I would suspect labor costs and maybe some material costs contribute a lot into that equation trying to keep price point down. Wouldn't you? (not to mention, we need to define "far better" and agree on a definition, but I know we're talking about Kalashnikovs so, moot point on my part)Why is it that the folks who made the Yugo "auto" can make a far better rifle than USA Americans???
Cheap Commie Guns mfg by the State, not private business, are two vast differences as one can be subsidized, the other, financed or out of pocket.
If Krebs or Fuller are any indicators, good American Made (or tweaked) AKs, ain't cheap.
The Yugoslavians, under Tito, did their AK thing without Moscow approval - bought one and reverse engineered it, making it better in their minds, which accounts for the differences in Zastava's and the rest of the worlds AKs. So it is "they" have been building them since the 50/60's.
And now, I understand the Serbs are going to the 6.5 Grendel? (but I digress)
And while I hope MAC and Rob don't get hurt if one does KaBOOM, at least we can all say, "That rifle sure looked good as it self destructed... didn't it?" (live fast, die young and leave a clean corpse)