At the end of October, my editorial colleagues became owners of real AKMS carbines. These are military surplus carbines prepared for sale on the civil market by the PA-KO company, which offers them under the SVRN - Suveren Small Arms Poland brand. One of the results of the iconic AKMSs appearance at our office was, of course, a special photo session. Below is one of the photos taken during it.
This, in turn, gave us an obvious idea to use the opportunity and compare a real military carbine with a slightly retouched airsoft replica. Here, the choice was also obvious. A replica of exactly such a carbine has been hanging on my wall for years, and for a long time was a favorite choice during the weekly airsoft games.
The replica shown in the photo above (top) is the RK-XX model by G&G Armament, which is unfortunately no longer available. At the time of its purchase, nearly 10 years ago, models from this product line (and there were several of them at the time) were also referred to as TopTech.
I will not write about the upgrading process which my AKMS has been subjected to. I will focus only on the visual side. Well, contrary to its external appearances, the carbine replica is almost entirely stock. The only parts that we are the handguard, the gas tube cover and the rear sight. And there is no surprise hare, all the replacements were made for real AKs. However, the rest are factory made parts subjected to time consuming manual treatment.
During work on this replica I used simple "analog" technology: water sandpaper with a gradation of 2000 and slowly, gently grounded the surfaces, over and over again. It was done longer on protruding edges and parts due to them being more exposed to wear. I was pleased with the effect.
Below, for comparison, a brand new real SVRN. It is not aged, but the photos allow you to assess the degree of the replica's accurateness towards the original.
And from the other sie:
Unfortunately, when the replica was produced, there were no imitations of Bakelite pistol grips on the market, not to mention the slim ones. I tried to deal with it using modeling paints and transparent varnish. I painted the grip with a uniform color, than it has been tamponized with 2 consecutive colors. If I remember correctly, I covered it with transparent varnish twice. The result can be viewed below. Back then I was happy with it. Currently, signs of intensive use can be clearly seen and the colors have somehow faded. Who knows, I might be tempted and by buy slim Bakelite pistol grip made by LCT Airsoft.
One of the significant advantages of this stock replica is its completely steel design. This also applies to the outer barrel, its mounting in the receiver and all the accessories mounted on it.
Unfortunately, the pins of the front sight and the gas block dummies. Both of these parts are mounted on the barrel with setting Allen screws tightened from the bottom. I wanted to bore through the dummies and actually use proper pins, but eventually I thought the replica looked good enough. Or maybe I didn't feel like it? Anyway, the lack of pins (including the main one fixing the barrel in the receiver) is the only thing that ever disturbed me in this replica. The steel barrel, however, does look very good. Traces of the turning knife can even be felt under the finger.
Parts from real firearms
Two of the three AKMS parts taken from a real carbine are the a gas tube cover and the handguard:
These are Polish plywood parts originally fitted at Fabrka Broni Łucznik in Radom. Both were slightly modified with a file in invisible assembly areas. The gas tube and all the mounting parts remained stock (G&G). Below is the AKMS SVRN:
The third part taken from a real carbine is the rear sight:
It is a Soviet sight (hence the Cyrillic designations) used in special and reconnaissance subunits, designed for use with PBS-1 silencers and dedicated 7.62x39 US special ammunition (Russian: уменьшенной скоростью, reduced speed). This ammunition was supposedly two-color, black and green, and the initial velocity of the projectile was about 310 m/s due to the reduction of the powder charge and the use of a heavier projectile (12.6 g). The sight was used in Poland on a relatively small scale, hence production was not initiated and copies imported from the USSR were issued.
The sight's arm has a second scale (on the underside) and 3 additional adjustment knobs - 2 large drums near the arm and 1 moving the rear sight only.
For a long time I had 2 sister G&G replicas in the collection. The other was slightly less orthodox AKM.
By the lack of orthodoxy I mean the presence of the mounting rail on the left side of the receiver with the absence of a slotted flame suppressor. And yes, it is just an AKM with a side rail.
This was because, for reasons I did not understand, that there was no AKM in this TopTech product line. Therefore, the basis for the above shown replica was the AIMS, in which the side rail was standard. The conversion from the AIMS to the AKM consisted of replacing the Romanian wire stock with a Polish plywood stock (made by FB Łucznik) and replacing the characteristic Romanian handguard with a vertical grip for a Polish one set (handguard and gas tube cover) for the AKM/AKMS carbines.
G&G AIMS from current production (blowback, battery integrated with the handguard) is the same from the outside:
Photo: G&G Armament
Identical to the AKMS, the handguard and the gas tube cover did not require many corrections during fitting. It took more time to adjust the stock. The original part, which goes deep into the carbine's receiver, has been significantly shortened. I also made a larger space for the battery. It could hold an 11.1V 2300mAh LiPo pack. Other work done was, i.e. aging of steel parts and painting the grip and were done identically as in the AKMS described above.
I changed the colors used to paint the grip a bit. This one came out a bit better.
The final result:
And the SVRN AKM from the current PA-KO offer:
As I wrote above G&G Armament no longer produces any of the models shown. Pneumatic blowback versions are available, in which the batteries are integrated into the handguard. I don't know if other external parts are made in the same technology and standard. However, you can still find those replicas on the second hand market.
My AKMS is now waiting patiently for a new narrow grip. The AKM, however, has belonged to "Crogool" for some time - you can probably see it/get hit by it at larger events.
More photos are in the galleries below.
Information about the7.62x39 US round taken from: Wyposażenie obowiązkowe / Ireneusz Chloupek / SPECIAL OPS 5-6/2010 / 01-06-2010, LINK