Wednesday, March 7, 2012

M10-545 Review Part 2: Range Report

Link to Part 1: First Impressions

I was able to shoot just under 300 rounds down the M10-545 this weekend.  I planned to do some more but conditions were less than ideal: 25mph gusty winds at almost a direct crosswind, 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and occasional light snow with already muddy ground.

Cycling as expected was fine, despite the front sight cant.  The windage on the RPK rear came in handy as a quick fix instead of the somewhat of a guessing game that you have to do adjust the front sight for windage.  I did need to lower the front sight a lot.  Sighting in at 25m, I was able to get some of my best AK iron sight groups, I had several under 1" with 3-4 rounds touching.   I wasn't able to get much paper target shooting done at 100m like I wanted to, but I did get to send about half a magazine at my 8" round steel target and was able to hit with no problems at all.  The gas piston, despite looking like it has a proper gap to develop wobble, hasn't yet. The piston seems to be cycling against the gas block only slightly, resulting in very small wear line on part of the piston.  But this is not anything I would call excessive, especially since I can't see any marks in the gas block and the bolt carrier isn't binding.  While I'm not really worried about this wear, fixing the front sight cant or developing piston wobble would remove this altogether.

All of my "Bulgarian" sanitized (probably Russian) mags worked fine.  My Circle 10 surplus magazine worked fine, but my Circle 21 will not fit.  This looks to be due to it hitting the cross support behind the magazine well as shown in this thread at  While it isn't related to the fit issue, the Circle 21 is my least reliable magazine in my AK74, it caused at least 4 misfeeds this trip so I'm not too heart broken it won't work.  I'd just have to be careful with my future magazine selection for the M10-545. Also my Tapco magazine would not fit until I did some file work partly on the back but mostly on the side tabs on the back of the magazine close to the rear lug.  The ProMag fit and fed fine but I'm still hesitant use it for anything other than range work.

While I would still like to see it at night, the flash hider was noticeably more effective eliminating flash than the 74 brake on the Bulgarian rifle.  As to be expected though, all three shooters observed less muzzle flip with the brake.  Colorado Guns assures me that the Flash hider is NOT soldered on like some of us think.  They just torque it down really tight since there is no plunger pin.  I have been able to remove it from my M10-22 but not the M10-545 yet.  They recommend a screwdriver through two of the ports as the best way to put it

I had a light on the railed handguard and it did fine with that.  Partly due to the lack of 2 screws in the handguard I didn't want to test a red dot on it.  However, it does look like these screws are pretty standard because I found a couple from an old scope ring that fit the day after I went to the range.

The balance difference was noticeable as well as all three shooters said the M10 felt a little "handier" than the AK74.  Everyone also liked the Hogue grip.  The rail covers held on fine but there wasn't a bunch of intense drills either. The AR shooter felt more at home with the covers on as well since the handguard feels very close to an AR with them.  Heat was not an issue with the handguards, but then again it was cold out and we had gloves on.

While I was hoping to get a longer range session in, at least I am now much more confident in recommending this rifle as a good entry level AK.  I do believe it is a step up from a WASR with the included accessories like the RPK sight and Hogue grip and more attention to details like the magazine well.  I would bet the M10-762 is a good rifle as well.  Part 3 will follow eventually when I get this rifle trimmed out the way I want it.

Again, thanks to Atlantic Firearms for selling me this rifle at a discount!  Check them out, they are excellent!


  1. Have you tried any other furniture to see how it fits? Does it look like regular AKM AK-74 furniture will go right on it? Thanks!

    1. Yes, I already changed it up to a Hogue handguard and a Romanian side folder, more about that in part 3.

  2. Thanks. I was particularly interested in the hand guards and gas tube.

  3. I had a question about weight, especially front weight. I suffered a injury that has left my left arm unable to deal with alot of weight for extended periods of time. Ive always wanted an AK,but my friends Arsenal sgl21 was too front heavy for me. I'm not crazy about AR15s,but these have felt great for me right now,but call me stubborn;i want an AK.The info on this this is its 6 lbs empty, is that a fair assessment? how do it compare front weight wise to your other AKs? any info would be greatly appreciated.

  4. I would say that it could be a great fit for you but I would definitely suggest you find one at a local shop and try it yourself. Overall it is a similar weight to a normal AK. It is only slightly lighter due to the combo gas block/front sight. But since it is mounted back it has a larger effect due to the torque force.

  5. Thnx Matt, just picked one up today, think im gonna replace those front rails to save some more weight. overall i think i'll be happy with this purchase. Its my first "long gun" and i feel as this rifle will outlast me, perhaps be an heirloom down the road.

  6. Good to hear! Glad I could help you out some.

  7. Thanks for your review. My first AK 47 was stolen and I want to replace it with either the 5.45 or 7.62 model.

  8. What tool did you use to adjust the front site?

  9. Do you think that you could fix the Circle 21 mags by filing down a rear portion of the magazine? I'm having the same issue with the cross pin.

  10. You can do that, or what I am going with is filing down the cross pin so it just takes any magazine I have.

    Still haven't got a chance to do that and fix the cant, and Alumahyde it. Major life changes last year have prevented me from doing that (and stuff with this blog) but maybe soon.