AK47 / AKM / AK74


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“This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy.

It makes a very distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it.”

-Gunnery Sgt. Tom Highway — From the motion picture Heartbreak Ridge-



Contents:

Kalashnikov Essentials:

Kalashnikov Magazines:

Kalashnikov Sights:

Kalashnikov Cleaning, Maintenance, Repairs, & Upgrades:

Miscellaneous:

Final Recommendations:

 



Introduction To The AK-47 / AK-74:

AK-47 & AKM:

ak47_3aMagazine fed, semi automatic, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov (pictured right). It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova. It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an “AK”, or, in Russian slang, Kalash.  Military versions feature select fire operation.

In the mid 1950s developement was underway to solve the warping problem encountered with the initial stamped receiver of the T1 version of the AK-47.  In 1959 the problem was solved when a stamped receiver AK47 was adopted by the Soviet military as the AKM (the Modernizirovanniy Avtomat Kalashnikova) which was a lighter weapon and easier to produce.




 

AK-74:

The AK74 was introduced in 1974 in response to the United States having adopted the M193 NATO 5.56mm ball cartridge a decade earlier. The AK74 fired the lighter 5.54x39mm cartridge, about half the weight of the AK47’s 7.62x39mm round. It was not until the Soviet-Afganistan War (1978-1988) that the West first got a look at the AK74.  The weapon has now been adopted by over two dozen countries.

 

AK-107:

Mikhail KalashnikovComing soon.

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Kalashnikov Accuracy:

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“AK-47, the very best there is.  When you absolutely, positively, got to kill every motherfucker in the room; accept no substitutes.”

-Ordell Robbie — From the motion picture Jackie Brown-



How the Kalashnikov Rifle Functions:


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AK-47 Parts Diagrams:

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AK-47 / AK-74 Identification:

You only have to know three basic parts to differentiate Kalashnikov rifles:

  • Magazines:  AK style rifles comes in three basic calibers.  7.62x39mm Soviet, 5.45x39mm Soviet, and a few have even been manufactured in 5.56×45 NATO.  You can tell the caliber by the shape of the magazine.
  • Stocks:  You can recognize the AK-47 vs. the AKM vs. the AK-74 by the shape of the stock.
  • Barrel / Gas Tube Assembly:

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Milled vs. Stamped Receiver Identification:

If you decide to replace the stock on your AK, it is very important to be able to recognize the type of receiver on your rifle so that you can order the right part.

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Receiver Markings Identification:

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“Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K.

I got to say it was a good day.”

-Ice Cube-



Levels of Quality:

Tier One AK’s:

  • Russian Molot VEPR
  • Finnish Valmet
  • Chinese Polytec
  • Israeli Galil
  • Bulgarian imported by Arsenal Inc.
  • Egyptian Maadi imported by Steyr
  • Russian Saiga
  • Builds by Krebs Customs
  • Builds by Ted Marshall
  • Builds by AK-USA

Tier Two AK’s: 

  • Norinco MAK-90/91
  • Intrac
  • Egyptian Maadi imported by Pars International Corporation
  • Yugoslavia (preban, not built from parts kits in the U.S.)
  • Anything Interarms builds

Tier Three AK’s:

  • Romanian WASR
  • Any AK built from kits by Century Arms International
  • Any AK built with parts kits using U.S. made receivers

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What To Look For When Buying A Kalashnikov:


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Ammunition and Caliber Choices:

AK-47 Assault Rifle CalibersPictured right are the three most common Kalashnikov calibers.  The round pictured on the top is the 7.62x39mm Soviet used in the traditional AK-47.  The round in the middle is the 5.45x39mm Soviet round used in the AK-74 weapon systems.  The round pictured on the bottom is the 5.56x45mm NATO round (used by the USA in the M-16 and the weapons of other NATO forces) which is the least popular of the Kaliashnikov rifle calibers.

7.62x39mm Soviet:

Pictured far left in the photo on the right, it was initially designed during World War II for use in the SKS Carbine. Today, 7.62×39 rounds are most commonly fired by AK-47 shooters at the range, used by some North American hunters in the field, and still relied upon for military use in China, North Korea, Venzuela, and Finland.

5.45x39mm Soviet:

Pictured in the middle of the photo on the right is a bottlenecked cartridge without a rim that was developed in the mid-1970’s by the Soviet Union. Looking for a light-weight, fast projectile, 5.45x39mm became a favorite among militaries in the former Eastern Bloc. Today’s shooters will find most 5.45×39 is produced in the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, and other former communist nations.

