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Old May 26, 2008, 08:11 AM   #1
pharm675
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Norinco MAK-90 question

Hello everybody,

I just bought a Norinco MAK-90 sporter for just under $500 (I know thats expensive but I have been looking for one for a while). I took it out to the range and was very surprised, it was accurate, did not have any problems with 600+ wolf rounds, and did not have too much recoil. Even so I want a muzzle brake on it, my entire barrel seems to be threaded so I ordered a 4" brake that is threaded for "all ak's" the brake looks like it would work great. My question is, is my barrel really threaded, people have told me that MAK-90's do not exist w/threaded barrels and that if the whole barrel seems to be threaded it is probably machine marks. Is this true? Does this mean I can buy a thread adapter, or do I have to use a pin-on brake? I also purchased a recoil buffer, does anybody have experience with those? Do they make a noticeable difference?

Thanks for your advice,

-Pete
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Old May 26, 2008, 08:42 AM   #2
ksstargazer
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My MAK90 is threaded but not along the whole barrel. It is threaded about 1/2" up to the front sight. Like yours, it is very accurate with low recoil.
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Old May 26, 2008, 03:26 PM   #3
CGSteve8718
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You can't just go altering post ban rifles without making the rifle "illegal". MAK 90s were configured so that they could get around the then AWB. However, even with the sunsetting of that ban, the importation "laws" regarding non "sporting" firearms still applies.

So if you want to add a brake, you'll need to read up on Section 922(r) which states you cannot have more than 10 foreign parts in your non "sporting" arm. For the AKM platform (and variations) you'll need 6 US made parts if you want to put a brake on it.

This is unfortunate because the Chinese rifles have really smooth actions, and having to replace the FCG (which is the most easily and widely replaced parts) for a US made set would mean you'll lose that smoothness for sure.

Pics of your MAK 90 in its current state would help. I'd really like to see what you're talking about with your barrel being threaded the whole way.

Some post ban AKM variants do in fact have threaded barrels underneath a tac-welded muzzle nut or brake (again for 922r) but I'm not sure if all MAK 90s did.

Recoil buffers are not necessary and may somehow cause jams (read this from others' exp). I don't have one, nor do I need one for any AK/AKM platform but if you can't manage it, then give it a try.
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Old May 26, 2008, 05:52 PM   #4
Drue
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The full length "threads" on the barrel are indeed machine marks. To put a threaded break on you would have to use a die and cut threads at the muzzle.
What CGSteve8718 is very true. Adding a flash hider to the MAK would change it from a "sporter" to an illegal-to-import "assault weapon" although a "muzzle break" would not. The difference is up to ATF interpretation. I also agree then CGStele8718 that changing out the fire control group to get 3 US made parts might be a bad choice since the Chinese ones are good. Mine are. Another route would be to use a US stock set (= 3 parts) and US mags (=3 parts). The whole charade is a pain in the patootie. It really makes feel safer from thugs with "assault weapons."

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Old May 26, 2008, 05:57 PM   #5
dglockster
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Quote:
US mags (=3 parts).
True but the reliability of U.S. made AK mags is terrible. If you want to use a mag for 922r purpose, just replace the floorplate and follower with U.S. made parts and each mag will then count as two 922r compliance parts.
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Old May 26, 2008, 09:51 PM   #6
CGSteve8718
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Drue: I am pretty sure that any removable muzzle device can count as either a compliance part or an "evil" part if it is foreign made. You can use a US made muzzle nut, slant brake, flash hider, or compensator for this purpose. If this were not the case, there wouldn't be a US manufacturer providing them.

I would have to agree with dglockster about the US made mags (usually from ProMag) being of questionable reliability. Some have said they worked fine, but compared to the countless other reports of problems, I will never use them.

The best, and easiest parts to swap out for compliance will always be the FCG, gas piston, and muzzle device. This helps out a lot if you are one of those hated "correct" Nazis like I am and want to make the rifle look original as possible. I like to keep to use original furniture and add a US floorplate for the last compliance piece.

