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.

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PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA: