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I have a handful of RPK-74 kits and have noted some variances in them. The interesting thing is that there are some differences above and beyond being finite between the Russian Molot made (circle 10 remarked) RPKs and the later Bulgarian in house made RPKs.

I have a few 1985 kits and one built rifle, the front trunnions on all are remarked, I also have a few 1988 kits.


The two compared here are both 100% matching number new demill kits. The rear sights aswell as the gas tubes are serialed. This fact excludes the chance of a spoiled comparison due to un original parts being compared.



1985 - The Molot mark has been ground down and stamped over with a circle 10 mark



1988 - No remarking, paint in the text stamping is factory.



The Molot kit has the serial numbers electro penciled in on all the serialized peices other that the front trunnion. The Circle 10 kit has serials stamped in on all the peices.



As stated previously, the sights are serialized to the rifle. Note the immedietaly visible differences in font use between the 2. Number 6 and 1 stand out the most.







Machining aproaches are different on the bolt carriers, notice the machine plain difference of 90 degress on the rear cut, left side, of the bolt carriers.





Profile of the bolt carriers are different.



Some differences in lathe work on the barrels exist.










The top covers have differences in the stamping blocks used to form them.






There are tons of other difference, Molot used fillets for edge finsihing, Circl 10 used chamfers, assembly and inspections marks, etc etc. Just thought I'd touch on the high level stuff and not bore too many people with the intricate details. Fact of the matter is, none this this makes a bit of difference in the end anyway. :cool:
 

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rpk-74

very interesting post.It's hard to beleive there would be so many differences although small.Execllent
 

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Do the Bulgarian parts look better made, or its just me?
 

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stoyan79 said:
Do the Bulgarian parts look better made, or its just me?

IIRC, ol' MK said the Bulgarians made the best Aks.
 

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Very good post phreak

I noticed in this photo that the Bulgarian detent for elevation change on the sight leaf is more pronounced on the left side where the Molot is pretty symmetrical on both sides.

Also the Bulgarian has a pin in the end of the windage adjustment collar in the 12 O'clock position where it appears the Molot's pin is in the 3 O'clock position.



I will have to look on my 1988 Molot restamp Code 10 and see which features it has.
 

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This thread is torture. :shock:

I really wanted a Plum RPK-74 and still do. All the Jagnormous close up pictures in here just resurrected those thoughts...


I may have to look for one soon if any are still to be had. :razz:


Nice photo comparison BTW.
 

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Thanks .neat comparison .My rpk 74 is a molot restamp .And it is all matching . It has some of the features you call bulgarian and some you call russian .how can we be sure wich is wich? Possibility the bulgarians used a mix of both countrys parts? The fact that your 2 kits are matching ,new kits,doesnt stop as you call it (contamination) . In fact the kits you own are both bulgarian ,the trunion is a russian restamped to bulgarian use. there is still a posibility of the contamination you speek of since all parts do not have a marking on them .i am not trying to shoot you down ,just add to the facts. If soimeone had a true russian rpk ,such as a deactvated one for compairison ,it would be more accurate comparison since it would not have been touched by the bulgarian arsenal at all.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Vlad, not shot down at all. This post was a photo comparison, not some form of holy text that is not to be dessicrated.

In all reality, anything prior to the 1990s, you would need a very large sample pool. The machining on these was eithr very primitive CNC (to our 2008 standards) or manual machines with some replication fixtures being used. While one plant may have multiple machines that process the same part, I guarantee you those machines produce parts with easily identifiable differences. Take in to account many variables, some possibly being machine model (newer vs older), machine operator, shift supervisor, tooling condition, rushed production, delayed resource aquisition and on and on. Modern countries spend insane amounts of both time and money on quality controls and system control processes such as LEAN and Six Sigma and still suffer from product variances, this process control/improvement stuff did not even exist in Soviet Russia nor Bulgaria at the time. The point being, one example of anything is would be quite a mistake to take as an indicator that every other sample would be the same.

Nice RPK you got there :cool:
 

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ANyone know if ORF has any of the molot ones left in their Stock????
I know some got lucky, but I was just wondering.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think it's a safe bet on the mix of parts, god knows the last thing those 2 countries were thinking of when they assembled those rifles was what and how US Americans would look back on their handy work.
 

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Ill be building my molot real soon.
 

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Thank you for resurrecting this thread. I now know my '85 Vector RPK is a restamped Molot, mine appears to have a Bulgarian rear sight.

Anyone have a polymer RPK-74 stock set for sale?
 

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Wow this thread won't die! I just want to thank you phreak as I now have two plums one 88 restamp/molot? and one genuine bulgarian... Anyways I will be building up the bulgarian as soon as my nodak order gets here. I know manufacturing times have been streatched but I am getting ancy. Can't wait to try it out!
 

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I think you guys are reading too much into it.

The RPK74s were all assembled at Kazanlak... Its just a matter of here the parts were made (if ever made at Kazanlak)...

It could have been a complete barreled action, to an assembled receiver, to just a bunch of loose parts..

Remember that the Molot symbol is molded into the trunnion during manufacture.

A 1988 gun for example, if 100% Russian would have different barrel parts then one assembled in Bulgaria.
 

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I love this thread, very nice images, I'm always looking to learn more about the design and features of these rifles.

I did want to say that some of the examples shown here as possible 'Bulgarian' stick out to me as late production Molot parts which use more recent Russian styling.

I mean, in some examples I see late features that were never adopted by Kazanlak, in other words they are kinda unique to Polyani (They did not call it Molot back then). For instance, that late pattern left side lightening cut on the bolt carrier. I'd love to have an RPK-74 carrier like that, that is an obviously Russian part..

In fact, I have my doubts that Bulgaria actually made all the parts they needed in house to build an entire RPK-74 rifle back in the late 1980's. I bet some of these 1988 kits are just shaved and remarked. Most if not all of the loose RPK-74 parts I have bought from K-Var were Russian, you don't find all those proofs on real Bulgarian parts.
 
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