CLASSY: Molot VEPR Pioneer Rifles

In the category of “if it’s new to me, it must be new to somebody else”, I stumbled across the Pioneer line of “sporterized” VEPR rifles from Molot. I have to be honest, I’ve always liked the look of the VEPR rifles, and even more so now that I have seen the Pioneer models. They have that “AK for a more civilized time” feel. The two current models are chambered in .223 and 7.62×39.

Molot lists the MSRP as $1299 and K-Var retails the rifles at $799.

VEPR series semi-automatic rifles from the world famous Molot factory in Russia. Built on the same standard as the RPK rifle, these firearms are 50% more reinforced than a standard, stamped AK rifle. Each rifle has been manufactured using state of the art technology, effectively creating a heavier duty piece that will last through not just a lifetime but for many generations to come. The RPK-style barrels are hammer forged and chrome lined using techniques that makes them many times stronger than a standard AK or RPK barrel.

Each rifle comes with high quality, beautifully crafted walnut furniture as well as a rear sight with adjustable windage. They are shipped with magazines, a cleaning rod, and a cleaning kit.

Optional optic mount available:

VEPR Pioneer

VEPR Pioneer

VEPR Pioneer

VEPR Pioneer


Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Total Length: 40.9 in / 1040 mm
Barrel Length: 21.6 in / 550 mm
Weight w/ Magazine: 9.5 lbs / 4.3 kg
Twist rate: 7.62×39 – 4 groove RH twist, 9.4’’ (240 mm)

VEPR Pioneer


.223 REM

Wood furniture is also featured in the Super and Hunter models as well.


Molot VEPR


Molot VEPR


Molot VEPR


Molot VEPR


Molot VEPR

Molot VEPR

Molot VEPR

Also new to me is some of the above models are chambered in 6.5 Grendel and 30.06.


K-Var Corporation –

4235 W. POST RD.
Tel.: 1 702 364 8880
Fax: 1 702 307 2303


Molot USA –

MOLOT USA Firearms, Ltd.
PO Box 30664
Walnut Creek, CA 94598


LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete


  • Ken

    Upside-down M1 Garand shooting intermediate calibers feeding from box mags?

    • gunsandrockets

      But no peep sight.

      • randomswede

        There are AK top covers with rear mounted peep sights Valmet style, I don’t know for sure that one would be a drop in fit, be suitable or a good idea just saying if there’s a will there’s a way.

        • AK

          Valmet top covers fit AKs, with the exception of the 92 and 95 models (which aren’t very available in US in any case). I believe older Galil top covers work as well, as they were made on old Valmet press tools. Some guys also weld other sights to AK top cover. The G3 is a very popular choice, since the base is steel and easily welded. One additional mod is to cut and bend a small “pocket clip” on the side of a modded cover, so that it takes the possible slack off the cover by pressing on the side of the receiver. This helps with constant zero issues.
          BTW, Valmet sights are absolute garbage for tactical use, we flip them over to the “night” setting when the poop gets real, and then you’re back to normal AK sight radius…

    • guest

      An upside down M1 Garand would probably have a charging hadle going full 360 degrees around the barrel. No, this is the non-retarded version with a piston on top.

  • Phil Hsueh

    Very nice! Would the thumbhole models be considered CA legal, I’m guessing not. I wouldn’t mind getting one of the thumbhole models but the straight stocked ones look pretty nice as well though.

    • Roy G Bunting

      No, a thumbhole is a “feature” just as “evil” as a pistol grip. But the full stocked model in the first picture might me if the VEPR isn’t a “named” assault weapon.

    • randomswede

      The k-var page has some marked specifically “CA compliant”, but indeed none with thumbhole stocks.

  • john huscio

    30.06????? I gotta get me one of these…… kinda reminds me of an FN 49……

    • Vhyrus

      Or you could just get a 308 model?

      • john huscio

        I like 30.06 better if I decide I wanna hunt nilgai or moose.

  • gunsandrockets

    I’ve seen one of the Pioneer .223 in a local gun store. It was new to me too and I was impressed. Except there was no provision for any sights other than the (admittedly nice) open iron sights.

