If you think AKs aren’t accurate, think again. Or better yet, think creatively with the Creative Arms ARK.
Creative Arms has been making sub-MOA AK and AK- hybrid rifles for years, not in Russia, or eastern Europe or even China, but in the as American-as-apple-pie city of Des Moines, IA. Yes, Iowa, where they grow corn, coyotes and huge whitetails.
“The AK is accurate, and that is the truth,” said Bob Folkestad, owner of Creative Arms.
One of the most-accurate AK platforms Creative Arms manufactures, from scratch like your grandmother’s apple pie, is their AK-hybrid rifle known as the ARK. Simply put, it’s a rifle build with the AK’s world-famous rugged action, and the ARs equally-famous beloved ergonomic furniture.
How accurate is an ARK? Very. We shot one out to 500 yards with factory Hornady 123-grain 7.62x39 mm ammunition and repeatedly got five-shot groups at about 4.5 inches. The closer we got, the tighter the groups got, and while no one at Creative Arms will ever try to tell you the 7.62x39 mm cartridge is a long-range round, knowing it can and does shoot well past typical AK-engagement distances says a lot about the potential of the cartridge, the firearm and the operator – who, in this case, was Folkestad’s own son, Preston. So, what makes the ARK so accurate?
“Realistically, it is about training and the quality of the gun,” Folkestad said. “You do get what you pay for, so a $500 surplus AK with a cheap barrel is not going to shoot as well as a gun that has a $300-400 barrel. We make our own barrels for the ARK and AKs but others like Faxon [Firearms] make some really high-quality barrels that shoot well. So, to prioritize the barrel as the most-important item in the gun, it needs to be backed up with a high-quality bolt and trunnion.
The next most important is the trigger and optics mounting. Again, AKs are accurate, but its optics-mounting options are not as stable as traditional Picatinny rail systems. You cannot cantilever a scope over 4-6 inches and expect it to be as solid as a scope solid mounted to rails so a stamped AK with a side scope mount is not as stable as our ARK, milled AK or an AK with a Krebs-type rail.”
How did the ARK come about? It certainly wasn’t an Iowa-Russia moment of Glasnost. Folkestad, a self-admitted AK-47 purist, saw the opportunity to improve upon the AK platform by merging the AK action with AR furniture to make his unique ARK rifle.
“It is kind of a long story,” said Folkestad. “We were doing some design work for Brownells (gunsmith tooling) and we ended up getting our 07 FFL and SOT. The guys in the shop wanted to build some ARs, so I let them, then I thought about the AR and the AK. At that time there were not many good trigger options for the AK, so I thought wow, let’s build a milled receiver AK that has an AR trigger group, full length rail system, and a buffer tube style stock mount. After four patents, $500k-plus and a few years we got It dialed in to be a cool sporting rifle.”
An interesting note about Creative Arms is the fact that we shot not one sub-MOA 7.62x39 mm-chambered rifle but two that day in Des Moines. One was the ARK, and the other was an Arsenal-built AK-47 the team at Creative Arms tweaked with an action job and a rock-solid optics mount. The ARK shot tighter groups, but Folkestad’s theory to practice that a well-built gun with a proper optics mount could make the 7.62x39 mm cartridge shoot tight little groups inside a “Red Square” outside of Moscow was proven time and time again.
Across the firearms industry the recipe for any accurate weapon is the same whether it’s an AK, an AR, or in this case an ARK. Craftmanship, high-grade materials and a skilled shooter are all key ingredients to success. The folks at Creative Arms in Des Moines, Iowa seem to know how to cook up an accurate rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. Creative Arms builds AKs, ARKs, ARs and even suppressors from scratch. So, if an accurate firearm chambered in the .30 caliber Russian cartridge, or anything else you can think of, is something you have an appetite for, then visit www.creativearms.com.