I’ve been an AK fan for a long time now. The platform works for me as a trunk gun. The only thing lacking are the sights. I have a WASR-10 with original AK sights on it. Maybe one of the worst rifle sight systems ever made (at least in a long time), so I was looking for something else.
I’ve tried a couple different systems to mount an optic but everything changes the way the rifle handles because the optic sits higher than the sights. So, if I put an optic on, I’d have to re-train myself to mount the rifle to my shoulder different. I tried a couple different set ups and couldn’t find one I liked, until now.
I saw someone walking around a gun show with a UltiMax and a TRS-25 on it. The difference with this mount is that it lets the optic sit low enough to co-witness the iron sights already on the rifle and lets me keep shooting the way I’m used to.
The UltiMax replaces the gas tube of a standard AK rifle. UltiMax makes a couple different types of gas tubes, but the web site was very helpful and all you have to do is have your rifle in hand when you look through the web site to buy the rail.
Taking the gun apart is easy, putting on the rail was a little harder. The UltiMax came with some directions but I think a couple things where lost in translation (the company is in Russia). So, after a little fighting (and taking the rifle apart twice because the parts have to go on in the correct order or it won’t work), I got my rifle together.
The secret is in the order the parts go on. The rail replaces the tube and uses a couple brackets to hold it in place. Once you take the hand guard off, the brackets have to go in place, then the hand guard has to go back on, and then the gas tube. If you don’t do it in that order, it won’t go back together.
I have an after market hand guard to mount my light to, and the plastic just seems cooler (looking and to the touch). I had to do a little modification so the brackets would fit in the right spot. Since it was just plastic, I used a pocketknife to shave off a couple places on the inside and top of the hand guard so the brackets would fit correctly.
Once I got the brackets in, hand guard right, and gas tube on and tightened, the going was easy. Last tip, the gas tube actually floats front and back in the rifle. The directions say to not push the tube to the back or the front, but secure it in the center just a bit off the front of the mount. This is a place you want to follow the directions because my piston and bolt assembly wouldn’t move freely when I pushed the tube all the way to the front and just mounted everything. I didn’t read the directions until the rifle wouldn’t work.
Once everything was in place, mounting the Bushnell TRS-25 was really easy. I’ve used one of these cheap optics before and thought it would work well. It mounted well, but I’ll be looking for something else later.
After I got it mounted, I just co witnessed the dot with the iron sights already on the rifle then headed to the range to confirm the zero. It was close enough and I was tagging steel at 200 and 300 yards without problems from a bench. This is the kind of range I want in this style rifle.
The next weekend I headed out to my local area to shoot a Carbine Match with Texas Tactical. I left the sight turned on from the day before when I confirmed my zero and the optic was almost dead. I could see just a little bit of dot when the setting was turned up all the way.
Luckily a nice guy had the same optic and extra batteries and it got me back in the game. Shooting optics division I took 12 out of 40 shooters. Not too bad, but not very good. I had some serious shooting issues with the sight.
The dot was not big enough or bright enough to shoot fast, up close, and in the bright sun light. It had seemed brighter the day before when I confirmed my zero. That could just have been because I was in the shade at the range or I don’t know if leaving the optic on damaged it somehow.
The dot isn’t big enough for me to pick up in a hurry. When I pushed the optic out to the front it makes the dot appear smaller and harder to find. I want an optic that is brighter and has a bigger dot. I’ll deal with the covering up the target at longer ranges to get a dot I can see and find faster. I’ll be saving my pennies and buying something else.
The TRS-25 is a good sight and if you mount it traditionally I think it will work well. I have another TRS-25 mounted on my AR pistol and it works really well there. But the dot is mounted towards the back of the receiver and that puts it a lot closer to my eye when I mount the weapon. I think that’s the difference.
In the end, the rail worked perfectly. It seems to be holding zero well and the rifle has found its way back to being my trunk gun again. I love the AK platform with a folding stock for that purpose because it fits in a roll-along bag and under the seat in my Suburban. Since it fits in a bag, it doesn’t look like a rifle when I carry into a hotel room at night or into my house after a trip.