The M+M M10-762 rifle for this review was provided by the Kentucky Gun Company.
Thanks to Century Arms and their crappy-ass 2005-2008 era WASRs, conventional wisdom is that Romania generally takes the prize for making the worst AKs in the history of the world ever. Well, maybe not as crappy as those homemade Pakki Darra models that GIs sometimes encounter in the ‘Stan, but pretty crappy nonetheless. So when I heard that the M+M M10-762 was a Romanian-made rifle, I was prepared to be unimpressed. But after six range visits and well over 1000 rounds downrange, on the whole I’ve been very pleasantly surprised . . .
Basics and Special Features
The M10 is a traditional AK design, but has six unique and/or “custom” features that set it apart from the pack:
- Front sight is integrated with gas block;
- Rear sight includes “RPK” style windage adjustment;
- Features factory installed UTG Picatinny handguard rail;
- M+M Chaos billet flash hider / muzzle brake;
- Factory side rail mount;
- Tapco G-2 trigger and retaining plate;
- Hogue pistol grip.
One of the first things I noticed about the M10 when I picked it up was that it’s fairly light for an AK. The rifle weighs in at only 7.3 pounds. This is achieved via a thin barrel, lighter dust cover and a polymer stock. This rifle is more nimble than other fixed-stock AKs I have handled, especially compared to the more zaftig, heavy-duty Yugo models.
The overall length of the gun is 36″ with the fixed “Warsaw Pact” length stock. Apparently, M+M has imported a folding stock version as well, for those seeking a more compact carry gun.
Unlike a lot of the AKs on the market these days, the M+M M10 isn’t a parts kit gun. Rather, it’s made from all new parts. The marking – in my case “13 RO” – denotes a new Romanian-built rifle made in 2013. Once in-country, 10 U.S.-made replacement parts are added to make the rifle 922r compliant.
The mag well is a common source of complaints on modern imported AKs. The BATFE will only allow the importation of small arms that are for “sporting purposes.” As a result, when these rifles are brought into the country, they feature a small mag well opening intended for use with a single-stack 10-round magazine.
Once here, certain foreign-made parts are removed and replaced with U.S.-made replacements. As many of you will know, this is the so-called “922r compliance” process. It is named after the law that sets forth the rules under 18 USC Ch. 44, Sec. 922(r).
Some of the early WASRs had problems because the mag-well widening process was bungled by the drunken monkeys at Century. M+M Inc. solves the problem by using a CNC machine to widen the mag wells to standard AK specs. It’s good to know that M+M has seen fit to do this conversion the right way. My gun didn’t have the mag wobble issue that’s common on a lot of the AKs that are widened here in the states such as my TGI AMD 65.
Having said all that, the front-to rear fit of the mag well is a little on the tight side. It works perfectly with the Tapco magazine that’s provided by the factory, but many of my other steel AK mags were a bit too tight to work well. However, it was an easy fix which took me all of about 10 minutes with a file to complete.
The M10-762 ships with one 30-round Tapco Intrafuse® “Smooth Side Low Drag” 30rd Magazine. As shown above, the Tapco smooth side has the same external dimensions as a traditional AK mag, but mimics the look of an AK-74 magazine. I didn’t torture-test the Tapco magazine for durability; there are plenty of YouTube videos on that topic, with varying results. I did put many hundreds of rounds through it without any problems, though, and it certainly didn’t strike me as being unacceptable.
As you’d expect, the Tapco mag is lighter than a traditional steel AK magazine, and won’t rust. Unlike the older style Tapco mags, these so-called “smooth sides” will fit into standard-sized AK mag pouches. And at $10-14 bucks a pop, they’re a pretty good deal. Overall, I would buy more of them.
Furniture & Rails
The M10 includes a UTG quad rail. Although I generally believe UTG products provide a lot of value for the buck, I’m not a huge fan of the design of this particular top rail for one big reason. Unlike, say, the Ultimak or Midwest Industries U.S. Palm rails, the UTG doesn’t allow the operator to co-witness optics with iron sights. Rather, the optic sits high on the rail which also tends to mess up the operator’s cheek weld. Aside from that, however, the UTG rail appears to be well-made and does the job for a fraction of the cost of other rails on the market.
