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From Russia with love: IZhMASh AK: have you always wanted a genuine Russian AK? Here's your chance, and Kokalis says now's the time to get it while the getting is good.

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Interest in semiautomatic-only versions of Mikhail Kalashnikov's famous rifle is at an all-time high. There have been versions originating from Bulgaria, China, East Germany, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, Israel (yes, the Galil is a Kalashnikov type), Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia.

However, from Russia itself we had had only the Saiga, in a configuration that doesn't look very much like the AK that is recognizable even just in silhouette in every corner of the world, from the streets of New York to the dense jungles of central Africa.

And now we finally have a Russian version of the AK that can be modified to look almost exactly like the AKs of the famous IZhMASh AK 100 series.

In numbers produced, no infantry rifle in the history of modern warfare even comes close to Mikhail T. Kalashnikov's famous assault rifle. It has been estimated that more than a dozen countries have produced almost 100 million. I have examined and fielded literally hundreds of Kalashnikovs in Angola, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and El Salvador.

Chambered originally for the 7.62x39mm intermediate-size cartridge, the Kalashnikov assault rifle was adopted by the Red Army in 1949 after more than four years of development. Between 1948 and 1950, the AK47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova obrazets 1947g-Kalashnikov assault rifle model 1947) was manufactured with a sheet-metal receiver.

By 1951, this type had been replaced by the far more common variant with a machined, drop-forged receiver (there were two models of this variant and they differed principally in the method by which the buttstock was attached to the receiver). The AKM (Modernizirovanniy Avtomat sistemi Kalashnikova) version, again with a pinned and riveted sheet-metal receiver, was introduced in 1959.

Nearly all of the military small arms fielded by the Russian armed forces for the last two centuries were designed and manufactured in the once forbidden city of Izhevsk, located in the western Urals, about 1,200 kilometers east of Moscow. It is to there that I have traveled half a dozen times to visit my friend, Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov and to lecture at the technical university.

Izhevsk Mechanical Works and IZhMASh are a joint small arms manufacturing complex founded more than 200 years ago by decree of Tsar Alexander I; and it is one of the largest facilities in its field in the world. Surprisingly noted also for its motorcycles, it has manufactured an amazing array of military small arms, to include the entire Kalashnikov series, the AN-94 Nikonov assault rifle, the Mosin-Nagant M1891 bolt-action rifle, the Tokarev STV38/40 semiautomatic rifles, the Dragunov SVD and SVDS sniper weapon systems, the Bizon submachine gun, the Tokarev TT33, Makarov and PSM pistols, and the GSH-301 aircraft cannon. In the field of sporting firearms they manufacture bolt-action and semiautomatic hunting rifles, Baikal double-barrel and slide-action shotguns and the Saiga semiautomatic shotgun.

Sporting firearms are marketed under the custom shop logo of Legion Ltd. In a combined effort with Arsenal, Inc. (Dept. SGN, 5015 West Sahara Avenue, Suite #125, Las Vegas, Nev. 89146; phone: 1-888-539-2220; fax: 1-702-643-2088; website: www.arsenalinc.com), the new Saiga-Legion SGL 10 rifle has just been introduced. Manufactured initially at the IZhMASh factory in Izhevsk, the SGL10 is subsequently remanufactured in the United States by Arsenal, Inc. to meet BATFE regulations.

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With the sunset of the (so-called) assault-rifle and magazines-of-greater-than-10-rounds-capacity ban, the door once again opened to the domestic manufacture of an intriguing array of semiautomatic-only versions of shoulder-mounted firearms in military configurations. However, be advised that these rifles are not, and never were, "assault rifles." Assault rifles, by definition, have selective-fire capability.

Be that as it may, some models that have not been available for a decade and some configurations that have never been seen in semiautomatic-only versions are now available to consumers (at least for the moment), and thus the playing field has very much changed. They may now have folding stocks of any kind, bayonet lugs and flash hiders of all types (providing the latter do not modify the sound pressure level in any way, i.e., be determined to be sound suppressors by the BATFE).

