This thread is weapons related, but a little lengthy and self indulgent so forgive me
I decided to take a drive into the Arizona desert today for some pure unadulterated AK fun. This wasn't an accuracy session so there were no paper
targets, no water jugs came along for penetration testing, and no chronographs for ammo analysis. Just me, an Arsenal SA M-7, and a couple of
thousand rounds of Wolf Military Classic........
My SA M-7 has barely been out of the safe since I picked her up, and it's essentially pristine. It has the milled receiver (not stamped) with no
muzzle brake, and would be seen by some as a collector's item as it is probably worth more than I paid for it, if only because of the brand name and
the milled receiver, Arsenal being seen by many as the makers of the highest quality AK on the planet (no trigger slap in their guns that's for
I have only shot this rifle at supervised ranges, so testing its true abilities has previously been out of the question, but not today.
About 35 miles straight down I-10 from Phoenix and right outside Casa Grande lies the nicest little public range you could imagine, you can easily
spot it on Google Earth because that's how I found it. Just a dirt berm, a big mountain, and no tables. It hardly ever gets used, and if you want
to practice holster drills, tactical reloads, or your TJ Hooker moves, this is the place.
As I rolled up in the "parking lot", a Coyote made a hasty and well advised exit (open season on them by state law), and the wind started to pick
up. The temps are way low at the moment, and of all things a light rain started to fall - I still didn't need a jacket though. This was perfect,
because what I had in mind for the AK was going to get the barrel/chamber a little toasty.
While I am a fair pistolero, my rifle skills are a B- on the Rainbow 6 scale, but at least some accuracy testing was called for. Some enterprising
chap had left a few water bottles and a 4 inch thick piece of flat rock on the range - perfect. I loaded up four Bulgarian waffle pattern mags (they
really are the best AK mags out there) and lined up the water bottles at 50 yards. Bang..sploosh, bang... sploosh, bang, bang, bang, bang (forgot to
control breathing), bang....sploosh. Recoil from the 7.62x39mm round is very comfortable, not at all like 7.62x51mm NATO. Even on a high quality AK
like the Arsenal, you can "feel" the bolt carrier clanging around in the receiver, and you know that this is no sniper rifle, but oh boy, what a
combat rifle. So to the flat rock. I stepped off to one side to give myself the required angle and put the open desert in the ricochet zone. The
impact of the round knocked the rock over and the ricochet hit dirt way off to my right as predicted. I flicked on the (poorly designed) AK safety
and took a look at the rock. It was cracked with a quarter inch deep impact hole but still in one piece, I was left wishing for some of the (rare)
Chinese AP ammo that is still floating around out there, but as it was, I was disappointed to note that hiding behind 3 inches of flat rock will keep
you safe from an AK with standard FMJ rounds.
Now the cook off test. Firing from the hip, and with the silliest grin in the World on my face, I emptied 3 full magazines (90 rounds) into the berm
as fast as I could pull the trigger. Then I snapped in a fourth loaded with just one round, chambered it, and stood waiting with the weapon at the
ready position. The light drizzle sizzled as it hit the barrel, and I waited for the cook off - 1 minute, 2, 3 - nothing, the chamber was still too
hot to touch, but no bang until I pulled the trigger. So much for the AKs Achilles Heal.
After that I just blasted away with singles, doubles, and triples at anything that took my fancy. No FTFs, no FTEs, no runaways, no cook offs, just
100% stone cold reliability of function. The rounds went where I sent them, at least out to 100 yards, and the AK ran like a sewing machine.
Came home, cleaned it, lubed it with Tetra Grease, went out for dinner, watched "I Am Legend" at the movies, and am now sitting here sipping Port as
I type this. Oh if only every day could be like this one.