Popular Imported 7.62x39mm Ammunition Recognition:

Russian Ammunition

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“He’s got an AK-47 for his best friend.  Business the American way.”

Queensryche — From the album Empire



Kalashnikov Magazines:

AK Magazines

Tier One Magazines:

  • Circle 10Bulgarian “Circle10” polymer (click on photo right to enlarge)
  • Russian Bakelite
  • Russian Military Issue Steel
  • Chinese Military Issue Steel
  • Finish Valmet steel

Tier Two Magazines:

  • US Palm:  Known to be very reliable, but does not disassymble for cleaning.
  • Magpul Gen1:  They are very reliable, but if you drop your rifle on the magazine there is a chance that you may snap the polymer locking lug.  Gen 2 will soon be available with steel feed lips and locking lug.  I expect them for fall in the Tier One category.
  • Romanian military steel.
  • Hungarian military steel.
  • Chinese 75-round and 100-round drum magazines.
  • Romanian 75-round magazines.

Junk Magazines:

  • Korean (KCI) 30-round magazines
  • Korean (KCI) 75-round drum magazines
  • Tapco

Loading Magazines with Stripper Clips:

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Chinese Drum Magazines:

 

How To Load The Drum Magazine:

Procedure:

  • Unlatch and open the rear cover. Depress the spring-loaded button in the center of the drum and turn the spindle clockwise until the magazine follower is returned to the beginning of the spiral track.
  • Insert five (5) rounds into the slots located nearest the top (column) section of the magazine.
  • With five rounds loaded, hold the spindle firmly in place with one hand. With the other hand, wind the spring tensioning key (located under the spring-loaded button) CLOCKWISE three (3) clicks.  CAUTION: Hold the spindle securely while applying tension in order to prevent it from slipping and catching your fingers.
  • With the spring tensioned, quickly release the spindle. The five rounds loaded previously will be pushed to the top of the magazine, and the last round will hold the spindle in place.
  • At this point you have the option as to how to load the magazine. If cartridges are dropped in the remaining slots, the total magazine capacity will be seventy-three (73) rounds. Alternately, if the procedure described as follows is used, the total capacity will be seventy-five (75) rounds.
  • Tilt the column portion of the drum at a slight downward angle and turn the spindle clockwise just slightly. Remove the last two rounds.
  • Keep the drum tilted downwards, and rotate the spindle so that the follower is returned to the beginning of the spiral track (as in step 1).
  • Insert two rounds in the top section and release the spindle. Complete loading the magazine by dropping cartridges into the remaining slots.
  • With the drum fully loaded, close the rear cover and secure with both latches. Wind the mainspring with the key located on the rear cover. Wind the key seven (7) revolutions (360 degrees). If the magazine is loaded to only thirty (30) rounds, then the tension should be reduced to five (5) revolutions.
  • With step six completed, the magazine is ready to use.

Warning: The above procedures should only be used when loading the magazine to it full capacity of 73 or 75 rounds.  If the user intends to load only a partial magazine, then the magazine follower must be directly behind the last cartridge.  If there is a gap between the last cartridge and the magazine follower, the drum may be damaged during firing.

Do not exceed the recommended number of revolutions, as this will cause undue wear or breakage to the mainspring.

 

Prolonged Storage of the Drum Magazine:

Open the rear cover and depress the spring-loaded button at the center of the drum. Do not tilt the drum, as the cartridges might fall out. Close and latch the back cover and re-tension the spring three (3) clicks. The drum magazine can be stored in this manner indefinitely.

 

To Unload The Drum Magazine:

Open the rear cover and depress the spring loaded button at the center of the drum. Dump the cartridges out. The rounds in the column will need to be removed individually.

 

Maintenance of the Drum Magazine:

Periodically, the magazine should be cleaned with solvent to prevent the build-up of unburned powder and grit in the spiral track. A significant amount of residue in the track may hinder the functioning of the drum.

To disassemble the drum magazine, open the real cover and depress the spring loaded button. Turn the spring tensioning key COUNTER-CLOCKWISE and remove it. Next, lift the spindle out of the magazine. DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THE MAGAZINE ANY FURTHER.

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“AK-47 is the tool. Don’t make me act the motherfucking fool.”

