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Discussion Starter #1
I've touched on this subject here and there in different threads, but I'd like to open some dialogue on finishes. I'm under the impression that the following is the case, and what brings me to these conclusions.

The following finishes were applied by the facory:

1. High polish blue
2. Matt blue
3. Paint over park
4. Parkerizing to refurb earlier rifles

A lot of folks mention parkerized MPi’s due to the appearance of the finishes on all these spare parts. All of those grey parts available on the market today of East German origin are blued. They will all turn black upon oiling.

Does anyone know of the existence of a parkerized MPi? Just a few notes before responding. The blue looks like park when devoid of oil. So eye witness accounts, where this could not be verified should not be mentioned, as it could just as well be unoiled blue you’re seeing. PLO or imported kits can not be trusted either, as the Israeli’s parkerized rifles. This can usually be verified by visible blue under some parts (lower handguard retainer, gas tube lock lever etc… Unless they actually did a thorough job. Some may even have an Israeli stamp on the receiver section by the trunion.

Taking all the above mentioned items into account. I don’t believe they ever left the manufacturer just parked. But, I do believe they parked when refinishing late in the game. I do have one trunion/receiver portions that is actually parkerized. It came straight from Germany and it was one of the scrap pile trunions. Dated 1969. It was clearly pitted at one time, now completely grey, and does not turn black with oil.

I may be completely wrong. So talking about this might clear some things up.
 

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I'm not going to say there were no MPi-KM parked by the DDR because these are AKs, but I will tell you that I'm 99% certain they were not parked, even at the depot. I have talked to a former NVA soldier who worked at the depot with a great memory and at some point will be relating what he told me. In short, if a rifle required repairs and a complete refinish at the depot it was blued, even Soviet paint-over-park AKMs etc.

Basically the "phospating" process was a big deal among Warsaw Pact Arsenals. Soviet client states actually had to pay a large sum of money to the USSR for the "rights" to use it. The Germans never paid the money that would allow them to use the process until the MPi-AK-74N was put into production.

The result of this Soviet control over certain designs and processes was particularly evident with the Wieger Rifle. The DDR would have liked to have just exported the MPi-AK-74 in 5.56mm, but the Russians essentially forbid it, so they designed the Wieger StG940 System. Despite the fact that the superior phosphating process was already in place for the MPi-AK-74N, the Wieger rifles were blued because of Soviet restrictions on the use of their "patented" phosphating process.

Now, I have a parked MPi-KMS. But mine was sold to the PLO by the East Germans, then captured and parked by the Israelis, and subsequently imported to the US as a "PLO" kit.

So to sum up MPi-KM, gloss 400grit polished blue until 68-69, then matte blasted blue after that (<80psi AlumOx). No paint or park in Germany, that's my researched answer.
 

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Reichpapers said:
What is your take on that scrap pile 69's finish?
Maybe blued first, then rusted, then cleaned up and shipped to you...? Can you be sure somebody didn't hit it with some cold blue before you got it? Do you have a pic? Based on what I explained above it just seems very unlikely it was parked during the existence of the DDR.

If you don't mind me asking what makes you so sure it's direct from the scrap pile? There were "PLO" parts running around as well as complete kits. Some rifles were either damaged or mixed up so bad they were parted out by the importer IIRC. For example, all the loose Soviet stuff at Joeken. Yours wouldn't be the first loose "PLO" MPi-KM trunnion I have seen, and that would very clearly explain the park.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Not sure why you are referencing blue? I'm just referring to the parked receiver peice. There's no blue on it. As for the source. It came directly from Germany, there's a guy that has tons of complete receivers with the front torched. I don't think any PLO kits went back to Germany.

 

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OK, let's assume it is parked. Can you make out any of the serial number so we can get a ball-"park" date? :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's not my collection. It's a sample of what the guy had available. The red is what I sent him as where to cut them. I only have one as a reference, the 1969.

I'm not sure if it was clear, but I am, not saying they parked them as a facory finish, rather they may have done a late refurb finish in park on poorly finished old rifles. Since they put park under the paint, they did have the option available to use park.

He is a pic of what I have right now: As a last minute observation as I was taking pictures....I might as well withdraw this arguement...the torch cut are is also parked. It must have been done by whoever salvaged the parts so as to keep them from rusting...who knows.







