When it comes to modularity and the ease of customization, no rifle on the market beats the AR platform. There’s a reason why it’s referred to as “the Barbie doll for grownups.” That flexibility has made it the dominant platform for a semi-automatic rifle in the US. When done well, it can also be accurate, reliable, easy and quick to use.
But in much of the rest of the world, the AK47, or more likely its slightly younger sibling the AKM47, with its stamped metal receiver, is the weapon of choice. That’s partially because of its low cost and simplicity of use. Of course, its
mythical legendary reliability certainly plays a big part in its popularity.
What the AK also has, and what people around the world, including plenty right here in the home of the brave have taken a liking to, is the 7.62×39 cartridge. It’s a do-it-all workhorse of an intermediate round, and with decades of government-sponsored manufacturing. It’s dirt cheap too.
With their Mk47 AKR2 rifle, CMMG seeks to give the shooter the best of both worlds. CMMG started with a good design and committed to quality materials. They’ve built a great AR platform rifle specifically designed to shoot steel-cased surplus 7.62X39 cartridge from standard AK47 magazines.
CMMG ships the Mk47 with some above-the-basics furniture, to include a Magpul MOE pistol grip and CTR stock. I dig the MOE pistol grip. It gives me good purchase on the gun, and the hollow compartment built into it is a great place to stow earplugs and a hex key.
But beware, my bearded brothers. Just like all CTR stocks, this one will rip the hairs from your beards. Ask me how I know.
Completing the all-Magpul-all-the-time theme is the 30-round standard magazine the rifle ships with, as well as an MLOK hand guard.
That hand guard is CMMG’s RML15 MLOK, sporting 270 degrees of attachment space along it’s length, as well as the standard Picatinny rail up top. On a traditional AK/AKM, accessorizing has often been a problem. There are aftermarket fore-ends to fix that problem, but on the AK, that’s a bit harder than on the AR platform. The Mk47 solves this entirely, giving you tons of real estate to hang whatever you’d like off the rifle. Tactical Vodka Dispenser? Da, pozhaluista.
Befitting a high quality rifle, the trigger is a vast upgrade from any “Mil-Spec” AK or AR pattern rifle. CMMG includes the Geissele Automatics SSA two-stage trigger standard in the Mk47. This trigger has been around for more than a couple years now, and for good reason. It has a proven track record of incredible resiliency combined with a great feel, clean break, and rapid reset. People have a lot of individual preferences about their triggers, but it’s awfully hard to go wrong with this one.
The 16″ medium taper stainless barrel ends in CMMG’s SV muzzle brake. CMMG describes this simply as “a very effective muzzle brake.” You have to appreciate simplicity, as well as truth in advertising.
The brake does, in fact, do a very good job at turning what would have been muzzle rise into noise. I believe the correct term is #louderthangod. That said, especially paired with that heavier profile barrel, muzzle rise is extremely limited indeed. If your goal is a lighting fast Mozambique drill with a 7.62X39 round, I would find it difficult to believe there’s a much better combination out there.
If you have a better combination in mind, be sure the barrel is of higher-than-usual quality, with a concentric bore not always found on surplus AKM rifles. So if you wanted to get the brake off, the flats in the design make it a simple wrench-turn away. You can feel free to put an appropriately-sized suppressor on the end of the barrel, without the fear of an end-cap strike poorer quality COMBLOC barrels are known to deliver.
Everything but the ejection port on the MK47 is ambidextrous. The lower includes an ambidextrous safety lever, but also, as an AK magazine would necessitate, a paddle-style magazine release.
The release on the CMMG Mk47 is as perfect as any I’ve ever seen. It’s easy and intuitive to get to, no matter how you get to it. Simply reach up with either hand and your thumb will quickly find the release. Or, if you want to stay straight Gropnik gansta, rake that empty magazine out with a fresh one, ala Travis Haley.
But now, my AK aficionados, we clearly have a problem. One of the most common ways to reload the AK platform in a hurry is to load that fresh magazine with the left hand, and then continue with that left hand reaching around the magazine to push the charging handle back, chambering a new round. This is certainly what I’ve found to be the fastest, most consistent way to get the platform gassed up.
Those of you unfamiliar with the AK platform are thinking, “just insert the fresh mag and hit the bolt release, bruh.” Well, there is no bolt release on an AK. Traditionally, the bolt doesn’t lock back on an empty magazine. You have to work the charging handle with every magazine.
It’s the same way with the CMMG Mk47. There is no bolt release, no bolt hold-open. Unfortunately, there’s also no bolt handle on the side of the gun. Instead, CMMG has chosen to go with a large, ambidextrous charging handle in the normal AR15/AR10 location, at the rear of the receiver.
