[ED: During the holiday week we’ll be running some popular older TTAG content that you may have missed. Here’s a review of Century Arms’ popular Yugo N-PAP AK from back in 2013. Enjoy.]
By James Grant
When the hardy Century Arms Yugo N-PAP rifle showed up at my FFL, I couldn’t help but imagine a massive disheveled Russian dude inspecting the gun and grunting, “Iz good!” with a nodding frown of approval. In fact you might become Sergei the Soviet Bear-Slayer if you shoot and carry the N-PAP enough.
The teak furniture and LMG-style heavy-duty receiver mean that this Serbian lead-slinger weighs a solid 8 1/2 lbs. loaded. While that might not seem like a new deadlift world record, 8.5 lbs. can feel like 50 after hiking it through the woods for a few hours.
But if you’re used to little black modern sporting rifles, you may find the substantial weight of the N-PAP inspires more confidence than an M4-gery. Is that kind of confidence substantiated? Let’s put the (former) Yugo blaster through the wringer and find out.
To start things off I’ll take a peek at the aspects of the gun you can test without firing a round. Yugoslavian, and thus Serbian, AK’s are unique in that they’re designed to hold the bolt open once the last round is fired. While this is no BFD on modern sporting rifles, most AK’s now-a-days (God, what am I, 80?) lack this feature as it’s not part of the original Kalashnikov design.
The Serbian slayer also sports a chromed bolt – allegedly. If true it’s a Godsend if you’re going to utilize commie mil-surp corrosive ammunition or take horrific care of your rifle, as it will combat the erosion of those parts. But to me, it just looks like highly polished stainless steel. To be safe, I’ll clean her as if it’s not chromed to keep it in fine fighting form.
In addition, the N-PAP comes with a G2 trigger group, 2 magazines, a bolt hold-open safety and some bizarre make of side rail that looks like it works with both SVD & AK scope mounts.
At first, you’ll praise the little notch thoughtfully added to the oversized selector switch, but you’ll soon grow to hate it. Part of your Russki bear bulk-up program is to retract the bolt and flip the safety up to hold it there. Here comes the tricky part: flip that switch down. In a word? “AARRRGGHHHH!” I’m pretty sure CAI owes me a few BandAids for that safety lever. This is why in my upcoming article on crucial upgrades for the AK platform will first and foremost list gloves. I’m fairly certain Mikhail designed the gun to be more dangerous to you under stress unless you’re a callous-covered partisan. It will loosen up with use, but in the meantime, wear protection.
Next you’ll appreciate the raised comb of the N-PAP’s stock. At least you will if you’re using optics. The higher comb is excellent for scopes or red-dots, but it sucks for iron sights. You have to push your face against the dust cover to get low enough for a proper non-scoped sight picture. That’s fine with an AR, but the recoil of an AK is a little more stout, and for a new shooter it might result in a bloodied nose. A lesson not soon forgotten.
That’s not to say that the N-PAP isn’t user friendly. At least no less than any other AK platform. You still have the semi-awkward reloading procedure of rocking the mags into place – but that’s something that any experienced AK owner will tell you becomes much easier with practice.
For the N-PAP the Serbs basically took the standard design of the Yugoslavian M70 and reduced some of the rigidness of the trunnion so that it’s still tougher than a standard AK’s but not as tough as the RPK’s (the LMG version of the AK47). Now, thanks to the efforts of a number of politicians, we can’t import these in their standard configuration straight from Serbia. Instead, Zastava has to import the guns with receivers that only accommodate single stack low-cap mags.
The first generation N-PAPs to come stateside not only had the single stack mag well but also a bolt designed for it. Consequently the first N-PAPs earned a well-deserved reputation for spotty reliability. This, combined with the less-than-ideal Monte Carlo style stock, made the Gen 1 N-PAP a tough sell. Thankfully the guys at Century listened to their customers and managed to convince Zastava to send N-PAP’s with a more appropriate bolt and a square-backed receiver.
One of the more peculiar aspects of the N-PAP rifle is its side rail. The rail on the N-PAP is neither SVD nor Kalash yet can accommodate both. Or so I’ve been told. I had no issue mounting a Belarusian POSP or a Midwest Industries “MI-AKSM”. One thing I would note, though: both scope setups sat noticeably higher than when mounted on a Saiga rifle – thankfully the comb is higher, too.
What does this mean to the consumer? Simply put, you now have access to a factory-built Century-slightly-modified Yugo cross-out Serb M70 AK rifle. Complete with reinforced receiver and hold open magazines. But you’ll miss out on a few things that M70’s used to come with.
The N-PAP doesn’t come with a grenade launcher sight, a bayonet lug, or night sights of any type. These are clearly designed solely for import to the US, so they lack some of the military features. If you’re not a collector, the first two “shortcomings” won’t bother you in the slightest. The lack of night sights sucks, but in all fairness the majority of those we saw in the 2000’s were dead by the time they arrived anyway.
