Bulgarian AK-74 review

From The Survivalist Blog, with the most interesting (to me, anyway) part being the 100 yard accuracy testing.

The next day, I went back to the range for accuracy testing at 100 yards. I have to say for an AK type rifle I was impressed with the performance of both the rifle and the 5.45×39 round. Groups at this distance were consistent at 2-3 inches.

That accuracy was achieved with cheap mil-surp ammo; I would imagine that upgrading your ammo would result in an increase in accuracy.  That being said, the whole appeal of these guns is that 1) they’re relatively cost effective, with the Bulgarian model running around $450.  The only major issue I would have with these rifles is sourcing not ammo, but rather magazines.  For a decent fighting rifle you should have a pile of magazines, and the 5.45 Ruskie mags are a bit harder to find that the usual AK 7.62 magazines.


  1. I’ve noticed a lot of comments similar to what you noted in your post, “That accuracy was achieved with cheap mil-surp ammo; I would imagine that upgrading your ammo would result in an increase in accuracy.” Shooting cheap/inexpensive semi-autos in 7.62×39 (SKS’s, AK’s, Mini-30’s) I’m usually happy to get angle-of-pie-plate accuracy with ANY kind of ammo.

    Then we bought a CZ527 in 7.62×39 as my wife’s deer rifle. Shooting the cheapest Wolf hollow-point ammo that rifle will put three rounds into a clover-leaf at 100 yards. It actually does worse with most US-made ammo (0.308″ dia. vs. 0.311″ dia. projectiles for the most part, I believe), but even the expensive stuff in the right diameter results in wider groups.

    I’m of the opinion (my own, unhindered by any research or facts) that it’s mostly NOT the ammo, but the firearm itself. Most commercial and mil-surp ammo is more inherently accurate than the semi-auto rifles from which it’s fired.

    1. I would agree with that in the 7.62 Ruskie rifles because of the bullet diameter issue. I’d be interested to test it with a Bulgarian AK74 side by side with a 5.45 Russian AR to see which type of ammo delivers accuracy. Obviously, you’d have to control for the fact that the AR is going to be more accurate, but it would be interesting.

  2. 5.45×39 is freakily accurate round… Boston Tea Party’s book goes into it a lot.

    The best part is that ammunition for it is so cheap – 2500 rounds for $300 is not uncommon…

    Magazines aren’t too hard to find – they usually run 20-40 for the nice Bulgarian polymer mags… Onesource has stacks of them. The nice thing about the AK pattern is that magazines are pretty sturdy. With 10 or so mags, you’re set for almost a lifetime…

  3. I agree 5.45×39 mags aren’t that hard to find, yes harder than 7.62×39 but not too bad. AK mags last pretty much forever.

    One interesting development is Hornady is making a V-Max 5.45×39 load this year on Russian steel cases. I wouldn’t be suprised if Winchester starts making a load in their Metric white box brand. The biggest problem I see with 5.45 is the bullet diameter being so different than U.S. .22 bullets.

  4. I’ve got 3 5.45 AK pattern rifles, one of which is on a Form 1, none of which are standard-length Bulgarian (the shorty is a Bulgy AKS-74U), two of which were built on NDS receivers (you can’t go wrong with Harlan’s receivers), and the other is a Romy SAR-2.

    All three, including the shorty are deadly accurate. Magazines can be had, like was posted earlier, for $20-$50 depending on what you’re looking for. Rusky 45-rders will set you back over C-Note. Just be careful with TAPCO and ProMag 5.45 mags, as they have no steel reinforcement anywhere in the mag other than the spring. Bulgarian Circle 10, 21, or 25 mags are pretty stout, Polish polymer slabsides and steel mags are good, East German mags are a little gaudy as they’re bright orange bakelite (just be careful you don’t get any that were modified for the 5.56 SAR-3), and Romanian steel my have fit issues depending on the rifle. Original Russian plum mags seem to be more available on GB when I look there, but they command a little higher price, since they’re “Russian”.

    One other upside, besides the cost of ammo, is the light recoil of the round. I would posit that it’s even lighter than that of your average AR.

    BTW, bullet diameter is .215″, at least that’s what DAG puts on their over-priced 5.45 ammo boxes.

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