We introduced Century Arms’ new, American-made AK at SHOT Show 2019. It’s the 7.62x39mm-shooting VSKA (pronounced vis-kuh, and, even though it’s made in the USA, it sounds better with an Eastern European accent). I’ve had some time with this gun and I’ve put a few rounds through it, and I’ve carried it around a lot. I like it. Let me show you why.
Open the box and the first thing you’ll notice about this gun is that it doesn’t look like it’s been encased in grease and sitting in a warehouse for the last 35 years in a country that doesn’t exist anymore. Nope, this is a beautiful gun, and it’s got a nice feel.
Now, it’s an AK, and “beautiful” may not be the first word that usually comes to mind. And it’s an AK, so don’t expect to feel the precision machining that goes into a fine bolt gun. But, it is made in America and it’s got beautiful solid American Maple stocks that are highly figured burl with a satin finish, and it’s not covered in shipping grease. The fittings are tight and all the rivets are solid and uniform. Compared with many other AKs and SKSs, this thing just looks like it’s made with the quality and consistency you’d expect from America. Century Arms is ISO 9001:2015 certified.
Lube It and Shoot It
There’s no grease to be cleaned off, but it also looked a little dry in the action, so I lubed it lightly before taking it to the range. I spoke with a product manager at Century Arms, and he remarked that the best thing you can do with this gun is to shoot it. He says it’ll just keep going, and there are torture tests on YouTube of others working this gun ridiculously hard with zero failures.
Century says that they shot 12,000 rounds through several of these guns and experienced no failures and maintained SAAMI headspace specs. If you’re not into AKs, you’d be surprised at the kind of abuse people expect their AKs to go through and still keep shooting. It’s amazing that these guns keep working after the mud, sand, ice, and all kinds of other stuff people put them through. But what’s really incredible is that the people do these things to their guns in the first place.
Still, the VSKA can keep up with the abuse, and it does it while maintaining a beautiful finish on the wood furniture.
I enjoyed shooting VSKA. I was pleasantly surprised to make 1″ to 2″ groups with this gun using cheap steel-cased Tula Ammo. The recoil is extremely manageable, but if you’re going to shoot a whole lot it would benefit from a little recoil pad.
Don’t worry, the flash hider isn’t on crooked. AKs tend to rise up and the right. VSKA has the standard AK slanted flash hider that directs the muzzle blast up and to the right to help control muzzle rise, and it’s effective.
The AKM iron sights were spot-on out of the box and they use the standard tools for adjustment. Century does make a mount for optics that mounts to the left side of the weapon and positions a scope over the barrel, but I’ve not tried it.
Machined S7 Steel
Besides looking good with American Maple stocks, this gun is set apart in the AK world because its high-stress parts are machined from high-quality steel. Many AKs have forged or even stamped trunions which may fail after lots of use. The trunion, bolt carrier, and feed ramp take a beating every time the weapon is fired, and Century has mitigated potential failures by machining these parts from S7 tool steel billets. S7 is rated for high-impact, high-shock applications like jackhammer tips and chisels. It maintains strength and resists deformation at both low and high temperatures. Temps over 500 degrees Fahrenheit don’t bother this stuff; I suspect you’ll damage your barrel before you overheat the trunion.
S7 doesn’t have a lot of carbon and chromium, so after you’re done throwing your VSKA is mud puddles and salt baths, you should clean and lube to inhibit corrosion. The bolt is case-hardened carburized 4140 steel for reduced friction and durability, and the barrel is chrome-moly 4150 steel. It’s all coated with manganese-phosphate for a grip-able, low-sheen finish.
The receiver is 1/16″ stamped steel. The standard grip is polymer.
VSKA features Century’s RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group. It’s a single-stage trigger with a consistent pull. Again, if you’re not an AK fanatic, you’d think it’s spongy and soft. But, firing it is actually quite nice. It is consistent and lets you keep a smooth and continuous stream of fire going downrange.
Century put the trigger to a 15,000-round endurance test. It’s all USA-made and heat-treated for durability and doesn’t need to be polished.
VSKA takes standard AK mags, and it ships with a 30-round Magpul PMAG, which is excellent. The mag release is between the magazine and the trigger guard, and swapping mags is smooth and easy.
Is VSKA right for you?
VSKA is an exceptionally well-made AK. It’s been tested hard by Century, and extra hard by many reviewers. It’s got quality steel components, a decent trigger for an AK, and good looking American Maple stocks. I had a fun time shooting it, and I think you’ll enjoy it, too. You can take comfort knowing that it was made in America and that it has a lifetime warranty — at least you know if you have trouble with it, the country it was made in will still be on the map. VSKA’s MSRP is $735.95 and you’ll find a dealer at CenturyArms.com.
- Caliber: 7.62x39mm
- Barrel: 16.3″ chrome-moly 4150 steel
- Overall length: 34.6″
- Bolt: Case-hardened carburized 4140 steel
- Bolt carrier: S7 steel
- Feed ramp: S7 steel
- Front Trunion: S7 steel
- Receiver 1/16″ stamped steel
- Sights: Standard AKM
- Stock: American Maple, satin finish
- Trigger: Century Arms RAK-1
- Finish: Manganese phosphate
- Magazine: (1) 30-round Magpul PMAG included