    • rs

      There should be a standard side plate on the left side of the receiver for an AK style scope mount. There is on both of my VEPRs.

      • gunsandrockets

        Nope, not there. That was one of the first things I looked for.

        • rs

          Yuck. That makes no sense.

          There’s one great way to add one, but it’s expensive. It’s called the AK Master Mount. It turns the trigger and hammer axis pins into threaded studs to hold the plate … no modification of the gun is required. I put one on a Norinco and it works a treat (don’t overtighten the studs or you can bind up the hammer). The manufacturer is out of stock but there’s at least one retailer (rtg parts) who has them.

          The common “UTG” add on side plate is a disaster. It is shorter and doesn’t have an end-stop, so the scope mount can’t be repeatedly placed on the plate and there’s nothing to prevent the mount from working it’s way off the back.

  • PK

    I’d love the Pioneer stock setup with a 7.62x54R model. Cheap (relatively) new production SVT, functionally speaking.

    • AK

      SVT is a completely different design. It has a short stroke piston system with adjustable gas (military versions), where these have a normal AK long stroke with no gas adjust. The VEPR is more akin to a Romak.

      • PK

        I’m well aware, which is why I said functionally speaking… as in, 7.62x54R, mag fed, semi-auto. Sure, rotating bolt instead of tilting. Sure, long stroke instead of short stroke piston. But functionally it would be an inexpensive replacement, that’s all.

        • AK

          But SVTs are cheaper…so it would be an expensive replacement? But honestly speaking, a VEPR is a superior rifle to an SVT and generally a good buy. Didn’t mean to be mean.

          • PK

            Where are you finding good condition SVT-40s for $800 or less? I’m in the USA, for reference.

          • AK

            Finland. 😉 There’s also good condition SVT-38s available from time to time, but they are a little more coin. And most of ours are non-refurb, since they were “borrowed” from the neighbors in the 40s.
            OK, VEPR might make sense for you economically.

          • PK

            Ah, that explains it, yes! In the USA, we sadly have banned imports from state supplies in Russia and have had that as law for a while. Before that, the SVT-40 was already getting scarce and value is well above US$1,000 for a fair example, more for a nicer rifle.

            Speaking of borrowed arms, I’m still shaking my head at how many of the beautiful Mosin rifles made it to the USA from Finland, both the Russian captures and the Finnish produced.

            Why did so many people sell their target rifles, especially? The military rifles, I can understand. Outdated, bolt action, far better options exist. But the target rifles, in my experience, have extremely good accuracy to 500m!

            Well, either way, I enjoy my Finnish arms. The KP M/31 and M/44, the Mosins of various type, the M/20 Bergmann in particular… all excellent, and high quality. The M/44 especially surprised me as a well made SMG, considering what it is! It’s far nicer than any other simple SMG of the time.

          • AK

            The target rifles were the old m/28-76 models, used by the Finnish Army. They replaced those with the m/85, which is basically a mosin action with a .308 heavy barrel and a scope (optics models vary, just like m/28-76). There wasn’t that much demand for these weapons when they were sold (you have to apply for a separate weapon permit for each gun, takes about a month, but it’s “may issue” not “shall issue”), and the stockpile of the various rifles was very large, about 500000 pieces in total.
            The m28-76 and the parent models m/28 and m/28-30 are the best Finnish rifles for a reloader, as they all use .308 bores. The rest are usually .310 or thereabouts.
            The m/44 is a copy of the Russian el cheapo PPS in 9mm. They copied the Suomi in the PPSh-41 and we copied the PPS. It all evens out.
            BTW, the Finnish Army is now starting to liquidate the m/85, which has the questionable honor of being the oldest rifle model still in service, and the ones I have shot all had actions from the time of the Czars. We’ll see how many of these rifles make it to the USA. They are also 7.62x53R (Finnish). And yes, its different from 7.62x54R.

