WASR-series rifles

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WASR-10 GP
WASR-10 with thumbhole stock displayed over many pistols, knives and a military helmet

The Wassenaar Arrangement Semiautomatic Rifles (more commonly referred to as the WASR-series rifles) are manufactured in Romania by the long established Cugir Arms Factory as result of a collaboration between Century International Arms and Cugir.[1] According to Century Arms, an American company who imports and modifies the WASR, they are semi-automatic only, single stack variants generally based on the Romanian Model 63, Pistol Mitralieră model 1963/1965 (PM md. 63), and GP 75 AKM rifles Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy (AKM) series of Kalashnikov rifles originally manufactured in Russia. Century decided to import the WASR to meet U.S. demand for AK style firearms. U.S. federal code 18 USC 922R stipulates that 10 major components of a firearm categorized by federal law as a “semi-automatic assault weapon” had to be manufactured in the U.S.[2] The WASR-series rifles take their name from the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement,[citation needed] a multilateral export control regime (MECR), the purpose of which is to monitor and limit the proliferation of certain conventional weapons and dual-use technologies.

The WASR-series rifles use a Romanian-made receiver, but lack the dimple (used to center the magazine) above the magazine well seen in the other AK series of rifles. Instead WASR's use internally riveted spacer plates to center the magazine. The arrangements of the rivets on the receiver are also different than many other AK derivatives. There are no known clones of the WASR series to date. The lack of dimple and rivet layout allow for positive ID in the many different stock configurations.[3][4]

Construction[edit]

Gp wasr-10 63 Field Stripped

WASR-series rifles are manufactured with stamped sheet metal receivers that were originally intended for single-stack magazines. Featuring hard chrome-lined barrels, side-mount scope rail and wooden stocks, WASR-series rifles are commonly imported to the United States by Century International Arms.

In Romania the rifles are manufactured to conform with certain United States firearms regulations including Title 18, Chapter 44, of the United States Code, which defines laws for manufacturing and importing firearms such as semi-automatic only fire.[5] Century Arms modifies the weapon with upgraded fire control groups (i.e. trigger), pistol grips, and plastic folding or collapsible stocks manufactured by TAPCO of Georgia.

Older WASR-series rifles commonly caused trigger slap, which is caused by the bolt slamming backward into the trigger assembly and causing significant pain to the shooter's trigger finger.[6] Beginning in 2007, Century International Arms has installed the TAPCO Intrafuse AK G2 trigger group, eliminating the painful trigger slap problem.[7] Rifles with this trigger group will have "TAPCO USA G2" stamped on the left side of the trigger. Some of these rifles may exhibit canted front sight blocks and gas tubes.[8]

WASR-series rifles are inexpensive and easily customized, with hundreds of aftermarket stocks, muzzle brakes, flash suppressors, telescopic sights, and other accessories available.

GP WASR-10/63 customized with aftermarket parts

WASR-10 and variants[edit]

Century Arms WASR-10 with "single stack" magazine

The WASR-10 is a post-ban version of the AKM rifle in 7.62×39mm caliber. Factory-original rifles only support single-stack, low-capacity magazines (10-rounds), but are frequently modified by Century Arms to accept double-stack, standard-capacity magazines (thirty rounds or more). Pistol grip and thumbhole stocks are both commonly found.

GP WASR-10[edit]

After the sunset of the 1994 assault weapons ban, importers were able to legally equip WASR-10s with compensators, bayonet lugs, and folding stocks, thus making the GP WASR-10 (with GP standing for general purpose). The machining burrs on the magazine will cause some magazines to fit tightly if the burrs are not removed. This can easily be accomplished with any standard rotary tool, such as a Dremel. Some advantages of this rifle are the reliability and availability of aftermarket parts.[9]

WASR-22[edit]

The WASR-22 fires the .22 long rifle cartridge. They are designed as trainers or starter AKs. They usually ship with two 10-round magazines. There are reports of jams caused by the smaller shell casing lodging in the receiver cover and blocking the action. Most people switch the top cover with a military one or adjust the extractor spring tension under the bolt assembly.

WASR-2[edit]

The WASR-2 is essentially a WASR-10 chambered in 5.45×39mm, and usually does not come with any accessories (muzzle brake, bayonet), especially if it is ordered straight from Century Arms.[10]

WASR-3[edit]

This commercial export version of the WASR is chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO (which can also safely fire the .223 Remington round). It usually comes in the same configuration as the WASR-2. These have known problems with jamming or failure to feed. This may be due to low quality magazines, or their followers. The WASR-3 was originally supplied with surplus 5.45×39mm AK-74 magazines, which do not reliably feed the 5.56/.223 cartridge. People have used Wieger magazines with some success. Century Arms eventually began including Romanian copies of the reliable Wieger magazine with these rifles. Some switch the follower of an AK-74 magazine with one from Robinson arms.[11] Israeli Galil steel magazines are also known to work without modification in the WASR-3. Some owners have also modified the rifle to accept Bulgarian Circle-10 5.56 magazines, or Polish Beryl 5.56 magazines. These sometimes require some material to be removed from the receiver center support bar.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]