Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Marlowe

GHK AKS74

Recommended Posts

While on my recent visit to Redwolf in Hong Kong, as unfortunately chronicled

, I was lucky enough to be shown around. One of the main things that caught my eye was some of the first of the freshly released GHK AKS74 and AK74M variants, which I covered in a recent news post. I couldn't leave without buying one of them, and with my recent love of all things Afghan War era, it had to be the AKS74 I went for!

 

The Packaging

 

So...Finally, after beating my own GHK rifle home (I posted it on the 14th in Wan Chai, HK, and finally was able to get it today), I was keen to make sure it had survived its trip. I was especially anxious as my previous AKS74, the steel DBoys (Kalash) variant had been sorely mistreated while being 'examined' during Customs verification of my right to import, so you can imagine i was quite glad when I saw the parcel tape sealing the lid was intact:

 

d6c950ae.jpg

 

The box, sadly hadn't clearly been so lucky, with a fair bit of bashing in one corner. It's worth noting that this AKS74 was shipped in a GHK box sporting the AKSU - their original GBB AK model. Whether they will alter the box design for the different variants or stick to the same box is unclear - the leaflet inside was again for the AKSU also, so I do suspect this was at least partly a result of buying one of the first GHK AKS74s on the market.

 

Inside, thanks in part to Jimmy at Redwolf offering a lot of packaging foam, the contents were shaken but not stirred:

 

50bd493e.jpg

 

Inside was my rifle, one magazine and a glossy leaflet, detailing replacement parts available for the GHK AKSU (I suspect the internal parts will be identical for most of the AK variants). It should be noted that the box itself was pretty shaken up - card inserts are the only used to keep the parts intact, and the magazine had unfortunately clearly shifted around a lot in transit, so I'm grateful to Jimmy for the packaging foam!

 

The Rifle

 

After diving merrily into the foam, I was finally able to retrieve my rifle. As reports suggest the rifle indeed appears to use Dboys steel and wood external parts - not a bad thing at all. To be entirely sure that the externals were the same, I decided to take some side-by side shots of both my GHK (top) and Dboys AKS74s steel version (bottom):

 

ed101acc.jpg

 

3f83f7f4.jpg

 

14957356.jpg

 

As you can see, there's hardly any differences between the two. the main ones being some of the receiver rivets being flat on the Dboys, whereas those replaced for the GHK modified variant have a flat head that rests slight proud of the receiver. The other main difference externally is the pistol grip, which, without the need to house a motor, seems close to real steel dimensions:

 

f7774226.jpg

 

The clear differences start to emerge, unsurprisingly, when you look at the internals. (Pics in following post due to image limit).

While the internals seem relatively sound, it is worrying how tightly packed the internals are in the bottom of the receiver. The trigger spring looks as though it could be damaged if the trigger is pulled back too tightly - hopefully this won't happen though!

 

The Magazine

 

As with the AKSU, there's a choice of two variants for magazines. Both are 50 round lo-caps, but one uses C02 (usually retailing at the moment for $50-60) and the other a more traditional gas reservoir (usually retailing at the moment for $40-$50). The included magazine is the cheaper gas variant, and I have to say this is the one I would personally prefer anyway, as in conjunction with propane and an adapter it makes running costs a little cheaper.

 

Anyone familiar with standard GBB magazine designs will be comfortable with using the GHK magazines: filling is completed through the nozzle in the magazine base, with the usual valves towards the top to power the cycling action. It's a shame that the GHK magazines come only in black: for the AKSU and AK74S variants would have been nice to have bakelite or at least 'brown' plastic finishes. That said, this is a situation that can easily be rectified (as I intend to) with some plastikote spray and a light woodstain brushing!

 

924fa8cd.jpg

 

Above you can see the GHK magazine (far right) compared to some common AK aeg mags: G&P, MAG and Dboys, respectively. The GHK mag is clearly slightly larger in dimension, and the weight of the GHK with its gas reservoir is unsurprisingly heavier than the light plastic of most AEG magazines, but neither are too great an issue; the magazine's weight if anything makes it feel more realistic and substantial (although I wouldn't like to drop it to test how substantial it is!) and as can be seen with an Afghan era standard 4 mag pouch, the magazines still fit happily:

 

90bac2bd.jpg

 

Firing

 

I fired the rifle at a corridor in RedWolf Airsoft's offices, and I'm pleased to say the rifle is just as much fun now.

