Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AK-74: Day Two

I got up a bit early and got the AK shot from the 70 and 100 yard lines today and came up with some more important observations. First, shooting an AK while blaring Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop" is about as close to being cool as I will ever come. Second, you'll want to buy an AK sight adjustment tool for your AK if you get one. They're cheap and available from lots of vendors. All of the zeroing of an AK is done at the front sight post, then the rear sight leaf can be used for quick range adjustments by selecting the corresponding number. The rear sight leaf on the Tantal is very, very optimistically graduated out to "10", which I would assume is 1000 meters, or just over half a mile. If I had been a communist dictator in the 1970s, I'd have said to graduate the sights to 300 meters at 50 meter intervals and call it good.

Anyway, I started off at 70 yards using the "S" setting, which stands for...something. I shot clean over my zombie's head by about 8" while holding dead center on his chest. Alarming to say the least! So I moved the rear sight leaf to the "2" mark, which probably means 200 meters. Then I was bout 4" high from point of aim and slightly right. I was holding dead center of the chest and the rounds were making great groups in the neck area, trending slightly to the right of center. The story was the same at 100 yards. Shooting across the hood of my truck like a man, I was able to get groups about the size of the palm of my hand. That's pretty good for an unstable position in a 20mph North wind that could make Sasquatch want to go back indoors. I think this thing is capable of pretty decent accuracy--perhaps nudging into AR territory--but I'd better reserve my judgment until I can sit down on a nice day and shoot it off some bags.

Clean-up is a pretty easy job after 90 rounds. It breaks down into four giant pieces in about ten seconds, but there is a catch. The rear of the receiver is higher than the bore, so you have to clean the bore by pushing the rod in from the front. This pushes all the soot and misery from your Russian surplus ammo back into the non-chrome-lined chamber, so pay attention and clean the chamber when you're done with the bore. It isn't more work, just sort of a bass-ackwards way of doing things, which is one of the endearing features of the AK series.

This gun is just a hoot to blast away with. Despite the sights being way off, I was still able to drop rounds on a cardboard zombie from 210 yards while shooting out of my truck window because it was very cold outside. I bought this gun as a toy, and I'm very happy with it. If you're thinking of getting one for varmint hunting or any kind of serious work, it has some...issues.

First, if you want to fit an optic, you'll have to get a very expensive picatinny rail rig from Texas Weapon Systems. That or take an ax or Dremel or milling machine to a picatinny rail handguard set because the Tantal has very unique quasi-free floating handguard set. Second, you're on drugs if you think you can reload an AK as fast as you can an AR. Yes, you can train to come close, but the rock-in system of mag changes just isn't as efficient as slapping in an AR mag. Be prepared to do some training to get up to speed. That said, if I were going overseas I might think about the non-neutered Wz.88 Tantal just because of the awesome recoil characteristics. Or I might get a full-auto AR in 5.45x39mm.

Anyway, pictures to come when I get back home.

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