 

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Post-scrap park makes sense. Also look where the selector levers covered the blue finish on those other parked receiver sections.
 

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I have a hard time believing that some if not most guns were Phosphated (i.e. parkerized) at least from some point forward.

Here is why:

1stly Germans were phosphating guns in WWII, I sincerely doubt that there was a secret special recipe that only the Russians had; as many of the weapon producing plants from WWII were in the Russian zone after the war.

#2 some of the replacement E.German parts I have are not blued-I know the difference between blue and phosphate finishes (or as the Germans refer to it as Phosphatieren (Sp?).

#3 In one of my East German repair manuals from the late 1970s they refer to the phosphating process and directions I believe on how to do it for weapons that are refinished at the depot; and if memory serves there were also different types of phosphate "recipes" they used.
 

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KMFDM said:
#3 In one of my East German repair manuals from the late 1970s they refer to the phosphating process and directions I believe on how to do it for weapons that are refinished at the depot; and if memory serves there were also different types of phosphate "recipes" they used.
I only came to this "no park" position after alot of research. I previously thought after 1985 all rifles were parked because one source made this generalization, but then I found alot of evidence that contradicted that including a blued 1987 trunnion. There certainly are many tantalizing pics like the one you posted above that really look parked. If you post or PM me a legible scan of the manual pages you are talking about I'll research it further.
 

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You'll have to wait until I get back from downrange -it may be awhile for the info. I saw it in the book but I never bothered to translate it because I never really cared about or needed the info.
Some guns may have been blued that is a distinct possibility. I have repair parts for the MPiKM that I took out of the factory wrappers from the 1970s that were phosphated (side folding stocks and gas tubes come to mind) and some are blued.
The E.G. AK-74s I have at work are paint over parkerized as were most of the MPiKMS-72s that I have seen. Now it is possible that some of the subcontractors for parts blued some items and parked others-to me there is a distinct possibility of that happening then perhaps paint was applied over it to even out the finish and to give another layer of protection.
I have seen lots of those cut up receivers in Germany and most of them appear to be parkerized- I never looked too much at them other than hoping to find one with a rail. When I get to this place again I'll take a closer look, because there are a couple hundred if not more at this locale. My one question being: Why would you bother to parkerize something after you cut it up and sold it for scrap? European buyers of such things in my experience are generally much less concerned than many Americans are about finish. Also depending on what kind of device that does the cutting the slag from the cut can look alot like phosphate. I saw about 100 cut up M-4 barrels awhile back and the cuts looked parkerized afterwards-So until more research is done I would not discount the possibility that what you are looking could be accumulated slag over the cuts.
There are many shades of phosphate; from a charcoal black to a greenish grey (or even a "clear" phosphate if memory serves correctly) and it depends on the surface finish before protective finish is applied and other things at times as to how it appears and it some of it can also change color when oil is applied just like bluing it can almost take on a sheen.
 

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I guess I'll throw some more wood into the fire for both sides. Here's some photos of random MPiK and MPiKM parts. Of course the MPiK section is blued and it has what appears to be a light paint finish. The MPiKM parts look to almost have a bluing on them and/or a painted finish. However, the inner areas of the parts look as though they have a phosphate finish (I can get better, more specific photos of anything if needed):






But, all the MPiKM's I saw throughout Iraq (and there were tons of them)appeared to have a light phosphate-type finish on them much like a Romanian SAR-1:





Some close-ups:
[img]http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q86/Blue_Falcon_One/Junk/eg2-1.jpg





And some MPiK parts from the rifle in the photo:


 

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Look at the dates on your parts. The 68 and earlier stuff is all shiny blued ala Chinese/Yugo, and the later stuff is blasted then dipped in blue creating an "quasi-parkerized-type" appearance. Inner areas on the early stuff wouldn't have been polished. Those Iraqi rifles were all late 80s sales, makes sense they would be of the matte-blue variety.

And I have to also argue that the "parkerized" spare parts were in fact either:

For MPi-KM - blasted, dip blued, dried, put in sealed plastic bags. Dry blasted blue looks like park but isn't.

