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Old 09-04-2017, 07:51 PM   #1
mishaco
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Default How About With Polish PMKM & PMKS AKM Production?

OK.....we really need a definitive guide to AKM production against different nations and time periods.

Last week, I posted about Russian AKMs from izhevsk and Tula....trying to figure out production changes and when they happened.
I've looked and looked on that one, and have compiled as much as I was able. But I am still not really happy and feel my ignorance is still very great. I'll keep on though.

This week, I've started looking into Polish circle11 Radom AKM production. Honestly, Polish AKs have always been my favorite, at least when judging based on fit and finish, and overall quality.
Then again, Russians are my favorite for being the original and for my connection with that nation.
Then again again, Romanians are my favorite for being so down & dirty, so straight-forward and tool like....

OK, really I just love all AKs and like each for its own virtues.
The Polish though, good god the quality that Radom put into those guns is amazing.

Here's what I think I know of the timeline:
1956 - Poland & Russia first start talking about Poland building the AK Type III under license (interestingly, i found some old things showing where Russia was trying to force Poland to also take the SKS, and understandably for that late year they didn't want to do it).

1959 - The first Polish milled AK Type IIIs appear, designated as the KBK WZ.60. I've also seen these designated as the PMK, so did they use both names? You'd think something named 1960 would go into production in...well, 1960, but some have reported 1959 dated parts kit receiver stubs, so maybe a pre-production batch?

Also there was the KBG WZ.1960 with the rifle grenade launcher...i would guess these were also just referred to as PMK?

Then there was the WZ.60/72, which not much info exists on. I think this was the version with the quick removable buttstock right? I once had 2 of those stocks, very interesting, kind of wished I hung onto one but oh well. Basically it was a normal stock but with 2 spring loaded buttons added on the end. These clicked into 2 holes in the receiver tangs, which were standard but modified for the QD stock.

1966 - Radom began stamped AKM production, under the designation of PMKM. Was any other name ever used? I figure with all the early kits out there, people might be able to share their trunnion dates and list which features they have?
Early PMKMs had some leftover PMK features. Bolt group in the white, muzzle nut, and blued metal.
Late PMKM rifles had a parkerized or paint over parked carrier, slant brake, and a parked or paint+park finish.
Also, early PMKMs had hard wood furniture, but this seems to have been changed quickly to laminated. My kits are dated 1966 and 1967, and both have laminated. Anyone with a hardwood kit, what is your trunnion date please?
Anyone have any idea when the switch was made from blued to painted finish? A friend has a kit dated 1969, and it has paint, so i'd think by the 1970s and a bit before.
An old 'History' page on Radom's own site used to say that PMKM production began in 1966 and ended in 1976. Does anyone with an original fixed stock kit have a trunnion date after 1976?

1972 - Radom introduced the Underfolding AKMS as the PMKMS. I'd assume all of these guns had hte later paint over park finish, without any being blued? Does anyone have a kit dated before 1972?
Also, I've seen some kits fresh from the importer's with just a parkerized finish, no paint. This was back around 2005, and I think the kits were from R-Guns? Really drawing on my old memories here, so very likely could be wrong, but I think those kits had 1970s dates.
Interestingly, later PMKMS had late Soviet-Russian features, such as the angled cast gas block, cast handguard retainer, and late style topcover. One place online says these features didn't appear until 1985. While I don't think this date is too far off, I've seen some (if not all) of these late features on slightly earlier kits from say 1982.

If anyone has trunnion dates to share, or knows which Radom switched from one something to another, any info would greatly be appreciated.

We really do need an AKM database. Unfortunately since I can't view pictures, I am limited in what I can do.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:03 PM   #2
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My father served in the Polish Air Force from 60-63. They referred to them as PMK (Pistolet Maszynowy Kalasznikowy) he only knew it as the PMK.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:15 PM   #3
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Do you know if any fixed stocked Polish kits were ever imported with original barrels?
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:24 PM   #4
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some notes from the 50 or so polish kits I bought during the midway sale a couple years ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by mishaco View Post

1966 - Radom began stamped AKM production, under the designation of PMKM. Was any other name ever used? I figure with all the early kits out there, people might be able to share their trunnion dates and list which features they have? a lot of them will be mixed and matched due to refurbishment

Late PMKM rifles had a parkerized or paint over parked carrier, slant brake, and a parked or paint+park finish. from my experience, the early ones are blued and the later ones are painted. none are paint over park. this continued on through the tantal which was also just painted. some are refurbed with a really thick parked finish, but they are not painted

Also, early PMKMs had hard wood furniture, but this seems to have been changed quickly to laminated. My kits are dated 1966 and 1967, and both have laminated. Anyone with a hardwood kit, what is your trunnion date please? I received kits up to '69 that were hardwood but also kits as early as '67 with laminate. this could be due to refurb and/or just mixing them up during the import process.


1972 - Radom introduced the Underfolding AKMS as the PMKMS. I'd assume all of these guns had hte later paint over park finish, without any being blued? Does anyone have a kit dated before 1972? again, the UF kits I bought were all painted with no park, just as the tantal was

Also, I've seen some kits fresh from the importer's with just a parkerized finish, no paint. refurbs or produced with the park finish for some other reason?
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:25 PM   #5
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more info on just bare metal with paint http://www.theakforum.net/forums/27-...ed-parked.html
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:28 PM   #6
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Interesting, thank you.