The M-10 also includes a CNC-machined side-mounted optical sight attachment rail. Unfortunately, when I compared it to other AKs in my personal arsenal, I found that it sits a little higher on the receiver than it should. I like to keep my optic as low as possible and this rifle’s side rail sets the optic up almost ¼-inch higher than the rails on my other AKs.
While not a total deal killer, it’s certainly not ideal. I had a K-Var KS-04S rail on hand, but I didn’t like how high it placed my optic. Crazy me; I want a cheek weld, not a chin weld. I might have to try a Midwest Industries mount to see if that will bring the optic down a little lower.
In the photo below, you can see how the M+M’s side plate is mounted higher on the receiver compared to a Bulgarian AK variant.
The M+M labeled handgrip is manufactured by Hogue so it’s sized correctly for large-pawed corn-fed Americans, as opposed to the tiny commie-era factory grips you typically see on AKs. The standard commie grips (two examples shown above) were made to fit five-year-agricultural-plan under-fed 1950’s era Soviet bloc peasants and it’s a “must-replace” part for most American shooters.
I’ve been running Hogue and Ergo grips on three of my AKs for years and I highly recommend both grips. The big difference is the Hogue has more pronounced finger grooves and the grip angle seems a little different than the Ergo. It probably comes down to personal preference as to which one you like better.
The M10-762s arrive from Romania with thumbhole stocks. M+M installs a U.S.-made, Warsaw Pact-length Tapco polymer stock (shown above, at bottom of photo, compared to an olive drab U.S.-made NATO length stock by K-Var, top of photo). The Tapco stock is a copy of the Bulgarian design, except for the notable absence of the trap door in the buttplate for the cleaning kit. Despite being inexpensive ($25-30), it’s a solid performer. I’m not sure what happens to all of those old thumbhole stocks and other parts removed off M+M rifles, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are shipped back to Romania to be installed on the next batch of import AKs.
The test sample rifle did, however, exhibit an ever-so-slight amount of movement in the receiver to stock fit – not enough so to send it back, but just enough to make you wonder if it would hold up in a critical situation. If I was going to be jumping out of airplanes or low-crawling through the bush with this thing, I might consider an upgrade. For the rest of the 99.9% of us, it’s probably good to go.
Barrel and Muzzle Brake
The M10-762 features a new, Romanian-made, cold-hammer forged, chrome-lined 16.25″ barrel. It has a 1:10 right-hand twist rate with four lands & grooves. The barrel is rather ‘skinny’ when compared to other AKs in my collection. It measures .56 inches in diameter one inch past the gas tube, whereas my other AKs measure somewhere between .61 and .65 inches in that same vicinity.
As expected, the M-10 barrel experiences a very small POI shift when it gets hot, but it’s not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. Overall, I like the weight reduction you get with that svelte barrel.
Whereas older M10s came factory-equipped with the TAPCO RAZR muzzle brake/flash suppressor, current versions feature a design manufactured by M+M that appears to be a shorter, fatter version of the RAZR. The M+M brake is made from billet, as opposed to being case hardened. The photo above shows the M+M Chaos brake (top) compared to the Tapco brake. The M+M’s brake does make the same resonating twanging sound that was characteristic of the RAZR, but it is not nearly as loud/noticeable.
For me, the sound of the RAZR is a deal killer, whereas the M10’s brake is acceptable. Like the RAZR, the M+M brake can theoretically also be used as a barbed wire cutting device by jamming the wire into the muzzle brake’s prongs and then pulling the trigger to cut the wire…if you’re into that sort of thing.
The M-10 sports a Tapco G-2 single-hook trigger kit. The Tapco trigger seems to be the gold standard for “cheap” AK triggers, and for good reason. While not perfect, the G-2 is probably the best of the non-custom triggers on the market. Sure, companies such as Red Star Arms offer adjustable milled triggers that will outperform Tapco’s, but you’ll pay a steep premium for those units. [October 2014 Update: If you google “Tapco sucks” you will see that there are some high-profile gun gurus that have expressed dislike for the G-2 on account of durability problems. I will express no views on the topic other than to say I have not had a problem with any of my G-2s after many thousands of rounds].
