Guarder AKM Kit & DTP metal AK47 receiver


Guarder AKM Kit &
DTP metal AK47 receiver
By Paul Sykes (aka Ivan)

Stock
Specifications
Features

AKM kit:
Limited Item!
Designed for TMAK47.
Weight: 1100 g
Material: Steel / Wood
Item No.: AK-09

RRP AKM MSRP: 450USD
DTP RRP 80USD

Click here to visit Guarder

AKM – A History Developed by the Soviets in 1959 and entering service in 1961, the AKM, a descendant of the AK47, was easier to produce and operate. Firing the same 7.62mm round, it weighs in at 3.14 kg, a kilo less than its predecessor. This was a result of using thinner, stamped sheet-metal parts rather than machined, forged steel; laminated wood furniture rather than solid wood; and new lightweight aluminium and plastic magazines. Other improvements included a straighter stock for better control; an improved gas cylinder; a rate-of-fire control alongside the trigger; a rear sight graduated to 1,000 metres rather than 800 metres (seeing as the AKM shares the effective range of the AK47 at 300m, this seems a tad optimistic); and a greatly improved, detachable bayonet. A later version (Model 3) was fitted with an angled muzzle brake to improve control further.

As for the AK47, a folding stock version designated AKMS was produced for paratroops and riflemen in armoured infantry combat vehicles such as the BMP.

The AKM can mount a grenade launcher, PBS silent fire device and passive image intensifier night sights. It can function normally after total immersion in mud and water, and a fully chromed barrel ensures effective operation even at very low temperatures.

Why an AKM in Airsoft? With the rapidly growing awareness in the West of modern Russian assault rifles, particularly the AK74 (featured in games such as Operation Flashpoint, Conflict: Desert Storm & Freedom Fighters) and to a lesser extent the AN-98 (first coming to my attention in MGS2), one may question the logic in shelling out 200 notes to convert their archetypal Kalashnikov into the anonymous and seemingly obsolete AKM.

When I bought my first AEG, a TM AK47, I opted for low-caps, necessitating a pouch system that could comfortably deal with up to eight magazines. After initial unsuccessful Internet searches for a supplier, I was pleased when, via Arnie’s, I hit upon Rusmilitary.com. Some time later, smug and fully kitted out with an excellent Splav BDU and Assault Vest, it slowly dawned on me that the average modern Russian soldier was unlikely to be armed with the ageing AK47. Probably not an issue for most ‘Softers, who (rightly so) couldn’t give a stuff as long as their kit did the job properly but, for an anorak such as myself, it was a problem.

Desperate to find evidence that the Russian military did occasionally arm its troops with ‘47s, I started obsessively searching the net for images that would irrefutably confirm this.

Before I go into my findings, I feel that a brief history of the Kalashnikov is in order:

•  Conceived in 1947 and in full service a couple of years later, the AK47.

•  Replaced in 1961 by the improved AKM.

•  1974 and, following the lead of the West, the smaller calibre AK74 is developed. Effectively an AKM re-chambered to fire the new and “controversial” Soviet 5.45mm round (controversial because it’s designed to topple on impact, inflicting particularly nasty wounds. Never too sure why this was considered controversial – if you shoot guns at people, it’s usually with the intention of putting holes in them, so getting moralistic about the correct size of hole to inflict seems to me a bit hypocritical?). The plastic mag is modified accordingly and has a less pronounced curve. A new design muzzle brake is also added to optimise control for fully automatic fire. Internals (particularly bolt & bolt carrier) revised.

•  Mid-80’s and onwards – The AK74’s laminated wood furniture is slowly replaced with glass reinforced polyamide synthetic. Colours varied through the years as the ’74 was tweaked and modified. Initially orange-brown, then a curious plum colour, finally the ubiquitous colour of the modern military small arm: black.

•  Finally (and seemingly bringing the Kalashnikov dynasty to an end?) the AN-98 “ Abakan ” is adopted by the Russian military in 1994. An advanced weapon featuring a two-shot automatic firing mode at a theoretical 1,600 rpm in addition to the standard single and full-auto firing options, the Abakan is reportedly now in limited use within the Russian Special Forces.