In your link, the guy from Poland saying some guns have just sandblasted parts w/o paint. I do not understand?
Surely they have to have something on them...bluing, paint, or phosphating? Radom wouldn't just ship with bare metal.

Also, in that thread a guy says he has a parkerized PMKMS kit. This sounds like those I had back in 2005. So if Radom didn't do that finish, then must have been the Poland military? or did those kits come from another nation who simply bought rifles from Radom.....
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:24 AM   #7
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1966 Atlantic built AKM matching numbers parts kit, dark hardwood.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:57 PM   #8
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Thanks, and in speaking with AofA today, 1966 seems to be the earliest trunnion date observed so far on a PMKM.
So I am going to say tenitively that Radom began full production that year.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:39 PM   #9
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I'm not big on history facts, but from my limited knowledge on chronological facts, AK was fielded into the Polish Army service around 1952 with wooden stock and in 1957 with folding stock (as PMK Pistolet Maszynowy Kalasznikowa). From 1958 production started in FB Radom "Lucznik" (Archer) per official Russian license. At the end of 50's, Poland created modified version with grenade launcher. Modification was to adapt AK with wooden stock to shoot newer version of grenades (different types from anti personnel to anti armor). Interestingly enough, version with folding stock was also created, but it didn't get wildly accepted.
Next modification to this AK model with grenade launcher was done at the beginning of 70s. WZ 60/72 - it had unique quickly detachable wooden stock (i don't have pics - sorry).

Since 1965 AKM was also adopted into the Polish Army. Again, AKM was produced on the official license by FB Radom "Lucznik".
AKMS entered Polish Army service in in 1972.
AKMP and AKMSP were basically mods created from AKM and AKMS - those were equipped with TRITIUM sights and AKML and AKMSNP had side rails for early night vision systems.
In middle of 70s, in 1974, based on AKM, grenade launcher AK was created and fielded. Changes included addition of the rail under the barrel and launcher was operating on 40mm grenades.
Finally in 1988 Tantal was introduced, which was the effect of almost 8 years of work on 5.45x39 rifle for Polish Army.

That's all i got...lol
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:10 PM   #10
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Thank you, that matches up very well with the information I have collected.
Although, in 1952, Russia was still manufacturing the Type II AK, so would be very interesting to find a Polish military issue example.

I've had 2 WZ.60/72 stock sets. I really should have hung onto one. Quite a unique design, relating to the M1928 Thompson's stock..well sort of.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:25 PM   #11
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Also, AKML rifles equipped with the NSP2 were used onward from 1967-69+ if not 1966.


Still waiting on a fustrating deal with a member here for one of these.

The NSP-2 I have was originally for a PKM, but reassigned to an AKML. Offhand I think the change was logged in the armorers book in 1969 and I believe these were Soviet supplied rails?

There is also a thread on the other forum of the owner list of the AKML and AKMSL kits from a while back. Approx 50 and 25 kits on that import, but it gives decent insight on how low the production numbers are in their totality.


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Old 09-07-2017, 06:50 PM   #12
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I've had about 25 of those scopes through the store over the years.
Most came in the metal box but a few had the much neater wood.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:22 AM   #13
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Let me have my take on Polish AK production. A very good introductory book in US is The World's Assault Rifles by Johnston and Nelson. Parts dedicated to Polish developments were written with assistance of Polish firearms historian Zbigniew Gwozdz (co-author of Polskie konstrukcje broni strzeleckiej - Polish firearm designs, a must-have book from 1993), but even Gwozdz is not always right. What I'm writing below is based on Gwozdz's book and various articles from Polish firearm magazines (search the web for Tantalean Ordeal and Beryl Tantalson by L. Erenfeicht).

Also treat this post as a perpetual work in progress.

