5 Reasons for the AK’s Legendary Reliability


Since the untimely passing of our friend, Kevin  AKA Weaponsman, we will be running  “the best of weaponsman.com” in his memory.


5 Reasons for the AK’s Legendary Reliability

AK-47The Avtomat Kalashnikova obrazets 1974g and its successors have an enviable reputation for reliability, especially under adverse conditions. There are a number of reasons for this, and we’ll go into them in some depth here. First, though, let’s say what is not a cause:

  • It’s not because of blind luck.
  • It’s not because the weapon is orders of magnitude better than its worldwide competitors. Indeed, by the end of WWII a very high standard of reliability had come to be expected, and weapons that did not meet this standard were mercilessly eliminated, like the Johnson M1941 and the Tokarev SVT.
  • Mikhail KalashikovIt’s not because Kalashnikov the man had genius that was lacking in other men. His competitors in the field, from Browning, to the Mauser-werke engineers of the 1940s to Stoner, were certainly men of genius as well. (Heck, so were Tokarev and Johnson). He’d have been the first to tell you he was just a thinking engineer.
  • It’s not because of breakthroughs. Almost every feature of the AK is recycled from somewhere else. What Kalashnikov did was synthesize them in a new way.

The Kalashnikov rifle is not, in fact, a universally superior design. Compared to its worldwide competitors (the FN SAFN and FAL, the CETME and G3, the M14 and M16 series, to name the most important), it is less accurate, less flexible/adaptable, and less ergonomic than every other. It offers less practical range than any other; and at the other extreme of range, it is the worst bayonet handle. It weighs more than some, has the heaviest magazines by far, and has an inferior weight-to-firepower ratio to most. It is inaccurate from the shoulder in full-automatic fire, yet it is designed to be fired, preferentially, on full automatic.

The strengths of the AK have overcome these deficiencies to make it incredibly common worldwide. Those strengths, compared to its competitors, include a somewhat lighter weight of ammunition, a larger standard magazine, great simplicity of operation and ease of manufacture, and that vaunted reliability, perhaps its most salient characteristic.

Design features of the AK which contribute to its reliability include:

1. Simplicity

The AK is almost as simple as a hammer. It is simple to build and manufacture (we’ll go into some specifics below). It uses no space-age materials, not even any aeronautical technology, just 19th-Century steel and iron and wood. (Much later, Kalashnikovs would have composite magazines and composite furniture. The US put composite stocks on BARs by 1944, and had them ready for the M1 and M14 in the 1950s, but an AK would not have a composite stock in its home nation for another forty years). There is no advanced machinery needed to produce an AK — indeed, one can be built (and they have been built) with hand tools and no precision measuring equipment, not even a micrometer. The rifle itself has no parts that cannot be filed, ground or machined from steel, or hammered from sheet metal, or riveted or welded from parts made this way. Most auto repair shops have the tools needed to build an AK, apart from rifling the barrel; the necessary materials are in the same shop’s scrap pile.

The AK’s operating system is simple and proven, a long-stroke gas piston system and a rotating bolt. Unlike the dainty bolt of the AR system (lifted itself from the M1941 Johnson) with its 7 precision locking lugs (and one false lug on the extractor), the AK bolt has two locking lugs, oversized, overstrong, and remarkably tolerant of undersized contact patches with the locking recesses of the trunnion. (Factory AKs have wide disparities here, especially those made by some of the more slipshod non-Russian, non-Chinese factories. The guns all seem to headspace correctly, operate normally, and fire reliably).

The AK does have one part that is a highly complex weldment: the magazine. The magazine and the feed path in general is very simple, straightforward, and repeatable, which is why the mag clearly got a lot of engineering hours. Gun designer David Findlay, who’s worked at Remington, Marlin, H&R 1871, and Smith & Wesson, says**:

Feed-system design, though, is one of the most important aspects of any weapons performance. A great deal of testing must be done to ensure good performance. Small variations and subtleties in magazine dimensions can have enormous impact on gun reliability and function.