But, most important, under U.S. Federal Statute 922r, at least six of the following components for stamped receiver semiautomatic-only AKs and five for machined receiver weapons, must be made in the United States: 1) frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings; 2) barrels; 3) mounting blocks (trunnions); 4) muzzle attachments: 5) bolts; 6) bolt carriers; 7) gas pistons; 8) triggers; 9) hammers; 10) disconnectors; 11) buttstocks; 12) pistol grips; 13) forearms or handguards; 14) magazine bodies; 15) magazine followers; or 16) magazine floorplates.

The Saiga SGL10 is remanufactured by Arsenal. Inc. at their Las Vegas, Nev., plant to conform to the above regulations. The rifle as marketed by Arsenal, Inc. can subsequently be used at minimum expense as a platform to create a realistic semiautomatic-only version of the Russian AK 103.

The AK100 series was introduced in the early 1990s in an attempt to bring this venerable and battle-proven rifle into what was then the rapidly approaching 21st century and the even more rapidly evolving concept of the assault rifle.

Derived from the world's first successful application of the concept, the German Sturmgewehr 43/44/45 series of World War II, the term "assault rifle" has come to mean an infantry rifle as defined by three clear-cut parameters: 1) a relatively lightweight, compact envelope; 2) chambered for an intermediate-size cartridge and 3) with selective-fire capability. Since they are semiautomatic-only rifles, the AK derivatives so popular in the United States are not true "assault rifles."

That the AK 100 series (Avtomat Kalashnikova with "100" representing the World-War-II-era coded designation of the IZhMASh facility) has been eminently successful is beyond dispute. I first test fired all of the AK 100 series variants in 1994 on the occasion of my visit to Izhevsk to celebrate the 75th birthday of Mikhail T. Kalashnikov.

I spent an entire day at the IZhMASh test range with Kalashnikov's son, Victor, and Alexi Dragunov, the youngest son of the designer of the SVD sniper weapon system. All of the rifles performed flawlessly, a singular characteristic of the AK rifle.

The AK74M (this designation was retained as it served as the prototype for the entire series) and AK105 are both chambered for the 5.45x39mm cartridge, with AK105 being the short-barreled version with a barrel length of 314mm (12.4 inches) and the AK74M having a barrel length of 415mm (16.34 inches). The AK101 and AK102 are chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and have 415mm and 314mm barrel lengths, respectively. The AK103 and AK 104 variants are both chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge with standard length and short barrels, respectively.

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Let's start with a description of the Saiga SGL10 as it comes from Izmash to Arsenal, Inc. In that configuration, it doesn't look much like the menacing Avtomat Kalashnikova that newspaper reporters and other sensitive types find so scary. Most conspicuously, it has a sporting rifle-type buttstock and standard trigger system, sans a pistol grip. Those who know what they are doing can readily change that.

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Even more important for those who intend to end up with a semiautomatic-only rifle that approximates those in the Russian AK100 series, AKM-style magazine-well dimples are present on the stamped, sheet-metal receiver's side wall, exactly where they're supposed to be.

This is a feature rarely found on the Saiga series as imported to the United States. A Warsaw Pact side rail scope mount is also present. The barrel assembly, including the front sight and "90[degrees]" configuration gas block are those of the AK100 series.

The muzzle device, designed by Arsenal, Inc., and manufactured in the United States, is similar in external configuration to that of the AK100 series, which is well known and has been frequently copied. While quite effective in reducing muzzle jump in short full-auto bursts, and moderately effective in minimizing the flash signature, the unpleasant tradeoff (and there always is one) is horrendous and quite deafening muzzle blast, to which I was introduced in Afghanistan in 1983.

There is the usual AK-type cleaning rod under the barrel, but it's partially blocked by the muzzle device, which should be removed before trying to withdraw the cleaning rod. Just ignore it and use a longer commercial cleaning rod. The muzzle device also blocks the bayonet lug and a Russian AK74 wire-cutter-type bayonet cannot be attached to this rifle.

