What to look for in bulgarian makarov?


May 27, 2003, 05:50 PM
Hello all,

I will be purchasing a Bulgarian Makarov soon. Please tell me if their is anything besides the obvious to look out for. I will not have the chance to shoot it before purchase.

Thank you, Mike

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May 27, 2003, 05:57 PM
The newest ones imported last fall had any cryllic letters in the serial number stamped out per new AFT requirements. Not all Bulgarian Maks have cryllic letters in the serial number. While this obviously doesn't affect performance, some folks just don't like the stamped out letters and if you sell it one day, you might get a better price than one that has stamped out letters - like a backwards 'N'.

See this site if you haven't already:


May 27, 2003, 06:37 PM
Thanks for the site.

Also forgot, besides whats recommended on makarov.com, where is a good place to find 9x18 range ammo and what is a good defense round?

May 27, 2003, 07:33 PM
Dans ammo in PA for mail order FMJ and JHP for low prices (I think his URL is www.dansammo.com).

Hornady JHPs for defence, they are not the hottest load ever, but they are easy to shoot, and show reliable expansion.

Some folks talk of the Mak performing better with straight FMJ, especially FMJ that closely matches the original design specs such as Russian LVE green box. Personally I think the Hornady will cause more anguish for an attacker.


Stephen A. Camp
May 28, 2003, 01:08 AM
Hello. You might find these reports on Maks of interest. There's some poop on ammo, too.




May 28, 2003, 02:18 AM
Very nice write ups Stephen. From your tests, you say that the HP rounds usually penetrate between 8-10". If you were to carry the Mak, would you use FMJ or HP as your defensive round?

Stephen A. Camp
May 28, 2003, 09:24 AM
Hello. I'd go with JHPs. What I'd really like to see is Corbon bring out their PowRball round in this caliber. The bullet's actually a "hard" one compared to most JHPs according to Mr. Pi at the company. Expansion's delayed just a bit until the polymer ball does its thing initiating expansion. The rounds I've fired in .45 have been accurate and the expansion's been pretty darned consistent. I'll be testing some in 9mm when my order comes in.
I see potential for this round in 9x18 Mak as it might just give very good expansion and penetration.


May 28, 2003, 10:06 AM
Here's some good ammo info.:


I use Cor-Bon but it is not made anymore.

May 28, 2003, 01:51 PM
Look at makarov.com then buy your mak you wont be sorry(well you might be sorry if you find them as addictive as me).


May 30, 2003, 06:13 AM
You'll need to be careful, once you go Mak you don't go back :)

I carry Hornady XTPs. But not the factory stuff, it is pretty low velocity for it's wieght. I handload my own Mak rounds. In case anyone would like to know what load, here it is:

Bullet: 95 gr Hornady XTP
Case: Speer 9X18 (I found a bunch of these on e-bay, haven't seen them before or since)
Primer: CCI small pistol
Powder: 4.1 gr Bullseye
OAL: 0.965 inch

With this load I get about an extra 100 FPS when compared to the Hornady factory loads...

May 30, 2003, 08:40 AM
First, I'm glad to see renewed interest in Pistolet Makarova. I'm pleased!!:D

If the gun is packed in cosmoline, that is a good thing. It means that it is unfired!!

Cyrillic lettering means that it is probably a Russian made gun that has been "imported" to Bulgaria. This is also a good thing. None of my Bulgarian Makarovs have any Cyrillic lettering of any kind (I have three, including two un-issued mil spec specimens). Soviet guns are considered to be better, on par with the DDR Makarovs.

Go for it!! :D

May 30, 2003, 01:00 PM
Well, its Bulgarian, its a Makarov. Buy it!

Seriously, you can not go wrong. I like it better than my Commercial Russians and as much as my EG.

May 30, 2003, 01:06 PM
denfoote wrote:

"If the gun is packed in cosmoline, that is a good thing. It means that it is unfired!!"

Don't believe this is correct based on what I've seen on the Makarov forum. Most of them do seem to be unissued, i.e. unfired but some are not. These seem to be in very good condition with mainly a bit a holster wear from what I've read. I think there are some used ones with no cosmoline though. That's why the $10 handpicked from SOG is a waste because with the cosmoline on them, you really can't tell what their condition is.

May 30, 2003, 01:38 PM
There are differences between Bulgarian Maks. I've owned two, still have one. The one I got rid of was not as well finished on the inside and you could feel the difference when cycling the slide by hand. They were only several hundred serial numbers apart. What that means to me is that there may be more variablity in the Bulgarians as oppossed to either the E. German or Soviet. My experience with Maks leads me to the conclusion that the Soviets are the best, even if not quite as nicely finished as the Germans.

June 1, 2003, 02:04 AM
For hollow-point ammunition, I'd check out the Barnaul. I haven't tested it extensively, but I fired some into soft mud and they expanded nicely. I believe I chronographed some and they were fairly hot (though I don't remember the velocity). They work fine in my Maks, so I don't see much reason to spend 3-5 times as much to buy Hornady or other "premium" hollowpoints. Its nice to be able to practice economically with the same ammo used for self-defense.


June 1, 2003, 03:01 AM
One of my Bulgarian "unissued" Makarovs was packed in the cosmoline. This is how they were packaged from the factory.

If the pistol was issued and then returned to the armory for storage, it was first cleaned, then lubricated with "rifle lubricating oil", wrapped in one sheet of acid free paper, two sheets of wax paper, then packed in a cardboard box. This is per the original Soviet field manual.

June 1, 2003, 05:54 PM
That may be but I've read on the Makarov forum of those who have gotten them from SOG that were packed in cosmoline and when cleaned up they should evidence of holster wear and firing.
My Bulgarian was unissued though :)

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