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5 Tweaks To Make Your AK-47 A 200-Yard Show-Stopper

5 Tweaks To Make Your AK-47 A 200-Yard Show-Stopper

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There’s nothing quite like the sweet smell of lithium grease dripping off an old AK-47 from some splintery wooden crate. If you want a battle rifle that was designed for its ability to endure abuse from conscript armies, battlefields and Wolf steel-cased ammo, then this historic and infamous icon is the one you’re looking for.

The AK-47 is well-known for being a clunker of a rifle, and certainly does not carry the same high-precision tolerances as its featherweight nemesis, the AR-15 (at least according to AK loyalists).

But its father, Mikhail Kalashnikov, would agree: you don’t aim the AK-47. AK-47 aims you!

Then again, let’s see about changing that. At least out to 200 yards, that is.

No. 5 – Update Your Furniture

If you’ve ever picked up a WASR-10 variant and felt the love of a wooden cheek weld from those old stocks, then you’re probably well-aware that maintaining consistent marksmanship is a rather tricky ordeal under such a configuration. That’s why I suggest updating your furniture first, because a polymer 6-point adjustable stock will enable a more consistent (and a great deal more comfortable) cheek weld.

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And it includes the added benefit of having an adjustable length of pull. Which is nice, especially for those with arms that are longer than your average Cold War-era Soviet conscript. For this reason, it doesn’t even have to be a super-expensive, tactical sniper stock, since we’re not exactly looking for sub-MOA performance out of this beast.

Realistically speaking, you could get away with a Tapco T6 or ProMag Archangel setup. I would recommend purchasing the forend with a bottom Picatinny rail, since the ability to add a foregrip would help manage some of that bouncy 7.62×39 recoil.

No. 4 – Add a Quality Rail


There are some places where the AK will allow you to skimp and go for the cheap option. With your Picatinny rail above the receiver, however, I would not. The precision of your optics depends on something that WILL NOT dance with a fired round, and something cheap from UTG is just not going to cut it.

The beauty of the Ultimate Arms Gear rail system is the fact that it’s secured to the trunnion and the rear sight, which results in incredible stability for your optic.

Yes, it will run you about $50 to purchase one, but it certainly beats wasting money on a rail that’s either too high to establish a good cheek weld or is attached to a rickety dust cover.

No. 3 – PMag, Comrade

When it comes to AK-47 magazines, it really doesn’t get much more durable and reliable than the stamped real deal. However, even though this is an article about accuracy improvement, I must say that switching to polymer PMags is an absolutely necessity for AK owners.

Not only will a new set of Magpul PMags offer a major weight advantage over their steel counterparts, they also have proven their tremendous value over the years, especially among troops using them for their ARs in combat zones.

In addition, it’s becoming a very well-known fact that magazines are the most common cause of function failures in rifles. This is why upgrading your magazines should have a noticeable and beneficial effect on how your AK runs and feeds.

No. 2 – Extended Magazine Release

Want to add an unusual mod that will transform your AK into an excellent tactical asset? Simply add an AK-47 Speed Catch Extended Magazine Release and you’re sure to raise a few pairs of eyebrows when you do a crazy-fast reload at the gun range. According to RAM’s product description:

Just press the release with your trigger finger while keeping your palm wrapped around the pistol grip, and change magazines with your opposite hand, all in one motion.

Without this modified magazine release, the AK-47 reload is notoriously challenging and time-consuming in tactical terms. In comparison to the AR, this issue has always been one of the biggest deal-breakers among gun lovers, haunting the old Soviet rifle since the famous debut of Stoner’s M16.

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But with an extended magazine release, your reloads can finally match the speed that your AR-toting buddies are accustomed to. That ridiculously stiff toggle in front of the trigger guard was once a pain in the buttstock to actuate. But now, you can finally nudge that sucker with your trigger finger.

Because a lever should add leverage (and not hinder it).

No. 1 – Upgrade Your Sights

Image source: wikimedia

Image source: wikimedia

The AK-47 was originally developed as a round-slinging machine gun, and you can see that fact blatantly displayed in the fundamentals of the rifle’s design.

In this article, we won’t be discussing the rifle’s internals or the idea of swapping out the barrel, which is a known accuracy killer in the AK (because the explosive forces of a heavy 7.62×39 cartridge tend to cause a great deal of harmonic dissonance in that disproportionately lightweight steel tube).

The sights, on the other hand, are a doable fix. If you aren’t planning on mounting an optic, then snagging a set of Tech-Sights (for roughly $110) is a known way to achieve a non-typically tight 1-2 MOA grouping out of your AK. Many reviewers have discovered the effectiveness of these sights within the past few years, to the pleasant surprise of all AK lovers from sea to shining sea.

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Well, that ought to bring down your AK’s gaping stamped receiver tolerances and glaring inaccuracy issues. After those mods, you should have a weapon fit for nailing those 200-yard shots with a much higher degree of consistency. And if you decide to use an optic, then make sure that you adjust 7 inches above the target to account for the 7.62×39’s own low tolerances for resisting gravity.

Because in Soviet Russia, you don’t resist gravity. Gravity resists you!

