CMMG Mutant; California Compliant Version

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Originally I was supposed to get the CMMG Mutant MK47 AKM in time to simultaneous publish with the other Mutant article we ran, but apparently there was a problem sourcing the component (i.e. “bullet button”) to make it “California Compliant”.

CMMG has also added additional models of its original Mk47 line-up that will comply with California’s 10-round magazine capacity and bullet-button standards. While the original design and magazine capacities for these models will remain the same for other states, the move will broaden the availability of CMMG’s new rifles to residents of California. Aside from including a 10-round VEPR magazine (instead of a 30-rounder) and bullet-button on the magazine release, these California-legal Mk47s are identical in feature to the original rifles.

A good friend of mine has a Mutant, which he dearly loves, so I had a chance to check out both at the same time.

Construction

As was stated in the original press release, basically this is a standard Mutant with the addition of the “bullet button” clamped on the front of the trigger guard. It also has a modified magazine release lever. Rather than being a vertical tab, it is a “U” shape. This shape allows for you to insert a long and thin (but strong) object of some sort behind it so you can lever the magazine release forward.

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Pretty standard looking upper.

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BCG Components are larger and pretty beefy, but otherwise, no different.

Observations

The rifle shot great in it’s configuration as “California Compliant”. I totally forgot to put iron sights on it (the first time I took it out) but was able to rapidly get rounds basically where I wanted them. With sights on it (I installed a set of MBUS Pro sites which Walt at BMC Tactical generously allowed me to borrow), it performed very well.

I found pulling the charging handle to be exceptionally stiff, similar to the experience that Alex had on his original review. I concur that a larger charging handle latch would be helpful. The “standard” Mutant, that my buddy owns, suffers from the same issue, though–this is not something unique to the California Compliant version.

Despite being a “heavier” round, I did not notice any measurable difference in recoil management or perceived feel–it felt no different than my Modern Musket.

So, now onto the biggest difference in this particular model. This was my first experience with a bullet button (specifically the one on an AK). Basically there is a blocking device that covers the magazine release (which is also non-standard), requiring the use of a narrow object inserted into an opening which can then be used to pry and operate the release lever. For those that have never had the experience here are some pictures.

Bottom view of the bullet button and magazine release.

Bottom view of the bullet button and magazine release.

Punch inserted into hole in bullet button.

Punch inserted into hole in bullet button.

I tried a number of objects to drop the magazine: a bullet, plastic ball point pen, steel punch, and harsh language. The magazine release was so tight that I actually damaged a round trying to use it to activate the lever–the bullet pulled free from the casing. I don’t know if this behavior was something specific to the gun I was sent, or if that is the case with any of the bullet button mods. I also broke the ball point pen, no surprise there. The most success I had was using the punch (though I assume a screwdriver would work as well) to get up in there and actuate the release. I can definitively say that the addition of a “bullet button” severely impacts the standard manipulations of the weapon. The harsh language made me feel better but did no better of a job than did the bullet or ballpoint pen.

It also brings up some questions about “safing” the weapon. Because you cannot easily drop the magazine, I imagine it is more efficient to rapidly actuate the bolt and kick the rounds out through the ejection port (rather than trying to jam a rod up in the opening to pry back the magazine release and then kick out a round remaining in the chamber). I’m guessing the best you can readily do is “Condition 3”.

So, my initial shooting with the rifle used the included short ten round magazine. I had no malfunctions with it. Other than having to stop every ten rounds, and go back to the bench, pry the magazine out, reload, etc. Just for my own interest, I decided to try out some standard capacity steel AK magazines (Eastern Bloc surplus) which I have run for years. For what ever reason, I started having malfunctions every few rounds. Basically the spent round would eject, and the new round would not properly be seated. I tried with 4 different magazines (all the same kind), all exhibited the same behavior. Which brings up my next point.

Clearing a malfunction was a royal pain in the a##, using any of the normal methods that are eased by removing the magazine. And that is exactly what I needed for the malfunctions I had–removal of the magazine.

Once I went back to the included ten round magazine I didn’t have any more issues, so I assume it had to do with my specific ones.

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10 round magazine inserted and locked.

Tech Specs

  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel: 16.1″ medium taper profile
  • Muzzle: CMMG SV Brake
  • Hand Guard: CMMG RKM15 KeyMod
  • Upper Receiver: 7075-T6
  • Lower Receiver: 7075-T6
  • Trigger: CMMG Single Stage
  • Furniture: Magpul CTR® Stock, MOE® Pistol Grip
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds (unloaded)
  • Length: 33.5 inches (stock collapsed)
  • Magazine: 10-round VEPR magazine
  • MSRP: $1,699.95

Conclusion

Overall I think the Mutant was fun to shoot. I do understand what all the hype is about with the platform. If you enjoy shooting an AR style rifle, you should equally enjoy this rifle.

