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Discussion Starter #1
As far as I know,the early East German AK47s came with laminated buttstocks and PGs and upper and lower HGs made out of hardwood,then when the AKMs came along,they started switching these parts to plastic,the upper handguard and pistol grip first,then the buttstock and finally the lower handguard (right?),now my question:
Did they ever use a wood handguard with the AKMs,and if they did was it hardwood or laminated like the buttstock,I have a copy of the Tokoi book,and the only wood handguard (hardwood) is shown with the early AK47s,it seems to me that maybe they used a laminated wood handguard with the AKMs before they switched to plastic,could this be a possibility,can someone enlighten me on this,Thanks. :neutral:
 

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I'd like to help but forgive me - I'm not sure I follow your question. You kind of answered your own question in the beginning. Your Tokoi book should show a few photos of the MPiKM with wood furniture but I believe the NVA probably stuck to the hardwood lower handguards and not laminated ones as they seemed to have made so many hardwood replacements.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Maybe I mislead the question after all-my main concern is only for the use of upper handguards on the AKMs,which had stamped receivers,and later used the plastic parts,the early AK47s differ in having milled receivers,but came with all wood parts,if the stamped AKMs came with a wood upper handguard,that's what I'm trying to find out, and if they did,until what year they did so. :neutral:
 

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Read you Lima Charlie now. I'll have to look through some old photos but I want to say I've seen a photo somewhere of an MPiKM with a wooden upper and lower handguard. However, I can't substantiate that. Maybe someone else here will be able to confirm/deny the use of a wooden handguard on the MPiKM.

I'm sorry I got lost in your question earlier - the text was a bit confusing without any periods in there. :grin: Will look and try to find something in a photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I believe Stottman just answered my question,if the MPIKM in the first picture where there's one between an AK underfolder on the left and a Czech VZ58 on the right is all original,then there's proof that the East German did indeed use a wood handguard in their MPIs,Thanks Stottman!! :grin:
 

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I'm not convinced that rifle in the Koblenz Museum and the other is all original. Quoting from the former East German magazine "Visier Kalasknikov Special":

The modernised AK version AKM - was license produced in the DDR from 1964....The main advantage lay in the parts made by metal stamping technology. Successively the expensive wooden parts were exchanged for plastic. It began first with the upper handguard, followed with the pistol grip, and before the end of 1966 also followed with a plastic buttstock.
Basically I question it because it has a plastic pistol grip which according to Visier came after the upper HGs were exchanged for plastic.

BUT it's a Kalashnikov so I'll never say never. :)
 

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Stottman said:
I am sure they have been messed with. The top rifle, the HG seems to actually be Russian laminate.
I think it is either Soviet AKM or DDR MPi-K laminate. BUT...the top picture in Koblenz also has an early pattern Soviet AKM buttstock, it's not DDR laminate. Look at the copper pins, matches positions on your (ex) 1960 and 61 deacts. No copper pins in DDR laminate.

Now before we assume those rifles must not be original...and I am working on a complete write up and don't want to piece this out over a dozen threads...but the fact is that MPi-KM production started with 100% soviet parts then gradually moved to 100% DDR construction. So it's not at all "incorrect" to see an MPi-KM with Soviet wood, assuming the dates etc follow. Gets really interesting when you ask where those rifles with Soviet parts went...but thats another thread. :)
 

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The modernised AK version AKM - was license produced in the DDR from 1964....The main advantage lay in the parts made by metal stamping technology. Successively the expensive wooden parts were exchanged for plastic. It began first with the upper handguard, followed with the pistol grip, and before the end of 1966 also followed with a plastic buttstock.
There is a picture in an East German paratrooper book that I have that shows a group of paras with their Mpi-k's. I swear some of the rifles have plastic upper handguards. I'm not sure of the date of the picture other than it is sometime in the 60's. But after seeing that quote, an Mpi-k with a plastic upper handguard make sense now.
 

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zb-30 said:
There is a picture in an East German paratropper book that I have that shows a group of paras with their Mpi-k's. I swear some of the rifles have plastic upper handguards. I'm not sure of the date of the picture other than it is sometime in the 60's. But after seeing that quote, an Mpi-k with a plastic upper handguard make sense now.
I hadn't even thought about changes to plastic in the MPi-K but it makes sense. MPi-K milled production didn't stop with the start of MPi-KM but continued on through the 70s. Plastic parts on MPi-K wouldn't surprise me at all because many of the East German designers were ex-WW2 Hugo Schmeisser proteges who were obsessed with cost/time savings, that's why they went to plastic in the first place even though everyone knew it was unsuitable for hard use.
 

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I hadn't even thought about changes to plastic in the MPi-K but it makes sense. MPi-K milled production didn't stop with the start of MPi-KM but continued on through the 70s. Plastic parts on MPi-K wouldn't surprise me at all because many of the East German designers were ex-WW2 Hugo Schmeisser proteges who were obsessed with cost/time savings, that's why they went to plastic in the first place even though everyone knew it was unsuitable for hard use.
I just took another look at the picture I was referring to. No date, but all of the Paras are wearing raindrop pattern Para uniforms not the Blumentarn, so that suggests the picture is from the latter part of the 60's or very early seventies. A couple of the Mpi-K's in the picture definitely look like they have plastic upper handguards. What is interesting is one of the Mpi-K's looks like it might even have a plastic pistol grip. It's hard to say as it is a crappy photo. If I get around to it maybe I'll scan it this weekend.
 

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Stottman said:
I have seen a couple.

One was a Russian 1961 AKM but with a few DDR stock parts.

The other, not sure..

I know that place! Dresden, huh? Awesome museum.....
 

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Well I had some time so I hooked up ye olde scanner.
Here is the main pic:



The caption talks about the "new' field uniform (my German is rusty) so I think that would date this photo at approximately the 1966-1967 time period. Upon close examination of the photo it looks like most if not all the Mpi-k's have plastic upper handguards.
Example:



Now as for the pistol grips, some that can be seen are definitely wood.
A couple though look like they may be plastic, but it is real hard to tell.

 
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