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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gathering parts for my 1974 Tula AKM. Need some input as to the correct one for the build. Even if its neither one! Have looked at other threads on this subject but wanted opinions on my exact parts. Help me ID these for certain.

What I think I have read on cast FSB:
Tula: rounder opening, longer shelf at bottom, rougher casting, circular proofs
Izzy: sharper corners on opening, shorter shelf, somewhat smoother casting

Have these FSB to choose from. I have shot them each consistently on their own side, right or left. I have been searching, reading and trying to ID these 100%. I find some inconsistencies in descriptions. So, without further adieu...

I will call them left and right. I *believe* the left one is Tula and the right one might be a Izzy (PLO)? These are my observations and not 100% proven.


Closeup of lower end shape. Tula shorter ears and rounded end. Izzy longer, more gradual and sharp cornered.


Closeup of cutout shape. Rounded corners on Tula, sharper corners and straight line back edge on Izzy. One on right looks sloppily "milled" in the mold or master originally. It is cast in that shape, not machined.


Looks like a partial circular proof (thru 4x eye loupe) on left one. Ears on right are much thicker, overall size of ghost ring is noticeably larger.


Thick and thin/uneven lower ears on left one. Short and long reliefs. Saw reference to PLO Izzy FSB in another thread, looks like right FSB.


Long and short shelf on bottom. Saw reference to Tula having the longer shelf.
 

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It looks like you are correct as far as the factory or origin, but it's easy to let factory correct mask over a timeline variation. It's a misconception that mid-70's Tula FSB's should have a rounded looking window hole. The one on the left (rounded hole) is definitely Tula, but it's an earlier style than the one on the right, which has that D-cut center hole which became common to both factories. Tula also used those in the 1970's during the time of your build. Even by 1969, they were using at least two styles, one being the rounded shape and one being a similar design to Izhevsk.

All of the 1974 Tula AKM's I have seen used the D-cut FSB, it seems the donut hole style was removed form use around 1972 or earlu 1973. It's kinda more of what you'd see with earlier rifle features (kinda like milled gas blocks) and is more common to a '66-'72 Tula. The problem is that both Tula and Izhevsk used that D-cut FSB in the same basic time period.

Anyway, I'd check for proofs, since round (or roundish looking), or triangle proofs, give away Tula, while small diamonds give away Izhevsk. You might have to make a decision, do you go with the factory being correct even if it's an obsolete style for your rifle, or do you use a handy Izzy part that looks completely correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@1968roadrunner and Tantal

Thanks for the tips and links!

Tantal, thank you for the confirmation of Tula and Izzy for my examples. I am leaning towards using the Tula FSB. It is at least factory correct and *could* have been installed (might have fallen behind a workbench for a few years?) vs the Izzy from an entirely different factory. And, *if* a factory and era correct FSB ever became available to me, it would be an easy replacement.

The Tula surfaces looks cast and the only possible milling op was the interior of the "D". Shows lines as an end mill would leave vs the cast, porous surfaces inside the Izzy FSB "D". Did Tula have and use cast FSB 1966~1972? Were there cast and "milled" donut hole FSB? Could mine be a milled/forged piece and not cast?

I have looked and looked at as many pics and threads as I could find. A wealth of knowledge is available here, much of it yours! Thanks! I suppose that to be factory and era correct, I would need one like Stottman's 1977 Tula is sporting.

It is confusing since there are many subtle differences shared between both factories. Somewhere it was said that the shelf in the cleaning rod socket tends to be Tula=longer, Izzy=shorter. On mine, it is the opposite. I guess that the only absolute in this game is that there are no absolutes.

Robert
 

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I like the attitude here. The Tula FSB could definitiely been installed on a later Tula AKM because as stated "(might have fallen behind a workbench for a few years?)" or it might have been at the bottom of a parts bin, or ....

Also, you are right, thre are no absolutes. If you want to go absolutely nuts, try to figure out all the differnt Type II AK47 configurations that are all factory legit.

Martin
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I like the attitude here. The Tula FSB could definitiely been installed on a later Tula AKM because as stated "(might have fallen behind a workbench for a few years?)" or it might have been at the bottom of a parts bin, or ....

