The Top 5 Non-AK 7.62x39s from SHOT Show 2015

The Rock River is picky about which magazines it uses. But it shoot incredibly well.

The Rock River is picky about which magazines it uses. But it shoot incredibly well.

One noticeable theme at this year’s SHOT Show was the ubiquitous Anti-AK rifles and pistols chambered in 7.62×39. The non-AK 7.62×39 isn’t exactly a holy grail within the American firearms community, but it is a concept that has a strong cult following. We could look to the Ruger Mini 30, for example—a rifle that only has one flaw: it won’t take AK mags.

And Rock River has recently begun shipping their LAR-47 series. We’ve got one in for review now—spoiler alert: it is a tack driver with some annoying personality traits. You can read the whole thing here.

So why the rush for the 7.62 x 39 rifle (or pistol) that bears almost no relationship to the most ubiquitous rifle in the entire world? Beats me, but the five companies below have skin in the game.

The Rhino Arms MM-47

The Rhino Arms MM-47 may be the smoothest rifle in this list. I got to check these out at SHOT, and I was immediately smitten. If I were to pick one of these guns to add to my permanent collection–and this is coming from a diehard AK guy–this would be it.

Look at the way the receiver has been milled to keep strength, but balance weight. These are clearly well thought out rifles. We’ll have one in for review ASAP, and see how well it works.

The Rhino MM-47, my new favorite.

The Rhino MM-47, my new favorite.

The Galil Ace

This offering form IWI makes sense, especially in the Middle East, where there is more 7.62 x 39 than anything else. And the rifle and pistol are a fine compliment to IWI’s catalog. With a Tavor and a Galil, I don’t see how you could go wrong. I’ve yet to get my hands on one of the new ones. The Galil has always seemed like what you would get if you asked a technologically sophisticated country to fix some of the flaws with the AK.

The Galil Pistol.

The Galil Pistol.


Modularity is king at MGI. This new version builds on a concept we first saw last year. It is an AR style rifle (and now a pistol, too) that takes breaks the rifle into four main units: the upper, the barrel, the lower, and the magazine well. With one serialized lower, the rest can be mixed and matched to accommodate a variety of calibers. It is a bad-ass gun, too. We reviewed one last year. It doesn’t feel as tight as most well built AR-15s, but that’s due to the modularity. The dovetails that hold on the magazine well have just a bit of play. The good news is that the system shoots straight and runs reliably. We couldn’t make it fail, and we tried.

MGI's new 7.62 x 39 pistol.

MGI’s new 7.62 x 39 pistol.

The CMMG Mutant

CMMG continues to make inroads on the market. They’re making some AR-10s that have a strong following. The move into 7.62×39 seems natural for a company that’s mastered the .308. Just dial it back a bit. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but you get the picture.

We’ve got a Mutant inbound for testing, and will have the full write up ASAP. It looks like a worthy gun. I’m eager to see how it handles magazines. That is always the sticking point in this design, and something a manufacturer has to live with, or engineer away. My gut says CMMG will have engineered a solution that will keep the bolt from dragging on the rounds as they’re presented.

The CMMG Mutant.

The CMMG Mutant.

The SIG 556xi

Taking modularity to the next level of precision, SIG has built a rifle system that is easily adaptable to users’ needs. In its AK configuration, it will accept AK mags. This is a major plus for those, like me, who hold this point up as the benchmark of success.

The SIG will appeal to those who like the modularity. It will allow them to train with one highly capable rifle, without having to learn new safety mechanisms, or magazine change tricks. Mostly.

The 556xi Russian has a long barrel. Will it add to the accuracy of the 7.62 x 39?

The 556xi Russian has a long barrel. Will it add to the accuracy of the 7.62 x 39?


So what’s the big appeal of the 7.62 x 39 platform? I think it is AR familiarity combined with the availability of 7.62 x 39. It may also be a patriotic thing. The AK for the patriot who wouldn’t be caught dead with an actual AK.

So what about it? Do you own a non-AK in 7.62 x 39? I don’t. But I will.


{ 24 comments… add one }
  • AK Doug June 29, 2017, 10:01 am

    The 7.62×39 round is basically .30 caliber, and being such, hits harder than the tiny, little .223 or 5.56.

