WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY
by John Milewski (a regular contributor to Airgun World magazine)
What a beauty, and a great performer too!
THE AK - 104 When Izhmash introduced the 100 Series of Kalashnikov rifles during the early to mid 1990s, two lengths of rifles were offered; a standard and carbine length. Gone was the AKS-74U with its 8.1 inch barrel and in came a carbine length 12 ½ inch barrel, which was ballistically more efficient.
ALL ABOUT CHOICE These rifles were offered in 5.56, 5.45 and 7.62mm calibres, all major parts to ensure as many common parts were used as possible and I was pleased to see that RussMilitary offer an AK-104 build that is based on the Chinese Cybergun AK-47.
The RussMilitary build is based on a modernised AK-104 with subtle improvements. For example, the black polymer handguards have Picatinny rails for lights and other accessories, while a choice of stock is offered. I opted for a Magpul Zhukov side folding stock and was delighted when Boris personally delivered the CO2 powered AK-104 to me. So, let's take a closer look at the RussMilitary creation.
THE RussMilitary BUILD Starting with the Zhukov stock, it is made from polymer and offers light weight combined with strength. The stock is solid when deployed and folds to the right after a release button on the left side is depressed. It is retained in its folded state by means of a friction fit, needing light pressure to deploy and lock it in place.
There is a facility to extend the length of the stock through a trigger type release on the front side of the butt section. The catch requires a fair amount of pressure to release, which is good on a new item made from polymer. Reach to pull length can be adjusted from 12 to 15 inches.
There are multiple sling points on the stock consisting of Quick Detach (QD) points at the front of the stock by the locking mechanism and at its rear, towards the top of the butt section. A further moulded slot can be found at the toe of the butt section, where a sling can be threaded through conventionally without the need for QD attachments.
A polymer grip is fitted with moulded finger grooves and a base that can be accessed to store batteries or other accessories such as a cleaning kit or perhaps a CO2 cartridge and Pellgun oil. I was pleased to see the base of the grip comes with a locking cap as standard and you therefore don't need to seek out a further purchase to secure the storage space within the grip.
Standard Cybergun AK-47 magazines are a good match as they are made from black plastic but RussMilitary supply an adapted polymer body made by Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash). The fitting of the magazine was excellent on the example I bought.
There is a short section of Picatinny rail on the right sight, which is ideal for a light mount or you can mount a light on the longer section under the lower handguard, which is complete with its internal heat shield. There is no need for a shield on a CO2 powered arm but it does demonstrate excellent attention to detail. Incidentally, the railed black polymer handguards have been seen on the AK-107 series and its siblings, as well as the 9mm Vityaz in Marco Vorobiev's book on the AK-47.
The muzzle has the standard AK-74 24 x 1.5 thread and comes with a cone shaped muzzle booster of the type seen on the AKS-74U and then on the carbine length 100 Series rifles. This was needed to enable gas to cycle the action on a firearm as the shorter barrel resulted in very little gas entering the gas port without the support of this little device. A DTK Putnik silencer was also supplied with the build, with holes drilled in the internal ‘barrel' to enable it to suppress some of the muzzle blast generated by the CO2 rifle. I found the point of impact with silencer fitted did not differ that greatly from when the muzzle device was used.
PERFORMANCE Off the bat, I was delighted in the round count from each CO2 cartridge. Admittedly, I initially tested the AK-104 on a couple of warm and muggy August days with temperatures around 21 – 23° but fired over 150 shots before the final magazine's velocity dropped to an unusable level. RussMilitary do upgrade the magazine's performance and this was certainly evident with this build.
I tested steel BBs as well as my preferred option of copper coated lead balls made by H&N (which can also be found under the Excite Smart Shot brand). 6 yard groups were not as tight with the AK-104 as other RussMilitary builds. However, they grouped within 2 inches and the AK-104 came into its own when the range was extended outdoors and tin cans were targeted.
One advantage was I could fire the AK-104 rapidly more than other CO2 AKs, so it was possible to down tin cans in a hail of copper coated lead Smart Shot. Much to my delight, the first can to be targeted was ripped apart when 18 shots were fired rapidly from 10 yards away. I aimed low and towards the right side of the can, and this rewarded me with accuracy that was good enough to destroy the can with rapid shots. An apple on a stick placed 8 yards away suffered a similar fate, as multiple shots landed on it, often resulting in chunks breaking off at speed.
The trigger pull was long but smooth, coming in at 5.2 lbs. In effect it works like a double action mechanism with the exception that there is no cylinder to cycle. All the trigger has to do is tension the valve release spring via a bar, which then releases at the end of the trigger's travel.
This is an excellent representation of the AK-104 with a potential for fitting after market accessories such as lights and lasers, as well as foregrips. All in all, the RussMilitary AK-104 is a very welcome addition to my modest AK collection.