Findlay wrote these words in explaining the engineering of the feed path of the Thompson Submachine Gun, but they’re generally applicable, and go a long way to explaining why Mikhail Kalashnikov lavished so much care on the magazine design. The fact that the receiver of the AK has received many modifications, but that the only change to the magazine is in reinforcing ribs and later magazine-body materials seems to hint he got it right.

An old engineer’s quip is that the designer’s objective is to “simplicate and add lightness.” (This has been attributed, among others, to automotive engineer Colin Chapman and aerospace engineer Burt Rutan). Mikhail Kalashnikov started off by “simplicating” most of the potential for trouble out of his design. (He didn’t make “adding lightness” a priority).

2. Environmental protection

Every designer has long known that foreign matter — mud, dust, and what have you — are the bitter enemies of reliable function in the short term, and that corrosion, rust, is the long-term destroyer of gun reliability. If you examine an AK you will see that it’s hard for foreign matter to intrude into, say, a dropped rifle. The safety, modeled loosely on that of the Remington Model 8 (a Browning design), does double duty in sealing the gap between the receiver and the nonstructural receiver cover. In operation, the charging handle, which is part of the bolt carrier, reciprocates in the open slot that the safety/selector seals shut. That seal and the lack of other large entrees into the receiver keep the interior clean.

Unlike Browning or Stoner, Kalashnikov was limited by the Soviet industrial base; he couldn’t call out exotic materials or sophisticated protective treatments, so early AKs were all steel and rust blued, an attractive finish that was weak at preventing corrosion. Some critical parts, though, notably the gas port area, the gas piston, and the bore, received hard chrome plating, and the weapon is designed in such a way that rust or pitting on other parts just does not matter in terms of reliable function or accuracy. It’s not unusual to find AKs in the field with all kinds of surface rust and pitting on their exteriors, only to find that the vitals, protected by chrome plating, have held up, and the guns still shoot within the modest (and sufficient) standards of a new AK.

3. Lack of small, dainty (and fragile) parts

A field-stripped AK contains nothing you’ll need to grope for if you drop it in tall grass (or mud, or a stream) in the dark. The pieces are big and robust, deliberately so, and this philosophy extends to the internals.

heartbreak ridge AK47 2

Nothin’ dainty about it.

The story of the development of any weapon you care to name involves interesting (and sometimes distressing) breakages. The FN, for example, was prone to firing-pin failures (the answer, which took the experts of three countries to fix, was to reduce the hardness of the part, as measured on the Rockwell C scale, and to shot-peen its surfaces: problem solved). The very first AR-10 tested by the US government had a bullet emerge from the side of the barrel in testing, not exactly a confidence-builder. (They gave up on an AL alloy barrel with a steel liner, then, which neutralized the gun’s weight advantage over the extant M14). Indeed, the AR-10 had terrible problems well into its development and production, and the Portuguese were still solving problems with it during their colonial wars in the 1970s. Many of those same problems, and a set of new ones, struck during development and production of the M16. The AK presumably had problems with these, but because the information was closely held at the time, archives have not fully opened, and most of the principals passed on without leaving technical memoirs, we know about only a few of them (for example, the failure of the first model stamped receivers, which caused a change to a machined-from-billet receiver).

The internals, though, seem to have been robust from the very beginning. Kalashnikov’s point of departure was the Garand trigger group, which itself borrowed from Browning. (Stoner would choose that same point of departure). This is part of the brilliance of the design: he wasn’t inventing for the sheer joy of inventing, but to make something that worked. That means, where he didn’t have a way of doing it better than someone else, he borrowed happily.

Borrowing aside, the Kalashnikov’s departures from Garand practice (apart from those required to render the weapon selective-fire, and to improve the Garand’s sub-optimal safety) showed a lot of interest in making things sturdier. The hammer spring, for instance, is made of two wires coiled together, giving some small redundancy; it also does double-duty in the AK as the trigger return spring.

