Century Arms C39V2 born Russian cultured American

Century Arms C39V2 born Russian cultured American.

C39V2

The AK-47 or Автомат Калашникова was born in the Soviet Union in 1946, designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It was submitted to trials and adopted by the Soviet Army in 1948. Chambered in the mid range 7.62×39 cartridge that was developed for the SKS, it is ideal for short to medium range engagements sacrificing velocity and range to gain controlability and magazine capicity.  The original Автомат Калашникова was select fire, capable of semi automatic or fully automatic fire, depending on how the safety/selector lever was positioned. It can be argued the AK-47 is the most popular battle rifle on the planet. It has been made and adopted by many countries and in many variations. Though most receivers are of stamped steel supported with rivets to be the most cost effective, that also makes it less durable than machined receivers.

Due to the popularity of the AK platform and the 7.62×39, it is logical that American companies should offer a similar rifle to those who prefer that platform. Century Arms is no stranger to the AK platform, as they have been importing such rifles for years.  I believe Century Arms stepped up their game with the C39 AK style rifle, and while it was a solid model there were some improvements needed.  Next came the C39V2 ,version 2, where these improvements were addressed as follows.

C39V2-4

Standard AK front sight was added to the V2, adjustable for windage with the AK front sight tool. You can see the vents on the gas system, allowing extra gas to be vented during cycling. Note, there is no bayonet lug or cleaning rod as with traditional AK rifles. To the purist, this is could be an issue. Though I don’t care about the cleaning rod, I would like to see a bayonet lug if only for the cool factor. I expect that was left off so that Century Arms would only need to swap to low capacity magazines so this rifle can be shipped to states that infringe on our rights. The muzzle device worked well enough but is attached via metric left handed threads. While that may be standard, I would liked to see a standard right handed thread. Many of my favorite muzzle and silencer attachments are right hand SAE threads, such as those made by Advanced Armament Corp.

C39V2-2

The receiver coated with a black nitrite finish will accept standard furniture and it is machined from 4140 ordnance quality steel. The safety has a notch machined into it as to act as a bolt hold open lever. In my opinion, all firearms should have the ability to hold the bolt open to show safe. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation out to 800 yards. This is a bit optimistic for the 7.62×39.

C39V2-3

The improved trigger group is RAK-1, breaking at 5 1/2 pounds with some take up and over travel. Not a match grade trigger, but nicer than the other AK type triggers I have tried. The magazine catch is also enlarged to make it easier to find in a hurry.

C39V2-5

You can see here, there are no provisions for attaching optics. Some complained about this but as you all know, I actually prefer iron sights especially on this type of rifle. So, for me this was not a problem.

C39V2-6

The C39V2 field strips just as easy as any other AK type rifle, but now includes all Wolff springs. A definite upgrade from the C39.

My test sample includes Magpul furniture, and while not traditional, it is more aesthetically pleasing in my opinion. It will also hold up better to damp and rough environments.

Initial Range Trip 

C39V2-9

….disclaimer… I am not a huge fan of the AK-47 or the 7.62×39. I am a former Marine and am in love with the M16A2/M4/AR-15 but I approached this unbiased with an open mind.

My mother and I hit the range with plenty of ammo and the C39V2. She and I both went through several magazines at twenty-five yards. As expected function was just fine and she and I both were able to keep rounds on a eight and a half by eleven piece of. Right off I liked the sights, especially the way the rear sight was configured. Thought not as precise as a rear aperture on an AR style rifle, it offered great peripheral awareness. The one thing I disliked, as with all AK-47s, the slide would not lock back on an empty magazine. I do understand that is the design of this type of rifle, so this is not a flaw of the C39V2.

Second Range Trip

Here is a bit of footage of the initial, second, and third range trip with the rifle.

C39V2 Rifle accuracy

Accuracy table, please click on the thumbnail for a larger chart. These were three shot groups, iron sights, from a rest, at 100 yards.

