Hey guys, Just picked up my Arsenal 101s (13) a few weeks ago. I've got about 400-500 rounds through it and thought I'd toss ya'll some feedback. This is my first AK. I've got 10's of thousands of rounds through M16/M4 style platforms and consider myself fairly competent with one in my hands. An AK however, is a different story.
I'll start with the finish. I've heard arsenal finish's are ****. I can confirm this. The gun has seen very, very minor use and the finish has sheared off in several spots already. Muzzle, rails, gas tube latch path, safety latch path. pretth much anywhere there's metal on metal friction. No biggy, but I might have to get the rifle re-finished some day just so I can feel like it's still nice.
I've got nothing to say about the fact that the receiver is milled. If I ever pick up a stamped, I'll update that. I put about 300 rounds through the gun today, and the receiver felt fine, however the gun was too hot to hold on the handguard. I wasn't shooting cyclic either, 5-10 minutes per mag, for about 300 rounds.
The fit is great. Everything seems to be in perfect alignment, and work properly. The bolt cycles smooth, and the trigger is decent. The trigger is like a bad M4 mil-spec trigger, which from what I hear is good for an AK. There is a little bit of mushy slack, followed by a 4-6 lb break that is pretty clean. The reset is a nice "thud" which gives you some positive control over multiple shots.
The finish on the barrel seems to be holding up much better than the finish on the receiver/controls/muzzle. Not sure why that is but wish they used the same quality product on everything else. The gun is not light, at 8lbs unloaded it can get a little chunky with a 40 round mag, but still manages to feel maneuverable and handy.
The barrel twist rate is 1/9.44 inches. I've got nothing to compare this to for any other AK rifle, so do what you will with that factoid. The manual says that the effective range for the gun is 400 meters. After some of my test groups, I feel that this is reasonable, tho it is high for an AK. I fired Wolf, Tula, Brown Bear, Golden Bear, Winchester White Box, American Eagle, and Golden Tiger. All of the rounds cycled perfectly. There was no huge noticeable loss of accuracy between the rounds. I did notice about 5-6 flyers in my groups, however it could have been me, but I'll sleep better tonight blaming it on the ammo.
The sights were about 3-4 inches high and right at 25 yards, and about 6-8 off at 50 yards. I didn't bring my sight tool with me to the range, however I was able to kentucky windage my way to some impressive accuracy. Bench resting I was able to keep 1-2 inch groups with iron sights at 25 and 50. With good optics I could see the gun performing in the 1.5-2.5 moa range at distance. That may be optimistic, but i'll have to update that at a later time.
I used 4 different types of magazines. 30 round egyptian surplus, 30 round polish surplus, Tapco intrafuse smooth side, and a romanian 40 rounders. Every magazine locked up tight, and fired flawlessly. I was drawn to the tapco, and fired about 150 of the rounds though it with no problems. The light weight of the magazine makes it a god sent on an already heavy rifle. The 10 round magazine that comes with the gun is great for bench resting.
Overall it's a good rifle, and I'm happy with the purchase. I'm torn between the midwest industries handguards and the ultimak gas tube rail replacement for mounting optics. The gun is heavy enough so i'd like to not add a chunky for-end to it. I've ordered meprolight night sights and plan on installing them immediately. Lets face it, the stock sights are the original AK style, and leave a bit to be desired. I've heard that milled receiver parts are harder to come by, so not sure If i'll mess with the stock just yet, or ever.
Reliability(not even sure why I had to say it)
For-end heat dissipation
Weight(not too bad tho)
If you all have any questions/suggestions don't hesitate to toss in some feedback! I'm definitely getting hooked on the platform, maybe I'll start saving for a 5.45 next. I can take pictures if you all have something specific you would like to see, other than that its just a regular looking SLR-101 that I haven't done anything to yet.