Monday, February 15, 2010

Freedom Got An AK

I got my AK this morning and 600 rounds of Russian surplus 5.45x39mm. I then loaded up my mags and headed to the family farm for some R&R.

First things first, it's a Polish Tantal imported by Century Arms, so it is a mash-up of original commie parts and new American parts. The biggest difference is that the barrel, made by Green Mountain, is NOT chrome lined. This is important because the cheap surplus 5.45 on the market right now is corrosive, so without the chrome lining, you really need to make an effort to clean the rifle as soon as you're done firing. I solve this problem by soaking the action in CLP before going to the range, and then soaking it again when I'm done. This keeps all the filth from getting too attached to the metal and I can just wipe most of it off without much effort. You need to get that barrel clean because a small rust spot in there will ruin the accuracy, and this AK is actually pretty accurate. The trigger may be American because it is very good for an AK. There is some slop in it, but it is smooth and light.

Starting with the outside, it appears to have a fresh, thick parkerized finish. The muzzle brake is held on with a detent pin, and is removable, revealing threads so you could add a suppressor if you live in a free state. The Tantal features a thumb-safety that is totally useless. It works if you're flipping it from Fire to Safe, but Safe to Fire has to be done old school by flipping the dust cover down. You can use the thumb safety for the switch from safe to fire, but it is an unnatural motion and very stiff to move. My Tantal has a black plastic (probably Tapco) pistol grip and wooden handguards. The folding stock is pretty solid, but has a tiny bit of side-to-side wobble. I've seen an ACE folder for an AK that had no wobble at all, but it cost about as much as my AK.

I ripped off 90 rounds in probably five minutes, which got the handguards smoking, despite the arctic temperatures outside. I set up a cardboard zombie at about 50 yards and used the "S" setting on the sights, which I presume to mean "battle sight zero" which should be pretty close to dead on from 25 yards to about 300. The American made barrel performed pretty well. I kept most everything on the zombie from standing and kneeling. I was firing at a very brisk rate since it was cold and this thing is a blast to shoot. There isn't so much "recoil" as just a bit of wobble when you fire. The same sort of wobble you get from firing a .22 quickly. I was absolutely stunned at the lack of recoil. It really is great fun. And pretty cheap to shoot, with 1080rd cans of Russian surplus ammo going for $129-$159 + S&H.

I bought this gun as a range toy, and boy does it do a good job at it. It's cheap to buy at $429+S&H+ transfer fee. Mags are cheap, ammo is cheap, and it can be fired with the stock folded or extended. If I were looking at go-to-war gear, I'd look to an M4 or AR-15 clone first. If I could have a full-auto, pure-bred Wz.88 Tantal, I'd think hard about that for the control it would offer under F/A fire. But one of those would probably fetch close to $20,000 plus the thousands of dollars in tax stamps for owning a full-auto firearm. There are better guns for work, but this one does fun pretty well. More to come, and pictures when I get back home to my camera.

Stay tuned.


Free Speech Czar said...

Did you register your AK? What do you plan on doing with it? If you turn it in now, we'll give you 5000 eco-credits towards a Prius GreenWagon Sport...

DC Houghton, esq. said...

Unfortunately, Iowa isn't a registration state. I'll just agree to feel really guilty about the whole thing.