Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Yosemite Sam Gets A Birthday Gift

Ever had that problem of giving the perfect gift? Well, Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I never have that problem. You see we’re gun nuts.

Bill’s birthday is today and what does a gun nut give another gun nut for his birthday? How about a WASR AK-47 clone? This weekend, we went to our favorite gun store, State Line, and we bought it for him. It’s a post-ban model from Century Arms and comes with a post-production bayonet lug, a few American made parts to make it import legal, and a full range of accessories.

I understand that a Romanian factory is geared up to produce guns that meet requirements of the now deceased Assault Weapons Ban. Hence, the guns have no bayonet lug, are made to accept a ten round magazine, and has no threaded barrel for a compensator. Now that the ban is dead, Century Arms takes their imports and adds the bayonet lug, re-machines the magazine well to accept all AK magazines, and takes other steps while ensuring no laws are broken.

The accessories are Soviet-type military issue and include a round oil bottle, sling, a magazine pouch, a bayonet, etc. We found the bayonet was incredibly hard to put on. We finally forced it on although it came off easily. I think its lug is a bit off-size or ever so slightly off center. It may wear in over time, but I doubt we'll put it on too often.

I had a little trepidation about buying an AK clone even as a birthday present. You see, I’m a gun curmudgeon. Ccan a woman truly be a curmudgeon or is there another word? Maybe I should say I'm a gun traditionalist. I like guns that sport fine wood and have excellent finishes. This Romanian AK clone is made of an East European semi- hard wood, probably beech, with a finish that lacks something in, well, the finish department. Even my Krag-Jorgenson has a walnut stock with a military oil finish that is beautiful.

I also like guns with a fine blued finish. Stainless steel is way too garish for me, although I own a few guns in stainless steel or with a nickel finish. Some of my military guns have a dull phosphate finish, but I find beauty even in that. The AK clone’s metal is finished, but it looks like factory workers gave it a final polish with a ball peen hammer. Much of Bill's gun is made of stamped sheet metal. I prefer machined steel such as found in my M1 Garand.

I’ve never owned an AK clone before (I still don’t, but since we’re married now…) and have never field stripped one. When we took it apart I found a very interesting mechanism. Everything is robust and simple. There’s no parts puzzle like one finds in a Broomhandle Mauser or even in an AR-15. I can understand why the AK and its semi-auto cousins are such reliable weapons. There’s so little to break or jam. Also, reassembly is intuitive. While there are a couple of little quirks, there’s really no little part that you can lose or forget to put back in like a retaining pin or spring.

So that’s what a gunnie gives another gunnie for his birthday. It’s something that Bill has wanted for awhile and it adds a lot to our collection. We should have bought one a long time ago, but we finally corrected our oversight. When we have a chance to get to the range and shoot it, we’ll post a range report on it.

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