AK-105 circa 1999, Izhevsk Arsenal (Saiga-based Replica)
The 'Other" Black Rifles: A Pictorial of Carbine Design

Page 24: AK Projects & Exhibits

Kalashnikov project builds of all kinds are extremely popular these days, and the AK-74M type rifles and their multi-caliber variations have to be some of the more desirable models to emulate. This page is devoted to one such weapon, in fact one of the most incredibly accurate replicas of a Century Series (AK-100) rifle I have ever seen. It is simply as close to the real thing as you can possibly get to a real AK-105, albeit in semi-automatic configuration. I am very happy we have gained permission to showcase it here since it is without a doubt a benchmark rifle for the type and will serve as reference without exceptions.

This rifle was based on the Saiga .223, itself a Kalashnikov rifle built at the Izhmash plant in a hunting configuration. The same receiver was also used to build the excellent AK-101 of Projects Page 23 (please visit that page for more information on the full length versions). The text and images are provided here, directly from the owner for the purpose of providing the reader with a part by part analysis of the rifle and it's design specifics. I know you will find this photo journal very helpful, whether you be a student of firearms, a builder, or military history buff. Our primary goal here is to share the enthusiasm we have for the hobby with both regular and casual visitors. Thank you for looking over our site. --Tantal



Project Background and Research Notes
By Mike F.

I give my thanks to Kuiper for nudging me into writing this. This text is an amalgamation of e-mails between Kuiper and me. Without his persistence I probably would not have ever written this. In fact, many close friends and collectors contributed to the making of this rifle. My thanks go to all of you.

My original intention was to build an AK105 clone. I had been trying to collect information about AK105's for a while, mostly because I hadn't seen one (except in photos). My desire for one was probably caused by the fact that I never thought I would be able to have one.

I was trading e-mails with Tantal about parts and happened to ask him about AK105's. He shared a lot of info about them. Tantal shared that the Russian AK102/AK104/AK105 barrels had their gas ports in a slightly different location and a normal barrel. It was moved slightly back. He said that the Bulgarian versions used the gas ports in the same location as a full size barrel. He said that there were 2 options for using a cut-down, full sized barrel with the gas port already drilled. Either plug the existing port and drill a new one or modify the front sight base to allow the existing gas port to be used. He also recommended opening up the port a little and even gave me a suggested diameter. Of course, I knew none of this before his e-mails.

As further proof that it is better to be lucky than smart, it just so happened that during our e-mail exchange that he said that he had an AK102/105 muzzle booster that he would be willing to sell. It is a fully finished version with the chrome lining and a proof stamp. The AK104 7.62 versions are obtainable now, but the 5.45/5.56 version still seems to be pretty rare. So the booster was first actual AK105 part that I bought.

Troy Sellars was kind enough to let a group of us fire his full-auto Krink and AK105 clones at the Knob Creek machinegun shoot a few years ago. I thought the Krink was OK, but I really liked the AK105. I was surprised by the difference between them. I expected them to be very similar. After shooting his, I really wanted an AK105 badly.

I tried to find the other parts that I needed. Other than parts from Saiga rifles, I wasn't having any luck. One problem was the impossibly hard to find front sight base/gas block.

About 3 years ago I had just about given up hope. I also seem to remember having trouble determining if the correct cleaning rod was included with the parts. Evidently, cleaning rods aren't considered that important. But I wanted to try to get the correct one, since it would be so difficult to try to duplicate the end cuts and threading on a cut down AK74 cleaning rod.

Through internet contacts over several years, I was finally able to find enough parts to complete the rifle. When I received my front sight base/gas block, I was relieved to find what appeared to be first quality parts. In particular the front sight base appeared to be fully finished and chrome lined, which was a plus.

I tried to take a photo that showed the chrome lining and this was the best I could do.

Here are photos of it on the finished rifle. Notice the stamped letter to the left of the 2:

Here are some photos of the muzzle boosters (AK102/105 and AK104)

I also found it interesting that a 7.62 caliber muzzle booster was the only one available on the civilian market, no matter where I looked. I would later find out from Rob that the 5.45 versions are not sold at all, as it has something to do with not selling current military caliber parts to civilians.