K-VAR is now offering US made followers, and the floorplates can be found by Googling. That's 2 parts right there.

Good luck.
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Old May 26, 2008, 11:04 PM   #7
Jimro
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A muzzle brake is not a flash suppressor.

A flash suppressor is an evil feature of an "Assault Weapon" *scary*.

Adding a muzzle brake doesn't make an import non-compliant unless the rules changed and someone didn't tell me.

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Old May 27, 2008, 12:46 AM   #8
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It's a shame that every AK/SKS thread seems to degrade into legal mumbo-jumbo as soon as you mention muzzle-brake/flash suppressor!
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Old May 27, 2008, 01:04 AM   #9
CGSteve8718
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimro
A muzzle brake is not a flash suppressor.

A flash suppressor is an evil feature of an "Assault Weapon" *scary*.

Adding a muzzle brake doesn't make an import non-compliant unless the rules changed and someone didn't tell me.

Jimro
I know it's not, and I didn't mean to say that it was. I am just saying that you can use any kind of muzzle device as a compliance part which says to me just having a threaded muzzle and the ability to attach a muzzle device makes it "evil" and subject to the parts count rule.

I'll have to check it again.

EDIT: Checked it, and it says "muzzle attachments"

Quote:
Originally Posted by autopistola
It's a shame that every AK/SKS thread seems to degrade into legal mumbo-jumbo as soon as you mention muzzle-brake/flash suppressor!
It is a shame, but we can't talk about without educating the person in question if they seem not to know. Believe it or not, some ATF agents take that seriously and can confiscate your gun and arrest you for that arbitrary nonsense. Most people I've spoken with say that agents don't really care about it, but it just takes one...
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Old May 27, 2008, 10:23 AM   #10
pharm675
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Now that I have 2 people confirming that the "threads" are in fact tool marks I went ahead and purchase an adapter (you place it at the end of the barrel with set screws and it has threads on it). I hope the brake will still work as good. I am installing the brake not because I need it, but because I want it. I have a few mini-14's and would have never thought to put a brake on them. When I used up the barrel on one of them I had a top of the line brake threaded on and now the thing shoots like a .22lr . The gun is definitely more accurate with less recoil. As far as the legalities the brake and adapter I purchased are both made in the US and their is no way somebody can mistake this thing for a flash hider. I am going to purchase a die set so I can just thread my barrels myself, (the pin-on brakes do not work ell in my experience). Has anybody had experience threading themselves?

Thanks again for your time and input,

-Pete
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Old May 27, 2008, 07:18 PM   #11
KROIL
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I noticed the spin threading on a mak-90's barrel too. I dont know why they did that. Maybe for an attempt at heat disapation -like spiral fluting ?
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Old June 14, 2011, 09:45 PM   #12
casktcrw
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Here's the real facts, worth the read or may i be struck by lightning- also for sale

I bought a last year 94 mak 90 and have hated it since and have obsessively played with it trying to make it better. And although I am already an engineer with a good technical knowledge of guns, BOY did I learn a lot working on this thing - about all ak's.

1. The 'threads' are tool marks. They are along the whole barrel on mak 90's because they were rush jobs in anticipation of a complete ban. Remember, post ban imports are just a way to get around the ban, and noone thought they would get away with it forever. When the barrels were turned in a lathe, the feed speed was too fast for the rotational speed to have smooth finish. That's all

The end of the barrel is 14mm because THE THREADS WERE NEVER CUT. I bought a die, and cut threads on mine. Word of warning, spread the die nice and wide open, you can cut it deeper, later, but not the other way. cut too deep and brake will be loose, next thing you know you are deforming threads like a did to get it too stay and you can forget about long brakes.