All current rifles of the AK100 series, including the Saiga-Legion SGL10, are equipped with a spring-loaded button at the rear end of the recoil spring's guide rod. This feature was incorporated shortly after the 40mm GP25 and GP30 rifle-mounted grenade launchers became issued in significant quantities throughout the Russian army.

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The first examples of this grenade launcher were encountered in Afghanistan in the early 1980s. mounted under the barrel of an AK74. It was originally known by Western technical intelligence sources as the BG15. Known also as the Kastyor or Kastjor, the latest permutation, the GP30. is primarily intended for mounting on the AK100 series. Its 40mm high/low pressure grenade generates enough recoil impulse to disc lodge the receiver's sheet-metal top cover when. the round is launched. The spring-loaded button at the top end of the recoil spring's guide rod prevents the top cover from flying off into the Siberian sunset.

The first batch of Saiga-Legion SGL10 rifles imported by Arsenal, Inc are all chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge. These rifles most closely resemble the AK103 rifle. Arsenal has been, as usual, mysteriously vague about the possibility of future 5.56x45mm NATO or 5.45x39mm chamberings.

The SGL10 sent to SHOTGUN NEWS for test and evaluation has an overall length of 40 inches (1016mm) and a barrel length of 16.34 inches (415mm). The barrel's four-groove rifling has a 1:9.44 right-hand twist. Both the bores and chambers are chrome-lined. The weight, empty and without a magazine, is 7.15 pounds (3.24kg).

The receiver markings make this rifle especially enticing to an AK collector. On the left side, the trunnion is marked with both the serial number and the manufacturer's code of the Izhevsk Arsenal, an arrow in a triangle. The receiver itself is marked. "SAIGA 7,62X39 LEGION IZHEVSK RUSSIA ARSENALLAS VEGAS NV USA" together with the IZhMASh logo, two opposing Greek letter sigmas with an arrow in between all inside an oval with "08" under the oval, indicating the year of manufacture. The markings are of the correct font type and size and are all placed where they will not interfere with future customizing.

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Arsenal, Inc. performs modifications to the Saiga SGL10 at three distinct levels. Level 1 is-no modifications whatsoever. Thus, there is a round bottom cut on the trunnions, which means that the rifle will only feed with Russian Legion commercial magazines. These magazines feed the bullet tip off of the magazine's special front lip. Russian regulations prohibit the use of large-capacity "military"-type AK magazines (here's an interesting avenue for the anti-gun crowd in the U.S. to explore).

These commercial magazines (one 10-round version of which is supplied with the rifle) cannot be used in a "standard" military-configuration AK. However, Level 1 Saiga SGL100 variants are still equipped with a "bump start" rivet in the receiver as with the military AK100 series rifles.

Level 2, one of which was sent to SHOTGUN NEWS for test and evaluation has the channel machined out and a rivet hole drilled to accommodate the installation of a military-type feed ramp plate, which permits the use of standard AK-type magazines in the rifle.

As these magazines do not have a special front lip, rounds are fed straight forward, completely unobstructed, and thus the feed plate is required to drive them into the chamber. Level 2 variants can be successfully modified, by those qualified to do so. into a semiautomatic-only AK103 configuration.

Level 3 Saiga SGL10 variants are exactly the same as those of Level 2 with the exception that the rivet hole is not drilled. This allows a professional AK builder, such as Mike Friend of Firing Line Manufacturing (Dept. SGN, 69400 East Highway 60, Wyandotte; Oklahoma 74370; phone: 918-666-2788; fax: 918-666-1687; E-mail: ak47stalker@ yahoo.com), to drill and rivet a feed ramp plate into the receiver (immediately under and just to the rear of the chamber end of the barrel) in one machining operation for perfect alignment.

There were 1,050 Saiga-Legion SGL10 rifles imported in the first batch. Arsenal technicians modified them in approximately equal amounts into the three levels. Unfortunately, this was not done in a sequential manner with regard to serial numbers.