 

The recoil is greater than I remembered, though not enough to cause any serious issue with accuracy. It's rather obvious, but be careful with how you hold the rifle - it's very easy to forget (especially if you own an identical AEG like me) that the bolt on this rifle cycles with a fair kick. I forgot while chronoing and I now have a nice bruise on my cheek - I can safely say this is the first rifle to actually punch me in the face!

 

That said, it's the recoil and the cycling bolt that make this rifle so much fun, both on semi and automatic. It's a fair point that the low capacity of the magazines mean you will probably be using this a lot on semi automatic - you won't get more than 2-3 seconds out of the rifle firing on full automatic, as fun as it may be. The crack of the rifle as it fires, coupled with the clack of the bolt as it cycles is amazing - as is the ability to rack back the bolt upon reloading.

 

The rifle was chronoed with Excel 0.2g ammo using propane (green equivalent output) on a cool (12c) day. To chrono, a Big Dragon EG9000 was used.

 

After some issues getting the chrono to read - probably caused by the recoil knocking the rifle back and out of alignment with the chronograph - I was finally able to score a fairly hefty 387 FPS for the rifle - making this a rifle that you won't be skirmishing at most UK sites with any time soon.

 

Reliability

 

This isn't such a bad thing though - especially with rising concerns over the reliability of stock GHK rifles. To address both issues, RA-TECH offer a range of upgrade parts now, in particular reinforced bolts, hop up chambers and a NPAS bolt. The NPAS bolt is most appealing for UK aplayers, as it allows - with some fiddling - the ability to alter the pressure of the gas output to both the blowback and the barrel, meaning it's possible to reduce the velocity down to player-friendly levels of output. It should be noted that at this point there is little aftermarket support for the rifles - parts are either sourced from GHK or from RATECH. Hopefully, as these rifles gain popularity, the level of manufacturers producing parts will increase.

 

Affordable?

 

The rifle itself costs $323 - the internals presumably bumping the price of manufacture up compared to mass produced and readily sourced AEG internals. This already moves the rifle clear of the 'budget' target audience - but the chances are if you are looking at this you already knew that!

 

I've ordered the upgrade parts from WGCShop for $211 - a considerable amount but cheaper than directly from RATECH. It should also be noted that, with each magazine costing an average of $50, there's a hefty entry price into making a GHK a skirmishable rifle - it works out only slightly cheaper than buying a GBB system based on an external reservoir. The primary advantage of a GHK, of course, is that it's much easier to source a can of propane in the UK (just visit your local DIY / Hardware store) than it is to get a reservoir filled at a Scuba shop, etc. In other countries, such as the US, of course, this advantage may evaporate, leaving it a matter of personal preference. One clear advantage of the external reservoir system could be the gas consumption - in the GHK one refill of the magazine appears to last 2-3 (100-150 rounds) reloads. With a Bernzomatic Propane cylinder costing £6.95 at the local hardware store, this means that anyone using this rifle as a primary on a regular basis should look to be buying another cylinder once a month or so.

 

So is this rifle affordable? Yes. But the moment you start to look at using this rifle on a regular basis and with any interest in alternating the velocity, the entry price for running the rifle as a skirmish piece rapidly rise. It's worth being aware of that before purchasing.

 

That said, however, I don't regret for a moment buying this rifle or paying (as I have now) to upgrade and make this rifle a skirmish-worthy rifle. In the same way that you wouldn't buy a Ferrari for affordability, you will look at this rifle not necessarily as the most sensible option for airsofting, but for one which will make the experience much more memorable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent review.

I've been really wanting one of these. Fired one in AEX, just an amazing gun.

BTW: When you run out of ammo, will the gun start to dryfire? I know AKs don't have bolt catches, or was there somthing that was put in to make it stop firing at the last round?

 

EDIT: Thanks for the info RedSpartan!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the hop-up unit metal or plastic? Can you do a magnet test to see if the gun is really steel? Are the internals (bolt, hammer, ect.) steel or pot metal. I heard the older ones were pot metal, and only the newer 105 was steel. If the AK74MN is also steel, I'll have to buy that instead :) .

 

How many rounds have you put through it? How's the range and accuracy?

