something I've always wondered about AR vs. AK...


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RP88
April 5, 2010, 01:23 AM
Now, this is not exactly a debate on which gun is better. Instead, this is more about their technical specs, if such things are comparable.

Whenever someone discusses or looks up an AR, you have a vast arsenal of topics regarding many things that go into the process of making one: MPI and HPT of certain parts, barrel steel and blend, receiver forging, etc. etc. All of which paints the AR as a pretty, precision-engineered marvel of firearms science.

But...

...what the hell is an AK made out of? Surely it is not made out of weak steel, crappy, improperly prepared chrome, plywood, and the tears of children and political dissidents working towards their death in Siberian gulags like the manual makes it out to be (disclaimer: I'm not actually sure on whether or not it says that).

But seriously, what are the various parts of an AK made of? How different is the manufacturing process? If the parts are of lesser grade, then why is it that AKs seem to last forever while people share horror stories of even quality ARs failing?

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bhhacker
April 5, 2010, 01:43 AM
looser tolerances for parts on the ak allow the gun to fire with more debris in it than the ar

dobeman
April 5, 2010, 01:45 AM
I've always wondered about the huge price difference. Is it materials? and quality? I don't think so.

davester16
April 5, 2010, 01:51 AM
I'm sure many of us have noticed that the manufacturing section of the U.S. economy is rather jacked up and has been for....oh, twenty years? But ya got me on the price difference...there are many quality AKs out there and a few ARs that aren't all their cracked up to be.

My guess is that it is simply the difference in a countries economy that influences the price of the products....for many AK manufacturers boast of their materials and workmanship. Obviously that is displayed by their durability and--nowadays--their improved accuracy.

But I don't know much about it.

sv51macross
April 5, 2010, 01:56 AM
It's the level of sophistication. AR receivers are milled billets, which is comparatively expensive to cutting a few holes out of a steel square and stamping it into a flat-sided 'U'. (I am grossly simplifying for the sake of the explanation). The AR also has alot more small moving parts. Save a few relatively rare variations (Tantal, Yugo M70, ect), the AK has one control that doubles as a dust cover. The Ar, by comparison, has the safety, dust cover, forward assist, bolt release (and bolt hold open).

So really, it comes down to the relative simplicity, and that most AKs coming in are surplus de-milled military guns, as to why they are cheaper than ARs. But look at say, a Krebs KTR-03/08/09, or higher-end Arsenal SLR, you do get into AR money quickly.

Jaws
April 5, 2010, 02:07 AM
The Russians are making cheap firearms but they are not using cheap parts where it matters most for reliability and durability.
Since PPsh all their military firearms have cromelined barrels and bolts. All Russian AK's have hammer forged barrels to ensure longevity.
They can make cheap and ugly exterior parts that are not vital for the function of the weapon, but they don't fool around with the important parts.

9mmepiphany
April 5, 2010, 03:49 AM
the AK uses the same philosophy as other Soviet firearms, "if it affects function, engineered to work; if it doesn't, it just has to be good enough". every military culture designs weapons to meet it's style of combat, the trick is deciding what you'll need for the next conflict

the AK was designed very specifically to support mech warfare. it is cheap to product, it works in all kinds of horrible conditions, it's reliability isn't compromised and it isn't more accurate than it needs to be. it was also designed to be produced in a less advanced industrial nation.

so they are cheaper to produce, the work all the time and they are extremely effective doing what they are designed to do. when the AK has been re-engineered to deliver to "western standards" they are comparable to the AR in both function and cost...ie: Galil, FN FNC, Sig 556

nalioth
April 5, 2010, 03:57 AM
when the AK has been re-engineered to deliver to "western standards" they are comparable to the AR in both function and cost...ie: Galil, FN FNC, Sig 556 One out of three ain't bad.

The Galil is the only some-parts-compatible "western standards" implementation of the Kalashnikov, the others are just compilations of the best features from many weapon systems (including the AK) - but not anywhere close to being compatible with the Kalashnikov.

9mmepiphany
April 5, 2010, 04:11 AM
posted by nalioth
The Galil is the only some-parts-compatible "western standards" implementation of the Kalashnikov, the others are just compilations of the best features from many weapon systems (including the AK) - but not anywhere close to being compatible with the Kalashnikov.
they weren't designed to be compatible with the Kalashnikov, they are an evolution and optimized for the Western market. at least that's what the Sig Sauer engineers told me at SHOT...they consider their 556 the ultimate evolution of the semi-auto AK

aka108
April 5, 2010, 09:52 AM
The AK is built to looser tolerences of fit and if you take a good look inside it is no more complicated than a repeating cap gun made in the 1940's. There are no little parts to loose and you could train a person totally unfamiliar with firearms to field strip and shoot the weapon in less than a hour. As I read somewhere, it is a weapon designed by a peasant (a smart one) to be built by peasants for use by peasants. They did a good job.

DeepSouth
April 5, 2010, 09:57 AM
Loose fitting sheet metal.
A Russian (or a terrorist) could probably build a fully functioning AK out of a car fender in about 15 min. :scrutiny:

DMK
April 5, 2010, 10:59 AM
It's just different design philosophies.

The AR15 was born from the US Aerospace industry (Armalite was a division of Fairchild-Republic, the same company that made the F-105 supersonic fighter bomber). It was designed to use the techniques and lightweight materials from that industry.

The AK was designed by a tank mechanic (Kalashnikov) with fresh memories of the Nazi invasion. He wanted a robust and reliable assault rifle that could be produced cheaply and quickly.

In both cases, very competent engineers looked at the problems and used the proper materials for the job. The AR15 has an aluminum receiver, the AK's is stamped sheet metal. The AR's barrel is button rifled, the AK's barrel is hammer forged. The AR is screwed and pinned together, the AK is mostly riveted. Different design philosophies to accomplish the same task.