4. Minimal use of tight tolerances

There are some parts of a gun that absolutely must fight tightly to ensure accurate, safe, and yes, reliable operation. On the AK, almost all of those are permanently assembled at the factory (the barrel into the trunnion, for example). The trigger mechanism is designed with a lot of slop and play in it, which is why AKs have that typically very long, smooth trigger pull with a surprise let-off (SKSes are similar), but it isn’t that way to manage the trigger pull: it’s there so the mechanism will be positive and safe the first time and the 1,000,000th time.

The only moving parts with truly tight tolerances are the fit of the bolt lugs into the trunnion, which affects headspace. For safety and accuracy headspace has to be right on. But the non-bearing surfaces in the trunnion are opened up enough that dust and dirt has somewhere to pack into, other than interfere with the tight fight of bolt to trunnion. John Garand considered the wise use of tolerances key to the legendary reliability of the M1*. Like the AK, its only critical tolerances in the operating mechanism come from the interface of the lugs of the rotating bolt with the mating recesses of the receiver.

5. Use of very loose tolerances everywhere else

Garand deliberately eschewed the use of a bolt carrier in place of an operating rod. He considered the competing bolt carrier and tipping bolt design (as used in Tokarev, Simonov and FN rifles) more troublesome both in production and in service because they had more critical tolerances. While the AK uses a bolt carrier, its fit to the bolt and receiver is if anything even less critical and looser than Garand’s op-rod.

What Rayle (and Garand) thought of as an innate flaw in bolt-carrier vs, op-rod systems, the need for precision tolerances both on the locking/headspacing feature of the bolt and its receiver, and also on the interface of the bolt with the bolt carrier, turns out to be an innate flaw in the Browning (Tokarev, Simonov, Saive, Vervier, etc). tipping bolt. The AK’s bolt can interface with its carrier just as loosely as the M1s does with its operating rod, with no harm to the functioning of the rifle.

This is not to say that nothing on the AK is manufactured with precision. (That would be the STEN). The beauty of the AK, from an engineering design viewpoint, is that nothing is manufactured with unnecessary precision.

To Sum Up

aklgcolcopyThese things, taken together, suggest that the AK is narrowcast at its original role as a submachine gun replacement for the semi-literate peasant conscript army of a nation lacking depth in precision manufacturing. It was the perfect gun for the Red Army in World War II, even if it came a little too late. It was also, therefore, the perfect gun for the continuation Soviet Army.

Unlike the service rifles of the USA or Germany, or the first-generation battle rifles of the West in the 1950s, the AK was manufactured without an excess of precision which limited its adaptability as, say, a sniper rifle. (The AK’s then-unique use of an intermediate cartridge also did this). But it suited Soviet doctrine of mass attacks and mass fires well. Unlike the NATO rifleman, the Soviet soldier, although instructed in semiautomatic fire on ranges, was also extensively drilled in live-fire obstacle courses, and was expected to run them firing on full-automatic, from the hip. He was the heir of the submachine-gun battalions of the Battle of Berlin, and planned to fight the same way, as mechanized infantry guarding the flanks and securing the obstacle-ridden forests and towns to enable the great tank attack. Hence, the first click off safety on an AK is full-auto, contrary to every successful NATO selective-fire rifle.

The same adaptations, design decisions, and production practicality that made the AK a perfect replacement for Ivan’s retired PPSh submachine guns, made the AK a perfect weapon for terrorist groups, “national liberation” movements, and under-resourced armies of newly free colonies worldwide.

Like the Mauser before it, the AK is a universal gun. And like the Mauser, the AK will be with us until something better supplants it. And “better,” in this case, will be defined by history and by nations, not necessarily by gun experts.



* John Garand’s comments come from Rayle, Roy E. Random Shots: Episodes in the Life of a Weapons Designer. 

** Findlay, David S. Firearm Anatomy: Book I: The Thompson M1A1 Submachine Gun. p. 76. San Bernardino, CA, 2013: Findlay, David S.

