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It is like the AK47 to AKM transition, where the smooth top covered RPKs are older, and the ribbed top covered RPKs are newer?
 

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True per blueprint built RPK's have the smooth cover. The Romanians only used ribbed covers as a stop gap measure when they built their RPK's and could in a sense be deem "correct from the factory" but not "correct to blueprint".
 

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Here's some uncaptioned photos showing some RPK's with ribbed top covers:




And here's an interesting thought - we know East German RPK's were likely Russian but their manual shows them with ribbed top covers.

 

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Ill bet those rifles you posted Ray-Man are re-issued. NO RPK I have ever seen new has a ribbed dust cover. Been there, seen that, DONE that. :byefu:
 

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I had an all matching Romanian RPK kit from SPG. These were the kits without barrels they had. Anyway, my kit had a ribbed dust cover and the serial number on it matched to the other parts.
 

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my 1988 kit is smooth
 

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My 1977 all matching ROM RPK-47 kit has a smooth topcover but I can very easily imagine both getting used. Very easily.

ETA; Now RPK-74's........they were all smooth.
 

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The RPK-74's are going to have a smooth top cover. I think they were made late enough in the game were that's going to be a given.

But the RPK's could probably be found with a ribbed cover, especially in combat (swapping out, etc.). I agree with Tomovich - I can also see both being used quite easily on Russian RPK's. The Romanian RPK's seemed to be found with both styles as a standard.
 

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I think the Russian ones in fact started out ribbed. I have a 1964 dated RPK manual where all pictured are ribbed.
 

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I have to agree on that - I've seen photos of early Russian RPK's and I've observed ribbed top covers as well.
 
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