I love the AK platform but there’s one thing I’m not crazy about.
As everyone knows after you empty your magazine the bolt remains “closed” so there’s no way for you to know (unless you’re really good at keeping count) of when you’re out of ammo. (This is where I believe the ARs can have a real safety advantage).
So how do you get around this problem? You can go to a good gunsmith who will be able to trick out your rifle for a few hundred bucks and engineer a bolt open solution.
The other option is to buy or modify a magazine that will do the trick. (It’s my understanding that the East Germans built such a magazine but they are hard to come by).
The good news is that SGM Tactical, a company out of Knoxville, TN also manufactures them in .308, 7.62 and 223. They are one of the few companies that make gear specifically for the VEPR and AK.
I’ve been testing a 7.62 BHO mag from SGM for the past month with a Saiga and it works perfectly. I love it. It’s sturdy and I plan to keep on using it. Price is $34.95. Just remember when you remove the magazine the bolt is not going to stay open. I forgot that once and got a painful reminder as the bolt slapped my finger.
Option “b” is to add a Bolt Hold Open feature to your own magazine by installing a special follower.
I learned about this product from a company called Primary Arms which manufactures low-priced Aimpoint clones. (They are actually pretty good red dots but that’s coming up in a different article). The guys from Primary turned me onto one of their associates, a guy named Dimitri Mikroulis, who works as a customer support manager for Primary Arms.
Dimitri is a good old fashioned inventor who spends a lot of time tinkering. He has developed a universal BHO follower that works with almost 100% of magazines. The current version works only as a drop-in replacement for standard AK47 metal and polymer magazines designed for 7.62×39. He calls his company, Weapontech, which is a venture between him and Primary Arms. He named the product a “Weapontech BHO Follower”.
I disassembled a couple of my VEPR magazines without losing an eye. (Anyone who has taken apart a magazine will understand what I mean). At any rate, it’s not open heart surgery and I got the hang of it.
I installed Dimitri’s device and it worked like a charm. Essentially you take off the magazine’s floor plate, remove the spring, take out the original follower and add the new one from Dimitri. He sells them through Primary Arms (3 pack for $14.95) . I think it’s a great product.
I also think he’ll sell a lot of these when the word gets out.
Photos courtesy of On Target staff .
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