This entry was posted in Foreign and Enemy Weapons, GunTech, Industry, Rifles and Carbines on by .

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF

The site owner is a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S), and you can expect any guest columnists to be similarly qualified.

Our focus is on weapons: their history, effects and employment. This is not your go-to place for gun laws or gun politics; other people have that covered.

Leupold MK8 CQBSS, the best rifle optic?

Is the CQBSS the ultimate rifle scope?  No, but it is damned awesome.

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Ever since the Leupold MK8 1-8X CQBSS came out, I have been reading people sing praises of it online.

So why would someone want something like the CQBSS?

The concept is to have a single optic with the speed of a reflex sight at low magnification and the clarity, tracking, and capabilities of a sniper scope for medium to longer ranges.  This flexibility of being able to quickly switch from 1X to 8X magnification to give you the option to use the magnification best suited for the distance your shooting.  It is nice to have an optic with the intent to be able to do room clearing out to 800m shots.

Now there are a couple main versions of this scope.  One style has a Horus reticle with a 5 MOA donut that is bright for use like a reflex sight.  This version is the most expensive, and you tend not to see anyone mention what the battery life is.  The other style does not have a daylight visible illumination, and is offered in the TMR, Mildot, and CMR-W reticles.  The scope referenced here is a TMR reticle MK8.

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At 1X magnification, the TMR reticle gives you a nice clean simple crosshair you can quickly get on target.

2016-07-03 11.32.42

At 8X magnification, you have Leupold TMR reticle allowing for ranging the target in mils and holding over necessary adjustments.  Note the range finding marks below the center of the crosshair for estimating range of man or vehicle at 700-1200m.

So why wouldn’t you want a CQBSS?  First is cost, list price runs from $3,899.99 to $4,939.99.  The second is that no matter how awesome it is, it is still only an 8X magnification scope.  Many people who might want to shoot groups or shoot out to longer ranges may find them selves wanting more magnification.

The CQBSS shows up what the future of scopes is going to look like.  Just as the low magnification optics like the ACOG feel right as home on the AR15, these variable optics just feel right on the growing number of semi auto .308 rifles.  However consider these the first generation of the future combat/battle rifle optics.

Leupold To Stop Selling MARK 4 Optics To Civilians By 2017

You probably or most likely saw this news some where online recently and no doubt full on melt down has started.  Grinding of teeth, threats of never buying a Leupold again and full on tinfoil hat claims.

All that aside, here is the official response from Leupold on the decision .


Beginning in January 2017 we will no longer be accepting commercial orders for the current Mark 4 line of riflescopes. This legendary optic is battle proven and is instrumental to global military and law enforcement efforts. As such, we will continue to support government entities for the foreseeable future. Due to consumer demand and the popularity of this line for competition, hunting and sport, the Mark 4 riflescopes will continue to be available to the commercial market throughout the remainder of 2016. Rest assured, significant product evolutions are underway in the Leupold Tactical line-up that will continue the Mark 4 legacy of rugged, reliable service. These exciting advancements will be available to all, and details will be released as they develop.”


So what does this mean?  Well, if you don’t buy Leupold MK4 tactical rifle optics. not much will change for you anyway.  For the rest of us,it means basically an upgraded optic line for civilian use as a replacement.   This kind of thing happens pretty often.  Sure they are using the “the military has to come first” dodge, but they are probably being honest. Leupold has never been a company that has a problem with icky civilians using their  “tactical ” optics.   They have done things like this before over the years in a slightly different manner. A recent example is the company stopping using the VARI-X-I, II, III etc line and going to the then new “VX- etc line.  Very little difference between the two lines but a name change was felt needed to mark the different small changes between them.

Life will go on. No one is trying to  deny you a “sniper scope” and seems to not have any effect on getting the MK 6  and MK8, which most of us couldn’t easily  afford anyhow.

