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Old February 24, 2000, 07:39 PM   #1
Join Date: February 13, 2000
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Does anyone own or have any first hand experience with the Bulgarian Makarovs that are showing up on the market these days? Are they built from a good grade of steel? They look kind of cheeeezie and I don't want to make a mistake in buying one. Also, isn't the 380 round harder hitting than the 9x18?
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Old February 24, 2000, 07:43 PM   #2
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Check the archives. Lots of buzz about Bulgie Maks here recently. Also check out

So many pistols, so little money.
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Old February 24, 2000, 07:50 PM   #3
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No the 9x18 is more powerful than the (.380. 9mm Kurtz, 9x17). But the .380 has far more performance hollow point rounds available than the Russian round. I have a Russian Makarov .380 13 shot magazine model, and I too think it looks cheesy when compared my West German PPKs..7th

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Old February 24, 2000, 08:05 PM   #4
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If you want a beautiful Mak get an East German one. They've got the best fit and finish of all the Maks.

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Old February 24, 2000, 08:11 PM   #5
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I just this evening handled a makarov from e. germany, and its superp--the others Ive seen are quite crude in comparison. The e. german maks "are supposed" to have been made by Walther, the one I checked out was finely finished....fubsy.
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Old February 25, 2000, 09:06 AM   #6
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I have a Bulgarian police model and it
is superb. I wanted a cheap pistol to carry
in my vehicle and the mak fits the bill
perfectly. I don't know about the commercial
models, but the police models are very good.
Hornady makes a very nice HP round for the
mak also.

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"Stay alive with a 45"
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Old February 25, 2000, 09:09 AM   #7
Chad Young
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On all Makarovs, the fit and finish can vary, so look them over carefully before buying. From best to worst, here are the major makarov makes:

Best - East German - Fit and finish are excellent. Trigger is still long and heavy, but the accuracy will surprise you! If you find one, buy it and keep it.

Next - Bulgarian - there are a couple of makes. I have one from Arsenal and it shoots very, very well and the blue finish is superb. These are not as nice as the E German ones and some makes are downright bad, so look them over carefully.

Russian - These are usually made by Baikal under the designation IJ70. Some have 10 or even 13 round mag versions. My experience suggests the 8-round ones are superior. These are rough and porrly finished, but have adjustable rear sights.

Chinese - Gun Tests magazine hated these. They are made badly and are not reliable.

With all Makarovs, remember a few things:
1. Their DA pull is very long and stiff. These are military guns, not match pistols
2. They will require about 200 rounds of FMJ to break in properly.
3. Do not over lubricate. I run mine nearly dry.
4. As for caliber - 9x18 - cheap, but fewer good hollowpoints. I like the CCI gold dots and Hornaday XTPs. .380 - many good hollowpoints to choose from. Easier to find ammo. I am told they are less accurate, though.

Hope this helps!

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Old February 25, 2000, 01:00 PM   #8
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Chad Young,
Im not a big makarov fan but I hve to tell ya that the one from e. Germany I handled yesterday, had a very good trigger out of the box....absolutely none of the grittyness, and was reasonably smooth, and not all that heavy....fubsy.
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Old February 25, 2000, 10:12 PM   #9
Doug in VA
Join Date: February 11, 2000
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Around 1000 rounds down the pipe of my Bulgarian Mak. Very rugged weapon. Recoil is sharp considering the load. As previously mentioned, accuracy is better than the retail price would suggest. Replace the factory grips with after-market options. Easy to carry concealed (with after-market grips). I have had some feeding problems that still has me wanting to upgrade to a Glock 19 with the heaviest of the three triggers. EASY to field strip and clean.

Overall impression: Better than alot of other "name brand" pistols priced in the $300 range ...but it's no Glock or Sig
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Old February 26, 2000, 03:07 AM   #10
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Hammy, I have a commercial Bulgarian Makarov and am very happy with it thus far. On some Russian and other East European guys have stated that the military Maks have a better fit and finish then the commercial stuff. So if you have a chance to grab an "unissued" Bulgarian do so. The price is right too! There exists another version of the Makarov that can rival the East German in fit and finish. The "Simson-Suhl" Makarovs were made after the fall of the Wall from left over parts in the former E. Germany. These are very rare (only about 700 reported made so far) and may be the cream of the crop. The original bakelite grip is reported to print less than the after market stuff if you plan on carrying your Mak.HTH.-Gregg
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Old February 26, 2000, 11:16 PM   #11
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Beg to differ. The Bulgarian Makorov is the last thing from "cheesy." Mine is a tack-driver and very well made, very well blued. Don't buy into all the chi'chi's. The red bakelite grips are awesome. For almost fifty years this weapon has served well its primary purpose. Shoot as is or '-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-' your pistol with Makawraps, Pierce and other foo-foo add-ons (hey, isn't that what the industry is all about??). The best pistol to hit the markets in a long, long time. My vote: wipe off the cosmoline, load up original TCW ammo and make little bitty holes all day long. Feeling insecure?? Pretend you are a rocket scientist and "re-invent" what greater minds than yours already accomplished....It's no Sig or Glock?? Yes, Sir. Outshoots my Glock 32 by far. Cheers, Cryoman.
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Old February 27, 2000, 12:24 AM   #12
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I just ordered an E. German from SOG last week. I still haven't recieved it yet, Still waiting. I ordered the 9x18 ammo for it right of way. I figured I got a pretty good price for it. I hope this gun is as good as it is being talked about. I haven't checked or really looked but is there commercial grade 9x18 ammo available for these, Hollow points, hydra shoks and such? All the other MAKS I looked at I was never to impressed I hope this one is the best.
I purchased for a cheap shooter and a collector piece, If I don't like I'll either sell it or it will find a permanent home in the safe.

Happy Shooting

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Old February 27, 2000, 08:41 AM   #13
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I'm with you on this one. My mil surplus Bulgie is a great gun, at an awesome price (even though I did "fo-fo" it with a set of Pierce grips). These guns are far from "Cheesy". They are well designed, solid, military side arms, that have been proven by close to 50 years of use by former Eastern Block militaries, police, and the KGB.

You're also right about the ammo. If you want to shoot this gun, as it was meant to be shot, you have to load up with 109 gr. TCW or Wolf (same thing). I once fired a box of American Eagle through it, and it just wasn't the same (ammo felt "wimpy", and was no where near as accurate).

Get them while you still can!

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Old February 27, 2000, 12:00 PM   #14
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I've got a Russian Makarov (9x18) that I wouldn't trade for (almost) anything. It's reliable and accurate, and I got it new for a song. I have yet to have any FTF with this pistol, although I have had a few instances of the slide failing to lock after the last round, but I believe this is due to a magazine fault.

I'll be getting at least one more Makarov in the future, and it'll probably be a Bulgarian model. These guns would be great to (safely, please) stash in different areas around the homestead (one near the front door, one near the back door, one in the bedroom, one in the garage, one under a car seat, one in the trunk, etc.), and they're priced so you can do it without breaking the bank.

One thing to remember about these guns is that they are not civilian pistols. I know that after shooting a couple/three boxes of ammo I can feel the Makarov's recoil in my wrist more than other pistols, but they are still damned fine guns. There are many more ergonomically correct pistols out there, but you are going to pay a lot more for them.

Come to think of it, I'll probably buy two more Makarovs this year: one more for myself, and one for my best friend.

Sorry I can't help you more in your quest for info. on Bulgarian Makarovs. But, if Bulg. Maks. are anywhere near as reliable as Russian Maks., you should be happy with one.

Reading "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal," by Ayn Rand, should be required of every politician and in every high school.

[This message has been edited by DAL (edited February 27, 2000).]
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