The steel fire control group retaining plate compliments the G2 fire control group. The plate locks the hammer and trigger pivot pins in place and the plate itself is held by the selector. I wasn’t very familiar with this plate and, as a result, I put the rifle together incorrectly on one occasion, causing the charging handle to get stuck in the rearward position. Oops. Now that I’ve figured it out, though, I’m a fan. It allows for quick detail disassembly of the trigger group and will likely have better service life than a standard wire retainer.
The test sample’s trigger exhibited some of the typical AK creep over its ¼ inch pull, but broke at a little over 4 pounds. It also is devoid of that annoying “trigger slap” that is typical on many AK builds. As discussed below, I preferred the M+M’s trigger to the trigger on the $1000+ Arsenal SLR 107 that I tested. I own a really nice Vector Arms AKMS built from a Polish Radom parts kit, but the stock trigger on that rifle was nasty due to a wicked slap. The Tapco G-2 solved that slapping problem as well. So the M+M trigger gets high marks.
The rear sight is probably one of the best features on the M+M. On most AK variants, the rear sight is adjustable for elevation only, using a sliding “ramp.” (above right). The M+M has that same feature – in this case graduated to 1000 meters in 100 meter increments – but it also adds an RPK-type rear sight, which is adjustable for windage (above left).
On a typical AK, there’s no true “windage” adjustment capability. You can adjust the sights in the horizontal plane by using a tool to press on the front sight adjusting block (i.e., the cylinder-shaped part that holds the front sight in place). But that’s a coarse, time-consuming method you can really only accomplished on a range. The M+M has that same cylinder block, but the addition of a true field-adjustable, no-tools-required windage sight is a big plus. I suspect that other firms will follow this example, too.
Another interesting, albeit unusual, feature on the M10-762 is the front sight, which is integrated with the gas block. Although this specific part is adapted from the Romanian short-barreled AIMR, the general concept is a Finnish design dating back to 1962. It first appeared on the Ryannäkkökivääri Malli 62 (aka: Valmet Model 62). The Chinese adopted the design on their Type 81 so that the weapon to be used with rifle-launched grenades.
Incidentally, the Valmet removed the rear sight from its typical location near the front trunion and moved it to the back of the receiver’s dust cover. Oddly, the M+M retains the typical AK rear sight despite having the 16-inch barrel. The downside to this is that it lowers the sight radius from the typical 14.9 inches to 11 inches.
So, the big question: is there any advantage to the M+M design? As far as I can tell, no. I suspect that M+M was just going for a unique look for aesthetic reasons when it chose the design. It does make it possible to “SBR” the rifle by removing four inches or so of the barrel. If you go that route, be sure to submit your Form 4 and pay your $200 tax. I’ll probably end up SBR’ing mine. Combined with a side-folding stock, a shorty AK variant would be a nice, compact can of whoop-ass.
I remember going to a gun show about eight years ago and seeing a gun dealer with 20 to 25 WASRs in a rack, ready for purchase. The price, as I recall, was in the $275-300 range which was extremely attractive. But after inspecting the shoddy workmanship, defective metalwork, and canted front sight posts, I decided to pass on that batch. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve viewed WASRs as crap ever since.
Assuming you can believe what you read on the internet, it turns out that all those early pre-2008 Century Arms WASRs were made with parts from the Romanian Sadu arsenal that were rejected for use in military grade weapons. While certainly sounding credible, I can’t verify any of that. What I can confirm is that the M+M M10-762 doesn’t appear to display any of the shoddy workmanship I witnessed on those early pre-2008 WASRs or other AK builds made by Century.
According to M+M, the M10-762 is manufactured out of brand new high quality parts — everything is newly manufactured to be US 922(r) compliant. The receiver and major parts are made in Romania by F.A. Cugir, the main military arsenal in Romania. Many of the recent WASR imports are made by Cugir and I have to admit, they look way better than the junk I saw that that gun show.