 

Ion:

Some AK's actually can lock the bolt back! Any real steel AK47 using a Yugoslavian M70 (Yugo AK) magazine will have it's bolt lock back after all the rounds are expended. The Yugo magazines have an extended follower (or so I am led to believe) that, once the magazine runs dry, doesn't allow the bolt to go all the way forward as it normally would after firing the last round. But otherwise, no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review!

 

I myself went with the external air becuase of the circumstances you mentioned in your post. CO2 being essentially cheap and easy to find in the US, and the high cost of magazines led me to DG.

 

But - the GHK is still a sweet piece of kit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

about to wear out my @ symbol here lol

 

@midnight_sailor - perceived recoil on the AK is fair bit lighter than on my M4.

 

@wraithxt1 - you'll get the thirty rounds of a WE out on auto without any probs, getting a full 60 rounds or whatever it holds out is a different story but not really a fair comparison if we want to treat all the rifles like for like

 

@AirsoftHawaii90 210 USD is cost of the upgrade parts he bought from WGC

 

@RedSpartan - internals on stock GHK are pot metal, RA-Tech does a 105 that they supply prefitted with their steel bolt carrier but otherwise uses standard internals. If you want steel trigger, hammer etc those can be picked up from Justin at daytona gun (350 bucks for all the fire control parts including a steel bolt carrier, only things not included are an npas bolt - use the RA-tech one and a CNC'd hop unit again RA-T for that)

 

@Ion no bolt stop or halt on last BB feature on the GHK AK gun will keep cycling after last BB is out the spout

 

@marlowe - only thing you might hit a snag with is that aftermarket hop unit When I picked up an RA-Tech hop unit for mine it was a CNC'd duplicate of the original GHK hop unit design. Yours I get feeling has a new GHK hop unit design, that in itself wouldnt be a problem either one will fit in the rifle, trouble is RA-Tech only produced the main body of the old unit - all the other parts - adjustment lever and adjustment barrel were all expected to be taken off the original hopunit that the buyer 'was bound to have in his gun', and fitted onto it. So if those ancillary hop parts have undergone changes on the new GHK hop unit they might not fit onto the old style CNC'd one. RA-Ts fault there for being mean and stingy and not producing a complete CNC hop unit.

 

In general terms its not too hard in most places to pick up a fill of HPA - even if you have to drive 30 or 40 miles to a dive centre the sheer volume of shots you can get for a five quid fill of a 12 litre scuba tank makes the trip worthwhile.

 

Fully tricked out GHK (gun plus full set of steel fire control parts, steel steel bolt carrier, cnc'd hop, adjustable NPAS and four or five mags) versus an HPA fed DG escortised one work out to around 100 bucks or so of each other.

 

Both just bring different things to the party - the GHK brings a reasonably accurate rep of the original AK fire control parts, strips in main like real deal etc, has a longer active bolt stroke, lets you avoid the hose, and gives you the option to just grab another 100 buck base gun and throw all the stuff across to it if you fancy a different AK with minimal work involved. Downside is less shot to shot consistency, the need to accept and try to avoid cooldown, more fragile mags and a narrower ambient temperature range you can take the gun out in.

 

The DG, if he's ironed all the escort bugs out, brings you more shot to shot consistency, cheaper long term running costs in terms of propellant and an all weather fieldable gun running off AEG midcaps that you can use as a 'hold trigger till mag empties' BB hose if that takes your fancy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry - just woke up (rough night as I injured my neck) and found Snorkel had answered just about everything for me! Thanks for that Snorkel - much appreciated - especially for answering questions I would have no idea about, like the ROF compared to the WE M4s.

 

Cheers also for the heads up regarding the possible incompatability of hop parts. I'll update in relation to that when the parts arrive. :)

 

Also apologies for the lack of clarity in the affordability section - I've clarified the costs now, as most of what I wrote was 'off the top of my head'.

 

As I said before, it really is a matter of horses for courses, choosing between a GHK and the likes of the DG. I seriously considered a DG, and it would probably work out cheaper to run if you already have the external reservoir, piping, adapters etc all purchased, but as the typical skirmisher who primarily (begrudgingly) used AEGs up until this point, the intial set up charges terrified me. Coupled with the fact that the local Scuba centre wasn't exactly overwhelmed at the thought of filling up a reservoir for a non-diver when I asked meant that the GHK appealed. There's also the age old argument (infuriating for classic users especially I know, but here it is) that the GHK doesn't have an unsightly (if minute) pipe running from it.