Tirod
April 5, 2010, 11:14 AM
Wow, another thread repeating misconceptions and half truths.

The AK is reputedly more durable, but posts from owners on this forum alone show that is a different quality than reliable. Sure, you can throw it off your roof, but try to get the first magazine to shoot all the rounds? It doesn't always happen for AK owners either.

The AK is built in third world countries using sheet metal and wood stock construction techniques, about what America had in the 1930's. The AR is drop forged aluminum, machined, with synthetic furniture construction based on jet aircraft materials of the '50's, a huge technological leap forward. The different technical infrastructures that make the parts are also completely different economies. Bulgaria doesn't have Walmart, U Pump gas stations, debit cards, and Escalades parked rows deep at the dealer. They don't pay minimum wage, either.

All the supposed precision of the AR is simply due to the established set of standards that the public insists be enforced - so that one part will always fit and work with the others. The AK, not so much. Variations don't all swap even the simple parts. It's a lot like the FN inch and metric patterns, with further twists thrown in over time and local practice. The AR is much more precise maker to maker over the last 45 years. That drives up costs when parts from a LMT today will still fit a '70s M16A1 made by Hydramatic. It takes skilled operators and smart people to make it happen, they don't come cheap.

AR's available today are largely made new, and subject to current materials costs, overhead, and labor expenses. AK's, especially imported ones, are used surplus based on costs from decades ago, on machines built and paid for in the '60's, operated by workers often long dead. Compare the price of a new, precision built, better grade AK, you get a truer picture. They are about the SAME price. Include the CMMG Bargain Bin rifles at $599, and the better AR can be had cheaper.

The reality is that the different features on the AR do make a difference in price, also. The bolt hold open requires machining and parts fabrication that doesn't exist on the AK, a trapdoor buttplate or thumb operated safety that blocks the trigger doesn't exist on the AK, a flattop with Pictinny rail on the upper is not factory available. If anything, a recent thread on building a precision shooter AK with a $2000 price tag shows that equipping an AK with the same features built to a high standard is just as expensive.

If it looks like the AK is cheaper and more easily made, it's because it is - cheap and easily made. Devalue the costs by using recycled military surplus, and it is very inexpensive. If the M16 could be done the same way, it would be a lot cheaper, too, and is. Just check out the kits from Henderson, about $600 for most of the parts off a M16 except lower. Of course, the American economy can even beat that with Bargain Bin pricing. If there were 500,000 M16 kits on the market, price competition would drop the retail on them so low AK importers would have to sell for a loss.

Well, that's not going to happen.

nalioth
April 5, 2010, 11:16 AM
The Galil is the only some-parts-compatible "western standards" implementation of the Kalashnikov, the others are just compilations of the best features from many weapon systems (including the AK) - but not anywhere close to being compatible with the Kalashnikov.
they weren't designed to be compatible with the Kalashnikov, they are an evolution and optimized for the Western market. at least that's what the Sig Sauer engineers told me at SHOT...they consider their 556 the ultimate evolution of the semi-auto AK

I consider the Finnish Rk95 (http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=rk95) to be the ultimate evolution of the Kalashnikov.

Those Sig-Sauer engineers are just running their mouths to increase sales.

The AK is reputedly more durable, but posts from owners on this forum alone show that is a different quality than reliable. Sure, you can throw it off your roof, but try to get the first magazine to shoot all the rounds? It doesn't always happen for AK owners either. If we were able to have actual factory AKs here (and not ones made from cut-up parts, etc), no user would have issues with them.

bigalexe
April 5, 2010, 11:20 AM
looser tolerances

Please remember that Tolerances =/= Clearances

I see many times people misuse tolerance where they mean clearance. A tolerance defines what is allowable for max/min dimensions on something when it is done. A Clearance in the spacing between two parts in assembly.

Now I am sure the AK-47 has higher tolerances in most cases because it was built cheaply and that includes the Quality Department, probably they let more than a few go out the door with parts somewhat outside the original intended tolerances. However the difference you are referring is in fact CLEARANCES.

The AK-47 is older than the AR-15 and was designed to be built with older machinery, I am guessing the accuracy of said machinery is a bit less than what was used to build the AR-15. So the AK-47 most likely has wide clearances designed into it to allow for this inherent inaccuracy in the manufacturing process and make it so the rifle could still be assembled and function.

The downside of looser fitting parts is lower repeatability in the function of the weapon which we call accuracy, the upside is that the gun doesn't jam when you show it a piece of sand.

Quoheleth
April 5, 2010, 11:24 AM
If we were able to have actual factory AKs here (and not ones made from cut-up parts, etc), no user would have issues with them.

True.

But getting the drunken monkeys for the assembly line past Immigration or Customs could be an issue :D

Q

Tirod
April 5, 2010, 11:39 AM
Ah, more misconceptions. The eternal myth of the jammomatic M16 hasn't been seen in the field by soldiers for decades. Ask one. If LUBED properly, and kept wet, AR's run just fine, up to 25,000 rounds without cleaning in one test.

Another recent report showed an M4gery going 2,500 rounds bone dry.

It's mostly repeated misinformation and myth that the tighter clearances on the AR cause a problem. I would like someone to actually quote the differences in clearances and where they are a problem.

Don't quote the infamous sand test, please, I would like to remind that crowd the second sand test with adequate amounts of lubrication showed the M4 doesn't have the problem.

As pointed out, CLEARANCES aren't TOLERANCES. I've never seen a post that details what the clearances are that supposedly cause a problem. With downloadable blueprints and thousands of knowledgeable assemblers, if there really was a clearance problem, it would be a sticky on all the forums. "Get your dremel or sandpaper and reduce the dimension to X.XXX to prevent the dreaded jammomatic."