Conclusions 

As I said, at the beginning of this review I was not a huge fan of the AK pattern rifles but, as with many of my reviews, I learned a great deal by being open minded. The 100 yard groups were better than I expected, especially with the higher quality Ammunition such as the Hornady. As you see in the video, after about 150 rounds, the C39V2 went into the mud and sat there about ten minuets. Note, though the magazine was loaded, the chamber was empty before I threw it into the mud and we checked for bore obstruction before live fire commenced. After that we fired another 250 rounds through the rifle without cleaning or lubing it. After all that we then shot a few three-shot groups and it was about that same as the groups we shot when the rifle was newish. I did run about another fifty rounds through the rifle after the video, so the final round count was about 456 rounds without failure or issue. The C39V2 ships with two Gen 2 Magpul PMags, and I received a Gen 3 PMag as well as the Magpul Ranger Plates for another review. I tested the C39V2 with the Gen 2 and 3 PMags as well as with and without the Ranger Plates. The rifle had no issues with either configuration. Though a rifle of this caliber (pun intended) should function exactly as it did, many would have fallen short. So, in my opinion the C39V2 performed exactly as it should, and I was satisfied. There were a few things I pointed out that I did not care for but none were real deal breakers.

Acknowledgments

Century Arms  

Magpul

Hornady

Tug Valley Armaments 

Rick Cirac

Specifications 

100% Made in USA

Receiver:  milled 11 lb. block of 4140 ordnance quality steel

Trigger: RAK-1 enhanced trigger group breaking at 5 1/2 pounds

Finish: black nitrite

Muzzle Thread: left hand 14×1 metric thread

Barrel: 16.5″ with a 1:10 twist

Overall length: 37.25″

Weight: 8.2 lbs

Ships with two Magpul 30 round PMags, can be had with low capacity magazines for states that are cool with violating our rights

1 year manufacturer’s warranty

MSRP $799

C39V2-10

I even took the C39V2 out with my BPM Patrolman’s Rifle, an AR-15, in 300 Blackout and contuary to popular belief, there was no rip in the space time continuum.

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23 Responses to Century Arms C39V2 born Russian cultured American

  1. Dan Dunn March 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    Unfortunately , the author forgot to mention that the bolt and carrier of this beautifully made
    C39V2 is of a softer cast steel construction ….. evidence is mounting that these components
    are failing , when the bullet count exceeds 1000 rds.
    Although my C39V2 greatly impressed me , when I first examined it at the gun shop , I would
    have never purchased it ” if I had known what I know now ” .
    Sadly , this rifle could have been one of the finest AK47 rifles made , had the Century Arms
    R&D Department went with forged steel bolts and carriers .
    Perhaps Century Arms needs to ” clean house ” , and get rid of some of these idiots ,and
    replacing them with people of common sense vision !

    • John March 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      I’ve seen your posts all over the place yet it hasn’t happened to you. Any proof yet except for what the ak union has said?

    • Jason S August 24, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

      There may be some with soft bolts/carriers, but not mine, after 2k rounds the v2 is running like a top with OEM parts. I learned long ago not to listen to internet fanboys who let their teenage like emotions blind them to reasonable logic..

  2. Dan Dunn March 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    The AK Operators Union has photographic proof and there are others who
    have sent in their photographs of the cast components in question , to several
    AK blogs ….. more and more owners are coming forward .
    As far as myself is concerned , I just need to know the real truth about what I
    paid my $830.00 for !….. even the gunsmith is asking himself : Why build a
    first rate milled receiver AK but than put a soft cast bolt and receiver in it ?….
    crap like this makes no sense , unless you are Century Arms !
    I really have no more to say about this , except : I hope we can get to the truth ,
    and my fears prove to be unfounded !

  3. Robert April 19, 2016 at 4:43 am #

    I was seriously considering purchasing one of these rifles until now. Thanks for the heads up on the issue with the bolt carrier groups. Too good to be true . Should have figured this when I heard the barrels were made from 4140 steel instead of the higher quality 4150 grade steel. Not quite there yet in the high end AK market. These are more than enough rifle for the casual shooter though. I think I`ll be checking out the Arsenal Sam 7 Bulgarian AK-47 rifle.

  4. Dan Dunn May 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Complaints about “soft or defective bolts and carriers ” have been few and far between lately ,
    concerning the C39 V2 . I would assume that this is partly due to the fact that 90% of these
    rifles sold never even get fired , and , partly do to the fact that that these ” trick or treat guns ”
    are no longer hot sales items .
    I would again encourage anyone that owns one of these rifles , to share their experience
    ( good or bad ) with this blog .

    • Hunter Elliott May 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      I am totally OK with people sharing their results here and maybe we can get a consensus.