Timeline of development and manufacture of AK-pattern rifles in Poland
  • 1954 - Polish army begins search for it's new standard issue rifle, which will replace kbk wz.44 (Mosing M44 produced in ZM "Lucznik" Radom) and AVS-36, both chambered in 7.62x54mmR. Army procures several hundreds SKS rifles (designated ksS - Simonov's semiautomatic carbine) and tests them. Also army looks for replacement of DP-28 LMGs - the prime candidate is RPD (local designation rkmD).
  • 1955 - Army procures several hundreds of AK rifles (local designation pmK - Kalashnikov's machine pistol), with intent on emulating then-current Soviet three-weapons squad, were AK replaced machine pistols for NCOs, vehicle crews and scouts, SKS replaced Mosin and SVT rifles and RPD replaced DP LMGs.
  • 1956 - Army changes it's mind. pmK is deemed vastly superior to ksS, and cheap enough to equip every soldier with that gun. ksS rifles (mostly 1953-1954 Tula manufacture) are relegated to honor guard/ceremonial use, and ZM "Lucznik" begins preparations to manufacture pmK. Also in 1956 ZM "Lucznik" begins manufacturing of rkmD.
  • 1957 - start of pmK production.
  • 1957-1959 - pmK ze skladana kolba (AKS) is introduced. Development of additional pmK variant begins: two experimental sniper/marksman rifles with PU scopes and longer barrels, experimental LMG variant (with 57rd magazine made from two welded 30rdrs, and bull-barrel of regular length), night-fighting variant (equipped with NSP-2 active NV scope, several hundreds were made, also some were tested with PBS-1 silencer and clamp-on-barrel foregrip-bipod) and rifle-grenade variant. Also during this time the gun's designation is changed from pmK to kbk AK (AK carbine).
  • 1960 - kbkg wz.60 rifle-grenade variant is introduced. Also, inspired by Soviets introducing AKM in 1959, two experimental rifles using AK Type I stamped receiver are made (folding stock variants).
  • 1966 - introduction of kbk AKM and cessation of kbk AK manufacturing. There were less than 50.000 fixed stock, and more than 300.000 folding stock AKs made. kbkg wz.60 production is continued. Initial AKMs have solid wood furniture (excluding pistol grips which are bakelite/plastic), blued receivers, no slant muzzle devices.
  • 1970 - kbkg wz.60 is given new, simpler, grenade sight. Also all AK variants are now painted, have plywood furniture (kbkg wz.60 also gets AKM pistol grip) and kbk AKM is given slant muzzle device.
  • 1972 - kbk AKMS is introduced. This will be the most produced Polish AK. Also introduced is kbkg wz.60/72 - version for airborne troops, equipped with quickly detachable stock. Only 500 were made.
  • 1973 - start of development of 7x41mm Marszyt ammo, which was planned to replace 7.62x39mm in Polish army.
  • 1974 - Pallad under-barrel grenade is introduced, manufactured in ZMech Tarnow (development began in 1968). Rifles (AKM and AKMS) equipped with Pallad are known as kbkg wz.74. Production of kbkg wz.60 and kbkg wz.60/72 is ceased (5500 guns total were made, some were exported to Cuba and North Vietnam).
  • 1975-1980 - development and adoption of night-fighting variants of kbk AKM (the AKML) and kbk AKMS (the AKMSN) - equipped with NSP-3, frontgrips-bipods and PKM-style flash-hiders. Some were also equipped with PBS-1 silencers, 75rd drum mags and East German ZFK scopes. Also starts (and ends) development of non-AK-related Lantan weapon system (which is composed of a rifle, carbine, LMG and precision rifle) firing 7x41mm Marszyt ammo. Also developed are experimental versions of AKM: side-folding stock variant, short-barreled variant (skbk made on AKMS receiver) and variant with FN CAL 3rd burst limiter (AKMS wz.80). Lantan program is cancelled after Soviet protest. Soviets try to force Poland to adopt Soviet-made AK-74 and 5.45x39mm ammo. Instead, Poland decides to develop it's own rifle (Tantal program) and reverse-engineer 5.45 ammo (Cez program).
  • 1981 - first Tantal prototype is finished. Rifle features a side-folding stock, semi-burst-auto fire control group, folding bi-pod and it can fire rifle grenades of new design. However, due to martial law introduced in December, development of Tantal is halted.
  • 1982-1987 - kbk AKM production is ceased (kbk AKMS is still being produced), Cez 5.45 ammo project is finished, and Tantal wz.81 undergoes tests in which it fails. Radom-Hunter semiautomatic AKM civilian variant is introduced, featuring thumbhole stock and propriertary railed top-cover. Also several hundreds of Talk .22LR rifles for army are made (Talk-1 having fixed stock and select-fire capable, Talk-2 being semi-auto only, and Talk-3 being semi-auto with Radom-Hunter stock). Tantal is redesigned, also first prototypes of it's small Onyks companion (with AKS-74U-style hinged top-cover) are made.
  • 1988-1989 - Tantal is adopted as kbk wz.88. All guns feature 3rd burst FCG, side-folding stocks (despite manual showing fixed-stock variant) and can fire rifle-grenades. Some are equipped with side-rails on which various optics (including ZFK scopes and prototype Polish Gabro NV) can be mounted. Tantal can also mount Pallad UBGL. Onyks is adopted as skbk wz.89, but none are actually ordered.
  • 1990-1995 - Poland transforms from authoritarian regime to democracy. Redefinition of national interests and foreign policy suddenly makes Tantal and Onyks (firing Soviet 5.45 ammo) obsolete. First firearms chambered for NATO ammo (pm wz.84P Glauberyt/PM-84P machine pistol and pw wz.93 Wist pistol) are adopted by army. ZM "Lucznik" creates 5.56 kbk wz.90 and skbk wz.91 variants of Tantal and Onyks, but this simple conversion doesn't suit army needs. Beryl program begins - it calls not only for a rifle (and SBR), but also for a set of modern optical sights which can be quickly detached and reattached without losing zero. Also shown is marksman prototype of Tantal with longer barrel, Radom-Hunter stock and railed top-cover. In 1995 final variant of Onyks is produced in short run (about 150 guns), featuring new cantilever rear sight base which allows mounting of new CK-2 red-dot sight. Last run of kbk AKMS for Polish army, featuring black plastic pistol grips.
  • 1996 - Beryl is adopted as kbs wz.96 (assault carbine), and Mini-Beryl as kbk wz.96 (short carbine). Both can be equipped with optical sights made by PCO in Warsaw via a detachable over-the-top-cover rail (called POPC-1). Rail interface is identical to Radom Hunter rail, and sights are PCS-5/6 Gabro NV, CK-2/3 red dots, LKA-4 scope and CWL-1 (LKA-4 with laser pointer). Of these only Gabro is adopted, and Mini-Beryl is made only in short run, tested by Polish frogmen unit later known as Formoza. Beryl (and Mini-Beryl) can also fire new GNPO rifle-grenades (designed for Tantal but not finished in time). Full-size Beryl is also compatible with Pallad. Beryl also features new, Galil-inspired, side-folding stock.
  • 1997-1999 - last years of ZM "Lucznik". Prototype of integrally-suppressed Mini-Beryl for US LE market is made. Also introduced is STAM-99 semiautomatic AKMS variant for Polish civilian market (features all plastic black furniture), however in 1999 company files for bankrupcy.
  • 2000-2002 - Most of ZM "Lucznik" assets are sold, while Beryl and Glauberyt production is transferred to new FB "Lucznik" (transfer is virtual since location of plant doesn't change). Beryl is upgraded with more ergonomic firemode selector lever, and this basic variant is designated as kbs wz.96A.
  • 2003-2004 - Polish involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan wars acts as a baptism of fire for Beryl. A PKM-based 5.56 kbkm wz.2003 LMG prototype is made - interestingly enough it can be fed from Beryl magazines, and also uses Beryl muzzle device (which in theory would allow this LMG to fire GNPO rifle-grenades). Army buys several thousands of EOTech HWS-552 holographic sights and puts it on every gun issued to Polish Military Contingents (including WKM NSV heavy machine guns). This spawns first Beryl sight mount for western optics - so-called POPC-2, which mounts only on the rear sight base, and puts the optic way above barrel. Experience from Middle East prompts Beryl modernisation program. FB "Lucznik" presents prototype featuring new POPC-3 (which attaches in front and back of receiver like POPC-1, and sits low enough to be comfortable to use), folding telescoping stock, front handguard with side-rails and fixed frontgrip, and folding front-sight tower. This prototype is called wz.2004. Similiar treatment is done to Mini-Beryl.
  • 2005-2008 - Beryl wz.96B is adopted. Only POPC-3 and front handguard with rails and grip is retained from wz.2004 prototype. Also Polish Military Police adopt Mini-Beryl wz.96B. FB "Lucznik" introduces civilian Beryl-IPSC, which is full-size rifle with Mini-Beryl-style cantilever rear-sight/rail and folding frontsight tower. "Lucznik" also funds it's shooting team for few years. In 2006 a Beryl Commando prototype with 16 inch barrel was shown. Few were trialed by 1st Special Commando Regiment - Polish SF unit. Also that year FB was showing their own quad-rail set, which was blocky and heavy (made from steel). In 2007 new variants of Beryls (including Mini- and Commando) were shown with commercial railed handguards, telescoping (non-folding) M4 stocks and FB own ergonomic pistol grips). In 2008 M4 stocks were replaced by current Beryl telescoping stock design, and first POPC-4 rails (with Picatinny interface, instead of Weaver on POPC-2 and -3) were shown.
  • 2009 - Beryl and Mini-Beryl wz.96C are adopted and issued for Polish forces in Afghanistan. Guns feature telescoping stocks, ergonomic pistol grips and railed handguards. Additional equipment is 3-point sling, detachable frontgrip with Picatinny interface, set of paints to apply camouflage and POPC-4 for full-size rifles. Beryl wz.96C introduced new transparent magazine, which was found prone to breaking and replaced by green translucent one. Also that year FB introduced Radom-Sport semiautomatic rifle for civilian market. First examples are identical to Beryl-IPSC, with later being similiar to wz.96A and then to wz.96C.