Doesn't exist, hasn't happened. What does happen are users, military and civilian, who don't like wet dirty AR's. It's not an issue for those who actually use them in combat, it's the preferred and recommended method of operation.

That IS a sticky on AR forums. "LUBRICATE LIBERALLY." It's another difference in the operation of the each firearm, don't treat them with the same PMCS.

Shear_stress
April 5, 2010, 11:42 AM
The Galil is the only some-parts-compatible "western standards" implementation of the Kalashnikov, the others are just compilations of the best features from many weapon systems (including the AK) - but not anywhere close to being compatible with the Kalashnikov.

For the love of god, 9mmepiphany never mentions direct compatibility with the AK. He only says that there are many Western rifles with very similar operating principles. This is absolutely true.

The Valmet, Galil, FNC, and Sig 540/550 are a few examples. If there's any doubt, take a look at the following photos of the 550:

http://www.biggerhammer.net/sigamt/550/2sp/

Let's see: long stroke piston, sheetmetal lower complete with "dimples", very similar bolt carrier and two lug bolt, mag release, etc. The 556 is a different story.

nalioth
April 5, 2010, 11:47 AM
He only says that there are many Western rifles with very similar operating principles. If we want to go there, I guess they all go *BANG* when their trigger is pulled.

Tirod
April 5, 2010, 11:52 AM
Please note the Valmet, Galil, FNC, and SIG aren't $450 imports. They aren't built in third world economies. Most of the workers aren't limited to buying Yugo's or Trabants.

The original workers making the older AK's had a choice of which bicycle make to purchase, after they saved up the money. That and a shortwave radio was the extent of their personal technology.

Blueberries and Spacebook aren't much available to them yet. :cool:

Shear_stress
April 5, 2010, 12:16 PM
Please note the Valmet, Galil, FNC, and SIG aren't $450 imports. They aren't built in third world economies. Most of the workers aren't limited to buying Yugo's or Trabants.

That's my point. They aren't cheap even though some are very similar mechanically.

If we want to go there, I guess they all go *BANG* when their trigger is pulled.

Uh, yes we went there. If my post was difficult to grasp I can recommend any number of useful dictionaries of American English.

nalioth
April 5, 2010, 01:13 PM
He only says that there are many Western rifles with very similar operating principles.
If we want to go there, I guess they all go *BANG* when their trigger is pulled.Uh, yes we went there. If my post was difficult to grasp I can recommend any number of useful dictionaries of American English.Putting the context back in to your reply.

My point is: All military weapons designed in the past decade or two utilize "similar operating principles" to preceding designs.

I am seeing nothing in that argument but hot air.

The Sig-Sauer engineers can easily say "they consider their 556 the ultimate evolution of the semi-auto [AK | AR15 | AR18 | etc]" because their rifle utilizes "known-good" principles from all of these (and others).


You can look at a Finnish Rk95 and tell exactly what it's great-grandaddy was.

You look at a Sig 556 and see a mutt.

Shear_stress
April 5, 2010, 01:28 PM
You can look at a Finnish Rk95 and tell exactly what it's great-grandaddy was.

You look at a Sig 556 and see a mutt.

Yes, this is true . . .except my post largely pertains to the Sig 550 and exempts the 556 from the argument.

My point is: All military weapons designed in the past decade or two utilize "similar operating principles" to preceding designs.

And my point is: there's similar and then there's similar. If you see "nothing but hot air" then you clearly haven't bothered to follow the link I posted. If you do then you'll note a very close, deliberately-designed mechanical similarity between the 550 and the AKM. I am by no means the first to notice this.

To get back to the thrust of this thread, the Swiss proved that it is more than possible to built an expensive AKM.

nalioth
April 5, 2010, 01:41 PM
My point is: All military weapons designed in the past decade or two utilize "similar operating principles" to preceding designs.
And my point is: there's similar and then there's similar. If you see "nothing but hot air" then you clearly haven't bothered to follow the link I posted. If you do then you'll note a very close, deliberately-designed mechanical similarity between the 550 and the AKM. I am by no means the first to notice this.Actually, I see lots of other weapons DNA in the Sig 540, as well (which I'm sure was also "deliberately designed").

To get back to the thrust of this thread, the Swiss proved that it is more than possible to built an expensive AKM. No, in the 540 they built a very expensive rifle using "known-good" design principles from preceding designs.

It has AKM principles in it's design, but isn't one.

dom1104
April 5, 2010, 01:44 PM
A Russian (or a terrorist) could probably build a fully functioning AK out of a car fender in about 15 min.


I never bought this. Because people come on here all the time and say " HELP I CANT PUT TOGHETHER MY PARTS KIT!"

:)

RP88
April 5, 2010, 01:58 PM
this topic went in all different directions :what:

what I was mainly getting at were construction materials grade and techniques. I'm well-versed in how they function, but not how they are built, or what exactly differs with the AK. I imagine that shot-peening, MPI, HPT, etc. are things that AK makers never did and don't do now. I imagine that a clever blend of carbon-vanadium alloys and chrome and 4150 steel isn't what the barrel is made of.

The main point was, the last thing I saw on certain specs of an AK was that a lot of it was 4130 steel. So what makes me chuckle is how anyone who buys an AK has no problem with it working, but the moment someone gets an AR that has a barrel that is only 4140 and not CMV or isn't MPI'd or HPT'd they flip out and can't fathom that gun surviving a carbine course or a day in the jungle.

