Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brother, can you spare an AK-47?

 I got a phone call yesterday that wasn't a sales call.  That's really unusual for me.  I'm not much for talking on the phone and I never call anybody.

But this was from a guy I used to work with at the gun counter in the general store many years ago.  He's a great guy and I bump into him every now and then at the gas station where the old geezers hang out to drink coffee and sit on the benches in the sun when the weather is nice.

I remember telling him back when we were working together that he should buy himself a few AK-47 rifles. There was a big selection then, and we got guns at cost as a fringe benefit.

He was big into the FAL though, so that's where he put his gun money from the family budget.  I asked him why he wanted one now, and he said he just felt like he should own one. I know how he feels, sometimes you just want a gun without having any real need for it.

He wanted to know if I had an AK-47 I'd sell.   Years ago, before William the Bastard banned Chinese weapons from importation into the country, I bought a type 56.

 I found two Mac-90's in a gun shop going out of business, and I bought both of them and refitted them with Choate stocks.

 They are my working guns. I also bought a Chinese RPK that is really too heavy but I like it anyway.

I bought three drums to go with it, since the banana mag on an RPK is really awkward in prone position.

Alas, I didn't want to part with any of these guns, so I couldn't help him out.  I felt badly about it, because he picked up an STG-58 at a Shot Show for me way back then and I'd like to help him. Part of the problem is that, like so many people, he doesn't want to buy through a dealer.He doesn't want to be in the NIC's data base that everybody knows the feds keep even though it is illegal for them to do so. That's why he never got his C&R, because he knew once you get on their list, you never get off of it.

He told me that he had recently been given the opportunity to buy a Bulgarian AK-47 that had been rebuilt with an American receiver and enough American parts to be legal, but the guy wanted $500 for it.  My friend is still thinking of the days when you could get an AK47 in the $300 range but those days are gone forever.

There's one last AK I want to add to my collection, and that's the Yugoslavian underfolder. I know the stock lugs on these things come loose after a lot of use, and I know they are not as sturdy as a wooden butt stock. I just want one.  To kind of round things out.

At the same time I bought the two MAK 90's from the store that was closing, I got four cases of Norinco 7.62X39, in spam cans, in the case.   I think that the year was 1992.

Later I was able to get one case of Yugoslavian brass cased 7.62X39 on strippers, in spam cans, in the wooden case.

After all, you have to feed your babies!

Here's the Chinese SKS mentioned later in the comments section.


  1. The wife and I have a couple milled Arsenal AK's. Theyre a little pricey ($600 back in the day) but theyre probably one of the best built AK's around. Interestingly, Century ARms, who I give unending amounts of grief, has actually started to make a milled receiver AK that is getting some good reviews. Its their '39' model and damned if it doesnt seem like a solid gun. Got to handle one at the local gun shop and was highly impressed. MSRP is around $600 but it seems like a great gun.

    1. J&G has the milled receiver Yugo unfolders I have been oogling. I have heard a lot of good things about this AK Century is building, but I haven't had a chance to lay hands on one. Do they make it in an underfolder? I have enough AK-47s with a fixed stock.

    2. Underfolders and milled receivers do not seem to go hand in hand. (Actually, virtually no 'cool' stocks work on milled receiver guns.) I have a little exp. with the underfolders and, honestly, after a while they are wobbly as a Ted Kennedy trying to walk a straight line. I'd be much more interested in a nice side-folder stock. Id love something like this: but I am loathe to cut parts off my gun to make it work.

    3. I just went to J&G sales to see if the gun had a milled receiver or stamped. They aren't listing the Yugo underfolder anymore. I know I saw one in Shotgun News recently. I don't really care if it's milled or stamped, though milled is better. I just want a nice underfolder with wood furniture to round things out.

      I think you know more about the Century guns than I do, as I've just seen them in adds, while you've handled one. However, I will check on their web page and see if they offer an underfolder since it seems I won't be getting one from J&G Sales.

      I am not much enamoured of the sidefolders although I have read they have fewer problems down the road than the underfolders. I sure wouldn't go cutting up one of my guns to make one work, I'm in agreement there.

      I don't imagine Century would be putting out stamped guns, so if they do have the underfolder I think it will be milled. Let me check.

    4. Commander Zero,
      I just downloaded the current Century Catalog (January 2014). There are two magnificent sidefolders, the write up doesn't address the issue but the picture clearly shows that both are stamped receivers.

