How I Made My AKM-74 Romanian Bullpup Usable


June 8, 2008, 01:29 PM
While I'm not a big fan of the bullpup design, I already had the Norinco AK bullpup and a Bushmaster AR bullpup, so when I finally found a Century AKM-74 bullpup that was put together straight, with tight furniture I got it as the price was right compared to either of the others I'd gotten pre-AWB and The sights were better than either so I was ready to buy.

The Norinco bullpup is poorly designed in that the grip interferes with using 30 round mags, but other than that and the lousy sights with no practical way to change to something better, its functional but the novelty wore of pretty quickly, but I'm happy to have it as part of the collection. Same for the AR bullpup which I see are available again from CDNN.

The AKM-74 fixed this issue by curving the pistol grip so a 30 round mag rocks in and out cleanly. Testing this sealed the deal and I brought it home.

However half way through the first magazine I understood why the Norinco bullpup had that "goofy" fore grip -- gas flowing around the hand guard made it uncomfortably hot after about 20 rounds. When I shifted my grip to remove the empty mag and burned my finger on the sling stud, I knew I had to do something to make this usable.

The sights I found effective, after adjusting POA to match POI. The trigger has an awfully long resent and is quite springy, but is made tolerable by the tactilely repeatable and predictable break -- I hit with it quite a bit better than the average iron sighted AK.

So the problem is to do something so I can actually shoot the thing without burning my hand short of a one hand hold or hand on hand hold like with a pistol.

I stole the idea of the "goofy" fore grip from the Norinco bullpup, all the AR tacticool accessories made finding a rail and grip easy. At a gun show I got a $17 "UTG" 5-position grip and a $10 AR handguard rail. With a little Gorilla glue I was able to "tack" the rail's shoulder washers into position and when it set up I potted the washers in JB Weld and then mounted the rail. I should have tested the fit of the grip on the rail before I bought, I think the rail was undersized as the grip fit my SIG556 nicely, so a few shims cut from a coke can let me mount it nice and tight to the rail.

Here's two photos in the two usable positions of the grip. I like the feel and it should solve the heat issue.

Gotta love the AK design, made by Bubba's for Bubba's :)

I may get another rail and add it to the top of the gas tube to mount a red dot, although I can use these iron sights (rear aperature) as they are quite effectively, if I can shim the red dot to co-witness it'd be a pretty trick setup.


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June 8, 2008, 04:12 PM
curious to see it shoot. Going to post a vid?

Looks nice and I'm green with envy, lol.

June 8, 2008, 08:04 PM
Not really possible for me to post video at present, but I hope to get to the range tomorrow and if the wind dies down I'll try to post some 50 yard iron sighted groups off sandbags.

Here's a photo of the RedDot hand guard mounting I'm thinking about, like I did for my AR:

It co-witnesses as good as I can shoot iron sights so I've enjoyed the setup, turning on the dot lets me tighten up the groups.

I'm not accuracy obsessed, if my groups off sand bags are under half the size of the target of interest, I figure when I miss its all me. Mostly with rifles except for sighting in, I shoot two liter bottles at ~50 yards, and gallon milk jugs at ~100 yards. I find this a whole lot more fun than punching paper and good real world practice should I ever need to.


June 9, 2008, 09:37 PM
Perhaps not the best of days to do this, but here is a photo (Dirty Bird black target) of 20 rounds of Wolf off sandbags at 50 yards from the bullpup. Trust me this is better than average for me with normal AK iron sights, the aperture rear on this helps me a lot. For scale the green ring and the red centers are about 3" diameter

For reference the red target in the center is 15 rounds polymer Wolf shot with my Siaga and a Leapers 3X9 40mm scope set to 9X. Its pretty typical of what I get with Wolf polymer, vertical stringing and a multimodal distribution. The red target on the left is 20 rounds of Silver Bear "match" from the same gun. More consistent but the typical AK flyer's really open things up. I can only blame the wind for the first target as the wind was mostly left to right and I waited for paper fragments on the backboard to quit flapping before I fired when using the scope.

Winds were variable and gusting, good day for practicing wind doping skills, in fact a fellow was setting up his flags to do just that as I was leaving.

The photo below shows the gun again and 30 rounds of Wolf shot standing using the foregrip vertical. It was horizontal for the sand bag shooting.

I'm pretty happy with the results overall. And didn't have any discomfort from the heat so the addition was well worth modest effort.


June 9, 2008, 10:46 PM
Very interesting project you have there. It definitely looks more usable and practical than the Norincos I've seen. You mentioned you got a bullpup AR? now that I'd have to see.

June 9, 2008, 11:05 PM
That looks like a nice work-around. Kudos.

June 10, 2008, 06:36 AM
You mentioned you got a bullpup AR? now that I'd have to see

CDNN ( has the Bushmaster AR bullpup like I have. Guns aren't on their web site but you can request a catalog, or find a recent Shotgun News and look at their ad.

I could dig it out of the safe and take a photo, but it'd be a good while before I'd have a chance to do it, being one of my ultimate safe queens, I'd have to take just about everything else out to get to it and/or the Norinco. If I get the urge this weekend I'll take photos of both, but getting everything back into my safe is like putting together one of those Chinese puzzles :)


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