To be continued (latest Beryl development, commercial AK production, prototypes of WAT and road to MSBS, adding sources and references, and making it read more like an article instead of timeline).
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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chris22lr,
Excellent stuff!!!
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #15
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Thank you Chris, some of that goes nicely with my own notes (probably because we're reading the same sources) while other bits of that info I wasn't aware of.

The SKS/KSS story always struck me as interesting, and reading some Soviet documents, it does seem like that were putting some pressure on Poland to adopt the KSS even after they'd decided not to do so.

As to designations, so you are saying that Poland simply used "AKM" and "AKMS" rather than anything unique?
Also, any production numbers for the basic PMK/KBK AK? I know you said 5,500 of the KBKG variants but curious about the standard AK Type III style?


The only point my info is clashing with yours on is when AKM production ended. I am finding 1976-1978, which makes sense with the small number produced you are indicating.

I will tell you this just in case, if the years of 1982-1987 are coming from some of the guns built up by companies like say Allied Armament; guns with trunnions dated in the '80s & fixed stocks....those were actually originally underfolding AKMS parts sets that they simply replaced the folding stock trunnion out for a fixed trunnion from some other source (Romania, Polish Tantal, whatever). So those kits were originally not AKM. They were assembled with a fixed stock to give variety and to make the guns legal in some states where folders weren't at the time.

