Check out the Mutant: https://www.cmmginc.com/product-category/rifles/7-62×39/
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=mutant
The quest for the ideal 7.62×39 AR platform rifle has seen a lot of twists and turns. More companies seem to be making them. The appeal is logical enough: Americans love AR platform rifles. Americans also love cheap 7.62×39 ammo. Why not combine the two?
Well, there are a lot of reasons why the two don’t get along. The 7.62×39 round is notoriously dirty. There are wide variations in the performance of surplus ammo. The AR platform has much tighter tolerances than most AKs. Last, but nowhere near least–the 7.62×39 isn’t known for its accuracy, and that’s typically something that AR platform shooters tend to value rather highly.
And so CMMG, a company that specializes in ARs, has crossed new territory with the Mutant. This 7.62×39 takes typical AK mags, runs on direct impingement, and will reliably eat anything you feed it. And now, after the Mutant has had a few months to really establish itself, they’ve shortened the platform and released a pistol.
CMMG Mutant MK47 AKM, SBN
BARREL: 16.1” 1:10 MEDIUM TAPER 4140 SBN BARREL
MUZZLE: SV MUZZLE BRAKE, THREADED 5/8-24
HAND GUARD: CMMG RKM15
FURNITURE: MAGPUL MOE PISTOL GRIP
RECEIVERS: BILLET 7075-T6 AL
TRIGGER: SINGLE STAGE MIL-SPEC STYLE TRIGGER
WEIGHT: 7.2 LBS (UNLOADED)
LENGTH: 33.5” (STOCK COLLAPSED)
GAS PORT LOCATION: CARBINE
The SBN is Salt Bath Nitriding, a method of coating the gun that will ensure solid protection for a life of hard use.
Before we move forward with the review, I feel it is my responsibility to issue a public service announcement. Don’t shoot this thing from the hip. I’ve learned many valuable lessons on the range, but very few seem as important as this one. The fireball that flashes form the Mutant, especially the pistol, isn’t hardly visible during the day time. But it is present, and it is brutal.
What happens when you fire it from the hip? Shooting in this manner puts your face above the fireball, and the gases, which are surprisingly viscous, are then aligned with your eyeballs. Fireballs and eyeballs. Not a good combination.
I’d also like to take this time to advise that you wear shooting glasses. I did fire it from the hip, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I was having one of those dumb attacks. They happen sometimes. And it was over 100 degrees on the day of the shoot, so my brain was slowly melting. I’d been moving fast, shuffling from review gun to conversation, and back, and had my glasses on top of my head, but not on. Even if they’d been in place, I think I would have roasted my eyeballs and singed off my eyebrows. Goggles might prevent it, or one of those blast suits the bomb squad wears when they work on detonating suspicious suitcases at the airport.
I only did it once. I then dropped the gun, and tried to grope my way back to the bench.
I shot the pistol again after it got good and dark, just so I could capture the full glory of this thing (and because the dim light was much easier on my burnt eyeballs). If target acquisition wasn’t such a big deal, I’d recommend wearing a welding mask.
Now that we’ve gotten past my idiocy, lets talk a bit about how these guns handle. The full sized Mutant is as stable a rifle as I’ve shot in a while. The pistol, obviously, lacks the stability provided by a stock, but I can still hold it out one handed and consistently hit a torso sized target. There’s not much muzzle rise.
These guns…. They’re an experience. The rifle is rock solid, heavy, and accurate. I topped with a Burris 1-5 in a fat mount. The combination was very effective. On the move, the lighted reticle makes moving and shooting fluid and effective. With the non-existent muzzle rise from the rifle, the reasonable recoil of the 7.62×39, and the ease of target acquisition from the Burris, repeat shots were incredibly fast. I could keep the target in the scope while moving and firing.
Longer ranges are only dependent on the ammo used and some complicated ballistic calculations.
Accuracy is excellent. I ran a number of different rounds through the Mutants. I’ve got a grab bag of surplus 7.62×39. I don’t even bother to check the makers or grain weights. Left overs get tossed in the bin, and I fill the mags, and it is good to go. The Mutants ate all of it.
There were a couple of hiccups, typical to the round. I had one all-out dud. I had three light primer strikes that went on the second hit. I was using a Tapco 20 round mag for the bench shooting, and the Mutant wouldn’t strip off rounds consistently. I can’t blame the gun, as it ran off of all of the other mags I had. But the short Tapco seemed sticky. It was so bad that I plan on testing it in my Arsenal next time I go to the range, and if it doesn’t work with it the damn thing will be mailed back to Tapco with a nasty note.
