Long gone are the days of walking into a local pawn shop and seeing racks of Romanian AKs selling for less than a bare-bones AR-15 – or so I thought.

It seems that with the newly released CGR, Century Arms has a Romanian-built AK that won’t break the bank. The question on everyone’s mind: is it too good to be true?
 

Table of Contents

The Reign of the Import AK
Review Parameters and Expectations
Durability
Accuracy
Reliability
A Drawback With a Kick
Follow-up at 2,000-plus Rounds
Video Review
Recoil
Optic Rail
Overall Thoughts

 

The reign of the Import AK

 

Century Arms CGR AK-47 rifle
The Century Arms CGR is an imported AK at a price point that will leave you smiling and heading for the ammo section. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


I don’t know about you, but with over a decade of owning and shooting AKs, I have serious love for former COMBLOC country AKs. They may be rugged, and they may be basic, but they run so well. 
 

Related: Best Budget AKs


With a jump in prices and a drop in availability, I felt some excitement and some skepticism when I saw the price of the CGR as it hit the market. The only way to resolve this skepticism is to put on my best AK Operators Union impression and push the CGR to see how it performs. 
 

Review parameters and expectations

 

Century Arms CGR AK-47 rifle
You, too, could have this much fun for under $600 from Guns.com. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


I am currently about 500 rounds into the review, with a plan to put at least 2,000 more through the rifle. Here are my thoughts thus far. There are three things I look for in an AK: durability, accuracy, and reliability. And yes, contrary to popular belief, the AK is an accurate platform. 

After 2,500 rounds, there should be enough wear on the major components to see how the quality of the build stacks up to other Eastern European built AKs. Considering the AK is known for rugged reliability and longevity, it is important to push the platform with quick courses of fire, different types of ammunition, and physical abuse. 

The CGR will be cut no slack, as there is a high expectation of performance under stress with the AK. 
 

Durability

 

Century Arms CGR AK-47 rifle
I'll be beating up on this rifle more in the weeks to come, but for now, it seems solid. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


So far, this AK seems to be holding up well in the durability department. I threw the rifle around some, dropped it a few times, and fired all 500 rounds in about 20 minutes. The finish is holding up well to the heat, and the wood does not show any serious signs of stress. 

Don’t worry, I am going to ramp up the abuse over the next few weeks. I will throw the rifle around, drop it, leave it out in the elements, and run it hard like I would any other duty rifle. There will be cosmetic damage, but hopefully the results will instill confidence so that you don’t feel the need to prove the same points with your own CGR.
 

Accuracy

 

Century Arms CGR AK-47 rifle
I stuck with the included iron sights for this review, but will be adding a red dot for longer-range testing. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


As far as accuracy goes, the rifle has performed adequately up to 50 yards on iron sights. The AK is typically regarded as an inaccurate rifle, and that reputation is mostly a misconception. The 7.62x39 cartridge is effective and accurate, especially within 300 meters. While some distance is sacrificed with the .30-caliber projectile, the trade-off is worth the power, considering few people will ever shoot past 200 yards. 

The short and simple iron sight design is a contributing factor to the inaccurate reputation. With the addition of a red dot or even a magnified optic, I will be able to properly push and gauge the capability of the CGR, along with the quality of the dust-cover mount. I plan to add a red dot and push it all the way out to 300 meters. I am curious to see how the dust-cover-mounted optic rail holds up to the recoil over time.
 

Reliability

Reliability is the most important aspect of any AKM clone. I am happy to say that I have had zero malfunctions with the CGR up to this point. Using mainly Yugo and Russian corrosive surplus ammo, I have not even encountered a light primer strike. As impressive as it has been, I plan to incorporate some Belom brass case, domestic market steel case, and a handful of my Chinese surplus, just to test a solid selection of common ammo. 

In the realm of reliability, magazine fitment is another concern I always have with import AKs. Due to 922r compliance, sporting rifles are imported accepting only single-stack magazines. Once the rifle has entered the country, the importer must mill out the receiver to accept standard AK-pattern magazines. Without issue, the CGR successfully cycled through Bakelite mags, Yugo mags, Russian and Romanian surplus mags, Magpul P-mags, and the included US Palm magazine. 
 

 

I have not cleaned or oiled the rifle, and I plan to continue to shoot with little to no maintenance, barring malfunctions. I may give the rifle a rinse after some of the corrosive ammo; however, I have not seen any sodium buildup or surface rust thus far. 

The combination of abuse, low maintenance, exposure to the elements, and a variety of ammunition should provide a good baseline test to see how far we can push the platform. 


