Lets Play Guess That AK

ak

[ This is the third article written by Claymore on the guns he encountered during his varied and colorful career. His first article is here, the second is here. ]

While I was looking around for weapons while I was with the Hmong I would record the selector markings to document the types of weapons they had.

Selector markings is one of the obvious ways that is used to discover the country of manufacture or origin.

Sometimes, but not always, they can also point in the direction of where the weapons came from but a lot of countries including the USA “collect” supplies of weapons from other countries to help obscure the true origin of weapons “supplied”.

So what I have done, to help involve the readership of this site, is taken ten of the photos and we will have a little “contest” on country of origin of AK family receivers.

The winner of the “contest” will NOT receive any prize other than pride of winning and hopefully this will be a “fun” exercise and not make for hard feelings.

I tired to enhance the selector markings as best I could, with my limited photo program, but if anybody has the skills to better show them go ahead and do your “magic”.

Since this is be a “fun exercise” try and do your picks WITHOUT google, at first, the way I did it way back when I took these photos.

I used to know them all by heart, after research using good old reference books, but old age memory, and lack of use for them has reduced my “sureness” (is that a word LOL) about some of them so we may have some disagreements so try and keep any discussions that may result “polite” as we are all fans of this site.

I realize that most of you don’t have any use for a bunch of reference books and we may have to later rely on searching the web for final results but give it a try the old way first.

And BTW there are an unknown amount duplicates and a couple that are REAL hard to read but we can’t make this too easy.

AND we all know the the USSR was the main country of the design of the AK-47 family but that is not what we are looking for here try and get from the markings the country that these were intended for use in or manufactured in.

First up early AK-47 with slotted selector “stops” nice and clear markings should be easy:

CF10176 (1024x666)

 

A little less clear and a hint they are not letters. The handguard is another indication of country of origin:

CF10178 (1024x698)

Another early AK-47 type with less clear markings but they are letters:

CF20069 (1024x712)

 

An AKM type with slab side mag. The markings are hard to see. There are two “characters” (not English or Cyrillic writing):

VP20091 (1024x731)

 

Similar markings on a later AKM style:

VP20092 (1022x812)

 

Again similar but are they Chinese, Korean or Japanese?

VP20093 (1024x698)

 

The same or different?

VP20094 (1024x698)

 

This nice and clear AK-47 should be the easiest:

VP20095 (1024x700)

 

Another AKM with folding stock. No help on this one:

VP20096 (1024x701)

 

The final very easy AKM …

VP20098 (1024x700)

 

Post your answers in the comments below (reference the photos in your answers) ….




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • bbmg

    Photo 2 looks like a Hungarian AMD-65

    • claymore

      That is correct now can you describe the marking symbols like what they are?

  • mikewest007

    One is weird, selector markings look like MPi-KM, but the receiver is milled.
    Two is obviously AMD-63.
    Three is AK-47.
    Four is weird, the selector markings look Chinese, but the receiver looks odd. Maybe it’s that North Korean AK?

    Five, six and seven are the Chinese Type 56.
    Ten is AKMS.
    As for eight and nine, I have no bloody idea. Not MPi-KM (those would have (blank)-D-E selector markings), not AIM (S-A-R), doesn’t look like the Polish one either (blank-S-P).

    • whodywei

      Four is Chinese. It’s the first gen stamped receiver AK China made back in the late 60s.

      • mikewest007

        OK, that makes sense. Magwell dimples don’t seem essential, I’m not surprised they’re missing on this one.

      • claymore

        Correct

      • Anders Albertsson

        The Albanians also made non-dimpled Type 56 rifles, but this is not Albanian.

        • whodywei

          Good to know, I thought Chinese studied AKMs in Albania back in the mid 60s then came up with their own version of the stamped receiver.

          • Anders Albertsson

            No, the other way around- PRC provided tooling for Albanian AK production.

    • claymore

      But what country is 10 intended for with those letters?

      • mikewest007

        Those are obviously Russian markings. From what I know, only USSR, Mongolia and Bulgaria used Cyrillic in the Warsaw Pact, but as far as my knowledge of foreign languages goes, Bulgarian is spelled like funny Russian (IDK, I dug up a photo of an AK receiver with odd Cyrillic markings, auto being marked “AV” as usual, but single being marked “ED” – probably Bulgarian), and Mongolian is downright Martian (no matter how you try to read it, it sounds like gibberish).