Another item to note about all Yugo/Serbian M70’s is their barrel is not chrome-lined. If you shoot corrosive ammo, you’ll want to clean your rifle as soon as it is cool enough to touch. The bolt and carrier, thankfully, are chromed and if Zastava started shipping these with chromed barrels they’d be ideal for shooting surplus ammo.
So how does she perform, you might ask? I put 200 rounds of Wolf 124gr FMJ, 120 rounds of Brown Bear HP ammo , 80 rounds of Silver Bear soft point, and 100 rounds of Klimovsk (sp?) 123 gr FMJ (Despite the package it IS CORROSIVE) and experienced 0 failures of any sort. I tested all ammo in four kinds of magazines just to be sure: Romanian 30-round stell mags, Bulgarian 30-round plastic mags, 20-round Tapco plastic mags and 5-round KVAR magazines. All fit the rifle properly and functioned flawlessly.
For accuracy I mounted a Belarusian POSP 4x fixed magnification scope to the N-PAP and utilized a 5 round magazine. Here are the results:
WPA Black Label:
The N-PAP grouped all ammo types basically the same – I wish had more ammo types to check out, especially some American-made brands. Still, the gun was un-stoppably reliable.
As far as disassembly goes the N-PAP, like all AK rifles is very straightforward. First make sure the gun is unloaded, remove the magazine, push the safety lever down and pull the charging handle back to make sure it’s still empty. Then just pop off the dust cover, depress and lift the recoil spring, pull the bolt back and lift free. With a little practice you’ll be able to do it blind-folded in about 10 seconds.
Specifications: Yugo N-PAP Kalashnikov AK-47 Rifle
Rate of Twist: 1:10
Operation: gas-operated rotating bolt
Capacity: 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 75, and 100-round varieties
Importer: Century Arms International
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy * * * 1/2
The N-PAP grouped basically minute of hand at 100 yards. That translates to 3-4 MOA, which is pretty standard for the AK platform. I did notice that the groups didn’t seem to grow too much as the barrel heated up, making it a solid choice for holding imperialist American invaders at bay or shooting hogs all day long.
Ergonomics: * * * *
The N-PAP’s controls come stiff as Hugh Hefner with a mouthful of little blue pills. The inclusion of a rubberized butt pad and a finger-grooved pistol grip make this Kalashnikov derivative especially comfortable, though.
Fit & Finish: * * * *
The N-PAP’s outer finish is excellent and mine lacks the dreaded mag-wobble and sight cant of previous Century imports. But there is that questionable chromed bolt….
Accessories: * * * 1/2
The N-PAP uses 17mm LH threads, takes standard AK magazines and features an optic rail that fits standard AK scopes. This is where the N-PAP’s compatibility with other AK parts ends, though. Tapco enthusiasts need not apply – you’re stuck with a narrow selection of makers for any aftermarket parts you may be drooling over.
Value: * * * 1/2
The N-PAP ain’t cheap – it will run you around $750-800. But the difference in quality between it and a WASR is fairly substantial. However, the N-PAP is getting dangerously close to the cost of a pre-panic Arsenal-converted Saiga. And while it’s a solid performer, value gun buyers may be less interested when they can pay a little more and get something with better resale value.
Overall: * * * *
At the end of the day the N-PAP looks, shoots, and feels like an AK. If you’re itching for an Avtomat with all the “assault weapon” fever, you won’t be let down by this Serbian rifle so long as you keep a few things in mind – like parts compatibility and the limits of the platform. I’m nicking half a point each for cost and parts limitations. But based solely on performance, the N-PAP is a 5 star AK…with a matching price.
So, it has a MSRP of $699, but expect to pay $750-$800? Oh, and the bolt is not chromed. I have an N-PAP; its polished steel. Maybe I’m the clown for replying to a post from 5 years ago.🤔
Great review. Clear text and nice close up pictures. Thanks. -30-
I have a personal problem, perhaps, of not liking any weapon widely used by American enemies. Ideologically, politically, religiously…just can’t do it.
AKs have always looked like they were constructed by high school wood & metal shop students to me, and their loud-clicking safeties that often draw blood samples doesn’t help in the slightest.
I’ve actually owned a couple to try and get over my distaste for them, but it didn’t work, and I surely wouldn’t spend $700 to try, again.
I use to be a big AK fan back when you could buy them at around $400-500 and actually get a decent one, but the new ones made today, mostly by Century and IO, are junk and cost $700 or more.
The only AK’s that are actually good are the Arsenal’s, but they’re a thousand dollar rifle and are limited to 300 yards, yet a Del-Ton AR is $400 and you can reach out to 500 yds with one of those pretty easy if you upgrade the trigger to a $40 AR Stoner enhanced one.
I’m just glad I got my AK before Obama was elected. Came with 3 mags, bayonet, cleaning kit, mag pouch… all for like $450.