  • Jax December 18, 2015, 3:19 pm

    so the guns that make it are ar15 copies and a galil which kinda is an ak copy…..

  • John November 23, 2015, 10:02 am

    “The Ruger Mini 30 only has one flaw, it won’t take AK mags?”
    Let me add a couple more. It is inaccurate and will not shoot military grade steel case ammo with any consistency. I kinda like a rifle that will go bang when I pull the trigger.
    A lot of people choose an AK for the simple fact that they are inexpensive, and fun to shoot. If you choose a Mini 30 and have no qualms about spending 50 to 60 cents a round for brass cased ammo to make it run then that’s a personal choice.
    I traded mine for an Arsenal SLR 107 and I am one happy camper.

    • Travis September 18, 2016, 11:09 pm

      My mini 30 eats EVERYTHING. And I can get 3moa groups at 100 yards with a red dot. I guess I must a got a good one though cuts I’ve heard this line a lot.

  • Larry Wolfe July 9, 2015, 10:20 am

    I have one AR 7.62×39 that will not fire the wolf polyformance steel case ammo or any as far as that goes. Looks like firing pin is striking primers ok but won’t fire. Took out the entire bolt carrier group and put it in a different rifle chambered in 7.62×39 and it fires the wolf ammo every time but not the ones with the real hard primers. Does any one have an idea why the one won’t fire and the other one does using same bolt and firing pin?

  • Larry Wolfe July 9, 2015, 10:05 am

    I have two ARs I built in 7.62×39 and one will shoot wolf polyformance steel case just fine with standard 7.62×39 bolt carrier with standard firing pin, the other one wont shoot anything. Installed the enhanced firing pin but still ftf. I put the same bolt carrier in the other rifle and it will shoot every time. Can any one tell me maybe why this is? The one that isn’t firing isn’t because of the firing pin or bolt because like I said, the same bolt and firing pin works just fine in a different rifle. Thanks.

  • Will Drider February 3, 2015, 11:08 pm

    The Sig 556 line has always had more in common with the AK even though the 556R in 7.62X39 came long after the 5.56 chambering. I don’t know why Sig did not mod the mag release on the 556R to the position of the AR style while still utilizing standard AK mags. The AK mag release is as archaic as those on the bottom of pistol grips. IMHO

    • Eric December 22, 2015, 5:15 pm

      I happen to like the AK mag release. Rocking it in feels so natural to me, if only the receiver wasn’t just a box with an unnecessarily heavy bolt. The Sig fixes that! I also like the lever/button on the bottom of the pistol mag. You never take out the mag unless you mean to, and it forces you to put it away, by already having it in your hand.

  • j February 3, 2015, 10:47 pm

    I love the 7.62×39 round. It’s cheap, plentiful, effective out to 300, and can be very accurate if fired from a quality firearm. I own two SKS, one Russian, and one Sino-Soviet. I also own two AKs. Both are Arsenal’s SGL21, which are incredible rifles,capable of MOA. Of course you can’t get them anymore because of the sanctions that Obama put on Russia recently. But you can get an Arsenal SAM7, or an Arsenal SLR-107, which are extremely high quality AKs, and arguably as good a rifle as their Izhevsk built step-brothers.
    I do like the idea of 7.62×39 in the AR platform, but to this point I don’t own one. I definitely do not want a proprietary variety though, that is for sure. I want to be able to grab my AR in 5.56×45, push two pins, switch uppers and magazines, and be ready to rock and roll in 7.62×39. That is why I am strongly considering a PWS MK116 upper in 7.62×39. If you don’t already know about these, it’s worth looking in to. PWS makes very high quality piston ARs, and they are designed after the AK’s action. Very cool! Paired with with C-Products’ AR/7.62×39 mags, which have good reviews as far as feeding x39 reliably in the AR platform. Sounds like a winner to me!…. The Sig could be cool too, but not really what I’m looking for.

