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Thursday Gun Pr0n

On yesterday's Gun Pr0n post, USMC Steve asked, "Where are your Galils?" The answer to that is... down the rack from the AKs. Click the pics to enlargify.

More accurately, the "Golani" is just down the rack - the Century Arms semi-auto AR made from a new US-made milled receiver and otherwise Israeli-made parts (and I'm not sure, but depending on when the parts were imported, the barrels may be US-made too). The rifle was designed by Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior in the late '60s and is produced by Israel Weapon Industries Ltd (formerly Israel Military Industries). It comes in two chamberings, 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO, and in four varieties - a standard length rifle, a carbine, an even shorter carbine, and a heavy-barreled squad automatic. Oops. That's talking about Galils available from IWI - the Golani comes in the flavor you see. 

The Galil, along with the Finnish Valmet-series of weapons, are probably the best expression of Mikhail Kalashnikov's design in terms of fit, finish, and durability. This shouldn't be surprising, since the Galil is based on the Valmet Rk-62, and the rifles of the initial production run were actually built on un-marked Valmet receivers.

Originally designed with a stamped-steel receiver, they were found to not be robust enough to handle the pressures of the 5.56 NATO round, and so the switch was made to a milled reciever (which is actually how the AK started - the circle is complete!). Additionally, having the fully machined receiver makes for a much more rigid firearm that will take more abuse than the stamped-steel versions, and still maintain reliable function and acceptable accuracy - it's also useful because of the positioning of the rear sight - receiver rigidity is important.   

Among the features not usually appearing on an AK-style rifle is the dual-handed safety, the switch for which can be seen at the top of the pistol grip.  On an AK, the safety both blocks the sear internally and externally provides a dust cover to the open area behind the bolt (look at the top picture).  In addition to the normal operation on the right side of the receiver, the operator can engage the safety with their thumb, therefore not have to take their hand off the grip.  Plus, by moving the rear sights to the back of the receiver, the sight base is longer, with an inherent gain in accuracy. 

The sights are also an ergonomic improvement in both adjustability and target take-up.  It has integral flip-up night sights, as well. They use a tritium gas vial dot on the front post, and one on each side of the rear sight.  The material decays over time (being radioactive... if only very slightly so) and the one on the Castle's rifle no longer provides a glow (I suspect one reason the parts became available on the surplus market).  Even though they are only *slightly* radioactive - they still recommend that if you break a vial, you put the rifle in a well ventilated space and stay away from it for 24 hours...

Another useful feature, intended, like the safety, to keep the shooter's trigger hand on the weapon while preparing to fire, is the vertical handle on the bolt, which means the shooter can use their left hand to cock the weapon if needed.  Both the safety and the extended cocking handle are features unique to the Galil-style rifles among the AK-family of weapons.

All Galils come with folding stocks, and many, and not just the squad automatics, were fitted with bipods. On a practical note - the bipod contains a bottle-opener-cum-wire-cutter, reputedly implemented because Israeli reservists were damaging magazines using them to open beer bottles...  more details on the rifle, night sights, and bottle openers available here.


The official story was that that was for opening bottled water.
Goodness, JTG - you are either up very late, or showed up here early.  Not used to seeing your spoor this time of day!
Thank you.  You are truly a full service blog.

I am in the process of having a Galil SAR built by Jeff Miller of Hillbilly Guns.  He does some very nice work on these rifles. 
IIRC, the original prototypes of the AK were stamped sheet metal, but for whatever reason, their production capabilities weren't up to the task of turning them out en masse, so they went with the machined steel for about 10 years.

Then in the 50s, their production capabilities had improved, and after another competition (in which another rifle, the Koroborov TKB-517 might have actually performed better) they went with the stamped sheet metal AKM
You may be correct, Heartless.  Not how I remember it, but now that you've sown the seeds of doubt, I'll have to drop everything else I had planned and dig out a book or two.

Staff pukes, barely worth the powder to blow 'em from the guns.
Hey, John, at least Heartless has Molon Labe tattooed on his body. I have not yet worked up the nerve or the money (mostly lackingly of the latter) to do that meself.  And I know of at least one gurl with such a tattoo!
No tattoos here, either, JTG.  And none until the Borg force me to.  And that might be tattooing cold, dead flesh.

Don't get the tattoo thing.  Don't care about other people's tats, just don't get it.
My daughter got a tatoo of Marvin The Martian just to show her old man she could be stupid like many of her contemporaries. She was disappointed when it didn't tick me off. She's the moron that's going to have to live with it, not me.

My D-i-L has a tat or two.  All I said about it was... "I've seen people in their 50's with tats they got in their 20's.... hence why I have none." 

Looks nice on her.  Now.

And this thread is now completely re-routed...

Molon Labe is just about the only tattoo I would get, not for other people, but to help me screw my courage to the sticking place. If I did get it, it would be on the outboard surface of my starboard forearm, as exposed when pointing a rifle at somebody.
Qm, she could have done a lot worse than Marvin, of whom I am a bit of an admirer (ain't nothing wrong with an Earth-shattering KaBoom). Look out if Warner Brothers sues her for Copyright Infringement!
Wait, I thought the AKM didn't come into the picture until the early 1960's?

When did the stamped receivers take over for the milled ones, and did all the eastern bloc countries shift from milled to stamped at the same time?


Okay, pawing through Poyer briefly, Heartless is correct in that the early receivers were stamped, but QC issues with welding the rails caused unacceptably high rejection rates, causing them to switch to machined steel in order to get enough manufactured for broad issuance.  So, Heartless is correct, and I am wrong, but wrong for the right reasons, in that the stamped receivers weren't acceptable.  Heartless wins, I get partial credit.

In re Steve's comment - the AKM was adopted in 1959, when they had ironed out the bugs in production of the stamped receivers.  The AKM also introduced the slanted muzzle brake and the rate reducer during full-auto so as to correct the distressing tendency to fire out of battery.
 You're both right, as Gen Kalash's original design had a  a stamped receiver based on the Stg which the Russian didn't reverse-engineer because they already had the design in hand well before the Germans thought of the 'Assault Rifle". After the prototype tests and evals, the design switched to a machined receiver for the production model known as the AK-47. By 1949, the boffinvitches had figured out the stamped receiver and production switched to the product-improved AKM c.1951.

You will note that the selector lever on the Galil operates in reverse to that of the FN-FAL, on which it is based.

Oy.  Heinrichs said I was correct.  That's... unusual.  Not the me being correct part, just John giving me credit... 

Wow. Red Letter Day!
 Let me rephrase my comment ...