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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My matching numbers '69 Izzy kit has a star on the trunnion!!! Imagine my surprise!
All the numbers match except the selector and recoil spring guide. The buttstock and attached rear stub are Izzy, selector is Izzy as well. The handguard has X'ed out numbers and has been refinished, not sure if it is Tula or not.
The pistol grip has its mold number mirrored. Seen them before but kind of a cool bonus.







 

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Good Lord! I like it very, very much, you lucked out for sure! Everything has a nice matching condition and finish color. Your barrel assembly is Tula, too, so that's a hard one you don't have to mess with looking or trading for. Lower is also Tula, but I guess the buttstock looks Izhevsk after a close look, as you did mention. The rear sight base is an Izhevsk. The grip is of course Tula and mld numbers are upside down rather than being mirrored.

Man, you really lucked out here. They usually mix up stiff like the barrels, but maybe they are learning as they go along. They did on the 74's and AKSU's. In any case, you did great on this one. So, you didnt actually make a special request for a Tula rifle kit?
 

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That's 2 so far.... sure wish one of the two kits I bought from RGuns would have been a Tula!
 

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Top cover, although refinished/renumbered, looks like a Tula, too. Not sure about the trigger guard, would need to see the proof marking. This kit is gonna make a sweet looking build. I'll take it! Then I'll trade it to Marcus. Anyway, thanks for sharing it with us. The big pictures are good resource materials.
 

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As evidenced by how they sell their Mosin PU snipers, RGuns is kind of strange and erratic with their customer service.

When they first got the PU rifles in, Vic Thomas of Gunboards went and looked through them, picked out the best examples for his collection, and kind of gave them an idea of what to look for - at least as far as Tula vs. Izhevsk and very early or post-war rifles. They were charging around $100 more a Tula and several hundred dollars more for rare rifles like that amazing 1947 Izhevsk "Lenscrafter" got - which is the world's only known '47 Izhevsk that is - other than some spots of arsenal touch-up to the shellac finish - completely original with the original scope that was put on it by the factory in 1947.

They would not open a new crate of snipers and look for rare and desirable rifles until all the ones in the crates they already had open at the time were sold, and at one point they announced they were out of Tulas. However, collectors continued to get Tula rifles sent to them occasionally, at the same price they sold the Izhevsk rifles for. Kind of a weird way of doing business....I realize that when you have a retail gun business that sells mainly on-line, going through crates of rifles to grade them and pick special ones out can take a little time and requires some knowledge. But for something specialty and higher end like a Mosin sniper, it would certainly be worth their time. There are many experienced Mosin sniper collectors who would have gladly volunteered to help them out with this just to see what they had and maybe get the chance to pick out a couple rifles for themselves.....I know I would have. When Aztec Arms imported the first quantities of post-war refurbed Mosins from the Ukraine, their manager John Jones (who was a friend of mine) and the warehouse manager went through the rifles looking for rarities and other desirable rifles and would regularly consult with me as to what to look for or what rifles they came across were and what they were worth - and would look for guns I specifically wanted for my collection. I was able to score some rare, desirable, and sometimes "one of a kind" rifles this way, and had a collection that was legendary among my fellow Mosin sniper collector friends.

So I'm wondering if there are a few Tula rifles mixed in with the majority Izhevsks......kind of interesting that so far all of these rifles are 1969 dated, mainly Izhevsk but with a few Tula ones here and there, and that many (most, perhaps?....more research needs to be done on these) are Soviet arsenal refurbed and may have mixed date and arsenal parts or replacement parts like later wood, but there are reportedly a few that are completely original. I don't know to what degree these might have had parts mixed up as they were demilled, but who ever chopped these guns up seems to have taken a lot more care and done a much better job of keeping things together than all those other kits that were around a couple years ago.
 

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Thanks for that info Marcus.

Yes, based on all the evidence Ive seen so far, there are some tula's in the mix of those izzys(obviously). There have been some tula examples that were pulled from rguns and sold elsewhere too. Ive seen one mostly original matching kit and another super nice one with just a sanded and refinished buttstock(with new tula proofs on it), otherwise all original except barrel parts...
 

