AK type rifles were imported from the People Republic of China (PRC) till imports were cut off in May of 1994. They were…
From the J.A.Freeman AK47 / AK74 Website
Pre & Post Ban Chinese AK47 Rifle Overview
AK type rifles were imported from the People Republic of China (PRC) till imports were cut off in May of 1994. They were imported in 2 calibers 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm / 223 Remington. A very few samples were imported in 5.45x39mm but were snapped up by collectors so the chances of seeing one are pretty slim.
PRE BAN RIFLES
Rifles imported before the ban was enacted in July of 1989 are commonly referred to as “pre ban”. They can have all the evil features of a assault rifle that is defined by the BATF as: (B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of – (i) a folding or telescopic stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; (iii) a bayonet mount; (iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and (v) a grenade launcher;
This above is from the BATF website
There were about two dozen importers of pre ban rifles and almost half of them went out of business when the 1989 ban went into effect.
POST BAN RIFLES
AK type rifles that were imported from 1990 till imports of Chinese rifles were cut off in May of 1994 are commonly referred to as “post ban rifles”. They can be identified by the model number stamped on the receiver or barrel trunnion and 2 digit year of import prefix or suffix to the serial number. The model numbers of post ban rifles are: MAK-90,MAK-91,NHM-90,NHM-91,BWK-92,and Hunter.
MAK-90 stands for Modified AK rifle-model of 1990. They were import with milled and stamped receivers. Here is a picture of a stamped (top) and milled receivers.
Notice the rivets on the stamped receiver that hold the barrel trunnion and rear trunnion in the receiver. The milled receiver lacks rivets as it is one piece of steel. Notice the milled out spot on the front of it. These rifles have a 16″ barrel with the threads turned off the end of the barrel. They were imported in 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm(223) calibers.
The MAK-90 rifles in 5.56 caliber use a different mag than the 7.62x39mm rifles. The MAK-90 5.56 rifles use a magazine that is commonly referred to as the Norinco type. As it is the same one used by the pre ban Norinco rifles and is different from the one used by the Poly Tech 5.56 rifles. Here is a picture of a 7.62x39mm mag next to a Norinco 223 mag. Notice how the 223 mag has less curve to it than the 7.62 mag.
The only MAK-90 rifles with a threaded barrel are the stamped receiver rifles imported early in 1990. They were pre ban rifles that were still in customs when the ban went into effect and had to be modified to meet post ban rifle specs, I.E. thumbhole stocks added, bayonet lug ground down, and some but not all had the muzzle nut tack welded on. Here is a picture of pre ban rifle that was caught in customs and changed to post ban specs, notice how it has been re-stamped. The other picture is of a rifle with the original model name ground off and restamped MAK-90 Sporter.
These rifles had thumbhole stocks of Chinese mfg. that were fastened to the receiver by the screws on the tang and a pistol grip bolt and nut. They had the standard pistol grip nut but had the pistol grip bolt was shortened. Notice how the MAK-90 thumbhole stocks pistol grip (right) is shorter than standard AK pistol grip (center) and both are shorter than the NHM-90 thumbhole stock (left). This is the reason for shortening the pistol grip bolt.
Here is a picture of MAK-90 stocks notice the one in the center is darker and has a solid recoil pad but all are of Chinese mfg.
All of the early imported MAK-90 rifles had the original model number ground off the barrel trunnion and re-stamped MAK-90. Looking close you can see the grinder marks on this rifle.
A very few of these early imports had under folding stocks still attached and folded. A tang was welded onto the rear of the receiver to attach the thumbhole stock. With the thumbhole stock attached it prevented the under folding stock from being unfolded. The stamped receiver MAK-90 rifles came with thumbhole stocks colored from light to dark. The MAK-90 rifles were imported with some rifles stamped “sporter” on the left side of the receiver.
Some of the rifles imported in early 1990 didn’t have the 2 digit date of import stamped on them. But most Chinese rifles imported had (x=serial numbers) 90,91,92,93,94 prefix or suffix. This was done with a dash, space, or just stamped as part of the serial number. Prefixes were marked as follows 91-xxxxxx,91(space)xxxxxx,or 91xxxxxx. Suffixes were the same xxxxxx-91,xxxxxx(space)91,xxxxxx91.
There was also a Poly Tech stamped receiver rifle imported that was stamped MAK-90 and imported by KBI. This blows the notion that only Kengs Firearms Specialties(KFS) imported Poly Tech rifles. It had a 16″ barrel with the threads turned off the end and bayonet lug ground down. Notice the ground down spot that is re-stamped “MAK-90 SPORTER”.
