4.30.2011

General AK-47 Information

General AK-47 Information


Caliber 7.62x39 mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt with 2 lugs
Overall length: 870 mm
Barrel length: 415 mm
Weight: 4,300 g with empty magazine, 4,876 g loaded
Magazine capacity 30 rds (40 rds box magazines and 75 rds drums)
Sighting range, m: 800
Cyclic rate of fire 600 rds/min
Practical rate of fire, single shots 90-100 rds/min; bursts 400 rds/min
Muzzle velocity: 780 m/s

The following extract comes from US Army Field Manual 100-2-3 - The Soviet Army; Troops Organization and Equipment published in June 1991. The publication was approved for public release with unlimited distribution (ie may be freely used). The entry provided covered the AK-47, AKS, AKM and the AKMS military assault rifles.
Our new AK47 version chart is being developed,
check it out, write a review of your favorite AK47 or AK74
Buying weapons today is cheap. In fact, for modern armies who buy large sums, most optical sights cost much more then assault rifles per unit.
Description:
The original AK was also known as the AK-47. It was a gas-operated, selective-fire weapon. Like all 7.62-mm Kalashnikov assault rifles, it fired the Soviet 7.62 x 39-mm M1943 round and used a standard 30-round curved box magazine. The AK came in two versions: one with a fixed wooden stock, and another, the AKS, with a folding metal stock issued primarily to parachutist and armor troops. Except for the differences in the stock and the lack of a tool kit with the AKS, the two version were identical. The early AKs had no bayonet, but the version with the fixed wooden stock later mounted a detachable knife bayonet.
The improved model, known as the AKM, is easier to produce and operate. It weighs about one kilogram less than the AK. The reduced weight results from using thinner, stamped sheet metal parts rather than machined, forged steel; laminated wood rather than solid wood in the hand guard, forearm, pistol grip, and buttstock; and new lightweight aluminum and plastic magazines. Other improvements include a straighter stock for better control; an improved gas cylinder; a rate-of-fire control alongside the trigger; a rear sight graduated to 1,000 meters rather than 800 meters; and a greatly improved, detachable bayonet.
The AKM also has a folding-stock version, designated AKMS, intended for use by riflemen in armored infantry combat vehicles such as the BMP. Except for its T-shaped, stamped-metal, folding buttstock, the AKMS is identical to the AKM. The folding-stock model can reduce its length from 868 to 699 millimeters.
Some AK Variants
RPK




The safety lever serves two functions when in the upper or "safe" position. First, it blocks dirt from entering the action by covering the slot the bolt carrier lever moves through when the weapon is fired. This also prevents the weapon from being cocked while on "safe".
Second, an extension on the pin holding the lever through the receiver blocks the rear of the trigger, preventing the trigger from being pulled. When the safety lever is moved to "fire, the action may be cycled, and the trigger is the only thing holding the hammer from falling.
When the trigger is pulled, the hammer falls, hits the rear of the firing pin, and the round detonates. Note that the AK-47 bolt is locked closed by rotating when the bolt carrier is moved forward (there is a cam on the top of the bolt that engages a slot in the bolt carrier to accomplish the rotation). The firing pin is free-floating -- there is no spring to hold it retracted until the hammer falls. Consequently, if one manually cycles live rounds through the AK-47, one will observe light indentations on the primers where the firing pit hit against them as the action closed. Consequently, it is inadvisable to chamber live rounds unless you are prepared for the possibility of the weapon firing when you do so.
Slam-fires do not seem to be as common as with the SKS, and it is hard to get enough dirt into the action to cause it to malfunction for that reason. I recall one report of flawless functioning even when the rifle was so covered in mud as to be hardly recognizable as a firearm.
The action is gas-operated: when a round detonates, some gas from the explosion is vented out of a small hole at the top of the barrel near the muzzle. This gas pushes against the front of the piston in the gas tube, which is connected to the bolt carrier. As the bolt carrier is pushed rearward by the gas, the bolt rotates to unlock and moves rearward, and the round in the chamber is extracted and pulled back.
The round is ejected when it hits against a small protrusion on the left side of the receiver as the bolt moves rearward. Simultaneously, the back of the bolt pushes the hammer back and cocks it.
The hammer is held back by the disconnect or (the trigger is almost certainly still pulled, since the action cycles much faster than the operator can release the trigger). The bolt and bolt carrier recoil against the recoil spring and guide rod, and come back forward. As the bolt comes forward, it grabs the top round from the magazine and puts it in the chamber.
There is no feature to hold the bolt open after the last round is fired from the magazine. When the operator releases the trigger, the disconnect or moves rearward and releases the hammer to move about 1/8", at which point it is stopped by the (now released) trigger until the operator pulls the trigger a second time.
In 1990 the Army was equipped with the modernized Kalashnikov submachine gun AK-74M, having folding plastic butt with the accessory placed in it and a plate for mounting optical and night sights.
In 1991 the same modernization was carried out with a light machine gun. And so the modernized Kalashnikov light machine guns RPK-74M (5.45 mm) was addopted in armament. It replaced four modification of light machine guns.
Nowadays Kalashnikov submachine guns, the series 100, are developed with the purpose of expansion of their nomenclature for various types of cartridges and export.
AK101 - the 5,56 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun for cartridge 5,56x45 NATO
AK102 - the same but with a short barrel
AK103 - the 7,62 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun for cartridge 7,62x39
AK104 - the same but with a short barrel
AK105 - 5,45 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun with a short barrel for cartridge 5,45x39.
In 1993 within the framework of conversion of a defensive industry of "IZHMASH" Open Joint Stock Company developed the self-loading hunting carbine "Saiga" on the basis of the Kalashnikov submachine guns.
Capabilities:
All 7.62-mm Kalashnikov assault rifles fire in either semiautomatic or automatic mode and have an effective range of about 300 meters. At full cyclic rate, they can fire about 600 rounds per minute (up to 640 rounds per minute for the AKM), with a practical rate of about 100 rounds per minute fully automatic or 40 rounds per minute semiautomatic. Both the AK and AKM can mount a grenade launcher. Both can have passive image intensifier night sights. Both can function normally after total immersion in mud and water. The fully chromed barrel ensures effective operation even at very low temperatures. The muzzle of either weapon fits into the swiveling firing points of the BMP. Thus, the infantryman can fire the weapon while the vehicle is moving.
Limitations:
The most serious drawback to the AK and AKM is the low muzzle velocity (710 meters per second) of the relatively heavy 7.62-mm round. This results in a looping trajectory that requires a clumsy adjustment for accuracy at ranges beyond 300 meters. The barrel overheats quickly when the weapon fires for extended periods, making the weapon hard to handle and occasionally causing a round to explode prematurely in the chamber. The exposed gas cylinder is easily dented, sometimes causing the weapon to malfunction.
Remarks:
Although they designed it in 1947 and thus referred to it as the AK-47, the Soviets actually adopted the AK in 1949. The AK entered service in 1951. It was the basic individual infantry weapon of the Soviet Army until the introduction of the AKM. The Soviets developed the AKM in 1959. It entered service in 1961. All 7.62-mm Kalashnikov assault rifles are very dependable weapons. They produce a high volume of fire and are simple to maintain. However, the new 5.45-mm assault rife AK-74 is replacing the 7.62-mm weapons.
Kalashnikov goal was to design a cheaply manufactured, automatic weapon that fired the new Soviet 7.62x39mm intermediate power round. This round was intended to be a compromise between the pistols rounds fired from submachine gun, which were controllable but lacked power, and the rifle cartridges fired from heavier machine guns, which were either too heavy to fire while on the move or, if lightened, uncontrollable during automatic fire. The conventional wisdom is that the Nazi's originated the concept of an assault rifle with their MP44 machine-pistol design, (which fired the 7.92x33 "8mm Kurz" round) and the Soviets copied them, but this is disputed by Ezell -- both sides may have developed such weapons concurrently. Furthermore, Kalashnikov was hardly the only _Soviet_ designer working toward this end at this time. Other designers looking at the 7.62x39 cartridge included Simonov (designer of the SKS) and Tokarev (designer of the weapons that bear his name).
The following data comes from
James Infantry Weapons 1995 - 1996.
Cartridge: 7.62 x 39 mm Operation: gas, selective fire
Locking: rotating bolt Feed: 30-round detachable box magazine
Weight: 4.3 kg Length: 869 mm
Barrel: 414 mm Rifling: 4 grooves, rh, 1 turn in 235 mm
Sights: fore, post, adjustable; rear, U-notch, tangent Muzzle velocity: 710 m/s
Rate of fire: cyclic, 600 rds/min Effective range: 300 m

Links:
Jane's Information Group - provides the Jane's series of military reference books.
Official Kalashnikov home page - provides comprehensive information on Kalashnikov arms.
Military Parade - the latest information from the Russian defense industry.
Sources:
Headquarters, Department of the Army. FM 100-2-3 - The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization and Equipment. Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, June 1991.
Nedelin, A. Kalashnikov Arms. Moscow: Military Parade, 1997.
Jane's Information Group Limited (edited by Gander, T. J. and Hogg, I. V.). Jane's Infantry Weapons: 1995-96. London: Biddles, 1995. ISBN: 0 7106 1241 9.
Disassembly Guide - Click Here
The AK47 is the Worlds' first widely used and sucessful assault rifle. AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova, or in english "Kalashnikov automatic rifle". Kalashnikova is the name of the designer. The AK, is the most prolific small arm of the 20th century. The total number of the AK-type rifles made worldwide during the last 50 years is estimated to be over 90 million.
Automat Kalashnikova, Model 1947 (AK47)
The AK47 is the worlds first widely used and sucessful assault rifle. AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova, or in english "Kalashnikov automatic rifle". Kalashnikov is the name of the designer. The AK, is the most prolific small arm of the 20th century. The total number of the AK-type rifles made worldwide during the last 50 years is estimated to be over 90 million.
It has been and still is manufactured in dozens of countries with little modification to the original design. The AK has been used in hundreds of countries and conflicts since its introduction. This is a true legendary weapon, known for its extreme ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance, and unsurpassed reliability even in worst conditions possible.
Caliber 7.62x39 mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt with 2 lugs
Overall length: 870 mm
Barrel length: 415 mm
Weight: 4,300 g with empty magazine, 4,876 g loaded
Magazine capacity 30 rds (40 rds box magazines and 75 rds drums)
Sighting range, m: 800
Cyclic rate of fire 600 rds/min
Practical rate of fire, single shots 90-100 rds/min; bursts 400 rds/min
Muzzle velocity: 780 m/s
1978-88 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calaises optioned with the Buick 231 V6
will have the AK47 code as part of the Vehicle Identification Number

  • Code A represents the Buick 231, and the "K" code represents the Cutlass Calais line.
  • Code 47 refers to the bodystyle - a 2 door coupe.
AK-47 stands for "Avtomat Kalashnikova, model of 1947". AK-47 was designed by M.T.Kalashnikov in the 2nd half of the 1940s, and was adopted by Soviet Army in 1947 as AK. It was manufactured in huge numbers, for both internal use and export. Many countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany, PR China and others also manufactured clones of the AK. Main production facility of the AKs was IzhMash - Izhevsk machine building Plant, Izhevsk, Russia.
Technically, AK is select-fire, gas-powered, magazine fed assault rifle. Gas system of the AK uses long stroke gas piston, attached to bolt carrier. AK features rotating bolt with two massive lugs that locks securely into slots, cut in the inner walls of the receiver. The receiver itself was machined from the solid steel bar, receiver cover was stamped from sheet metal. Barrel is attached into receiver permanently, and bore and the chamber are chrome lined.
AK is hammer-fired, select-fire weapon. The fire selector/safety switch is located at the right side of the receiver, and has three positions: "Safe" (upper position), "Auto" (middle), "Single shots" (lower position). The safety switch is somewhat uncomfortable to operate.
AK features open iron sights, with front sight adjustable for windage and rear sight adjustable for elevation and marked in 100s of meters, from 100 to 800 meters. Sight radius is too short, when compared to other assault rifles, such as M16.
The stock and grip are made of wood. Shortened variant of original AK, called AKS, was intended for paratroopers and featured folding down metal buttstock.
Original AK was improved in 1959. Original milled receiver was replaced by stamped one, new receiver cover with stamped grooves for greater strength replaced the old plain one, barrel was equipped with screwed-on muzzle flip compensator, that could be replaced by silencer. Special subsonic ammunition with heavier (12 grams) bullet was developed to be used with the silencer. This modified gun was adopted as AKM, and served as a general issue small arm for the Soviet Army until 1974, when small-bore variant of the AKM, AK-74, was adopted. But until now, many AKMs are still in limited service in Russian Army.
Legendary reliability of the AK comes from simple design and overpowered gas drive. When operating in normal condition, the bolt carrier/bolt group moves at high speed and strikes hard against the rear wall of the receiver and against the front wall of the receiver on the way back to close the breech. This somewhat decreases the full-auto fire accuracy, but gives to the system the power needed to operate with seriously fouled and dirty receiver.
Thus, usually, AK require less cleaning under the battle conditions, and less sensitive to powder quality, than other assault rifles, especially ones such as M16, designed with relatively light bolt carrier/bolt groups and direct gas actions without gas pistons.
In general, AKs are extremely rugged and reliable guns, simple to operate and field strip, without any small parts that may be lost in field conditions. They are of average accuracy and not too comfortable to carry and fire, but they do the job they designed to, and do it excellent.
AK is most copied assault rifle in the world. Leaving aside many ex-East-block countries, officially licensed clone of the AK is still manufactured in Finland, as Sako/Valmet. An improved copy of the Valmet is built in Israel as Galil, and the copy of Galil is built in the South Africa as R-4 and R-5. Many other assault rifles, such as FN FNC, bear the marks of the AK design.


