The 7.62×39 cartridge, introduced originally in 1943 and chambered in both the RPD Light Machine Gun and the SKS, cemented it’s place in history just a few years later as the cartridge selection for what would become the iconic AK47 Soviet military rifle. Since then, the AK47 has been deployed around the world by militaries, police and civilians in combat, self-defense and sporting roles.
Fast forward a little more than a decade, and Remington Arms develops the .223 caliber in 1957. This cartridge, later adopted as the 5.56×45 NATO, found it’s way into the M16 during the Vietnam era as a combined solution to ongoing disapproval of NATO’s first standard rifle cartridge, the 7.62×51, which was criticized for it’s weight, recoil, and lack of sufficient automatic rate of fire in combat.Not to be outdone, Soviet engineers in the 1970’s developed the 5.45×39 cartridge in response to the international trend towards a smaller, lighter, higher velocity cartridge which allowed soldiers to carry more ammunition in the field with greater control under automatic fire. The original Soviet 7N6 5.45×39 cartridge was introduced in 1974 for use in the AK74, which shared both aesthetic and operational design features with it’s older brother, the AK47.
While the AK47 has been, for many years, an Eastern Block counterpart to the AR15, cream rises to the top as we have seen the Western AK market growing steadily for quite some time. Throw in a petulant ban on Russian ammunition importation, causing dwindling supplies of inexpensive steel case 7.62×39 and 5.45×39 ammunition, mixed with gluttonous stockpiles of 5.56×45 (we love abundance in America), and here is where East and West collide… In a good way!
Enter the 5.56 AK, featuring everything that makes the AK platform the most trusted and widely adopted rifle on the planet. From it’s proven long stroke gas system to it’s reliability under adverse conditions to it’s utter simplicity when it comes to maintenance and field stripping, this merger just had to happen. So, you ask, which 5.56 AK is right for you? We know that not all AK rifles are created equal, and we also know that one company stands alone when it comes to building the ultimate AK platform with their no compromise manufacturing and quality control process. That company is Arsenal Inc.
When you build the best and demand the most exacting standards, however, it’s important to stand out with a rifle that doesn’t scream “me too!” That rifle is the Arsenal SAM5. While stamped receiver technology has certainly come a long way, many consider a milled receiver to be superior, and in many ways they are correct. In fact, the original AK47 was based on a milled receiver and was later developed with a stamped receiver in order to cut down cost and production time. You see, a milled receiver is a complex and time-intensive process, one that Arsenal takes 5.5 hours to birth from a block of forged steel. In fact, while other milled-receiver AKs are machined from bar stock, Arsenal’s hot-die hammer forging produces finer-grained steel, eliminating internal voids and cooling deformations using a 5-ton hammer forging process. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that you will not find commercially available milled receiver 5.56 AK pattern rifles anywhere else, as other manufacturers seem to reserve that technology for their 7.62×39 offerings.
If you thought for a second that the attention to detail buck stops at the receiver, well, you’ve got another thing coming. The SAM5 giggle switch is provided by none other than a FIME Enhanced Fire Control Group, giving you the cleanest breaking trigger you will ever find in an AK. Mate that to a 16.3″ chrome lined cold hammer forged barrel and you have formidable accuracy and reliability likely beyond our life span.
What you have, in the end, is a highly sought-after rifle with collector appeal, providing unparalleled durability and precision coupled with a shooting experience that is second to none. Speaking of shooting experience, the SAM5 is so manageable and reliable that it can truly be operated by anyone, regardless of stature, making it a universally effective weapon for home defense and competition. In conclusion, do not fret over ammunition bans and political theater. Dust off your surplus 5.56, grab an Arsenal SAM5, and we’ll see you at the range!
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