Review: Century Arms RAS-47 Magpul

posted on January 2, 2018

According to the internet, the AK-47 is probably the most-recognizable rifle on the planet. That’s partly because Hollywood loves the gun, but it’s also because there are so many of them. There are an estimated 875 million firearms in the world, of which 100 million are AK-47s—making it the most-popular firearm on the planet. For a long time, it was easy and relatively inexpensive to find imported, semi-automatic variants that were civilian-legal. Unfortunately, though, prices have increased quite a bit as some import sources have dried up. As a result, some companies, including Century International Arms (CA), have started to make new AK-47 rifles in the United States. In fact, the Century Arms RAS-47 (Red Army Standard 47) is 100 percent made in the USA. That’s gotta count for something, right?

It has a stamped receiver, which has been more than proven to work by the millions of them used in battle. The Century Arms RAS-47 sample I received for testing features nitride-treated 116-inch 4140 steel construction. It’s extremely well-done, with fit and finish well-executed and the stampings well formed.

The receiver has a side scope-rail mount. Personally speaking, this is its best feature, as it allows me to shoot AKs again. My aging eyes simply can’t see what passes for iron sights on an AK well enough to shoot them with any hope of hitting the target. Using the CA Red Army Standard mount, I fitted an Aimpoint Micro H1 red-dot sight to this Century Arms RAS-47 for accuracy testing.

(l.) A rail integral to the receiver’s left side enables the RAS47 to mount optics. (r.) A T-shaped, extended magazine release aids in quick and easy reloads.

Unlike its Soviet predecessor that was designed for use with a heavy winter coat, the Century Arms RAS-47 is an AK-47 designed for the modern American shooter. My older, converted AK-47 has a 12.5-inch length-of-pull, and the fore-end on top is less than 4 inches long. That is too small, particularly when using modern shooting techniques. In contrast, the RAS47 is fitted with Magpul Zhukov-S furniture.

The fore-end is aluminum covered with polymer, 11.75 inches long, and extends well past the gas block to allow for a forward hold. There are also a multitude of M-Lok slots for mounting accessories.

The Magpul grip on the Century Arms RAS-47 is larger than the standard AK version and better suited to most shooters’ hand size. The buttstock has an adjustable length-of-pull from 12 inches to 14.5 inches and is capable of folding to allow easier storage. It can be shot from the folded position.

(l.) The rear tangent sight features pre-calibrated elevation adjustments for 100 to 800 meters. (r.) In addition to folding, the stock also allows easy length adjustments.

The muzzle is fitted with an AK-style, slanted muzzle brake that is attached with the standard left hand, 14x1 metric thread, so it is compatible with most aftermarket brakes and accessories. This Century Arms RAS-47 also sports a standard AKM-type front sight, minus the cleaning-rod slot. It’s adjustable for elevation by screwing the post in or out. Its rear sight assembly is AKM-style as well and features a sliding cam to elevate for long range and there are calibrations marked on the sight for each range. Windage has limited adjustment by moving the press-fit front-sight assembly in the frame.

(l.) Protective wings safeguard the adjustable front-sight post from potential damage. (r.) An iconic AKM-type slant brake tops the RAS47’s threaded muzzle.

Concerning the Century Arms RAS-47’s 16.5-inch barrel, it’s made of heat-treated, chrome-moly, 4150 nitride-treated steel with a 1:10-inch twist rate and a .311-inch bore diameter. The bolt has lightening cuts that are not standard for an AK, but will help reduce felt recoil. Best of all, the gun ran extremely well in testing and I experienced zero malfunctions after shooting several hundred rounds using three different loads.

The two-stage CA RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger breaks nicely at 5 pounds, 4 ounces. All the springs in the Century Arms RAS-47, including those for the trigger, are made by Wolff. The RAS47 magazine release is oversize and it’s easy to sweep the release with a second magazine to knock the empty mag free for a fast reload. Similarly, the safety has a bolt hold-open notch that proved quite useful.

A friend and I took turns with the Century Arms RAS-47, shooting from a sandbag rest on the bench with the unmagnified Aimpoint sight. We could center the dot well on a large black dot and shoot some nice groups. Inevitably a flier would open up the group. I suspect that was us more than the rifle, but AKs don’t exactly have the reputation of being tack-drivers. Somehow, I don’t think that any AK was ever meant to be shot off sandbags, so once we finished with the accuracy-testing protocol, the fun began. Shooting this thing faster at multiple targets was a lot of fun.

For home defense, this rifle is an excellent choice. The Century Arms RAS-47 proved extremely controllable when shooting multiple shots, despite the fact it was firing a bullet that, at 123 grains, was 124 percent heavier than a standard 55-grain .223 Rem. projectile for an AR. Recoil was heavier than with an AR-15, but not as much as you might think. The gun’s design and brake did a good job of mitigating recoil. The 7.62x39 mm cartridge is well respected for its terminal performance on the battlefield, by both the sending and receiving sides.

While it’s popular to claim that the 7.62x39 mm round is equal to the popular .30-30 Win., that’s another gunwriter myth that will not die. It is not. However, it is powerful enough for a variety of uses—if the range is kept short. I really liked the Century Arms RAS-47 and I think you will, too.


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