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For our test and evaluation of this truly exciting semiautomatic-only AK, a Saiga-Legion SGL10 was sent to Friend, who turned it into a semiautomatic-only version of the AK103 that would even knock Vladimir Putin's Siberian socks off- Firing Line has been building custom AK rifles for a decade.

Friend is a Class 2 manufacturer and Class 3 dealer and, in addition to semiautomatic-only versions of the Avtomat Kalashnikova, manufactures short barrel rifles of the so-called "Krinkov"-type and law enforcement samples of selective-fire weapons for police departments.

Starting with either a Level 2 or 3 Saiga-Legion SGL10 rifle, Mike Friend did the following. The rifle was completely disassembled and prepped for conversion by setting aside the bolt and bolt carrier and removal and discarding the buttstock and trigger guard.

After removal of the magazine catch/release assembly, the housing is discarded, but the catch/release, spring and axis pin were retained. The trigger assembly was removed (the rivets on the side of the receiver must be removed for this operation) and only the Arsenal-built hammer and disconnector were retained for eventual re-installation.

All of the springs for the hammer and disconnector were retained. The selector lever was removed and also retained for the final reassembly. The bottom plate, which is riveted in place on the bottom of the receiver, was also removed and discarded.

The rifle was then ready for the conversion process. A 7.62x39mm bullet guide was machined, by taking off its left-hand side, so that the Saiga bolt caroming rivet can be left in place. The bullet guide was then precision-fit into the receiver, a bullet-guide rivet hole was drilled and a special fixture was installed into the front end of the receiver-under the trunnion--for use as a rivet bucking bar (used to put pressure on the front end of rivet during its installation).

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The bullet-guide rivet was then pressed into the hole and pressed against the bucking bar, to rivet the bullet guide securely into place. Subsequently, the trigger guard and selector stop were installed by riveting with the use of the bucking bar fixture.

The military magazine catch/release Was then fitted and its axis pin pressed into place and the selector lever reinstalled. The trigger parts were then ready for installation and inspection for proper operation. Two of the U.S.-made trigger parts that came with the rifle are used, together with a new Arsenal-made trigger and a new shepherd's hook (the hammer and trigger axis pin retaining spring).

At this point rivets were reinstalled back into the holes at the rear of the receiver-that formerly held the original trigger in place-to cosmetically fill the holes (as an option, the rivets can be discarded and the holes filled by welding).

If a folding stock is to be installed, the original stock trunnion must be removed from the receiver and the receiver machined to accept the folding stock's trunnion. After fitting, rivet holes are drilled to the proper size, rivets are installed and a template is used to locate the hole position under the front trunnion for the stock's latch pin. After this hole is drilled, the latch is inspected for proper operation.

The pistol grip, nut and screw were reinstalled on the receiver. A side-folding buttstock was fitted, new holes for it drilled, and the stock assembly installed, together with the original bolt, bolt carrier, recoil spring and top cover. After test firing for proper operation, the rifle is once again completely disassembled and prepped for refinishing with black Lauer DuraCoat.

No other commercially manufactured firearm finish has the combination of versatility, durability, and user friendly characteristics of DuraCoat. This highly advanced finish features resistance to most lubricants, cutting oils, and bore solvents. Hardness, adhesion, impact, mar, abrasion, chemical, and water resistance are outstanding.

The dry film thickness can be varied from 0.25 to 1.5 mL. The performance characteristics include a 300-hour salt spray test and a direct impact resistance of 100 inch/pounds. The colors available are almost endless, with more than 60 now available, and the gloss range goes from flat to high gloss.

A significant number of custom firearms manufacturers now use DuraCoat to finish their guns. DuraCoat is available from Lauer Custom Weaponry (Dept. SGN, 3601 129th Street, Chippewa Falls, Wis. 54729; phone: 800-830-6677 and 715-720-6128; fax: 715-723-2950; website: www.lauer weaponry.com).

Modification to AK103 configuration with a solid stock costs $265, including parts and labor, plus shipping. Customizing with the folding stock option costs $500, including parts and labor, plus shipping. These prices, for custom work of this quality, are exceptionally reasonable.

