Check out the wear to the sling swivel. To me it looks like it has been carried a lot (the metal swivel is about 1/2 way worn through from the back-and-forth rubbing action of the weapon being carried via sling).
Here is an interesting period photo that I found on the internet; it shows a bundle of about 6 of the Chinese Type 56's that have (apparently) just been found in a weapons stash. I can just imagine being a lucky GI standing nearby, who got to reach down and pick out one of these captured AK's to bring home as a war trophy.
Very very nice! It's a weapon I've always wanted to own but, living in California, have not been able to acquire. I remember being offered a papered NK AK in the mid 90's for $3500 and I had to pass. TGUS has a nice papered one that was written about in "Small Arms Review" in Nov 2009 and also featured in Edward Tinker's "Veteran Bring Backs, Volume II".
That is so awesome!! I wish I could at least just hold one, but alas I live in Canada. The closest I will get is holding a deact. LOL!! Great find, you have an excellent piece of history in your hands.
Very nice! keep an eye out for a mag without the external rib down the back to match the gun, My one has about the same wear evident on the swivel,as you say its been carried quite a long time (or the steel is rubbish !?)
Thanks for the replies; I appreciate the feedback.
As to the circumstances of this particular AK being papered, here is the story: It was smuggled back from Vietnam and ended up in the hands of one of the "outlaw" motorcycle gangs in the Philadelphia, PA area. During the 1970's it (and about 12 other Vietnam bring-back AK's) were confiscated from the motorcycle gangs at various times, with the guns ending up in the Philadelphia Police Department's seized firearms locker along with hundreds of non-NFA firearms.
In the early 1980's the PD sold all of the seized firearms to a FFL dealer, with an NFA licensed manufacturer (Don Olfinger of Stamford, CT) being involved in the transaction. Because the AK's were all illegal MG's, the receivers of each gun were cut so as to convert them into parts kits that the PD could sell to civilians. Mr. Olfinger was closely involved in the cutting process and made sure that the guns were not mixed up so that each parts kit had all matching numbers preserved.
As was permissible under U.S. law prior to May of 1986, Mr. Olfinger welded the cut receiver components back together to manufacture a "new" MG that was lawfully papered. Mr. Olfinger did an excellent job in welding the receiver pieces back together and applying a finish over the re-weld portions, so that everything blends together with the original finish that is preserved on the balance of the gun. Thus, this particular AK is not a "Curio and Relic" gun under U.S law. Rather, from a legal perspective, it is a new machinegun that was manufactured in the early 1980's.
Anyway . . . that is how this particular AK ended up being a lawful machinegun here in the U.S.
BTW: Mr. Olfinger welded and papered all of the ex-Philadelphia, PA evidence room AK's and sold them off to collectors/shooters. The one I acquired just recently surfaced on the market, having been held by the original purchaser since the early 1980's.
Interesting, per Mr. Olfinger (who related all of this history to me), the Chief of Police told him that the AK's were "status symbols" among the outlaw bikers, who at that time (1970's) included many Vietnam war vets. The Chief of Police also noted that these AK's (while in the hands of the motorcycle gangs) were "really not a threat to law enforcement" because in the 1970's ammunition for them was not readily available here in the U.S.
As to AK's coming back from Vietnam as authorized war trophies, I guess rank had a lot to do with it? Here is a photo I found of an AK being presented to a 101 AB General (who, I assume, was able to bring it home with him).
Congrats on your new find Alan. The story behind the piece is really interesting.
I'd really like to get my hands on another full auto AK again. I put a Soviet full auto through the paces years ago and it was a blast. It was a confiscated weapon belonging to a Police department down here. The thing had what looked like grenade shrapnel in the handguard, receiver assembly and buttstock. I wish it could talk.