NOTE: this is a follow-up post to my original review of the IO, Inc. AK-47C
Having shot this rifle for almost five years, I’ve gotten to know it really well. I still like it, probably more than when I first reviewed it in 2010. However, over the course of 6-7k rounds I have run into a recent problem that anyone shooting this gun should be aware of.
About a year ago the Tapco folding stock broke, just behind the trunnion. I thought this was odd but at the time I just put the factory stock back on and figured I would replace the Tapco unit at some point. I finally got around to doing that a few weeks ago. I had also noticed that over the course of time the receiver’s dust cover had become loose in the front seating groove. It was while installing the new folding stock that I took a closer look at the trunnion and made an alarming discovery: the two rear receiver rivets were bent significantly and were near the point of failure! Lucky for me I have a very good gunsmith in the area who has a lot of experience with this platform.
Steve Newlan owns Windsor Arms Company in Windsor, VT. and has many years experience building and maintaining these rifles, as well as many other platforms. He says that Romanian kits are notorious for including either very old stock or in fact used components and that my recoil spring was likely very weak, allowing the bolt carrier to slam into the trunnion. Over time this had bent those rivets and almost certainly led to the failure of the folding stock. Another possible cause for this impacting is that the gas port in their barrels were often drilled out-of-spec due to poor machine tool conditions thereby allowing the gun to “over-gas”. He recommended to start by 1) repairing the rivets and 2) replacing the recoil spring with a Wolf heavy version. If after that the trunnion shows signs of impact then we should consider either welding and re-drilling the gas port/tube or reducing the diameter of the gas piston to allow some blow-by.
After receiving the repaired rifle back from Steve I decided to also install a polymer buffer at the rear of the receiver, just in case. Glyn Reinders suggested this and although Steve assured me the carrier should never touch the back of the receiver, I would rather spend a few dollars on something that might make a worthwhile difference than not and have a problem going forward. It is also worth mentioning that Steve dimpled the receiver while installing the new rivets, which apparently was never done during original installation. The gun appears to function perfectly now and it wasn’t an expensive fix so I’m still happy with the rifle. Bottom line: if you own one of these check your trunnion for signs of impact. If necessary, change out that recoil spring. The Wolf heavy spring cost around $10.00 so it might be worth doing anyway.