The Saiga-Legion SGL1O rifle as modified by Firing Line has a number of other interesting features, either as shipped to Mike Friend by Arsenal, Inc., or after his custom work. One of the most distinctive is the folding buttstock, which is the best I have ever seen installed on a Kalashnikov-type rifle and is basically that of the Russian AK 100 series.

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Its installation reduced the rifle's overall length to 36.75 inches (933.45mm). It combines the enhanced stability of a fixed stock with the compact envelope provided by a folding stock. This black polymer buttstock folds to the left and is retained by a spring-loaded locking latch protruding from a rectangular slot in the left side receiver wall.

When locked in the open position, this polymer folding stock provides the same stable firing platform as a fixed stock. The sheet metal buttplate has horizontal ribs to improve its gripping qualities when the stock is placed firmly into the shoulder pocket.

The wire-type rear sling swivel, mounted to the right side of the stock, swivels a full 360[degrees]. The usual butt trap, with a spring-loaded cover plate, holds a standard AK buttstock cleaning kit. When locked in the folded position, the stock can be opened by pressing a spring-loaded polymer button in the buttplate.

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The left side of this stock has a stepped cutout to accommodate the Warsaw Pact side rail that allows mounting a substantial variety of optical sights. The right side of the buttstock has the same longitudinal, almost 4-inch groove found on both sides of the original AK74's laminated wood buttstock and carried over onto the black polymer buttstocks of the Russian AK100 series rifles.

Very few know its real function. Speculation about the reason for these grooves has been rampant ever since photographs of the AK74 first appeared in the West. Most suggestions for their real purpose have bordered on the ridiculous. It has been proposed that they were to identify 5.45x39mm caliber AKs from those of 7.62x39mm caliber when they were placed together in rifle racks in a barracks.

It's not likely that members of the same combat unit would be armed with Kalashnikovs in two different calibers. It has also been said that the grooves were designed so the rifle could more easily be grasped by the buttstock when shooting through the firing port of an armored fighting vehicle. That's also nonsense.

Mikhail Kalashnikov himself told me what they signified in 1994 on the occasion of his 75th birthday celebration. When the first prototypes of the AK74 were assembled they were little more than re-barreled AKMs. To fit everything onto the barrel, the outer diameter of the AKM barrel was retained. As the 5.45mm bores were smaller than the 7.62mm bores, the end result was a heavier rifle, the very reverse of what the Soviet Army was seeking.

As a consequence, the AK74 prototype was rejected with instructions to lighten the package. Kalashnikov's design bureau tried every possible means to drop weight off the rifle including, as incredible as it sounds, placing lightening grooves on each side of the buttstock. Thus the mystery of the AK74 stock grooves is solved, although some, always looking for a more sinister explanation, will not believe it.

The pistol grip installed on our AK103-type rifle is a relatively recent design by Arsenal, Inc., intended for use on AK rifles with a grip reinforcement plate. Matte black in color, with deep checkering on each side, it's somewhat shallower in depth than the old style and designed to fit flush with the grip reinforcement plate without any overhang. It cannot be installed on AK47 milled receiver rifles. It's available separately and carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of only $19.99. The black polymer upper and lower handguards are the same as the Russian AK100 series.

The iron sights are essentially those of previous Kalashnikovs. The front sight is a protected, threaded post adjustable for both elevation and windage. While windage can be altered with a punch and hammer, both Russian and Chinese armorers tools can be located that were designed specifically for this purpose and prevent marring. Remember, to move the point of impact up, you must move the front sight post down. Also, to move the point of impact to the left, you must move the front sight to the right.

The rear sight is a sliding tangent type with an open U-notch. In the European manner, it is adjustable for elevation only to 1000 meters in 100-meter increments. There is a battle sight setting (marked with a Cyrillic "P") just behind the 100-meter mark. In elevation, it is the equivalent of 300 meters. One thousand meters is well beyond the wound ballistics potential of the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

Mike Friend supplied one Bulgarian 30-round, 7.62x39mm magazine with the rifle he modified lot SGN. Bulgarian 10- and 40-round capacity magazines are also available from Arsenal, Inc. No loading tool is required.