Again, thank you much for the info, cheers.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mishaco View Post
The SKS/KSS story always struck me as interesting, and reading some Soviet documents, it does seem like that were putting some pressure on Poland to adopt the KSS even after they'd decided not to do so.
Personally, I haven't read anything about it, only that initially Soviets were reluctant to give us licence to produce Type III AKs (instead prefering us buying their guns). But you never know - in case of AK-74 they simply said "you buy our guns, or you get nothing" - that's why Tantal was born, and Cez ammo was reverse-engineered. So that may be true - if you've got some links, or could somehow point me to that documents, I'd love to see them!

Also small nit-pick: ksS - small ks and capital S. For me it also looks weird, but that's how it is done over here (same with all that kbk and so on).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mishaco View Post
As to designations, so you are saying that Poland simply used "AKM" and "AKMS" rather than anything unique?
Yes, actually that's also true for fixed stock AK after change from designating it from pmK (pistolet maszynowy Kalasznikowa - Kalashnikov's machine pistol) to kbk AK (karabinek AK - AK carbine). The same applies to other Soviet guns used or produced in Poland (the funniest IMHO is kbm PKM - karabin maszynowy PKM, PKM machine gun, the most difficult to pronounce is rgppanc 7 - reczny granatnik przeciwpancerny 7 - RPG-7). In US the PMKM/PMKMS which you're referring to in first post is widely used, but is incorrect.

Also worth notice is that since AK adoption carbine (karabinek, kbk) is used for weapon firing intermediate cartridge, and rifle (karabin, kb) is used for weapons firing full-power rifle cartridge. See kbk Tantal and skbk Onyks (skbk - subkarabinek, which is even weirder in Polish). However ZM "Lucznik" designated Beryl as kbs (karabinek szturmowy - assault rifle) and Mini-Beryl as kbk (but standing for karabinek krotki - short carbine) - probably they were inspired by "assaultness" of M16, cartridge of which was used in Beryl. More of a marketing thing showing that Beryl is not filthy commie peasant rifle, but modern democratic rifle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mishaco View Post
Also, any production numbers for the basic PMK/KBK AK? I know you said 5,500 of the KBKG variants but curious about the standard AK Type III style?
It's actually hidden in post (IIRC I've taken the numbers from Gwozdz) but: less than 50.000 fixed stock AKs and a little more than 300.000 folding stock AKSes. Unfortunately I haven't seen good numbers for AKM variants


Quote:
Originally Posted by mishaco View Post
The only point my info is clashing with yours on is when AKM production ended. I am finding 1976-1978, which makes sense with the small number produced you are indicating.
Ahh... Well - numbers are for milled AKs. BUT...

...but what you're indicating is what I was thinking for a long time: no fixed stock AKMs after 1977. However sometime ago I've read that 1977 was last order by Polish army, and they were producing more fixed stock guns for export customers (and by that I mean militaries, not some US imports - due to their nature it's completely understandable that some wild creations can be found in US). Gotta dig up that source (few months ago my HDD went tits up with all my resources).

And there is also a theory (which I doubt to be honest) that .22LR Talk rifles were made from center-fire guns made in 80's for Polish army which were rejected. They probably were converted from center-fire guns (Talk was more of a workshop project which suddenly expanded), but I doubt these guns were part of some "rejected military order" (I don't even know if 1980s dates indicate initial manufacturing of receivers/guns - trunnions could be changed and dates restamped). IMO this is just internet board bull... you know.

Afterall there's always that "you'll never know" factor. For example in Weaponmark post I can see (for the first time) an early 1966-1970 AKM with NSP-2, configuration that's alien to me. All AKMLs I've seen were 1970s guns with laminate/plywood stocks, NSP-3 or NSPU scopes and with all the accessories like flash-hiders and so on. Is gun from Weaponmark's photo an issued rifle, or prototype? When it was made? We will probably... never know!

(Addition: or maybe we will know, photo comes from Polish Nowa Technika Wojskowa magazine, issue from 1992 - maybe some library here will have it)
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:22 PM   #17
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50,000 fixed stock and 300,000 folding stock, these numbers sound more inline with AKM & AKMS production and not AK and AKS.
Specifically, I have my doubts that Radom ever made 300,000 underfolding milled receiver rifles. This does not seem supported by the evidence. What we see are mostly fixed stock milled guns, with Polish milled underfolders quite uncommon, so a 1 to 6 ratio does not seem likely.

However seeing how many underfolding stamped stock Polish AKMS are out there, i'd belive a 1 ot 6 ratio with the fixed stamped AKM.
So I have to wonder if the numbers aren't mixed up?

As to the SKS KSS story, I'll go dig where I read it. I came across it not while researching anything to do with AKs, but rather getting into the Tokarev & Simonov story in Russia from the 1920s through the 1940s. The Polish story was just an interesting little footnote.
Makes sense though. By 1955, very few people were interested in dealing for the SKS production rights, yet Russia still had them and wanted to use them for...something. So it was a bargaining chip. In the end, they did give up and this is why Yugoslavia was simply given the production line & rights, which resulted in the PAP M59 SKS variant from Zastava.

Sorry, my TTS does not make much of any difference between S and s, especially when in a word or initials, so not sure often if a letter is capitalized or not.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:15 AM   #18
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OK, I was searching, and found out from where the nubmers are. I've took them from Johnston's The World's Assault Rifles, but he had actually taken data from David Fortier's article in Shotgun News, issue 7/20 (2012). It's actually available on the website of that other gun company in Radom.

