Originally Posted by Ceapea
I am looking to get into the AK world.
I have reading about and researching them for a little while now and have a few questions for those of you who know something about them.
I often wondered what made an AK "original" or "correct".
Chinese, Yugo, Russian, etc...
Are the Norinco and Polytech's as real as they get? Or are they a variant that is not as good as or maybe better than the original AK's? Again, what is an "original"?
I have a friend who was bitten by the U.S. Service Rifle bug and that's all he is buying now a days. He has seven AK rifles, all in Norinco and/or Polytech, that he is thinking of selling.
I have been looking at a bunch of the CAI imported PAP, NPAP and OPAP rifles and there are a ton of opinions out there as to which is best. My question is this, are the newer, rebuilds as good as or better than the Norinco or Polytech rifles? Or are the new ones nowhere near those in quality. I have heard that the WASR's may not be the way to go, I don't know.
I read about 1mm vs. 1.6mm thick receivers on the rebuilds and different trunnions on different receivers. What are the older rifles built on? Stamped vs. milled?
Also, is it an issue of quality? Are the Norinco and Polytech's built better or is it just a matter of nostalgia, with the newer rifles actually being built better?
I'm not so sure that a bayo lug is important to me. Another, 45 deg. vs. 90 deg gas blocks? Are there other "must haves" on AK's that I should be looking for?
Long question short, should I be looking at Norinco/Polytech rifles, or the latest rebuilds?
Sorry for the long post.
Thanks for your input.
That's quite the tall order. "Original" and "Correct" are kind of hard to define in 'our' AK world and I have my opinions that may conflict with others.
You see, 'our' AK world is what 99.9% of us can reasonably get, and that's not a 1951 Russian AK. Realistically, we can only get a pretty good variety of semi-autos, and the Russians are actually late in getting in the game here in the US.
Original, to me, is the way the gun came into the US originally. That gets muddy when you look at the Chinese AKs because of the MAK. MAK-90s originally came to the US with no ban-era neutering and then were neutered to conform to the existing law until they were banned completely. So, for the MAKs, original is either the way it came in prior to 1990 or after it was neutered and re-labeled MAK.
That goes for "correct" too...a correct AK is unmolested. That is, the lug is there, the gun accepts a double-stack mag, has muzzle threads, and does not have some thumbhole stock.
That gets even more complicated because AKs now come in several flavors. You have those that are imported (like the Russians) and then made to conform to 922r by having several parts replaced with US parts. They can never be "original", but they remain "correct". Does that make sense???
Another flavor would be the ones that are made from parts kits using as many original commie parts as are available or have not been further banned. The quality here really depends on the origin and consistency of the kits and the builder. Welcome to the post-ban era.
In the pre-ban era, the few AKs that did come in were very close to the authentic full autos as possible. Really, the only thing separating them from their full-auto counterparts were the parts (and hole) to make them full auto. Most of these were Chinese, with a few rare Yugos, some Egyptian, and some Hungarian, off the top of my head.
Of course there is always an exception and there were some semi-auto Chinese AKs that made it into the US with the hole for the auto components (albeit with an easily removable rivet in the hole) and simply lacked the full auto parts.
Receivers...the first AK receivers were stamped, followed by two different types of milled, then stamped (AKM). As for AKMs, they are either 1mm (most) or 1.6mm (Chinese, and Yugo). Stamped AKs use different barrels, trunnions, etc., than milled, however there are some that combine features of both, like the Chinese and Yugos. They use stamped receivers with AK components.
Gas blocks: 45 degree were originally used, but the newer AKs use 90 degree. That was a result of the switch to the AK-74, although there are exceptions (Romanian).
As you can see, the AK world seems to follow a standard, but there are exceptions to nearly every norm.
What you should be looking for depends on what you want and can spend. Preban AKs will run a lot of money, especially milled versions, but are correct. Newer ones have US parts, but are excellent quality, especially the Russian and Yugos.
I hope that helps. I would encourage you to go over to the Kalashnikov Klub and look through the reference material. It might answer some more questions. Here's my guide to AKs http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1183387
and my guide to Chinese AKs http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1185250