I recently had a range experience that dispelled one of the greatest urban legends of the firearms world. That the 7.62x.39 AK 47 is incapable of the accuracy level of the AR-15…. or much of anything else. While that may be true in most cases, I just found that to be a myth. After much experimentation down the AK47 path, I settled on what I believe is the finest AK pattern rifle ever made. This is the Arsenal SAM7SF.
I was given an in-depth run down of the SAM7SF rifle by Vartan Barsoumian (Arsenal CEO) at the Arsenal facility in Las Vegas prior to its release. I was floored. After selling a couple of my other AK’s to fund the SAM7SF I finally got one for my personal use. I mounted an Aimpoint Comp M3 on it using an RS Regulate AK-300 mount. I also used and RS Regulate BM-1 mount attached to the barrel to mount a Surefire X300 Ultra and a simple two-point sling with a Blue Force gear adaptor for the front sling position. It is simple. Solid gun, high quality red dot sight and a high quality light and a simple sling. I use Arsenal Circle 10 magazines that are regarded as the highest quality AK magazines ever made. I took this rifle with me on a recent military contract where I was working exclusively on AK pattern weapons for OPFOR operations. I spent a lot of time on dry manipulations, but was never able to do a live sight in.
When I arrived home I went to the Sportsman Shooting Center in Grapevine, Texas to utilize their 100-yard indoor tunnel to sight this rifle in along with a BCM AR that I would be using for a LE demo (I am a LE Pro Staff member for Aimpoint). I got the SAM7 SF loaded up with my favorite 7.62×39 load, Hornady’s outstanding 123 gr. SST. I started out shooting some solid groups while getting a good zero. These all hovered in the 2-inch range. The shooting center utilizes the same type of computer equipment that is used in the Olympics for scoring targets. You can’t cheat the system, and it doesn’t lie. An employee and not the shooter independently operate the system. Once I was close on the bull, I started to really focus to try to get the best zero possible. The next three rounds went into .054 inches. Yes, .54 inches at 100 yards. I stopped that group while I was ahead as it was a mind bender. I had the employee record and print it. I fired the next two rounds just to get an idea of what that group would have been and it would have opened up to just under an inch. What is remarkable is that this was shot by a guy with a bad astigmatism where the red dot looks like an asterisk, and I cannot actually see the bull at 100 yards, and included the first round loaded from the magazine that is often in a different spot with many semi-auto’s. It also shatters the myth about not being able to shoot a group with a 2 MOA red dot (which I already knew as I shot a .076 inch group on the same system with a Steyr AUG and a Comp M4). To say I was stunned was an understatement. I knew that the all forged and milled parts used in the SAM7SF combined with a cold hammer forged barrel was giving some impressive groups, but .054 is beyond anyone’s expectations. I guess mine REALLY likes the Hornady 123 gr. SST that I have decided is the only thing that will be going through it (I have other AK’s to shoot garbage through).
The rest of the session continued with solid groupings right around 2-3 MOA that was mostly due to me, and my eye issues. I let the Shane Johnson, the employee at the Sportsman Shooting Center, fire the last 5 shot group of the day. He had not shot an AK before. The first round was a bit of a flyer that I attributed to getting to know the trigger. The next round moved back to the zero point, and then…two rounds that the computer recorded as (literally, no b.s.) in the same hole. The last round was very close to the two rounds in the same hole grouping. Total group size was again about 2 inches; however, minus the first shot, this would have been easily under an inch. Not bad for the first 5 rounds ever shot out of an AK, especially with a 2 MOA red dot. I only wish I still had young eyes and a trigger finger without arthritis!
Overall, I think the “Internet” was wrong. I read lots of snarky posts about Arsenal calling the SAM7SF a “Game Changer”. Well, if a sub minute capable AK is not a game changer, I don’t know what is. I have one of Arsenal’s scope mounts enroute so that I can mount an actually “scope” on this thing and see what it will do with a magnified optic. Having a 7.62×39 that could function as a DMR, as well as being a car crusher close quarters rifle, has all sorts of win in it.