AR pattern rifles are relatively new on the Russian market but are already presented in a wide variety of configurations, from pistol caliber carbines to AR-10 style rifles and everything inbetween. Most of them are largely just ARs, nothing special. However, one company, Souz-TM, makes pretty interesting AR-15 style rifles that are chambered in 5.45x39mm and take modified AK-74 magazines. The company offers a DI version of their modified AK-74 mag fed AR called STM-545 and a short stroke piston operated one called STM-415.
Russian ARs @ TFB:
- New Pistol Caliber Carbine from Russian Company Sport Weapon Custom
- RA-15 – New AR-Style Rifle Designed in Russia
- AR-15 is Conquering Russia: Overview of Emerging Russian AR-15 Market
- Russian ORSIS Starts Manufacturing AR-15 Rifles Called ORSIS-AR15J
Reportedly, the magazine conversion is done simply by deleting the front and rear locking lugs of the AK-74 magazines and cutting a side hole for the AR magazine catch. The magazine well is also modified to accommodate the AK-74 mag geometry. Although the case body taper difference between the 5.45×39 and 5.56×45 cartridges is minimal, it still exists and the use of the 5.45 AK magazine body should aid in the feeding reliability compared to using 5.45 AR mags in standard AR lowers.
These Souz-TM rifles feature machined 7075-T6 aluminum receivers, chrome-lined cold hammer forged barrels with 1/2×28 muzzle threads, Souz-TM muzzle brakes and trigger mechanisms, and DLG Tactical or FAB Defense pistol grips and stocks. The metal parts are Cerakoted. The price on the Russian market for the basic configuration STM-545 DI rifle is 320,000 rubles which is a whopping $5200.
To me, the 5.45×39 cartridge has a superb design and would make a great precision weapon cartridge if match-grade ammunition was made with the use of brass cases and match bullets. Such 5.45 ARs (or better yet unmodified AK-74 mag fed ARs) in an SPR configuration and with match-grade ammo would be really interesting for military, LE and civilians in countries where 5.45×39 is a standard issue military cartridge (many of the post-Soviet countries) and AK-74 magazines are ubiquitous.
Pictures by Souz-TM, www.stmarms.su