AK47, named after its designer Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, was developed during the WWII, and in 1947 the production started on the Izhmash plant in the city of Izhevsk, one of the most important Soviet military production centers (this plant, in order to hide its military nature, was also producing motorcycles "Izh", used by Soviet teams in international competitions, and world-famous sporting and hunting rifles). M.T. Kalashnikov still lives in Izhevsk and is among the most honored citizens of the city.
The first AK47s had a receiver that was part machined steel and part stampings with rivets holding everything together. This design proved to be less than robust in the field and was modified several times to gradually create a much tougher firearm.
In 1959 a tough, well-thought-out model of the gun was introduced which again used steel stampings which were riveted together. This proved to be a superior design and is the key variant seen in all modern versions of this rifle manufactured in Russia, as well as China, Finland, and most of the former Eastern Block countries. This model was designated the AKM (Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovannyi) though many times it, too, is referred to as an "AK47" (as are the semi auto versions of the gun exported into the US).
The AK47 and AKM are usually chambered for the M43 7.62x39mm cartridge which originally developed for the SKS carbine.
If kept clean, the AK47 and its variants are very reliable and many of the variants are blessed with a chromed bore (since most communist or formerly communist countries until recently used corrosive ammunition) which aids in cleaning and extends barrel life. Most AK47s with quality ammunition are quite accurate - if the sights on these guns can be overcome.
On the down side, the AKs are heavy and the basic AK design is flawed from a "human engineering" standpoint in several ways:
  • the rear sight has been placed forward so that the rifle has a very short sighting radius (with the rear sight being a rather crude open "V" tangent sight);
  • there is no bolt hold-open device;
  • the safety/selector is located rather inconveniently on the right side of the rifle and makes a distinctive "clack" when moved (which has lead to the death of many a would-be ambusher from Vietnam to South Africa).
  • During the so-called "drug war" of the 1980s, even semi auto versions of the AK47 were banned from import into the US since the guns were often used by criminals - though only in fictional TV shows for the most part.
Often heavier semi auto"RPK" and/or sniper versions of these rifles are also seen. These have the longer barrels designed for military use on SAW (Squad automatic weapons - light machine guns) or sniper rifles. Generally these guns do offer a little extra velocity to bullets leaving their barrels along with less report and muzzle flash. But the weight of these guns (over 9 pounds when the guns are empty) makes them unsuitable for most shooter's needs.
The AK-style rifles aren't pretty nor is their safety easy to operate. But the guns are robust and magazines, parts, and accessories inexpensive making them a good choice for those wanting a hunting rifle that can also serve as a fighting weapon.

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