  • StinsonBeach February 3, 2015, 3:29 pm

    I have a few AK’s, an SKS & two 7.62×39 that I built on the AR platforn.
    I’m not going into detail about any of it, but I built the AR/AK’s maybe 3 years ago.
    My carbine when I first built it, I put 350 rds thru it w/o cleaning. Then put an additional 400+ rds thru it before I cleaned it again.
    “Enhanced” bolt & firing pin & (the most important component) ASC magazines.
    I trust this piece completely & as an added bonus, it’s a tack-driver within 300 meters!

  • Harleydave February 3, 2015, 9:45 am

    I own two 7.62×39 rifles. Ruger mini-30 and a D model SKS which takes AK mags. Both are great guns and I have taken deer with each one. I have a synthetic stock on the SKS along with a 4×32 tactical scope. This gun shoots any ammo and consistently shoots 2 inch groups at 100 yards. The Ruger prefers brass ammo, but also shoots well at 100 yards. I would like to find a nice bolt action in 7.62×39 to add to the collection.

    • Robert February 3, 2015, 1:08 pm

      Check out the Remington 799

  • Pj February 3, 2015, 9:25 am

    I’ve always thought this was a cool concept they’ve had this style rifle for some years now. And just because something says it’s made in the USA don’t mean it’s made by Americans…. Just sayin.

  • ahmad alkhatib February 3, 2015, 8:24 am

    why will some one spend so much money on one of them Guns when you can have 2 in 1 ,Ar15 lower with 2 uppers 5,56 and 7.62×39

    • riceinwa February 4, 2015, 8:00 am

      Using the 7.62×39 AR upper has some issues. It seems to be that the AR upper will not accept AK magazines. Most of the issues are magazine idiosyncracies. Another problem seems to be the feed ramps on the barrel…some are a bit narrow and the AK round tends to stick either in the magazine and/or in the feed ramp. I have one now I’m trying to get it to run reliably…haven’t quite figured out all of the issues.

  • Steve K February 3, 2015, 8:22 am

    I have the old Colt Sporter (7.62×39) which is still bringing home the venison every year (even though my son is using it now.) I firmly believe that it’s a vast improvement over the SKS or AK patterned firearms. The round has proven itself on not only Wisconsin whitetails but on Texas hogs as well. Its accuracy is better than MOA at 100 yards and its lethality on game is beyond question. Colt really got this version right. My wish is to compare this to the 300 AAC.

  • trigger13 February 3, 2015, 8:06 am

    I can’t wait for the new ak47 by Black Rain Ordnance.From the looks of it,This will be one badass rifle.

  • Joe February 3, 2015, 7:43 am

    Is 7.62 x 39 The new cheap plinking round for those who can’t find enough rimfire ?
    Time will tell

    • ahmad alkhatib February 3, 2015, 8:28 am

      it is not cheap any more,25 cent and up per round ,but still cheaper than other Calibers

  • Phil Sprague February 3, 2015, 6:20 am

    I already have an AR- Platform in 7.62×39 and I love it. I am one of those guys who wouldn’t own an AK, for the simple reason I faced enough of the real thing for 2 years a long time ago, and I just can’t see me owning one. The only problem that I have had is finding 7.62×39 in brass. It’s getting harder to find and getting more expensive when you do find it. The Stoner mags work great, and hopefully some of these newer one will use similar mags and they will become easier to find. I like the .30 caliber round, it packs a lot more punch then the 5.56, which I also have. Hope these get more popular.

  • Abe February 3, 2015, 6:02 am

    my AR 15 is currently chambered in 762 by 39 millimeter I got my nickel boron bolt from ares armor and the firing pin from tactical ambush. I also on the C 39 AK 47 vary from century and I love them both equally but the fact that we’re making AK parts in the good ol USA just gives you absolutely no reason not to go out and get an AR mutant variant of the AK 47 in good ole American quality parts. because the ammo is plentiful and low cost. Good stuff for a great price. Thats exactly what America is about.

  • CP February 3, 2015, 3:06 am

    Quote: “The AK for the patriot who wouldn’t be caught dead with an actual AK.”
    Patriotism has more to do with dissent from government then support of government and its tools.

    CZ and Checkpoint/CSA didn’t have a both(s) at hot Show?, or did you miss it?

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