An interesting combination of an Arsenal SLR104FR (side-folding stock AK-74 variant), with an RPK-74 barrel assembly. Since no one is making an RPK-74 receiver, one of the few options available is using a Vepr as the build platform because it has an RPK style receiver. The seller/owner in this case however decided to use the thinner AK receiver from an SLR104FR. Overall its not that bad looking but the U.S made grip, probably for parts count, looks out of place. (GRH)
This mundane looking rifle has a mysterious history because no one really knows what it was designed for. Made in East Germany, it’s chambered in 5.45x39mm, the same cartridge as the AK-74 and RPK-74. Speculation as to its purpose have ranged from competition rifle, hunting rifle and even a sniper rifle to be used against people trying to escape over the Berlin Wall. Very rare in the U.S, exact production numbers are unknown but about 500 to 600 were imported in. Considered an obscure but very sought after Com Bloc collectable rifle. (GRH)
Long overdue follow up post on my RPK-74M build. It was actually finished last year but I never got around to doing a post detailing the aspects of the rifle and changes I had made.
So here’s the gratuitous pics of my RPK-74M open and folded.
It started off as one of the few handfuls of unissued Bulgarian RPK-74 parts kits that were imported into the U.S. This was several years before the ATF enacted the requirement for all incoming parts kits to have their barrels demilled.
Out of pure luck I found a package deal for sale that included the rare NoDak Spud RPK-74 receiver. Bought my U.S parts and sent it off to a builder. However I did add some extras and made a few changes, so it is not what an AK purist would consider a “correct” example.
First off you can see that it has rails on its handguards, that’s because those are from a Russian Vepr-12. They use RPK sized handguards so I swapped in the railed versions onto my 74M.
Next I added East German RPK Night Sights. They clip on and off so its not a permanent mod. They do still glow but not as bright as some modern options. Although there are U.S made copies of the original RPK-74 flash hider, I ended up buying this AR-M1 Flash Hider for the AK-74. Gives it more of a “support” or “squad automatic weapon” look. Had to buy an thread pitch adapter to get it on though.
The rifle is not select-fire but I had the markings in Bulgarian engraved just to complete the look. This is also where you can see the two major changes I made. Had a Galil extended magazine release installed, replacing the original AK style one. I initially wanted to add the Galil trigger guard too but had second thoughts.
Also added the Bulgarian ARM-9 pistol grip which is much larger than your standard AK grip. It has a cutout on the left hand side for a secondary safety lever selector, which I bought as well. This setup is meant for milled receivers only but it can be adapted for stamped ones if you make a cutout on the bottom side of the receiver. It’s a clean cut that looks factory spec. Now I can flip my safety on and off with my thumb.
Even though I deviated from the original design of the RPK-74M, the upgrades were done with a realistic, tasteful and ergonomic theme in mind. It’s not too tactical, but more so practical enough that the Bulgarian military would be happy using it, which is how I approached the build. To upgrade an existing platform without turning it into a “tactical cheese grater” with more rails than an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine.
So that’s my RPK-74M, but it isn’t done. I do want to upgrade the trigger group to something else later down the line, as well as try and install a Solar Tactical MFER flared mag well. Some sort of optic is also on the list to buy. I can’t recall exactly how much I spent on the build (parts kit, U.S parts, gunsmithing build fee, 7 Bulgarian mags, RPK-74M folding stock+ mechanism)…but rough estimate is just under $3,000. Excessive, maybe, but I wanted my first Kalashnikov build to be unique.