For MPi-KMS-74N - maybe they were just parked, certainly most was also painted, but we already agree 74 stuff was parked. Maybe we are confusing 7.62 spares with 5.45 stuff??

The spares thing is even more confusing because the East Germans routinely wrapped up spares from other Warsaw Pact arsenals and put their own labels on it.
 

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I did look at the parts and they were parkerized-I am pretty sure I know the difference between blue and parkerization; seeing as I used to do both on a fairly regular basis.
Granted of course it is possible that the parts in question did possibly come from an outside source (Which I am also a believer in that certain Warsaw Pact countries at certain times traded with each other), then is it not possible that they could have been used in the manufacture process also?
I personally think that as many years as these guns were in production that you will find many finish variations, some arsenal refinishings, possibly even spray painting done at the 1st level workshop. I doubt that you will ever see an end to the finish variances that were made. I also doubt unless you go some places and see these weapons in bulk and actually talk to someone or the folks who worked at Suhl that performed final assembly of the guns and were responsible for the finish throughout its production history will you ever get the whole story (not to mention the parts made by the many sub-contractors). Otherwise the best you may get is an educated guess and end up in a circular discussion as this seems to me as going in the direction of.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
xcibes said:
most of the spare parts I got for MPiKM were PARKED, some were blued all the ones I got for MPiKM74 were painted shiny black...take that for what it's worth, and NO the parked ones did not turn black when I put some oil on them, they stayed gray.

In any case I am making my late MPiKM build as parked. I do not have the correct late parts so It will not matter but I would still like to know for sure how they did things.
You may want to lightly go over the peices with oil and 0000 steel wool. I've had some that didn't take the oil until I did. Just a thought.

xcibes said:
ETA: SO.....what is my Iraqi honey holding, is that parked or blued...looks parked to me, but what say you?
I say we'll never know until honey puts some oil on that thing. :goof: That thing looks so minty new, as if they just unwrapped it from the crate and handed it to her.
 

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A little follow-up here:

I was mistaken about the recievers being parked after demilling-for some odd reason they were refinished after demilling, I went to my friends place and checked..Kudos to Reichpapers.

In the repair manuals I have dated 1978 for the AK/MPiK series they mention blued finish, in the 1986 manual it mentions parkerized finish. some sometime between 1978 and 1986 parkerizing was adopted at the factories for production. The East Germans started looking into the AK-74 in the late 1970s and Phosphate finishes during that time more than likely.

From the German gun magazine "Visier"- 2 excerpts from it on the AK manufacture:

1: "andererseits waren bis dahin alle waffen in der DDR brueniert worden, obwohl die lizenztechnologie das Phophatieren und Lackieren als Korrosionsschutz vorsah. Die Bruenierten waffen liessen keinerlei Abstriche and dem Gebrauchswerteigenschaften erkennen. Dennoch forderten die Bewaffneten organe des Landes fuer die neue Kalashnikow das Phosphatieren und Lackieren. Dazu mussten in der DDR erst Voraussetzungen geschaffen werden - mit einem hohen Kostenaufwand. Fachleute betonen, gegenueber dem Bruenieren habe dieser Korrosionsschutz einen wesentlichen Vorteil: Falls Die lackschicht zerstoert wird, schuetze die Phosphatschicht die stelle vor dem Rosten. Trockene bruenierte Flaechen wuerden hingegen wie eine Bremsschicht fur die Beweglichen Teile der Waffe wirken."
(on the other hand up to then all weapons in the GDR had been blued, although the license technology planned for the Phosphating and painting for corrosion protection. The blued weapons did not show any real differences in its use characteristics. The armed forces of the country nevertheless demanded more for the new Kalashnikov: Phosphatizing and painting. In addition new finish equipment would be needed - at a high cost to the GDR. Specialists stress, in relation to blueing; This corrosion protection has a substantial advantage: If the paint film is worn off, the phosphate undercoating protects places against rusting also. It was found that blued surfaces for the moving parts of the weapon were also considered suitable/usable.)

The article later goes on to say:

2: "Nach Erprobung der Nullserie begann die Serienproduktion der AK-74 in Wiesa am 1.Maerz 1985 - nach einer Gesamtvorbereitungzeit von 50 monaten und einem Investitionsaufwand von insgesamt 81.3 millionen Mark."
(After testing of the preproduction of the series production of the AK-74 began in Wiesa on 1 March 1985 - after a total preparation time of 50 months and an expenditure of altogether 81.3 million Marks.)