Truth be told, on close inspection, the M10 doesn’t look as cosmetically nice as a Bulgarian Arsenal, a Hungarian FEG, a Serbian PAP or a Polish Radom Tantal. In comparing it to other AKs in my collection, I see more visible toolmarks on the M10. Also, it has a number of sharp edges inside the receiver, similar to the early 1990s-era Chinese Norinco MAK-90s. Nonetheless, putting these cosmetic issues aside, I would rate the workmanship of this rifle as acceptable. As discussed below, the M+M has proven to be highly reliable and accurate, which is more important than looks.
Although it may be difficult to see from the photo above, the Cugir (farthest right) isn’t as refined, and has more sharp edges than the others. The corners on the Polish, Hungarian and Chinese bolts have been rounded off to improve their handling characteristics. Again, this may just be nit-picking on my part — this is an AK we’re talking about, after all.
One non-cosmetic issue I noticed: the dust cover on the M-10 was made using metal that was noticeably thinner and lighter than most of the dust covers found on my other AK variants. It seems strong enough to get the job done, however.
Performance and Reliability
One thing’s for sure, reliability is an AK strong point. In my travels, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in various tropical jungles in Southeast Asia and I can attest to the fact that jungles are extremely hostile environment for firearms. Petroleum-based lubricants tend to wash off in torrential never-ending rains and the extremely high daytime temperatures combined with cool, humid nights cause virtually everything metal to rust. Even aluminum tends to corrode in those environments, especially when exposed to sweat.
While AKMs are certainly not rustproof, their generous tolerances and lack of small precision parts make them well-suited for jungle operations. Whereas other guns with more precise tolerances have a tendency to have parts “weld” together overnight due to rust, the AKM’s relatively loose fit, powerful long-stroke piston and beefy extractor tend to minimize the welding effect to a large degree.
In addition, heavier .30 cal bullets tend to do better in terms of penetrating thick jungle vegetation. If you ever get a chance to shoot a magazine loaded up with tracers into thick vegetation at night, you will quickly understand the advantage that the M-43 ball (123 grain) 7.62 x 39 has over the M-193 ball (56 grain) 5.56 x 45 round. [Note: If you try this test, do it after a heavy rain so you don’t start a forest fire!]
Unfortunately, my T&E budget doesn’t include a trip to Thailand or the PI. So to test the M10-762, I not only fired 1000 rounds of ammo over a period of about three months, I also left it out wet in the rain overnight while camping to see how well the finish held up to rust. The weapon was 100% reliable using everything from TulAmmo, Wolf, Federal American Eagle and Winchester White Box to corrosive Yugo military surplus. And the finish held up surprisingly well to the cold soggy Pacific Northwest weather.
To further test the performance of the M10 I shot it side by side with what is perhaps the gold standard in factory AKMs: the Arsenal (aka: “Circle 10”) SLR-107F made in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. The particular Arsenal used for the test (shown on top, above) was heavily accessorized, with ergonomic features such as the Krebs safety, Ergo Grip, Ultimak rail and a knurled charging handle knob from Tromix which make it a relatively expensive AK. My conclusions from shooting these two rifles side by side are as follows:
- The M&M Chaos muzzle brake was just as effective in controlling muzzle rise as the Arsenal AK-74 brake, despite being lighter and more compact.
- The Ultimak rail keeps the optic down lower than the UTG rail featured on the M10.
- The M10’s Tapco G-2 trigger was superior to the Arsenal trigger.
- The mag well opening of the M10 was ever-so-slightly smaller, making reloads somewhat more difficult (this test occurred before I filed the mag release).
- The “practical” accuracy between the two weapons was similar with no noticeable differences between the two. (Both samples had the annoyingly short “Warsaw-Pact length” stocks).
Overall, the M10 acquitted itself quite nicely against the vaunted Arsenal rifle. Given the extreme price difference between these two, the M+M provides a lot of value for the money.
Note: The Aimpoint T-1 on the Arsenal SLR-107F crapped out midway through testing leaving me stuck using the mediocre AK iron sights. Turns out the battery cap had loosened up causing the battery to lose contact. Once again, this experience demonstrates how important it is to have co-witnessed iron sights to back up the electronic optic.