Also, you are right, thre are no absolutes. If you want to go absolutely nuts, try to figure out all the differnt Type II AK47 configurations that are all factory legit.

Martin
I have to go with "fell behind the bench" since these two FSB are my only options right now! Not like I can just order a correct replacement easily. At least it is *possible* that they found and installed it, whereas the Izzy is a completely different animal.

Haha! I wish I had that problem! Maybe someday...although the later it gets, the harder it is also. As it is, I am LATE to the game but really enjoying it so far!

Robert
 

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Robert, lets not so easily dismiss your other (IMO more correct for '74) front site base. I'm thinking both of your FSB's might be Tula. Like you said, it has that long shelve cut on the bottom, which is more of a Tula thing. Can you check the proofs on the back of the one with the D-hole and see what they look like with a jewelers loupe? Man, I wish I still had my numbers matching 1976 Tula kit for comparative purposes, but it';s long gone (maybe Jerry can share proof images on his).

Tantal, thank you for the confirmation of Tula and Izzy for my examples. I am leaning towards using the Tula FSB. It is at least factory correct and *could* have been installed (might have fallen behind a workbench for a few years?) vs the Izzy from an entirely different factory. And, *if* a factory and era correct FSB ever became available to me, it would be an easy replacement.


It's certainly remotely possible, but IMO highly improbably. H
aving that old school 60's milled style round hole FSB on the same barrel as a late investment cast gas block is going to look very odd, at least to me (I assume you are using a cast gas block?). Anything older could be used, I guess, even a three year old leftover part, but I like to go by what I know is for sure correct, or at least normal. But hey, you also have to use what you have on had, and like you said it's a very easy thing to replace if you ever wanted to. I tend to be more in the camp of making it look right, style wise, for the year of the rifle, rather than being super strict to factory, if you know what I mean. But that all depends on what part it is, and how wrong it would look, how difficult it is to find the right part, and how remote it would be to find that part on a rifle of that year/era. For instance, something that did not exist yet would not be used on an older style rifle, if i was building it.

I also usually try my best (within reason) to build a rifle that won't have an obviously questionable styled part that would confuse the issue even more! We certainly have a lot of that going on, and I've been guilty of it as well. This is of course a general personal philosophy, as I certainly don't think your FSB falls anywhere close to that category! We are just talking roughly three years here. I'm just rambling on against the possible notion that "anything goes" on these rifles.


The Tula surfaces looks cast and the only possible milling op was the interior of the "D". Shows lines as an end mill would leave vs the cast, porous surfaces inside the Izzy FSB "D". Did Tula have and use cast FSB 1966~1972? Were there cast and "milled" donut hole FSB? Could mine be a milled/forged piece and not cast?

Those are all damn good questions. Sadly, I wish I knew for sure and had good examples in hand to study from various known years (i.e. barreled kits still in their trunnions). Your description sorta goes against my thoughts on them. Considering when they first started using them, back in the mid-60's when everything was milled, and stopped using them by late 1971 when cast parts had became almost common, I was under the impression they had always been a milled pattern and that the D-cut FSB was the first style cast Tula FSB, going by the years they were introduced. Of course, they also had a more Izhmash-styled FSB, like you see on that 1969 AKM Stottman shares with us (next to a nearly identical Izhmash 1969 FSB, for comparison). That one has a larger window with more equally radiused corners all around.

Anyway, it's dang hard to tell sometimes, milled versus cast, as some cast parts are heavily machined after they are made, and some milled parts have been heavily blasted during the refur4bishment process most of these kits have gone through. It's often very easy to confuse media blasting with natural cast textures. Look at the rear sights on most of these, they are porous looking and they should have a very smooth texture. The milling lines and proofs you can see on the many of the barrel parts are way too obscured to be original finish parts. They tooling and machining, especially on Tula parts, should be way more dramatic.

I have looked and looked at as many pics and threads as I could find. A wealth of knowledge is available here, much of it yours! Thanks! I suppose that to be factory and era correct, I would need one like Stottman's 1977 Tula is sporting.