2. I have seen one other 94 mak 90 (serial number starts with year) and they both shot crooked. Take the gun and point it straight at the mirror. It looks bend in the middle (between receiver and barrel). That's actually an offset (not on purpose) detent on the dust cover. Front sight was not canted, but I canted it to compensate. I

3. YOU CANNOT JUST BANG THE FRONT SITE OFF TO ONE SIDE. 1/2 thousands is a tight press fit; this has 3 whole thousands! it will not move. I'll tell you what did move thought - the whole barrel! ***! so right now I have the front site off left a little (I replaced it myself and put it on crooked to compensate - stupid idea), and rear - off to the right a little (there is a half a degree or so of play between the protruding top walls of the trunnion and read sight base). A good slap of the hammer on the read sight and the barrel moves. That is HORRIBLE because at the trunnion the barrel is supposed to have 6 WHOLE thousands of press fit; seems like it has practically none at all. Does this affect function? No. Accuracy? I am sure. This fix of moving the read sight instead of front, while more cosmetically appealing, causes the elevation adjustment to go up and a little off the the side, so elevation adjustments will be a little short of their mark and drift to the side a little. And even when the rear sight base is centered between trunnion walls, its not vertical.

4 The mag well is stamped crooked and then filed to fit. Chinese mags are tight, but even they hang a little to the left. Even the received bottom is a little crooked, so the romy vertical grip forend was visibly off to one side. The cleaning rod retainer on the back of the gas block, not the loop on the front, was also shaved, and very crooked. When I tried to straightened it I almost went through the metal which would force me to remove the sling loop. The gas block is crooked too, and I can tell where it was machined and it doesn't look symmetrical from left to right. Maybe it's just my barrel index adjustment, but I think the gas block contributes too, the tube is not parallel to the barrel and if it wasn't an ak it would not fire. You head about the 5.56 ak's having a bigger gas hole than needed, but if you watch the slow motion video of norinco vs romanian ak you see much more secondary recoil as the carrier SLAMS into the rear trunnion. Less recoil during firing, but more during cycling. The trigger was gritty as hell, and when cycling the action by hand there was a horrible grinding, not too loud but very unpleasant. The finish didn't match from part to part. The trunnion is parkerized?! Receiver looks great, but cover is scratchy and shiny outside while looking PERFECT inside. Can't figure that one out. Last but not by any means least, when a string some floss across the sights after setting them up to shoot straight, the string was nowhere near parallel to the barrel. So, the barrel HAS to be crooked. Oh yeah, and I think the barrel is not in the trunnion straight, but as someone said that should not matter since the sights are both on the barrel. Replacing with polytech barrel is a ton of work and not worth it.

So I have seen another 94 in the store, and guess what. Same mag well problem, same exact position of the front site adjusted all the way left, and let me tell you, every ak I bought with the site off was that way cuz that's how it shoots straight. Ppl don't set it up crooked before selling it for fun of losing money. I bought mak 90 because I wanted a cheap backup for my arsenal that was rugged but cheap and used a foreign received or thicker received. This one was thicker and foreigh - I was souped. The reason so many people buy them is THEY ARE CHEAP.

The preban ones - too expensive - you can buy a kit and have it custom built into the most beautiful machine for that money, or but a arsenal. I have one and... what a treat. They made us barrels before the barrel ban just to make them better. They DO cost an arm and a leg, but not as much as norinco. And even pre-ban norincos have the shiny-scratchy dust covers.

5. The mak 90 and norincos in general as NOT akm's. Some features, such as the bayonet lug (not the whole block), BASIC receiver design, re-designed recoil spring asembly, redesigned piston (most ppl won't know what I mean because milled ak's in the us all have the newer pistol without the fluting around the outside), and, well, that's all I can think of, are akm style. Everything else is ak47. Barrel, sight, gas block, barrel thickness, tang length (hence trouble fitting stock, to add to the width difference problem), dust cover, trigger group, stock angle, lower handguard mounting portion, gas vents on tube itself instead of gas block, furniture visual design, etc are all ak-47. It looks like an ak47 with a akm-sort received jury rigged in place and even then, lots of geometry (dimples) are missing from the stamping; river pattern of rpk (frontmost river at bottom instead of top, one river instead of two per side of trigger guard, etc.

6. A former russian soldier of some kind (and I know he was russian cuz I am told me that chinese barrels start as a pipe while everyone else's start as bar stock. So while chinese is thicker than russian and my arsenal is thinner, the arsenal is way more accurate. If you know how a pipe is formed, it's a very violent process with a lot of metal deformation, trapping a lot of stress unless it's annealed and treated.

The one I saw in the store seemed to have all these same things wrong with it.

kishkovich@gmail.com

Polytechs are supposed to be exact copies of milled US ak47's, and I am sure they are much better rifles, then - is the barrel screwed or pinned? Most milled ak's I have seen here are pinned. In russia they were threaded. But hey, still beats the arsenal classic, which has a finish and wood with such contrast and so way off compared to russian my grandfather from the red army didn't recognize it.



SIDE NOTE
If you buy an older norinco, with remnants of the spike bayonet mount as part of front site base, it WILL have threads that were turned and then removed or turned off, but you can still thread it for ar-15 size threads I THINK. There is either enough or almost just enough room to do this right. I was gonna do this assuming there were not 14 mm at the end from listening to ppl on forums without looking myself. Not every know it all knows it all.


WANNA BUY IT?
My mak 90 was the biggest piece of crap ever. And all I did trying to fix it is ruin the finish. I got hammer marks on the barrel, while not too obvious, and front sight (bulgarian with cleaning rod catch) looks kinda like crap. I welded on a bayo lug I fabricated, but broke it off in testing. Still the gun has NEVER had any kind of failure on me, and all cosmetic damage excent one tiny ding at the tippity top of the trinnion where it overlaps the read sight base, is all on the barrel. The receiver looks gread. THe mags go in fine. Chinese do not wobble, and euro mags will wobble on any chinese ak. I had red star arms trigger (may want to keep), same brand piston prof. installed, kvar grip (not as great looking as in the pictures, may want to exchange for matte finish they will do it, slant brake, muzzle threads, bulgarian plum forend, combo of wooden refinished to be darker original forend with a ventillated steel handguard (welded on) with correct vent holes on tube, which really is rare, romy folding stock with stripped screw, but sits well and is seated all the way so it looks great and a matching plum stock if you don't like the folder. The complete plum set looks so damn good you'll never even notice what kind of ak it is, never mind what's cosmetically wrong. Can send pictures if intested. Grittyness broken in, but have had less than 500 rounds through it. everything clean but piston end which never really comes clean. Great receiver for polytech barrel retrofit. I make it sound worse than it is, I just wanted ppl to know the facts. And unless you do the work yourself, pressing, headspacing, releiving for exctactor, and cutting the gas port plus barrel cost plus gun is barely worth it, even if cheaper than pre-ban, you still have 'thread' marks down the whole barrel. If I keep it I will sand blast and re-blue it. I know where for just thirty bucks. The chrome looks great and reaches the very back and ourside the chamber unline the euro. The gun really is rock solid and feels much more so than euro ones.

casktcrw@yahoo.com

PS. don't buy russian, the whole extra rivet is due to the fact the it's missing the part of the feed ramp that rises to the left (well, they didn't have a feed ramp at first, that's really why) assymetrically, and has a camming surface to close the bolt. Apparently, it's cammed in two places, not just in the carrier slot. I am CERTAIN this will wear out faster, and things are thinned out like the 74 because they are for export and civilian only. quite different from military model, and even that.... let's just say I hear "quality control disappeared with the soviet union" in russia. And I even heard they used metal injection molded parts. No thanks.
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Old June 14, 2011, 10:04 PM   #13
chasehav2014
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I have one too mine is from the 90's and it is not threaded it is just grooves on the barrel.
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