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Marcus, I agree with everything you've said, your's is an accurate history of how things have gone with RGuns over the years. That recap with the Mosin's has never made any sense to me, either, almost like there was a change in management halfway through when they stopped checking (and charging extra) for Tula's. It's like they decided all of a sudden it was not worth the trouble. On the flip side, I can sort of see not allowing "experts" to come in and cherry pick their best stuff, leaving mail order guys in the lurch. To me, it's just more fair to randomly release your goodies and let everyone have a shot over time, sort of a luck of the draw so to speak. I guess I'm not a fan of guys who want to 'help out" in order to help themselves, but that's basically because I'm jealous of the pre-sale stuff they snag doing that.

I've also always wondered about the way these AK kits have come in and been sold. But, to be honest, I've wondered WAY more about the other companies that have sold these kits in such a seemingly haphazard, mixed-up manner. But then again, this is how surplus has always been brought in and blown out, without much care. I guess the importers have so much money tied up in huge volume they have to get rid of it ASAP to recycle the funds?

I'm sure there are good reasons this is how that cookie crumbled. Most other vendors just 'sorted' for completeness as a kit and did not seem to bother much if any with numbers, styles, factory and so forth, for whatever reasons. It could have been the cost, the time, or the fact they were physically unable to do it for any number of other reasons. Maybe they simply had to split up their shipments among one another and each one got parts that matched trunnions from other vendor's crates, while RGuns got intact complete shipments unto themselves, most likely even from a different arms export broker? This would explain why they were exclusive to the 5,45mm weapon, becuase they dont midn payign more for the premium grade rifles. Their AKM kits are certainly also much better and in more original condition than many of the ones sold elsewhere, from what I have seen. I don't know, but In any case the extra effort, money and time spent sorting is no doubt why RGuns charges and expects a higher premium.

From what I have been told privately, all of these rifle parts were mixed into type classified plies before they either got here are were released from port. This was in order to be certified by the alphabet agencies for importation (or release from port) as piles of "spare parts" and not intact machine guns or machine gun kits. Vendors then had to sort them back out from crates of like parts to whatever finer degree we see now. I think we should give RGuns credit for doing what they could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I will post some more photos.
I did not specifically ask if they had any Tula kits and was quite surprised when I opened the box. The rear receiver stub that is attached to the buttstock has a much more matte finish than the rest of the kit. It doesn't show well in the photos but is quite obvious in person that it is from a different rifle. I will take some better images of the stamps on it, the laminate grain looked more Izzy to me but I am far from good at telling what is what. Where should I expect to see proofs on the trigger guard? I see the two hardness punch dots on the mag release but don't really see any other markings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Proofs on wood and rear trunnion, Izzy?




 

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Looks like you have Tula sight leaf on Izzy RSB, Izzy milled recoil guide, Tula top cover, Izzy milled selector. Look for proofs on the inside bottom of the TG strap Tantal will have to chime in on the furniture and rear trunnion proofs…he is the king of proofs.

Robert

TG proof


Tula selector tab hatching
 

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Robert is totally correct on all his observations from what I can tell. He beat me to the punch on posting a strap mark image. Look for that, there should be one of some sort or the other. Post an image if you find one and need help with the identification of the factory. if you don't see a proof, then be aware there is another one on the selector lever stop that can prove origin. It's in an area that is protected from a refurbishers media blaster, but you can't see it unless you remove the assembly from the receiver sheet metal.

I know you originally reported your rear section was likely Izhevsk, but to me that buttstock always looked like a Tula due to it's shape and side contouring, and your rear trunnion proofs confirm this. Those are Tula proofs all over the mounting tang. Also some on the wood of the buttstock, although some of those are probably from an arsenal rework. As you guessed, the rear stub probably came from another rifle but it's the correct style ("donut hole" trunnion) for a '69.

Since the moment the chop saw did it's job, almost certainly none if any of these recent kits (AKM, AKSU or AK74) still had their "born in" rear stubs, unless by a miracle, so just getting one from a sister rifle of the correct year and factory is as good as it gets. No harm nor foul done there, anyway. The buttstock has a "refurb" marking, but that's really a certification mark and can mean anything from just a quick inspection to a mild refinish, or even a totally wrong, generic replacement style part. In your case, it's hard to see by images on a monitor but it could be the original finish with just a bit of touch-up, or maybe an extra coat of shellac applied to it, or it could have been stripped and redone. This is common on refurbished rifles where the wood is still in very good shape to begin with. If I had to guess it might have come off a of a rifle circa '66-68, judging by proofs and shape, but it will be just fine on your '69.