I will miss the MK 4 availability myself though. It is the line of Leupold optics most used by myself and my very small circle of long range shooting friends here locally.  I have been using the MK 4 rings and optics for a very long time and feel they are superb.  Sure other brands are a bit better and cost a lot more, but there is very little you can not accomplish with the MK 4 line



Hipoint Pistol & Carbine An Open Minded Look

Normally these firearms are not the kind you would see on this website.  The review below came about after an extensive conversation with Hunter, the owner of www.rangehot.com, one night. I was talking to him about asking Inland Mfg. if I could send their recently reviewed M1911A1 straight to him, so he could test and write about it, instead of just sending straight back to them.  Hunter told me he had the two Hi-Points and how surprised he was about how accurate they are. He suggested  he should send them on to me.  I thought about it for a while and decided to give them a try, if for no other reason than to prove we are not total snobs here.


First I will talk about the carbine.  It is chambered in 45ACP and has a camo finish in the popular civilian, non-military style hunting pattern.  The magazine will work in both the carbine and pistol. The carbine has rails for attaching whatever you might want to attach to it.


You have one rail under the barrel, one rail under the hand guard and a rail on top of the hand guard, for attaching optics, using the common industry standard rail mounts.



The sights are adjustable, large and easy to see. You get the peep  rear sight and a front sight post. The rear peep sight is adjustable, with markings to keep track of adjustments and is protected by two “ears” or sight hood.



The front sight post is a pointed post and reminds me of the front sight of a Type 99 Arisaka. The sight is enclosed and protected. Though the circle in circle sights do not really add anything with the sight picture, I do like that the hood over the front sight. It is large and lets enough light in so you can actually see the thing in low light, unlike some classic much love military rifle sights. It provides protection, does not crowd the sight picture up or make it hard to see.  The rear sight is also very open, lets in light and is very fast to use/pick-up. It however does make precise shots with the iron sights a bit difficult. The carbine is clearly never meant to be your next match service rifle at Perry.

We took the gun out to the range with no oil or lube of any kind and fired a large amount of mid range to low quality ammo through it, to see how it preformed.  It worked fine.  Dirty Remington training ammo and CCI  aluminum cased cheap training ammo ran through it just as well as  the good stuff.  One magazine did give us some problems. It did not cause the gun to malfunction but the follower kept getting stuck.  Accuracy testing was done at 25 and 50 yards.


The carbine really liked Winchester white box, Walmart ammo.  Really it’s kind of fitting as these guns are aimed at consumers who have a limited budget and are very likely to use what they can get, for the best price.  I am not suggesting the carbine is tuned for such a thing but I am sure this would be a happy result for those users.  The group above was eight (8) rounds at 25 yards, though it does not look like it.


If the Hi-Poaint Carbine liked the Winchester ball ammo, it found its soul mate in the Speer ball ammo.  The group above was a full mag string shot at 25 yards with Speer training ball ammo.  This is pretty cheap stuff and the result was a shocker to those of us shooting it.  We fired multiple groups with the same ammo but I am showing the groups that are generally representative of what the gun is capable of. They are not the carbines best groups as I always feel that’s a little misleading. The groups shown are not always the absolute best groups shot of the day if the tightest groups can’t be repeated.  So looking at these groups, you can see that these are not cherry picked “best of” groups.  For anyone reading this review, considering buying one of these firearms for budget reasons or just for plinking,  I want to make sure you see what it really does and how it will really preform on any given day.


Remington 230 grain ball ammo is about as bad as ball training ammo can get but still is made by one of the big name ammo makers.  It is filthy, under powered and not even usually mediocre when it comes to accuracy.  As shown above, its performance in the Hi-Point carbine certainly its not horrible. In a pistol it would still be pretty decent. This one is almost cherry picked, in that the other groups from the Remington ball ammo would often fall off the edge of the target.


Above is a “Q” target at 100 yards. It is roughly the size of a smallish man.  The group was fired from 100 yards with no rest using Speer ball ammo.  The KRISS Vector did not even shoot this well at 100 yards. Below is another 100 yard Qual target, before we adjusted the sights to hit higher.