If it's the one I think, yes, that would be the one, the style i call a D-cut. Izhmash had moved on to that late square cut version with the solid front, but Tula was still using the D-cut. If you can PM me your e-mail address, I would be glad to send you some awesome images of a factory fresh 1974 Tula AKM, it would help you quite a bit I would bet. The images were posted on this forum years ago, but i have searched in vain and cannot find the thread.

It is confusing since there are many subtle differences shared between both factories. Somewhere it was said that the shelf in the cleaning rod socket tends to be Tula=longer, Izzy=shorter. On mine, it is the opposite.

Maybe not, we still need to look at that right side FSB in more detail before you decide for sure it's Izzy. Some of the feedback you got was just because it didnt have the round hole, which it shouldn't have anyway if it's going on a 1974. That long shelf does say something of import to us. As you commented, that is a feature which seems to indicate Tula manufacture, and they did make a ton of these d-hole style front sights. I had a 1976 with that style FSB, and that rifle had little to no machining marks on the cast barrel parts, either, just as your FSB looks. Maybe we were judging it against your other example, using mostly a factory versus factory thought process instead of a balanced set of variables that also includes an era versus era thought process. Check those proofs, man!

If you have enough examples of parts on intact rifles that you could ID as being from either factory, and knew the year of manufacture, then it becomes clear that the evolution over time has to be taken into account when deciding "this feature is strictly Tula and this feature is strictly Izhevsk". There is a logical flow to all this, but when you only have part of the picture to go by, it's very easy for somebody who has not looked at enough examples to get frustrated and say "there's no logic to it", hehe.

The more you look into all this, the more picky you will get and the less you will try to rationalize using parts on rifles with no known examples to confirm their use in such a manner. But hey, my favorite AKM I own wears Tula late furniture, and Izzy late metal parts. I just love those deep cheek weld Tula stocks in dark black-red colors!

Anyway, send me your e-mail and I'll send you some images specific to your project year.

Doug

 

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I apologize to the international member who originally posted this image that I took the crop from. I can no longer find the original thread to give proper credit. This is an undisturbed (but possibly refinsihed) barrel assy from a 1974 Tula AKM. Robert, do you have Rob Stott's electronically-based AKM picture reference book? I suggest you get a copy if you are into these things very seriously.

If you already have it, then compare the rifle in the image below to the 1972 and 1973 Tula AKM's in his book, and you will see that they all have the same sort of later style front sight base with the D-cut FSB. This reinforces other references I have collected that strongly suggest that the earlier round hole version was last used in 1971, but like you suggested some leftovers could have likely been carried over into part of 1972, or beyond. There's just no way I could know this, of course. I just can't find a single example of it at this point in time. 1971 might have been the carryover year, for all I can determine.

The FSB in this image also has that second step look on the backside of the bottom surface, where that long shelf is cut. See it? You don't usually see that on izzy FSB's from what I can tell, they are more rounded looking on the side edges where the step is cut shorter, i.e. the longer, full length step makes the Tula look squared off and stepped on the side edges. I think your later FSB is likely to be a Tula, too, IMO it looks just like this one in all dimensional areas but you do need to check the proofs! Anyway, I hope this helps!

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Robert, lets not so easily dismiss your other (IMO more correct for '74) front site base. I'm thinking both of your FSB's might be Tula. Like you said, it has that long shelve cut on the bottom, which is more of a Tula thing. Can you check the proofs on the back of the one with the D-hole and see what they look like with a jewelers loupe? Man, I wish I still had my numbers matching 1976 Tula kit for comparative purposes, but it';s long gone (maybe Jerry can share proof images on his).

Hmm, never thought of both possibly being Tula. As I looked closer at the pics I posted, my left one looks more like a milled. The shelf on the right one *is* Tula-like. No visible proofs on the right one, checked with a 4x loupe. Only that partial circular proof on the left one, as shown in the pic.

