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What makes a Kalashnikov less accurate than its western counterparts?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Whats-his-name, May 30, 2009.

  1. Whats-his-name

    Whats-his-name Active Member


    This is more of a satisfy-my-curiosity thread than anything else.

    It is generally well known that Kalshnikovs (and I include AK-47, AKM, and AK-74's) are less accurate than their western counterparts, e.g., M16, SA80, SIG550, etc.

    This of course does not mean that the Kalashnikov is a lesser assault rifle (quite the opposite in fact) but it would be good to know what areas of Kalashnikov's design or build/production could be improved to improve accuracy without damaging its overall excellence as an assault rifle (i.e., without damaging its reliability).

    (Please exclude any assessment of the kits available in the US).

  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

    One critical factor: Inferior Sights
  3. scythefwd

    scythefwd Well-Known Member

    Looser tolerances and fit of components on the Kalashnikovs compared to the AR-15s out there. That is the exact same reason the AK will fire with dirt in the action when an AR won't.
  4. peyton

    peyton Well-Known Member

    Inferior Sights, american soldiers trained with peep rear sight and front post protected by ears. Good sight alignment and sight picture is easy.
    AK sights are similar to the K98 mauser variants, rear sight is a LONG way from eye. This long eye relief makes sight alignment and sight picture difficult. Good shooting rifle and it will kill anything it hits. US Army is provided marksmanship training and M16's to Iraqi army for use. The training is very sucessful.
  5. Domino

    Domino Well-Known Member

    Sights and ammo are usually going to be the BIGGEST factors in accuracy. If they put on some optics and use quality ammo, I estimate many of those guns to be capable of 2-4 MOA pretty easily.
  6. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Well-Known Member

    Tolerances are not loose in Soviet/Russian AK's. The design has greater clearances than the AR-series; but that is not the same thing.
  7. Mr. Bojangles

    Mr. Bojangles Well-Known Member

    I agree that the looser tolerances decrease accuracy but do improve reliability. I have two WASR 10/63s and both are dead-on reliable and are reasonably accurate with iron sights. They both rattle a little when I shake them too. :D

    Communist millitary doctrine essentially was centered around arming virtually all of their respective population, many of whom would be poorly trained. The reliability of the AK-47 and the minimal maintenance requirements are well suited for this doctrine. A more complex and maintenance intensive firearm such as the M-16 would likely not receive proper maintenance and care by these poorly trained "people's soldiers."
  8. HippieMagic

    HippieMagic Well-Known Member

    i always thought it was the way it flexes violently with recoil...
  9. scythefwd

    scythefwd Well-Known Member

    I stand corrected. I associated the two in my mind even though I know they are two different things.
  10. RatDrall

    RatDrall Well-Known Member

    They're built with a lot of wiggle room (most rattle if you hold them up and shake) making them less accurate but more reliable.

    My old Romanian SAR-1 would shoot into 3" at 100 yards, and never jammed. It was a perfect compromise, much better than an AR15 that shoots 1" at 100 yards but jams occasionally.
  11. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Well-Known Member

    Please provide a cite on this.
  12. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Well-Known Member

    I think it's a combo of them being all wiggly-jiggly because of the clearance between parts, and terrible rifle sights on too short a sight radius with too much eye relief.

    Yes, wiggly-jiggly is a real technical word.
  13. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    I guess I got lucky because my AKM is very accurate :)
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Let me ask this question: how much accuracy is enough?

    At what distance do you expect the soldier to engage the enemy. Realistically, not movie stuff. Then what target size do you expect the guy to hit?

    Most of the vets I have talked to from Iraq are engaging targets in rooms, and hardly anything past 200 yards. So what sort of accuracy do you need at this distance?

    Most militaries came to the conclusion, after WWII, that soldiers would have a hard time seeing an enemy, never mind hitting the enemy, past 300 yards.

    So what sort of accuracy do you need for a 300 yard engagement distance?

    Then the tradeoff is, is accuracy more important than weapon reliability?

    When you look at the trade off space, the AK does fine.
  15. aka108

    aka108 Well-Known Member

    I think they were designed to be cheap and fast to produce, have 100% reliability with absolute minimum maintenance, simple enough to train a operator in 5 minutes and accurate enough to take down a man sized target at 300 yards. If you aim for the belt buckle you won't hit it but you will hit enough to take one person out of action.
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  16. SamG.

    SamG. Well-Known Member

    As someone above me said, crappy sights. Along with very loose tolerances and the bore not being made to the precise specs of what an American company would have made it by. All this combined adds up to nothing near that of an AR15 :D
  17. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    Good question.

    My AKM is accurate enough that I decided that I didn't want or need an AR.
  18. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    I refute all of your "wiggly jiggly" claims.

    How many of your bolts are "wiggly jiggly" when locked to the breech? That would be the only "wiggly jiggly" fitment that would effect accuracy.

    Sights? The AK will put rounds on target where you want them, if you do your part.

    The main reason that it's less accurate is the reciprocating (and heavy) gas piston/bolt carrier group and gas block.

    The AR15/M16 can't be beat for accuracy, because for all intents and purposes, it's got a 'free floating' barrel.
  19. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Well-Known Member

    I think all this pretty much sums it up.

    From an engineering standpoint, all the above opinion and fact is correct.
    Also the abutment type bolt of the AK, in contrast with the AR's rotary lug bolt/barrel lock-up, may have something to do with accuracy between these two rifles.

    Also western battelfield doctrin seems to prove that expending massive quanities of ammunition in the direction of the enemy works for your cause.

    You don't necessarily have to HIT/KILL the enemy, as long as you can keep his head down.

    If you have ever been under fire during wartime conflict then you understand what I say.

    Keeping the enemies head down through the continuous application of fire, while you maneuver works.:D
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  20. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    Mostly accurate rifles have three main things going for them, Shot to shot consistency, good triggers and good sights and let's not forget Good Ammo.

    The AKM's receiver flexes when fired due to being made of thin sheet metal and from the large heavy bolt carrier gas piston slamming back and back into battery. This isn't good for "shot to shot" consistency.

    The barrel isn't free floating or anything close.

    The sites are a poor design IMO and have a much shorter sight radius.

    The trigger on most models is long and gritty but can be cleaned up with a G2 or Red Star.

    MOST AK's are feed crappy ammo like Wolf and Surplus.

    The clearances are loose and help to make it one of the most reliable maint free designs in the world.

    Most of these issues have been address in the AKM I ordered for myself. I beefed up the receiver to 1.6mm a milled receiver would have been even better. It has a G2 trigger from Tapco. It wears a red dot sight. It's been feed decent ammo and gets good much better groups than with Wolf...mainly do to fliers every 4 to 5 rounds with Wolf.

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