So, back to my Internet search. Given the above history and the fact that there have been 30 years – give or take a few months – in which to replace them with AK74s, I’d put fairly low odds on expecting to find either an AK47 or an AKM in the hands of a modern Russian trooper. Those odds were pretty much borne out with the AK47 (with the exception of one news-reel image from the Chechen conflict where I swear a young Russian conscript is clutching a ’47, but I can’t quite be 100% sure…). However, and much to my surprise, the AKM appears in around 1 in every 8 images (I now have a personal library of around 40 saved images). Furthermore, not only does the AKM appear to be alive and well but, within the Special Forces, it also appears to be a weapon of choice – two separate sources suggesting that the AKMS is the preferred assault rifle of many elite troops. Presumably they favour the heavier calibre in much the same way that veteran British squaddies get all misty-eyed over the stopping power of the FN-FAL.

(Incidentally the Abakan features in only a small number of seemingly staged ‘demonstration’ photos).

In order, then, to achieve my aesthetic vision of anachronism free airsofting, I knew that nothing less than an AKM or AK74 would do (I particularly liked the early ‘74s with the laminated wood furniture, showcased brilliantly in the Bond film Goldeneye – along with the much coveted AKS74U). So, after months of dreaming, I was hugely excited when the Guarder web site announced in August 2003 that their AKM conversion kit was “Coming Soon”.

Five frustrating months later and the kit was finally available. The money that had been burning a hole in my pocket for the past 159 days (not that I’m obsessive or anything) flew like shit off a shovel down the wire to WGC via PayPal. My order was placed.

The Review

Placing the Order Encouraged by a positive write-up on Arnie’s, I had previously placed orders with WGC on a couple of occasions and found their web site easy to order from and their service fast and efficient. Sticking with the supplier I knew and trusted, I submitted an order for both the AKM kit and a DTP metal receiver on the Friday night. On the Saturday morning I’d received the full quote including postage and an order reference number via e-mail. Within minutes the payment via PayPal was made. It was all very simple. That afternoon I left the house for a six-day holiday…

…Returning home on the following Friday, where I was gobsmacked to find that my order had been sitting safely in my next-door neighbour’s hallway for a day or so. Less than five working days turnaround from payment to receipt of goods is bloody impressive in my books, particularly when the goods have come from the other side of the planet.

The Components Starting with the metal receiver, I found it to be a hefty and cleanly finished piece of crafted steel. After discussions with a friend who knows about these things, I understand it to be stamped, roll-formed and welded from thick (about 4mm) sheet steel.

A mid-grey in colour, the DTP receiver weighs in at just under 700g: over half a kilo more than the standard plastic receiver. The grey colour isn’t particularly appropriate for the AK, so I presume it is just primed for the purchaser to paint in the colour of his or her choice.

The AKM kit comes in a relatively small box, the components individually bubble-wrapped and packed in closely together. The content is as follows:

  • A simple A4 sized pictorial guide illustrating assembly.
  • Laminated wood stock and upper & lower fore-grip units.
  • Butt-plate (with two screws to fit to stock).
  • Replacement barrel.
  • Gas tube assembly (in two parts with one grub-screw).
  • AKM-style muzzle brake.
  • Metal collar for forward end of lower fore-grip (with one grub-screw).
  • Ribbed metal receiver.
  • Plastic pistol grip (with screw).

Taking these components one-by-one, I found the laminated wooden furniture to meet up fully with my high expectations. Exceptionally well crafted, the stock and upper & lower fore-grip are beautifully coloured with a medium gloss lacquer finish. The alternating light/dark layers of the laminate are both authentic and eye-catching. Overall, the furniture is deserving of the description ‘a work of art’. On a practical level, the attachment points where the stock fits the receiver are pre-drilled and fitted with threaded brass inserts to ensure a firm attachment. These inserts are also fitted at the end of the stock for the secure attachment of the steel butt-plate. The stock appears to have been manufactured from a solid block of laminate, which has then been bored out to allow for the insertion of a battery. I discovered fairly quickly that the width of the cavity in the stock was too narrow for my standard large battery to fit, prompting me to embark on a campaign of enquiry – but more of that later…

The replacement barrel is also of an excellent quality; machined steel with a black bluing. It doesn’t share the thickness of the standard AK barrel between the gas port and the fore-grip, and as a consequence makes the completed rifle look leaner. All-round, it is a noticeable improvement on the standard barrel.

