By Josh Wayner
Gun writer, Josh Wayner, reviews the Atlantic Firearms Polish WBP AK47 Rifle.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- My fascination with the military history of Poland all started several years ago when I made a long stay there while visiting my now wife. I was impressed with the country and the rich history of the people.
An interesting thing about the Polish people is that their country hasn’t necessarily been their own like ours has. Over the centuries, brave Polish knights, soldiers, and armed citizens fought across generations to repel Invaders and destabilize occupiers.
The one common factor among so resolute a people is the identity of the individual in the greater culture. The Polish are Polish regardless if Poland exists on a map. Today the country stands as a champion of conservatism and retains the traditional legacy of a people who are secure in their national identity.
Over the years Poland has faced many invading forces. The story of the Polish AKM begins with such an invasion. The Nazi conquest of Poland set the stage for the later Soviet occupation of the country and thus the Warsaw Pact.
The Warsaw Pact was a treaty of military alliance very similar to our own NATO and essentially made the massive, worldwide proliferation of the AK family of weapons possible.
The Polish military fit rather neatly into a buffer zone between east and west and as such it was necessary in the Soviet mind to equip them with what was to become the weapon for all others to beat. The Polish army of the 1960s would have a weapon far superior to any military rifle in the world.
Atlantic Firearms Polish WBP AK47 Rifle
I called up the very fine folks at Atlantic Firearms when I first saw some of the fantastic looking replica AK rifles they made. In a short time I received two rifles that are as close as one can get to the original Polish AKM and Kbk wz. 88 Tantal. This article will focus on the AKM.
As you can imagine, the Atlantic version of this rifle is chambered in the venerable 7.62x39mm, just like the original. The replica features an extremely high quality FP Radom barrel made in Poland. Accuracy was astounding, but more on that later.
At the end of the barrel is a traditional slant brake common to most AKM variants. This type of brake is more effective when used on full-auto, but is still better than a bare muzzle when firing rapidly.
Moving down the barrel you’ll notice an attractive set of laminated wood handguards. I hear many people complain about how cheap the wood is on AKs, but they don’t have an appreciation for how much more character grain has over railed aluminum. A classic AK like this wouldn’t the same without them.
Unlike many, many other AK rifles out there, the Atlantic rifle has perfectly aligned sights and a straight gas block. I’ve seen rifles where all three fail to line up.
The AKM differed itself from the AK47 in that it featured a stamped receiver and riveted construction. Not only did these advancements save weight, but they also saved time in manufacturing. The rivets on this rifle are all uniform and show no unevenness or deformation. The receiver lines are also crisp and have no warping around the rivets or triunion.
Inside the Atlantic Firearms Polish WBP AK47 rifle is a nickle plated bolt and carrier. The action is slick as a result and the bolt simply wipes clean. A compliant Tapco Trigger offers a smooth pull and a quick reset. A final compliment to the appearance of the rifle is a Bakelite pistol grip.
There are several features of the rifle that aren’t original to the Polish AKM that are present on the Atlantic WBP replica. Like the nickel plated carrier, the exterior finish off the rifle isn’t the same as the Polish military version. It’s better. The Atlantic rifle has a manganese phosphate layer beneath a tough and attractive Teflon coating. Also included on the rifle is an optics rail.
Shooting the Atlantic Firearms WBP AK47 Rifle
The rifle shoots as good as it looks. I was able to test out two varieties of ammunition in the rifle out to a distance of 200 yards and achieved wonderful results. Ringing steel was easy since the rifle was dead-on right from the get-go.
I tested Hornady 123gr SST Black and American Eagle 124gr FMJ. The Hornady load was close to MOA at both 100 and 200 yards. I attribute this to both the quality of Hornady ammunition and the quality of the Radom barrel. The Hornady load generated an impressive 2410 fps over the Oehler 35p chronograph while the American Eagle load averaged a 2330 fps. Reliability was flawless, which is no surprise considering it’s both an AK variant and extremely high quality.
Two types of 30 round magazines were tested in the Atlantic Firearms Polish WBP AK47 . These included an original steel magazine and modern translucent varieties of Polish manufacture.
Are there any downsides to the Atlantic Firearms Polish WBP AK47 Rifle? I checked just about every corner of this rifle and didn’t find a surface that was unprofessionally rendered. The thing shoots and is easy to carry around. As far as AK rifles in general are concerned, make up your own mind. This rifle, well, it’s a hard AK to beat in today’s market. I’d caution the tactical crowd to stay away from this rifle as it’s soul is in the history, not mall ninja accessories. Leave it as it was intended to be and you’ll never have a complaint.
Overall I found myself extremely impressed with the Atlantic Polish WBP AKM. The weapon isn’t a 100% accurate replica of the original, but it is pretty damn close and well worth it for the military collector or the discerning shooter looking for a top-shelf rifle.
About Josh Wayner:
Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.