If you have been paying attention the Kalashnikov world and the numerous configurations available, you should know that Century Arms has been building 100 percent Made in the USA AKs for several years. The first year or so, the new machined-receiver Century guns were flying under the industry radar. They were not getting the attention they deserved, much like the AK63D is now.
Recently there was an infusion of fresh blood in the marketing department at Century and they have not only been promoting the guns heavily but they’ve done something almost unheard of in the gun world. Century put C39 rifles and pistols into the hands of hard corps firearms instructors and told them to run the gun hard and fast. They essentially dared the trainers to break them. Then came the miraculous part. Century asked the shooters what they liked and what they didn’t like AND they listened to the advice.
With all the press being given to the C39 guns, the Century gun I’m discussing today has not received its fair share of attention, but it shares similar features with those models. The AK63D is Century’s version of the classic AK-47 “underfolder” model. This iteration of the venerable Kalashnikov was inevitable as most every battle rifle in modern history has at one point or another been modified for paratroopers or mechanized infantry.
Let’s face it, like it or not, the underfolder gets high marks in the cool category. Hollywood filmmakers love to insert the underfolder whenever the opportunity presents itself. Both action heroes and bad guys alike run across the screen blazing away these rifles.
Like the wire stock folders, the AK underfolders have been dismissed by serious riflemen as interesting novelties void of practicality. Neither stock configuration allows for a solid or comfortable cheek weld. In both cases, you have a metal stock slapping you in the face if you do attempt to maintain proper form.
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A Closer Look
With all of that being said, let’s take a close look at the new model AK63D. Beginning with the receiver, this component is Century’s machined steel version with a beveled magazine well. The mag well improvement alone is enough to recommend the Century guns. Magazines pop right in without difficulty, not just metal magazines, every type of AK magazine you can imagine.
The 7.62x39mm AK63D is a bit of a hybrid. Made in the USA components include the machined/milled receiver, 116.25-inch barrel, compensator, and trigger group. Hungarian parts include the gas block, sights, underfolder stock, wooden furniture, bolt and bolt carrier. Altogether, these parts make up a very attractive rifle. Empty empty weight is 7.48 pounds, overall length is 35.75 with the stock open.
I picked up the AK63D on a Friday afternoon from Cook’s Gun Shop in Biloxi, MS and on Saturday morning I was at the Mississippi Combat Training Academy ready to heat it up. In order to give the gun a serious testing, I took a variety of accessories.
The ammunition consisted of Wolf Polyformance 123g.FMJ with steel cases and two different loads from Red Army Standard; 123g. copper-jacketed bullets with lacquered steel cases and the “Elite” 123g. FMJ with brass cases. To feed the gun I had the two, 30 round magazines that came with it as well as samples from MagPul, US Palm, Tapco, and steel mags from Yugoslavia, Romania, and Serbia. To carry spare magazines I used a pouch from Olongapo Outfitters.
Before hitting the range I disassembled the gun and applied a liberal coat of FrogLube to the moving parts. Other than that the rifle was tested “as is” out of the box.
At the Range
My friend Mike has several reactive steel targets set out on this range. The first shot fired from the AK63D at a one hundred yard steel silhouette resulted in a loud metal “clang”. Bingo, the gun was at very least BZO’d for that distance. That meant I could begin the testing without needing to fiddle with the sights. I’m not looking for M.O.A. from an AK, I’m looking for “Minute of Bad Guy” and reliability.
I had arrived on the range with a half-dozen AK magazines loaded and thus was able to heat the AK63D up seriously before I needed to pause and refill them. Drills consisted of standing, kneeling and prone. I moved forward, backward and laterally. It did not take long to appreciate the rifleman’s issue with an underfolder.
The steel stock stung my jawline shot after shot. The natural temptation is to lift your face up and away from the stock. That action, of course, hampers your ability to align the sights on the rifle. I disciplined myself, kept my face down and focused on the front sight post.
Three hundred plus rounds later, the AK63D had functioned without flaw. Every round from every magazine fed and cycled properly. Somewhere around the 250-round mark, I noticed that the pistol grip was loose. A snug turn with the flathead screwdriver and some more threadlocker fixed it. That was my only “issue”, a loose screw.
Sure, we could put hundreds or even thousands of more rounds through the gun. My decades of experience testing firearms has shown me that if a gun is going to crap out or have mechanical issues they will materialize within the first few hundred rounds. Dirty, dry guns are not mechanical issues they are maintenance issues.
We are certainly not done working with this gun, but it is off to an excellent start. I’ll be looking for a way to take the sting out of the metal stock (besides shooting with it folded). Brownells has a cheek piece in their catalog. I’m strongly considering adding XS Sights to the gun as well. I have them on other AK’s and appreciate their value. We’ll see what else we can come up with, you know me. In the meantime, if you are interested in this gun, get your order in now, not later.
Paul Markel ©2014
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