2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Romanian WASR-10 GP 7.62x39mm

First off, lets set the record straight. I have never really been into Russian arms until recently and would not consider myself an expert on them. I have used the M-16/AR-15 series in my recently retired career in the Army National Guard since 1986, the AK has always been "the other guys" rifle. I am not going to start any AR vs. AK comparisons (Lord knows that there are enough to be found on the Internet anyway) other to say that you have 2 designs created literally half a world from each other with their own inherent strengths and weaknesses. I always liked the AR, when taken care of I found it to be reliable and accurate. I am learning to like the AK similarly, I can appreciate its design simplicity and operation as well as its durability. Both were made by competing powers based on their own respective experiences and I can not say one is definitely better than the other. Over the past 40+ years that men have fought each other with them, many AR toting soldiers have been killed by AK's, and visa versa. All other things equal, it is the skill and determination of the man behind the sights that makes the difference, the rifles are just tools to meet his goal of defeating his enemy. A good carpenter can build a beautiful mansion with sub-standard tools; just as a poor carpenter can only make a shabby shack with the finest tools available.
OK, enough rambling, back to the rifle. This particular AKM clone was manufactured in Romania during the later part of the 20th century most likely from spare AKM receivers left over from the 80's and the cold war. It was originally designed to only accommodate 10 round single stack magazines (per the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban that was in effect at the time), but the importer, Century Arms, has since ground out the inside of the magazine well to accommodate the more common (and desirable) 30 round double stack magazines available. This is all well and good except that it presents 2 issues to the end user 1) the lack of support allows inserted magazines to wobble and, and 2) the remnants of all of the grinding are spread throughout the receiver and are left to the purchaser to clean out before first firing.
Romanian AK's are not know as the highest quality model among all countries manufacturing the AKM. There are several common defects that a majority of buyers may come across:
1) the magazine wobble, as described above.
2) the trigger slap, where the trigger slaps a firers finger after firing, really not a manufacturing problem as much as the importer using incorrect parts when replacing the firing control group to meet US import standards for American parts used.
3) The front site post is usually canted off of center
4) Shoddy wood furniture (stock, upper and lower handguards)
5) The most serious of all, a canted gas tube that may interfere with the function of the weapon.
My particular rifle came with the magazine wobble (unavoidable), the front sight post canted to the right a few degrees (I can live with it for now), and pretty beat up and rough wood (I have since sanded down and refinished with stain and polyurethane).
The rifle fires the common 7.62x39mm round which is generally available for around $20 - $30 dollars for 100 round surplus lots. All brass ammo that you may need to meet a local range requirements is generally much more expensive. Do yourself a favor and find a range that will allow you to fire the cheaper, steel or aluminum case ammo. The 7.62x39 is a proven combat round and has both sufficient range and power to take most, if not all, types of small and medium to medium-large game. As always the proper type and load of a round will greatly affect its effectiveness, so you should consult with a knowledgeable source before heading to the woods to bag a deer with one of these (in addition, most states outlaw rifles with excessive magazine capacities for hunting, you will have to purchase a small "sporting" magazine anyway).
My rifle cost $419 at Vance's Shooters Supply in Columbus, Ohio and came with the rifle, a new sling, a surplus soviet style bayonet (of note, the bayonet will only mount "upside down" on the rifle with the blade side facing up, which is opposite of how I was trained in rifle-bayonet training many, many years ago. Also the hole in the center of the bayonet will match up with a metal tank on the scabbard to combine and make a serviceable wire cutter!), a canvas magazine pouch, 2 30 round magazines - the "banana clip", and a combo tool / cleaning kit which is supposed to fit in a small round trapdoor in the stock and be secured in there by pressure from an opposing spring. My spring is pretty beat up and will not work in this manner, so I just keep the thing in the mag pouch, just as well.
Bayonet & Scabbard wire cutting combo

Notice the "upside down" Bayonet, so much for the bayonet slash from pugil stick training!

After disassembling and cleaning the rifle of all the misc grime, dirt and metal grinding bits from the magazine well job the importer did, I decided to refinish the stock. Dis-assembly was somewhat problematic as the weak manufacturing tolerance often left some parts of the rifle more or less jammed together to work, and making some parts function as designed was a matter of using brawn over brains after figuring out what needed to be done. Unfortunately I did not take a "before" picture of the stock and handguards, but they were basically unfinished wood with a light red stain sprayed on and left to dry. A thorough sanding with 0000 steel wool, followed by 3 coats of stain and polyurethane and the rifle is in decent enough shape to show off. A very nice green nylon sling was included, which greatly adds to the overall appearance of the rifle, and is functionally an excellent shoulder sling. In the future I may consider replacing the wood parts of the rifle with modern synthetic parts, but for now I am satisfied with its appearance, and kind of like the "historical" aspect of leaving the wood on it.

Range Report Video

..What the target looked like after

WOW!!! I TOTALLY SUCK!! Honestly, totally different sight set up than what I am used to on the AR, plus being accurate was not really the name of the game today. This was from about 50 meters. I was never really any big marksman in the military, but from 50 meters, I thought even with unzeroed sights I should have been able to keep to center mass. And check out that round that actually struck my target stand below the left elbow...ouch!! Guess I'll just have to keep on trying! At this distance, I totally blame this on the artist and not the brush!

Until next post, Shoot Often...SHOOT SAFE!!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Review!! I ordered one of these bad boys and im expecting it soon. Only thing though is that century did us a favor and passed on a 100$ increase in price after ordering. Thanks Century,(Bawks). Now im trying to decide to go either Yugo m70ab2 from parts kit or stick with the wasr 10gp and keep waiting for it to arrive. Either way, good review. Keep it up;)