That will be more familiar to AR shooters, but it’s not the best way to reload the gun. As it is, the best option to get the gun back into the fight is to continue to hold the rifle with your firing hand, and then simply pull back, palm facing you, grab the charging handle, pull and release. It’s pretty fast, but it’s not as fast as a traditional AR or a traditional AK. In this instance, it’s the worst of both worlds.
See that take-down pin? That take-down pin is a great thing. It’s a little thing, but the little things on a rifle at this price point count. The Mk47 receiver set is a tight fit, and those pins, with plenty of space to get to them and a divot in the center, make separating the gun for maintenance and cleaning a breeze. Much appreciated.
The Mk47 isn’t based on an AR15 frame, but instead CMMG’s Mk3 .308 platform. There are obvious differences in size, but in materials as well, according to their online documentation.
The Mk3 is a billet 6061 T6 Aluminum set, where as the Mk47 is listed as a billet 7075-T6 Aluminum set. What’s the difference? The 7076 T-6 has a significantly higher tensile strength as well as yield strength, making it a preferred alloy for most high quality AR manufacturers.
You’ll note that, with identical furniture and an identical barrel length and profile, the Mk47 is half a pound heavier than CMMGs AR-15 and a pound and a half lighter than the similar .308s. That little bit of extra weight balances extremely well in this gun, and helps to mitigate recoil.
The Mk47 also comes in about half a pound lighter than the original “standard” Soviet build AKMs as well as most modern clones. The Mk47 admirably walks the tightrope of fast handling with light recoil. It comes to the shoulder fast, gets that first round out quickly, and starts — and more importantly, stops — with ease. It’s a fun gun to run, as long as your ear pro is up to snuff.
The internals are of higher quality, too. The AR-10-sized bolt carrier group is chrome-lined and phosphate coated. The bolt isn’t the MIL-STD Carpenter 158 steel, but AISI 9310 instead. I’m a believer in going beyond “mil-spec” whenever possible, and 9310 is a slightly better steel for impact resistance than the 158, if heat treated correctly.
If you’ve heard that this heat treatment is rarely done right, don’t believe it. There are great, high quality heat treatment services in this country that produce an absolutely stellar product in both large and small batches. When I get to pick, I definitely pick 9310, as CMMG did for this gun.
Again, the bolt carrier group isn’t the smaller AR-15-style, but the large AR-10-sized bolt that’s usually found in CMMG’s Mk3 .308 Win caliber rifles. The larger BCG helps soak up recoil, and will almost certainly add a great deal of longevity to the rifle.
Note that big bolt houses an appropriately large extractor, in this case made of hardened S7 tool steel. One of the issues in running the surplus steel-case ammunition through most AR-15s is that steel is it’s rough on extractors. But here, the larger mass and upgraded extractor material should mean tens of thousands more rounds of hard, trouble-free use.
For those of you paying attention, this is obvious not an AK-style long-stroke piston gun. It’s not even an AR style piston driven gun. The Mk47 hosts a simple, direct impingement AR style action.
I know, I was surprised as well. What makes an AK/AKM is indeed that piston. Keeping all that fouling and debris away from the chamber is one of the key features, if not the key feature of an AK47, and certainly what gives the rifle platform its reputation for reliability.
The Mk47 ain’t that. It’s not an AK. It’s essentially an AR, built to run off 7.62×39 ammo and to accept standard AK47 magazines. It works like an AR, it feels like an AR, it has the same recoil impulse as an AR. And it gets just as dirty as an AR.
It’s up to you to decide if you think that piston is actually important. When it comes to reliability, I’ve seen no difference between the quality ARs and the quality AKs I’ve run. On the other hand, I’ve seen old, poorly maintained AKs run just fine. Not accurately, mind you, but they do seem to still spit rounds out of the barrel. I can’t say the same for old, poorly maintained ARs.
Overall, this gun was definitely built — maybe overbuilt — to last and keep on shooting. But, at least in my case, it didn’t start out that way. I had a fair amount of trouble with this rifle in the beginning. As usual, prior to shooting it, I generously lubed it with Rogue American Apparel’s gun lube. After inserting a loaded magazine, I pulled back the charging handle and released it. The bolt didn’t go fully into battery.
Unlike a traditional AR, there’s no forward assist on this rifle. There is a forward assist on the traditional AK…it’s the palm of your hand.
With no forward assist and no feature to lock the bolt to the rear, I simply pulled back the charging handle and released it again, ejecting a round. It failed to fully load again. At that point, I dropped the magazine and sprayed more lube into the chamber and then ran the charging handle a bunch of times until the bolt appeared to lock in place.
