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The wood folding buttstocks are available off and on, it's the metal that are as rare as hens teeth. Especially the receiver trunnion. That real light colored polyamide Molot grip is also another damn hard thing to find in nice condition. It's era correct for a wood stocked rifle. Most of the Molot grips you run across are the later darker plum color which goes with a plum buttstock. Also note the rare non-vented upper handguard, correct for '85-'86 rifles. All things considered, I'd say the asking price is very fair and pretty close to what this is all worth. Especially if you are converting a 1985-dated Bulgarian remark to a folder configuration.
 

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Lots of differences. There are at least five different versions of hinge assemblies: RPKS/early RPKS-74, RPKSN, late RPKS-74/RPKS-74N, and RPK-74M. The one in the auction is late RPKS/early RPKS-74, correct for wood stocks of course. Not correct for RPKSN or RPKS-74N rifles with optics rails. The late RPK-74M assembly is double-action, the early one like you are selling is single-action and you have to use a bullet tip to release the stock when in the extended position (the 74M catch hook has to have a longer slot in the receiver so you can swing it to release the stock).

The 74M hinge connection is also longer and the stock attachment tangs have ribs added for strength. The bottom rivet spacing is slightly lower on the receiver. And most notably, there is a lip on the left side of the 74M hinge to allow use of a much shorter catch hook on the side of the receiver, necessary when having an optics rail. In fact, this lip is present and necessary, in various forms since the 1960's, on all RPK folding stock hinge assemblies used on "N" prefix rifles.

 

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Lots of differences. There are at least five different versions of hinge assemblies: RPKS/early RPKS-74, RPKSN, late RPKS-74/RPKS-74N, and RPK-74M. The one in the auction is late RPKS/early RPKS-74, correct for wood stocks of course. Not correct for RPKSN or RPKS-74N rifles with optics rails. The late RPK-74M assembly is double-action, the early one like you are selling is single-action and you have to use a bullet tip to release the stock when in the extended position (the 74M catch hook has to have a longer slot in the receiver so you can swing it to release the stock). The 74M hinge connection is longer and the stock attachment tangs have ribs added for strength. The bottom rivet spacing is also slightly different on the receiver. And most notably, there is also a lip on the left side of the hinge to allow use of a much shorter catch hook on the side of the receiver, necessary when having an optics rail.
Thanks for the info. Those are not my parts for sale. Can you put a wood RPKS-74 buttstock on the newer RPK-74M trunnion? I am just curious because the RPK-74M trunnions are available and relatively very cheap compared to the unit on GB.
 

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Thanks for the info. Those are not my parts for sale. Can you put a wood RPKS-74 buttstock on the newer RPK-74M trunnion? I am just curious because the RPK-74M trunnions are available and relatively very cheap compared to the unit on GB.
In theory, yes..It will have to be fitted, mostly for the latch, which is different.

Of course, you can never fold it.

An easier option would be for someone like Ironwood to make a purpose made one.
 

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Why wouldn't it fold? Assume the rifle had no optics rail.

In theory, yes..It will have to be fitted, mostly for the latch, which is different.

Of course, you can never fold it.

An easier option would be for someone like Ironwood to make a purpose made one.
 

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Thanks for the info. Those are not my parts for sale. Can you put a wood RPKS-74 buttstock on the newer RPK-74M trunnion? I am just curious because the RPK-74M trunnions are available and relatively very cheap compared to the unit on GB.
You can replace the plastic stock used on the modern 74M metal hinge assembly with the earlier wood stock, with some minor inleting and/or standard stock fitting around the tangs. In the end, it can be folded as you would with the plastic stock since all the metal is the same, as long as you don't add an optics rail to the receiver. The only basic different in stocks would be the rail slot. The slot could be easily cut for one, though, to create an RPKN stock. That's how the factory did them, i.e. took a completely finished out standard RPKS buttstock and cut the rail slot as needed, individually, which was then left in bare wood.
 

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You can replace the plastic stock used on the modern 74M metal hinge assembly with the earlier wood stock, with some minor inleting and/or standard stock fitting around the tangs. In the end, it can be folded as you would with the plastic stock since all the metal is the same, as long as you don't add an optics rail to the receiver. The only basic different in stocks would be the rail slot. The slot could be easily cut for one, though, to create an RPKN stock. That's how the factory did them, i.e. took a completely finished out standard RPKS buttstock and cut the rail slot as needed, individually, which was then left in bare wood.
Very cool, thanks Tantal. Do you have a picture of a RPK-74N with the inletted wood stock, I have never seen one.
 

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Very cool, thanks Tantal. Do you have a picture of a RPK-74N with the inletted wood stock, I have never seen one.
Rob is The Man to ask, especially when it comes to pictures! Maybe we can beg him to dig some out?

