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Lo-Cap AK-47s: We Compare K-VAR VEPR, CIA N-PAP Rifles

With everything going on in the world today, interest in self-defense rifles has skyrocketed. Until recently, semi-automatics were flying off dealer shelves and prices were sometimes double what such guns sold for only nine months ago. Naturally, many shooters are having trouble finding what they want, which usually means rifles that can accept standard-capacity (20- or 30-round) magazines. However, you may be able to find and more easily afford a category which well loosely call low capacity rifles - e.g., those made for single-stack magazines and which arrive from the manufacturer with 10-round magazines.We recently tested a couple of lo-cap rifles to see if they could live up to their standard-cap counterparts that can be so hard to find. The Century International Arms N-PAP M70 7.62x39mm, $750, is an AK-47 manufactured by Zastava, a Serbian arms manufacturer, and its receiver is cut to accept a single-stack magazine. Our test gun came with two plastic single-stack 10-round mags. Going head to head against the PAP is the K-VAR VEPR AK-47 imported by Arsenal. The VEPR has a reinforced receiver manufactured by Molot in Russia and and ours came with two plastic 10-round mags. Both rifles can be modified to take standard AK-47 magazines, but in some states that is not an option now, so we tested both in their as-delivered capacity. Heres how our testers assessed them:

Lo-Cap AK-47s: We Compare K-VAR VEPR, CIA N-PAP Rifles

With everything going on in the world today, interest in self-defense rifles has skyrocketed. Until recently, semi-automatics were flying off dealer shelves and prices were sometimes double what such guns sold for only nine months ago. Naturally, many shooters are having trouble finding what they want, which usually means rifles that can accept standard-capacity (20- or 30-round) magazines. However, you may be able to find and more easily afford a category which well loosely call low capacity rifles - e.g., those made for single-stack magazines and which arrive from the manufacturer with 10-round magazines.We recently tested a couple of lo-cap rifles to see if they could live up to their standard-cap counterparts that can be so hard to find. The Century International Arms N-PAP M70 7.62x39mm, $750, is an AK-47 manufactured by Zastava, a Serbian arms manufacturer, and its receiver is cut to accept a single-stack magazine. Our test gun came with two plastic single-stack 10-round mags. Going head to head against the PAP is the K-VAR VEPR AK-47 imported by Arsenal. The VEPR has a reinforced receiver manufactured by Molot in Russia and and ours came with two plastic 10-round mags. Both rifles can be modified to take standard AK-47 magazines, but in some states that is not an option now, so we tested both in their as-delivered capacity. Heres how our testers assessed them:

Lo-Cap AK-47s: We Compare K-VAR VEPR, CIA N-PAP Rifles

With everything going on in the world today, interest in self-defense rifles has skyrocketed. Until recently, semi-automatics were flying off dealer shelves and prices were sometimes double what such guns sold for only nine months ago. Naturally, many shooters are having trouble finding what they want, which usually means rifles that can accept standard-capacity (20- or 30-round) magazines. However, you may be able to find and more easily afford a category which well loosely call low capacity rifles - e.g., those made for single-stack magazines and which arrive from the manufacturer with 10-round magazines.We recently tested a couple of lo-cap rifles to see if they could live up to their standard-cap counterparts that can be so hard to find. The Century International Arms N-PAP M70 7.62x39mm, $750, is an AK-47 manufactured by Zastava, a Serbian arms manufacturer, and its receiver is cut to accept a single-stack magazine. Our test gun came with two plastic single-stack 10-round mags. Going head to head against the PAP is the K-VAR VEPR AK-47 imported by Arsenal. The VEPR has a reinforced receiver manufactured by Molot in Russia and and ours came with two plastic 10-round mags. Both rifles can be modified to take standard AK-47 magazines, but in some states that is not an option now, so we tested both in their as-delivered capacity. Heres how our testers assessed them:

Two Pieces of Firearms History: Sterling, Pioneer Arms Compete

We acquired two historical and technically interesting firearms for this test. The guns were the 9mm Wise Lite Arms Sterling L2A3 9mm, about $500, and the Inter Ordnance/Pioneer Arms PPS-43C Pistol chambered in 7.62x25 Tokarev, also in the $500 range. The latter is officially a pistol because its folding stock is welded in the folded position. We found the folding stocks do nothing for their handling or practical function, but in close quarters that might be a handy feature. Both designs originally fired from an open bolt, and the Sterling was originally selective fire. These two test guns are both manufactured to fire semiauto-only, and they both fire from a closed bolt. We managed to find three types of 9mm ammo and two brands of 7.62x25 Tokarev, enough to wring out both guns. Here's what we found.