The gas-tube assembly is largely similar in construction to the standard cast-metal assembly, with the obvious exception that it has been re-styled to reflect the blunter, more right-angled drop from gas tube to barrel. It also incorporates the rear lug for the attachment of an AKM/AK-74 bayonet. The grub screw locates in a pre-drilled hole on the under-barrel side of the assembly to enable fixture to the barrel.

Small but perfectly formed, the muzzle brake, like the barrel, also appears to be machined rather than cast steel giving it a clean and purposeful look. It is finished in a matt black.

There isn’t much to say about the collar for the fore-grip, other than it’s metal! This replaces the plastic collar of the standard AK, and is held in place by the grub screw supplied.

Similar to the standard AK receiver cover, the AKM receiver cover is made from pressed sheet steel, with the obvious difference in that it has the distinctive ribbing of the real AKM, added for improved rigidity. The finish is also identical to the standard receiver cover – gloss black.

Finally, the pistol grip. Although hollow plastic, this is rigid and gives the impression that it can withstand quite a bit of punishment. It has two lugs at the forward edge for locating into the receiver body. The grip has well defined raised chequered panels on either side that give a comfortable and positive grip.

Preparation and Assembly If you’ve studied photographs of the assembled AKM, you’ll notice that the pistol grip fits flush against the receiver body. I had observed this, and had cautiously presumed that the upper part of the grip was slightly wider than the collar that the standard grip butts against, thereby slipping over the collar. However, on looking at the assembly instruction sheet for the first time, it became immediately obvious that this was not the case. A picture showing a thick black line dividing the main receiver body from the pistol grip collar and the words “CUT OFF!” made it perfectly clear to me what had to be done. However, having just received a brand new DTK metal receiver, I was reluctant to start hacking pieces off it. It was with some trepidation, then, that I paid a visit to B&Q (chain hardware retailer) and purchased a hacksaw, file and a set of needle files (all for the grand sum of £10). In a moment of forward thinking, I then went next door to Halfords (chain car accessories & servicing store) to buy a can of matt black acrylic spray paint.

I resolved to do the job properly and, not having a workbench or vice of my own, I had agreed with a friend to borrow their Workmate one day later that week. That evening, however, sitting on the end of my bed, I started toying with the receiver. With it held between my knees, I tentatively drew the hacksaw across the collar a couple of times. Emboldened by the positive way the blade bit into the metal without skating about on the surface, I decided to take a couple more strokes. Half an hour later and I’d removed the collar leaving a raised edge less than a millimetre in height. Ten minutes with the file, and I’d smoothed the edge down flush with the receiver body – it had been incredibly easy and my initial unease had been unfounded. (However, I shall emphasise that I do not recommend this impatient approach to the reader: get yourself a vice and a proper work surface. If I’d screwed up, I’d have looked a twat, and rightly so). The final modification required was to cut two notches into the receiver in which to locate the lugs of the pistol grip. Measuring and marking as per the instructions, the notches (5mm wide, 1 mm deep) were carefully made using a needle file.

Although having decided that I was going to spray-paint the receiver matt black, I knew that, despite the apparent quality of the metal receiver, there could be minor discrepancies in manufacturing tolerance that could result in misalignment when attempting to fit the internals to the receiver. Any misalignment could probably be fixed with prudent use of the needle files, but there would be little point in painting first and modifying later leaving freshly filed and unpainted parts of metal. Hence I decided to disassemble my AK to reassemble it around the new receiver.

Rather than going into the detail behind disassembly here, I’ll refer the reader to Arnie’s excellent instructions linked to the TM AK47 review on this site.

Sure enough, re-assembly did highlight one or two small problems:

•  The metal plate that secures the back of the sling swivel did not fit into the corresponding groove in the receiver. Rather than trying to widen the groove, it was easier to shave a little off the width of the retaining plate with a file.

