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Old 01-27-2010, 18:17   #1
hyJOEstatic SHOCK
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Quintessential AK Book

Good day Kalashnikov Klub, I hope it finds you well.

I really want to purchase an AK, & have done a pretty fair amount of research on this weapon. Up until this thread, I've used a lot of the info & links provided on the resources sticky DJ put up. What DJ has provided is a great research tool, & so many of you have added to it making it even more informative. I sincerely thank you.

Unlike most things that I've looked into to this extent, I have come away still not sure what type I'm wanting to purchase. I have a desire to know & understand more about this iconic implement of battle before plunking down the duckets.

When faced with something like this, I will usually resort in asking those who are much informed on the issue to refer me to a book on the subject. I find going this route typically works as a book can be very substantial in information. I mean, the author wants it published, right? I find books are also a good method in that they can really help the "noob" out there by starting from the beginning. I feel that for me to understand all the derivatives of this weapon & their details, I'm going to need something with binding & numbered pages.

I know that some of the sites that are linked in the resources sticky do recommend reading material, but I wanted to put the questions directly to the GT AK brain trust.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 01-27-2010, 20:11   #2
T. R. Graham
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There are two books I can recommend -

"The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashikov Rifles and their Variations", by Joe Poyer.


"AK-47 The Grim Reaper", by Frank Iannamico.

Both are excellent.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:30   #3
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I have heard great things about "The Grim Reaper", so I guess I am going to have to add it to my reference library. My understanding is that it even covers semi-autos, which is really what most of us purchase anyway.

Joe, I don't think there is any AK book that can be considered "perfect", and I am sure you can see the value in not sticking to just one source of information. For example, I hold Joe Poyer's book in high regard and even that has several detail mistakes. I contacted Mr. Poyer through the publisher about the errors and it was not to be snooty, but rather because I do respect his work so much, I figured he should know. He acknowledged the mistakes, and added that the incorrect information actually came from the manufacturer. Sometimes, it is really just a matter of who provides the final information to the author. But I am off the subject here...

Anyway, I would recommend getting several books, and even some magazines, to help you in your quest for AK knowledge. Among the books I have are:
"The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashikov Rifles and their Variations", by Joe Poyer
A complete breakdown of an AK, piece by piece. Country-by-country model examinations and development. Receiver types.

"Kalashnikov, The Arms And The Man", by Edward Ezell
Historical development of arms in the USSR up to the AK. Interviews with Mr. Kalahnikov by the author. Superb B&W pics of different models, especially the early ones.

"The Gun Digest Book of the AK & SKS" by Patrick Sweeney
AK Basics 101 - how it's made, how to disassemble, how to build and test, etc. A few articles about specific models from different countries, the Saiga shotgun, a Krink, the Wieger, the VZ-58. This is a good starting point.

"Kalashnikov", by John Walter
A good, quick-guide. Basic, but covers just about every model in every caliber. Sort of like a mini "Jane's" and just slightly larger than a paperback, but in hard cover.

"The Complete Book of the AK47", a Gun & Ammo magazine:
The Guns & Ammo magazine is an unusually good source of info, especially about the 7.62 cartridge (very thorough). There is an article about Mr. Kalashnikov (by David Fortier), a picture essay on AKs from different countries, an article about the prolific WASR, how to parts, the AN94, building an AK, and lots more. This is a true value.

Then there are always folks on boards like this one and others that have a huge wealth of information, most of it first hand. Some authors frequent these boards too, like Tim Pack, with whom I have discussed details of his articles.

You'll find that the more you learn about AKs through literature, the more critical you become about the sources of information and will spot inconsistencies and contradictions in information more easily. Books that once served to get you started would later seem simple/lacking thoroughness/benign.
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Old 01-28-2010, 21:13   #4
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Are we perhaps 'over-thinking' the AK here...

Hard earned duckets means Bulgarian or Saiga...They aren't that many duckets in the big scheme of things, as rifles of this 'type' go (semi auto mil style)

Do you want to spend minimal $ for maximum gun though?
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:02   #5
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Another publication to consider is "The Official Soviet AKM Manual: Operating Instructions for the 7.62mm Modernized Kalashnikov Rifles [AKM and AKMS]."

The manual was originally issued by the Ministry of Defense of the U.S.S.R. and translated by Major James F. Gebhardt, U.S. Army (Ret.)
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