It always made me curious about the whole debate on how the AK is rugged but the common misconception of the AR is that it is fragile, despite the fact that it seems way more overbuilt than an AK.

seanie!
April 5, 2010, 03:11 PM
It always made me curious about the whole debate on how the AK is rugged but the common misconception of the AR is that it is fragile, despite the fact that it seems way more overbuilt than an AK.
You kind of nailed it right there. I have no horse in the AR v. AK race, as I love them both equally. But, in my personal opinion, the AR seems to be as overbuilt as it can be in all respects, as to where the AK seems to be overbuilt where it needs to be, but built just good enough where it doesn't.

leadcounsel
April 5, 2010, 03:18 PM
The AR15 poops where it eats - meaning that it sprays hot fouled gases back into the highly technical and tight fitting chamber/star cluster which pushes the bolt rearward and cycles the action. These hot dirty gasses quickly build up and harden and this causes stoppages. Throw in some dirt, grit, sand, dust, water, etc. and you have a mess. Like running a high performance car on dirty gas, or a high performance athelete on junk food and sodas - the system just gets clogged and stops.

When you clean an AR15 after shooting you can see the filthy dirty caked on carbon residue and it is a chore to clean it and keep it clean; a very important chore.

Conversely, the AK47 uses a piston near the front of the rifle to push the bolt rearward. A very simple and IMO a much better design. The hot gases are released into a chamber above the barrel, where they push against a concave piston-head, and that pushes rearward. The piston head gets fouled, but the bolt and chamber stay relatively clean. This, along with greater tolerances in machining, make the AK47 so much more durable and reliable and a better platform in these areas.

rubicon923
April 5, 2010, 04:11 PM
The AR15 poops where it eats - meaning that it sprays hot fouled gases back into the highly technical and tight fitting chamber/star cluster which pushes the bolt rearward and cycles the action. These hot dirty gasses quickly build up and harden and this causes stoppages. Throw in some dirt, grit, sand, dust, water, etc. and you have a mess. Like running a high performance car on dirty gas, or a high performance athelete on junk food and sodas - the system just gets clogged and stops.

When you clean an AR15 after shooting you can see the filthy dirty caked on carbon residue and it is a chore to clean it and keep it clean; a very important chore.

Conversely, the AK47 uses a piston near the front of the rifle to push the bolt rearward. A very simple and IMO a much better design. The hot gases are released into a chamber above the barrel, where they push against a concave piston-head, and that pushes rearward. The piston head gets fouled, but the bolt and chamber stay relatively clean. This, along with greater tolerances in machining, make the AK47 so much more durable and reliable and a better platform in these areas.

Yes, I think the most significant difference is the direct gas impingement action of the AR15 vs the gas piston action of the AK. Not only is the AK action inherently more reliable, but it also seldom breaks parts.

The weak point in many semi-auto actions is the extractor. There are thousands of 7.62 x 39 Saiga's in use in this country, but no spare extractors (long story that I won't get into). I have never heard of a Saiga with a failed extractor. Another data point, Mark Graham (the "gunplumber") reports that of the thousands of AKs that have passed through his hands over the years, he has seen ONE extractor failure.

Compare this to AR shooters that pack extra bolt parts if they want to be sure of making it through a weekend of training.

The AK is an extremely robust and simple design. For example, the AK is sometimes critisized for having the charging handle on the "wrong" (right) side. My FAL has the charging handle on the "correct" (left) side, but doing so requires making a long, horizontal cut on the left side of the receiver and the FAL charging handle mechanism contains 8 parts!

IMO among military rifles, the AR-15 and the AK represent opposite ends of the reliability spectrum.

Leaky Waders
April 5, 2010, 05:22 PM
I am not too familiar with the AK, but prior to my last deployment I ran my 'AR' for 4 weeks during training with blanks and live fire exercises including qualification with no internal cleaning. I merely wiped the outside off and threw some clip on the bolt. I had one failure to feed that was fixed by tapping the charge handle. Although I didn't shoot thousands of rounds through the rifle before cleaning, I did shoot alot of freaking blanks though it - others in my squad didnt want to shoot there's do to 'carbon build up'. So I happily obliged.

I did the same thing with the beretta with no issues. (no blanks for beretta, just all live rounds).


Searching wiki earlier concerning the ak - I found it funny that the new ak's are going to be chambered in 5.56 nato.

I think the cost disparity in ak and ar platforms are mainly due to employee wages in the origin country and paying for qc checks...only my opinion though.

happygeek
April 5, 2010, 06:02 PM
Oh God, blanks are freaking terrible. Even the flash suppressor gets dirty as all hell.

I've put right about 3,000 rounds through a Colt 'AR' in two days with just wiping the bolt down and re-oiling at the end of the first day. Had one FTF due to a crappy cheap aluminum STANAG mag. I can't speak as to how it'll function with foreign matter in the action, but I personally haven't had much trouble with carbon fouling. It is a pain to clean afterwards though, I probably spent 3 hours scrubbing that thing out on the 3rd day. Probably spent an hour with a dental pick on the bolt & bolt carrier alone.

I am a big fan of pistons when it comes to cleaning afterwards. I got a Sig 556 and so far the bolt, bolt carrier, and chamber have been staying remarkably clean. 90% of the carbon gunk seems to stay in the gas plug, gas piston, and gas tube.

It's really just a matter of preference though, would you rather clean the bolt carrier or the gas piston? I have yet to see one of those mythical self cleaning rifles, but I keep hoping to some day.

Carter
April 5, 2010, 06:27 PM
The AK design is simple and has loose tolerances, and also very heavy since it is made from mostly steel. The AR is made out of higher cost lightweight yet durable products and made to higher specs for greater accuracy. Also, buying anything American made, and generally European (like a sig) is more expensive than those "backwards" post communist countries using a "inferior" and "outdated" rifle. So its also a bit of biased feelings of American shooters, and massive stockpiles of AK rifles and parts.

benEzra
April 5, 2010, 09:46 PM
Certain AR parts (bolt, bolt cam pin, etc.) are more highly stressed than AK parts, because the AR parts are (1) thinner and (2) subjected to much higher temperatures.