  5. Dan Dunn August 25, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    I am fairly confident that Century Arms has taken care of these ” soft metal issues ”
    Most of these questionable C39V2 guns had serial numbers below A03000 , which are
    the earlier production guns….. I am happy that Jason S has fired 2000 rounds . with no
    problems ….. perhaps he can tell us the serial number range of his gun .
    Not all of these earlier guns had soft bolts and carriers , however , most of them did !
    These ” unsuspecting ” buyers were certainly victims of negligence-gone to the extreme .
    I certainly hope that Century Arms has learned something from this !

  6. Dan Dunn August 25, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    I want to add : The serial number range of my C39V2 is A038XX …. Incorporated on-to the bolt carrier recoil spring channel slot is an X mark ,indicating that the bolt carrier was double
    heat treated ….. if you ever encounter one of these earlier guns for sale without this x mark ,
    ” buyer beware ” …… the later guns do not have this mark – but are probably ” good to go ” .
    The Question is : what did Century know – and when did they know it ?
    Here again , I have nothing more to say to the people wanting to dis-credit me on this .
    Buying a C39V2 on Gunbroker ? – Good luck !

  7. Dan Straub August 25, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    Here’s a 3 time afghan and Iraq combat vet. 1 tour afghan and 2 tours Iraq as an 0331 (machine gunner). I served in earlier parts of the Iraq war in Fallujah and more than 10 other major cities/towns along the Euphraites river. I was I’m the Kandahar Valley area of afghan. I was first issued an FNH M16A4 with acog and PEQ 13 as I recall during my first tour. Then after that I became team leader and 3rd tour squad leader. I’ve owned 3 AR-15’s built to my liking, first purchase I think I was 22 yrs old. I spent some time training Iraqi police and army while on patrol in hostile urban environments. I never had a “FOB” so to speak…we did “patrol based ops”, living from one local national home to another for a 48hr-72hr period of time, we’d keep all fam members inside at all times during our stay and use the home as a FOB and then move onto the next most hostile area. I slept probably 3-4 hours in a 24hr period in broken intervals of sleep, an hour here, maybe 2-3 hours straight on a good night. I came accross many AK’s, many stamped, flimsy pieces of sh*t too. Some were solid though and their knock down power and ability to shoot through some of the concrete buildings made me wish we had been issued one of the better variants of the AK. Of course being Marine Corps we were mandated without argent to clean our rifles at least once a week in “bad times with no rest”. I never engaged a target beyond 200yrds, we had crew served weapons for support. I love the AR’s accuracy, trigger potential, and ergonomics. However, for me owning the C39v2 Zhukov equipped with all magpul furniture and attention to detail…well, I’d give the Colt M4 to my son like I did his red rider BB gun and carry my C39v2 with magpul furniture for my main line of defense.

    • Hunter Elliott August 25, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

      Dan, first of all thank you very much foy service. That is an excellent resume you have sir. I also appreciate your insight on the AR and AK platforms.

      • Dan Straub August 25, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

        Haha! Would you believe I’m an ER nurse with a bachelors degree in nursing now?! Working with all females in a totally different field. I was a Marine before I was a dad, a Marine before I was a nurse/Murse. I first started shooting competitively with flint lock and cap lock rifles with my father at age 10. I’m 30 yrs old now. I love the AR and the AK for different reasons and it’s difficult in some arguments to weigh one over the other. I just feel that if I had to repeat the same combat I experienced I’d rather have this c39v2 Zhukov. For some added info I do have VA disability for being shot twice in my back sappi by 7.62×54. 3 years after being state side I was shot under my arm pit and out my back by a .45 caliber 1911, big story behind that one too. I’ve personally hit 3 IED’s, one in HMWV, one in and MRAP, and one in a 7 ton. Lost by plt. Sgt gunny terry Elliot, doc conte (Mathew Conte) and Lcpl Wilson all in one night not to mention others in previous engagements. I love guns and I am 2nd amendment through and through. The AK vs. AR debate is so rediculous in my opinion. I do lean toward a well built and well set up AK though even though most of my assault rifle experience is with the AR. The AK just fits what I deem to be the combat billet better. Easy design, ease of use, accurate for it’s purpose, better knock down power and obstruction penetration, and not as anal in maintenance. Among other things. I just think if you are going to argue long range capability of AR vs. AK you’ve obviously not been in combat in OIF or OEF where 95% of engagements were 300 meters at most and if you want to go further just build a nail driving heavy barrel bolt gun with good glass.