 

That said, as you said, I'd expect the DG to be much more reliable in the UK climate, in particular in the winter months as temperatures drop. Thankfully for me this isn't an issue - as a college tutor I seem to have little time for skirmishing these days in the winter months, and most of my games are carried out during the summer holidays / half term breaks, before the weather gets too nippy. For me I think the GHK is ideal - time will tell, I suppose. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Snorkelman, will the pot metal internals last with say an NPAS bolt carrier and CNC'ed hop-up unit when using the gun on propane? Also, is the only internal difference (aside from barrel length) between the 105 and the other GHK AKs is the steel bolt carrier? I know the 105 has a pad at the rear of the receiver. Do the other models have this as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steel bolt carrier RA-T npas and an alloy hop unit will sort most of the breakage/awkward points on the gun. If you're on any sort of budget concentrate on those

 

Obviously if you converted the rest of the internal gubbins over to steel you can pretty much button it up and forget about anything going wrong with it (bar basic maintenance or an occasional need for an o-ring or spring)

 

but any breakages on those other parts are more down to luck of the draw occasional miscast part etc, and not that common, so I wouldnt be too concerned about having to get those

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my GHK.

 

I was one of the first 10 people in the us to have one.

 

 

When people see it there like "omg! i thought there was only GBB M4's ! its loud and people duck when i shoot it.

 

Im a GBB only guy know.

 

Aeg's just dont do the justice like they used to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great review, i would like to see a strip down guide for these things though, that's always interesting to a mechanically minded person. If you don't want to risk your rifle though don't. Ive got a gun lying in pieces from several years ago when i took it apart :P and couldn't put it back together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got to dissasemble now the parts are here. I'll try and take pictures as I do it (going to be a learning curve, however, as I've no idea how the GHK elements strips down). :)

 

For most of the externals the Dboys take down guides out there should suffice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update - takes down exactly as a Dboys as expected.

 

GHK bolt is reasily replaced by removing rear rubber buffer (pics to follow).

 

The RA-TECH Aluminium hop unit does fit but there is an issue - no method of fixing it into the receiver. At present that means the hop chamber and barrel will slide back and forth when the bolt is not forcing them forward - not good.

 

If anyone has a fix, all input welcome. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

on the old setup you had

 

cylindrical hop adjuster, adjuster lever (the front of which was caught by the adjuster) the hop unit with two notches cut in it - one underneath to fit a small semi circular clamp onto the inner barrel as per AEG hop units, one on the top near the front of the main hop unit

 

when you fitted the inner barrel and hop rubber into the hop unit, you'ld then fit the little semi circular lock underneath

 

then you'ld slide the adjuster cylinder down the barrel and onto the hop unit

 

and then you'ld slide the whole lot into the breech of the gun.

 

Once you'ld done that you'ld then finish off by fitting the little recoil-rod guide bracket onto the barrel trunnion and screw it into place.

 

The rear of that part went down low enough to key against the notch cut in the top of the hop unit - preventing the hop unit from moving backwards or forwards in the breech and adding some tension onto the adjuster cylinder so it stayed tight against the hop unit.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bumping because I just received my GHK AK105.

 

It's EXTREMELY difficult to insert the mags! For some reason the mags wont "catch" and slide into place. I'm actually starting to chip plastic from the mags trying!

 

A TM AK74MN magazine fits with ease, what am I doing wrong?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good info snorkel!

 

Marlowe, have you tried removing the rubber stop at the rear of the receiver to get a full bolt cycle? Is this even possible?

 

File down the thing that clicks into the mag weld.

 

Trust me all GHK mags are a STURDY fit.

 

Ive had mine since they first came out with there 74U :]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Removing rubber block on this model causes the bolt to lock back - it catches on the hammer, and I suspect would cause unecessary wear to bolt / back of receiver.

 

Still having issues sadly - many thanks to Snorkelman and Boy Swift for their help - my 'easy adjustment' NPAS valve was bent on arrival, meaning I have to take down to adjust.

 

Hopefully with some fine tuning, I'll be sorted. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I discovered the same thing Marlowe, the bolt travels as far as it possibly can.

 

My GHK AK105 from Redwolf came with a METAL BOLT stock! No more plastic bolts it looks like! My NPAS bolt cycles VERY slowly, and misfires at times on FA. I have the CNC hop unit, but I have yet to install it.,

 

For now I'm sticking with the stock bolt/hop. What issues did you have marlowe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and the use of session cookies.