 -Ice Cube, Straight Outta Compton-



Kalashnikov Sights:

 

Kalashnikov vs. M-4 Sight Radius:

ar-vs-ak-sight-radiusMany times when the uniformed complained about Kalashnikov sights and accuracy, they reference the sight radius (distance between the front sight and the rear sight) as they feel that it is too short. As the photo to the right shows, the sight radius of a Kalashnikov and a M-4 carbine is the same. That argument is invalid.

 

Kalashnikov Rear Sight:

The rear sight on Kalashnikov and SKS rifles have markings for shooting at different distances measured in meters (not yards). sight1The adjustments are intended to change the ballistic trajectory so that point-of-aim and point-of-impact are the same at the respective distance selected on the sight (“1” = 100 meters, “2” = 200 meters, etc.). The rear sight is adjusted by moving the slide up and down the sight until reaching the desired distance setting. The slide is considered set for a specific setting when it is matched with the line under the number. Both sights in the photo to the right are set to the “battle setting”.

Rifles from different countries of origin use different letters or Cyrillic symbols to designate the “battle setting”. Once the rifle is properly zeroed, the battle setting is used in concentrated periods of combat when time does not permit setting the sight. The internet is full of armchair commandos stating that the “Battle Setting” and the 3oo meter setting (“3”) are the same. This is incorrect as the two different trajectories are not even close. Their ballistic trajectory differences are discussed further down.

The rear sight is not used to zero the rifle. As stated above, you set the rear sight to correspond with the distance to your target, but both the windage and elevation adjustments made during the zeroing process are accomplished with the front sight.

 

Kalashnikov Front Sight:

ak sight toolWith the zeroing process for AK type rifles your goal will be to adjust your front sight so that with the rear sight to “1” your point of aim / point of impact will be the same at 100 meters (109 yards) away, on “2” your point-of-aim / point-of-impact will be the same at 200 meters (218 yards), etc.

When zeroing any type of weapon, remember the acronym F.O.R.S. Front – Opposite, Rear – Same. If you adjust windage and / or elevation with a weapon’s front sight, then you will want to move the front sight post in the opposite direction that you want your bullet impact to move. If you adjust windage and / or elevation with the weapon’s rear sight, then you will want to move the rear sight in the same direction that you want your bullet impact to move. In the case of Kalashnikov weapons, you will set your rear sight to the number corresponding to the distance that you will be zeroing (“1” for 100 meters), and then zero the weapon by adjusting the front sight.

If you want to move the bullet’s impact up, then the front sight should be screwed in (down). If you want to move the bullet’s impact down, it should be screwed out (up). If you want to move the bullet’s impact to the left, then you need to move the front sight to the right. If you want to move the bullet’s impact to the right, then you need to move the front sight to the left.

Moving the front sight left, right, up, or down 1mm changes the point-of-impact 26 centimeters at 100 meters from the target. One full turn of the front sight post moves the point-of-impact 20 centimeters when firing at 100 meters.

Windage-Elevation-Front-Sight-Adjustment-Tool-for-AK-SKS-MAK-SLR9-All-Steel-X-5-pcsTechniques for zeroing the Kalashnikov are discussed further down.

You will need an inexpensive, but essential AK sight adjustment tool (pictured right) on the front sight to finely adjust bullet’s point-of-impact.

The following YouTube video demonstrates how to use the sight adjustment tool.

 

Kalashnikov Sight Picture:

AK-47-front-sightYou eyes can only focus on one distance at a time. When shooting with iron sights on any type of firearm you have a choice of focusing on the rear sight, front sight, or the target, as they are each a different distance from your eye. As the picture above demonstrates, always focus on the front sight. The rear sight and the target will appear slightly out of focus.

The relative width of the front sight post is 25cm (10 inches) at 100 meters, 50cm (20 inches) at 200 meters, 75cm (30 inches) at 300 meters, etc. At 100 yards the front sight is approximately 9 inches wide.

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Methods To Sight In The Kalashnikov:

The basic premise for zeroing the iron sights of any battle rifle is that you will set your rear sight to the corresponding number that represents the known distance (in yards or meters, depending on the vintage of the firearm) that you will be shooting your zeroing target. Once the rifle is set up to shoot point-of-aim / point-of-impact at that distance, the rifle should also shoot point-of-aim / point of impact when the sights are adjusted to the corresponding setting for other distances. Example: When the rifle’s setting is on “1” and you shoot at 100 meters, you should hit right where you aim. If you know that you are 200 meters from your target, you simply move the sight to the “2” setting and you should hit where you are aiming.