•  The metal plate that sits at the base of the receiver to accommodate the screws that hold the magazine-catch in place was slightly misaligned. Again, it was easier to modify the plate rather than the receiver with a quick bit of filing along one edge.

•  The hole for the fire-select assembly was fractionally out of line. A minute with a small rounded file resolved this.

•  The threaded hole on the top left forward edge of the receiver that is used (in conjunction with a tiny screw) to secure the plastic cover (visible when you remove the metal receiver cover from your AK) did not quite align with the screw hole in the plastic cover. Although not of structural significance, this was the trickiest to sort out. The plastic cover fits onto the receiver by way of six small hooks arranged along the edges of both receiver and cover. Because of the precision required to get six tiny hooks to engage evenly, perhaps a little bit of misalignment was to be expected. Careful and gradual filing of selected hooks with the smallest of my files was required to move the cover forward the fraction of a millimetre necessary to enable the screw to locate.

Once complete, I felt like I was over the worst (having feared both the disassembly of the AK and the modification of the receiver).

The spray painting of the receiver was a breeze, and the matt black looked the business. After a few seconds of thoughtful pause, I fetched the receiver cover and gave that a quick coat too to reduce the glare. Cooking with gas!

Whilst waiting for the receiver to dry, I turned my attention to the barrel, forward receiver and fore-grip assembly. Having removed the cleaning rod first, the foresight, old gas tube and plastic upper fore-grip were quick to follow. The plastic collar securing the front end of the plastic fore-grip had me puzzled for a while – I just couldn’t see how it was attached. The disassembly instructions on Arnie’s (referred to above) don’t mention how to dismantle the barrel set-up, because it deals with the upgrading of the motor – hence no need to touch the front end once detached. However, looking at the exploded diagram, also linked to the TM AK review, it became clear that there was no screw or fixture holding it in place. Sure enough, with gentle pressure from a screwdriver, the collar slipped off.

With the collar off, the lower plastic fore-grip and rear retaining collar were easily removed revealing a small bare metal lug on the left-hand side of the forward receiver. Removing the screw on the lug frees it, which in turn frees the barrel. Slide the barrel from its housing, and you’re ready to start fitting the shiny new kit.

The new barrel fits on in exactly the same way as the old, and can be locked in place in seconds. Next comes the lower fore-grip, which slots into the base of the front receiver block. The wooden peg was too tight to fit initially, but with a small amount of the lacquer sanded off, a snug fit was achieved. The lower fore-grip extends further back than the plastic one it replaces, dispensing with the plastic rear collar: a considerable improvement, I thought.

The front end of the lower fore-grip is secured with the new metal collar and grub-screw. This proved a bit tricky for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the thread cut into the collar was a bit messy with metal debris blocking clear passage of the grub screw. Like an idiot, I tried to force the grub screw past this, but ended up stripping the edges off the small allen-key (hex-wrench) I was using for the task. Fortunately, the grub screw wasn’t damaged. I dug around in my toolbox and found a bolt that fitted the drilled hole. I used this to successfully flush the thread clear. The allen-key was fixed by hack sawing then filing down the stripped end.

The second problem arose when trying to tighten the grub screw with the collar in place. Because of the metal bar of the gas chamber above the barrel, space in which to place the allen-key to tighten the screw is very restricted. I was only able to do this because of the now reduced size of my newly filed-down allen-key.

Once in place, the remaining components were simple to fit: the upper fore-grip slipped into place, followed by the two sections of gas tube, all held together quite securely by the one grub screw on the underside of the gas tube assembly. The old front sight was reattached to the new barrel and the new muzzle brake screwed counter-clockwise into place. On sliding the cleaning rod into place, I found that the grub screw attaching the gas tube assembly sat slightly proud, blocking the path of the rod. This was solved with moderate filing of the screw end. Locking the rod in its place beneath the front sight needed a little brute force due to the slight added restriction of it having to pass through a longer hole through the bayonet lug. The hole itself is the right size, it’s just that to lock the rod in place, you have to lever it downwards to clear the retaining lugs on the under-side of the front sight – something that is harder to do with the new set-up.