Bulgarian AK magazines, usually marked with a "10" in a double circle, are made from black, fiberglass-reinforced, thermoplastic (this indicates that it can be injection-molded) polyamide (epoxy-based resin) with a "waffle" pattern to add further structural rigidity. Injection-molded polyamides are super industrial-strength synthetics well known for their resistance to high temperatures, corrosion, wear, chemicals and radiation. Lighter than steel, they have a higher tensile strength than aluminum.

With one exception, Kalashnikovs do not have a hold-open device and thus after the last round has been fired, the bolt group will travel forward into battery without chambering a round. There has been some criticism of this, but in the field many operators first load two or three rounds of tracer, if available, to indicate that the magazine is running dry. Yugoslavian AK magazines have a projection on the follower that will hold the bolt group rearward. However, when the empty magazine is removed, the bolt will immediately fly forward.

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AK magazines must be rocked into and out of the magazine-well during insertion and removal and tactical reloading suffers as a consequence. In this area, the M16 clearly wins, although original M16 magazines are distinctly inferior to those of the Kalashnikov. The AK's magazine catch/release is a spring-loaded, paddle-type in a housing at the front end of, and integral with, the stamped sheet-metal trigger guard.

The Arsenal designers have addressed the AK's most frequently criticized feature, which surprisingly is not the fire selector mechanism. The Kalashnikov trigger system, conceptually derived from that of the U.S. .30 M1 Garand rifle, is all too often plagued with an objectionable, and sometimes quite painful, "trigger slap" and a creepy and unpredictable trigger pull.

A rifle's fire control system and how the operator reacts to it contributes in no small measure to its accuracy potential. Designed by Arsenal, Inc., the trigger system used on the Saiga-Legion SGL10 has a two-stage trigger similar to that found on the Romanian PSL sniper rifle. After a smooth initial take-up, the final "break," or pull weight on both the unmodified SGL10 and the one customized by Firing Line is a very crisp 5.5 pounds.

Accuracy has long been an area of criticism with the Kalashnikov series. Very rarely will any AK generate group dispersions better than 3 to 4 moa. Surely ammunition is usually part of the problem, as rarely is true match-grade ball ever available in 7.62x39mm. In addition, the AK's exceptional reliability is partially a result of manufacturing tolerances designed to maximize reliability under the adverse conditions. This, without doubt, affects the rifle's accuracy potential.

However, the question remains how much accuracy is necessary, or even desired, for a battlefield infantry rifle? In most instances the Kalashnikov is more than "good enough for government work."

The Saiga-Legion SGL10 as imported and modified by Arsenal, Inc. is exclusively distributed to retail gun stores by RSR Group, Inc. (Dept. SGN, 1010 Avenue J East, Grand Prairie, Texas 75050; phone: 800-752-4867; fax: 972-602-0727; e-mail: salestx@rsrgroup.com; website: www.rsrgroup. com). The suggested retail price, complete with one 10-round magazine (dedicated for use with the SGL10 only as previously explained), is $679.

Most will be purchased by those collector/shooters intending to modify them into a semiautomatic-only AK103 configuration, either by themselves or by a custom builder, such as Mike Friend at Firing Line. This may very well be your only opportunity to obtain a Russian-made, semiautomatic AK, as the future now looms very dark for gun owners.

The ammunition used in our test and evaluation of the Saiga-Legion SGL10 modified by Firing Line, was imported by Wolf Performance Ammunition (Dept. SGN, 1225 North Lance Lane, Anaheim, Calif. 92806; phone: 888-757-9653; fax: 714-632-9232; Email: info@wolfammo.com; website: www.wolfammo.com) and manufactured at Tula Cartridge Works in Russia. Headstamped "7.62X39 WOLF", the lacquered steel case has a red case mouth sealant and primer annulus. This ammunition is Berdan-primed.

