Category Archives: Reviews

PSA AK-E: First Range Trip

Well folks, we finally had a chance to go to the range for the first time this year. It was a beautiful day and the only shortcoming was that we had a number of rifles and pistols to test and not enough time to shoot a ton of rounds through each. To be honest, we had a blast 🙂

One of the rifles that went was my PSA AK-E. It was the smoothest cycling AK out of the box that I have encountered and I think it’s due to a combination of pretty good fitment and their nickel-boron coating of the bolt and bolt carrier. I’ve written a number of posts about my journey with the AK-E so click here to open a tab/window and see those posts.

We were shooting 124 grain 7.62×39 FMJ ammo by Golden Tiger. This is great ammo and my favorite to use. For AK bulk ammo, it’s relatively accurate, reliable and consistent — notice that I say relatively. It will hold its own with any of the bulk steel case ammo or even do better. I’m not comparing it to hand loads or specialty ammo.

Niko is a heck of a shot and is familiar with AKs as well. He had to do Slavic Squat shot 🙂

I wish I could tell you that we shot hundreds of rounds but there just wasn’t time. We shot three mags through it – 90 rounds and did not have one problem. Yeah, it’s not many rounds but I figured some of you would like an update and I’ll post again after the next range trip.

Observations:

  • The little Vortex Crossfire did a great job and we had fun punching paper. The scope and the RS!Regulate optic mount worked out just fine. I’ve used the combo before and expected such.
  • The rifle functioned just fine with no feed or ejection problems
  • The rounds were grouping pretty well – we were not shooting for accuracy – more for function testing
  • The trigger was very nice – ALGs are great in general and what I like to use these days.
  • The brake did a decent job. I think a JMAC RRD-4C brake would have reduced recoil further but out of the box the recoil was not bad at all. When you think about it, even an AK with no brake is surprisingly pleasant to shoot during semi-auto fire
  • I definitely liked the feel – the weight and balance – of the rifle – the RS!Regulate handguard, our AK-12 grip and a Magpul ACS stock worked very well together
Me with my favorite AK shooting shirt 🙂

When we were done, I did take the rifle apart and did not see anything concerning. So, I definitely want to shoot it more and the rifle is off to a good start.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.


Video: Ian Takes His Zastava M76 and M91 to the Range – Lucky Guy!

In previous videos, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has reviewed the Zastava M76 and M91 (here’s the range video for the M91) independently. In this video, he takes them both to the range.

Ian likes the handling and feel of the kit-built M76 but the reliability of the Zastava-built M91 wins him over.

I wish I could afford a M91 but they are just to pricey for me – hovering around the $3,150 mark. So, I’ll just have to watch Ian’s video and wish I had one.

The Video


Kudos to Ian for another two very interesting videos. Be sure to visit his site to learn how you can help sponsor him.

I hope you found this interesting!


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.


Video: Ian Reviews The 8mm Yugo M76 DMR

Ian McCollum, of Forgotten Weapons fame, just did a review of a Yugo M76 designated marksman’s rife (DMR). I like the M76 and own one built for me by Two Rivers Arms so I was listening intently.

Ian’s M76 was built by Century Arms from a kit and he’s happy with it.

Two things I picked up that I didn’t know was that the odd looking muzzle brake’s ribs at the pack are actually threads for a suppressor, Huh… that’s interesting.

Those are interrupted threads at the back of the flash hider for mounting a suppressor.

Second off, I’d heard about the ATF mixup wherein they approved 2,000 M76s to be imported with the full-auto sears installed because the rifle used it as a safety and was never full-auto so it stands to reason it was never a machinegun. Well, the ATF decided later on that these rifles were indeed machineguns because they included the evil full-auto sear and mandated that all rifles had to be collected. What I didn’t realize was that they chopped up the receivers and created all the parts kits that we see today. Ahhhhh,,,, now I know.

At any rate, watch the two videos here – we have Ian’s review and his range visit. The M76s are interesting pieces of history and handle fairly well. [Click here to open a new tab with all of my past M76 related posts listed.]

Ian’s Review Video

Ian Takes The M76 To The Range

Kudos to Ian for another two very interesting videos. Be sure to visit his site to learn how you can help sponsor him.

I hope you found this interesting!


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.

PSA AK-E Part 5: The End Result

This is the final post of the series. Here are the previous AKE posts listed so you can view them if you so wish:

In this final post, I want to share a series of photos of the end result:

By the way, the sling you see is from S2 Delta. I have a number of their slings now and they are nicely done.

Conclusion

This is it for now. Hopefully when the Corona Virus stuff calms down I’ll be able to take it to the range. I’m betting it’s going to run real nice based on how it feels.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.


PSA AK-E Part 3: Tear Down and More Detailed Observations

In my last post, I showed you a bunch of photos with my observations of the AK-E right out of the box. In this post, I am going to take it apart and see what I see. Like the last post, I’ll post photos with my thoughts in the captions.