        • Ken

          Mongolia wasn’t one of the eight Warsaw Pact countries, but you’re right about the Mongolian language is written with Cyrillic letters.

          The OD marking stands for “odin,” which is the number one in Russian. It’s ED in Bulgarian for “edno” which is their word for the number one.

          • claymore

            good stuff guys.

        • claymore

          What I was trying to find out is one has just one letter for each position and two others are russian and one has what looks like FF and FA and one has AB and DA why the different letter combos?

          • mikewest007

            If it uses Latin letters, it’s not Russian. And counting today’s findings, I’ve seen three different ways Romanian milspec AK selectors were marked (if the FF/FA thing is indeed Romanian): S-A-R, (blank)-FA-FF and, on their AK-74s, Hungarian-style (blank)-(infinity)-1-3.

          • claymore

            Cool but the FA and AB ones very well could be Cyrillic writing it’s hard to make them out.

          • mikewest007

            It’s not “AB” and “DA”, it’s very clearly Cyrillic “AV” and “OD” – like I said, photo 10 is clearly the Russian AKMS. “FF” on the other hand, is clearly Latin – back in the Cold War times, no country using Cyrillic alphabet used anything that could be mistaken for a very clearly stamped “F”. Badly stamped “F” could be mistaken for a Cyrillic “G”, but I clearly see two horizontal dashes. It’s an F.

  • teh

    6 and 7 are Chicom for sure

    • DW

      Also 8. L and D are on export versions of the Type 56 (Lian 连 and Dan单, Funmode and semi-funmode repectively)

      • erwos

        Number 9 is a Romanian. The author is being slightly clever by showing a picture with the magwell dimples (since most of the guns imported here didn’t have them), but the selector markings are unique, I believe.

        • claymore

          Got it. But I wasn’t being sneaky that is the only photo I have and never knew about the dimples. Learn something every day.

        • mikewest007

          Romanian? I managed to dig up a photo of a Romanian AK today, and the markings were different than on photo 9.

          • claymore

            do you have a photo you can post?

          • mikewest007

            I’ll try to find it again, I just randomly found it on Google. Finding photos of genuine Romanian milspec receivers is a pain in the ass since airsoft companies released their half-assed version based on an unmodified AKM receiver – photos of the airsoft version are EVERYWHERE, followed by photos of US civvie version, it’s hard to find milspec AIM/AIMS photos.

      • claymore

        AH close but can you say why the letters and were used instead of the symbols?

      • claymore

        How sure are you on that one? I seem to remember that one as tobse had it as being East German.

    • claymore

      Yes they are do you know what the symbols mean?

  • Tobse

    D ‘Dauer’ (full auto) and E ‘Einzel’ (single shot) should signify east German origin in the first one?

    • claymore

      First one in with the correct answer.

      • KevLar

        D stands for Dan stands for Single in Chinese

        • Ken

          Cool, I’d also like to add that #4 has the spike bayonet visible.

          • claymore

            extra points for the bayonet find LOL.

  • claymore

    Well that was quick LOL. Some correct answers already (you know who you are) but we are not looking at this point for models etc. What we are trying to get at is specifically the COUNTRY where used as indicated by the selector markings.

    You guys are faster than I thought.

  • Anders Albertsson

    1. East German
    2. Hungarian
    3. Russian
    4-8. Chinese
    9. Romanian
    10. Russian

    • claymore

      Looks like you are the first with them all. BUT why do the russian ones have different letters like for which countries or different models??

      And you also have the LD as Chinese how sure of that are you. I may have mixed up that one and the first photo in my old memory but I knew one was east German.

      • Anders Albertsson

        L and D are the markings put on Chinese AKs made for export. The Hungarian markings are the “infinity” sign for full auto and 1 for single fire. Not sure what you mean about the cyrillic Russian markings?

        • claymore

          That is what I was looking for right on. You sure know your Ak’s

          On the other ones the letters are not the same on #10 is AB over DA it looks like the other one is not the same but could be different letters.

          • Zugunder

            About Russian markings, from what i know it’s always been АВ (sometimes АВТ) which stands for “автоматический” (auto) and ОД for “одиночный” (single). Which different markings you talking about.