          • PK

            Oh, yes, I’ve run into far too many people who think that 7.62x53R and 7.62x54R are the same and only differ in nomenclature… and fire the same ammunition out of either chambering. No wonder so many people get poor accuracy.

            The least accurate Finnish Mosin I have is one of my m/39s, a Sako from 1941, and it still holds to hand-width at 200m as long as I do my part. That is, of course, far better than most of the common Russian Mosins using the same bullet diameter, as this m/39 has the usual D barrel and larger bore.

            In any case, the m/28-76 is a wonderful rifle for certain, but I do have
            a soft spot for my m/28-30, and of course my m/39 rifles! Sadly, I
            doubt that any real quantity of the m/85 rifles will be imported here, but if they are I will be certain to purchase a sample.

          • AK

            Yes, I have a very good m/28-30, first batch. Great shooter, bore slugged 7.61mm with sharp rifling, have no idea how it’s in such a good shape having been in the war. Original user either knew what he was doing or was a “big shot”. Rifle was likely to be serving up north, due to being assigned to Suojeluskunta in Kemi-Tornio area, so that explains a little.

          • PK

            That poor rifle was probably carried by someone other than the (I’m assuming) officer to whom it was issued, and hardly ever shot… I wonder if you haven’t shot it more than the original user.

            Luckily, even though the bore on my m/28-30 is a bit frosted and well used, it still holds wonderful accuracy with ordinary .308″ diameter bullets. The m/39s, of course, end up being fed .311″ or larger, depending on how worn the bore is.

    • Jerry

      SVT meets SVD?

  • Flounder

    So…. The super vepr is back? And not one mention of it in the article above or in any of the comments? This stock is old… like 5+ years old.

    But to be fair the super veprs were only in 308 and 7.62x54r if i recall correctly.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Man, my fellow gun owners are an unforgiving bunch. Yes, I know the concept isn’t new as with the Supers, but the Pioneers are different.

      • Flounder

        Well… Could you tell us how these are different? I don’t mean to beat you up. I’m just confused as to what these are. Are they the old super veprs in a new configuration? Or did someone just want to rebrand their rifles? And how long have these been out and about for? Are they still coming in or are the current sanctions blocking them?

        I guess i’m just hungry for all the answers.

        • randomswede

          After reading Molot-USAs homepage for 5 minutes, here’s what I’ve found:
          The images marked VEPR Pioneer in the article are VEPR Pioneer, the rest are VEPR or VEPR Super. The VEPR has a separate stock and handguard, the VEPR Super has a one piece stock.

          The VEPR Pioneer differs from the VEPR Super in that they have a “Chrome-lined gas chamber and shaft of bolt carrier”, a “”Monte-Carlo” walnut stock”, “Integrated muzzle brake (compensation cuts)”.

          The Supers comes with a fluted barrel, the Pioneers do not. Supers are either side mount scopes or top mount, the Pioneers are top mount only.

          The earliest mention of “VEPR pioneer” online I can quickly find is 2002, but Pete did start the article with: “In the category of “if it’s new to me, it must be new to somebody else””.

          A Google for “VEPR sanction” tells me “Molot VEPR not affected by sanctions” and K-Var has Pioneers in stock.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            Thanks for that. To be honest, I wrote this one up as a ‘hey, look what I found’ piece. I probably should have included more details.

            Google VEPR Forum. There is a forum dedicated to discussing just the Super/Hunter/Pioneer lines.

            I usually like to have well-researched stories with new information for our readers. I dropped the ball a bit here by not including better information.

          • randomswede

            You gave us links for more information, you started out with “New to me, could be to you” and you didn’t title the article “breaking” *cough**cough*.

            A short and sweet article isn’t always a bad thing, enough to whet your appetite but short enough that you don’t feel you wasted time if it doesn’t.