Milled receiver MAK-90/MAK-91
Both rifles had the threads turned off the end of the barrel and bayonet lug ground down. They were only imported in 7.62x39mm caliber. The MAK-90 has a 16″ barrel and the MAK-91 has a 19″ heavy barrel. Measured between the gas block and front sight the barrel of the MAK-91 is .685″ in diameter which is the largest diameter barrel on any post ban AK type rifle imported. Both came with a dark brown Chinese thumbhole stock with black recoil pad and white line spacer. They are both stamped 386 in a oval on the trunnion which is the same factory that Poly Tech rifles were mfg. in. The MAK-91 has NM stamped under the factory stamp and serial number as you can see in the picture about serial numbers.
The stamping NATIONAL MATCH is also on the side of the receiver.
On the right side of the receiver are 3 Chinese letters which translate as “precision degree gun”.
All of the above pictures of markings on the MAK-91 are also on the Poly Tech Legend National Match rifle. IS the MAK-91 a post ban PTLNM rifle? All the markings are there. Both these milled receiver rifles have the best trigger pull of any AK type rifle ever imported to the US. I have fired 6 MAK-90 and 2 MAK-91 rifles and all have fantastic trigger pulls.
They were imported in and calibers. Stamped receivers with 16″ barrels that were threaded with a muzzle nut tack welded on. The muzzle nut looked like piece of pipe 2 to 3 inches long. The. They were made by Bishop or Boyd of hackberry wood. Which ever company mfg. the stock can be seen by their name imprinted on the black plastic butt plate.
These thumbhole stocks are the most comfortable ones on any post ban Chinese rifle imported. They are attached to the rifle by screw through the tang on the top of the thumbhole stock and a pistol grip screw and nut. The pistol grip screw is longer than the standard AK pistol grip screw.
Quite a lot of the NHM-90 rifles imported had under folding stock receivers. The holes in each side of the receiver were covered by a steel plate that were held on by a rivet. A long rivet passed through the receiver and held the plates on. The rear of the receiver was closed up and a tang was added to attach the thumbhole stock. The 223 caliber rifles use the same magazines as the MAK-90 rifles.
They were imported in 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm(223) calibers. The 223 caliber rifles are pretty rare as very small numbers were imported. All had stamped receivers and 20″ heavy barrels with a short muzzle nut tack welded on.
The early imported rifles had the folding bipod with adjustable legs attached but later imports had it unattached in the box. The bipod has a thumbscrew on each leg that allow the legs to be adjusted for length. The only problem with them is that you just can’t tighten the thumbscrew up enough with hand to keep it from loosing up and the leg collapsing during firing.
NHM-91 rifles came with a rivet where the rear tang of the magazine hits the receiver when the mag catch holds it in the rifle. I had to hold the mag catch lever back to get the picture. In the picture the arrow shows where I ground down the head of the rivet, it is the shiny spot.
The magazines that came with these rifles had the tang milled out to clear the rivet when it was inserted into the rifle. Here is a picture of a 5rd and 10rd mag that came with one of my rifles. Modified 30rd magazines also came with these rifles but most were removed from the box by dealers sorry bastards) for sale separate at a higher price than standard 30rd magazines.
The rivet was not required by law or any import rules it was just something that was done by the mfg. or importer. Removal of it breaks no laws or anything else. I have seen NHM-91 rifles new in the box with the rivet in tight, loose, installed but not riveted, and missing. This rivet has no function other than to prevent the use of regular AK magazines that are not milled out to clear it.
Stocks on the NHM-91 were the same as the NHM-90,mfg. by Bishop or Boyd. But some were made of birch wood but were the same pattern as the hackberry one.
The BWK-92 was mfg. in China by Norinco and imported B-west. Unlike the B-west rifles with Chinese parts and US mfg. receivers that had heat treating problems they are 100% made in China. It came only in 5.56x45mm/223 and used the same Norinco pattern magazines as the MAK-90/NHM-90. It has a 16″ unthreaded barrel and had the same thumbhole stocks as MAK-90 rifles.
These rifles were also imported by A.C.
The Hunter rifle has a milled receiver that is marked with a 386 in a oval. This is the same factory stamp as the Poly Tech rifles and denotes that they were made in factory #386 located in Shenzhen,China. The barrel is 20″ long and doesn’t have threads on the end for a muzzle brake. This rifle is while not a exact copy of the Valmet Hunter M-88 is copied from it.
