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AK-USA AK-74M

AK-74M right front view
This is my custom built AK-74M clone. It was built by Chris Butler @ AK-USA in January 2005. I slowly started aquiring parts for it in April 2004 and shipped everything to Chris to start building in November 2004. By far, the piece that took the most time to get was the receiver with the custom serial number. It took me 12 weeks to receive it. The parts consist of:

Collectors will instantly recognize that this clone is not even close to being a good copy of the AK-74M in terms of authentic markings, most parts, and all the little details. It is close enough where it counts, though. It’s the proper action, is in 5.45x39mm, and has the polymer side-folding stock. The dimensions should be close enough in terms of specification in the sense that it could go to war (without the happy switch, of course).

In terms of performance, this rifle is top notch. It runs without a hitch, and is quite accurate. The finish that Chris uses is simply the best finish I’ve seen on a rifle. It’s quite hard and slick. I have no concerns that it won’t hold up over time and it actually makes the rifle easier to clean. As I intended by getting the 1.6mm receiver, the action is silky smooth — almost to the point of feeling like a milled receiver, without all the extra weight a milled receiver has. Given the choice to do it again, I don’t think I would go that route. The extra work (read: cost) involved in dealing with the 1.6mm receiver dimensions really weren’t worth it. I’m sure Chris would have done an equally good job on a standard 1mm shell from Global. Sadly, this project could be completed even more cheaply (and accurately) if I were to do it again now. The Arsenal SLR-105RA1 would provide a perfect base for this rifle and only really need the rear trunnion swapped out for the Russian one required for the use of the polymer folder. Then I’d just have to work out the parts count.

The big reason for me building this rifle (aside from wanting another rifle in my favorite caliber, 5.45x39mm) was a celebration of the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) sunset provision. As you can see in one of the close-up pictures, the serial number on this rifle is the sunset date of the AWB. That’s just my way of thumbing my nose at the idiots that thought the AWB was a good thing. Finally we could once again build rifles with features more accurately representing the military rifles we are cloning. Personally, the 3 features I wanted to immediately add were:

  • Folding stock
  • Threaded muzzle
  • Bayonet lug

Now, honestly, what use is a bayonet lug to me? Not much, but I sure like the look of a bayonet properly affixed. The threaded muzzle is actually quite a useful feature. It allows for the simple ability to swap out muzzle devices like sound suppressors, flash suppressors, and muzzle breaks as desired. The folding stock is nice, because I can pack away the rifle in nice small places if needed. As a result of this rifle, I plan on building many more with this folding stock. It provides the convenience of a folding stock, with the ergonomics of a full fixed stock.

AK-74M right front view
AK-74M right rear view
AK-74M right rear view
AK-74M right bottom receiver  view
AK-74M right front view
AK-74M left front view
AK-74M left front view with stock folded
AK-74M right front view with stock folded
AK-74M right front view with stock folded
AK-74M right rear view with stock folded
AK-74M right rear view with stock folded
AK-74M serial number close-up