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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok guys, I think we have all been wanting a Russian differances thread for awhile. Photobucket wiped out alot of good pics and the countless Russian parts ID threads are now somewhat worthless if no pics are present. I would like to ask for your guys help in posting Russian parts that you know to be correct so we can get a timeline and get some of our info back to share. Alot of members are clueless when it comes to Russian parts ID as alot of older members are not forth giving with the info they learned. I would like to keep this thread open to anyone that wants to contribute. Also, correction would be good if someone knows a certain part is a certain year or from a certain factory. That accounts for us mods too. While I'm up on alot of things Russian if I missidentify a part, please tell me and I can make corrections. Also, if someone finds a link with good info then please link it.

I only have 4 Russian AKM kits and they have got to be the most common kits out there so alot of this info is already known but I'll start with it anyways. It will be good info for the newer members to learn from.

I picked this sheet up from one of the members in the thread linked. It has some great info in it and some things don't seem 100% correct but it is a great reference. What people need to look at in the sheet is the fact that Tula was 2-3 years behind izzy on changes. So, when izzy changed to say, cast gas blocks it doesn't mean Tula changed at the same time. That is very important to remember when IDing parts. At least that's what Doug taught me.

https://www.theakforum.net/forums/29-russian/270762-1975-tula-akm-kit.html



Front trunnions. I don't know the exact differances on trunnions but with the markings, it's pretty self explanatory on what they are and the timeframe. This current list is from desertfox outfitters and the izzy trunnions they sell. The list has been getting smaller over the years but it's a good reference for when izzy changed to the 6 digit numbering. Not only that but the timeframe when they switched to the 22mm barrel.


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Here are three loose trunnions that I have. As you can see the izzy manufacturing process even on the rollmark is alot cleaner than the tula rollmark.



In this pic you can see the letters/numbers on the top of the trunnion above the rollmark. These are the trunnion forging code. It is to identify what trunnion was made where. We have a long thread already here on this. The single digit numbers on top is the trunnion barrel sizing. 1-4. 2 is standard so if you have something other than a 2 then your standard barrel won't work. The Tula trunnion in the middle is a 3. That's oversize and is typical of Tula trunnions. Also, the Tula trunnion shows a great example of Tula manufacturing. See how it is rougher with more machine marks than the two izzys? That's typical Tula manufacturing.



Rear trunnions. All donuthole trunnions until the 70s.



Here is the cast trunnion that was switched in the early 70s. I believe 1972.



Two late 60s Tula trunnion. A typical trait of Tula is the rough machining and the partial round proof mark. Tula trunnions are usually littered with proofs like pictured. However in the next pic you will see two izzy trunnions and one if littered with proofs also but with cleaner machining.



Two izzy trunnions



Side views. Notice the rough maching on the Tula trunnions.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
It is also worth noting that 1969 was a transitional year. From the switch to machined parts to cast. Late 69 is when we started seeing izzy rifles with more cast parts.

Handguard retainers. There are two. Machined and cast. You can see in the pics how sharply the machined handguard retainers is compared to the cast retainer.



The inside of the retainer you can see the machine marks on the machined retainer and the casting marks on the cast retainer. For izzy 68 and 69 rifles either would be correct. Izzy rifles that were produced in late 69 would be all cast retainers. Also, Tula was behind so 68 and 69 Tula rifles would be machined retainers.



I've never seen a difference in the 68-69 gas blocks. They all looked the same until the introduction of the cast block.



Cast gas block introduced on izzy rifles in 72 or 73.



This pic of selectors you can see some differances. The Tula selector is different on the bottom part. The "indent" on the bottom you can see isn't as big as the izzy counterparts. The 68 izzy selector has a wider "indent" than the 69 and 70s selectors. Notice the top 70s selector has a smaller shaped axle head.



The "axles" of the selectors. The cast selector at top with the casting line. The bottom rough selector is the Tula.



The "paddle" of the selectors. The top later case piece has a narrower paddle than the others.



The RSB you can see the main differance between the Tula and izzy by the smaller lock hole in the Tula RSB. The later tulas had a bigger lock hole than the machined parts did but it isn't as big as the izzy lock holes.



