German Sports Guns GSG-AK47W (B030598)
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
German Sport Guns (GSG) as you might or might not know makes a very good 22 rimfire copy of the Heckler & Koch MP5 SMG – the GSG5. I tested one a few months ago and have been told by importers York Guns that they are selling very well. Hardly surprising as this sort of military-style hardware in street legal 22 Long Rifle format is proving popular. The buzz at IWA this year was that GSG were about to launch an AK47, something they hinted at in 2008. A 22 semi-auto copy of Michail Timofejewitsch Kalashnikov’s finest is now on my desk, so let’s see what it’s all about?
The example I have here is the wood-stocked version (AK47W) which is pretty much the original design from 1947. Also available is the AK47P (plastic stock), which although using the same chassis is more like the modern AK74 with a fixed or side-folding butt, pistol grip and forend in black synthetic. Like the GSG5 the AK has a number of accessories for it that includes such items as scope mounts, alternative forends, mag clamps etc. I hope to be getting some of these from York Guns for a future article in the New Year.
Though totally different looking on the outside, unsurprisingly the AK uses the near same barrelled action as the GSG5. The main difference being the cocking handle, which is on the right that reciprocates with the bolt. The large safety catch is also included but shows a hooked end to give a manual hold open facility, plus it’s a lot smoother to use…
On the left of the receiver is the NV mount (made of plastic) found on all later versions of the AK along with the catch for the side-folding stock. OK not 100% accurate for this, the wooden gun, but sensible in terms of manufacture. There is an automatic last round hold open function as the GSG5, also a magazine safety, which disables the trigger mech unless a clip is inserted.
The ultra-slim barrel is encased in a dummy outer tube that gives the look and girth of the original and is internally threaded at the muzzle. This is finished off with a removable cap (muzzle nut) that appears to stabilise the barrel. It will also accept the AK74-style muzzle brake and silencer adaptor which are optional extras.
The thread is the same as the one used on the GSG5 for its moderator, which fits the AK too. However, I would not use it for two reasons! First it’s way too long for a muzzle mounted unit. Second, its reflex-type design means the bullet has to pass through about 8” of open space before it enters the baffles and you could have alignment problems. Plus there’s a thread adaptor that steps down to ½” UNF so you can fit a normal sized, muzzle-mounted 22 rimfire moddy instead. Which to my mind is the logical solution!
The barrel length is 17 ½” and the rifle 36”, though in this case the butt can be removed to still leave 26”, which is how it comes from the box. This then has none of the problems of the GSG5 that had to have a mandatory 16” tube so it could use the telescopic and side-folding stock options to keep it a legal Section 1 firearm. This did make it look odd, hence the fitting of a dummy moderator to give it more of the MP5 SD (suppressed version) look.
In general view the GSG-AK47 looks pretty good, though in some areas feels a little more soft air-like than the GSG5. The stock is real wood, though the butt does not show a metal rear plate nor sling swivel, though there is a sling slot front/left of the forend. The foresight is an A-frame with an elevation-adjustable post; at the rear the classic, U-notch tangent-style, though there’s no provision for windage correction.
Under the barrel is a removable cleaning rod, which is too short to do the job. On the right of the sight base is the lever that locks the gas tube in place, this is functional and allows the tube and forend to be removed should you want to substitute furniture.
Magazine change is identical with a push-forward lever at the rear of the well, though this is larger than the original and easier to use. The magazine is shorter and slightly less curved than the real, 7.62x39mm, banana clip. It’s marked up to 24-rounds and is open-sided (as the GSG 5) with external follower lugs to make filling easier, as these allow you to take the weight of the spring. The left hand follower trips the last round hold open facility. I understand that lower capacity units are available.
Over the years I have seen a couple of AK47 rimfire clones and the GSG version is by far the best I have handled. It also offers an unusual alternative should you not want to go the more Western route of the MP5 and the various AR15 and Ruger 10/22 conversions.
The AK like the GSG5 is screwed together, which makes disassembly a bit more involved, though like the original Kalashnikov the top receiver cover is easily removed. Two screws hold the cocking handle extension on and with that out of the way you have good access to the bolt face and chamber area, so maintaining the rifle is a bit easier. If this were my gun; I’d cut off the forward extension of the handle as that only seems to fill a gap. Meaning I would not have to take it off to gain access to the breech area.
Obviously for higher round count cleaning the bolt assembly needs removing, which means the butt & adaptor and pistol grip/trigger mech have to come off first. GSG supply full instructions and a tool kit for the purpose along with a spanner for the muzzle nut and foresight adjuster tool. As always with a 22 semi-auto, get as much crud out as you can and be very sparing on the lubrication, as oil attracts crap, which = stoppages!
With past experience from the GSG5 I picked the usual cross section of ammo to try through the AK – subs, standard, high and ultra high velocity from a number of manufacturers. Loading the mag is easy due to the exterior follower lugs, though I could only get 22-rounds in.
The AK proved slightly different to the GSG5 in that it did not like sub-sonics, as it fired, ejected and chambered but did not cock the hammer. However it ran as sweet as a nut on standard, hi-velocity and even some ultra HV Remington Viper, this load was not to the MP5’s taste at all. Accuracy; at 50-yards even with the iron sights the gun was keeping it real with 2-3” groups. Closer (20-30 yards) I was able to bounce empty shotgun shells all over the range…
In keeping with its centrefire reputation this rimfire AK was around 100% more reliable than the GSG5 I reviewed in June last year. With the H&K clone you would get around 150-shots before things started gumming up. Apart from testing the various ammo types, which accounted for say 60-shots, I opened a 500-tin of Lapua Club (standard velocity) and started filling and shooting. I reached 300-rounds with only three stoppages – two low-power shots that failed to cock and one misfeed. So I’d say it ran for around 350 with no real problems.
Nowhere To Run
After that the crud build up really decelerated the action with failures to cock becoming epidemic. Two things occur to me first - the open nature of the AK action build probably allows more crap to blow out of the ejection port. Second the pre-packaged bolt assembly is quite ‘closed in’ so the dirt build up eventually gets to critical level, as it has nowhere to go. But a strip and clean solves all this; chances are when the AK has worn in a little, it will prove even more reliable…
As the rifle came with no scope mount there was not a lot I could do to see what it could really achieve. Though if it can shoot 2-3” with iron sights at 50-yards, it is probably accurate enough. However, since finishing this article the accessory package arrived and that includes a scope mount, moderator adaptor and side-folding stock. I will be getting on to that lot next month along with the MP5 SD version and all the go faster bits for this rifle too.
At the end of the day this is another good effort from German Sport Guns and an unusual and attractive alternative for a hi-capacity semi-auto rimfire. What next I wonder, as I’m sure GSG is not going to stop here; maybe an MP40 or STG 44?
• A pleasing alternative to other hi-cap, 22, military-style semi-autos
• Like to see how it shoots with a scope on board
• Reliable up to 300-rounds plus; not too bad at all