Telling the Difference Between Imported AK clones

Telling the Difference Between Imported AK clones

This is a discussion on Telling the Difference Between Imported AK clones within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Okay, someone enlighten me. How does one visually tell the difference between the SAR-1 AK clones, which accept normal capacity magazines and are generally excellent ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Telling the Difference Between Imported AK clones

    Okay, someone enlighten me.

    How does one visually tell the difference between the SAR-1 AK clones, which accept normal capacity magazines and are generally excellent guns for the money as long as you don't get one with twisted sights, and the WASR imports, which are Kalifornized to only accept the 10 round capacity magazines? Do the importers stamp them somewhere?

    Edit: Also I notice some WASR imports accept the normal capacity magazines and some don't. What gives?


  2. #2
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    I have the SAR1 Euc but - gotta admit I am unsure myself what distinguishing marks are to be seen.

    We also have IIRC VEPR's, Norinco's, Polish - and some made from parts too. The milled receiver versions are reputed to be the best of course.

    Maybe Class3 and others can fill in the gaps here - be interesting to quantify.
    Chris - P95
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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    I wanna know too Ak is on the short list for late this year or next year

  4. #4
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    read on AR15.com , big AK section.

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    Senior Member Array rfurtkamp's Avatar
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    Want to know? The shop or dealer should have regular 30 round AK mags on hand.

    If a double stack banana fits, it's been modified to fit the double stack mags.

    The singles are substantially thinner.

    SAR-x models *all* take full-cap mags.

    WASRs generally do, but again, look closely at the magazine and well.

    Some of the other models may not be as obvious - the Hungarian models with evil single stacks *look* like they take doubles.

    And I'm not one who buys the 'milled is better' argument. These same guns ten or fifteen years ago were considered junk. Guns don't age like wine, and the same guys telling you that milled is better are the same ones who wouldn't touch 'em with a ten foot pole.

    An AK generally IMO is an AK, as long as it works. Finish is secondary. It's not what you're buying it for.
    Driver carries less than $45 worth of remorse.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    rfurtkamp we are in agreement. I've always felt a stamped receiver was just fine for an AK especially since I don't see much point in dressing one up, unless you've got a nice VEPR or something.

    I find that when you're buying this kind of rifle, you should always consider the overall mechanical condition of the particular one you are buying, kind of like when you buy an SKS or any other surplus rifle. They're all a little bit of a crapshoot.

    You're right that that's probably the best way to tell though. If it's sold with 30 round magazines, odds are it takes the regular magazines. I guess the thing to watch out for is someone trying to sell you one that comes with 10 rounders and then trying to sell you 30 rounders to go with it...

    I was just hoping there was some way to look on the frame and be able to tell so I would know for sure.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array rfurtkamp's Avatar
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    I used to think I could eyeball them. Then I met the Hungarian single stack models.

    Now I use the insertion test. It's quick and foolproof. ;)
    Driver carries less than $45 worth of remorse.

  8. #8
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    Euc, my WASR has "WASR-10" hand written with an electric engraver on the left side of the receiver...as rfurtcamp pointed out, the WASR magazine well was originally made for a single stack 10 round magazine. After the ban was lifted, these rifles had the mag wells machined out to accept the 30 round mags. They work pretty well....just don't expect to do speed-changes with the magazines!

    Also, if you go to www.vectorarms.com , look at the pictures of their AK-47's and notice that, on the side of the receiver just above the magazine well, there is a dimple that indicates the receiver was manufactured to take pre-ban 30 round magazines. The WASR doesn't have this....but the WASR does come with an optics mount point on the left side of the receiver that accepts readily available scope mounts (look at the picture of Chris's SAR-1 to see a mounted scope)...AK-47's have miserable iron sights (IMHO).

    WASR's are notorious for "trigger slap"...mine had it bad, but I followed the directions at a website (that I can't recall right now) to get rid of slap and perform a trigger job at the same time (just need a dremel tool with cut-off wheel), and it made a miraculous difference!
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

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    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Thank you Team American! That's exactly what I wanted to know. Combine that with the magazine test and I think I have a fool proof way to not get screwed.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array LenS's Avatar
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    Here's a source of good info on the AK-47 clones:
    http://www.gunsnet.net/Linx310/model.htm

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Oh man you guys are awesome. I can die happy now.

  12. #12
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    Euc, notice the elongated dimple just above the magazine well in this photo....I'm pretty sure that it indicates that this is a milled (not stamped) receiver. Stamped receivers have a much smaller dimple in the same general area to indicate a pre-ban configuration that will accept 30 round magazines.

    Just thought you would like to know the difference
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array rfurtkamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team American
    . Stamped receivers have a much smaller dimple in the same general area to indicate a pre-ban configuration that will accept 30 round magazines.
    The dimple has *nothing* to do with pre-ban configuration.

    It's there to stabilize the magazine in the well in the standard AKM design.

    Pre-ban, post-ban, etc. means nothing to the Russian military.
    Driver carries less than $45 worth of remorse.

  14. #14
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    Euc, notice the elongated dimple just above the magazine well
    Dimple - what dimple! Oh - that dimple

    Robert - point taken re milled - I was under a misapprehension that milled was better.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  15. #15
    VIP Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfurtkamp
    The dimple has *nothing* to do with pre-ban configuration.
    You are correct about that, rfurtkamp....I look for the dimple to indicate that the receiver was originally manufactured to accept full size magazines. In your experience, is the WASR (or even the SAR-1) the only AK47 that doesn't have the stabilizing dimple in the receiver? Is the lack of a dimple a reliable indicator that the rifle was made for single stack magazines?
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

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