Gun Review: Century International Model 39 AK

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    For those readers who may not be familiar with Century International Arms they are a company that imports most of the AK family of weapons into the USA. Of course the company also imports many other military type rifles combined with US made parts. Chances are if you own a Romanian AK it was imported by Century regardless of where you purchased it.

    Century Arms recently released a new version of the AK designated the model 39, which is made entirely in the USA. The goal was to manufacture a higher quality rifle without using the standard stamped sheet steel receiver and parts from eastern European companies. All of the parts used in this rifle have been designed and manufactured by various companies in the US and assembled at the Century Arms facility. Century is the only company making an AK variant entirely made in the USA.

    The receiver is CNC machined from a eleven pound block of 4140 ordnance steel. The left side of the receiver is machined for a side scope mount. The flash suppressor is a proprietary Century Chevron Compensator design with V cuts on the top surface that direct gases up and to the rear somewhat reducing recoil and of course muzzle flash.

    The barrel has a nitride finish in dark gray. The receiver itself is finished in a dark gray almost black in color. The trigger is a Tapco G2 which I particularly like. While the release isn’t crisp it is a smooth trigger. The buttstock is made of a polymer material with the front rails composed of nylon. The two front barrel covers have four rails for mounting red dot sights, flashlights etcetera. The buttstock was designed for the American shooter and measures one inch longer than the normal European stock. The charging handle has a simple soft rubber cover.

    The sights are a variation on the standard AK. The front sight controls elevation while the rear initially looks the same it’s made of a heavier piece of steel with a hex head wrench adjustment in the center rear for windage adjustments. The grip has finger grooves molded into the front surface with a diamond pattern molded into the sides. The rifle is setup for a two point sling.


    Barrel: 16.5” with a 1:10 twist
    Overall: 37.25”
    Weight: 8.2 lbs
    Comes with two U.S. made Tapco 30 rd. mags
    MSRP $800.00

    When I received the model 39 it was packaged in a foam lined box which included the two Tapco magazines mentioned above as well as a sight adjustment tool and owners manual.

    My initial impression after disassembly of the rifle is that it is well made with better than average fit and finish. An overall comparison between the stamped steel AK’s and the model 39 shows the Century rifle to be a much better rifle. Honestly it’s difficult to even compare the two. The potential buyer just has to decide if the higher price is worth it to have increased accuracy a solid steel receiver as well as the other features mentioned.

    Range Time

    The range portion of the review was shot using Yugo M76 surplus ammunition with a brass case loaded with a 124 grain bullet.Thanks to one of the readers for correctly identifying this ammunition. This ammunition is much hotter than Wolf or most other commercial ammunition I’ve used in 7.62×39.

    Over several sessions I fired approximately 700 rounds with only one failure to eject. I examined the case and noticed a dent in the case near the lip. Whether this was present or caused during firing I’m not sure. In any event reliability is excellent. I didn’t clean the rifle until the test was complete. I did occasionally add lubricant to the interior rails.

    I fired many groups at various distances. For the purpose of accuracy testing I mounted a Vortex red dot scope on the forward rail using an included 2x convertor. The Vortex is a great buy at $179. The scope includes the convertor as mentioned. The scope is also capable of use with night vision equipment. I know of no other red dot near this price that has this feature.

    Groups were fired at 100 yards. The best groups of two rounds were the size of a half dollar the other slightly larger than a quarter. I attribute this to the CNC machined receiver making for a much stiffer barrel to receiver fit. Another factor is most likely the American made barrel. Higher quality ammunition certainly had a bearing on the range results I’m sure. These accuracy groups were fired from a sandbag rest.


    I also did a little varmint hunting. Two of the Muskrats I downed using the Vortex 2X were past 125 yards. Hitting them was no trouble at all from a kneeling position. Of course this isn’t a varmint gun and wouldn’t be a rifle I would use for that purpose on a regular basis since some shots are a good deal further in some instances.

    This rifle has been a solid performer since I’ve had it. I think most shooters wanting to step up from a Romanian rifle would be satisfied with the Model 39. I certainly enjoyed shooting it with an optic or with iron sights. One of the big positives for me is the fact it’s a rifle made in the USA by American workers!

    Update 10/16/2011

    As an update to the previous target and the comments concerning it I shot additional groups. The target below was shot at 100 yards with a 4X scope. The upper left corner was one group with the rest of the target another group. The circle is 2 1/2 inches across.

    Brass cased 140 grain ammunition used

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.