        • Hunter Elliott August 25, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

          Dan, nursing is a very noble profession and my hats off to you brother. I am a former Marine myself started out as a 3522 diesel mechanic but was billeted out as rifle coach. My father and both of his brothers are former Marines. I agree the AK vs AR argument is stupid and I like them both for different reasons, as you have stated. I prefer the AR platform myself but that is personal opinion. I hope you have healed and are holding it together brother.

  8. Dan Straub August 25, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    Dan again…an AR or M16 platform is of course amazing. I absolutely love it. The 5.56 round and the 7.62×39 are inherently different though. One has a longer range and much higher velocity while the other is heavier, less point target range, and less velocity. A 5.56 round WILL change trajectory if impeded by tree branches or brush while the heavier 7.62 will typically still maintain trajectory through such obstructions. This, in my mind makes the round alone a better suited close quarters round, accurate to probably 400yrds if you know your fundamentals and learn your weapon system. The 5.56 can be stretched out even beyond 600yrds with good fundamentals and a good weapon system. I just want to say this though, if I had to go back to the sandbox and the urban streets of Baghdad or Fallujah with all the concrete and little time to focus on rifle maintenance and just needed a reliable, concrete busting, more than acceptably accurate rifle, I’d take the C39v2 Zhukov with a decent red dot over my Colt M4 with acog. The 5.56 didn’t shoot through the typical concrete/stone constructed buildings, it just took out half golf ball pieces of rock and left the guy behind the wall alive. The 7.62×39 made you duck down because it would shoot through and this C39v2 I have is accurate beyond my expectations (though I’ve been shooting all my life and use my fundamentals on any platform, rifle or pistol). If you really want to drop a target at 500yrds+ your enemy is far from you and a Remington 700 SPS tactical with Steiner optic is my choice for this scenario (.308). Spending time in real shit you learn to understand that “high speed low drag” is very important. This means carrying a rifle that works very well and is reliable without all the Ferrari BS that requires secondary maintenance just to maintain. A C39v2 with folding Magpul stock and furniture is a high speed low drag heavyweight in my opinion. Forget the low end AKs in this review, there are plenty of them, but Century Arms offers what an experienced grunt would hope for if he had to repeat his worst combat tour. I shouldn’t have to worry about my rifle, it just needs to work, ergonics aside…I slept next to goats and chickens half the time, how comfy is that? Learn to operate the most sensible rifle (c39v2 Zhukov) and leave the custom civilian bs for the civilians that have never seen war and don’t know what a war really requires out of a rifle. A 4x receiver mounted scope is the max I’d deem acceptable for this rifle due to lack in field of view. Iron sites (for a good shooter) or a red dot are just fine for the AK. Sometimes simple and sweet+durability and reliability outweigh the more easily modified and moody platform of the M16. Let’s go back to Vietnam and argue which rifle was better suited. Now if you live in the plains or in the desert my argument is null and void. Go for an AR to reach out and touch somebody if you catch them 500yrds away. But if you’re asleep at night and hear shit hitting the fan it’s probably close to you and your wife and kids can pick up an AK and use it more readily and more effectively in my opinion. If you want to be anal about point target range buy a freakin bolt action, heavy barrel, rifle with a scope that costs 2-3 times more than your rifle. My C39v2 Zhukov and my Glocks will protect this vet’s home, and if I hear you’re coming near before you are here I’ll be on my roof with my 700 SPS tactical chambered in .308 with Steiner optics ready to hit point targets out to 1,000 meters with hand loads. My fiancé will be downstairs holding into the Zhukov c39v2 I’m case I can’t keep them off our tail. Hopefully the nuclear sub base 5 miles from me would already be aware of the situation though lol!!!

  9. Dan Dunn August 26, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    Being a Vietnam Veteran , I understand where Dan Straub is coming from .
    Being that the C39V2 Zhukov is a later Century rifle , I am sure he has a good reliable AK .
    I am certainly no fan of the M -16 platform !
    I have always been impressed by all of the various ” foreign built ” AK’s I have owned through
    the years ….. the Egyptian Maadi being my favorite .
    I would still like to see Century Arms switch over to a forged bolt and carrier ….. what a wonderful C39V2 that would be ….. incredibly accurate and impossible to wear out !