It's certainly remotely possible, but IMO highly improbably. H
aving that old school 60's milled style round hole FSB on the same barrel as a late investment cast gas block is going to look very odd, at least to me (I assume you are using a cast gas block?). Anything older could be used, I guess, even a three year old leftover part, but I like to go by what I know is for sure correct, or at least normal. But hey, you also have to use what you have on had, and like you said it's a very easy thing to replace if you ever wanted to. I tend to be more in the camp of making it look right, style wise, for the year of the rifle, rather than being super strict to factory, if you know what I mean. But that all depends on what part it is, and how wrong it would look, how difficult it is to find the right part, and how remote it would be to find that part on a rifle of that year/era. For instance, something that did not exist yet would not be used on an older style rifle, if i was building it.

Yes, I have that cast gas block identical to the latest pics you posted of the 1974.
Also, I see a muzzle protector, not a slant brake. Is this common and correct for a 1974? My kit came with a muzzle nut, but one never knows what is true to the original build since they mixed and matched so much.

Those are all damn good questions. Sadly, I wish I knew for sure and had good examples in hand to study from various known years (i.e. barreled kits still in their trunnions). Your description sorta goes against my thoughts on them. Considering when they first started using them, back in the mid-60's when everything was milled, and stopped using them by late 1971 when cast parts had became almost common, I was under the impression they had always been a milled pattern and that the D-cut FSB was the first style cast Tula FSB, going by the years they were introduced. Of course, they also had a more Izhmash-styled FSB, like you see on that 1969 AKM Stottman shares with us (next to a nearly identical Izhmash 1969 FSB, for comparison). That one has a larger window with more equally radiused corners all around.

Again, the more I look at the pics I posted, the donut hole FSB is looking more like a milled, which is consitant with your year dating. I was not aware that there are early and later D-hole cast Tulas. The smaller inner radii on the right one is what led me to believe Izzy since I was looking for the larger, more rounded inner radii on a Tula.

Maybe not, we still need to look at that right side FSB in more detail before you decide for sure it's Izzy. Some of the feedback you got was just because it didnt have the round hole, which it shouldn't have anyway if it's going on a 1974. That long shelf does say something of import to us. As you commented, that is a feature which seems to indicate Tula manufacture, and they did make a ton of these d-hole style front sights. I had a 1976 with that style FSB, and that rifle had little to no machining marks on the cast barrel parts, either, just as your FSB looks. Maybe we were judging it against your other example, using mostly a factory versus factory thought process instead of a balanced set of variables that also includes an era versus era thought process. Check those proofs, man!

If you have enough examples of parts on intact rifles that you could ID as being from either factory, and knew the year of manufacture, then it becomes clear that the evolution over time has to be taken into account when deciding "this feature is strictly Tula and this feature is strictly Izhevsk". There is a logical flow to all this, but when you only have part of the picture to go by, it's very easy for somebody who has not looked at enough examples to get frustrated and say "there's no logic to it", hehe.

The more you look into all this, the more picky you will get and the less you will try to rationalize using parts on rifles with no known examples to confirm their use in such a manner. But hey, my favorite AKM I own wears Tula late furniture, and Izzy late metal parts. I just love those deep cheek weld Tula stocks in dark black-red colors!


Yes, I am picky but my handicap is inexperience with AKM's, having not seen enough/many correct ones! I too have the Tula, high comb dark red laminate furniture. It came with the kit and I know it is incorrect due to the bottom swivel and no spring LHG, but I will install it because it is soooo beautiful and is easy to change out when a correct set becomes available f/t. The difficult part is sourcing a late side swivel set in dark red! There is a set on Gunbroker for $300, but...

Where can I purchase Rob Stott's electronically-based AKM picture reference book?

Robert
 

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These pics are of 1976 Tula AKM. Sorry for the flash photos















 
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Jerry, thanks, man, great images.

In that last image, you can see those corner radius cuts or steps on either side of the flat bottom center really well. I am not aware that any Izzy front sight bases had such a design. How about you? is this not something unique to the Tula D-hole FSB's?


Also, I see a muzzle protector, not a slant brake. Is this common and correct for a 1974?

Robert, by 1970 the military standard on these included the slant cut compensator, so i'm pretty sure a 1974 AKM rifle did not come with a simple muzzle nut fresh from the factory. It's just another easily removable and replaced part which you can't trust to be correct unless you look at extremely good examples, NIB rifles, period images or military/factory manuals or other technical documents. You could certainly go either way, depending on your preference, and I'm sure in the field they used whatever they wanted or had available.
 