My translations may be a little off here and there but I think it pretty much describes where phosphating began for sure. And possibly it possibly goes as far back a 50 months from March 1, 1985 which would be about Jan 1981 as a possible starting point for factory production weapons being phosphated?...I don't know for sure on this one?

Some of the Parked guns that are seen out there could have been rebuilds that were originally blued at the factory then overhauled and refinished by the military it's workshops sometime after the point when the DDR military started Parkerizing; which is mentioned (also with Blueing) in a 1976 dated general weapon repair manual. So for a rebuilt weapon I would guess; at least 1976 forward was a possibility. I would would also be willing to hazard to guess that while in workshops some were blued and some were parked just depending on what finish was in stock and available at the time of refinishing-but that is a guess of course.
 

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Nice work translating. The first quote is not from Visier, but instead Internationales Waffen Magazin, a Swiss publication, the 12/91 issue. Your excerpt confirms what we already know: MPi-AK-74-series was paint-over-park. You are correct with the 1981 start of of MPi-AK-74-series production. and 1985 introduction into service, but that has no relevance to MPi-KM finishes as I understand it and have explained above.

Post a scan of your repair manual please. I'm very interested.
 

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SteveM: I can see what points you are driving at in the finish dept. Also thanks for the correction on the IWJ vs. Visier- I was just given a handfull of photocopies that had Visier and IWJ articles mixed together.

From Page 7 subsection 1 from 1978 7,62mm KM, KMS-72 and KmS manaul

Das Beseitigen allegemeiner Fehler, das entrosten und Bruenieren der teile sowie die Bearbeitung von Holzteilen sind entsprechend den Festlegungen der Schuetzenwaffen Instandsetzung Dv. durchzufuehren. Federn sind nicht zu Bruenieren.

(As well as an elimination of all normal deficiencies, also see to rust removal and blueing also see to the repair/refinishing of wooden parts in accordance with the Weapons Repair (1976) manual. Springs are not to blued.)

The 1986 manual covers the AK74 series and almost all the parts that are mentioniond go to phosphating at the minimum and some also add in paint.

The 1976 Weapons repair manual does not say what is to be blued or phosphated it just explains the processes and how to do it. Which means the stuff for phosphating was available to repair personnel at least at that time, now possible usage on AKs may be another story of course....

If memory serves correctly I have seen Painted over Parkerized MPiKMS-72s from the SWC weapons pool on Fort Bragg. Don't ask me to go to get pictures either: because I live in Germany now. It stuck in my mind then because I remember seeing the crappy finish on them and saying to myself those are just as ugly as the DDR AK74s that were available at that time.

Ok, my main question being; when they switched to Phosphate why would they paint and park one type and blue the other that has some parts commonality since both series were produced together until 1990 as I understand it?

I guess it would be possible to run production of different guns at different times. It is also possible after one block was completed to switch to blueing during the re-tooling. But wouldn't that seem to make no sense? But I also concede anything is also possible here given the way the Germans can be at times.

Once set up is done phosphating is much easier and quicker to do than blueing and easier to control the quality of the finished product from my experience. It would not still surprise me that some guns were phosphated during rebuild and repair

But it appears yet more research is in order....
 

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@KMFDM,
Just to restate, no parked MPi-KM (at least none during the existence of DDR). No doubt they knew of parkerizing, and certainly after 1981 had the technology, but they just didn't do it.

Here's an excerpt from "Die Mot-Schutzen der NVA", a book several guys here have that was written by the now deceased UberExpert on DDR Kalaschnikows: Wilfried Kopenhagen:
p.79

While in the USSR Kalashnikovs were phosphated and painted, in the DDR KM/KMS-72 were blued, because no requirement for the other procedure existed.
As far as why didn't they switch over to parking MPi-KM when they were parking 74s there are probably a few factors:

1) Like Kopenhagen said: just was no requirement to park.
2) KM/KMS-72 built at Wiesa, 74 built at Suhl.
3) As I stated earlier, licensing of processes was a big deal. The Germans would have had to pay the Soviets to park KMS/KMS-72.
 
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