          • AK

            All VEPRs have chromed gas chamber and piston, this is standard feature for Russian AKs and derivatives. The difference between the Super and Pioneer is mainly the stock, where the Super uses standard AK config with a thumbhole, but the pioneer has a moved back trigger so that the monte carlo stock is usable. Being Russia, there may be “hybrid” versions out there with “wrong” set of features for the particular model. Also, check for bore concentricity before buying, less headache when installing a muzzle device later.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Fair enough. It looks like the Pioneers have an (annoying) two-finger mag release, and not the typical paddle release like the Supers. Also the whole trigger assembly is designed to be removed from the bottom. I don’t think the Supers were designed that way.

  • rs

    I have two of these and are fond of them. But, there’s a gotcha with these guns. A lot of their older models, and the top model shown in the article, have a lousy trigger because it’s not in the correct place.

    On these models, the trigger has been moved back 2″ so that the stock geometry will work correctly without using the traditional AK pistol grip. This requires an extra linkage and two additional pivot pins, with the obvious bad effect on trigger feel, which has never been a strong point for AKs in any case.

    In fact, there’s a version of the .308 out there with an even worse setup – the trigger just extends 2″ back inside the receiver, but the pivot remains in the original location … which means that the trigger moves pretty much vertically instead of horizontally … just awful.

    There is a history of, and a good selection of purpose-built products for, modifying these rifles to return the trigger to the stock AK position, but it’s pretty ambitious if you’re not handy with metalwork as it requires drilling out rivets, breaking welds, and finally cutting and drilling holes in the receiver. A standard AK pistol grip and usually a new stock are then installed. One of mine has been re-configured this way, and it’s definitely a favorite, but it was 2 hours of hard work and $200 in parts (including stock) to make it happen.

    • Xtorin O’hern

      the ones with the thumb hole stocks have the trigger in the right place though right? it at least looks like it to me

      • ostiariusalpha

        Yes, they are in the standard location.

    • El Duderino

      Well that’s too bad. I always like the look of the old Hunter models and now the Pioneer (pretty much the same). But a rifle with a bad trigger, bad barrel, or poor optic mounting system is pretty much useless to me.

  • Aono

    Adjustable gas block…? Bring that back!

  • Great_Baldung

    I do hope some of those stocks get put on their shotguns…

  • UCSPanther

    I love how the “hunting” stock versions are reminiscent of the SAFN 49…

  • Gary Kirk

    Honest question, will the 7.62×39 accept AK mags?
    And secondly, what are the completely oddball chances that these may be legal in MD?

    • The Punisher

      Not without being modified. They have single stack mags. I have one in 54R and I really like it. I bought two aftermarket 20rd mags in addition to the two 10rders that come with it.

      For x39 you’re better off looking elsewhere unless you would be using it strictly for hunting or just to have in the safe.

      • Gary Kirk

        Thanks, and really just want an AK platform rifle.. No real use for it, no real affection for them, to be honest I don’t really like them. But, hey, can’t a Mopar guy appreciate a 69 chevelle?

      • Russ Kell

        Is the modification the same as the standard Vepr (tapping and installing a bullet guide)? Or is additional modification needed?

        I’ve got a handful of standard slant-back Veprs and always though that one of these would be a good ‘what the heck is that thing’ range addition. But only if I can use standard mags.

        • The Punisher

          I posted a reply with a youtube vid…honestly I don’t much about the x39 versions…mine are 54r and that’s a whole ‘nother animal.

      • guest

        It appears to me that several models have been made, and I say this without any research what so ever except your words and my own experience (Vepr Super) of a double-stack mag. Maybe different for other calibers.

        But the pictures in this article are definitely dated.

        • The Punisher

          It could be a double stack that narrows into a single stack at the top like my Hungarian post-ban AK. Or the one you saw could be one that was modified to accept regular AK mags after it was imported, that is fairly popular and there are a few places doing that.

      • AK

        I call BS, all I have seen for these (pioneer) is normal “Saiga” mags, so they have the raised front and slimmed rear tab, but otherwise are normal AK mags.
        So, bolt down a bullet guide and file away the mag catch and you’re GTG.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I always thought that the 10-round .308 version of these rifles were the ultimate bear defense guns. They basically allow you to carry around a Dragunov sniper rifle without looking like a gun nut due to the fudd-looking wooden thumbhole stocks.