Fortier makes this run-down:
pmK/kbk AK - produced 1957-1958, 44,060 guns
pmK/kbk AK with folding stock - produced 1957-1965, 328,850 guns
pmK firing grenades/kbk wz.60 - produced 1962-1974, 50,000 guns
kbk AKM - produced 1966-1972, unknown number
kbkg wz.60/72 - produced 1972, 500 guns
kbk AKMS - produced 1972-2000, unknown number

IMHO this is fishy. For one, I've personally seen two kbk AK (fixed stock) manufactured in 1960 (in separate places). Naturally, these guns could be rebuilt on kbkg wz.60 receivers. Fortier also states that "kbk AK" designation was introduced in 1966, and kbkg wz.60 was initially designated as "pmK firing rifle grenades" ("pmK dostosowany do miotania granatow") - every Polish source refers to this gun simply as kbkg wz.60 and never I've encountered the "pmK and so on" designation. Also Fortier states that AKM production ended in 1972, and that's just not true (it would be 1977, or somewhere in 1980's depending on source).

I think I'll write to FB "Lucznik" - maybe they still have documents about ZM "Lucznik" production.

Johnston also writes about SKS (ksS) manufacturing equipment in Radom, which was dismantled and send to East Germany, but that's also unbelievable - Polish sources are adamant that no SKS production was ever set up in Poland, and talks with Soviets about buying tooling begun only after army decided to go with the AK. The only work done in Poland on SKS rifles was refurbishing them with bright laminate stocks and chroming external metal parts, so they would look better during ceremonies - this was done by military workshops.

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Sorry, my TTS does not make much of any difference between S and s, especially when in a word or initials, so not sure often if a letter is capitalized or not.
Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot about that. Now I'm feeling rather stupid! Sometimes my inner "rivet counter" takes precedence.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:24 PM   #19
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Agreed, those numbers seem fishy to me too.

44,000 produced in the first 2 years? (1957-1958) boy Radom must have jumped in with both feet fast lol.
Most 1957s examples I've heard of were pre-production samples, experimental models, or just very early production.
Also over 300,000 milled underfolders? Then how come we have had several fixed stock parts sets over here since the late 1990s but very very few underfolders? If the numbers were right, we should have seen just the opisit.



What I don't understand....the milled AK is called WZ.60 and the stamped 5.45 the WZ.88; but why no love for the stamped AKM and AKMS? Why do these models, which were produced in large numbers not get a year designation?
All other Polish guns have one like the WZ.44 Mosin, PM63 SMG, and P83 pistol.
Not saying there is one, just that it is odd to me that there isn't.

And agreed, AKM production definitely continued past 1972...be it 1977 or 1987 we might debate but definitely well into the 1970s and possibly further.

I can see you are a man after my own heart; liking facts, research, and numbers.
I would trust a Polish source for this kind of detail work over an American one too.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:32 AM   #20
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I have a Petronov Arms Polish AKM 1985 trunnion ser# SPO8663, laminate fixed stock that I picked up from Atlantis Arms 2016.

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Old 09-21-2017, 10:57 AM   #21
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I've seen a lot of Polish milled receiver AK's all over the world.

Mostly underfolders.

They either made a lot for export, or exported the milled receiver models sometime after the Polish military switched to stamped receivers.

Was there some overlap in milled receiver and stamped receiver production?

Maybe some refurbishing.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:17 PM   #22
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Thing about that Petra Arm gun is it was very common practice to take an '80s underfolding kit and swap the folding trunnion out for a fixed stock trunnion to make a fixed stock rifle. Many people prefer the wood look, and several states get a bee in their bonnet over folding stocks. So its difficult to know if that rifle was originally made in Poland as an AKM or AKMS.
Just the laminated furniture was available a few years ago...I believe Desert Fox and Northwest both had it, and Whatacountry too. More recently, WBP has been sending wood sets over from Poland. I think the buttstocks are new mfg or am i wrong? Seems like AofA mentioned something like that to me a bit back.

Overlap of AK and AKM production would make sense...at least for a year or two, and even for some specialty guns like the KBKG. Or as you said, it could just be refurbishment of older rifles to a newer look.
Still, I do not think Radom made 6 underfolding milled guns for every 1 fixed stocker. This just doesn't make sense. The fixed stock would have been more useful back in the 1960s and probably cheaper/faster to make too. Also just the evidence. Yes some Polish folders turn up, but we seem to see even more fixed stock examples.

I'd love to get a source with some solid numbers from FB/circle11. Too bad there really aren't any old-timers left over at the factory to ask.
I wonder about gov't or factory records?

I am also curious if the early PMK guns were built with a mix of Polish and Russian parts? Afterall, this is how it happened in China and other AK factories during the early days, first couple years.
Shoot, Bulgaria was still getting some parts from Russia as late as 1988.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:21 PM   #23
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Warning! Speculation ahead!

