CMMG Mutant; California Compliant Version

    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 teaches wilderness medicine and writes for a number of publications, including The Prepared, a site devoted to self-preparedness. 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.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT thefirearmblog.com


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