Gun Review: WBP Jack 556SR: Warsaw + NATO = Perfection

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I never thought I’d see the day when 5.56mm AKs made financial sense. Sure, they’ve always been a cool concept, but one that was so expensive compared to running cheap 7.62×39 ammo and cheap surplus magazines that only collectors and guys with stocks of 5.56 ammo ever bought them. 

On top of that, early guns weren’t very reliable…especially compared to 7.62 guns, plus most of the options available at the time were very expensive overall, namely Arsenal and Beryl clones. Sure, the WASR-3 existed, but it, like all early WASR rifles, was seen as crude with spotty quality in terms of QA. It made me really wish there were more options, especially now with WASR-3 rifles fetching over a grande.

So when Atlantic Firearms began importing Jack 556SR rifles from WBP, I got very excited…until I began reading reports of middling accuracy. Some shooters were reporting 8 MOA guns with any ammo. Even for an AK that’s entirely unacceptable.

These new batches of rifles, though, are said to have fixed the issue by replacing the RADOM barrels with in-house built, nitride-treated WBP barrels. But is this merely lipstick on a pig, or have the Polish engineers at WBP delivered the 5.56mm AK we’ve always wanted? Let’s take a closer look at the new 5.56 Jack rifles and find out.

WBP JACK 556 AK Dirt Road Fall
Although chambered in a NATO caliber, the rifle is 100% AKM, with multiple components being interchangeable with the 7.62x39mm classic rifle. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

WBP Jack 556SR Features

For the uninitiated, the Jack series of rifles from WBP are simply AKM-pattern semi-automatic carbines chambered in 7.62×39, 5.56, and 5.45. As AKs, it should come as no surprise that they function via long-stroke piston-driven action.

This has the upside of being very robust and reliable with the downside of being both heavy and having a little more felt recoil than short-stroke or direct impingement rifles since the piston is attached to the carrier. That translates into a heavy mass reciprocating during the firing process and thus more felt recoil. 

Ammunition for this and all TTAG reviews is sponsored by Ammo To Go. You can support TTAG by shopping at Ammo To Go for ammunition and more.

These guns feed from the same 5.56mm AK Mags as Bulgarian, Russian, and obviously Polish guns. Speaking of which, the new Jack ships with a single, Polish-made polymer 30-round magazine in the box. The mag lacks steel reinforcements, but in my testing it’s been thus far good to go.

If you want steel reinforcements in your 5.56 AK magazines, there are several options available, both affordable, like the AC unity mags, and pricy, like the Arsenal waffle-pattern circle ten mags. Without going too far into it at this point, both worked flawlessly in the gun in my testing, but more on that later.

WBP Jack 556 Magazine
The Jack ships with a single 30-round polymer magazine. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

But before we get too far, let’s start at the muzzle and work our way back to get a full rundown of all the gun’s features.

The 5.56 Jack ships with a 16.3-inch, 1:8-twist, 4150 Black Nitrided Barrel threaded to standard AK 14×1 LH pitch. So, if you have a favorite AK muzzle device, it will 100% fit the Jack regardless of what caliber the device is for.

WBP JACK 556 Flash Hider
Atop the 14×1 LH threads of the Jack’s muzzle is a unique multi-prong flash hider. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

Speaking of which, the Jack ships with a multi-prong bird-cage flash hider that, in testing, does a fantastic job of suppressing muzzle blast. On a side note, I tried installing a JMAC custom 4C 14-1LH Slim compensator, and the gun actually recoiled downward, to give you an idea of both how little felt recoil the Jack has and why Atlantic imports these with a flash hider.

Just behind that, the Jack features a standard AKM front sight tower, which is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. Further back, the rifle ships with a mil-spec bayonet lug in case your position gets overrun by PLA infantry.

Adjacent to the bayonet lug, the Jack features the standard self-regulating gas system the AK is known for, along with the standard fluted gas tube with an integrated upper handguard retainer.

The rifle tested shipped with some very handsome blonde laminate wood furniture, but is also available in other finishes as well. If none of these suit your fancy, the Jack uses standard AKM furniture, so if you want to install RS Regulate railed handguards or a JMAC custom folding skeletonized stock, you can.