9mm Carbine Matchup: Kel-Tec, Thureon, MechTech, & Norinco

When it comes to personal defense, competition, and recreational shooting, the most popular rifle in America is likely the AR-15 chambered for .223 Remington. But there are still plenty of shooters who prefer the light recoil and low expense of 9mm Luger ammunition. Whereas caliber .223 is strictly the staple of rifle shooters, 9mm carbines are often used by pistol shooters who sometimes use a long gun. There are three basic types of 9mm carbine. They are the 9mm AR-15, semi-automatic versions of submachineguns such as the UZI, and purpose-built 9mm carbines that more or less follow their own rules of design. In this test we'll fire the $409 Kel-Tec Sub 2000 9mm, the $700 Thureon Defense 9mm, and Norinco's $800 UZI 9mm carbines. In addition we will also evaluate a 9mm conversion unit, the $505 MechTech Systems Carbine Conversion Unit for Glock. Our goal was to evaluate each carbine on its own merits and then compare the three types of design for personal defense.

Our choice of test ammunition was Winchester USA 115-grain FMJ rounds and two loads from Black Hills Ammunition topped with 124-grain bullets. One featured a full-metal-jacketed slug and the other a jacketed hollowpoint driven by a +P charge. Each carbine was tested for accuracy from the 50-yard bench using only their supplied open sights.

AK-74 Showdown: Polish and Bulgarian Rifles Beat a WASR-2

The AK-47 is one of the most efficient and widespread assault rifles ever built. Soviet weapons designer Mikhail Timofeevitch Kalashnikov conceived of the basic mechanism while recovering from wounds he received in a tank battle in October 1941 near Bryansk. Though his idea pivoted off the German concept of the assault rifle, Kalashnikov came up with his own design that led to several variants of the mechanism being built in the 1940s. In 1946, substantial revisions to working prototypes by Kalashnikovs assistant Aleksandr Zaytsev made the resulting 1947 model, the AK-47, especially reliable. The Soviet army officially adopted the AK-47 chambered in the 7.62x39mm Soviet as its battle rifle in 1949, and large-scale distribution of the weapon began in the mid-1950s.More than 20 years later, although Kalashnikovs AK-47 and its follow-on variant, the AKM, had proven their effectiveness on battlefields worldwide, the Soviets wanted a lighter version of the AK to compete more effectively with the M16. So Kalashnikov updated and refined the AK-47 to create a smaller-caliber variation, the AK-74, which appeared in 1974 chambered in 5.45x39mm.We recently tested three versions of M. T. Kalashnikovs AK-74 to see which one we would recommend to the Gun Tests readership. The first was a Century Arms WASR-2 Romanian Side Folder 5.45x39mm, $600, on loan from a friend of the magazine; and two guns from Interarms, the first a Polish Tantal Side-Folder AK-74 Rifle WZ-88 5.45x39mm, $619; and the second a Bulgarian Style AK-74 5.45x39mm, $639. This version of the Kalashnikov design first saw service with Soviet forces in Afghanistan, where the 5.45x39mm round was dubbed the "devils round" or "poison bullet" by the mujahadeen.One of the first issues we need to address is the problem of the 5.45x39mm bullets "key-holing" when they strike a target. According to Century Arms literature, "While barrel-twist rates have a slight effect on performance of the bullet, as we learn more about the 5.45x39mm cartridge, it is generally accepted that the bullet upset phenomenon is an intentional design attribute calculated to avoid over-penetration of a target and maximize energy transfer."Century goes on to explain that the longer the bullet is in proportion to its diameter, the more twist is needed to stabilize it, and a low-velocity bullet requires a faster twist to stabilize it.For our test, we chose some standard fodder that we didnt expect to keyhole. Our first 5.45x39mm round was Wolfs Military Classic 70-grain FMJ No. MC545BFMJ, a Russian-made steel-cased non-reloadable non-corrosive pick. We bought several 25-round boxes at online retailer www.CheaperThanDirt.com a while back, but its currently out of stock. Next, we went to www.AmmunitionToGo.com for 120 rounds of Silver Bears 60-grain FMJ boattail No. A545NFMJ, $24.95. This ammo is manufactured by JSC Barnaul Machine-Tool Plant in Russia, considered the countrys premier ammunition plant. It is non-corrosive new factory ammo with zinc-plated steel cases that dont build up lacquer in the action. Last was Monarchs FMJ 60-grain boattail, available at some Academy Sports stores in the South. It cost $8.79 for a 30-round box.We ran the velocity numbers on a Competitive Edge Dynamics M2 Chronograph, a lightweight, compact system with a large, easy-to-read LCD screen ($200 from Brownells), and had on hand a Magna-Matic Corp. Standard AK Front Sight Tool (#100-005-933, $31, also from Brownells). The hardened steel tool enables fast, easy, precise windage and elevation adjustment on a variety of Kalashnikov-type rifles, and weve learned the full-circle clamp is stronger than C-clamps. The T-handle from the circle clamp serves as a wrench to adjust the sight post for elevation. It sure beats using needle-nose pliers to drift the front sight.Heres what we thought of these rifles:

Split the Difference: Is a $700 5.7×28 Upper a Good AR Buy?