I love the RPKS-74N, it's one of my favorite Soviet rifles right after AKS-74. I guess I like all the Kalashnikovs specifically developed for the VDV. It's also one of my last bucket list projects, which I've never built but hopefully still plan to do one day. I've saved a 1985 remarked rifle that I plan to transfer the folder parts to, that's one reason I've researched the crossover use of these parts. I've had a couple sets of the RPKS hinged trunnions, but figured since I was gonna have to modify them for use with an optics rail, and add that lip, why not just use cheaper 74M parts that already had the lip and modify them to look correct for an earlier rifle? To that end, I'm gonna shorten the bottom hinge ear, mill off the ribs on the tangs, use a smaller/shorter receiver hook slot and retro the stock folding mechanism back to single-action operation. I'll also build up the catch hook head and machine it to the correct pyramidal shape.

Since I'm doing a 1985, i'll probably do a transitional rifle with ribbed handguards and a wood buttstock. I like the look of that combination, and have seen images of factory-built RPKS-74 rifles set up that way. I think they introduced the plastic handguards and plastic fixed stocks a year or so before the plastic folding buttstocks came out, most likely since the folders were a much lower production model and the stocks were done by hand anyway. Using the standard wood stock on an RPKS-74N means I'll have to mill a slot on the buttstock for a scope rail, just like they did at Vyatka. At least I won't have to worry about trying to match the handguard shellac finish to the color of the stock, hehe.

BTW, sorry I mistakenly thought you were selling those parts on GB.

Anyway, here's a super nice factory fresh 1984 with matching 1PN34 scope. This is from the Bolotin book, "Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition", which BTW is an excellent resource. There are also a few more very good images of this same rifle in the Monetchikov book, "Istoriia Russkogo Avtomata", which IMO is the best reference book specifically about Soviet Kalashnikovs ever put out. Chock full of history, dates, and little known details on the development of all sorts of things from prototypes, ammunition, production rifles, special applications like night vision and silent-fire SpetsNAZ rifles and AKSU's, as well as the introductions and various magazine types and even some field gear. It's all Russian language, so get your translator ready, and not without a few minor errors, but it's the best in print and an absolute must have for any serious Soviet AK student. Well worth the effort to find a copy. I refer to it all the time over the years.

 

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Great info and pictures. These are from Stottman's AK's of the world thread -



 

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Not nearly as rare as the RPKS-74N but a decent picture of the RPKSN.

 

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Not nearly as rare as the RPKS-74N but a decent picture of the RPKSN.
Very nice image, you're obviously holding out on me, Jerry!

I'm quite sure that the RPKS-74N was built in greater numbers than the RPKSN, all night vision capable rifles increased in numbers as time went on. You probably don't see the RPKS-74N abroad because it was never exported and the only sizable domestic force that acquired them was the VDV, which used the folding stock version of these rifles exclusively. The VDV was also one of the main end users of night vision during the Afghan War.

According to written interviews conducted with VDV veterans, by 1984 the average platoon of 60 men was directed to be issued three weapon-mounted NVD, This was not always the case, due to supplyline difficulties and maintenance, but was still the benchmark. Anyway, one of these sights was normally earmarked for an RPGN, while the second one to a squad automatic. Could have been a PKMN, or maybe an RPKS-784N. This was one of the most effective and popular applications for a heavy night vision scope, i.e. mounted on a bipod equipped rifle used in many cases for for point defense. I've seen the sights on wood-stocked RPKS-74's in VDV unit photos, and there's also a few images of them in at least one Western publication on the VDV, although the rifle in question is likely an '86-'89 judging by the plum furniture and the date of publication of the book (definitely not an RPK74M, BTW).

Think of it this way. Why would they build RPKSN's in greater numbers, then decide to build just a few RPKS-74N's during a war in which NVD become so important and prevalent, then decide to put a rail on ALL RPK-74's by 1991 with the introduction of the RPK-74M? Makes no sense. The fact is that they made more and more NV capable rifles as time marched on, not less.

I think the trouble is that the RPKS-74N was not used by enough entities for us to see them today in very many images taken in the field, but it's also just not rare enough to be found in very many museums, hehe. I bet most of these older rifles are still in service, since they meet the requirements set by the RPK-74M.

Hell, we have to admit that all the scope rail rifles are rare compared to the millions of regular rifles they built during this same time period.
 

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Doug thanks again for the insight into these rifles. Up until this year I have not had a lot of interest in the RPK or the RPK-74. I found this picture I my files this morning. I'll shoot you the original pic by email, I cropped this one and played with the contrast sone .
 
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