Speaking of original finishes, that's a very nice rear sight leaf, BTW. Probably did not come on your '69 when new, since the rear sight base is obviously wrong and they must have mixed these up at the chopper, but it's still factory correct and it has definitely never been refinished, which is the exception and not the rule. Does it have any numbers scratched on the bottom?

The top cover is the correct pattern for a 1969 Tula, that's good, too! it's it's an original reused (i.e refinished) cover, You might be able to see the old, barely visible hen scratched numbers on the back above the hole for the recoil guide. sometimes they even match the number of the rifle they are still on. Bear in mind they did not stamp the numbers on the top covers in 1969, at either factory. They scratched them in with an awl, by hand. When they redo the rifles, they usually stamp them back in with metal stamps that normally have a very generic looking font, often erroneously identified as "Izhevsk looking". This is the case with the numbers on yours.
 

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Awesome looking kit, congrats! Almost pulled the trigger on a '69 all matching with a similar serial number on gbroker recently. I'll always love RGUNS for bringing these to us, and taking the time to do it right.. despite some of the stuff I read occasionally. Hell, I remember reading that they would swap incorrect parts out if you sent them the wrong one with a picture of the right one. I lucked out with my AKSU kits being correct, and by the time I got my '83 they had corrected most of the mistakes.

That buttstock definitely looks Tula to me, and for the reasons Tantal pointed out that is insanely lucky! Congrats again. My Tula AKM kit has mostly era correct parts, but they are almost entirely Izzy :mad: except for the trunnion and stock set.
 

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if you don't see a proof, then be aware there is another one on the selector lever stop that can prove origin. It's in an area that is protected from a refurbishers media blaster, but you can't see it unless you remove the assembly from the receiver sheet metal.
^^Here's a pic of this one...

And thanks, Doug, for all your help with Soviet ID training!

Robert

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know you originally reported your rear section was likely Izhevsk, but to me that buttstock always looked like a Tula due to it's shape and side contouring, and your rear trunnion proofs confirm this.
This is really great news. I was worried about how long hunting down a correct stock for this would take.

Speaking of original finishes, that's a very nice rear sight leaf, BTW. Does it have any numbers scratched on the bottom?
I looked, the sight leaf is unnumbered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll always love RGUNS for bringing these to us, and taking the time to do it right.. despite some of the stuff I read occasionally. Hell, I remember reading that they would swap incorrect parts out if you sent them the wrong one with a picture of the right one. I lucked out with my AKSU kits being correct, and by the time I got my '83 they had corrected most of the mistakes.
Yeah, I have read about people having problems with them too but I have never had an issue. I have one of the AKSU kits... wish I had one of the '83 74 kits. They don't still have them do they?
 

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During the big AK74/AKSU rush a few years ago, they traded with anyone that asked, and from what I understand always sent the parts on their dime even though there was really nothing that said they had to do it except good customer service. The parts were certainly fully interchangeable, almost identical and the knowledge of their relative providence very obscure, in fact I think I was the first one on this forum to break the news they were not correct only because I've spend way too much of my adult life looking at '74 part. In any case, I had to get five trigger guards switched out with the much rarer '83 versions. No problem, they said, and in about six days I had all five replacements in hand. RGuns didnt know me from Adam, as everyone here had the same experience judging by posts. This was in regards to cleaning rods, trigger guards, trigger sets or even stuff like scratched wood. I did slip $8 in the return package to pay the shipping, even though I didnt have to. I was just psych'd to get the right ones since the only place you'd ever find one of those rare beasts was on a circa '83-'86 Soviet rifle. Nobody had ever really noticed those beaver-tailed mag catch levers until that time, but the double-rib receiver floor was a dead give-away. That didnt happen until mid-'87. Anyway, my experiences with RGuns have been very good and i fully support their efforts to bring us the more premium types of rifles and kits that some other importers seem to pass on just to save a buck on the lower priced stuff.
 
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