68 Tula left, 68 izzy middle, and 69 izzy right. The spot above the site leaf is a good place to look on these. The proof marks and the roughness/smoothness is a good indicator of identification. Also notice the site leafs. The Tula on the left has a narrower N and the numbers are more blocky. The 4 on site leafs are the most noticable between Tula and izzy. The right 69 izzy RSB has a nice proof to identification.



Pic of a 70s cast RSB. Notice the nice clear proof mark above the site leaf. Also, the clear triangle proof mark on the site leaf. They don't get much clearer than that.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The FSB seems to be one of the parts that are the most talked about to ID. It could be because it's one of the parts that are most noticable between izzy and Tula. I mean, most people can look at the built rifle and spot the correct or incorrect FSB a mile away so it important to know which is which.

Here are two FSBs. Machined on the left, cast on the right. You can see the machine marks on the left FSB along with the casting line on the FSB on the right. Late 69 for the cast piece on izzy rifles.



A pic of the FSBs to identify the differances on the back side. The cast piece on the right you can see that the lightning cut isn't as long as the machined pieces.



Perhaps the easiest way to spot the differance between tula and izzy FSBs is by looking at the side of them. The lightning holes in the middle is the first thing I look at. Tula lightning hole is more rounded while the izzy holes are more squared. This goes back to tulas rougher machining and just "hogging a hole" compared to izzys more uniformed squared machining. Also the ears for the cleaning rod are different. If you look at the cast 69 piece you can see the longer, different shaped ears.



Here is a side view of a 70s izzy FSB. I believe this was introduced in 1973. I guess you can consider this the 2nd pattern. Looks like the other's from the side.



Front of the FSB. Or muzzle end. 68 Tula left, 68 izzy middle, and the 69 izzy cast on the right. Looking at the Tula you can see the Lightning cut isn't as long as the izzys. Also the more squared off or non refined machining process is evident here. Comparing that with the izzy machined in the middle, you can see how izzy machined theirs to where there was less rough edges and smoother rounded corners. The 69 cast piece on the right you can see the "shelf" as other Russian collectors call it, in the lightning cut. That shelf is late 69 on.



2nd pattern from the front. It's drastically different than the earlier machined and from the first cast FSB. There is a great pic of this FSB in Vlados thread so it looks like this pattern was carried through to 1977. Vlados 77 izzy: http://www.theakforum.net/forums/29-russian/272393-1977-akms.html




The bottom of the FSBs you can also see the differance. Pretty self explanatory.



Bottom is the same as the first pattern cast.



I had a chart with about 20 different pics of Russian FSBs and the years to identify them. I seemed to misplace it but I'll see if I can find it and post it.

The recoil rods have some small differences also. The biggest differance is the rounded corners on the cast pieces. The texture and machine marks are helpful in ID also as is the numbering. Remember, Tula numbering is more blocky. The later cast piece on the top is what is refered to as a "hooked" (thanks again brendyn) recoil rod and are prevailent in the later 70s rilfes. Other differences are minor like the shape of the recoil rod "button head" and some casting lines but what I described are the easiest way to tell the differances between them.



A closer look.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
4 dust covers. The Tula on the left is the famous "hen scratch" marking. Notice how the 68 izzy has the prefix and numbers while the 69 izzy just has the numbers. Also, the 6 digit numbering on the mid 70s cover. I'm not sure when the numbering switched from the top of the cover to the bottom but it's somewhere in the early 70s.



Notice how the two 68 covers has the strengthing "line" all the way to the end of the cover while the 69 and 70s cover doesn't have that. That could be many things. Worn tooling or even a change that it wasn't needed. Another thing that Doug (tantal) has mentioned about Tula dust covers is the different color. In this pic you can see the difference in the colors and is often refered to as "ink black" color. Not all covers have this color and is/was usually wiped out in the refurb process. I have noticed that the "ink black" color has followed to other parts of Tula rifles also almost like the tulas were coated in something different. But, that's another conversation for another time.



The other side the main differance is the flared cover from the 70s. I imagine this started in the early 70s but haven't verified the exact date yet.



The bolt carrier identification prefix/numbering changed location in 1969. You can see it is lower on the bolt carrier and has its own "pad". Sometime in the later 70s (75, 76, 77?) the numbering switched to the other side behind the charging handle at the back of the carrier. The later 70s carrier on the bottom has a cut out on the rail of the carrier. You will see this in the next pic of the bottom of the carriers.