      There were no sidefolders. I saw J&G has a sidefolder, the Polish Tatnel version. That's the only one I know of available right now.

  2. G'day Harry,

    I had a very nice Chinese SKS back in the early 90's, The importer was bringing in new unissued rifles, heaven knows where he found them but they were very nice, although at 6'2" the stock was a bit short for me, they were very comfortable to shoot apart from this.

    1. Sgt, those were wildly popular in the U.S . at that time. They were new production , non surplus Norinco and Polytech guns. You could buy them for under $100.00 and they were called "the poor man's home defense rifle." Unfortunately, Bill Clinton banned importation of Chinese weapons and that was the end of the SKS from China here. Every once in awhile, you will see military surplus Chinese guns coming on the market but they are beat to pieces and astronomical in price. I got four of the regular SKS and two of the little "paratroop" guns which were never really military issue at all, but are kind of fun anyway.

      The stock is very short for a Westerner. To this day, Choate and another of other companies sell replacement stocks designed for larger individuals.

    2. That was the only rifle I handed in for the buyback (and at least I made a profit on it), all of the others I had sold to buy muzzle-loaders as I caught the bug bad! The integral spike bayonet on the SKS used to drive the anti gun nuts insane!!, they used to use one of those ghost busters badges with an AK47 on it which made shooters laugh as the AK had never been legal to import into Australia!

    3. Most of the guns imported into the states had the bayonets removed. You could buy the bayonet and spring from a catalog for about $3.00, and it was legal to have, but if you put it back on the gun the ATF Boogey Men could get you. I meant to buy the bayonets but I never got around to it, as I just saw these little SKS rifles as truck guns and give a ways to family members. I have two Russian SKS rifles and one Yugo and they are much more substantial guns, but the Chinese SKS are light, reliable, don't kick much, and parts are easy to get for them. You can even buy "survival bags" of the most important parts from several companies here.

      Your anti-gunners are like ours. They know nothing about firearms. It's not about guns, it's about making everyone toe their line. They think gun owners are knuckle draggers and need their enlightened guidance on life style.

  3. I never bought an AK. I always meant to but always decided to put the money into AR's instead. I did buy a crate of Russian SKS back in the early 90's though. I actually had thought I was buying Chinese SK's but at the time my Step Dad had his FFL and was running his own shop and he managed to find two crates of Russian SK's. He said he wouldn't own a Chinese model.

    1. Well, to each their own. I bought several of the Chinese guns, and put a lot of rounds through them without the slightest problem. I also bought some Chinese AK's, as I mentioned above, and two Chinese M1911 clones. While they were still available in the states, the Chinese M1911 became a common base for custom built IPSC race guns. The Russian guns are heavier and give the impression of strength. If you still had a case of Russian guns you'd be rolling in clover. I bought mine when they were around $200 a copy in new condition, and now the same gun will go for $500 if you can find one at that price. Of course, the politicians that banned the Chinese guns also banned Russian ones.

    2. Well I actually thought the ones I have were Chinese to be honest. I bought em and fired one of them but have never messed with the other four except to oil em down and plug the tubes. It wasn't until I mentioned we had those Chinese SKS's only about three years ago to him that he told me they were Russian. I didn't believe him because I remember the price was 79 bucks per rifle when he ordered them in (That was wholesale not his resale price) but when I actually checked they each had the star and arrow with a 1952 date on em.

      So you think they are worth some money now?

    3. Hell, yes. You could sell those babies for about $500 each in unissued condition these days.

      I just saw this comment today May 28th, 2014.

  4. Harry, A decent (ie functional and not cosmetically trashed) AK for $500 private party is a deal these days.

    As to underfolders I like the idea but the ones I've handed felt terrible. The wire side folding stock is a good option. For some models such as the Romanian it is a drop in swap of 2 screws to switch between the standard wood stock and the wire sidefolder.

    The sidefolder is not something you would want to shoot a case of ammo through but it has a real butt and is a pretty fail proof design. These are largely only available on the private market these days but can be had for $50ish, gun type forums are a good place to look. A/ the big advantage of these is a folding stock AK can fit into a pretty standard gym sized duffel bag or a long backpack. Handy for a truck gun or having some discrete firepower.

    1. That's what everybody says about underfolders. I know they aren't as good as fixed stocks, I just want one. I never really gave much thought to a side folder, but I can see how it might be more sturdy.