  10. Dan Dunn August 26, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    I may as well tell everyone about my experience ranging – in my C39V2 .
    With my ” Green Mountain Barrel ” at 50 yards , I was able to hold about a one inch group .
    However , this was accomplished with Chinese plant 71 steel core ” non corrosive ” ammo .
    This is the banned ammo with the brown lacquered cases ….. very difficult to find anymore .
    I have been told that these guns now have the ESS 4150 barrels , due to the in-put from
    the AK Operators Union ….. never did like these ESS barrels ….. to many defects on these .
    Anyway , I have never had an AK that shot a group like this ….at least this is something
    that Century was able to do without screwing things up !

  11. Dan Dunn September 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Was able to examine a used C39V2 ( ser.# range A05000 + ) ….
    Forgot to see if the bolt carrier had the x mark .
    This gun was reported to have about 600 rounds fired , which
    I do not doubt …and functions perfectly , which I do not doubt .
    The bolt carrier tail looked good to me and there did not seem
    to be any unusual wear on the bolt locking lugs , but then I
    saw it !…. there was a ” stress crack ” on the locking lug .
    I was beginning to think that I probably had a good C39V2
    example , but now I am not so sure …. Century needs to
    re-think these cast bolts !

    • dillon nab November 3, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      take a picture next time please im tired of seeing the same argument with no evidence my man thanks.

  12. corriell brotherwood November 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    I own this rifle and I’ve really enjoyed shooting it. After about 500 rounds I began noticing severe wear, chipping, and mushrooming on the bolt and bolt carrier. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal because it was still under warranty but when I contacted century Arms all they were interested in doing was finding reasons not to honor the warranty they told me that this wear was normal and that the warranty was void because I had applied touch up paint to cover up the abnormal wear. I made a video documenting this on YouTube https://youtu.be/ZDg0VMInZ-w

  13. Dan Dunn November 30, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

    What we need here , is an investigation by the Product Safety Commission … someone ,
    somewhere , sometime is going to be seriously injured by a snapped bolt lug .
    There is nothing anyone can do about companies who put soft cast steel bolts in high powered rifles …. the best thing we can do is ” not to buy these potentially dangerous guns ” .
    Perhaps , now that the political landscape has changed , we may once again see renewed
    imports of former Warsaw Pact AK’s that do have forged steel bolts and carriers .
    In the interest of product safety , we will have to see what happens here !

  14. Dan Dunn February 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    For C39V2’s manufactured in January 2016 , Century had announced ” an upgrade ” for
    the barrel of this rifle …. the ESS 4150 Chrome lined barrel .
    It turns out that these barrels are much softer than the Green Mountain barrels that were on
    these rifles in 2015 .
    Rockwell test results confirm a rating of 27.33 RC for the GM 2015 barrel Vs. 5 RC rating for the ESS 2016 barrel ….The Green Mountain barrel is , by far , the superior barrel .
    You can bet that this ” alleged upgrade ” had something to do with higher profits .
    If , for some reason , you ” just have to have ” one of these ” trick or treat ” rifles , I would
    urge the buyer to try and find one of the 2015 rifles …. This is just one more reason why
    the Product Safety Commission needs to get involved here !

  15. Dan Dunn May 16, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    It has been quite a while since I have heard anything bad about these C39V2’s .
    Hopefully , the Imperial Wizards , over at Century Arms , had a religious experience and
    decided to be more careful about what goes out the door ….
    Or perhaps , very few of these beautifully made ” trick or treat guns ” are being sold .
    Only time will tell !

  16. Dan Dunn May 18, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    I just saw the beginning of ” things to come ” , as it relates to ” new in the box prices ” for
    the Century C39V2 .
    Pepper Gun Shop just moved a new C39V2 for $555.00 plus shipping ( 25 bids ) .
    Dealers must be getting desperate , or , the mark-up on these tainted guns must be more
    than I imagined .
    I hate to say it , but at this price , I can’t see how you could really go wrong , provided ,
    these guns are finally ” good to go ” .
    As far as I know , the ” 2015 Green Mountain Barrel ” guns are still available …. which
    says a lot about actual sales figures …. I say : Go For It !

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