Barrel, fore grip and front receiver assembly completed, I turned my attention back to the main receiver, now dry. Having practised assembly and disassembly of the internal components a couple of times, this was a quick job. First the trigger guard/magazine latch was fitted, followed by sling swivel, then the motor, gears and piston unit. The pistol grip next, which fitted flush against the receiver with the lugs engaged in the newly filed notches. The attachment screw clamps the grip and receiver tightly together. The firing selector lever was then screwed back in place (make sure that the cap over the screw is attached firmly – I didn’t, and it subsequently dropped off and was lost while skirmishing. I’m still trying to find a replacement). Next to attach was the barrel and front receiver assembly. This slides neatly into the main receiver where interlacing parts give strength, fixed in place by four small bolts. Plastic receiver cover fitted, followed by the ribbed receiver cover, and the AKM was really coming together. Last item to attach was the stock. With wiring in place, I found the stock to be quite a tight fit. On retrospect, it might be advisable to lightly sand the grooves either side of the slot on the upper side of the stock to ensure that no undue pressure is placed on the grain of the stock. The stock is secured with the three screws that held the plastic stock in place. Finally, the butt plate is secured with the two screws provided.

The Completed AKM Having spent a vast amount of cash on an upgrade, it takes a very brave man not to rave about his purchase even when, deep down, he is troubled over the wisdom of his decision to be parted with his money. I shall therefore remain calm, impartial and objective in my following assessment:

My AKM looks the complete and utter Dogs B*!!*cks! The TM AK47 is undoubtedly a quality product, but like a £3.99 bottle of wine that tastes good and gets you pissed easily enough, you don’t know what you’re missing until someone buys you a £12 bottle for Christmas. In short, the TM AK47 looks realistic; the AKM looks real .

Picking it up, the DTP metal receiver adds a thoroughly convincing heft to the AEG. In fact the final weight of my AKM is now 3.4 kg without battery – 260g heavier than a real AKM – although still significantly lighter than a real AK47.

The modified stock shape, chequered pistol grip and raised ridge on the fore-grip change the feel of the rifle as it is brought to the shoulder. The higher butt position pulls you in tighter over the sights giving a more ‘tactical’ feel to the AEG. The pistol grip is comfortable, and the fore-grip ridges give the thumb and fingers on your leading hand a positive rest. All in all, the AKM feels like an evolved and modernised version of the AK47 which, of course, it is.

On the down side, there is about half a millimetre of movement in the lower fore-grip in the front collar. It’s fairly slight, but it’s there nonetheless. I decided to apply some sort of packing in the collar to take up the play, but didn’t want to use something permanent, as that would cause problems should I want to disassemble the AKM for any reason. I settled for a small strip of Plasticine (kids modelling clay), rolled and pressed into place. Result.

Secondly, there is also a tiny amount of play in the pistol grip. The original grip it replaces has, in addition to two front lugs, a further lug running around its back that locates inside the back edge of the collar on the receiver. With the collar now removed, there is nothing in which to locate a similar lug on the new pistol grip. Consequently Guarder simply does away with the rear lug. The net effect of this is the possibility of some lateral movement at the back edge of the grip when force is applied in that direction. I have only noticed this when picking the rifle up by the pistol grip when it’s lying on its side (obviously also supporting the AEG by the fore grip), but this movement is not apparent when using the AEG in anger. I am entirely confident that the movement does not imply an inherent weakness in the arrangement – the grip is still screwed to a thick lump of metal that encases both the motor and piston unit!

Finally, there is also slightly more play in the magazine when fitted to the DTK receiver than when fitted to the TM receiver. Evidently the magazine well is fractionally wider than that of the standard receiver. Again, although noticeable, I don’t perceive this as a problem – the magazine is quite secure and the feed of BBs is unimpaired.

The Saga of the Battery After my initial disappointment in learning that my standard battery would not fit the stock, I logged onto the Guarder web site to see what model battery they recommended. The site showed a battery with several cells stacked side-by-side, with a further two extending outwards on an attaching wire; the photograph implying that these final two fitted in the tapered part of the stock nearest the receiver. The text stated “suitable for battery 8.4v-12v 1700mAh”.