A new firearm (or a used one that was previously owned by someone who didn’t know what they were doing) may have sights that are so far off that they may not hit anywhere on the target at 100 meters. This can be very frustrating as it wastes time and expensive ammunition. As with the zeroing process of any firearm, it is easier to start at a much closer distance, and once the windage is centered and elevation is reasonable close, only then move the target out to 100 meters for the AK, or the appropriate distance for whatever rifle you are zeroing. Also, for zeroing purposes, the closer that you are to the target, the less human factors (shaking, bad marksmanship, etc.) come into play. The slang term for shooting close range to center your hits before moving out to longer distances is called “getting on paper”, meaning that you will be assured of your rounds hitting somewhere on the paper target at further distances.

Below are five techniques on different ways to zero the AK type rifle. They all have the eventual goal of getting to the rifle to hit point-of-aim / point-of-impact at the respective sight setting and distance to target. Some are legitimate techniques that work and are labeled with a “Win” in the title. A few of the techniques (some supported with YouTube videos) don’t really work correctly, and I have pointed out the flawed logic so that you might better understand the concept. These techniques are labeled with a “Fail” in the title.

 

Battle Sight Procedure: Simple = WIN!

This procedure zeros the Kalashnikov sights at the closet distance of all the procedures.

When a Kalashnikov is properly sighted in, and when the sights are set to the most rear “Battle Sight” position (pictured right), the bullet will initially cross the point-of-aim at 18 meters (19.5 yard).

Procedure:

  • sight1Set your target at precisely 18 meters (19.5 yards) from the muzzle of the rifle.
  • Set your rear sight to the “Battle Setting” which is the furthest rearward setting and is indicated by a Cyrillic character, or a “P”, “N”, or “D” (as pictured right).
  • Fire three to five carefully aimed rounds at the center of your target.
  • Using your AK sight tool, adjust the front sight (technique discussed above) and make three to five carefully aimed shots until your bullet holes bisect the top of the front sight post.
  • Your final test to verify the rifle’s zero will be to set the rear sight to the 100 meter setting and finely adjust the bullet’s impact at 100 meters distance using the front sight. Remember, moving the front sight left, right, up, or down 1mm changes the point-of-impact 26 centimeters at 100 meters from the target. One full turn of the front sight post moves the point-of-impact 20 centimeters when firing at 100 meters. You can still use a 100 yard range as technically speaking the rounds should impact a mere .15″ above point-of-aim, which practically speaking is much less than the expected variation from the shooter or ammunition.

Once zeroed, you can leave the rear sight as it is and enjoy the “Battle Sight” ballistic trajectory discussed further below, or move the sight to any other numbers and expect hits based on that number’s respective trajectory (discussed further down).

I have read numerous comments from Armchair Commandos stating that the Battle Sight and the 3oo meter setting (“3”) are the same. They are not. Their differences are discussed further down.

 

25 Yard / 200 Meter Setting Procedure: Simple = WIN!

When a Kalashnikov is properly sighted in, and when the sights are set to the 200 meter setting (“2”), the bullet will initially cross the point-of-aim at 25 yards (not meters!). The bullet will again cross the point-of-aim again at 200 meters. More on this ballistic trajectory is discussed below.

Procedure:

  • Set your target a precisely 25 yards (not meters!) from the muzzle of the rifle.
  • Set your rear sight to the “2” position.
  • Fire three to five carefully aimed rounds at the center of your target.
  • Using your AK sight tool, adjust the front sight (technique discussed above) and make three to five carefully aimed shots until your bullet holes bisect the top of the front sight post.
  • Your final test to verify the rifle’s zero will be to set the rear sight to the 100 meter setting and finely adjust the bullet’s impact at 100 meters distance using the front sight. Remember, moving the front sight left, right, up, or down 1mm changes the point-of-impact 26 centimeters at 100 meters from the target. One full turn of the front sight post moves the point-of-impact 20 centimeters when firing at 100 meters. You can still use a 100 yard range as technically speaking the rounds should impact a mere .15″ above point-of-aim, which practically speaking is much less than the expected variation from the shooter or ammunition.