For ease of identification I have classed the rifle into 3 types based on the type of rear sight it has.
- Type I = peep sight mounted on the receiver cover.
- Type II = two leaf folding notch sight mounted on the rear sight block.
- Type III = standard type AK rear sight.
There were 3 holes on the left side of the receiver above the mag well for the detachable scope mount. Not all rifles were drilled and tapped for a scope mount.
The first type had a peep sight on rear of the receiver cover. The receiver cover had a small ear on each side that hung down over the receiver. It had a hole in it that a screw went through and into the receiver. This was to hold the receiver cover to the receiver so that it would be in the same position each time it was removed for cleaning. It had a sliding mag release that looks like the one on the SKS rifle. The rifles that had the scope mount used a scope mounting plate that fastened to the receiver with 3 screws. The scope mount fastened to the mounting plate with 2 large knurled thumb screw. This rifle had long trigger.
The trigger was mounted in the same place in the receiver as a standard AK rifle but it was very long with a long trigger guard. This was done so it could be reached with the sporting rifle type stock it has.
The second type Hunter rifle that I refer to as the Type II is pictured here new in the box.
It has a L shaped notched rear sight that can be flipped from the shorter 100 meter notch to the taller part of the L that has a 300 meter notch. The rear sight is in the same position as standard AK-47 rifle.
Here is the rear sight with 300 meter side flipped up.
It has the same sliding mag release as the type I rifle. Just like the type I some were drilled and tapped for the scope mount and some not. The scope mount for this rifle didn’t have the knurled thumb screw. It was attached to the scope mounting plate by 2 screws. It had the same long trigger as the Type I. Also the same sliding type mag release as type I.
The third type rifle had a standard sliding rear sight as a AK-47 rifle. The mag release was the same lever type as the standard AK-47 rifle. The trigger was in a position farther back on the receiver but looked like the standard AK rifle trigger. It was modified on the inside to be longer so it would work with the hammer and disconector that are in the position as the other types of Hunter rifles and standard AK rifles.
There are transition Hunter rifles as I have seen pictures of type II rifle with type III mag release. I have recently received some pics of a Type I rifle rifle marked “HUNTER 90″ with the same type front sight mounted on the gas block just like the Valmet Hunter M-88 rifle.
But about 98% of Hunter rifles fall into the Type I, II, or III categories.
Poly Tech Post Ban Rifles
Besides the above mentioned Poly Tech MAK-90 Sporter there was also a rifle imported by Kengs Firearms Specialties (KFS). These rifles have all the standard type Poly Tech markings with the addition of two letters “sp” stamped on the left side of the receiver above the mag well. The “sp” is a silver color because it was stamped on the receiver after the rifle was imported. They have 16″ barrels that are threaded with a muzzle nut tack welded on. They have Choate black plastic thumbhole stocks and hand guards.
The “sp” rifles are pre ban rifles that were not released from customs before the 1989 ban went into effect. Kengs filed a law suit to have the rifles released from customs in 1989. It was in court and the rifles sat in customs for 7 years. In 1996 Kengs won the law suit to have the rifles released from customs. But part of the court order was that the rifles were now post ban and had to be modified to post ban specs to be released from customs. This confirmed the precedence that the import date of rifles is not when they come into this country but when released from customs. The bayonet lugs were ground down, muzzle nuts tack welded, and Choate thumbhole stock set applied.
Sile Post Ban rifles
Post ban rifles were imported by Sile in New York, New York. They were pre ban 56S rifles modified to post ban configuration by the bayonet lug being ground down, some not all had muzzle nuts tack welded on, and thumbhole stocks attached. The fixed stock model had the number 7 stamped on each side of the model number 56S.
The under folding stock rifles had a tang welded on the back of the receiver and a thumbhole stock added. They had a 1 stamped in front of the 56S-1 model number.
ACC/Intrac MAK-90 rifles
As you can see from the picture ACC/Intrac did import a small number of MAK-90 rifles. Until a fellow AK-47.net member sent me these pictures I had only seen Romanian and Egyptian rifles that were imported by ACC/Intrac. They have 16″ barrels with the threads turned off.
Compasseco MAK-90 Rifles
Compasseco Inc. is a big importer of Chinese air rifles/pistols. They imported some stamped receiver MAK-90 Sporter rifles in 1994. They have square cut receivers and unthreaded barrels. They have Chinese light colored thumbhole stocks.