I had been writing to Ted since sometime in 2003 about getting a spot in line for a build. Initially I wanted to get an accurate copy of a Polish Wz.88 Tantal built. With the unique left and right hand selectors, it was a challenge at that time (less so now that NoDakSpud is making their Tantal receivers). But after spending a great deal of time, money and effort to assemble the most correct parts AK105 I could find, I thought the AK105 was a better choice.

While I was waiting for my turn, I picked up a .223 Saiga rifle with a 16" barrel. It originally looked like this (I took this photo from a Gunbroker auction, this is not my actual rifle):

Ted said I could send in the parts and my Saiga to him in October 2004. I also asked him to put dimples in the Saiga receiver. He had developed a method to do it, but really did not want to do again because he said it was so labor intensive. He very reluctantly agreed to add the dimples. I carefully boxed up everything and sent it off to him. I also submitted my paperwork to get the required NFA tax stamp for an SBR.

In June 2006 I happened to be in Tucson on business. There also happened to be a local machinegun shoot the weekend after my business was finished and Chamberlin invited me to come along to it. There I met Ted and a bunch of other KCA members. Without exception the KCA members that I met were great guys.

Ted suggested that I consider leaving my rifle in 5.56 instead of switching it to 5.45. He reasoned that in the very long-term that 5.45 ammo might not continue to be plentiful on the US. I did not already have an AK in 5.56 and already had several in 5.45, so the idea appealed to me. If I kept the Russian 5.56 barrel and bolt, then the entire rifle would be Russian. I would have had to use a Bulgarian 5.45 barrel and bolt for the AK105 build. He also told me he could probably get the nice Beryl magazines too. So I agreed to leave it in 5.56.

I was going out to Nevada on business in December 2006. I managed to fit in the SAR show and KCA meeting in Phoenix on my way to Nevada. Ted said that he would try to have my rifle finished by then.

I met many more KCA members at the December meeting and every one of them was extremely nice and very knowledgeable.

I first ran into Ted at his display at the SAR show and he reached under the table and pulled this out.

I was extremely impressed with his work. I seem to also remember Ted swearing that he would never dimple another Saiga receiver again.

Here are a bunch of photos of various a parts of the rifle, proof marks, little details, etc. I took these photos before I fired the rifle:

Notice the partial proof mark in between the 2 rivets:

Last 3 serial digits and a nice proof mark on the bolt carrier:

The letter in a diamond proof mark is visible in this photo of the bolt carrier:

An F-117-Nighthawk type bolt carrier (as described in the AK-74 variations page).

Photos of the various bolt proofs:

Proof marks on the bottom of the receiver next to the front hook pin and on the bottom of the barrel:

The all-important cleaning rod:

Proof mark on the bottom of the gas tube:

The late style rounded lower handguard retainer take-down lever:

Late style mag release lever and trigger guard with "clover leaf bevel" indentation on the left:

Rear sight calibrated to 500 meters:

Late style recoil spring guide:

Proof mark on the scope mount:

Proof mark on the inside of the late style top cover:

I have had it out to the range a couple of times and I really enjoy shooting it. I have chronographed it vs. an AR15 with a 16Ē barrel to get an idea of the velocity loss with the 12Ē barrel.

The 12" AK102 shoots M193-type ammo at about 2850 fps, and the 16" AR-type rifle was getting about 3150 fps with the same ammo.

The AK102 only lost about 140 fps compared to the 16" AR with Radway SS109 ammo. IMI M855 was about the same difference.

I need to take my 20" AR out and test it to see how the 3 barrel different lengths compare.

I don't shoot the AK sights very accurately (even on a relative scale), so I wanted to get a Kobra mounted on it before trying to shoot it for group size. I tried to do it the last time I was at the range, but I forgot the special tool needed to do large adjustments on the Kobra and the shots weren't even on paper the way the Kobra was set.

I had hoped to be able to get to the range this weekend to shoot for group size, but it isnít going to happen. All the weekends in April are already spoken for, so it will probably be May before I can that done.

I am very happy with the rifle and enjoy shooting it very much. When I started this project I didnít realize what I was getting in to, but then again I never seem to.

---MIke F.

See our AK-74 Production Variations Study by clicking the link above.

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