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The ubiquitous Automat Kalashnikova (AK) is without doubt the most successful and reliable rifle of its type ever developed. When I was in Vietnam, I picked up a Chinese-made AK from a Viet Cong who no longer needed it and fired it on numerous occasions with zero maintenance; no oil, no cleaning, nothing.

caa2.gifIn the humid climate of Central Vietnam, the operating rod rusted solidly to the gas tube within a few days, requiring the bolt to be opened by kicking it with the shooter’s boot prior to chambering a round. Yet, the rifle never failed to function and, within 100 or so yards, was accurate enough to easily hit human-size targets.

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The ubiquitous Automat Kalashnikova (AK) is without doubt the most successful and reliable rifle of…