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I have been getting a lot of visitors looking for a review on the IO AK47-C rifle. I needed to use the rifle a lot before giving my 2-cents worth. Three months ago I decided to buy a tactical rifle. The obvious choices were the AR-15 (figure 1) or the AK-47 (figure 2). Technically speaking, the AK-47, in most cases are actually an AKM rifle. There are very minor changes between the two and to most people, they are the same. The AR-15 was a little out of my price range and I had concerns about a “direct
(figure 1) AR-15
(figure 2) AK-47
I thought I had the perfect solution to my dilemma. Kel-Tec makes the SU-16C rifle. The SU-16 series of Kel-Tec rifles use the same ammunition and magazines as the M-16/AR-15 rifle. They are similar in many ways except one very big difference. The SU-16 rifle uses a gas piston system similar to the AK-47! This, in my opinion, makes for a more reliable firearm. The receiver will be much cooler and cleaner than the AR-15’s direct impingement system. The SU-16C version (figure 3) has a folding stock and is very light weight. They usually run about $200 less than the low-end AR-15’s currently on the market. There was just one
(figure 3) Kel-Tec SU-16C
problem…It is nearly impossible to find one! The firearm shortage and high prices have caused an extreme shortage of the SU-16C. Again, what to do?
I have owned a Chinese SKS rifle (figure 4) for about 15-years. The SKS uses the same ammunition as the AK-47…The 7.62x39mm rifle cartridge. Over the years, I have accumulated a small, but, respectable supply of these cartridges. The SKS is a great rifle, but not suitable for a tactical carbine. It is too heavy
(figure 4) SKS Rifle
and has a fixed (non-removable) box magazine that holds 10-rounds. I was gravitating towards the AK-47 type rifle since I was familiar with it’s ammunition and I had a supply of it. If I purchased a rifle using the 5.56 NATO round like the AR-15 and SU-16, I would have to invest in a supply of ammo, and at today’s prices, that could break the bank! The only issue I had with an AK-47 rifle was dealing with the legal restrictions mentioned above. Once again…What to do?
After doing a little research, I found out that there was an AK-47 that was completely manufactured in the United States! This allowed me to make minor modifications without worrying about the 922R compliance laws. I could change things like the hand guards and magazine without wondering if I just made the rifle illegal. IO Inc. in Monroe, North Carolina is making a U.S. AK-47!
The IO AK47-C (figure 5) is made in several variants. Usually the stock and hand guards are changed. I found a dealer in Charlotte that had the IO AK47-C in stock. I drove to Hyatt Guns to look at the rifle before I plopped down $600 or more! The salesman behind the counter was very nice and knowledgeable. He let me
(figure 5) IO Inc. AK47-C
see the rifle. I was pleasantly surprised! The rifle had a very good look and finish. It appeared well made. I decided that I would buy this rifle. There was only one problem. I priced this rifle on Davidson’s Gallery of Guns at around $600. Hyatt’s wanted $799 before taxes! I told the counter help about the price I was looking at and asked if they could do anything about their price. After taking it to the boss, he came back with a price of $700 not including tax. The price at Davidson’s was $629 including shipping and tax shipped to my local gun dealer. This also included all transfer fees! I just couldn’t pay that much difference to save a week’s wait.
The IO AK47-C I finally purchased had a Galil-type forearm and an RPK-style butt stock (see figure 5 above). I was not fond of the Galil forearm because it was a bit big and blocky looking. It turned out to not be a problem because I was planning to replace the forearm anyway. A little about that later. The RPK style stock turned out to be a very good asset after testing the rifle. If you ever fired the AK-47 type rifle, you know that it has a tendency to have a good bit of muzzle rise up and to the right. This is due to two things. When the bullet leaves the barrel, the muzzle will rise and press back to your shoulder. Due to the design of the original AK-47 butt stock, a pivot point (figure 6) is created that makes the whole rifle pivot and rise at that point. The IO AK47-C has
(figure 6) Pivot point
two devices to reduce this effect drastically! First, there is a “slant” muzzle break/flash hider. This redirects the gasses at the muzzle up and to the right, thus countering the natural muzzle rise. Also, the RPK style butt stock greatly reduces the pivot point of the original AK-47 butt stock and directs the recoil
(figure 7) Reduced muzzle rise
straight back into the shoulder (figure 7) much like the AR-15’s butt stock. This keeps you on target for subsequent shots.
When I received the IO AK47-C rifle, I was very pleased with the fit and finish. It came with a cleaning kit, sling, and users manual. It did not come with the cleaning rod that resides under the barrel. I noticed that it came with a 30-round Thermold polymer magazine. It felt cheap and I didn’t feel confident with it. But, I loaded it up with 30-rounds of ammo and went out to test my new rifle. As I posted in a previous entry, the magazine would not stay in the magazine well! Every time I fired the rifle, the magazine would drop to the ground. I didn’t think it was the rifle, but a crappy magazine. I resorted to firing single fire just to see if the rifle functioned well. It did, but I needed to get a new magazine to fully test the IO AK47-C.
I called IO Inc. and told them about the magazine. They quickly shipped me a new, metal magazine. It fit well and fixed the magazine problem. Now that I have a decent magazine, I went back out to test the rifle. This made all the difference in the world. I fired round after round without any failures of any kind. The rifle was accurate…More accurate that I was!
