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Arsenal Inc. SA M-7 SFC

Arsenal Inc. SA M-7 SFC

This is my Arsenal Inc. SA M-7 SFC. It is one of 46 built in this configuration (it says so right on the cover of the manual). It is one of a special series of “SF” rifles that Arsenal Inc. produced. From what I have read on the various AK forums, there were 200 of the base receiver and buttstock combination made. Arsenal then built 3 variations on it. First, and most common is the Arsenal Inc. SA M-7 SF. It is basically a semi-auto Arsenal Bulgaria AR-M9F in 7.62x39mm. Then, the only other model released to the general public is the SA M-7 SFC here. There really isn’t a “real” Bulgarian counterpart. It’s something of an AK-104 variant, but with a very different folding stock. The third model in the series, the Arsenal Inc. SA M-7 SFK either hasn’t been released, or wasn’t released for purchase to the general public. I’ve heard it both ways. I’ve been waiting for one since they were first announced (I believe it was the summer of 2004). They are a cousin to the Arsenal Bulgaria AR-M4SF. The primary differences being a more forward rear sight, Russian Krinkov pattern handguards, and a 16″ barrel (and, of course, semi-auto).

So, having never handled one of these before, I took a close look at it after first bringing it home. It’s a very nice rifle. It’s well done. I’ve always had my doubts about the Bulgarian thumb safety. It just didn’t seem right for the safe position to be forward, and knowing how stiff some AK safeties are I thought it would be too hard to operate by thumb in both directions. That’s just not the case here. It’s very clean. Also, the big deal with this rifle is the Galil-like right folder. Let me tell you, it feels good. It locks up solid. It folds out of the way neatly. It is very nice. I can’t say enough about it. It’s going to be really nice as an AR-M4SF clone.

Yes, that’s my intent in purchasing this rifle. I tried real hard to get an Arsenal SA M-7 SF instead, because I’d feel better about using one as a project gun, but you gotta do what you gotta do. About a year ago I got lucky and managed to get the lower handguard of an AR-M4SF. Worst case, I’d just put it on my Krinkov, but with these SF series rifles floating around I knew I had to get an accurate representation built on one of them. This will be my chance. I’ve now got all the critical pieces to do it. I just have to decide whether or not I want to do it in 7.62x39mm or 5.56x45mm (I’ve got parts for either). If it weren’t for this project, I would certainly SBR the rifle as it is. It’s amazing. It deserves to be completed.

Now for the negative part. The acquisition of this rifle sets a new record for me of the longest running transaction I have experienced. That’s not including search time. I first spent about 2 months looking for an Arsenal SA M-7 SF. I never managed to snag one. The closest I came was offering $1400 for one to a fellow sight unseen. I was turned down on that offer. All the while I kept reading internet forum posts from people that had managed to acquire one (a few didn’t even quite know what they had). Someone on one of the forums I read pointed me to this particular rifle that he had seen for sale in his travels. He gave me the contact info of the shop and I went on my way. I gave the shop a call on 4/9/2007 and was told to call back the next day to talk to someone in particular. I did, and there began a long saga. Immediately after arranging the purchase I fell ill and spent a night in the hospital emergency room. I missed work the rest of that week. I managed to muster enough strength to get a Cashier’s Check in the mail the following Saturday. Then the waiting began. The first delay came in the local FFL I chose not mailing a copy of their certificate very quickly. It actually took them nearly 2 weeks. After it arrived at the destination the seller then took their sweet time shipping it out. And I mean really took their time. In the initial arrangement, they told me that they don’t have enough staff to ship out the rifle quickly, so it would be “a few days” wait after they had everything before they could ship it out. I understood that. I had no problem with it. I do have a problem with “a few days” being multiple weeks. Anyway, I called once a week to check on the shipping status and eventually the day came where the response was that it was on the way to my FFL. I called my FFL a day or so after they should have received it, because I hadn’t heard anything from them. They said they didn’t know who to call (and I did actually call them in the middle of all this to make sure they had my number). So I made my way over there to pick it up as soon as I could (the end of that week). The final pickup date: 5/25/2007 . Yes, it took more than 6 weeks. If it weren’t so danged hard to find one of the rifles in this SF series I doubt I would have gone through all the trouble. I’m glad I did, though.

Update:

It’s been almost 3 years since I got this, but I finally got to the range with it.  Wow.  Very nice.  Nice enough I am no longer going to strip it down to build into an AR-M4SF clone.  If it gets any modification it will be to SBR it.  Besides, there’s only supposed to be 46 of these out there.  So, I’ve bought a SA M-7 SF for the AR-M4SF project.

Update 2:

Finally getting around to SBRing this thing

Form 1 mailed: 3/24/2014

Form 1 delivered: 3/2014

Check cashed: 4/1/2014

Update 3 12/16/2015: SBR complete