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Also over 300,000 milled underfolders? Then how come we have had several fixed stock parts sets over here since the late 1990s but very very few underfolders? If the numbers were right, we should have seen just the opisit.
That's disturbing, ain't it? Possible explanation could be that after introducing AKM(S) to the armed forces, folding stock AKs were transfered to Ministry of Interior. Folding stock milled AKs were indeed used in big numbers by Polish LE during 1980s - these guns are especially common on photographs from the martial law time. Knowing our Police, they either still keep on to those guns, or already melted them over. But that's really just a speculation.

If I'll get some answer from "Lucznik" themselves - that would be great. What is astonishing to me is that nobody on this side of the pond seems to care about exact dates and numbers of Polish AK production. That's too bad.

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What I don't understand....the milled AK is called WZ.60 and the stamped 5.45 the WZ.88; but why no love for the stamped AKM and AKMS? Why do these models, which were produced in large numbers not get a year designation?
Who knows? Actually kbk AK/pmK doesn't have a year designation too - only grenade firing kbkg wz.60 have one. Again my speculation is that year designation was given to guns developed locally (pw wz.64 - the Czak, pm wz.63 - the Rak, pw wz.83 - the Wanad, pm wz.84 - the Glauberyt, and naturally Tantal, Onyks, Beryl). Soviet designed guns have usually designation consisting of firearm class name and Soviet name after Polish transliteration (kbk AK, kbk AKM, kbm PKM, kbw SWD - which is SVD).

But as you've noted, there are also (what we could call) "first generation guns", designed in Soviet Union and adopted by Poland with year designation. These are TT (pw wz.33), PPS (pm wz.43 and pm wz.43/52), Mosin M44 carbine (kbk wz.44). But this inconsistency is easily explained - these are the dates of adoption by Soviet army, and Armed Forces of Polish People's Republic were continuation of so-called Polish People's Army which was created in Soviet Union in 1943, and was de facto part of Soviet army.

The designating convention isn't also really that important for army leadership. For example the UKM-2000 is offcially called kbm wz.04, but even in official army documents you will rarely see that. Nowadays foreign weapons for example don't get any designation at all.

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Was there some overlap in milled receiver and stamped receiver production?
As Mishaco said - there certainly was. Grenade firing milled guns were produced along AKMs for quite some time (8 years into AKM production and 2 years into AKMS production).

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Still, I do not think Radom made 6 underfolding milled guns for every 1 fixed stocker. This just doesn't make sense.
Well, it could make sense in a way that our army at the time was focused on wide theather assaults by mostly armored and mechanized force. Folding stocks are better fitted to small interiors of armored vehicles - simple as that. But I believe that this was only acknowledged during AKM production (and later focus on AKMS production only supports this). I'm with you on the milled folder front (I've also seen more fixed stock milled guns here than folders).

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I am also curious if the early PMK guns were built with a mix of Polish and Russian parts?
Haven't heard/read anything about that, but it wouldn't be too far-fetched. But the only way we could be sure is either having access to old documents (God, I hope I'll get something from "Lucznik"), or comparing early production Polish pmK/kbk AK with Soviet Type 3.

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More recently, WBP has been sending wood sets over from Poland. I think the buttstocks are new mfg or am i wrong? Seems like AofA mentioned something like that to me a bit back.
Yes, they are new production. But they look dead on like the old ZM "Lucznik" ones (or rather how the old ones looked when they were new) - I must say I'm really impressed by WBP woodwork! Hell, they are all impressive bunch.

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I can see you are a man after my own heart; liking facts, research, and numbers.
Thanks! In fact I'm that kind of guy who's more into firearms history and their technical aspect than actually firing them. Funny thing is that AK is my favorite rifle design (being made in my country for years, and also very innovative, with enormous legacy, cultural and political impact), but also the one I don't like to shoot - I'm tiny, puny guy and recoil just keeps me away.

But don't tell that to anyone!
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:04 PM   #24
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Many points, i don't think i'll hit them all right now as am pretty distracted. But I know what you mean about many not carring about proper names or numbers, but not all of us are that way..I mean there's me afterall. I'd love to get an authenticated source listing production names, years, and numbers for all of the Polish AKs.

Your idea about year models only being assigned to models designed within Poland makes a lot of sense. Mind if i steal it for use in a video or two? Its the best explanation I've heard yet *shrug*.

Also completely agree with you that by the 1970s and the introduction of the AKMS, that underfolding stocks were of much more use to a modern military. This is why I do believe Radom made more AKMS than AKM.

But more AKS over AK? this seems a far fetched thing, and while I am not saying it is not true, I do feel it needs some pretty good evidence.
More likely, I think those articles just mixed up the whole AK vs AKM, and AKS vs AKMS thing, so gave the AKMS production numbers to the AKS Type III.
Or even just rolled both milled and stamped guns all into 1 big number, as to many people the difference is minor. Plus hey yeah Poland not having clear names/designations for each couldn't do much except muddy the issue for any researcher (especially one who doesn't know Polish well).


How it is in my head right now...i will revise as new info comes my way...