Once zeroed, you can leave the rear sight as it is and enjoy the 200 meter ballistic trajectory discussed further below, or move the sight to any other numbers or the “Battle Sight” setting and expect hits based on that number’s respective trajectory (discussed further down).

 

Kalashnikov Zeroing Hints, Cheats, and Recommendations:

  • Shooting at a distance of 100 meters, rotating the front sight post on complete turn moves the point-of-impact 7.87″.
  • Use the acronym F.O.R.S. when adjusting any weapon’s sights. Front Opposite, Rear Same. For any firearm where you have to adjust front and rear sights to adjust zero, you move the front sight in the opposite direction that you want the bullet holes to move on the target, and you move the rear sight the same direction. Examples: If your firearm requires you to adjust elevation with the front sight, you will move the sight down to move bullet impact up. If you use the rear sight to adjust elevation, then you will move the sight up to move bullet impact up.
  • You can set your rear sight to the “Battle Sight” position and zero your rifle at 18 meters (19.5 yards). You can then more your sight to the “1” and verify the zero at 100 meters (109 yards)
  • You can set your rear sight to “2” and zero your rifle at 25 yards (not meters). You can then move the rear sight to “1” and verify the zero at 100 meters (109 yards).
  • Use the “2” setting for initial zero and general shooting at 25 yards.
  • Use the “1” setting for verifying zero at 100 meters, and when shooting at 50 yard or 100 yard ranges.

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7.62 x 39 mm Ballistic Trajectories:

What Is the Best Set It and Forget It Rear Sight Setting?
100 Meters, 200 Meters, or the “Battle Setting”?

247 Meter Battle Setting vs. 200 Meter Setting vs. 100 Meter Setting

Opened_Rear_SightI’ve never been able to get a good explanation of whether there is a particular setting on the rear sight on an AK-47 that could be selected so that you could simply “set it and forget it”, meaning that you could set the range on the sight, and then shoot at different distances with a minimum of rise or drop with bullet impact. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show you how to adjust the front sight so that you can match the point-of-impact with the appropriate elevation setting on the rear sight, but there is very little information on what trajectories you can expect with each setting. Like all rifles, you may set your sights to hit dead on at a particular distance, but when shooting at other distances with the same sight setting, your point-of-impact may be grossly different from your point-of-aim.

Ballistic Standard EditionI used the iPad application “Ballistic” (pictured right) to create ballistic trajectory graphs for an AK-47 with sights sitting 2″ above the center of bore, firing 122 grain, 7.62 x 39 mm FMJ ammo. One graph is for the 100 meter sight setting with a 100 meter zero, one is for the 200 meter setting with a 200 meter zero, one is for the 247 meter “Battle Setting”, and one compared the ballistics of all three settings.

It is important to note that the sights on AK rifles calibrated for meters, not yards. While meters and yards are pretty close to being the same distance, the farther you get the more their difference becomes apparent. Because most rifle ranges in the USA are measured in yards, and because the bullet trajectory application on my i-product provides data in yards, I have gone ahead and provided you with the data distances in yards.

Zero your rifle at 100 meters (109 yards). After that you can expect a particular point-of-impact at a particular number of yards shown on the graph below. If the rifle sight is set to 100, make sure that point-of-aim and point-of-impact are 100 meters, not yards.

For reference, keep in mind that 100 meters = 109 yards, and 200 meters = 218 yards, etc.

 

100 Meter Zero Trajectory:

If you set your rifle’s rear sight to “1”, the you should expect the performance in the graph above.

  • The 100 meter zero provides a very flat trajectory out to 150 yards.
  • At 54 yards (49.5 meters) your point-of-impact and point-of-aim will be the same.
  • The point-of-impact will continue to rise to .27” above point-of-aim between 79 to 85 yards. The point-of-aim will drop back down point-of-impact will once again be point-of-aim at 109 yards (100 meters).
  • At 150 yards the point-of-impact will only drop 1.5” below point-of-aim.
  • At 200 yards the point-of-impact will drop almost 5.5” below point-of-aim.
  • You can expect a rise of just over ¼” over point-of-aim, and a drop of 1.5″ out to 150 yards.

Summary: The “1” setting is perfect for shooting on 50 yard and 100 yard rifle ranges.

 

200 Meter Zero Trajectory:

AK-47 7.62x39mm 200 Meter Setting

If you set your rifle’s rear sight to “2”, the you should expect the performance in the graph above.