WBP Jack barrel
14x1LH threaded muzzle: Check. 45-degree gas block: Check. Beautiful blonde furniture: Check! What’s not to love? (Jim Grant for TTAG)

One unique thing about this rifle over other 74-based guns, is that it utilizes a 45-degree gas block instead of a 90-degree one. I’m not sure why WBP chose this, but this could eventually lead to increased recoil as the gas port naturally opens up over time. But if you’re worried that means the Jack will suddenly happen to recoil like crazy, don’t worry. This port takes thousands and thousands of rounds to open up. And even then, we’re talking about maybe a 5% increase in felt recoil. 

Further back, the receiver of the Jack features an engraved Polish eagle coat of arms and a standard rear sight notch adjustable for elevation with settings ranging from point blank to 800 meters.

WBP Jack 556 Optics Rail
Iron sights not your thing? The Jack 556SR includes a standard AK optics rail. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

Just behind this, the Jack ships with a smooth dust cover and, below that, a standard AKMN side rail. So, if you want to mount an optic like my Holosun HS503 or a Soviet POSP, you can easily do so.

The first fundamental difference between this rifle and standard AKMs is on the other side of the rifle. It ships with an extended safety selector, letting shooters use their index finger instead of their whole hand to toggle it. Another extended feature is the magazine release. The extra-wide paddle makes extracting spent magazines substantially easier. 

Behind all of that you have a standard AKM polymer checkered pistol grip and a fixed wooden stock…everything you’ve come to expect from legit AKs. 

WBP Jack Action Shot
With soft recoil and flawless reliability, the new generation of Polish 5.56 AKs are a force to be reckoned with. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

Rifle Performance

As I mentioned earlier, the first generation of 556 Jack rifles weren’t exactly tack drivers. So, how did this new version fare? 

Infinitely better. 

I tested five different loads of ammo, including 55gr steel-cased Wolf, Federal M193, Winchester 62gr M855 green tip, 55gr Norma, and 77gr SIG Performance match ammo. With the exception of the 62gr ammo, all grouped around two MOA. This might not seem like anything to write home about for you AR guys, but two inches at 100 yards is excellent for a Kalashnikov rifle.

WBP Jack Accuracy
After bench resting the WBP Jack, I shot off of makeshift concealment to get an idea of its practical accuracy. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

Plus, I didn’t just test the gun at 25 yards and extrapolate the data. I actually shot the gun at 100 yards off of a Lyman bag on a shooting bench. Once I was happy with empirical accuracy data, I shot the gun at a friend’s farm at steel silhouette targets out to 400 yards and never had a missed shot due to mechanical inaccuracy. Shooter skill and lousy eyesight, sure. But nine times out of ten, steel was slammed when the trigger was pulled. 

Reliability from the AK was outstanding as well. I fired 650 rounds of ammo through the gun using every 5.56mm AK magazine in my collection, including Bulgarian circle 10, Polish military, Polish civilian, Serbian AC unity standard, and AK-12 style. Regardless of ammo and magazine, the rifle just ran. In fact, I never encountered a single malfunction throughout my entire testing procedure.

WBP JACK 556 Forest
Even if you’re not an AK guy, you have to admit the new WBP Jack is a good-looking rifle. (Jim Grant for TTAG)

Is the WBP Jack 556SR Worth it?

Has WBP fixed the 556 Jack? Is it worth the money? In my opinion, absolutely. Few AKs on the market today offer the level of quality for the price that WBP rifles, carbines, and pistols do. In many ways, the Jack and FOX rifles are like this generation’s WASRs, only much more refined.

We’ll never see the days of $350 mil-spec AKs again, but at least you can still buy good-to-go AKs from Poland at a fair price — around $1200 bucks.

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  1. That looks really nice, The $1200 price seems a little high, when I can get American made PSA AK rifles for a good bit less. I’m content running 5.56 in ARs and 7.62*39 in AKs and SKS. For those who really want an AK in 5.56 this looks like a solid option.

  2. I need an ak, the only thing that makes me cringe about a 5.56 one is that the mags have had a lot of not compatible variations over the years.

    • I felt the same way until I saw the very affordable mags from AC Unity. They’re only 12-15 bucks and thus far have run flawlessly in this gun, my Arsenal, my Pioneer and the Jack.