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Doug I cannot remember all the details anymore. I'll take a look at some other parts/rifles and see what I can find. While we are on this topic, do you know if a 75 Tula would have had the short relief cut on the FSB ?
 

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I couldnt remember, either, but I looked and yes, Izhmash D-hole FSB's seem to have very similar side cuts as the tula FSB's have. It also looks like I also finally found at least one example of an O-hole Tula FSB used on a 1972-date intact rifle.

Jerry, I know the Tula D-hole was first used in late 1970, but i cna't say for sure if every one of them had the longer relief cut or not. I assume they are all cast the same, within that style of FSB, but you know what can happen when you assume stuff, hehe.
 

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Jerry, here's a mint factory fresh 1975 Tula AKM front sight base, same D-cut with the long relief AFA I can tell.

75_Tula_FSB.jpg
 

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It looks like the center hole on the milled Tula O-hole FSB's came out differently over time depending on how much machining they did to it, often either being a very round hole or sometimes more of a square with rounded off corners, like the Izzy milled front sights. When the cast version came out, it had the D-shaped hole and all they did was basically machine finish it smooth, drill/thread the holes, add the indents/drum windage marking window on the front and back, machined the cleaning rod head slot, relieved the bottom and removed flash and mold lines on the inner and outer surfaces. Sometimes they took off very little metal, and sometimes a lot more. For instance, much like the manual machining they do to the front of the first pattern cast AKM and early AK-74 gas blocks. A lot of grinder work made the front section of the bridge (where it connects to the top gas cylinder) smaller, while a machinist doing a lot less finish-grinding left it looking much larger.

I don't have enough examples or good enough images to know if there were any major or minor differences on front and rear indents, cleaning rod slots, and so forth on the milled O-hole FSB's over the long period of time in which they were made. It's just that the ones with the more squarish holes seem to be identical to the O-hole versions, other than a slightly larger but noticeable amount of material taken off inside the hole itself.

As of right now, I think it's just a matter of Tula using two basic FSB's: the milled FSB's until late '71/early '72, then going to the cast gas block with the D-hole in late 1970/early 1971 until production ended in 1977.
 

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Doug I was referring to the front side of the FSB. I have a near complete (non-Trunnion matching) parts set I am trying to finish up. The FSB I have has the long cut shelf on the front. I don't know if this is correct for 75 or if it needs the short shelf like the one on the 76-77 rifles.

Jerry, here's a mint factory fresh 1975 Tula AKM front sight base, same D-cut with the long relief AFA I can tell.

View attachment 850
 

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Jerry, honestly, I don't know and I've looked in vain for you. I don't have one in hand, of course, and a frontal view is something very hard to find in a good image, as you no doubt already determined in your own research. If I had to guess, i'd say you could go either way. Seems like my 1975 Izzy AKM had a full cut because I distinctly remember that it was different in regards to the lengths of either the front or rear cuts, compared to the '77 kits I got at about the same period in time. I just can't remember if was the front or the back, but think it was the front. Now. since Izhevsk was always doing these stylistic changes ahead of Tula, chances are that Tula changed at the same time or more likely lagged behind on this, too. That's just a wild guess, though. What we need is an owner of a '74-'75 Tula PLO AKM to step forward. In other words, that change in the length of the front cut probably happened sometime in 1975 or early '76, if I had to guess.

How about that '74 AKMSL I sold you, it was full length, right?
 

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The Izzy AKMSL, another Izzy 74, and an Izzy 73 I have are all short shelved. The 70 and 71 I have checked are the long shelf variety.
 

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Thanks, Jerry. Earlier than I remembered. It sucks getting old. That certainly narrows down the changes made to the Izhevsk AKM sights, now we need more data on the Tula's.
 

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Seems as if 72 may be the year of change? This was the year the serial number format changed. Do you know the years the Rear Sight Leaf with the relief cut on the bottom side were used? It seems some of the kits that have surfaced in the last few years have had these. The earliest year I have seen in these kits seem to be 1968. So I am guessing they may have been used up until then .
 
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