I bought a vz 2008 (Vz. 58V kit gun) during Obama’s second term for $500 with folding stock, 5 mags, mag pouch, cleaning kit, bayonet and sling. Lighter, even with machined receiver, shorter and more ergonomic alternative to AK. Bolt stays open after last shot and safety doesn’t draw blood. I never felt like I need to get an AK after that.
AK is my favorite, (had six until the flood,) no it’s not as good or fancy as some. Actually their junk on feature’s, hang up easy on brush, harder to tote then an ,AR or Mini, not as fast to reload. Not as accurate.Why do I like them?? They work Everytime , all the time ,and with a .30 caliber bullet. I sure would like to find a forged frame AK
I have one, with poly furniture. Paid $600 fo it with 2,000 rounds of ammo. Original owner put about 1,000 rounds down range prior. He needed cash, I had cash. I have put about another 1,000 rounds thru it. Other than the odlball dust cover release screw loosing up I have had zero issues with it. Never had FTF/FTE or anything else. As accurate as I can shoot, 2-3 MOA. If you find one, buy it, doubt you will regret it.
Mighty wasr wins again
Kommerad K, was a line soldier and survived both brutal weather conditions and enemy soldiers trying to kill him. The AK is crude, but it does what it was designed to do. It shoots an effective size bullet, it shoots it only when you overcome some mechanical resistance, it’s only as accurate as the soldier firing it. In it’s own way it’s a lot like most Glocks. Effective bullet size, terrible trigger, sights…lucky to have enough time to push the firearm out and “aim” the whole gun. Oh yeah, market saturation, those dang things show up just about everywhere. -30-
An AK, any AK, is a reliable, durable rifle that needs little maintenance. Much more than can be said for the AR platform. If you’re looking for something along the AK line, buy a Galil, or a Valmet. Yes, you will pay a lot more money, but you’ll understand just as soon as soon as you get to the range.
An oiled AR can fire over 1500 rounds without cleaning!
After 3 tours in Iraq as an Infantryman, I’ve never come close to firing that many rounds in a firefight! I never had a malfunction that wasn’t magazine related, and have always found time to clean my AR.
Only a fool doesn’t maintain either weapon equally.
Any N-PAP review that doesn’t mention cheek slap is sadly misinformed.
Was wondering when cheek-slap was going to come up, mine did it when I started rushing shots. Threw an ace skeleton folder on it and issue solved, was my intention when I bought it anyway. Absolutely love mine, bought new 4yrs ago going on 4k not 1 FTF/FTE. Just under $700 out the door, don’t even see them in the LGS anymore.
Our test MAK 90 started misfiring every sixth or seventh round. The chamber had become gummed up with the lacquer from the steel case ammunition. 8000 rounds without cleaning says a lot. The owner and I were discussing perhaps the occasional mag dumps got the chamber extremely hot and the lacquer could possibly have been melting.
Makes sence, some milsurp I’ve bought was pretty bad. I’m really (ocd) when it comes to cleaning though.
I don’t have anything against the AK platform but I chuckle when people say how reliable they are.
Reason being that my first AK (US made, I don’t remember by whom, on a Nodak-SPUD receiver which was the selling point) completely took a shit and stopped working about 20 rounds into the first mag when the gun was brand new. Being years back and my first AK I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with it and couldn’t look it up on a phone.
Turned out that the hammer spring wasn’t installed correctly but I didn’t notice because it was my first AK and I didn’t know what they were supposed to look like.
Which really is kinda hilarious since my Yugo-PAP (SKS) didn’t fire the first three rounds I tried to fire out of it which had me thinking I got bad ammo… and then the rifle proceeded to slam-fire the rest of the mag, scaring the ever-living fuck out of me.
US made AK?
If it isn’t from Ishvesk or Tula, it isn’t AK!
Just kidding everyone, your Chinese, Romanian, Polish, Serbian, etc. rifles are still AKs
US made AK just sounds strange.
FWIW, my Saiga has been very reliable, though it doesn’t seem to like the 154 train soft points
I just note where it was made so that “new” isnt misinterpreted as “new to me” as if I bought an older foreign made rifle that had a previous owner who might have “bubba’d” the gun.
I Have bought the RAS47 about 2 mouths ago, havent shot it yet, but looking too, payed $599 for it but do here good Reviews
Great! Enjoy your new “American Built AK”……
BTW, I’d make sure my health insurance is up to date.
There have been issues with Century’s RAS and C39 but to be honest, If you’re not planning on putting thousands of rounds through it a per month/year? then you will be fine.
If you do end up with an AK addiction you will probably upgrade to a comblock version in the future? I only own one AK and it’s an NPAP. My addiction is with AR’s and it’s pretty big loll.
I paid $549 for my NPAP about 2 years ago. My only gripe was with the moron who cut out the magwell with a Dremel and the non-chromed barrel?
I got rid of the cheap furniture and put on Magpul Zhukov furniture and swapped out the slant brake for a fighter brake that I purchased from RobSki, (AK Operator Union) adding about $200 to the cost.
Overall I’m happy with it, have had no issues other than the magwell, but would not pay more than $700 for it.
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