With this carbine, using iron sights, off hand, with ball ammo, I am not sure you can ask for much more, considering what it is and its intended use. It is not a sniper rifle and it is not a M4. It is a light pistol caliber carbine, meant to be as useful as a budget carbine in mind.

Now, handling wise I do not care much for its balance. The carbine is a little rear heavy to me. Another point is, like the KRISS, the stock seems to impart that strange recoil vibration into the cheek. After multiple rapid strings the cheek will start to feel a little sting. The Vector had the same oddity and everyone commented on it.  The trigger is certainly no match trigger and may not even be as good as a decent milspec trigger, but that’s ok.  As I said before, that’s not what this firearm is meant be.  I don’t know if there are upgrades for the Hi-Points or if anyone has any tips on how to improve it.  I honestly do not know much at all about the world of Hi-Points, beyond what I learned while testing these two.

Next up is the Hi-Point pistol, also chambered in the greatest pistol round ever to bless this universe, the .45ACP of course.


The pistol has a finish that makes me think of something like the USMC desert digital pattern, without actually being the same, due to trademarks. It’s a pretty good looking pattern to me. I have seen some Remington 870s and some other various fireams with what I believe to be the same camo pattern on them.  The pistol has light or laser rail forward of the trigger and takes the same magazines as the carbine.  Much to my displeasure, the handgun does not have a slide release/lock and you must “slingshot” the slide on a slide lock reload.


The rear sight has red inserts and while it is not really tall it can be used to cycle the action  for one handed manipulation.


The front sight is not adjustable, it is a fixed sight and has a yellowish insert in it to contrast with the red rear, to make it more visible. I know these touches are meant to make them easier and faster to see but I honestly do not think it helped in my opinion. In bright day light the front washed out for me. It might have been better had the front sight been red and the rear sight blacked out.  That is totally a personal taste and I am sure some one out there likes this combination fine.


The sight configuration and color did not hurt the pistols accuracy potential as you can see above. All groups fired are five (5) round groups at 20 yards.  I will let the pictured groups speak for themselves.




All groups fired were from a bench, with sandbags, in very slow methodical strings, using much effort to give the gun every chance I could.


The top group is a full magazine, fired at 30 yards, from sand bags and from the bench.


In the above picture, closing out the groups and the biggest irony, the ammo the carbine liked the most and shot so tight, the pistol apparently hated it.  Who knew?


The trigger on the pistol is not a pleasure to work with when it comes to shooting tight groups. It even takes some getting used to for working with the Hi-Point at any speed. I fired a little over 300 rounds through the pistol and still did not quite get use to using the trigger very effectively,  The recoil of the firearm is very strange for some one use to the 1911 platform.  It seems I could feel the large slide moving back and forth.  It did however work boringly 100%. Nothing really to say. I can’t trash it over multiple failures, because it didn’t fail at all, simple as that.  Will I buy one? No, but it’s not a firearm meant for me.  These Hi-Points already have their niche and are for people who work within certain financial limits/constraints. People who just plain like them will continue to buy them regardless of anyone else’s tastes. Regardless what the most snobbish among us think of them.

I initially did not want to test these two firearms, but Hunter told me to have an open mind and give them a chance. I did my best and was surprised at the accuracy of these two pieces.  I have seen Springfield Armory handguns that shot a lot worse than these two.  They are not great firearms or perfect, but they are not the worst I have ever seen. That would be the LLama , Jennings and Lorcins, running neck and neck for the worst, in my experience. If you think the Hi-Points are for you, then I feel you can buy with confidence. They will work despite what most internet experts say.  This is from my experience and with speaking to other gun writers.  Hi-Points also shoot accurately and everything else you can mostly work around.

