As many SurvivalBlog readers will remember, I’ve reviewed several AK-47 type rifles in the past; some were better than others. To be sure, when we are talking about an AK-47 in civilian terms, we really aren’t discussing genuine AK-47s, rather we’re talking about a mixed bag of semiauto-only rifles that resemble the real McCoy, which is made in Russia.
I did have the opportunity to fire a genuine AK when I worked for the late Col. Rex Applegate. It was part of his collection of more than 20 select-fire weapons, from his more than 850-gun collection. As I recall, his AK was a Chinese clone, a souvenir that he brought back from a trip to Vietnam as an “advisor”. His AK was beat to death. It rattled if you even looked at it; that’s how loose it was. However, the darn thing went “bang” each time the trigger was pulled, and that’s what AKs are supposed to do. I was also able to fire some of his other unique firearms, including a genuine Tommy Gun, an H&K MP5, and a few others, not to mention many of his other guns from his collection. It was an honor to have worked for the late Colonel; he taught me a lot about firearms and knives, and it was at his insistence that I become a gun writer. When the Colonel told you to do something, you did it. Additionally, Applegate opened a lot of doors for me, many doors that I would have had to knocked on several times before they were opened to me. However, because of Applegate, those doors opened magically.
So, I do have a very limited experience with at least one select-fire AK, albeit made in China. However, I do have a LOT of trigger time behind semiauto versions of the AK, made by many different companies. Some are assembled from imported parts from various European countries; though the guns themselves can’t be imported, many of the parts can. Once here, they are assembled onto USA-made receivers, along with the requisite number of U.S.-made parts to make them legal. Some AKs are brought in with a single stack magazine well, and the mag well is opened up to accommodate the double stack magazines.
One of the biggest importers is Century Arms. With many of their AK-style of guns, it can be a hit or miss proposition, whether you get a “good” one. One of the most common complaints seems to be the front sight; it’s not aligned with the rear sight and usually canted quite a bit from center. This means you have to a adjust it for windage, moving the front sight from one side or the other. Quite often, there isn’t enough adjustment to zero the rifle. In all honesty, I’ve only had one “bad” AK from Century Arms, and it turned out to be a bent gas piston, which was an easy fix. However, I’ve had more than my share of their guns with the front sight canted off-center.
Enter IO Inc (Inter Ordnance ) and their line of semiauto only AK-style of rifles. Some months ago, I picked up one of their AKM247 “AKs” at my local gun shop, since I’d heard nothing but good things about this company, their warranty, and their line of guns. However, I’m sad to say, my sample AKM247 was defective right out of the box. It started having problems; the gun would fire a couple of rounds, then the bolt would hang-up halfway through cycling, and I had to put it on the bumper of my rig in order to fully cycle the bolt. This happened numerous times. I took the gun back to my local gun shop and exchanged it for something different. That seemed like the end of the story, for me. My local gun shop made numerous attempts to contact IO Inc on the phone. Once they finally did get a real person to speak with, it was another THREE MONTHS before IO Inc gave them a return authorization so that they could return the defective rifle. It was about three weeks later that a replacement rifle was returned to my local dealer.
It appears that the receiver was a bit out of spec on the gun I had, and the bolt/bolt carrier group was jumping out of the rails in the frame, seriously tying up the gun, which is not a good thing, to be sure. While I applaud IO Inc in their fast turnaround time, once they got the gun back in their hands, there is no excuse for putting off sending my dealer a return authorization number so they could return the rifle to them. I mean, really? Three months?
A month or so ago, my local gun shop received another IO Inc AKM247 in that was just like the one I had before. Needless to say, I hesitated for several days before actually buying the gun. I checked it out as closely as I could, and everything seemed fine. However, you don’t know if a gun is going to work until you actually fire it.
The IO Inc AKM247 model is totally made in the USA, which is good news! It is made from original Polish blueprints, and many claim that these are some of the best AKs in the world. Needless to say, IO Inc had to make the necessary modifications, so this rifle would be semiauto only. All of the furniture on the AKM247 is black polymer, which is very attractive and extremely tough stuff. I like it better than the wood furniture that comes on so many other AKs I’ve had. My rifle has a “tactical” pistol grip that I didn’t care for, so I swapped it out for a Hogue AK pistol grip, which is the best in my humble opinion. Front and rear sights are adjustable. The rear is adjustable for elevation only, and the front site is adjustable for windage and elevation. However, my sample was obviously sighted-in at IO Inc, and no adjustments were necessary, with the rear sight at the 100-yard/meter setting. The gun shot dead-on! Overall length of the AKM247 is 36-inches with a 16.25-inch Bbl, and the gun weighs in at 7-lbs. It’s actually very fast handling. The finish on some of the metal parts is manganese phosphate, parkerized!