The evolution of the AR-15 continues apace, with a host of manufacturers building out the 223 Rem/5.56mm modular-rifle concept to a bevy of cartridges that offer more power (6.8 SPC, 30 Carbine) or cheaper operation (22 LR, 9mm). These chamberings appear in dozens of rifles and dozens of replacement uppers. The uppers usually cost slightly more than half the price of a complete gun, and they snap onto AR lowers, which gives owners a choice of cartridges to shoot on a given day.We recently pitted once such device, the 57Centers piston-driven AR57 PDW Upper in 5.7X28mm, to three previously tested guns that were highly rated, the direct-impingement Stag Arms Model 2T 223 Rem/5.56x45mm NATO, $1125, Smith & Wessons M&P 15-22 No. 811030 22 LR, $569, and the Olympic Arms K9 9mm, $834. The AR57 PDW Upper came to us via Collectors Firearms in Houston (www.collectorsfirearms.com), which listed the used 5.7X28mm upper for $550. New AR57 PDW Upper units are available from the company or from Brownells for $696. The PDW upper was attached to a CMMG Model 4SA lower, which lists for $296 from CMMG (sales@cmmginc.com).On a whole-gun-to-gun basis, a new 57Center AR57A1 PDW Carbine costs $1099. The whole carbine weighs 7.45 pounds and is 33 inches long with a 16.04-inch standard barrel. It includes an AR57 Flash suppressor with standard 1/2X28mm threads), a custom pistol grip with battery and accessory compartment, M4 Carbine 6-position stock, and four AR57 50-round magazines. Down the road, it will certainly be interesting to compare a selection of uppers against each other, and well continue to pit guns in alternate AR chamberings, but for now, we want to gauge whether wed plunk down $600 to $700 after taxes for the AR57 PDW Upper. In our opinion, we believe there are significant reasons not to.

A Roller-Locked Trio: H&K-Type Variants for .308, .223, 9mm

We test rifles with this action type: JLD's .308 PTR-91, Vector Arms' V-53 in .223, and the 9mm BW-5 from Bobcat Weapons.

9mm Carbines: We Would Buy Kel-Tecs Sub Rifle 2000

In our February 2002 issue we tested two 9mm carbines, the Hi-Point 995 and Ruger's PC9. They turned out to be simple and effective, each earning a "Buy" rating. Looking forward to finding two more good carbines, we acquired the Leinad CM11 and Kel-Tec's Sub Rifle 2000.

Like the Ruger and the Hi-Point, these weapons are fed from pistol magazines. However, the CM11 and Sub Rifle 2000 are convertibles, whereas our earlier samples were long guns. The Sub Rifle 2000 breaks down along a hinge and lock that divides the gun in half for storage. The CM11 is in fact the PM11 model (PM for pistol model, we assume) with add-on stock, alternate top end, and barrel. In the case of the Kel-Tec, we had to wonder if the gun would keep its integrity after repeated openings and closings. Regarding the Leinad, we wanted to know if its function was as effective as its intimidating image. Would these guns prove to be handy, or just a handful of hard luck?

9mm Carbines: Hi-Point Takes On Ruger In Self-Defense Showdown

Without actually seeing the subjects of this month's test, we imagined these two 9mm carbines as being a poor man's AR-15, or perhaps an MP5. The two short rifles in question are in fact the $575 Ruger PC9, which operates from magazines common to Ruger's P85-95 series pistols, and Hi-Point's 9mm Carbine, $199. The Hi-Point cuts the figure of the type of machine pistol one envisions in the hands of SWAT or Special Forces. The Ruger, on the other hand, closely resembles a military rifle from the 1940s. Its profile is of a classic rifle punctuated by a long, narrow magazine hanging just ahead of the trigger guard.

Tested: A Trio of Big-Game Busters in .375 H&H Magnum

Ruger's Magnum takes the cake as a dangerous-game gun, and we also like Sako's 75 Hunter. Pass on the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express.

Joe Biden’s Gun Plan

Hey, at Gun Tests, we like our politicians to like guns. We don’t dig pols who want to restrict 2nd Amendment rights, aka infringe...