AKMs are typically minute-of-bad-guy guns; they are simply not known as tack-drivers. As I have opined in previous reviews, the AK’s standard sites are partially to blame for this as the front and rear sights are typically only 15 inches apart and lack the sophistication of the U.S. military’s traditional aperture sights. The M10-762 compounds the problem by setting back the front sight post another four inches resulting in a sight radius of only 11 inches. For comparison, that’s the same as on the diminutive AMD-65.
Nonetheless, the M10 gives the user two locations for mounting optics: a front mounting location for red-dots and a side rail for magnified optics. I tested both of these options. I mounted a Leupold LPS 3.5010 x 40 scope on a K-Var side mount and proceeded to bang out some impressive 100 yard, 3-shot groups using American Eagle 123 grain FMJ: .80 in., .87 in., .89 in, .94 in., 1.18in., 1.52 in., 1.56 in., 1.59 in., and 1.78 inches. One group started with the first two shots touching in almost the dead center of the bull, but then I did a Tony Romo, choked and dropped the third shot 1.7 inches away from the first two.
Despite the good groups, I had some trouble holding a consistent zero with the K-Var mount. I’m not sure if I had everything tightened down perfectly or not, but I suspect these side mounts for AKs are just not as sturdy as a traditional scope mount when using large heavy optics.
I’m not going to put much more effort into troubleshooting the set-up, though, because it is obvious that a 3.5-10 x 40 scope has no real practical applicability on this rifle. I did prove that the M+M M10 has a lot of inherent built-in accuracy, though. Going into this review, I would have never believed that I could shoot consistent 1.0 to 1.5 MOA groups with a stock AKM. I’m really impressed with this rifle.
The image above is a “typical” 3-inch group using iron sights at 50 yards. These shots were made using the “rapid aimed fire” technique (one shot every 2 seconds or so), using the dead center between the two shown circles as the point of aim. I shot 13 rounds in this particular string. The six shots in the middle probably approximate what the rifle is capable of. The other seven off-center shots likely reflect my own aiming errors. I will never claim to be an expert marksman using the iron sites on an AKM and I think I’m getting worse with irons in general as my eyes (along with the rest of me) gets older. Naturally, YMMV.
After spending three months with the M+M, I’m definitely ready to add this Kalash to my collection. Despite a few faults, this is a very nice rifle overall, especially if you don’t want to lay out the extra bucks for an Arsenal.
Caliber: 7.62 x 39
Barrel: Chrome-lined, 4-groove 16.25-inch barrel with 1:10 right-hand twist
Length: 36-inch overall
Weight: 7 lbs., 3 ounces empty
Operation: Semi-automatic, long-stroke piston
Finish: Parkerized metal
Trigger: Tapco G-2, 4-pound pull weight
Capacity: One 30-round Tapco mag included; accepts most AK magazines
Sights: Iron (RPK adj. rear sight); side rail is factory installed by M+M
Price: $670-800 (street)
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Accuracy: * * * * *
Very accurate for an AK: it’s 1 to 1.5 MOA shooter with good quality U.S.-made ammo and magnified optics. As is typical, imported steel cased ammo won’t shoot quite as well – expect 3 MOA with Wolf, Herters, TulAmmo or the various colored “Bear” ammo.
Ergonomics: * * * *
Typical AK ergonomics, except the Hogue pistol grip and UTG rail covers add to the comfort factor.
Reliability: * * * * *
Come on. It’s an AK.
Durability: * * * *
After 1000 rounds, I didn’t see any indications of premature wear or other signs that this gun won’t go the distance. The Parkerized finish isn’t as durable as other AKs I’ve owned, which warrants a one point deduction.
Customization: * * * * *
Aftermarket parts for AKs are plentiful. The M10 already comes pretty well equipped and doesn’t really need a whole lot of customization. But if you want to swap out parts, you can do so to your heart’s content.
Overall: * * * * ½
The M+M M10-762 provides a lot of value for the money. Although it may not be the most refined AK on the market, it’s accurate and reliable. The Hogue grip and UTG rail covers give it pretty good ergonomics. It gets a surprisingly enthusiastic “buy” recommendation.
The M+M M10-762 rifle for this review was provided by the Kentucky Gun Company.