OK, so with the clickbait title out of the way, we’ve seen how the M1 Garand and the AK-derived Galil ACE fare in mud, but what about the legendarily reliable AK itself? Well, Ian and Karl’s recent round of mud testing continues, and next in line is Mikhail Kalashnikov’s masterpiece:
My purpose in reposting these videos is not to indulge the InRange TV channel (although I do recommend it to my readers), but because I think it’s important for folks at large to understand that guns are mechanical devices, and that mechanical devices can fail. The AK, with its legendary reputation for reliability, is an excellent example of this, as the mud test above shows. Unlike the Galil ACE test or the M1 test, the AK in the video above doesn’t suffer a major mechanical failure like that of the trigger to reset or of the bolt to lock, but there’s just so much sludge and muck in the action that it slows the velocity of the bolt carrier down enough to prevent the action from working. The reason this can happen is the interlinked relationship between the gun’s different moving parts. The gas port on the rifle could be widened, sure, to let more gas into the action, causing to bolt carrier to accelerate to a higher velocity, but doing so would mean the springs for the magazine would need to be strengthened greatly, so that the stack of ammunition rises in time for the next round to be picked up by the bolt and fed into the chamber. At some point, the spring in the magazine, and the rifle’s action spring, both get too heavy to be easily operated by a human being, and the weapon becomes too fatiguing to operate.
It’s what we don’t see with the AK that shows the value of the improvements made vs. the M1. The AK, although the bolt slows down and fails to complete its cycle, does not experience impediments to locking. With the dust cover up, the gun also resists ingress of debris into the fire control group better than the M1 (although, as the Military Arms Channel’s Galil ACE test showed, the AK pattern is not impervious to debris getting into the fire control group).
As Karl and Ian like to say: Every gun has a failure point, you just have to reach it.