  3. On the magazine thing I wager that Galil mags will work. I bought twenty surplus magazines a few months ago for almost nothing. Speaking of Galil, my son borrowed mine Thursday afternoon to go shooting with his cousins. He returned it grinning like a fool. That is the 5.56 AK you’ve always wanted.

    • The steel Galil mags *can* work if heavily machined. They’re way too wide – in fact they’re the same width as a 7.62x39mm AKM magazine. (They even lock up properly in 7.62 AKs) I’ve heard the polymer Galil mags can be made to work much easier, but overall the AC Unity mags are the best affordable option currently available.

      • Jim, you’re probably right. I’m basing my comment on experience from the ’90s. A friend and I got together a couple of 5.56 AKs, a couple of Galils and while we didn’t have a Valmet, we did have a 5.56 Valmet magazine. All worked interchangeably. The make of the AKs are lost to time. Never liked the polymer Galil mags. They don’t even fit the Israeli combat harness well. Much less anything else.

        • Galil mags may cause problems in a Valmet because the feed angle is slightly different. Some people report having the bullet hit the breech and jamming into the case risking overpressure. Valmet mags cost 10+ times what Galil mags cost too. Sell the Valmet mag and buy ammo.

    • I was kind of thinking the same thing.

      For $1000 I can get a very nice AR-15 and thus I am having trouble seeing the appeal of an AK-47 chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO for $200 more.

      • AK saves the cost of a BumpStock. AK trigger has a much smaller reset arc and merely “vibrating” your finger on the trigger will empty a magazine at near machine gun speed.

    • No, you have it all wrong – it’s because it is slightly less of a commie POS than the last commie POS.

  4. Virtually no stamped AK is going to impress me. The AK is the single most produced weapon system in the history of the planet. This is because they were cheap, easy to produce, reasonably accurate enough and reliable, hence why so many countries on this planet used them.

    There’s no way I’d pay that kind of scratch for a stamped AK, not in this lifetime.
    I did pay that kind of money for an Arsenal SAM7R which I modified into the SAM7R 66.
    Now that was reasonable, but not for a stamped out AK.

  5. I always wanted to get a few AK grips and build a hat rack. They’d be great for hanging soft rifle cases.

  6. “I never thought I’d see the day when 5.56mm AKs made financial sense.”
    cool story bro…
    a $1200 ar15 in 5.56 comes with:
    a free floated barrel
    almost guaranteed 1 moa accuracy with the right factory loaded match ammo
    literally more mlok space than you can use
    full length picatinny top rail
    upgraded trigger
    any color furniture you like
    weapon light
    extra batteries
    soft case
    8 mags
    comp/muzzle brake
    ambi controls
    backup sights
    a $300 optic
    extra batteries
    and on and on and on…

  7. Louis, the one Valmet mag I used in a couple of Galils had no issues. Hardly a definitive study. However, I’ve never heard of the issue you just put forward. Especially since the first Galils were built on Valmet receivers

  8. The issue is using Galil Mags in a .223 Valmet. A number of people have, over the last 15 years, posted about the problem on various forums. Original Valmet magazines are rare and expensive, usually sell for $300 to $500 when they show up.
    And, yes, you’d think Galils would interchange nicely with Valmets ! The 7.62×39 Valmet uses standard AK mags.

    • Because the PSA Ak’s have issues. I had to send my GF5 AND GF3 psa ak’s back because of firing pin issues. Their bolt is made with weird specs and PSA ak trunions are not properly riveted into the reciever. After 3 or 4k rounds, which most people will not reach, but some will, the rifle will come apart.

  9. Great accuracy for an AK. Sub-par accuracy for a similarly priced DMR AR build. Plus even a great AK safety is still an AK safety. Hard pass.

  10. I would not recommend this rifle for the average rifleman. And definitely not for kids and women. This a man’s firearm and should only be sold to the one’s with the biggest cojones.

  11. Have you any reviews on the Bulgarian SAM5-61? I’d absolutely love to see what your take is on these 5.56 AKs. I enjoyed this review and will help me in making a decision of my AK 5.56 AK. I can never get enough input from others experiences and thoughts when it comes to firearms. Thank you

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