          • mikewest007

            Which country used cyrillic “ED” for single? Bulgaria? ’cause I’m not sure if Yugos used Latin or Cyrillic alphabet, I seem to recall that Serbs used Cyrillic and Croats used Latin, even when Tito tried to keep them together.

          • Zugunder

            I’m not entirely sure (because i don’t know) but google translate says that Bulgarian word for “single” is “единичен” so ЕД most likely is Bulgarian markings. Serbian, Ukranian, Belarus words for “single” nothing like that.

          • mikewest007

            OK, so Bulgarian it is. I checked Serbian AKs today and their markings are “U-R-J”. And back in the Cold War times, Ukraine and Belarus used Russian officially. Hell, Belarus still does.

          • claymore

            That is what they look like to me.

    • mikewest007

      One thing: did the Romanian AKs ever have an underfolder stock? I think I’ve seen those only with coat-hanger sidefolders…

  • Clint Notestine

    those open magazines are just waiting for dirt

    • claymore

      They sure are and they bend or dent much easier too. This was a “secret squirrel” super duty mod taught by the Thai SF guys to the hmong who knew no better, We got rid of all we came across but mags were in such short supply they were rotated to the rear but not thrown away.

  • patrickiv

    Jesus go easy on the quotes.

    • claymore

      ??? what quotes?

      • patrickiv

        “collect”
        “supplied”
        “contest”
        “contest”
        “fun”
        “magic”
        “fun exercise”
        “sureness”
        “stops”

        • claymore

          well all I can say is thanks for that.

  • Ken

    1. East German
    2. Hungarian AMD-65
    3. Russian
    4. Chinese
    5. Chinese
    6. Chinese (two characters are Lian2 and Dan1)

    7. Chinese
    8. Chinese (L & D are Latin letters for the characters, for export)
    9. Romanian

    10. Russian

    The rivet pattern gives away 5, 6, and 7 as Chinese without looking at any of the other features.

    • claymore

      Ken you are also correct but a bit slower than Anders Albertsson he got in first. But you also added the rivet info.

      • Ken

        Cool, I’d also like to add that #4 also has the spike bayonet visible.

        • claymore

          HA you got that observation in before Kevlar.

  • therealgreenplease

    We need more of this on thefirearmblog :D

  • Lance

    Love the cut out mags those are awesome!!! I think most are Chinese Type 56s in Laos there. The Chinese always supported anti Vietnamese or there allies the Commie who run Laos. So the Hmong Get a lot of help or did from the US and China in the ld days. Some may be East German as well as some say a few pics show D on the selector witch.

    • Lance

      Last couple look Russian nice AKMs though.

    • claymore

      The cut outs were homemade. The Hmong got help from both the USA and the chicoms.

  • Jeff Smith

    Claymore, just wondering, do you know if the magazine cut outs had any affect on the rifle’s performance/reliability?

    • claymore

      They don’t effect the rifle BUT they do cause feeding problems IF they get bent or dented and that happens more frequently because it effects the strength of the mag.

      • Jeff Smith

        Thanks for the reply! Keep the amazing articles coming!

  • Ken

    I’m guessing the cut away mags are self done? I guess they wanted to be able to see how many rounds they had left.

    • claymore

      Yes they were taught that but the Thais just for that reason.

  • Chance

    Could you recommend some quality reference books? There seem to be a lot out there, but of very mixed quality.

    • claymore

      Janes small arms and small arms of the world are good but they can be expensive. found mine used at gunshows.

  • claymore

    Well that was fun looks like we accomplished our mission. We would like to thank everybody that contributed to this fun exercise it worked out real good and I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did.

    I have a few more exercises like this up my sleeve and will be discussing them with the bosses to see what else we can come up with.

  • claymore

    I think we have to give the winner to …….Anders Albertsson he was the first in with all the correct answers. But everybody made some great comments and were close also.

  • highdiver_2000

    Photo 6, Chinese Characters. Top is continuous (nlan2), bottom is single (Dan1)

  • mig

    Number 9 is Romanian:FA-Foc Automat (Full Auto) and FF -Foc cu Foc(Single Shot)

  • iksnilol

    probably late but regarding the cutouts: Can one fill the hole with some transparent plastic? So as to not let mud/debris in and to strengthen the mag itself.

  • AT

    photo 6&7 are simplified Chinese, probably from their Type-56 variants