Combining the AK and AR platforms has been a lifelong goal for many rifle builders. Arguably the two most prolific carbine platforms, they each have their respective strengths and weaknesses. While purists on either side see any mating of the AK and AR as almost blasphemous, many in the middle have been clamoring for a hybrid for years. The resulting attempts have employed various design approaches. ARs using modified gas systems resembling the AK have had success, along with purpose-built uppers. There are also AKs made to look and operate like an AR that meet some needs, but no one has really solved all of the issues that arise in terms of accuracy and reliability. Depending on one’s perspective, there have been many failures and some successes, but the quest continues.
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The AK-47’s strengths lie in its rugged reliability in most conditions and its proven, easy-to-obtain 7.62x39mm chambering. However, some don’t like the platform’s ergonomics, and its accuracy ranges from acceptable to dismal. Simply put, super-accurate AKs are rare. The AR platform’s strengths include good accuracy and ergonomics, and infinite customization options. While the 7.62x39mm will work in some AR uppers, magazines have always been problematic. They can be unreliable, hard to find and expensive. The current solution has been to create an AR chambered in 7.62x39mm that will accept standard AK magazines. A few attempts have been made with varying degrees of success. There was room for a new take on this concept, and it looks like CMMG has done just that with its new Mk47 Mutant AKM chambered for the 7.62x39mm.
Past attempts at creating an AR/AK hybrid have generally started with a 5.56mm-based AR and bolt carrier group. With the Mk47 Mutant AKM, CMMG decided to start with a .308 bolt carrier group and build from there, resulting in a refreshing take on the process.
The larger bolt is stronger and more reliable—it’s much better suited to the 7.62x39mm cartridge. The upper and lower receivers are machined from a billet of 7075-T6 aluminum, which keeps things strong yet lightweight. The upper has an integral top Picatinny rail, a standard ejection port with a dust cover, and a purpose-built brass deflector without a forward assist. The upper also features a standard AR-style charging handle.
The Mutant’s 16.1-inch, medium-taper, free-floating barrel has a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. It also sports 5/8×24 threading so operators can use several different muzzle devices, including sound suppressors. My test rifle came equipped with CMMG’s SV muzzle brake. The “T” model comes with an A2-style flash suppressor. Surrounding the barrel is CMMG’s 15-inch-long RKM KeyMod handguard, which has several lightening cuts, a long Picatinny top rail that mates up with that of the upper, and KeyMod rails in the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions.
“Even with the 16.1-inch barrel, the rifle is light, well balanced and comfortable to shoot. Adding lights or other accessories would be simple.”
The lower receiver is designed to accept standard AK-47 magazines, including drum models. The steel-reinforced mag well is slim and trim yet sturdy, helping to keep the rifle’s weight right at 7.2 pounds unloaded. A large ambidextrous paddle, just forward of the triggerguard, keeps magazines locked in place. It can be easily accessed using your thumb or index finger when necessary. Built from aluminum, the magazine release is strong enough for hard and fast reloads.
The controls are standard AR, with one of CMMG’s single-stage triggers. The enhanced Mk47 Mutant AKM2 model comes with a Geissele SSA two-stage trigger. While a standard safety is equipped, users can also add an ambidextrous version. The lower also features Magpul’s MOE pistol grip and CTR buttstock. Each rifle comes with one Magpul 30-round AK/AKM magazine.
To keep things light and simple, I added the new, slimmed-down Aimpoint Micro T-2 sight to the Mk47 Mutant AKM for testing. In essence, this is a redesign of the Micro T-1 with a new housing and lenses. To measure the rifle’s accuracy, I added an Aimpoint 3X magnifier.
One of the biggest advantages of the 7.62x39mm is its ability to be suppressed. Unfortunately, adding a suppressor to an AK-47 is an adventure. Given their lack of precision when it comes to threading, it can be an expensive experiment. CMMG’s Mk47 Mutant does not suffer that malady, however, so I used two suppressors to test its capabilities. SilencerCo’s Saker 762 is one of the most popular out there. It’s easy to attach and is highly effective. SilencerCo’s Trifecta flash suppressor/adapter is also excellent, with no annoying “ping” when used on its own. The Saker attaches solidly without producing much shift in the point of impact.
For those in need of less sound suppression with its commensurate drop in backpressure, the SureFire SOCOM762-Mini is an excellent choice. It does a great job of reducing the flash while directing all of the concussive effect forward. It is short, lightweight and produces less backpressure than most while maintaining reliability and directing less gas toward your face.
My first concern at the range was reliability. Being able to use AK magazines is fantastic if they work, and the Mk47 Mutant AKM came through with flying colors in this regard. Over the course of running close to 800 rounds of all kinds of ammunition, it only failed to extract once. This occurred after several hundred rounds, during a rapid, three-magazine run with a suppressor in place. I cleared the rifle and it never missed a beat again.
I ran the gun with every magazine I had in my shop, including PMAGs, Polish steel mags, those from U.S. Palm, Bulgarian Circle 10 mags and a few other metal magazines whose origin is completely unknown. All of them fit well, although the Circle 10 magazines were tight. They worked great, but you have to make sure they are seated properly before rocking them into place. I completed the bulk of the testing with PMAGs, as I had several in-house. Feeding and loading was smooth with both steel- and brass-cased ammunition. While I didn’t drop the rifle from a cliff or do pushups on the magazine, I didn’t baby it, either. In the end, all of the magazines worked well and didn’t work loose during firing.
The Mk47 Mutant AKM was very easy to use after I ran a few magazines through it to work it in. Even with the 16.1-inch barrel, the rifle is light, very handy, well balanced and comfortable to shoot. Adding lights or other accessories would be simple. And aside from the magazine changes and lack of a bold-hold-open feature, it also shot just like an AR. Of course, since every magazine change requires you to run the charging handle, an extended version would be nice. Whether using your palm or grabbing the handle, it would be easier with an extended paddle, or an ambidextrous model would be even better. Since the charging handle is a different length, you would need to swap out the lever, but that is pretty simple. The rifle ran flawlessly with both suppressors.
The rifle’s accuracy was good, with my best group measuring 0.8 inches using DoubleTap’s 123-grain Rifle Defense ammo. This ammunition might as well be handloaded considering how consistent and accurate it is. Everything else hovered between 1 and 1.5 inches. Given a scope and a precision trigger, you may get even better results. Since it is an AR barrel, the possibilities are endless, but the Mk47 Mutant was plenty accurate.
The recoil was manageable—about what you expect with this chambering. Adding a suppressor made it soft-shooting and quiet. Having concentric barrel threads makes suppressor use all the more possible without risking baffle strikes. I only fired the Mk47 Mutant AKM with two suppressors, but I mounted and checked some more thread-on units and they all lined up just fine.
Purists might not like the Mutant, but those who just want an AR that uses AK magazines should be plenty happy. This is the best attempt at this type of conversion that I’ve seen to date. This rifle worked with several magazines and different ammunition, and did so with excellent accuracy. Doing so while maintaining its looks, light weight and AR-style ergonomics makes it all the better.
For more information, visit cmmginc.com or call 660-248-2293.
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