The later 70s carrier on the right you can see the cutouts of what I mentioned earlier. Notice how the Tula carrier has a slightly different shaped charging handle. One thing I did notice is the bottom of the carriers where the trigger resets is different shaped. The Tula and the later 70s has the end of the hump rounded at the bottom while the 68 and 69 izzys are squared off. This isn't from wear as these kits are basically new rifles. It could be from the machining process but either way, it's really a non issue for identification.



The top. Not really much of a difference other than the slightly different shaped Tula charging handle.



The grips. Tula - and izzy /. Notice how 69 grip has the numbering on the right side. I don't know how long that was on the right side as I've seen 74 izzy rifles with the numbering on the left side.

 

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I figured I'd post what I have so far even though it's a work in progress, since I imagine one or more of you might be putting togeher something similar to this. We might as well combine forces and put together one master timeline of Russian AKM production variations.

Of course there will be a separate chart just like this for Tula Arsenal AKM production, and Tula will not have all the same variations as Izhevsk (e.g. Tula only produced one type of cast gas block that I know of, and Tula went through a couple different spot weld patterns in the early 60s)

I'm in the middle of just making a first pass on this going off memory and Stottman's book, so this is still an incomplete rough draft. If anyone would like to suggest any other variations to include in the timeline, please let me know.

I think a good way to make a general guide would be to have a timeline like what I'm putting together, and then basically have a catalog of detailed photos showing each of those component variations.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I figured I'd post what I have so far even though it's a work in progress, since I imagine one or more of you might be putting togeher something similar to this. We might as well combine forces and put together one master timeline of Russian AKM production variations.

Of course there will be a separate chart just like this for Tula Arsenal AKM production, and Tula will not have all the same variations as Izhevsk (e.g. Tula only produced one type of cast gas block that I know of, and Tula went through a couple different spot weld patterns in the early 60s)

I'm in the middle of just making a first pass on this going off memory and Stottman's book, so this is still an incomplete rough draft. If anyone would like to suggest any other variations to include in the timeline, please let me know.

I think a good way to make a general guide would be to have a timeline like what I'm putting together, and then basically have a catalog of detailed photos showing each of those component variations.
I think that's a great idea. A timeline is a definate must have. The Tula and izzy being seperate is a good idea also. I figured I'd just throw out pics and what I know and we can come up with a plan on how to assemble the info everybody contributed. In a perfect world it would be nice to see a book like stottmans on Russian differances and timelines that we all helped contribute too. Hell, if we gather enough info and Rob would be willing to publish I'd even throw some $$$ in to make it happen. If we disect every little detail right down to spot welds and other small issues I can see us having alot of info for many graphs/pics/books.

I like who is responding to this thread! Tells me there will be some good info!
 

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I am actually in the middle of "remastering" the AKM section. Basically re-editing every photo, and even adding a few more.

If anyone has any input, by all means let me know... Allot of times when I was photographing, I am in such a hurry that I cannot photograph everything,, and sometimes the small differences are easier to notice when the stuff is in pieces.
 

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I figured I'd post what I have so far even though it's a work in progress, since I imagine one or more of you might be putting togeher something similar to this. We might as well combine forces and put together one master timeline of Russian AKM production variations.

Of course there will be a separate chart just like this for Tula Arsenal AKM production, and Tula will not have all the same variations as Izhevsk (e.g. Tula only produced one type of cast gas block that I know of, and Tula went through a couple different spot weld patterns in the early 60s)

I'm in the middle of just making a first pass on this going off memory and Stottman's book, so this is still an incomplete rough draft. If anyone would like to suggest any other variations to include in the timeline, please let me know.

I think a good way to make a general guide would be to have a timeline like what I'm putting together, and then basically have a catalog of detailed photos showing each of those component variations.

This is bad ass! Hell of a job there man.
 

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I think this was the FSB table that 22many talked about. I think it came from Tantal but I saved it to my personal files years ago. I agree that often the FSB is a giveaway however, there are a few that are really hard to tell apart such as the milled '69 Tula vs milled '69 Izzy, for these I look at the slight difference in the shape of the ears.
Product Auto part Chair Plastic


Also, don't forget that rguns parts were completely mixed together. So even in cases where numbers are matching the part could be from the wrong rifle. I have an all matching hand select 1969 Izzy but the only problem is that the selector (which has a matching number) is actually from a Tula rifle so arsenals or years can be mixed on these kits.
 
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