Dog-Leg top covers, EoTechs and UTG forward rail-integrated systems (RISs). All before the days of ZenitCo. But, they learned from what they moved out of the U.S. The simplicity of the Kalashnikov platform means reliability and ease-of- maintenance. You simply pop the dust cover off, remove the recoil spring and pull the single-piece bolt-carrier group and gas piston free of the receiver, and spin the bolt free of the BCG. Most rifles also ship with a cleaning rod, mounted underneath the barrel itself – used for cleaning or clearing a swollen case from the chamber. The worst thing that may happen outside of an ammunition / case failure is wear causing a breakage in one of the key components. As with anything else: if it is mechanical, it will surely break at some point. However, I have not had a serious problem that called for a significant replacement: such as a bolt-carrier group or bolt due to a metallurgic fracture. There are two camps of Kalashnikov owners: those who are wood-stocked purists and those who are modernists. I have an appreciation for both styles, but all my AKs would be modernized with as light-of-weight kit as possible. There is an affinity for Spetsnaz rifle clones in both 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm. Most often, these taken form with ZenitCo-clad Arsenal SLRs with an Aimpoint or EoTech sight. There are many variations to choose from; most often done by analyzing the variants from different countries around the world. Most desire a specific feature in a future purchase: a heavy barrel and receiver, like found on Veprs, for instance. Or, you could be searching for something collectable: like that of a Chinese pre-Assault Weapons Ban rifle with all the features of a military standard Type-56. I started out with a plain-jane, second-generation Century Arms WASR- 10/63 chambered in 7.62x39mm. They were imported from Romania and based on their PM md. 63 rifles. It is a rifle that I keep, still to this day. The WASR is an entry-level AK; though, certainly not the rifle to be using as a clone build. The glaring issue being that there is not magazine well dimples on the receiver. As for the quality of the WASR, the worst issue that I have is a slightly canted front sight assembly. I did have to go through over a dozen other CAI rifles until I found the one with the best quality. Aside from the Zastava imports, the second-generation WASRs were some of the better AKs brought in by Century Arms International. Presently, care must be taken when buying an AK. Some American-made models have more serious problems than what presented in the early WASR- 10s. Cast-metal trunnions, bad riveting, misalignment in the barrel setting and trunnions. And, those were coming out of old and new companies during the boom of