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After a ten-year absence from the American import market, Arsenal’s SLR-101 has hit the shelves once again. The rectangular lightening cut at the front of the magazine well and the 2-chamber muzzle brake hint that this isn’t an ordinary AK, but a milled-receiver 7.62mm Bulgy . . .

Milled-receiver AKs run hotter and heavier than their stamped-receiver stablemates, but the machined steel receiver holds the barrel and trunnion in a vise of thick, inflexible steel. Stamped-receiver Arsenals are unusually accurate for AKs, but the extra rigidity of a milled receiver can cut group sizes even further in a well-made rifle. Unlike some milled AKs, the SLR-101 comes with a side rail, for a better opportunity to explore its accuracy potential to the fullest.

In his book “The Gun,” CJ Chivers describes milled-receiver AKs over 60 years old still being used on Afghan battlefields. Wind and sand had worn their exposed metal down to dull satin and their bores were completely shot out, but these rifles still functioned after decades of utter abuse and neglect.


It has been a decade since this rifle has been imported from Arsenal Co of Bulgaria. This milled receiver rifle sets the standard for superior accuracy and reliability. This modern sporting rifle will easily become the centerpiece of any collection and will be the one handed down from generation to generation.

The quality comes from the original hot hammer forged and milled receiver, bolt, bolt carrier, and trigger, the cold hammer forged and chrome lined barrel, and almost 100 years of workmanship and experience. All of this together creates a mil-spec rifle that is strong, accurate and will last multiple lifetimes.

At $1,019, all this milled Kalashnitude doesn’t come cheap. But think of it this way: it works out to only $17 a year for the next 60 years.

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    • They’re many ounces heavier, and once they heat up from shooting they don’t cool down quickly. A milled receiver won’t turn an AK into a National Match M1A, but it will increase accuracy over most stamped-receiver AKs.

    • Stamped receivers are heavier and cool down more slowly, as has been noted. They are also more durable, given all that extra metal.

      As I understand it, there are 1mm and 1.5mm stamped receivers. The 1.5mm stamped receivers are plenty strong when reinforced properly (mainly just an extra plate around where the pistol grip attaches). The 1mm stamped receivers are not sturdy enough for hard use in the battlefield sense, but are fine for most people in the US buying an AK. I’ve read that there are accuracy differences inherent between 1.5mm and 1mm stamped receivers, but haven’t run into an AK that was horribly inaccurate. It seems like the more important thing is buying one from a quality manufacturer (like Arsenal) rather than focusing on the differences in manufacture.

      • Levi, you are confused. Milled receivers are machined from a solid block of steel. They are heavier and more desirable. Think of stamped as coca cola cans coming off a roll of aluminum. They are cut and folded (stamped) to make a receiver. They are cheap. They undoubtedly work, but if you can afford a milled gun, get it while you can.

  1. While some might scoff at a $1,000 AK, Arsenal is practically giving these away at this price. The next cheapest milled Arsenal will set you back $1,500, and it doesn’t even have some of the features the SLR-101 has. If you want one I wouldn’t wait too long. Unless Arsenal received a very large shipment, these will move quickly.

  2. I am deployed right now, and was planning on purchasing myself a nice AK when I came home. After seeing these milled Arsenals, I purchased one and it is currently sitting back in the States, waiting on me. I can’t wait to shoot it!

    • Will a Arsenal AK receiver be scribed MADE IN Bulgaria? I have seen an SLR101S it has this etched on the receiver rather crudely but also has the marking Las Vegas . The rifle does not have the typical cleaning rod slot under the barrel and the butt stock does not hold the cleaning kit capsul . Just wondering what I was looking at . I have seen some SLR 101 S with the under barrel cleaning rod and some without .

  3. I bought a Arsenal SLR-101S last November shortly before the school shooting in Conn. I paid $1100 for it at Cheaper Then Dirt. I’m very glad I got it when I did. I’ve shot about 500 rounds of mostly cheap ammo through it without a hiccup and I’m very happy with this rifle as my choice of AK for my collection. These days there are none of them left in stores and it’s doubtful we’ll see them imported and assembled again by Arsenal. If you want to purchase one on an auction site you’re likely to pay 2k or better for it.

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