Lee Enfield AK-74: First impressions

There’s a new CO2-powered BB gun that’s waiting to say “preevyet” (Hi!) to a host of Western airgun shooters – the AK-74 from Lee Enfield (Guns)

Key Specs

Lee Enfield AK-74 BB Gun

Gun supplied by: The Shooting Party (www.shootingparty.uk)
Manufacturer: Lee Enfield (Guns)
Model: Kalashnikov AK-74
Price: £249.99
Overall length: 943mm
Length of pull: 328mm
Safety: Manual
Barrel: Smooth bore
Powerplant: 12g CO2 capsule
Ammunition: 4.5mm (.177) BBs
Magazine capacity: Up to 18 BBs
Expected shot count: 40 per capsule

Kalashnikov AK-74 is the latest gun to appear in the Brothers in Arms series of replica 20th century combat weapons produced by Lee-Enfield (Guns) Ltd. But while this is a CO2-powered BB-firing airgun, what exactly is an AK-74?

Whenever the AK is mentioned in a film, book or video game, this iconic firearm is almost always referred to as the AK-47, but in fact the most mass-produced version is the AKM, a redesigned and refined version of the original. And in 1974, a new rifle entered service with the Soviet armed forces, the AK-74, which itself replaced the AKM.

Unlike some Western rifles of the day such as the FN FAL/L1 SLR and the H&K G3, the cocking lever on the AK is on the right-hand side
The magazine must be inserted into the well at an angle so the lip engages correctly, after which it needs to be rocked back firmly into place

The AK-74 uses a smaller 5.45x39mm cartridge, and is more accurate, more reliable and has a further effective range than its predecessors. As such, it’s a great choice of subject for the airgun shooter, and this BB-firing variant has been brought to us thanks to UK distributor The Shooting Party.

This airgun version has the same dimensions as the original and is kitted out in genuine wooden furniture, as seen on earlier models of the AK-74, including those that were used in Afghanistan. It’s powered by a single 12 gram CO2 capsule, which should be good for around 40 shots. The AK is field-strippable, and the rear sight is easily adjustable for elevation.

Lee Enfield’s variant features a muzzle brake/flash hider as well as some more up-to-date features, such as an improved pistol grip and a metal magazine rather than the Bakelite-type material that was seen on early versions. Inside the magazine is where the magic happens, as what looks like the 30-round 5.45mm mag holds a removable core, which in turn is where you install the CO2 capsule and up to 18 BBs.

The gas and ammo are housed inside a core, which in
turn is cleverly concealed within the fake 30-round 5.45x39mm magazine
To load the BBs, pull down the spring-loaded follower then slide it across to the left and secure it in the gate – this makes everything nice and easy

When loading the ammo, you need to pull down on a spring-loaded follower, which can thankfully be locked in a gate to hold it in the open position while you insert the BBs.

Other features that have been reproduced on this airgun include the side rail for taking an optical sight and the barrel cleaning rod, along with a working fire selector including authentic Cyrillic markings. There’s something extremely satisfying about snapping that long banana mag in place all ready for some fun. Nostrovia!

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