today we have a resurrection story presenting the 5.56mm… Hello, and welcome to 9 Hole Reviews this is a story of what we have nicknamed the “AK Niner”, for its nine lives and its permanent residency with 9 Hole Reviews a rifle that came barely functioning sold for $200, but now currently stands as one of the most reliable, softest shooting, compact and most quietly suppressible carbines in possession. Eastern Europe, I came across reports about men along the NATO border area with suspected 5.56 caliber AK-100 series rifles with the newest Russian special operations equipment, who, according to Russian officials were “not russian soldiers” and they evidently, “had no idea who they were”. Some suggested that these groups used 5.56 rifles, because if they somehow wandered across NATO lines, 5.56mm ammunition storages were much easier to find, and the found 5.56 casings, if they were to use them, would raise less suspicion. While the idea of using indigenous ammunition supplies is not a new idea by any means, a reliable, combat accurate, and suppressible Kalashnikov rifle that consumed 5.56 ammunition would certainly be an interesting pursuit for any enthusiast living in the heart of the U.S… as a Russian imported Saiga .223 caliber sporting rifle the base rifle’s quality was superb it came from the Izmash factory in Russia, was manufactured under the Kalashnikov Concern, and had an unusual heavy profile cold hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel prior to our possession, the previous user had made a litany of modifications this was a mid 2000s and Saiga rifles were cheap and he apparently wanted a Galil instead of an AK. The rifle came installed with an aftermarket TAPCO Galil profiled handguard with a handguard retainer, a bullet guide to feed with regular 5.56 magazines and an ACE folder stock. One of the best modifications from the previous user was that he riveted a Galil magazine release magazines now could be released by the tip of the index finger and are near drop-free unfortunately there were many horrible modifications that we had to fix. the previous owner had fitted a very limited production after-market AK102-styled gas block on it the gas block was installed crooked and the pins were drilled at a 30-degree angle, making disassembly an absolute nightmare he cut the barrel down to 14 1/2 inches we presumed that since a gas block pin job was so horrible, he couldn’t access the gas port to enlarge it to compensate for the decreased dwell time, and therefore induced under-gassed misfeeds our primary objective was to make the rifle function again, then more importantly squeeze as much performance out of it, and make it suppressor friendly we installed a slick AGL trigger with a smooth, flat faced two-pound trigger pull, and retained a Saiga bolt lock-open function. We then swapped the handguard back to an AK-100 series polymer grip with an Ultimak gas tube top rail for any potential accessories in the future the stock folds to the right side like an FN FAL paratrooper so the scope does not need to be removed but the rifle could still be fired while folded. And finally we added an Aimpoint PRO red dot with an RS regulate side rail mount I was able to enlarge a gas port with a drill press to where it barely cycled Russian lacquered ammunition and finally I sent the rifle off to Mike Cramer Mike is a former US Army cavalry officer who turned into a gunsmith and has a reputation of fixing unfixable rifles to access a gas port I had to cut the gas block pins to release it for work Mike had the unfortunate pleasure of re-welding re-shaping and re-pinning the gas block with the standard 24mm threads removed to make way for a secret ingredient… the Mk12 series of rifles are known for how quiet their suppressors are and I wanted this rifle to take the same type of suppressor that my Mk12 used I spoke with Ron Allen from Allen Engineering to see if we could custom manufacture a collar system to fit my Mk 12 AEM-5 suppressor on By fitting the AEM 5 suppressor to the rifle, my overall length would be comparable to a suppressed short barreled AK102 but push an extra few inches of pressure than a 14.5 inch barrel had to offer and still substantially be quieter than most 5.56mm suppressor designs On the close range, the ALG trigger in combination with either the muzzle brake or the suppressor with tuned gas settings helps keep the recoil extremely low without any reliability issues. Josh, “There’s little bit of vertical stringing that’s… “taking place here; my rounds are climbing…” “but that’s me ripping the shots as…” “quickly as I can take the shots and so…” “that’s that’s the recoil that you’re…” “seeing in that 12-15 round strength.” since the muzzle brake is pinned the overall length of the barrel is greater than 16.1 inches, which means in the U.S. it does not require complicated NFA paperwork Let’s see the 9 Hole accuracy tests we tested this with 55grain Fiocchi ball ammunition at 100 yard, we cloced 9 rounds from this rifle at 4.554 inches with about 80% of the shots in a 2.279in cluster using the aim point red dot and a 200-yard zero, we recorded quick and reliable hits out to 350 yards and actually we’re able to stretch the Niner’s impacts all the way out of 500 yards on the practical accuracy course one of the only remaining weaknesses that we can think of is a lack of 5.56mm Kalashnikov magazines in the U.S. despite the AK-Niner not being an off-the-shelf variant of the AK-100 series rifles we felt that the versatility and performance of our creation could potentially be a blueprint for your inspiration in yielding a performance Kalashnikov rifle let us know if you’d be interested in working on a project similar to this one in the meantime, thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you at the range!