If these two firearms are for you, you think they are for you and want to know more about them and others. I highly recommend you go to Hunter’s website, (Range Hot). Hunter has gone in depth about these two Hi-Points as well as other firearms. He does a really good job with them and even though I put aside my own biases, I know many will need more than my opinion. Hunter’s reviews can be found here http://rangehot.com/hi-point-45-pistol-and-carbine-self-defense-on-a-budget/   You can find more reviews on other  Hi-Point offerings, at his website using the search feature .  He puts high accuracy results into a nifty little table for you and usually does some video and ballistic gel testing as well.


The Accuracy International AE

Submitted by  “G”  a professional sniper and lifelong friend of the Loose Rounds site owners. “G”  will be writing some articles for Loose Rounds in the coming months.

In the by-gone days of 2004 I was hip deep in the word of tactical shooting.  I had been on my departments SWAT Team as a Sniper for a couple years but have been obsessed with sniping since the late 1990’s, when my father was a LEO sniper for the same department.  I read anything I could about the subject, been to a couple schools, and with any free time I had was practicing.

I had been around the typical M700 and other typical sporting rifles my entire life.  I was issued a Remington PSS and had no problems with it but I wanted my own personal “tactical”
rifle.  I looked at companies like Robar, McMillan, HS Precision and others, but when I visited the Accuracy International web site I found what I wanted.  The Accuracy International AW series was way out of my means at the time but the AE, now known as the AE MK1, was just inside reach.  From what the site said it was the same as the AW series without certain benefits and was gear toward the LE community.  It featured a 24″ 1:12 twist barrel, 3.5 lbs trigger, and a very distinctive look.  So off to a local FFL dealer.

Accuracy International AE 7.62x51
Accuracy International AE 7.62×51

Once this British beauty arrived in this my hands I knew I had made a good choice of rifle. It wasn’t setup for the Parker Hale bipod, which I didn’t like anyway, instead a simple sling swivel attachment for a Harris bipod was attached to the bottom of the chassis system.  Its safety was “safe” and “fire” only, instead of the three position safety on the AW series.  Of course it is chambered in  7.62 X 51 (308 Win),  had an overall length of 44″ and weighed around 13 lbs.


The LOP was adjustable with spacers which came with the rifle.  It was set up with a 0 MOA rail already on the receiver for mounting scopes. The AE came with one 5 round magazine, the Mk1 is not able to use the AI 10 round magazines.  The chassis had four sling mounts, two on each side.  Now a days the Accuracy International chassis system is available for a variety of rifles but then it was AI only.  The stock simply screwed onto the chassis system and its only function was to provide something to hold onto. The bolt handle had a distinctive angle and appearance that even for a left hander, like me, provided easy and smooth manipulation.

Accuracy International AE
Accuracy International AE

I managed to top the rifle with a 6.5-20 MK IV Leupold, it has since been refitted with a 4-14 MK IV. The next step was to find a round for this beast to fire.  I had picked up a couple boxes of Hornady 30 caliber 178 gr AMAX.

AE w/ Leopuld Mounted
AE w/ Leupold Mounted

After doing some load development I found a load that the rifle liked.

-Federal Premium Brass trimmed to 2.005

-CCI LR Primer.  Primer pocket and flash hole uniformed.

-43.0grs of IMR 4064

-178 gr Hornady AMAX and Hornady HPBT seated to magazine length.

10 round group fired from 100 yards
10 round group fired from 100 yards

The AE is comfortable shooting from the bench or prone position.  It does become slightly awkward but not undoable from field shooting positions, as found out by yours truly and Loose Rounds owner Shawn.  The information provided with the AE from Accuracy International stated that the AE model was a 600 yard gun.  We came to find that the rifle was very capable of consistent hits out to 1000 yards.  Many a day was spent with this rifle busting skeet and ringing steel at 800 yards and it may be just me being bias, but this rifle made it seem easy to do so.  I have saved many targets from this rifle that was a testament to its accuracy but through the years they have disappeared.

Over the years I have owned and shot other very accurate rifles but this little 600 yard British rifle will always be my favorite.