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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations Perfect Paperback – August 15, 2013


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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations + Build Your Own AK: Vol. II: Building the Parts Kit (Volume 2)
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: North Cape Publications, Inc.; 4th Expanded edition (August 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882391411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882391417
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Poyer is the author of more than 400 magazine articles on firearms, the modern military, military history and personal security. He has written fourteen books on antique and modern collectible military firearms plus twelve novels with worldwide sales exceeding 5 million copies. He has also written or co-written nine nonfiction books on the modern military.

Customer Reviews

I own a AK74 and found this book to be extremely well written and informative.
TSN2
This book has a lot of history crammed into it, an a few useful references, as well as the necessary information on how to clean and maintain your rifle.
mrmike
I really do hope they do a second one on some other books cause if they do I will be the first in line to buy a copy.
dray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 2, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I read reviews of this book on Amazon before buying this book. One reviewer stated that the author used photos of semiauto as stand-ins for photos of the original full-auto weapons. My first impression was that the reviewer was being unduly picky, and I didn't pay much attention to that statement.
That reviewer knew what he was talking about.

If you buy this book, do NOT buy it expecting any reasonable accuracy when it comes to photographed weapons.
For instance, on the side of page 11 you will see a semiauto build of a Bulgarian AK-74. It's easily identifiable by its light-colored wood furniture, its East German pistol grip (Identified as such in Fig. 2-49 on p. 39), and by the fact that it was built using screws (?) instead of rivets. It's referred to as a Soviet AK-74 in the color page, a Bulgarian (correctly) on page 91, and as a Romanian AKM-86 on page 101. It is also the same rifle used in the assembly/disassembly section in Appendix C.
Also, on the color page you will see an obviously Romanian AK identified as a Soviet AKM.
There are technical errors in his parts descriptions. In Fig. 2-11 on p. 23, he seems to think that the rear flange on the gas tube (2) and the spring clip (3) are one piece. If that were true it'd be impossible to remove the handguard from the gas tube. In Fig. 2-27 on p. 29, he refers to a "Trigger/Sear Pin". That pin doesn't hold a sear.... But it DOES hold the trigger and DISCONNECTOR. As it turns out, what he refers to as a `sear' is actually the vestigial tab on the back of the disconnector in a semiauto AK (Fig. 2-23 on p. 32) Another small error is that he lists the position of the full-auto pin (which actually holds a sear) on p. 30.

There are some incorrect `facts' in his text.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Warrick on July 12, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback
Joe Poyer's book The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations is fantastic. It provides moderately informed readers with the kind of encyclopedic and in-depth knowledge to quickly become very well informed about Kalashnikovs. It can also still answer questions the better informed might have. The chapters in the book on development history and the part by part descriptions really provide the reader a solid foundation for knowledge on this topic. There are also chapters on accessories, non-Russian Kalashnikovs, other assault rifles influenced by the Kalashnikov (like the Belgian FNC and the Swiss SG 550), SVD type sniper rifles and the best explanation I have seen of the brilliant but overly complicated AN-94 Abakan assault rifle. Poyer even includes a decent guide to maintaining and firing the AK in the appendices.
I personally enjoyed the technical information the most. For example I had read elsewhere that the newer AK-74 and 100 series rifles had a stronger locking system than earlier AKs but there was no explanation why. Poyer explained this with comparison pictures and specifications showing the larger locking lugs on the AK-74 bolt. At the same time I don't agree with all of Poyer's conclusions. For example I don't really see the AN-94 as "The Future of Russian Small Arms". It's much more complicated and expensive than the Kalashnikov rifles as well as being heavier. That it is still in very limited use more than twelve years after adoption backs up my conclusion.
Finally there are areas where Poyer could improve a third edition. An index and better organization would be helpful. Likewise he should include a chapter on RPK machine guns, more info on the Chinese and Yugoslavian variations and info on the newer optics. Notwithstanding this, the book still easily merits five stars.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By John Climacus on February 21, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a decent, short history of the rifle and a somewhat thorough instructional section for breaking it down, cleaning and maintenance.

Unfortunately, the main reason I bought it is because I am in the market to buy an AK-47 and wanted some guidance on comparing all of the various versions from the different countries. For that purpose the book is not very useful at all, because all it provides are some historical information and technical specifications for certain guns manufactured in each country (except the receivers!) without any comment at all regarding relative quality or why one might pick one over the other.

In addition, the book includes a lengthy section on the AK-74, which is fine if that is what you are interested in, but I would have rather had more substantive information on the different versions of the AK-47.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William on January 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a collector, I honestly didn't think this was all that good of a book. While some of the information is useful, much of it is either half-right, generalized, or outdated.
The pictures are very poor in general - on page 4 and 5 for example all of the weapons are semi-auto variants, most with US-made receivers (including a screw build). Some of them are obviously the same rifle with different furniture put on to make them look like various countries' rifles. The same sort of thing happens pretty often (for detail pictures of the AK-74 for example, he only uses pictures of a Bulgarian example instead of a Russian example, even though he is talking about features that the Russians designed and used first).
These might be OK to get a general idea of what a rifle from a country looks like, but it is of no help to a collector who wants to look at mold markings or something. One problem I found was that he does not include close-ups of design and stamping differences between different countries, or variations in production in each country as time went on.

He over-simplifies too many things for a collector. He mentions the wire folding stock used by Romania and E. Germany but makes no mention of the differences between the two (push-button versus lever style, etc). He mentions the AK-74 muzzle brake, but only mentions 2 of the 5 variations that the Russians have, and then uses a picture of a Bulgarian example. Couldn't he at least have gotten a picture of an actual soviet brake, since they are pretty widely available even in the US? He makes no mention of the design and production differences between Bulgarian, Russian, and DDR brakes, or even Romanian 22mm and Russian 24mm which are not interchangeable, etc.
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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations
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