Noting the configuration, I went onto various web sites to find a match. After trawls on the web sites of the major Airsoft suppliers (WGC, DenTrinity, Red Wolf, UN Airsoft, Airsoft Dynamics) I was disturbed to find that none of listed batteries matched the appearance of that shown on the Guarder site.

I e-mailed WGC asking for advice on a suitable battery. In a slightly unhelpful reply, they said that the standard battery was too large and I’d need a smaller one. The reply was finished with a cheery smiley face.

Frustrated, I mailed back saying, yes, I know I need a smaller one, but would be grateful if advice could be given on exactly which model battery will fit – preferably either a 1500mAh or 1700mAh battery. The response, in broken English, came back to me saying that 1700mAh would be better than 1500mAh. Another smiley face.

Sensing that I could waste my life trying to get a sensible answer out of the polite, well-meaning, but ultimately uncomprehending staff at WGC, I wrote to Guarder with broadly the same query. They replied advising that I contact WGC for assistance.

Struggling to maintain my usually placid temper, I adopted the scattergun technique of e-mailing DenTrinity, Red Wolf and Airsoft Dynamics. No reply was forthcoming from DenTrinity or Red Wolf, but Airsoft Dynamics, to my relief, enclosed a link to an exact battery on their web site that they recommended. Opening up the link, my relief promptly dissipated when I realised that they had recommended a battery that was exactly the same size as my standard battery.

I realised that I would have to try and work out for myself what configuration would fit, using the web site photos for guidance. I found that the metal tube that sits under the receiver cover fitted perfectly well into the stock (width wise, at least) indicating the suitability of the width of the AK47S standard battery. I also borrowed a standard mini battery from my friends MP5, which also fitted perfectly well. Wanting a battery with a better life than a standard mini, I used its measurements as a rule of thumb. Eventually I decided on placing an order with WGC for a Sanyo 9.4v 1700mAh custom battery for the M4 ReadyMag system.

Funnily enough, two weeks later, and before I’d received my order, WGC e-mailed me to recommend the Sanyo 9.4v 1700mAh custom battery for the M4 ReadyMag system. I was pleased that my guess work appeared to be correct and also that my faith in WGC was fully restored!

A couple of days later the battery was delivered and a very snug fit inside the stock was achieved. Note that the connector is for a small battery, so an adapter is required to make the connection. I have a battery discharger that comes with an adapter, so I used that. Alternatively, you can buy a new fuse and wire that is specifically for small batteries and replace the one in your stock.

Performance in the Field Finally, I took my completed AKM skirmishing at my local site. Soviet weaponry is still a bit of a niche taste at my local, so general interest didn’t quite match my barely suppressed enthusiasm as I quashed the desire to run from one person to the next jabbering “Look! Look! Look at my gun!” Nonetheless, I was happy, and I sat in the corner stroking it lovingly as people kitted up.

Getting into the first game, and I was thrilled with the AKM. The weight really did feel good; looking down the ribbed receiver to the sights was a joy. Both the revised ergonomics of the new stock and the chequered pistol grip and wooden fore-grip felt right. Within the first five minutes of play, three of the opposing team – and a possible fourth – had fallen victim to my AKM (although I suspect this may have had more to do with the sun being behind me rather than my AEG’s new clothes…)

The second game also went well, and I was settling into ownership of my AKM quite comfortably. In the third game, however, disaster struck. I had been edging unseen to an opposition stronghold with a surprising degree of success when, getting caught up in the drama of the moment, I made a bold, lonely, but ultimately flawed dash to outflank their defensive position. Drawing sudden fire from several places, I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t Bruce Willis in a Die Hard film, and dived for cover behind a tree just as several BBs impacted against me. I landed chest first and fully on my rifle. I don’t recall exactly how I held my AEG as I landed, but on standing to declare I’d been hit, I looked down to see the wooden stock split end to end, practically clean in two – much like the Horn of Gondor at the moment of Boromirs demise. And, in another uncanny similarity to the moment of Boromirs demise, I choked back the tears.

