A look inside the Kalashnikov factory (23 pictures)

Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov got a chance recently to visit the Kalashnikov Concern in the Ural Mountain town of Izhevsk to take a tour of the Motherland’s great arms works. Founded originally in 1807 by Tsar Alexander I to build muskets for his immense army gearing up to fight Napoleon, the plant has remained in production for over two centuries, with minor upgrades.

Besides the traditional AK-series rifles (in their most modern AK-103 and AK-12 variants shown below, hold your horses), the plant also makes Saiga-branded rifles and shotguns for export and Molot “animal farm” rifles for civilian sales in Russia.

Without further…

The mega-factory, expanded to help defeat the Nazi's in World War II and then supply the glorious Red Army, can produce up to 600,000 rifles per year, although current production is less than 1/6th of that.

The mega-factory, expanded to help defeat the Nazi’s in World War II and then supply the glorious Red Army, can produce up to 600,000 rifles per year, although current production is less than 1/5th of that.

Casting molds

Casting molds

...which produce castings

…which produce castings

Kalashnikov factory 4

Lots of new machines as part of an upgrade that is slated to run through 2017

Lots of new machines as part of an upgrade that is slated to run through 2017

The multimillion ruble upgrade is bringing in new, modern CNC equipment

The multimillion ruble upgrade is bringing in new, modern CNC equipment

...And doing away with old gear dating back to Stalin's era

…And doing away with old gear dating back to Stalin’s era

Dust cover, nyet

Dust cover, nyet

What's the Russian word for OSHA? Oh, wait.

What’s the Russian word for OSHA? Oh, wait.

Ah yessss

Ah yessss

Kalashnikov factory 10

Too bad they don't give out samples

Too bad they don’t give out samples

Recognize anything?

Recognize anything?

Kalashnikov factory 13

Kalashnikov factory 14

The company also makes a number of sniper rifles to include the SV-98 and commercial hunting rifles like the Tiger, Moose and Snow Leopard

The company also makes a number of sniper rifles to include the SV-98 and commercial hunting rifles like the Tiger, Moose and Snow Leopard

Besides the venerable AK-series, the plant also makes cannon for naval and aviation assets

Besides the venerable AK-series, the plant also makes cannon for naval and aviation assets

Kalashnikov factory 17

We wonder how many of these are California-compliant

We wonder how many of these are California-compliant

Somebody has a case of the Mondays

Somebody has a case of the Mondays

The AK-12. Test firing these must be a hard job, but Ivan has to do it.

The AK-12. Test firing these must be a hard job, but Ivan has to do it.

We hear nothing feels better than a Vityaz-SN sub machine gun right off the line

We hear nothing feels better than a Vityaz-SN sub machine gun right off the line

Can we please get these in the U.S., complete with EoTechs. And yes, that is a Saiga 12 sp.340-- dig that muzzy brake

Can we please get these in the U.S., complete with EoTechs. And yes, that is a Saiga 12 sp.340– dig that muzzy brake

For the rest of Ilya’s amazing images, check out his blog (in Russian)