We’ll run a follow up with more of the pertinent ballistic data and shooting results when we’ve got a decent supply of higher quality 7.62×39. We hadn’t planned on having the mutant in so soon and finding good 7.62×39 in stock at most places is a crap shoot. We did have some Hornady XXX on hand, and I don’t have any complaints.
Comparison to the AR platform
Normally I’d discuss the controls of the rifle before I get into shooting results. But this is an AR of sorts so most of the controls will be pretty familiar. The charging handle, safety, trigger, even the furniture are analogous. The size is different, which makes the rifle feel more like a .308 than an AR-15. And the pistol feels much more robust than the typical AR pistol.
I think this is the most logically solid reason to own one of these guns. The 7.62×39 round is so readily available that you can’t go wrong. There are more and more options for accurate hunting loads and self defense. The price of the bottom end of the bulk ammo makes stockpiling easy.
This rifle doesn’t offer complete cross-platform modularity, but it does offer cross-platform familiarity. The learning curve is minimized. Most of the controls work as we (those of us who shoot AR platform guns) are accustomed to . The mag release will take some training, but everything else seems like a 1-to-1 comparison. In short, if you know how to run an AR, and want a more affordable gun to run, this is the one.
To the AK platform rifles?
If I’m entertaining the idea of comparing this to an AK, I should include some of the negatives. The rifle is heavy. After an afternoon on the range, I was well aware of its weight. While this is part of what makes the rifle stable and easy to shoot, it also makes this a beast of a rifle to carry around for any prolonged period of time. 7.2 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but remember that the 7.62×39 weighs a lot more than a .223. So a full mag isn’t light. Add a scope, a sling, a light, a grip, back-up irons… you will quickly have a rifle that’s approaching the 10 pound mark, or over.
The same could be said for an AK, though–so it isn’t the Mutant’s issue. But the gun is robust–and I’d be willing to entertain the idea that there are places where the thing is over-built.
Because of that, you will be able to run this gun a long time before you need replacement parts. When you do they will be more complicated to find than AK parts. Think ahead. If this were a gun I was serious about using, I’d go ahead and pick up a couple of parts kits—one to keep in the range bag, one to keep in the workshop. CMMG is good about packaging parts kits.
As for direct comparisons to the AK, the list is small. The 7.62×39 round is one. There is no bolt-catch, either. And the mag release is similar (only much better). It is the differences that are important.
So what is it?
Clearly it isn’t an AR-15 adapted to run the 7.62 round. You won’t be swapping this upper onto your AR. It isn’t an AK, either. This is, in spirit at least, an anti-AK. Mutant seems an appropriate name, as if CMMG were very aware of the odd peculiarities of this gun.
Consider the limitations of the round. The 7.62 x 39 was designed to be an effective close range round that is manageable for the shooter. This means it doesn’t have much long-range staying power. It hits hard, even at distances, but won’t maintain as flat of a trajectory as the .7.62 x 51 above it, or the 5.56 (which is a much lighter round). Yet the gun is built like a Soviet tank.
That’s my main question, I think. I’m not likely to turn to the Mutant for a long range gun. I’d rather have a slim gun that is built to the outer limits of the round that could be used for close quarters work. And that’s where the pistol really shines. As a pistol, it is big, heavy, and a bit cumbersome. As the platform for an SBR build, it is perfect. And then the resulting gun would be ideal.
But the rifle would make a great hog gun. I’m going to try to test this theory very soon. I like the aggressive, up close and personal hog hunt, and often end up running through a fair number of rounds in the effort. While I’m not looking forward to carrying it on a prolonged stalk hunt, I can’t wait to open up on a group of the porcine vermin.
In the end, this gun is going to sing a siren song to some shooters. If you’re already drooling, I would suspect you may be one of them. And that will make the price a bit easier to handle. These guns are selling for prices that reflect the quality of workmanship and materials. The rifle has an MSRP of $1,649.95. While it sells for less, that’s still a chunk of change. Is it worth it? That is a personal question.
I’ve been looking for one of these guns for a while. I’ve been moving through those available, one-by-one. The Mutant is now at the top of my list, for sure. All of the others have been eliminated because of magazine issues. I’m willing to accept more weight for a gun that works like this, no questions asked. So until the Mutant is dethroned, I’m willing to call it the king of the group.
At the very least, it is time to buy a couple of cases of Tula, and as many varieties of the good stuff as I can get. In order to sty on top, this gun’s going to have to develop a taste for the fast food, and still be able to put 5 rounds in one ragged hole at 100 yards. As soon as I can reliably use my eyeballs again, I’ll get it back on the range and we’ll have a follow-up to let you know what we find.