You’ll recall my comment about a brave man reflecting honestly on the wisdom of his decision to be parted with his money. Well, this calamity did prompt a good deal of reflection and soul searching on my behalf. In short, was the kit inherently unsuitable for the rigours of Airsoft? As I studied the break it became evident how it had occurred. When falling on the AK, it had been lying on its side, butt against the ground. The front half of the AEG was probably raised; most likely lying supported over my left forearm. My weight had landed on the unsupported part of the AEG, roughly where receiver meets stock. If anything was going to give, it wasn’t going to be the metal receiver, so the full force of the blow had hit where metal fixed onto wood. The attachment points at the top and bottom of the stock levered sideways, tearing a split along the path of least resistance – along the grain of the wooden stock. Would the stock have broken if it were the standard plastic one? Quite possibly, but a corner of my mind suspects that there might have been more flex in the plastic, saving it from breaking. Did the increased weight and rigidity of the metal receiver add to the problem? In theory, this is possible, although it is not possible to say if this tipped the balance sufficiently to cause the break.

At the end of the day, the stock is hollow wood – nothing more, nothing less. It is well made and as thick as it can possibly be while still fitting a narrow battery. It can endure knocks and scrapes, but not eleven stone crashing down onto it. Treat it with respect, and it will do the job perfectly and look fantastic at the same time. Abuse it and it will break.

On a positive note, wood is wonderfully easy to fix. A trip back to my local DIY store, and I had wood glue, G-clamps, finishing sandpaper and a small tin of exterior varnish and stain (Dulux to be exact, in ‘walnut’ – a very good colour match).

Bizarrely, since its repair, I love my AKM more than ever. Having spent a day or two carefully restoring the stock back to its original condition, I’ve sort of bonded with it (and no, not because I used too much glue…). The fix is invisible and, if anything, I personally think it looks better for two additional coats of varnish – the finish is slightly glossier and the colour a touch richer and deeper. (For those who wince at the thought of a glossy assault rifle, a shellac lacquer was used on the furniture of the real steel weapon, giving a similar finish. A few days skirmishing will undoubtedly dull the shine!). Finally, perhaps as much a psychological as practical benefit, I’ve reinforced the stock with the discrete application of epoxy resin around its interior where stock fits to receiver.

Summary The DTP metal receiver is a detailed and almost exact copy of the plastic TM receiver. Differences occurring only as minor discrepancies in alignment where position of attachment points may be out by a fraction of a millimetre, all readily resolved with slight modification. Manufacturing quality and finish is excellent, although the purchaser will need to paint the final colour. The chief benefit the receiver brings is one of convincing weight to the final AEG. Secondary benefits are convincing ‘wear’ as scratches expose white metal. Arguments of increased strength are questionable – although the receiver is stronger, this strength is potentially off set by attachment points (front receiver & barrel assembly, pistol grip and stock) having to support the increased weight. The magazine well is marginally wider, resulting in increased play in the magazine.

My personal view is that the receiver was easily a worthwhile purchase – both the convincing weight and realistic wear & tear being important to me.

Upgrade potential n/a

Build quality 4/5 Excellent, but not quite perfect

Value for money 5/5 Easily affordable

Overall potential n/a

The Guarder AKM kit is an excellent product. If you appreciate the differences between an AK47 and the AKM, then you’ll appreciate this. No, the wooden stock isn’t as robust as the plastic one it replaces, but that’s the price you pay for something that looks and feels this good. Installation can appear daunting but, at the end of the day, it really is fairly easy and you’ll only need to do it once.

I’m delighted with my AKM kit. The reduced resilience of the wooden stock did make me consider that perhaps the Guarder AK103 kit might have been a more practical proposition, however I knew that I would have forever longed wistfully for the laminated wood furniture if I’d gone for an AK103 conversion. Perhaps for my next AEG…

Mmm… Kalashnikovs…

Upgrade potential n/a

Build quality 4.5/5 Just misses a 5 for one or two very minor and

surmountable niggles.

Value for money 4/5 Quality doesn’t come cheap

Overall potential n/a

By Paul Sykes (aka Ivan)

External
Links:

Guarder (aka IntruderShop) | Guarder’s AKM page

WGC Shop

Site
links:
TBA

Comment
on this review in the forums


Last
modified:
Wednesday, February 25, 2004 0:44 AM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft




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