The barrel, inside and out, is Nitrated– very though stuff. Many AKs come with a chrome-lined barrel, and some insist that chromed barrels aren’t as accurate as non-chromed barrels. I don’t know if I buy into that. However, I know that Nitrated barrels are very resistant to rusting, and the coating lasts a very long time. We also have a recoil buffer on the recoil spring. Some AK users swear by their little polymer blocks, claiming they reduce felt recoil and help extend the life of a gun. Again, I’m not buying that. However, the recoil buffer is there. We also have a bolt hold-open milled into the safety. Now, the bolt won’t automatically hold open after the last shot, if fired; instead, you need to manually draw the bolt back with one hand, while pushing up on the safety with the other hand, getting that little milled groove in the safety pushed up into the bolt handle. That’s not something I’d normally use, but it’s there if you need it.
The trigger pull on my AKM247 sample is, without a doubt, the absolute best I’ve ever felt on any AK; take-up isn’t nearly as long as found on other AK types of rifles, and it is a very smooth trigger pull, letting off at 3 1/2-lbs. We are talking one super-sweet trigger pull, and there is no trigger backlash, either. (Trigger backlash is where the trigger can slap your trigger finger.) Nice!
The AKM247 also has a standard AK muzzle brake, as well as a bayonet lug, but no bayonet is included. There is also a cleaning rod that is extremely tight and hard to get out from under the barrel. That’s not a bad thing; it doesn’t rattle as many cleaning rods do on other AKs. The butt stock has sling swivel, and the gas block has another sling attachment point on it but no sling was included.
IO Inc claims that they can get 1.5-inch groups from their AKs. Maybe they can, but I couldn’t. At best, all I could get was groups slightly over 2-inches, if I was on my game all of the time, using the sights on the gun and no scope. Perhaps, with a scope I could get inch and a half groups. However, there is no scope rail mount on this AK. I used a variety of 7.62X39 ammo in my testing, and all seemed to shoot about the same. There was nothing to complain about here. The polymer mag that is included from IO Inc is of their own design, and it is a “waffle” pattern mag. I’ve used their mags before and have found them to be some of the best around. However, my 30-rd mag would only hold 28-rds of ammo, not the 30-rds it should have held. I left the mag loaded for days and tried to squeeze in two more rounds; it wasn’t going to happen. Strange.
I did have one serious malfunction, and it was NOT the fault of the rifle. I had a bunch of loose 7.62X39 rounds in a small cardboard box, and I was loading the mag from that box. The first round fired, the second round fired, and the third round, well, sounded like a dud! The bolt was almost frozen on the empty brass in the chamber. I finally was able to get the bolt opened, but the brass (steel case) was stuck fast in the chamber. I had to get out my trusted multi-tool and pry the empty out of the chamber. When I took a close look at it, it turned out to be a .223 round. It had fired the bullet, but the brass expanded and split in the chamber. I examined the gun, and everything was fine. I continued shooting, in all, more than 500-rds without any problems. I can’t fault the gun for getting tied-up with that .223 shell. Either I or someone else dropped a loaded .223 round into my box of 7.62X39 ammo.
With the supply lines cut from Russia, we may never see any more AKs from that country, due to the import restrictions this Administration has placed against Russia over the Crimea thing. However, I have had AKs from Russia (semiauto only AKs), and while they were the genuine thing this IO Inc AKM247 is better made, has tighter tolerances, and is more nicely finished and just the best AK I’ve run across. Also, believe me, I’ve paid a lot more for other AKs, which didn’t come close to this IO Inc AKM247!
To date, this IO Inc AMK247 is hands down the absolute best “AK” I’ve run across. It’s totally reliable, has factory zeroed sights, is made in the USA with tough, real tough, polymer furniture, and is fast handling, as well as more than accurate for an AK. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if this gun can shoot inch and a half groups, with a scope mounted on it.
You’ll need to shop around for prices, as they vary so much from dealer-to-dealer. However, I paid $559 for my sample, and I think it was a heck of a bargain. I’m waiting for my local gun shop to get in another identical IO Inc AK, so I can buy it, too. So, if you’re in the market for a new or another AK to add to your collection, check out the IO Inc line-up. They make several different versions, too.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio