Gun Review: Upgrading A Century Arms RAS47 Zhukov

ras47 3

I got my hands on a Century Arms RAS47 Zhukov. Now I am a complete newbie with regards to AK pattern weapons. I can count how many times I have shot an AK on one hand prior to getting the RAS47 Zhukov. I know there are many people out there who like the classic wood and Soviet smell of power when it comes to their AK pattern rifles. I do not share that same affection. I am a Magpul fan so when I saw that I could get an AK with the Magpul furniture already on it, the RAS47 was an easy choice.

I got the RAS47 so I have an AK to round out my collection of firearms. First impressions were not that good. Now I kept an open mind as I do not plan to shoot this that much. Well there was quite a problem and that was shooting the RAS47 Zhukov right out of the box. The gun ran fine and did not have any malfunctions. But there was an issue when you shoot it.  I had a couple of friends verify that it was not just me. When you shoot the RAS47, out of the box, the Magpul Zhukov stock punches the shooter in the cheek. My friend Corey said it was like getting cross checked in hockey.

ras47 2

Corey getting punched in the face.

 

I tried a number of accessories and discovered that it changed the CG and therefore the recoil harmonics of the gun entirely.  It stopped punching me in the cheek. The first accessory I tried was a Midwest Industries scope mount my friend Jim gave me to try. I mounted my Vortex 1-6x Strike Eagle but found the scope mount put the scope too far back that I had to extend the stock all the way out and made the gun further away and that much more heavy to wield. However it did mitigate the stock punching my cheek.

ras47 1

Due to the position of the scope it is not how I would prefer to run this gun. So I removed the scope mount and tried a VG6 AK Epsilon muzzle brake. The AK Epsilon completely changed how the gun recoiled and made the gun shoot flatter. Not that the bullets were flatter but the AK itself recoiled flatter and had very little muzzle rise.

12990857_10154178672535337_4264503366914347463_nras47 4

I tried to re-purpose the MI scope mount to mount a red dot. Due to the position of the battery cover it interfered with the scope rings and I was not able to mount it perfectly straight. The red dot was canted so that didn’t work as well as I would like.

Midwest Industries has a railed gas tube and it worked perfectly on the RAS47 even under the Magpul Zhukov handguard.

13510964_10154361719120337_2899802830349192102_n

The Meopta Meored mini red dot worked great but the recoil of the AK knocked off the Meopta badges off. Also the QD picatinny mount sits the Meored a little high so the red dot does not co-witness the sights. MI does make a rear sight mount that does allow a MRDS to co-witness but according to my buddy Andy Yohnk at MI, it does not fit the RAS47.

13509097_10154361719150337_8676692804966307291_n

 

The biggest surprise was that this RAS47 Zhukov has concentric threading. So I had Silencer Shop send me a can to try and suppress this RAS47. They sent me a Yankee Hill Machine Phantom .308 can with an AK flash hider mount. The suppressor worked as expected. I only shot cheap Tulammo 7.62x39mm and it was hearing safe. The can was rather heavy though.

Of all the modifications the VG6 Epsilon and MI railed gas tube with MRDS were by far my favorites as they did not add much bulk to the gun and made the shooting experience a lot better and allowed me to enjoy shooting RAS47 more than I thought I would.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


Advertisement

  • Mike

    Really? U picked a century as your 1st and only ak? And then sunk a bunch of money into it, to tactical it out. Ha, ha, ha. U wouldve been better off buying a polytech, or at least a saiga, mak 90, or even a wasr. Never buy American ak.

    • Slim934

      DDI makes nice AK’s.

      • Anonymoose

        As does Rifle Dynamics and Krebs (although Krebs rifles start life as Veprs for the most part I think).

      • Heretical Politik

        Yes they do but DDI is using mostly imported parts for their builds. So are RD and Krebs. There are good AK builders here, but as far as American made parts, the criticism is valid. The all-American AKs are the worst in the world.

        • John

          I don’t buy that. There seems to be a lot of negative press on a gun that seems to be made well. I have more than 5000 rnds through mine and it still works well. Not sure what more you need. Just my expirence.

          • Vincent Vega

            Same here. I love mine and have over 3k rounds through it. Never had any problems with it, although i don’t beat the ever living dogschitt out of it like that russian guy on YT.
            I don’t throw my rifles off of mountain sides, drive over them with 3 ton suv’s or use them as pry bars and expect them to work like a charm.
            I rarely see anyone ridicule the ras47 that actually owns one.
            It’s amazing how one guy on youtube can get so many sheep to follow him.
            Oh did i mention i love my ras47?

    • Anonymoose

      Century and DDI are selling AKs with the fancy magpul furniture already on there. Also, Century has come a long way from their old 90s and early 2000s idiocy. The only thing I would question on this gun is the durability of the stock, after watching Tim from MAC snap a Zhukov stock off during his cold-weather function test video.

    • Blake

      Did you even read the article? Because I saw a bunch of sentences with “a buddy loaned me” and similar statements in regards to the accessories he tried.

  • Reef Blastbody

    I’d be very interested to see if you did periodic go/no go gauge checks starting out from new in box. Rob Ski’s 5,000 round test on AK Operators Union, and the subsequent tear down to the base components and Rockwell hardness testing by Youtuber “Mel64d” were quite disturbing. The front trunnion was something like 24 or 27 on the Rockwell C scale, where it should be 42 to 47. the rear sight block was Rockwell C of *3*. 3.

    That and after hardness testing everything, he reassembled it (he’s a machinist by trade, and a skilled AK builder by experience) setting headspace, he took it to the range, put 20 rounds to get it zeroed, and it would close on a no-go gauge after those 20 rounds.

    • Nicholas C

      No I did not. To me this is just a gun in my collection that I may occasionally take to the range and plink. If all comes to plan, I will be possibly making an AK with a reputable maker in October.

      • Giolli Joker

        So you’re basically testing set-ups to then apply the steps suggested by J.T.? 🙂

      • HollowTs

        I’ve got a MAK for sale! $$$

  • HammaHamma

    “I tried a number of accessories and discovered that it changed the CG and therefore the recoil harmonics of the gun entirely.”
    Please forgive my ignorance here, but what’s CG abbreviating?

  • BrandonAKsALot

    The cheek slap is common with the new Zastava/Yugo/Serbian AKs also. Mounting an optic is the easiest solution as you don’t need to press your face into it. Try getting that from a Vepr 12. I had the cheek pad up and tried to use the irons with it.

    The RAS is a very poorly made AK also. I would highly consider getting anything else. It’s full of Century’s typical cut corners production. As terrible as it is, I’d even recommend a C39 over it. At least the bolt carriers are the only weak point on those. WASR is the best entry route at the moment.

    • Reef Blastbody

      Yeah, the C39 v2, being a milled, is easier to find a supplier who knows how to heat treat steel for a reasonable price to meet their margins. I’d touch a C39 V2 with the intent of swapping a milled Polish AKM bolt carrier, bolt and recoil spring assembly in ASAP.

  • Mike

    Sorry, but the magpul furniture is lipstick on a pig. if the magpul is what drew u to the century, u couldve started with a blank canvas, such as a post ban mak 90, or saiga and converted it. People dont learn their lesson with century. Tantals, vz2008, golani, cetme, c39, ras, etc, etc, etc. Dont get me wrong, century is very important to the collector community as far as importing firearms we probably wouldnt otherwise have access to, but being a seasoned gun writer, u should know better. a quick google search will show u how terrible their ak offerings are. Also, people who are not familiar with the ak platform will read your review, and think its a solid rifle, unaware that there has been numerous castrophic failures.

  • J.T.

    How to upgrade a RAS47 Zhukov

    Step 1: Remove all furniture and accessories
    Step 2: Put them on a gun that isn’t garbage

  • Big Daddy

    Unless it’s a quality older AK from Russia or another country that has a track record I’ll stay with my ARs. I’m not as knowledgeable about AKs as I am about ARs but I’ll stick with my Mutant if I want to shoot 7.62×39 or buy an older SKS. The PSA KS47 looks interested but they do not have a good track record with new designs so I am waiting, I want to build a pistol version. I love the round and it’s cheap to shoot, a great round and a good rifle if made correctly. Even Ski is having issues with new Arsenals. So I’ll pass on the AK for an AR any day. ARs are so easy to upgrade, change parts and modify to personalize and make a great shooter for each person’s need and taste. The AK, not so much, no even close. It’s even difficult and expensive to mount optics.

  • Ed

    Don’t know peoples problems never had issue when I shot a century AK.

    • Elijah Decker

      Century imported AKs like the WASR-10 are generally fine, not withstanding the occasional quality control oversight. Century has gotten much better about this.

      However, their “Made in the USA” AKs are junk due to poor heat treating. Shoot 5,000 rounds through a RAS-47 and get back to us.

  • Elijah Decker

    Nyet, rifle is not fine. Century Arms can’t heat treat AK parts worth a damn.

  • PXN

    Have decision to buy AK…. Alright
    Make decision to buy American made AK RAS47 ….. ehhh
    Put new parts on gun to make it usable ….. umm
    Not checking site you post for, for information on said gun …. priceless
    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/04/26/akou-completes-5000-round-test-on-century-ras-47-rifle-is-not-fine/

  • Ken

    As crappy as the RAS47 is, it is sufficient for the vast majority of gun owners. Most gun owners just shoot their guns a few times in clean range conditions, dress them up to look nice, and have them stored away.

  • L. Roger Rich

    CAI has been providing and importing firearms since 1961. Most guns that came out of Russia or Europe after the wall made their way through CAI. Some may take some tinkering but all mine work and they number over 100.

  • John Adams

    I’m no AK purist by any means, but that Zhukov furniture is tacky mall ninja garbage. If it actually added to the shooting experience, that would be great, but it’s just aesthetic nonsense that doesn’t even look good. On top of that, they chose what is probably the worst AK platform to build on, and probably sold it to you for a ridiculous price. Keep the pistol grip, ditch the foregrip and stock, replace the internals of the RAS-47 with properly heat treated components, and you’ll have yourself a real gun that doesn’t say “I parkour through the food court every saturday after a pretty extreme set of matches on Call of Duty”.

  • Mc Cain

    The best upgrade for a Century AK is to sell it and buy another AK.

  • Stan Leet

    I really think the bashing is of the Century RAS47 is more of a piling on than situation than actual experiance talking.

    I have 2 of them, bought early on prior to the Magpul option. Added the Zhukov furniture and found that it was, for me, an improvement over the original wood stock. Find them comfortable to shoot, don’t understand the “punch in the cheek” thing, maybe I use a higher cheek weld? The first one is at a little over 5,000 rounds and still performiing as intended. Don’t fear for my life when I shoot it.

    I am not saying it’s the best AK out there but I do think it is the best AK for the money.

  • Guido FL

    RAS47 aka problem child. Good luck trying to sell that POS as the word is out loud and clear to stay away from these troublesome rifles. You need to investigate via web searches this POS !