The most prolific small arm on this planet is the AK-47 and it’s variants, with over 100,000,000 in worldwide circulation. For those who do not know about it’s beginnings, I will be brief. If you already know all this feel free to skip ahead.
The Автомат Калашникова, in English meaning Kalashnikov automatic rifle, model of 1947, was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov who started out as a Russian tank mechanic. He began as a designer in 1941 during his stay in the hospital being wounded in the Battle of Bryans. He had a conversation with another wounded solider who was complaining about the superiority of German assault weapons. This conversation must of stirred something within Mikhail as this was the catalyst that sparked his weapon design. Allegedly the AKs roots belong with the M1 Garand and the German Sturmgewehr. This was not his first gun design, but the first one accepted by the Russian Army. Design began in 1945 , presented to the Russian Army in 1946 as the AK-46. Much different than what we know as the AK-47 such as a two piece receiver, rotary bolt, separate safety and fire selector for example. The AK-46 was improved upon and the AK-47 was born. Trials began in 1948 and adopted by the Russian Army in 1949. Though there were some growing pains in the material and manufacturing process until 1956 as distribution was heavily increased. In 1974 the design was replaced with the AK-74, though a similar carbine it fires the 5.45×39mm Mikhail Kalashnikov also developed the AKM, RPK light machine gun, and the general purpose, belt fed PK Machinegun.
The RAS47, Red Army Standard 47, is really closer to the Автомат Калашникова Модернизированный or AKM, sans the full auto option, cleaning rod and bayonet lug. This redesign came about in 1959 using a stamped receiver, canted and slanted muzzle break. There is a bit of controversy on the RAS47 using cast trunnions and bolt, and there is plenty of information to be considered. When a machine part is spec’d by the engineer it has to meet certain criteria. If cast steel is done correctly and is cast and hardened to the required tensile strength required for that specific part it will work, though the service life may very well be shorter than a forged part. Generally speaking cast parts will not have the same service life as forged parts but they are much cheaper and easy to manufacture keeping cost per unit down by quite a bit. Scenario, if you have an expected service life of the receiver of combat rifle of 20,000 rounds that costs $250 to produce or a service life of 40,000 rounds that costs $600 to produce and you are outfitting an army, which way would you go? Keep in mind the barrel service life is probably going to be about 25,000 rounds. Food for thought. So while forged may last longer, at which point do you reach the point of diminishing returns? If it costs twice as much to produce but lasts 20% longer is it worth it? Here again, generally speaking. If the forging and hardening process is done correctly and quality control is on their game, cast parts will work. Look at the bolt of the Springfield M1A, same difference.
The RAK 1 trigger is not bad at all, breaking at 6 pounds with take up and overtravel. The magazine release is positioned to be ambidextrous but it is a bit larger than the traditional magazine release. The safety is where it should be and worked as expected. Century Arms was good enough to machine in a notch to act as a manual bolt hold open.
Traditional front and rear sights. The rear sight is graduated to 800 meters, which is pretty optimistic for this rifle and caliber.
Optic mount riveted to the stamped receiver, which was compatible with the new Red Army Standard Micro Dot side mount.
Traditional metric muzzle break, as simple as it is, it still works excellent.
Taking the RAS47 to the twenty five yard line with the factory Gen 2 PMag magazine as well as a Magpul Gen 3 PMag we ran a few hundred rounds through it without issue. I actually enjoyed shooting the rifle and found it to be combat accurate during rapid fire at twenty five yards all day long. Adding a Liberty Suppressors Cosmic silencer suppressed the report just enough to run the gun without ear protection. Adding the can did not affect reliability or accuracy. After we were all satisfied the carbine was reliable with and without a silencer it was time for the 100 yard line accuracy test.
Groups fired from a rest using iron sights at 100 yards, please click on the chart for a larger version.
At the Range
The Century Arms RAS47 is a somewhat traditional AKM with the cleaning rod and bayonet lug omitted. This will bother some traditionalists but that is no big deal for me, though I would not mind a bayonet lug to be honest. Many bring up the fact Century Arms uses cast trunnions and bolts, which I addressed at the beginning of the article. I ran a total of about 500 rounds through the RAS 47, and while in the grand scheme of things that is not a lot, it is a good start.
The front trunnion and bolt after 500 rounds. Everything still looks good.
I have also seen folks run thousands of rounds through the RAS 47 and close the bolt on the no-go headspace gauge. A bolt closing on a no-go gauge as the only test cannot say for sure the rifle is unserviceable. The no-go gauge shows the chamber is at maximum allowable dimensions. Headspace failure is measured by a field gauge, and that is the definitive test the receiver is unserviceable. Once the bolt closes on the no-go gauge, a field gauge is the next step. If the bolt closes on the field gauge, it is time to have the headspace set back to spec.
With all that out of the way, the Century Arms RAS 47 is a very solid AKM style rifle that proved to be reliable throughout 500 rounds clean and muddy. Being made in America and at a price point that makes it affordable, the RAS 47 is a good option for someone looking to get into the AK line of rifles. All in all, I am satisfied with how the RAS 47 ran.
Century Arms is now offering Red Army Standard Otis cleaning kits, with three options. depending on your needs. The kits are tailored to 7.62×39 rifles and would serve any of the .30″ rifle.
You now have the option of the Red Army Standard AK Micro Dot side mount. The mount secures to the standard AK mount via two Torx threaded fasteners. It was quick to add and remove and mounted solid.
• 100% American made
• Barrel 1:10 twist, concentric LH 14×1 metric thread and ready for a variety of muzzle attachments
• 1st AK side scope rail mount to offer a return to zero capability, also offers four times clamping improvement over traditional side scope rail mounts and improves sight acquisition for follow-up shots
• Chrome moly 4150 nitride treated barrel
• 1/16″ stamped 4140 steel nitride treated receiver
• RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group
• Larger T shaped magazine catch
• Compatibility with AKM furniture
• Standard AKM sights
• Retaining plate
• Bolt hold-open notch on the safety selector
• Slant brake
• Bolt carrier tail heat treated to ensure maximum performance and life
• Accepts all standard AK mags.
• Comes with one 30 rd. mag.
• Barrel: 16.5″ with a 1:10 twist, Overall: 37.25″, Weight: 7.55 lbs.