What advice would you add for improving an AK-47? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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  1. While I do agree with your recommended upgrades, the main reason to buy a AK47 is the relatively inexpensive ammo. . . . Kalashnikov himself admitted that the AR was a superior platform shortly before he died. . . . For money invested to get “marginal” improvement in the AK, why not invest in a decent AR and 2000 rounds of ammo for about the same price. . . . If you install a NibX BCG in your AR for $100-200, you can negate the dirt/fouling/jamming issues of the AR that are ever present in some people’s minds. . . . The original M-16 was touted as almost maintenance free and no need to clean and also utilized the wrong (dirty) powder in the original ammo. . . THIS is where the big problems came in with the M-16. . . The versatility of the AR platform over the AK is astounding. . . .I would gladly shoot match against ANY AK from 100-600 yds, or beyond 600 yds with my AR-10’s. . . . The “gas piston” arrangement on the AK and the barrel twist throws the it up and off to the side for every round fired, thus making subsequent shots much slower. . . . . Do I own an AK ? . . YES ! . . . . Well then why ? . . .. Ammo + $$$’s !

  2. If you want decent 200 yrd hits with 7.62 x 39 rounds, forget any AK variant and get an SKS. 4 more inches of barrel length makes a difference in bullet stability and accuracy. I get what MildBill said in his post and agree with it if you want really long range, the AR15 will beat any rifle chambered in 7.62 x 39. Like he says, own them both. As for the prepper / survivalist, where either an AK or an SKS tops an AR15 when the SHTF is when ammo supplies run really thin and you have to start reloading with anything you can make such as black powder and lead cast bullets, an AK can handle it even if you have to hand eject after each shot to cycle. A gun, is still better than no gun. Also, you can reuse primers by taking the firing pin dent out of a spent primer with a small nail punch and refill the spent primer with fine ground “strike-anywhere matches” then a tiny drop of clear fingernail polish to seal the primer to the bottom of the casing. You CANNOT get crude like that in a pinch with ANY ….AR platform. The gas tubing is too small and will foul up, especially if you are casting lead bullets. They each have their pro’s and con’s. When civil war starts and people start making homemade weapons/supplies because you can’t buy anything anymore, you need to have the means to still be able to defend yourself.

    • @Cool Hand Luke: . . . . I’m with ya Brother ! . . I’m a bit of a prepper myself. . . Just thought I’d mention (and you prolly know this), but junkyards are a excellent source for wheel weights (lead) and the older the car/truck, the better the lead. . . Take the kids and a few slot head screwdrivers with you. . . I found a junkyard that will sell them by the pound and even deduct 10% for the steel clips. . .I have “a few” 5 gallon buckets of them. . . Only problem is the kids invariably get attached to something they find at the junkyard like a Hula Girl in a rear window and you have to buy it too ! . . . They do however make excellent targets ! . . . How about a “Piston Driven” AR ? . . . Wouldn’t that put the modified AR Platform in the same category as a AK/SKS as far as its ability to run dirty or utilize ammo in the same fashion as you described for the AK ? . . Keep in mind that I run Nib-X BCG’s in ALL AR’s. . . BTW, EXCELLENT idea on the primers ! . . .I have to check that out for sure !

  3. Good suggestions, but a few things it doesn’t address. Most glaring to me was the recommendation of a forward grip. I have nothing against them, don’t get me wrong, but the design of the AK presents a few challenges. The mag, complete with the rocking motion needed to load/unload interferes with most forward grips unless of course you put it all the way out on the hand guard. Being a short-armed type this doesn’t work for me, it gets overextended and uncomfortable.

    I recently put magpul furniture on my under folder and love it. Added an M-lock compatible angled fore grip, also from magpul, and the fit is great. Still allows easy mag changes, and the angled grip even allows the underfolding stock to stick fold. Not completely mind you, but maybe 1/2″ from fully folded, unnoticeable to anyone that hasn’t seen it in stock form.

    I didn’t look at the sights suggested, but I found ghost-ring replacements at midway for $80. The rear ghost ring completely replaced the factory rear notch sight. Even comes equipped with elevation adjustment, though I left mine in the “battle sight” zero of the rifle.

  4. I have mounted (Gunsmith did it) a Texas Weapon Systems rail system that replaced the original dust cover on a C39 Sporter and affixed a Vortex scope. No 200 yd shooting yet, but @ 100 yds sooo easy to get a 2 to 3 MOA. Extended the stock with a big pad and wrapped it in camo tape.

  5. I have taken a Bulgarian 5.45 out to 690 yards, and can regularly hit man sized steel with any of 7.62 I use out to 300 yards. With wood furniture and often stock iron sites…Polymer and picatinny rails have very little to do with accuracy and consistency, just make sure you have a good zero and practice practice practice. That being said I wouldn’t object to any of these modifications, I just wouldn’t expect a dramatic increase in accuracy based on them alone. Also if your using new steel surplus mags, there is no way polymer p mags will out perform or outlast them by any means. And the cost difference is marginal, I have to say no to p mags for almost any reason except that tacticool factor…

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