AK magazine identification guide.
Have you guys tried getting help to identify the magazine that came with your AK?
This is one subject that comes up and has always fascinated me. And just when I think I have it down pat, someone comes along and shows me a variation I was not aware of, or corrects my information.
Anyway, I am going to take a stab at it to help all of us. Most of these are from my personal collection. If you guys have anything to add or any corrections, please share.
Alright, enough gab. Let's get to business...
Here are 30-round AK magazines from nine different countries. While all look the same, there are differences is the original finish, the stamps along the ribs, construction, followers, bottom retainers, welds, the number of ribs, types of ribs, and the depression lines and how they terminate that help identify the origin. Even within the same country, there will be differences, such as the Russians using factory logos for Ishevsk or Tula or "M" for Molot. Magazines also vary depending on whether they were originally designed for the AK-47 or AKM in the same country.
These are my accepted examples (always subject to change), but there are those that know far more than I do and may be able to point out other things or mistakes. My collection is definitely not all-inclusive. Be sure to click on the individual pictures to see them larger.
Here is a Bulgarian that I unwrapped brand new. Notice the termination of the depression right below where I penciled "BUL". It cuts up at 45 degrees before ending.
Here is a Chinese flat back. Note two ribs on the bottom. Compare these ribs to those of the Yugo mag.
And the telltale give-away.
Egyptian, brand new from Copes Distributing. I have also seen older Egyptian mags stamped "Made In Egypt" too.
East German. East German mags are nicely blued and crisp in the ribs. Also look at the extensive spot welding along the spine and how equidistant the welds are.
Hungarian and its "C2" stamp. Variations include "2" or "20". My Hungarian 20-round mags all have "20" except one is also marked "C2".
Polish and its circle "11" stamp. Also notice how the depression below where I penciled "POL" turns 90 degrees before ending.
Romanian and a simple "0" with a line. Some just have a "0", some have nothing.
Hungarian. Circle "M" and notice the end of the spine, which is square unlike other magazines that end at a 45 degree angle.
Finally, Yugoslavian. Note the two ribs along the bottom, but a full spine. Also, when compared to the Chinese, the lower rib on the Yugo mag nearly touched the bottom plate, while the Chinese is higher.
And of course, the unique follower. Yugo on the left, Russian (and most others) on the right.
Actually, let me add more...
Croatian/Bosnian. Some have what looks like the boyscout symbol
Here are three Russian Izhevsk with the easily identifiable full arrow in the triangle logo below the middle rib.
and an old Russian aluminum "waffle" mag.
You're welcome. Here are better pictures highlighting exactly what I mean by the Chinese magazine not having a spine as compared to the Yugoslavian magazine.
...and another picture of the spine area along with the two ribs at the bottom. Both magazines have only two ribs but note the location. The Chinese ribs also extend further to the front of the magazine, while the Yugo ribs are pretty much confined to the larger, flat area.
I just want to point something out here...there are magazines for sale from some distributors listed as either Chinese or Yugoslavian, but are actually neither and you must ask or read the ad carefully. If you are trying to keep your magazines as original as possible, be on the lookout for "Chugos" which are magazines made by combining Yugo and Chinese parts in an attempt to simply sell magazines.
Extremely iinformative and useful post that requires a sticky. Thanks, Carlos!
Please let me add that Hungarian magazines normally have the "02" stamp, which was the country's Warsaw Pact designation number. You'll even find this stamped on almost every part of older M44 Mosin's from Hungary. Some mags also come with a "D" or "M" stamp as well. About half of my 20 round magazines from Hungary lack the "02", but have either a "D" or "M". "Man in the Moon" stamps can be found on some of these as well, but like the "02", this is not consistent.
What has stumped me most often has been distinguishing Romanian from Polish mags. Both have the 90 degree turn (as you indicated), yet often do not have the "11" (Polish) or "0" (Romanian) stamps. Have you been able to identify any other unique traits that can help differentiate these mags?
Thanks again, Carlos. You work is amazing, and much appreciated.
The Romanians have glaring spot welds on the tabs that the Polish mags don't. This is the only way I know of to differentiate between the two.
I just wanted to add this picture from AIM's website that backs up what I said about the Romanian magazines. Notice the spot weld.
And - do you have any preferences? I personally have been driven mainly by what fits best in any given gun...and other than lack of rust/rattles etc....don't really care as they have all seemed to more or less work - much like the guns themselves! Currently I have some Romanian, some Bulgarian, some Hungarian, some Tapco Intrafuse, some Promags maybe a couple of other nationalities - none of them cause me any trouble, but Promag/Tapco work better in my Romy's mag well.
Once again, Carlos unveils the mystery. Thanks! I never noticed the spot weld differences.
I forgot to add that some of my Romanian mags display a "22" stamp as well as the "0" stamp. One has them both on the spine; others only display one of the two; still others have no stamps at all.
For me, nothing is nicer for 7.62 than an East German mag. The quality of the metal work and blueing, as Carlos pointed out, is exemplary and stands out from the others. :)
Very useful and interesting information. Thanks! :wavey:
It's just me and my peculiar tastes.
More great info, well-presented (as usual). Allow me to add my thanks as well, CarlosC.
I am a newer member here, and I would just like to express my great appreciation for Carlos' knowledge, and help with the AK platform. He never tries to belittle you even if he's answered your question to a hundred other's before you. He has responded to my private messages promptly, and with great detail! I think I can speak for most all here that his help has benefited this site, and it's members immensely. Thank You Again Mr. Carlos C.
Definitely a great thread. Thanks for all the efforts going into research & photos. Some of the NORINCO mags are also easily identifiable via their chrome followers and the obvious bluing finish to the mag body as opposed to military parkerize finish or black painted finish.
My original intention was to do a quick post that covers the most common magazines you and I will see, but I see I am going to have to expand this thanks to your inputs and those of the other GT AK enthusiasts.
I am in the process of gathering more photos from other sources and I'll continue updating once I have saved the photos and added the photographers' credits to each.
Okay, here's an update and more info to muddy the waters further. fnfalman, here are the mags you spoke of..
Chinese Polytech with the chrome follower
Chinese with the stamped side plate
Here are original Egyptian with "Made In Egypt" stamps on the side plate
Some more Russian:
Russian slab side
A nice picture of a Russian aluminum waffle
Russian Izshevsk with the "Arrow in Triangle" stamp on the side rib
Russian Izshevsk with the stamp on the spine
Bosnian/Croatian two-rib (unknown original photographer)
Bosnian/Croatian Fleur de Lys
Bosnian/Croatian single side rib
Hungarian "Man on the Moon" stamp that Serb talked about
I collected these pics long ago, so I do not know who the original photographers are for these next two, but I am more than willing to give them credit if anyone knows.
A nice East German sample. While this one has been refinished, again notice the crisp stamps and overall workmanship.
and two nice Polish magazines. Notice the absence of obvious welds on the side plates.
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