I reinserted a magazine, charged the rifle again, and pulled the trigger. The first round went off, but the bolt didn’t fully return to battery. I went through the process again. The next round fired, the bolt locked home. At least it appeared to. In fact, it must have just barely not been completely closed, because when I pulled the trigger, nothing happened.
An inspection of the round indicated a light primer strike. This problem, one round firing, the next being a light primer strike, continued to plague me for the first three full magazines and a little into the fourth. And then…everything started working just fine.
After that break-in period, I had no issues with the rifle whatsoever, with any round. I used ammunition made by TulAmmo, Wolf, Fiocci and my own hand loads. I fired bullets that ranged from FMJ, HP, Hornady SST and Barnes TSX HPs. Once I got through the first exhausting 100 rounds, I had no problems firing, loading, ejecting…absolutely nothing went wrong for the next 500 rounds of testing.
I also got to try several different magazines with the rifle. I tried the few waffle-style magazines I have, as well as MagPul mags like the one provided by CMMG, and the only oddball I have, a Bulgarian magazine that makes the bolt hold open on an empty. They all ran just fine, and the Bulgarian magazine successfully held the bolt open on the Mk47. That particular magazine doesn’t fit in all of my other AK pattern rifles, so it was nice to see that it ran on the CMMG gun.
The accuracy of the Mk47 is the most impressive thing about the rifle. I often hear that the 7.62×39 is inherently inaccurate, or that the AKM47 just isn’t an accurate firearm. More accurately, some 7.62×39 ammunition is inaccurate. The biggest problem with the ammunition is that there seems to be very little consistency. I’ll often see ammunition that prints 1.5 MOA in my AKs, and then some that prints 3 MOA the same gun. Sometimes from the exact same manufacturer.
The Mk47 will shoot the poor stuff OK and the good stuff really great. With the surplus Wolf 122gr FMJ CMMG supplied for this review, I averaged 1.6″ five-round groups at 100 yards for four groups, shooting off a Caldwell Stinger Shooting rest with an 12X Atibal Nomad scope. That’s good for modern AR quality shooting surplus ammo. But using the 123gr TulAmmo I had laying around, I achieved an average of 1.1″ under the exact same conditions. My own hand loads, shooting a 123gr SST averaged 1.2″ were slightly worse than the TulAmmo surplus rounds.
So even with the worst round, the CMMG Mk47 is still able to keep it inside an 8″ circle at 500 yards. At that distance, the round is generating about as much energy as a .45ACP from a government 1911 does at 75 yards. In other words, this rifle is accurate beyond the reasonable ballistic expectations of the cartridge itself.
It’s reliable, it’s accurate and it’s easy to use. But if you came looking for an AK47 with AR ergonomics and modularity, look somewhere else. The Mk47 isn’t that. It’s an AR, built to fire the 7.63×39 round out of traditional AK magazines.
That seems like a pretty narrow market. That small customer base, along with high quality components, and the one-off design of this rifle certainly drive up the cost.
But if that’s the kind of rifle you’re looking for, this is definitely the rifle you are looking for. Kudos to CMMG for taking on that engineering challenge, as well as sticking to a high-quality build.
Specifications: CMMG Mk47 AKR2 in 7.62x39mm Rifle
BARREL: 16.1” 1:10 MEDIUM TAPER 4140 SBN BARREL
MUZZLE: SV MUZZLE BRAKE, THREADED 5/8-24
HAND GUARD: CMMG RML15
FURNITURE: MAGPUL MOE PISTOL GRIP, MAGPUL CTR BUTTSTOCK, AMBI SAFETY, AMBI CHARGING HANDLE
RECEIVERS: BILLET 7075-T6 AL, CMMG Mid-Size Platform
TRIGGER: GEISSELE AUTOMATICS SSA
WEIGHT: 7.2 LBS (UNLOADED)
LENGTH: 33.5” (STOCK COLLAPSED)
GAS PORT LOCATION: CARBINE
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * *
Basic black, done well. FN ruined what would have been four stars for a lot of rifles, as their basic service rifle’s finish is done so well. This meets that standard. For a little more money, you can Cerakote the gun to your needs.
Customization * * * * 1/2
Other than the easy caliber changes inherent in other ARs, this gun allows you to modify or “improve” on the rifle with ease.
Reliability * * * *
After the break-in period, this gun runs exactly like everyone imagines an AK should.
Accuracy * * * *
It doesn’t get past the 1 MOA mark with any round, so no five stars. But with even poor quality surplus rounds, you can get to almost 1 MOA with this rifle.
Overall * * * *
For a rifle designed to shoot a cheap round, CMMG didn’t skimp in building the Mk47 AKR2. Good furniture, a great barrel, and a quality finish provides the user with the ability to launch 7.62x39mm rounds out of traditional magazines with precision and reliability. I only hope your first hundred rounds are better than mine.