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Author: Joe Poyer Editor: Craig Reisch

Publisher's Description: 2004. First edition. 188pp, many B&W photos & line drawings of parts, 8"x10.5"; Survey of Kalashnikov rifles from first AK-47 in 1949 to last AK-108 in use today; provides part-by-part description of various types of Kalashnikov rifles with emphasis on identifying national origins of rifles & their parts for Communist-bloc Kalashnikov rifles, non-Communist variants of Kalashnikov rifle, accessories issued to soldier, ammunition, telescope sights with instrutions on calibrating telescopic sights for various cartridges, exploded view, assembly/disassembly details, cleaning, maintenance, troubleshooting techniques, list of sources for parts, repairs & accessories, & legal aspects of owning Kalashnikov or any other semi-automatic "assault" firearm.

Noah's Comments: Poyer's new work on AK47s and AK74s and the "Century" series is a decent "starter" book for someone not familiar with the subject matter and desires basic information "between one set of covers." There are numerous B&W photos depicting different Kalashnikov weapon configurations, but unfortunately many of these are mostly semi-auto AK clones imported into the US and wearing different sets of furniture so as to illustrate what an East German or Romanian AK would look like. A close inspection of the photos will show that the third axis pin is missing in many photos. The author does go into detailed descriptions of the three different main types of AK47 receivers, and adding a few additional types of his own. Some of the nomenclature is "non-standard," such as referring to the rear trunnion in a stamped receiver as a "rear plate."

As with other North Cape Publications titles, there are many line drawings of AK components interspersed with photos of other components and their variations. A basic history of the development of the AK and its use and production in other countries is informative but understandably limited. The book was written and produced prior to the setting of the 1994 AW ban, and there are several references to the AW ban and the 922r regulatory requirement for US parts content. The AW Ban references are obviously out of date, which makes one wonder why they didn't delay the book a few months in the interests of timely accuracy. And as with other North Cape titles, there are numerous errors in the text, aside from the pix of semi-auto clones represented as actual AKs.

I picked up a copy for $21 at a show, and it is advertised from $21 to $26 at various outlets. If you are an experienced AK hand, I'd recommend that you save the money and buy an additional 250 or 300 rounds of ammo. If you are new to AKs, and would like a basic low-cost reference, this one is fine providing that you recognize that some of the weapons illustrated are semi-auto clones outfitted to depict the real deal. If you are looking for more "meat" in a reference, then spend the additional money on Ezell's "Kalashnikov -- The Arms and the Man."

Just my impression, YMMV.

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