If you compare an AK bolt to an AR bolt, an AR has lots of skinny little locking lugs arranged radially; an AK has two huge locking lugs on opposite sides. The skinny lugs are more prone to crack because they are skinny and because it is impossible to stress them symmetrically, hence the AR bolt must be made out of a higher grade of steel, the heat treating has to be just so, shot peening to put the surface under compression, MPI to check for tiny flaws, etc. The AK bolt doesn't have to be quite so perfect in order to hold up. The working pressure of 5.56x45 is also about 10,000psi higher than that of 7.62x39mm (I want to say 7.62x39mm runs around 45,000psi and 5.56x45mm around 55,000), which puts the AR bolt lugs under heavier loads.

Second, the AR's DI system is ingenious, but requires very precisely made and fitted parts with good quality control. The AK's system is a lot more tolerant of parts mismatch; the gas/piston interface is confined to the gas block and piston face.

Finally, as to the clearances and whatnot, a big part of the AR's vulnerability to small debris is the fact that the AR bolt carrier assembly is completely surrounded by a very close fitting tube that conforms to its shape, whereas an AK's bolt carrier assembly runs on rails and is surrounded by a lot of open space inside a big square receiver. There is more room in the AK receiver for crap to get out of the way of the bolt carrier than there is in the AR receiver, irrespective of the actual bolt-carrier-to-bearing-surface clearances.

SharpsDressedMan
April 5, 2010, 10:22 PM
Could it be labor costs?

winchester '97
April 5, 2010, 11:08 PM
As has been stated, the parts that need careful machining and finishing in an ak have them, the parts that dont, dont. And all ak weapons are a lot more accurate than people think with stock sights, almost every person who puts tech sights on an ak rifle reports much improved accuracy, i wonder how an AR type would perform with sights off an ak?

mshootnit
April 6, 2010, 12:55 AM
I have seen enough AK hammer and trigger pins with wobble in them to make me wonder if the AK is really better or not. I definitely think its simpler which helps it alot. One thing is for sure, the AK milsurp stuff is built well or overbuilt so you never worry about the rifle not functioning with crappy mags (there aren't any unless they are American) or crappy ammo. The AK setup is a system and the goal of the whole system is to make the rifle go bang every time the trigger is pulled. Now the M16A3 or M4 is also a hell of a good weapon, but there is alot of non milspec stuff out there. So much that the AR system in general becomes much less reliable. Anonymous mag or ammo? can you be sure it will fire in an AR? I wouldn't be so sure. AK? yep.

Tirod
April 6, 2010, 11:21 AM
The AR15 poops where it eats - meaning that it sprays hot fouled gases back into the highly technical and tight fitting chamber/star cluster which pushes the bolt rearward and cycles the action. These hot dirty gasses quickly build up and harden and this causes stoppages. Throw in some dirt, grit, sand, dust, water, etc. and you have a mess. Like running a high performance car on dirty gas, or a high performance athelete on junk food and sodas - the system just gets clogged and stops.

When you clean an AR15 after shooting you can see the filthy dirty caked on carbon residue and it is a chore to clean it and keep it clean; a very important chore.

This graphic description isn't really on topic, and I wonder what is really being discussed, assault rifles, or chickens?

Let's remember that every blowback operated pistol and rimfire rifle does the exact same thing, exhaust the hot, dirty gasses back into the action. It's exactly how they work, too. The bolt/slide is not locked, once open and while the case is still partially in the chamber, hot dirty gasses are expelled into the mechanism.

Name your favorite pistol and then think about it. 10/22? Poop eater. Stoppages due to caked on deposits? Not hardly.

Next, go figure, the deposits are caked on? Implies a huge lack of lubrication, the #1 disagreement in the hole chain of maintenance. The subject matter experts, the Ordnance Branch, and most experienced users say LUBE IT UP. Deposits can't cake up if you keep them liquid, and they clean up better, too. It's counter-intuitive for most inexperienced new users, and new soldiers are a bit lazy as they have been conditioned to think creatively in work avoidance. Commanders want them inspection ready in the rack, as other commanders and inspectors still insist on cleanliness and dry storage to please them and get good evaluations. "To heck with doing it right, just do it the way I said."

On top of all that, the number of actual AR owners doesn't seem to include those who constantly post the misinformation. It would have a lot more credibility if someone said, "My X brand AR 15 only went XX rounds before jamming due to actual bolt friction between the carrier and upper from handfuls of gas deposits." But, no, that sort of real world data, even if a sample of one, is never posted.

It's more imflammatory to put out the legend of the chicken than actually do the test themselves, and that's the end game, stir up some attention without any real commitment.

AR's and AK's don't have the same maintenance or maintenance schedule, and that goes back to the logistics of the Army using it. One obviously has more resources than the other.

nalioth
April 6, 2010, 11:39 AM
I am sorry, Tirod, but your example is flawed.

The AR15 is unique in that is recycles hot nasty exhaust gas directly back in to it's bolt carrier group.

Does the 10/22 do that?

Blowback guns follow physical principles - high pressure to low (IOW, the exhaust gases vent to the nearest outlet - they are not directed into the inner workings).

41magsnub
April 6, 2010, 12:17 PM
I am not too familiar with the AK, but prior to my last deployment I ran my 'AR' for 4 weeks during training with blanks and live fire exercises including qualification with no internal cleaning. I merely wiped the outside off and threw some clip on the bolt. I had one failure to feed that was fixed by tapping the charge handle. Although I didn't shoot thousands of rounds through the rifle before cleaning, I did shoot alot of freaking blanks though it - others in my squad didnt want to shoot there's do to 'carbon build up'. So I happily obliged.

I'm having a hard time with that statement. I recall my M16 lasting for maybe a magazine with blanks before it would malfunction on every round. So much crap blew back into the action that the bolt would drag. It would not cycle at all after firing, I would have to treat it like a pull action that required a forward assist to seat the round all way.