    • iksnilol

      But Dragunovs are lighter and more precise (until the barrel heats up but that’s another matter entirely).

    • 劉丁丁

      Somebody actually like the thumb hole stock. Aesthetics are directly mostly personal preference, but I don’t get why thumb hole stock got all this hate for.

  • Major Tom

    I’m half tempted to buy one of these as a bush gun. And throw a Kobra red dot on it. With maybe a bipod. I think a foregrip would clash with the look though.

    Is the barrel threaded for suppressors?

    • Anonymoose


  • Jeff Smith

    These remind me of H&K’s line of roller-delayed sporting rifles. I kind of like the look.

  • Glenn

    I looked at these and went with a Saiga IZ 132 in 7.62X39. AK action without the “evil” features for about $550.00 two years ago. Made by or in Izvhest. may be banned now.

  • Edeco

    I kinda want one, like that they do 27″ barrels and 30-06, but it’d be hard to own, need a huge case, and I wouldn’t expect enough accuracy to really use the 30-06. Keeping my fingers crossed for the RDB in 7.62×51 to come out, even though, Kel Tec, it’ll be years after they announce till I can get one.

    • Doom

      shouldnt be much worse than an average garand if you do your part. they have great barrels and heavy receivers.

  • Amanofdragons

    I thought that the first pic was a French mas 36

  • Blake

    If I was going to get a semi-auto 6.5 Grendel, this would be the one…

  • Galen Burgett

    I owned an early Vepr back around 2004-2005. It was chambered in .308, had single stack mags, and a 21 inch long barrel. I tried to love it, but the rifle and I could not come to an agreement. The trigger was terrible. The open sights were barely adequate. The butt stock was not conducive to mounting a scope and having a proper cheek weld. I had to do chin welds with it. It was a heavy pig, With scope and side mount it weighed just shy of 12 pounds. The overall quality was excellent, unfortunately, the ergonomics weren’t. Accuracy was probably on par with most RPK based rifles, that is, around 2-3 inches at 100 meters. I tried many different kinds of ammunition and never found one that worked better than any other. I really like the RPK based rifles and have a Vepr-K 7.62×39 that I got from Robinson Armament many years ago and love shooting it. But, they are what they are, and I definitely prefer a good traditional hunting rifle or AR 10 type for my hunting needs.

  • Nandor

    I have the Vepr Hunter, which is the 7.62x54r version of this. The fit and finish is spectacular and it feels great in the hands (if a little heavy). The problem is that with surplus ammo or any of the modern “Bear” or “Wolf” ammos, this thing groups no tigher than 3-4 moa with a high end scope. I get better than that with the same ammo out of any of my Saiga AKs. I guess they don’t care about single shot kills in Russia.

  • Sianmink

    The Pioneer is not a bad looking rifle. Reminds me of something.

  • Madcap_Magician

    Those are oddly beautiful rifles.

  • Vizzini

    Aw, no 7.62x54R?

    • Nandor

      They have it, but it’s called the Hunter.

  • adverse4

    Looks like a rifle, never sell.

  • iksnilol

    These are available in Norway, also in 308 and 30-06. Heavy, but reliable.

    I’ve wanted the package deal for a while now but can’t afford it (package deal which has IOR scope, T8 suppressor and a stock with adjustments). Looks classy yet dangerous.

  • Cymond

    There is something classy about a traditional stock on a modern rifle.

    Some of them remind me a tiny bit of the old IMI Hadar II, which admittedly, I’ve never seen in person but love the look of.

  • AK

    It’s actually due to Russian regulations. They have to have a certain % of “non-military features” to be classifiable as civilian weapons. That’s why the VEPRs usually have the 300 meters marked sights and the not-AK-compatible Saiga magwells. Other examples of this include the absence of gas regulation on the Tigr rifles (SVD civilian version) and the 300m sight config. Being Russia, this rule is not always 100% enforced, so there are exceptions.

  • L. Roger Rich

    Valmet Hunters predated these imports. Valmets came out after the AW ban. Much nicer.