After firing a couple magazines without any hiccups, I brought the rifle home to clean it. The field strip procedure is the same as any other AK-47. It is very simple and fast. I was extremely surprised at how clean the receiver area was. The gas piston system keeps most of the crap out of the receiver. I cleaned the bore, gas tube, and gas piston. The other parts, didn’t require extensive cleaning. I just wiped them off with a patch. I was very happy with the function of the rifle and the ease of maintenance.
The IO AK47-C uses the Tapco G2 AK trigger group. I was very surprised at how clean and crisp it is. This is a good choice of trigger groups and it counts towards 922R compliance if you are using an imported AK-47.
One problem with some imported AK-47’s is sight canting. This is when either the front sight or rear sight block is set off center. This can make sighting the rifle very difficult. I saw no such canting with my IO AK47-C. Sight alignment between the rear and front sight looks perfect.
The IO AK47-C uses a Tapco slanted muzzle break (figure 8). I think this is a fantastic choice! It keeps the original look of an AK-47 and helps counter the muzzle rise present in the AK-47. The
(figure 8) Tapco Slant Muzzle Break
muzzle break is removable and has a standard AK-47 threaded barrel. You can change the muzzle break if you wish. Again, since it is made in the U.S.A., you don’t have to worry about 922R compliance when changing the muzzle device.
The butt stock was new to me. I found out later that it is an RPK style butt stock. If you are an AK-47 purist, you will not like this butt stock. I do. I like the looks of it and it does away with the traditional butt stock pivot point causing the rifle to rise with each shot. The RPK style butt stock directs the recoil straight back into your shoulder, thus reducing muzzle rise. Good job, IO!
The pistol grip looks a little funny, but it works great! It is a little larger than the original pistol grip. This is good since the original is small for most of us in America. I see no need to replace it. Another good job, IO.
The Galil forearm, pistol grip, and RPK style butt stock are polymer. Again, if you are purist, you will not like this, but I do like polymer furniture. It also gives the whole rifle the “black rifle” look.
One drawback of the AK-47 design is that it isn’t “optic” friendly. This means it isn’t easy to put a red-dot or telescopic scope on it. Some do come with a side-rail for scope mounts, but mine didn’t. I could kill two birds with one stone! Add a rail system for optics and other accessories and replace the bulky Galil forearm. I chose the UTG Quad Rail System. This system costs around $60 and is very easy to install. It allows attachment of scopes, vertical hand grips, flashlight, lasers, and etc.
I took the IO AK47-C to an indoor 25-yard range to document the accuracy (figure 9). I am not expecting a tack-driver, but, accurate enough to achieve its intended use…Sport shooting and home defense. As I expected, my ageing eyes don’t like the iron sights. But the results are good. Take a look:
(figure 9) 10-shots at 25-yards using iron sights.
I was very happy with the grouping. I will utilize the rail system and put on a red/green dot sight. The sight I was looking for is 1X magnification (no magnification). This works great out to 100-yards and will allow for quick target acquisition. I don’t have $600 to spend on an AimPoint. I was wanting to spend less than $100. I found the CenterPoint 1x34mm Quick Aim Sight at the “Mart” store for under $50. At 13-ounces, it is a bit heavy, but I can live with it.
I took the rifle out to “bore” sight the new sight. I did this by placing the rifle in a clamp and aligned the iron sights with an object about 100-yards away. I think gently mounted the CenterPoint sight and adjusted it to aim at the same object. I removed the scope and confirmed alignment with the iron sights. I then went to a 100-yard outdoor range to make final adjustments to the sight. My crude bore sighting worked pretty good! I was only a few inches off at 100-yards. The target below (figure 10) shows all 15-rounds highlighted. The yellow ones are the rounds fired to make the adjustments to the scope. The blue ones are the 5-rounds fired after scope was zeroed.
(figure 10) 15-rounds at 100-yards.
The target was a 12-inch grid printed on a 16-inch square sheet of paper. At 100-yards, i am very happy with the 5-MOA red-green scope. The IO AK47-C continues to pleasantly surprise me.
IO Inc. has changed the AK47-C a little (figure 11). They have done away with the Galil forearm and put a more functional tactical forearm on it. This will allow for a vertical grip or tripod
(figure 11) IO AK47-C Liberty
attachment. I like the change. They kept the same butt stock. Good move! I would still replace the forearm, but keep the RPK style butt stock.
So, how do I like the IO AK47-C? I think I got a lot of rifle for my money! It has functioned flawlessly through several hundred rounds. I have shot Winchester white box, Wolf surplus, and Tiger Russian made ammo. All have worked flawlessly. The fit and finish of the AK47-C is better than most AK-47’s I have seen. I wish they would have included a cleaning rod and side scope mount, though. If it had the side scope mount, I wouldn’t have a heavy scope out over the front of the rifle. It would make the rifle more balanced with the scope over the receiver cover. I would not have to replace the forearm if there was a side scope mount. That is the only thing I would ask IO Inc. to add.
All-in-all, IO Inc. did a very good job with their new AK47-C. The ultimate question is: Would I recommend it to a friend? Without a doubt, yes. I look forward to new additions to the IO Inc. stables. Good job, guys. Keep up the good work!