Owen
April 6, 2010, 01:29 PM
41, it doesn't matter what gun you are shooting with blanks, a filthy jammed gun is the result, because the hot gasses exit from the chamber end of the barrel. Under normal operation, the case is stuck to the chamber wall, keeping it clean until the pressure is down. The majority of the dirt goes out the muzzle.

While the inside of the AR receiver does get filthy, I have yet to see stoppages caused by that filth. My personal M4gery (a S&W M&PT) hasn't been cleaned in 4000 rounds or 5.56, and 5-6000 rounds of .22LR with a CMMG conversion.. I give the bolt carrier a squirt of 3 in 1, before I start shooting again, and I haven't had any issues with 5.56. The CMMG conversion does need to be cleaned often becuase it gets gummy, but that isn't using the DI, is it?

jeepguy
April 6, 2010, 07:31 PM
i think ak's seem cheap to us here in the US becuse we mostly see surplus. if some US manufacturing company made an ak from scratch instead of comblock parts it would not be cheep. even krebs are around 800+ (i think), and they start with saiga's. also we would americanize it better sights,longer lop, & a way to attach every thing but the kitchen sink lol. i do like the vz 58 though, better design.

Leaky Waders
April 6, 2010, 08:08 PM
"I'm having a hard time with that statement. I recall my M16 lasting for maybe a magazine with blanks before it would malfunction on every round. So much crap blew back into the action that the bolt would drag. It would not cycle at all after firing, I would have to treat it like a pull action that required a forward assist to seat the round all way."

I just kept the bolt well lubricated - the Sergeant had like a windex bottle with CLP in it. Oh, and one more thing I did and failed to mention...I did punch the bore after taking off the BFA before going to the range shooting live rounds.

Nevertheless the weapon was real dirty afterwards. I qualified on it. And, my time for final cleaning in the tent prior to turn in to the armory was really no more than the average person. The junk came right off except for the bolt, had to scrape the carbon off of it near the rings. But others had to do the same things to theirs too.

Other people in my company new about my little experiment and were always commenting - are you sure you didn't take that thing apart and clean it?

I really have no secondary gain either way to make the statements. I leave again in the fall - one year this time. I'm not sure if I have to go to the same training again. If I do, I'll repeat the process and report back.

Jaws
April 6, 2010, 09:32 PM
AR's and AK's don't have the same maintenance or maintenance schedule, and that goes back to the logistics of the Army using it. One obviously has more resources than the other.

So you tell me that US introduced the maintenance intensive M16 just to show off that they have more money to burn on maintenance?

Nah. It's the design. One was designed with reliability and easy maintenance in mind, the other one wasn't. As simple as that. The Russians don't care how their combat weapons looks on the outside. Function is what matters.

I remember watching a documentary on the captured Mig-21 by the Israelis. They loved it. All it took was fuel and oil and it kept flying for weeks. The Israeli pilots said something like this:
It isn't so pretty like our planes, you can see big rivets and imperfect joints on the outside, but it didn't matter. It was still going Mach2.
Specially back in the communist years the designers didn't fool around with the reliability of their designs. If it failed in combat, they risked the gulag or worse.
Had the M16 early problems happened in Russia during war, Mr. Stoner would have end up in gulag together with the generals that pushed the M16 in service.

jhallrv4
April 6, 2010, 10:30 PM
Simply, I've built two AK's from parts kits (Romanian). I can't imagine building an AR from a kit, you know, with me building the receiver and all.
Nobody has mentioned that the AK has two versions, the stamped steel receiver and the milled. Still, you need to see the video of the AR/M16 in full auto, and the AK in full auto. While remembering that they were designed to be used in at least burst mode, if not full auto. The AK is perfectly capable of delivering the first shot to the target. Good luck Jack with the rest of the shots! That baby is flexing all over the place. Spray and pray. The AR/M16 on the other hand, is rigid, and if you can hold it down (made easier with the proper muzzle brake, and the more direct line of recoil helps) you can really connect with the target, more than once.
5.56...small, yes, but FAST. 7.62...large, but slower. The 5.56 will bounce off a hard surface with maybe some dust, the 7.62 will blast it's way through. That is significant only if the target is a hard surface, and not a n'er-do'well BG.
In a recent engagement in Afghanistan, the limiting factor for the M16 types was heat. Not crap in the workings.
This isn't a definitive conclusion, just some more information for the discussion.
I like to shoot the AR. I like to shoot the AK. A lot of us shoot the AR in NRA Highpower matches. Nobody shoots an AK. But then, the NRA targets aren't shooting back.
Finally, the high-pressure NATO rounds really do tend to burn all the crap from the cartridge. Low pressure civilian rounds don't, to the same extent. In my experience. Yes, KEEP IT WET. Early in the life of the M16, it was believed you could run it all day and it didn't need cleaning. When they got the truth out about cleaning and keeping it lubed, almost all the problems went away. Go figure.

Blast away,
Jeff

Hatterasguy
April 6, 2010, 10:39 PM
The Galil is the only some-parts-compatible "western standards" implementation of the Kalashnikov, the others are just compilations of the best features from many weapon systems (including the AK) - but not anywhere close to being compatible with the Kalashnikov.


The SIG 5XX series is extremly comparable to the AK. The bolt, carrier, and op rod are an evolution of the AK design, as is the mag and mag catch.

The Swiss wanted a very reliable system that was also very accurite, something that the AK couldn't quite deliver. So they changed a bit and really brought it up to Western standards. This also resulted in the costs coming up to Western levels...

They had no desire to copy the AK, they took the design and changed it to suite their needs, but they are still in the same family.

The Americanized 556 version with all the crappy AR like features is less so, but the guts are still the same.

The FN FNC is also a fantastic rifle in its own right.