I’m going to be upfront and tell you what I found in terms of flaws or things you ought to be aware of. With that said, this is the smoothest cycling AK with the best trigger out of the box without any lubrication at all that I have ever felt – my IWI Galil Ace was this way also.

So, let’s get to it…

You push in the protruding button of the recoil spring assembly to do the takedown. Note the proprietary jigsaw puzzle piece rear tang that PSA uses. It allows them to have one trunnion and the flexibility to support different types of stocks. Note the slightly bent edges of the screw’s slot. I really wish guys would use the proper sized screw driver to switch to a different type of fastener. This one’s not too bad but the inside ones are worse.
It has a basic stamped dust cover with beading to stiffen it.
Here’s the top of the dust cover. The beading definitely stiffens the cover up.
Here’s our first peek inside. Note the marking on the shoulder of the front trunnion. You have a clear view of the top of the Nickel Boron (Ni-B) coated bolt carrier and the bolt is sitting just in front of the ALG AKT hammer.
Good view of the characters on top of the trunnion. The AKE-0393 is the SN. Note the Ni-B coating is very consistent. You can see the hammer is solidly engaging the bolt and firing pin.
The recoil/operating spring is captured on a two-piece wire assembly just like other AKMs.
The wood is fit nicely. I mentioned earlier the external screw head was messed up just a bit and now you can see the internal two that have their slots messed up more. This happens from using two small of a screw driver. The assemblers need to use the proper sized driver. Note the split rear trunnion where the forward rivets are.
Close up view of the ALG EKT-EL trigger. You can tell this is the enhanced trigger vs the ultimate because the trigger does not have the Ni-B coating that the ultimate does. Note that is has the auxiliary trigger spring installed – that is the single wound spring at the top of the photo. According to ALG, it adds 10-14oz of pull over the normal AK spring by itself. Also note that the select/safety lever can sit fully on trigger without needing the optional roll pin that ALG includes with the aftermarket trigger to allow builders to accommodate different lengths of selector stop bars.
Here’s the hammer in the cocked position held by the hook. The manganese phosphate (parkerized) finish is notably smooth. If it wasn’t, there wold be a grittiness. It’s a very nice trigger. You can see the leg of the auxiliary spring pushing down on the top trigger leg in the photo – it’s the single would spring just forward of the double wound spring.

In case you are wondering, I collected a sample of 10 trigger pulls using my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. Weights varied from 4lbs 1oz to 4lbs 12oz. The average was 4lbs 5oz. If someone wanted a lighter pull, then you could remove the auxiliary spring located on the trigger and probably be down in the 3 pound range. I like the feel of the trigger currently and am going to leave the spring in for now.

Boy it looks gorgeous from the top. I like that I can see the gas piston rivet easily – they are a bear when you have to hunt for them. The Ni-B treatment is consistent. The bolt and carrier have serial numbers that match the receiver and trunnion. For those new to the AK platform, the barrel is pressed into the trunnion to the point that the headspace is correct with the bolt that is matched to it. Once the headspace is correct, a hole is drilled and cross pin installed to lock the barrel in place. In the old days, this had to be done because loose manufacturing tolerances could not guarantee that all barrel, trunnion and bolt combinations would headspace correctly. Reliability issues would happen if parts were mixed from different rifles so this led to serializing the parts. By putting a serial number on the parts, an armorer could be sure to put the matching parts back in the correct rifle.
Here’s a view of the bottom of the bolt carrier with the bolt fully forward.
You can see the machining marks very clearly. This did surprise me – I would have expected it to be smooth but the action itself seems to not have any issues. I very carefully watched the bolt head cam travel in the carrier’s channel and it does not hang up anywhere. So, it might not look very good but it does not appear to harm functioning at all.
Here’s another view of the tool marks.
Here’s the best photo I can get with my phone. Everything clears. Time will tell how the Ni-B coating holds up. It appears to be well implemented.
First view of the bolt
Second view of the bolt body
The gas piston’s face is slightly concave.
Here’s the famous Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN) barrel that everyone is ogling over. As I understand them, the markings mean: HF=Hammer Forged MP=Magnetic Particle tested CL=Chrome Lined 7.62×39 is the chambering and 1/9.45 is the twist rate.

Now you may be wondering, how on Earth did FN pick such an odd twist rate. In short, that is the conversion of “1 turn in 240mm” that is the Russian military spec for 7.62×39. Actually, the metric conversion of 240mm to inches gets you “9.44882” and with rounding we get 9.45. If we rewind the clock, it was also the twist rate they used in the Mosin Nagant and they wanted to save money and use the same barrel making machines. [There’s a real cool write up – click here]

The front and rear sights are just what you’d expect.
By applying the bead to the ejector tab, they stiffened the unit. It’s a nice touch that you don’t always see people address.

So, thanks to the quarantine, I can’t take it out and shoot it. My impressions overall are favorable but the proof will be at the range. I think you are getting a solid rifle for the price. Time will tell how they hold up compared to the premium AKs – Veprs and custom builds.

I hope this helps you out. In the next post I’ll write about the customizations I did to fit my tastes.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.