Boattail projectiles in the standard weight, 122-123 grains, are available in either lull metal-jacketed or hollow-point. In this weight the muzzle velocity is approximately 2400 fps. Testing of 7.62x39mm HP projectiles, designed originally to meet U.S. importation regulations, indicated that most often the bullets became frangible upon contact with the tissue simulant or else exhibited no expansion at all.

A loading with a 154-grain soft-point bullet, designed specifically for hunting, is also available. This projectile features a muzzle velocity of approximately 2100 fps. In all calibers, Wolf ammunition has proven to be reliable, accurate and competitively priced.

The author wishes to express his gratitude to Joe Ancona, president of the Kalashnikov Collectors Association (www. kalashnikovcollectorsassociation.com) [aka KCA] for detailed information provided about the three levels of Saiga-Legion SGL10 modifications available from Arsenal, Inc. Few websites or chat lines devoted to specific firearms topics are worthwhile and many disseminate totally incorrect technical and historical information. KCA is composed of serious collectors and historians of the Avtomat Kalashnikova series and the website is filed with invaluable information, not to be found elsewhere, though membership is required. I can recommend it highly and without reservations of any kind.

Saiga-Legion SGL10 Specifications

Caliber: 7.62x39mm.

Operation: Gas-operated without a regulator, locked breech with a rotary bolt, fires from the closed bolt position.

Feed: 10-, 30- and 40-round staggered-column, two-position-feed, detachable box magazines.

Weight, empty and without magazine: 7,15 pounds (3.24kg).

Length, overall: 40 inches (1016mm); AK103 configuration with folding stock: 36.75 inches (933.45mm).

Barrel: Four-groove with a 1:9.45 right-hand twist. Chrome-lined chambers and pores.

Barrel length: 16.34 inches (415mm).

Sights:

Front sight: post with protective ears adjustable for both elevation and windage zero.

Rear sight: sliding tangent-type with an open U-notch: adjustable for elevation only to 1000 meters in 100-meter increments. There is a battle sight setting (marked with a Cyrillic "P") just behind the 100-meter mark. In elevation, it is the equivalent of 300 meters.

Finish: Saiga-Legion SGL10-Black satin baked enamel; AK103 configuration by Firing Line-Black DuraCoat.

Suggested retail price: $679; customizing by Firing Line: $265 for standard stock: $500 for folding stock, including all parts and labor, plus shipping.

Manufacturer: Izhevsk Mechanical Works, aka IZhMASh, 426006. Pr. Deryabina, 3, Izhevsk, Russia phone: 7-(3412)-495-991, 609-596; fax 7-(3412)-609-099; e-mail: gunlegion@udm.net: website: www.exclusivegun.ru.

Importer: Arsenal, Inc., Dept. SG N. 5015 West Sahara Avenue, Suite #125, Las Vegas, Nev. 89146: phone: 1-888-539-2220 fax: 1-702-643-2088: website: www.arsenalinc.com.

Distributor: RSR Group, Inc., Dept. SGN 1010 Avenue J East. Grand Prairie. Texas 75050; phone: 800-752-4867; fax: 972-602-0727: e-marl: salestx@rsrgroup. com: website: www.rsrgroup.com.

AK custom work: Firing Line Manufacturing, Dept. SGN, 69400 East Highway 60, Wyandotte. Okla. 74370: phone: 918-666-2788: fax: 918-666-1687: e-mail: ak47stalker@yahoo.com.

DuraCoat finish: Lauer Custom Weaponry, Dept. SGN. 3601 129th Street, Chippewa Falls. Wis. 54729: phone: 800-830-6677 and 715-720-6128: fax: 715-723-2950: website: www.lauerweaponry.com

Ammunition: Wolf Performance Ammunition, Dept. SGN. 1225 North Lance Lane. Anaheim. Calif, 92806: phone: 888-757-9653: fax: 714-632-9232; Email: info@wolfammo.com; website: www.wolfammo.com.

T&E summary: An authentic semiautomatic-only version of the Russian AK103 with the usual high standards for RAM-D (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Dependability). Outstanding and highly recommended.
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Author:Kokalis, Peter G.
Publication:Shotgun News
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Feb 20, 2009
Words:4930
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