A drawback with a kick

 

Century Arms CGR AK-47 rifle
After a few hundred rounds, a bruise started to develop on my cheek. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


While the CGR has met my expectations for an AK so far, I am a bit disappointed with the recoil. I have shot many 7.62 AKs over the years, and of all of them, the CGR has the most violent recoil impulse. In fact, the rifle bruised my cheek over just a few hundred rounds. 

Now, I am a hockey player who has been in my fair share of on-ice scraps, but I was not expecting to have a face-off bout with the buttstock of the CGR. For the remainder of the review, I will be adding a muzzle brake to preserve my ability to chew food. I do love the look of the classic wood furniture on an AK, although I may invest in a different butt stock for a softer shooting experience. 

Follow-up at 2,000-plus Rounds 


After my initial review at about 500 rounds, I wanted to push the rifle further. Currently I have well over 2,000 rounds on the CGR, and here are some of my thoughts thus far.

As the AK platform has a much higher round count threshold, I think 2,000 rounds is a good number to gauge the wear patterns and to get a feel as a shooter of how the rifle performs.
 

Video Review

 

 

Recoil


As a follow-up, there were two basic points of concern in my initial review. First was the recoil. I previously stated that the recoil beat me up some, and I would like to clarify. It is not that the recoil is not manageable, but if you are having a heavy day of training with lots of rounds, it will wear on you quickly. 
 

Century Arms CGR
My first 500 rounds with the CGR felt a bit like getting punched in the jaw over and over, but the addition of a muzzle brake saved my face for the remainder of my testing. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


In the first 500 rounds, the buttstock beat up my jaw so much that I was bleeding. I was able to get through the shooting and training, but it was not an enjoyable experience. While the firearm was functioning properly, things like this negatively affect the shooter and discourage taking the rifle out for training.

I am unsure of the reason for the recoil, as aesthetically the rifle looks the same as a WASR-10 or any other COMBLOC-style AK. My only guess is that the system is not bleeding off enough excess gas, causing the bolt and piston to be over-gassed. 
 

I found the gun much more enjoyable to shoot with the addition of a muzzle brake. (Photo (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


My solution was to add a PSA-chambered muzzle brake, which did a great job of bringing the recoil back down to a more manageable level. The other possible solution would be to replace the gas tube with one that has a few more vent holes to bleed off excess gas. The 1,000-plus rounds with the muzzle brake were much more enjoyable, and the rifle felt like a more reasonably tuned AK. 
 

Optic Rail


The second concern was with the optic rail on the dust cover. The rail itself is made of plastic, and traditionally the dust cover is a very loose-fitting part.  
 

I wanted to test the quality of the plastic rail, so I added a red dot for about 1,000 rounds... (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


I added an Aimpoint red dot for about 1,000 rounds to test the stability of the rail. I shot a five-round grouping at about 25 yards to set a control to see if there would be a shift. I shot a second set of five rounds with the same point of aim, and it appears that there is no major shift in the point of aim to point of impact.
 

...and shot two five-shot groups at the beginning and end of those 1,000 rounds to see if the optic shifted. (I'm happy to say there was no noticeable shift.) (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


In reality, 1,000 rounds on an optic is not a high enough round count to make a good assessment of the rail quality, but it is a good start. In the long run, I do not think the rail will be conducive to precision rifle shooting, but It seems to hold up to a reasonable level for red dot shooting. 
 

Overall Thoughts


Overall, I have been fairly impressed with the rifle so far. I am not Rob Ski from AK Operators Union, but I do have a lot of experience with different AK platforms. I wanted to put the CGR through some basic performance paces and see if the deal was too good to be true or not. 

The CGR seems to be one of the more affordable AKs on the market, and so far I have been impressed with the quality and performance. Parts seem to be wearing evenly, with no major areas of concern. While I did not go as deep as to get a go/no-go gauge, the rifle appears to be of solid construction.

On the performance side, I shot Bill drills, Mozambique drills, 1-reload-1 drills, and a ton of other basic rifle shooting sequences. The CGR has more than acceptable accuracy and performance. The rifle fed reliably through all but one magazine (and that was a bad mag that does not feed in any rifle I have tried it in). 
 

Century Arms CGR
The CGR chewed through several types of 7.62x39mm ammo with no issues.


The CGR also ate up every brand of ammo I fed it. From brass-cased Belom to the common Tulammo steel case brand, the rifle had no issues cycling through several thousand rounds of mixed 7.62x39. I plan to continue to shoot the rifle, run it dirty, put it through its paces, and push it to its limits. But, for now, it has earned my stamp of approval.

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