Pretty sure that is a fake. a few things to note is that the barrel is very smooth and the circle looks laser engraved rather than stamped. Apparently there is a guy on gunbroker that is taking recent romanian import barrels and laser engraving circle y on them and selling them as romanian / russian barrel that arms of america was selling years ago. I had three of the original barrels and recently sold two and the machining on the originals were not nearly as nice as the machining on those.
I don't know, but the one I have in my hands doesn't look laser engraved or etched. The edges are raised and very squared off. It looks really nice. I guess everyone has a right to an opinion on whether these are worth their premium. Fake has yet to be determined by me. For me it's going to be a great addition to an already nice matching numbers kit. Whoever stamped these used a stamping tool and I would challenge anyone to do an outstanding job of making a headstamp as nice as this and to strike it precisely, has my thumbs up whether it was done here or in Romania. I'm glad I bought one and will be looking forward to using it on my build.
I also have no problem with people adding the Russian markings... but what I have a problem is them trying to sell them as something which they are not. If there were just upfront about it then cool but instead some have elaborate stories of how these came to be.
The circle Y stamp is hand stamped at factory, not roll stamped. Every example I have seen back when people first starting looking for that stamp on barrels has shown that it is hand stamped. The actual Hand stamp has a flat surface, and when stamping on a round barrel there will always be part of that stamp that that is less pronounced than the rest. Much in the same way that the angle the person holding the stamp also creates an area less defined than the rest of the mark. A Perfect impression of a circle that size on a round surface that diameter, in my opinion, is definately not genuine or credible.
Actually, under a magnifying glass it's not as perfect as in my photo. The lines look like it was as you described 'hand stamped' uneven depth and the circle not uniform in width of it's line. I've compared them to my other Romy pulled barrels, which I have four that are stamped with a y. One with a perfect looking stamp. The only thing that I see is that the circle is too round for my liking. I would rather liked to have it like on most of the original looking y circle stamped barrels, Romy and Soviet ones, to be a little flatter on the one to five o'clock area. That's my only gripe. Of course my other gripe is about the seller advertising in his headline at the top in bold 'Soviet' akm barrels. I knew this going in that they were Romy barrels, but others obviously didn't. I would say those that didn't should ask for a refund, but for me, I like what I bought.
I wonder if he would do that on one of my us made barrels. he could offer it as a service and make even more long term money than trying to trick people. In my opinion the number of people who are willing to pay that much for a barrel is far smaller than the number of people who would be happy with a clone. I for instance am not that into the absolute authentic. I just like the different variations of AK's and it does not have to be down to the minute detail. Similar to audiophiles I and a sony/pioneer mid range kind of guy not the 5% high end type of guy when it comes to AK's. I like an m76 but it doesn't have to be a mitchell import.