My experience, however, was colored by the annoyance of the component to make it somehow “safer”. the gun shot well in the context of the “California Compliant” review, using the sub capacity magazine. I would like to have been able to shoot it a little more aggressively, and try some malfunction drills, but was prohibited due to the design modifications.

I definitely feel for those of you that are limited by restrictions (beyond what most have to endure). I can only imagine what running in a competition is like (though I imagine the more inventive of you have figured out ways to mitigate the handicap of lockout devices; ways which I would love to hear about in the comments).

Even with the bullet button in place, I think those of you that are thusly restricted can still enjoy this platform—an AR style weapon that accepts AK magazines and fires the 7.62x39mm round. While it is a hinderance for the ease of transitioning magazines (and all of the drills that require changing magazines), you can still work on accuracy. And I’ll bet you’d be less likely to rapidly blow through rounds… 🙂



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • TheSmellofNapalm

    I live in California and would still consider using this for at least a home defense gun, assuming there is expanding ammunition out there that can rival or even surpass cavity size and blood loss compared to 5.56 guns. If I need more than 10 rounds for a home invasion, that’s a bigger firefight than my family or I should even be trying to stick around for.

    • Tom – UK

      While not imagining Die Hard style blazing gun fights and body counts to be the standard for defensive use of firearms in home invasions I think the opinion you have stated is wrong and I believe that several home invasions, self defence cases have involved the defendant firing off a standard 30 round magazine.

      It very much is a case of better to have and not need, after all presuming you’ve fired off your ten rounds in an understandable high rate of fire/panic. Just what do you have left other than a time consuming reload or a metal club?

      Taking your argument to the police one could say that given the police are responding to criminals that are attacking civilians and thus facing the same threats as the civilians. They shouldn’t need more than ten either.

      Just my point of view, I hope it’s been of some use 🙂

    • cwp

      If I had confidence that I could hit with every round under home invasion conditions, 10 rounds would seem like a pretty adequate number. Thing is, when I think about trying to hit with every round while maneuvering a long gun around the house, with only a flashlight to see by, and after getting a huge adrenaline dump, I just can’t muster that level of confidence.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Im no expert but it seems to me that firing upwards of ten rifle bullets in a house full of women and kids means somebody is going to get ventilated.
      For home defense I prefer 12 ga buckshot or .45 hollow points to decrease the likelihood of bullets going through walls and doors.

      • Doc Rader

        Despite my love for guns, I prefer a leaf bladed boar spear for home defense. The pure terror on an intruder’s face as a mostly nekkid, bearded freak charges down a hallway brandishing a pole-arm while bellowing a war cry should be enough to dissuade continuation of said home invasion.

        Which reminds me, I need to mount a GoPro to my spear…

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Fair enough.
          I prefer whatever makes them deadest with the least effort.

          • iksnilol

            Trust me on this one: Pump action shovel. Easiest way.

        • I prefer the semi auto crossbow from Van Helsing:-)

        • Giolli Joker

          Do you get your inspiration from Lynn Thompson’s videos?

        • Mrninjatoes

          Boar spear and Lenwood leather belt? Your female fans are still waiting for some action pictures.

        • Dan

          Well I am officially scared so i will not be stopping at your house if i ever have a flat tire and a dead cellphone

    • Vitsaus

      The second amendment wasn’t written as a preemption for home invasions, therefore magazine capacity should not be restricted regardless of where the firearm is being stored.

      • TheSmellofNapalm

        Ok I never once said that I agreed with the law, I said I would still consider the gun. Is that really how you read my statement, or did you just want an excuse to rail off your 2A freedome speech

        • Vitsaus

          It was a false premise that the firearm stored in your house would only be used during a home invasion and not potentially during an emergency, a disaster, etc.. Sorry if you’re not into 2A speeches.

  • Spencerhut

    So you just put into print that you put standard capacity magazine into a bullet buttoned AR? You do understand that in the commie state of CA that placing an 11 or more round magazine in a gun equipped with a pistol grip, collapsible stock etc. makes it an AW under CA law, right? I’d correct this story.

    • M

      Unless he’s not located in Cali and is just doing a review [to make sales] for a cali-compliant gun…

    • Doc Rader

      I’m not in California… 🙂

      • Spencerhut

        Okay. No worries man. We see people not knowing any better every single day in our CA gun store.

        • Doc Rader

          But hey, its for journalism, right? Should be fine just like in DC… 🙂

          • Dan

            I’m sure you’d be fine.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Like a hot girl wearing glasses and bib overalls.
    Sad really.

    • KestrelBike

      Not seeing what’s sad here….

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I take it back.

    • iksnilol

      What’s wrong with glasses? Have you ever seen a hot librarian?

  • USMC03Vet

    California. Where some animals are legislatively more special.

  • Kulibin762

    How easy would be to convert this gun to a non-CA configuration?