I purchased a SAR-3 over the weekend and found that the magazine catch does not hold the magazines high enough for the rifle to strip off the next round. Is this a common problem and are there aftermarket magazine catches available that could fix this problem
Is it a WASR-3 or SAR-3 ??? What kind of mags are you using ??? Weiger mags are the prefered mag for the SAR-3. The WASR-3 has had a lot of trouble with mag fit. I should know. I have been through 3 to get one good one... UGH!!!
SAR3's are project guns, not like you can buy one and head to the range.
I had some like yours, the back of the mag was hitting the center receiver support rivet.
Used to have a SAR3 inspection guide, wonder if I still have it.......
Cheap Kalashnikov inspection guide (not needed for Izhmash products).
This guide is based on my personal experience, plus info from others. I doubt that there are many dealers that would let you dink around with a rifle of theirs this much before paying. If you can not inspect it this close before purchasing do so as soon as possible. Ah yeah, uh do not forget to unload the weapon first.
cleaning rod for straightness
gas port is drilled in the barrel
gas port is in the gas block
rear sight base, gas block, front sight are lined up
hand guard retainer lever will lock down
gas tube lever will lock down
top cover comes off and locks down
carrier moves freely with no bind
bolt serial number matches the trunion
selector switch moves freely
trigger axis pins are held in place by the hook spring
mag inserts and removes freely
you could also inspect the furniture, but I consider this to be a discard item
Here are some more things to check that you will most certainly have to do after purchase.
Conduct a standardized function check. Pull bolt handle to rear cocking weapon and return bolt group to locked position. Place selector on safe and pull trigger, the hammer should not fall. Place selector on fire, pull trigger, hammer should fall. To test the disconnetor, hold
the tigger all the way back, while yanking the bolt group all the way through a complete cycle. At this point you slowly release the trigger. The trigger should click once as it releases the hammer onto the trigger. If it does not click check the hammer position. If it is forward and resting on the bolt, you have a problem. If it does click the trigger should now being holding the hammer back.
Based on my limited experience with trigger slap this malady can be detected by holding the trigger back and pulling the bolt group back smartly. If you can feel the trigger jump you got trigger slap.
The following more advanced techniques require tools, spare parts or specialized equipment (or only apply to 5.45 or 5.56 rifles).
The action should be tested with dummies. If you do not have any dummies load up some empty and unprimed cases with bullets. Load up at least 30 rounds. If you do not have a loading press and die, have a reloading buddy do some up for you. Load up a mag, insert and vigorously yank the action back and forth until empty. Do this with every mag or until completely bored, which ever comes first. Hint, strategically place a empty box to the side to catch the ejected dummies, and do this while the wife is out of the house. My experience has been that is more difficult to feed a rifle dummies then it is for a rifle to fire live rounds. You may induce malfunctions on your first go around, takes some practice to feed dummies.
If you have a 5.45 or 5.56 rifle you need to insure that a 7.62 ejector was not welded in instead of the proper ejector rail. I have only heard of this mistake being done on Romanian rifles. The ejector in a Kalashnikov is a fixed rail that has a hook shape that the bolt passes through. Take a 7.62x39 bolt place it in the receiver, and then try and run it past the ejector. The 7.62 bolt should hang up on the ejector, and not pass it. I have never heard of a 5.56 ejector being welded into a 5.45 rifle, or a 5.45 or 5.56 ejector being welded into a 7.62 rifle. In these cases you would already know that you had a problem because the action would not move freely because of the resulting bind.
Sometimes (more common in 5.45 and 5.56 rifles) the center support rivet will be incorrectly installed. This defect can lead to difficulty in inserting mags, in some cases no mag will fit the rifle without great force. Make sure all your mags will lock and remove from your rifle (should have already done this during you dummy test).
If you have a SAR 3, you MUST check that the hammer mates up properly with the bolt. Please refer to the thread titled "SAR 3 info".
If you have a SAR 3 the head space MUST be checked. In my personal experience only 25% of the SAR 3 rifles I have check have proper head space. This is not uncommon with Kalashnikov rifles and I have heard of no problems with running a 5.45 or 7.62 Kalashnikov with improper head space (short headspace with US gauges). The 5.56 Kalashnikov is a different animal in that the 5.56 generates much greater pressures, and the use of brass cases is common. Firing a 5.56 Kalashnikov with incorrect head space and brass cases will result in a nasty situation, such as pierced primers, and rim and case separations.
In the case of a 5.56 rifle firing pin protrusion should also be checked. I have not heard of this problem in Romanian rifles, but it seems that some Chinese 5.56 rifles has a problem in this area.
After completing these tests you are ready for the fun part. Go and shoot your rifle. If your rifle passes all of they above inspection odds are that you will have a trouble free range experience.
The rifle actually has WASR-3 stamped on it. I am kind of new to the AK’s so I don’t know the differences. It is in 5.56, and shoots the Wolf ammo just fine as long as I use the hold the mag approach when shooting. Otherwise the magazine falls low enough that it wont strip the next round, or worse it catches the top of the case and stove pipes it up.