RedLion
April 7, 2010, 12:38 AM
I remember watching a documentary on the captured Mig-21 by the Israelis. They loved it. All it took was fuel and oil and it kept flying for weeks. The Israeli pilots said something like this:
It isn't so pretty like our planes, you can see big rivets and imperfect joints on the outside, but it didn't matter. It was still going Mach2.
Specially back in the communist years the designers didn't fool around with the reliability of their designs. If it failed in combat, they risked the gulag or worse.

Great job, you connected the AK to a supersonic fighter jet, what would you connect to the American F15 eagle, which has never been shot down? And failure to hit a target doesn't score anymore points than a design that is underestimated in its reliability. Plus, isn't it a little disconcerting that the country responsible for both of these engineering "marvels" no longer exists.....hmmmmmm.......

I'm pretty sure no one on the internet really knows what specific materials and process go into making a quality AK versus a quality AR, and after reading most of this thread I'd hate to even wonder.

-v-
April 7, 2010, 09:46 PM
Anyone who fails to hit a man-sized target with an AK out to 300 meters is obviously not doing their part of the equation. While the AK is (due to its looser clearences and tollerences) not a match-grade firearm, it is still a battle-rifle that is expected to be able to hit to 300 meters.

A rifle (or any piece of equipment) is only as effective as the operator. After all, they are tools there to extend the capabilities of the operator, nothing more.

I bet if you had the Israeli's fly MiG's and SU's exclusively you would see an equally successful air-power, with just as few (or maybe fewer!) combat losses as they enjoy today. Main reason they didn't is the political backing of Israel throughout the cold war...and the cold war was about exclusive buyer agreements only.

The point that Jaws was making is that Soviet equipment was built to be functional, not elegant. If it works, is durable, and looks like a flaming turd, its a winner. Looks aren't important on the battlefield and in war, but reliability and dependability is.

That, and last I checked "Russia"...the territorial, political, societal, and cultural core of the USSR still very much exists.

RedLion
April 7, 2010, 10:31 PM
That, and last I checked "Russia"...the territorial, political, societal, and cultural core of the USSR still very much exists.

Ask anyone over 50 to respond to that one, and certainly if they lived behind the Iron Curtain.

A rifle (or any piece of equipment) is only as effective as the operator. After all, they are tools there to extend the capabilities of the operator, nothing more.


Excellent point, and maybe if the operator is effective at taking care of their weapon system, their weapon system will be effective in taking care of them!

The point that Jaws was making is that Soviet equipment was built to be functional, not elegant. If it works, is durable, and looks like a flaming turd, its a winner. Looks aren't important on the battlefield and in war, but reliability and dependability is.

The point I was making is that not all American made/used weapons are unreliable pieces of sh**, and they aren't selected for their aesthetic qualities. Just because there were some flaws in the original adoption of the M-16 that have been fixed, does not make the M-16 a poorly designed machine.

I have no idea what Kalashnikov or Stoner were thinking when the designed their rifles, and no one else here can say what was going through their minds when they did design them, or what problems might have plagued the early AKs. This makes it very hard for someone to say that Kalashnikov held reliability as paramount, whereas Stoner, and General LeMay were misplaced fashion designers.

lathedog
April 7, 2010, 11:20 PM
I have had the same curiosity. About price point for various firearms, not the stuff about chickens and MiGs.

There seems to be a relatively low price point for basic .223 AR's due to the wide availability of the various parts. Economy of scale. The more refined AR's jump in price pretty fast. An example is the extra grand it will run you to go with a piston driven AR vice direct impingement. That is starting to change, but it shows the cost of development for a subsystem that is different than the mil-spec design. That cost gets passed to the consumer.

Another design that I don't "get" is the PS-90 at $1300. What I see when I hold one looks more like $500 to me. Compare with the AR-57 at $700.

I concur with previous posts that an AK built in the US with all US made parts would be pricey compared to the ones made in state controlled arsenals or re-built from parts obtained overseas.

Thanks to the posts on tolerance vs fit. I get a sick headache every time I hear the usual line about tight tolerances causing problems.

Tirod
April 10, 2010, 08:56 AM
it sprays hot fouled gases back into the highly technical and tight fitting chamber/star cluster which pushes the bolt rearward and cycles the action.

No, my example is not flawed. A blow back action does this. It's the only way it can work.

The AR15 is unique in that is recycles hot nasty exhaust gas directly back in to it's bolt carrier group.

It doesn't recycle it, it uses the pressure to unlock the bolt. The cartridge operates the action by direct pressure on the bolt face, like any other semi auto.

The example is fine, what is lacking is an understanding of how weapons operate, and what operator maintenance is required to keep them running. The average soldier in the Army isn't a combat soldier, they don't handle weapons daily, and training on proper use and lubrication gets reinforcement on range days once a year.

Combat soldiers use and carry their weapon multiple times a week, get familiar with it's operation, and understand the TM's requirements for "generous lubrication" will actually save them time and prevent malfunctions.

The often repeated internet myth of a carboned up and choked M16 falls short when actually used long term. Mike Pannone recently released a report on using his AR without ANY lubrication, and it functioned up to the 2,500 round mark without stoppages. Another interesting post on another forum showed temperature graphs of piston vs DI guns with measurements of the bolt, gas tube, and gas block. DI guns rarely ran more than 25* warmer at any location, especially the bolt.

My concern is that there are lots of AR haters out there who repost a lot of myth and misinformation on the operating cycle, but who don't own one or find out for themselves the reality of it's use. If they had actually experienced using the AR, their story would at least be about their example of one, not an unfounded fabrication repeated over years and embellished with an untasty visual example.

And it would at least be consistent - which is it, the interior or exterior that is getting the caked on deposits? I've seem that on bolt tails, but that is a non contact area, and has literally no bearing on operation.