  • At 25 yards your point-of-sight and point-of-impact will be the same.
  • At 100 yards the point-of-impact will be just over 3.5” above point-of-aim.
  • Between 125 to 130 yards the round will reach its maximum apogee just over 3.8” over point-of-aim.
  • At 200 yards the round will impact 1.4” inches high.
  • At 218 yards (200 meters) the point-of-aim and point-of-impact will be the same.
  • At 250 yards the point-of-impact will hit 3.4” below point-of-aim.
  • At 300 yards the point-of-impact will hit -11.25” inches below point-of-aim.

Summary: The 200 meter setting isn’t as flat as the 100 meter setting. Compared to the 100 meter setting, you will get a higher rise of bullet impact within 150 yards, but it’s only a rise of 3.8”. If you know that your shooting will be limited to 150 yards, then the 100 meter setting is best. If you will be running and gunning at various distances, ranging from point-blank and out through 250 yards, then the 200 meter setting will be better. It is combat accurate (+/- 4″) at closer ranges, but is more accurate at longer ranges. Another way to look at the 200 meter setting is that you can shoot out to 250 yards and impact will always be within +/- 4″ from point-of-aim.

 

Battle Setting:

The “Battle Setting” is sometimes mislabeled as “300 meter zero” or “350 meter zero”. It is not either of those, but rather a 247 meter / 270 yard zero. Remember, ” zero” is the distance where the point-of-aim is the same as point-of impact (you hit exactly where you are aiming). This setting has been mislabeled as a ” zero” over time, but it is simply a setting that can allow the shooter to make hits somewhere on torso size targets (either slightly above, equal to, or slightly below point-of-aim) out to 350 meters. As already stated, it is simply just a setting that allows hits somewhere on a torso size target out to 350 meters, but the rifle isn’t “zeroed” at that distance with that setting.

sight1As depicted on the table below, the “Battle Sight” setting’s ballistic trajectory crosses the POA at 18 meters (19.6 yards), reaches it maximum apogee of just over 7″ above POA at around 150 yards, descends through POA at almost 248 meters (271 yards), and descends under seven inches below POA around 288 meters (315 yards). With this setting you can enjoy making hits within a 14″ diameter circle from the muzzle out to just past 300 yards without any hold-over or hold-under.

Farther than 300 meters (328 yards) you will be better served to set the rear sight leaf to the setting that corresponds to the range to the target.

247 Meter, 270 yard, Battle Setting Zero Trajectory

In the following video, Rob Ski of Ak Operators Union, Local 47-74 discusses how to take full advantage of the trajectory of the “Battle Setting”. Because the “Battle Setting” trajectory places the bullet above point-of-aim from 18 meters (19.6 yards) all the way out 247 meters (270 yards) you will want to aim at the lower abdomen of your enemy. Out to a distance of 247 meters (270 yards), when aimed at the lower abdomen, all of your rounds will impact somewhere in the center or upper torso without the shooter worrying about any holdover. You can expect hits as depicted in the table above.

 

“Battle Sight” Setting vs. 300 Meter Setting:

Many “YouTube Commandos” claim that the “Battle Sight” setting is the same as the 300 meter setting. It is not. To prove it to yourself, first set a target up at any given distance (20 yards works great). Set your rear sight to the “Battle” position.  Shoot 3-5 carefully aimed rounds from a rested position (bean bag, sand bag, etc.). Move your rear sight to the 300 meter setting. Again, shoot 3-5 well-aimed shots. Your two groups will not hit the same spot. At 20 yards you will see that your two groups will be about 1/2″ apart. If the two settings were the same, then there would only be one group of shots.

Battle Setting, 18 metersThe photo to the right shows a shot group fired at 18 meters (19.6 yards) with the “Battle Setting”. (No comments about the flier… thanks.) The rifle was already perfectly zeroed, so this photo proves that the “Battle Setting” is an 18 meter (19.6 yard) zero. Ballistic tables show that it will cross point-of-aim again at 247 meters (270 yards).

 

300 meter setting, 18 metersThe photo to the right shows a show group fired at 18 meters (19.6 yards) with the “3” (300 meter) sight setting. The bullets impact approximately 1/2″ high, which correlates with 300 meter ballistic chart. (Again, no comments about the flier. I was under the influence of copious amounts of caffeine.) This photo proves that the “Battle Setting” and the 300 meter setting are not the same. Try it yourself.