1957-1966 - main AK T3 production in relatively large numbers.
1957-1966 - AKS Type III underfolding production in small numbers.
1960-1974 - KBKG WZ.60 production in relatively small numbers with WZ.60/72 coming onto the sceen in 1972.
1966-1977 - AKM main production, at least as far as it went for the Polish military. Big if not Large numbers.
1972-1990 (beyond) - AKMS production in largest numbers, Poland/Radom seems to have really liked this version and made it for a long time.
1974 - Pallad GL replaces the KBKG WZ.60 system and is used on both AKM and AKMS until WZ.88 and all that.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:24 PM   #25
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Quote:
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But I know what you mean about many not carring about proper names or numbers, but not all of us are that way..I mean there's me afterall.
Actually I was talking about gun enthusiasts in Poland ("this side of the Pond") - really not much about AK dates and numbers, there's Gwozdz, few articles skimming on the subject, and few online posts.

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Mind if i steal it for use in a video or two? Its the best explanation I've heard yet *shrug*.
No problem - it's all open-source research here. Just remember it's only a speculation!

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How it is in my head right now...i will revise as new info comes my way...

1957-1966 - main AK T3 production in relatively large numbers.
1957-1966 - AKS Type III underfolding production in small numbers.
1960-1974 - KBKG WZ.60 production in relatively small numbers with WZ.60/72 coming onto the sceen in 1972.
1966-1977 - AKM main production, at least as far as it went for the Polish military. Big if not Large numbers.
1972-1990 (beyond) - AKMS production in largest numbers, Poland/Radom seems to have really liked this version and made it for a long time.
1974 - Pallad GL replaces the KBKG WZ.60 system and is used on both AKM and AKMS until WZ.88 and all that.
For what we know now it's spot on, I guess. Just note on Pallad - it's actually still in use for Beryls (and was used with Tantals), even though Beryl introduced GNPO rifle-grenades (rifle-grenades were kind of limited issue, not standard issue items). Since 2010 Armed Forces use also Dezamet GPBO-40 UBGLs, externally similiar to HK AG36 UBGL (pistol grip, barrel opens to the side).

I'll update my post later.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:00 PM   #26
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I have another question...what about pistol grips?

There seem to be 3 colours of Polish grip: brown, dark orange/red, and light orange/orange.

Is there any time frame in which each was used? or is it pretty random?

I'd guess the brown would be earlier and the light orange later, but that's purely a guess.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:24 PM   #27
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the early grips are a mottled black, often with red speckles. these were found on the blued, stamped kits in my experience

there are both fat and thin/standard polish grips

there's a thread somewhere about the checker patterns of different grips

I bought a large quantity of tantal kits a few years ago and most of them had brighter orange grips whereas the AKM kits I bought tended to be a darker color
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:07 PM   #28
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Interesting, thanks.

One of my early blued Polish kits (one with its orig hardwood) had a grip that my builder friend called "ugly."
He said it was dark brown with speckles. Think that's the older grip you're talking about or were they true black?
I think the only black Polish grips I have are from the '90s, used on late commercial AKMS, late Tantals, and early Beryls.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:16 PM   #29
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Alright, here's which grip i have on which rifle....


1) WZ.60 - wood (smooth side, so I think laminated?)
2) 1967 AKM - dark brown
3) 1984 AKMS - dark red/brown mix
4) WZ.88 Tantal - light red to orange

Sound about right?

I do have a blackish grip here too. It is mostly black with some brown and white speckles. Also, it has the inverted checkering like a Romie grip would have (or Russian Molot).
I think it might be more appropriate for the '67 AKM but it has more wear and is frankly just kind of dull and ugly. The brown has the convex checkering and is in much nicer condition, shiny with good color.

Just getting ready for the video, want things to look their best.
Going to try and dig out my Polish bayonets tonight too.
I know I have one for the WZ.60 and another for the AKM/AKMS. I might have a Tantal specific late bayo somewhere around here too. Can't recall if the kit came with one or not.

Also have the slings all ranged. original/Gen 1 on the WZ.60, Gen 2 on the AKM with the leather tab, and then the AKMS and Tantal each have different styles of the metal hook sling.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:57 PM   #30
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I was able to find a rare Type 1 Polish AKM Bayonet with speckles and Gen 1 polish sling for my 1966.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:12 AM   #31
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Are those speckles brown, red, or white?
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:43 AM   #32
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I'll check today, needs bright sunlight to bring it out.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:07 PM   #33
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Red
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:41 PM   #34
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We recorded the video today.

I gave a shout-out and thanks to everyone here who helped.
Also, i mentioned you Chris in particular but since I wasn't sure if you wanted your name talked about on video, i kept it vague.

Anyhow, its done. We'll see how it turns out after some editing & cleanup.

Featured guns include: PPS43/52 and KSS (just for background), PMK & PMK UF, KBKG WZ.60 and WZ.60/72, KBK AKM and AKMS, WZ.74 Pallad GL, AKML and AKMNS, WZ.88 Tantal & WZ.89 Onyx, and of course since its me; I had to at least mention the WZ.96 Beryl & its history.
I was hoping to have a WBP rifle to show too, but it didn't work out so will have to include that one next time. I did have both the black and the green/clear WBP mags at least.

Also show some Polish accessories including both 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 mags, 3 generations of sling, a few mag pouch types, 2 bayonets, and the grenade kit for the WZ.60.


I tried my best to be complete and comprehensive.
Hopefully, it isn't too big of a train wreck hehehe.

thanks again for all the help, cheers.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:48 AM   #35
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Looking forward to seeing it!
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