Moot point, the TM on operation says "Generously lubricate." As most accusers probably have no access to the weapon or training in it's operation and maintenance, I find their objections fail to have credibility.

nalioth
April 10, 2010, 12:41 PM
it sprays hot fouled gases back into the highly technical and tight fitting chamber/star cluster which pushes the bolt rearward and cycles the action.

No, my example is not flawed. A blow back action does this. It's the only way it can work. No sir.
The AR15 design has plumbing that causes exhaust gas to be directly channeled into the bolt carrier group.

No "blowback" gun in the world has such plumbing, and as physical laws can't be broken, high pressure goes to low pressure by the most expedient path (which i'm very sure does not include the bolt or bolt carrier of the blowback operated gun).

The AR15 is unique in that is recycles hot nasty exhaust gas directly back in to it's bolt carrier group.

It doesn't recycle it, it uses the pressure to unlock the bolt. The cartridge operates the action by direct pressure on the bolt face, like any other semi auto. It doesn't? Are you sure?

recycle:
cause to repeat a cycle
reclaimable: capable of being used again
use again after processing; "We must recycle the cardboard boxes"
The practice of sorting and collecting waste materials for new use
Minimizing waste generation by recovering and reprocessing waste into usable products that might otherwise become waste

Owen
April 10, 2010, 12:53 PM
nalioth, by those definitions, all semi-autos recycle the gases.

nalioth
April 10, 2010, 01:42 PM
nalioth, by those definitions, all semi-autos recycle the gases. Please explain.

http://www.novarata.net/images/redact.png http://www.novarata.net/images/redact.png http://www.novarata.net/images/redact.png http://www.novarata.net/images/redact.png education system today.

Owen
April 10, 2010, 01:47 PM
nalioth,

tirod's understanding is mistaken. I think he has the cycle confused with the HK roller locking systems, where gases do indeed flow back through the chamber.

But I still don't think recycle is the right word, and I think the only real issue with the gasses coming back into the receiver are caused by military units that expect weapons to be white glove clean.

Owen
April 10, 2010, 02:41 PM
the purpose of the propellent is to push the bullet out of the barrel. Using the gas for anything else would be recylcing by your bullets 2,3 and 5

Onward Allusion
April 10, 2010, 03:06 PM
With the South Korean Daewoo K2 & the DR200/300. :)

Tirod
April 11, 2010, 12:17 AM
When a cartridge is fired in a blowback action, gas pressure builds, pushing both the bullet and the cartridge case. The bullet goes out the barrel, the cartridge case directly forces the bolt back. As soon as movement has developed clearance between it and the chamber, gas pressure flows around it into the action.

When the gas pressure is channeled into the bolt carrier group, the carrier moves backward as the gas pressure develops. As it moves, the cam pin and cam rotate the bolt unlocking it. Within an inch of rearward movement, the gas key and tube disconnect - and gas is already flowing around the cartridge into the action.

Because the cartridge is pushing against the face of the bolt, the upper contains a channel that prevents the bolt from rotating back - which would jam the lugs against the barrel extension. Examination of uppers shows the cam pin is forced against one side of the channel with force, enough to create pitting and wear that removes anodizing. The Army TM requires that the channel be given "generous lube" in order to reduce friction. POF designed the roller cam pin for the same reason, to reduce friction - caused by pressure from the cartridge case pushing the bolt carrier back.

I don't have a problem with hot, dirty, nasty gas doing the work - what is humorous is that so many think other guns don't do the same thing, and that the AR is somehow prone to debilitating buildup of residue. That strictly depends on the powder used - which was incorrectly specified and corrected decades ago. If significant quantities of residue can coat the bolt carrier group and stop the action cycling, how much more the piston and cylinder on that type? Especially when pistons are only 5 to 10% the size of a bolt carrier group?

Well, in the day, Ball powder did cause problems in M1's and M14's. If hot, nasty, dirty gas is directed anywhere, it will affect those components with the same quantities and force. Pistons aren't immune to the same physics.

If anything, it's been proven for 45 years that the hot, dirty, nasty gases do a good job of making the AR work, as long as the operator understands how to maintain the weapon with it's unique characteristics. DI operation doesn't make the bolt red hot - if anything, the Colt video of sustained firing debunks the whole problem of hot, dirty, nasty gas, as the weapon suffers barrel and gas tube failure - not bolt failure from high temperatures.

The AR suffers failures to feed from primarily bad magazines and bad or damaged ammunition far more than being unclean. It's not a problem of hot, dirty, nasty gasses being directed into the bolt carrier, it's a problem of cheap magazines, damaged mil surplus rejects, and poor operator practices. Keep it lubed, it keeps running, regardless of those who insist that it conform to the mythology perpetuated by non users.

shephard19
April 11, 2010, 03:37 AM
bottomline the AR-15 is a POS.:D

In the Armed forces its not as big a deal if your rifle jams once in a while because presumably you will have others to back you up. For a civilian when you have one rifle your counting on when it really counts go for something reliable the AK-47!

HorseSoldier
April 11, 2010, 04:59 AM
It has been my experience that people who say AKs are ultra-reliable haven't ever run AKs very hard, and definitely haven't had a chance to see how well those much-discussed rifles that have spent "30 years in the hands of goat herding peasants with no maintenance" or whatever.

Not saying the AK isn't a robust design, but it can and does fail when you push it hard, especially if it's neglected as well.

sarduy
April 11, 2010, 03:32 PM
It has been my experience that people who say AKs are ultra-reliable haven't ever run AKs very hard, and definitely haven't had a chance to see how well those much-discussed rifles that have spent "30 years in the hands of goat herding peasants with no maintenance" or whatever.

Not saying the AK isn't a robust design, but it can and does fail when you push it hard, especially if it's neglected as well.

i will keep my not-ultra reliable ak...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIO-Ct_VJvM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtLAo-4YeA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJM8asnj6JY

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