 

In contrast to the “Battle Sight” setting (as seen in the chart below) the 300 meter setting’s trajectory first crosses the POA at approximately 13.25 meters (14.5 yards), reaches its apogee of 12″ around 164 meters (180 yards), drops through POA again at 300 meters (328 yards), and dips down past 12″ below POA at around 349 meters (380 yards).

Given a choice between the two, I would choose the “Battle Sight” setting over the 300 meter setting, unless I was shooting at a target that I knew to be exactly 300 meters away. It is interesting to note that if shooting at a target at a range 300 yards, both the “Battle Sight” setting and the 300 meter setting should impact 4″ from the POA. The “Battle Sight” setting will hit 4″ low, and the 300 meter setting will hit 4″ high.

 

AK-47 Ballistic Trajectory Recommendations:

  • Use the “Battle Sight” setting for general / defensive shooting out to 300 meters and get hits within a 7″ diameter circle around your point-of-aim. This is your best “set it and forget it” setting.
  • Use the “1” setting for shooting at 50 yard and 100 yard rifle ranges.
  • Use the “2” setting for shooting at targets known to be in the 200 yard / meter range. It works perfect for 25 yard indoor ranges. Use it as your “set-it-and-forget-it” setting if all of your shooting will be within 200 meters (urban or jungle environment).
  • Reserve the use of the “3” setting for when you are shooting at a target know to be at a range of 300 meters.

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Cleaning, Maintenance, and Repairs:

 

How To Fieldstrip The AK Rifle:


 

How To Clean The AK Rifle:


 

How To Clean The AK Rifle After Shooting Corrosive Ammunition:


 

How To Lubricate The AK Rifle

 

How To Remove Wood Handgrip From The AK Gas Tube:

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Modifications & Improvements:



 

How To Install A New Trigger:

 

Slide-Fire Bumpfiring Device:


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AK Parts and Accessories:

Kalashnikov Parts Websites:

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Kalashniov Related Websites, Blogs, and Articles:

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Savannah Arsenal Related Pages:

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Final Recommendations:

  • Purchase a quality rifle.
  • Purchase a quality carrying case.
  • Equip the rifle with a quality sling, weapon’s light, and red-dot optic (in that order of importance).  See Savannah Arsenal’s Tactical Rifle Accessories page.
  • Purchase 8-10 quality 30-round magazines and some type of load bearing gear to carry at least 4 of those magazines.  See Savannah Arsenal’s Defensive Loadout (2nd Gear) page.
  • Purchase at least one short, 5 or 10 round magazine for shooting from a rested position, such as when zeroing the rifle.
  • Purchase an AK sight adjustment tool.  It is almost impossible to adjust the front sight without it.
  • Zero the rifle as discussed above.  Afterwards, use the settings suggested above for shooting at known distances, and use the “battle setting” for “combat” shooting out to 250-275 meters.
  • Seek out proper training.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

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2 comments on “AK47 / AKM / AK74

  1. Great site here, I have yet to check it out fully, and there seems to be an absolute TON of information, but I wanted to comment on this page in particular because I have seen a few similar “AK ID guides” and this has got to be the best of them, it’s kept simple. Yet it’s pretty comprehensive in terms of base model AK’s, that simplicity is what makes it pretty great, because it’s so simple that after just reading it over a couple times someone who isn’t even familiar with AK’s could probably identify a good few of them. I gave my brother (who is NOT a gun guy) ten minutes to look at it and then quizzed him with a few rifles and pics, he got almost all of them right, with the exception of being confused by a Mini Draco, but I threw that in there just to be an ass. Anyway, this is a really good rundown on identifying AK’s, thanks for taking the time to make it. Now to look at some of the rest of the crazy amount of info that seems to be on this page.

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  2. Check out this ammo review for golden tiger ammo. they make it for 7.62×39, 5.45×39, .223 and 9×19. Soon they will be making it for 40SW and others.

    At about the 8:50 mark he test fires GT and Wolf. There is a MASSIVE difference in velocity, between 200 and 300 fps for the same grain bullet.

    The only negatives seem to be from guys with cheap AK’s or old SKS’s with light primer strikes. No one using a quality AK or any other platform has had an issue with that. The price seems very similar with wolf/tula/barnul and with less flash, dramatically higher velocity, boat tail and better case and primer sealing, this seems like a top shelf choice to plink and stock up on especially while its fairly cheap.

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