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Thread: Bulgarian

  1. #1
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    Default Bulgarian

    This Monday I ordered a Bulgarian from Buds at about oh dark thirty. It got here today. I've ordered a lot of handguns through Buds and I always have them shipped to my FFL, Uncle Stew's Gun Shop in Durant, Oklahoma. This is Lee, the owner of the gun shop and his assistant, Cody.





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    It arrived in a foam cushioned box. UPS delivered it to the gun shop.


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    While it looks nice on the outside, that was not so on the inside. The guts were filthy; crud was caked up in there and I don't believe the Bulgarians know what a cleaning kit is. The one magazine that was included was rusted. And the recoil spring was kaput. I reassembled it and performed a function check.

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    So, when I got home an hour or so ago I didn't clean it. I went straight out back and ran six magazines through it. Not expecting it to fire. My wife got some good pics of the ground, too. Distance to target - 75 feet.





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    Now, I was surprised. I admit it. It's time to strip down the Bulgarian and clean the hell out of it.


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    Your experience verifies that the Mak is known for rock solid reliability.
    My idea of border control is m-60 machineguns every 100yds with interlocking fields of fire.

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    Now you know the Mak Magic!
    I Miss America.

  9. #8
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    It's a MAK. They're dirty little guns!!!!

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LANT View Post
    Your experience verifies that the Mak is known for rock solid reliability.
    Quote Originally Posted by qwiksdraw View Post
    Now you know the Mak Magic!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Baird View Post
    It's a MAK. They're dirty little guns!!!!
    Thanks. I have two IJ-70s but I needed the Bulgarian so that I can have Trijicons put on. My two IJs are Cerakoted, and Bulgarian will be also. I've already arranged for the work to be done. Now, I actually conceal carry an IJ, but I plan to start carrying the Bulgarian once it is brought into the 21st Century.
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    Well, I cleaned it real good and it looks like a new pistol now. The worries that I had about hairline cracks are all gone now. I don't know when this pistol was made, but it it has been around the block a few times. It is a miracle it fired at all; the firing pin channel had flecks of rust in it that I tapped out onto the palm of my hand before running a pipe cleaner through it. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed cleaning it. It could pass inspection now. These are pics that show how filthy it was. It actually fired in this condition.





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    I went through some Q-tips and patches.




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    Should be nice with with new sights. Who will be doing the work?

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    It's seen some holster wear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    Should be nice with with new sights. Who will be doing the work?
    A local gunsmith who has a little shop here, in my one stop town. I'll be dropping it off with him next Thursday. This is one of my IJ-70s that he Cerakoted.



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    Very nice, looks like a nice smooth and even coating. I hope you post pics of your Bulgy after it's done.

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    BTW, here is a post that I copied that shows you how to find the date of manufacture of your Bulgarian Makarov:

    Bulgarian production codes
    To find the Year of Manufacture of your Bulgarian "Circle 10" Military Makarov, look at the serial number (S/N), normally found on the left side of the frame, above the grip. The first two letters are the Production series, the next two digits are the Year code, see list below. The last four digits are the unit number in that production series.
    Bulgarian "Circle 10" military proof mark
    Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code
    1970 = 10 1971 = 11 1972 = 12 1973 = 13
    1974 = 14 1975 = 15 1976 = 16* 1977 = 17*
    1978 = 18* 1979 = 19* 1980 = 20* 1981 = 21*
    1982 = 22 1983 = 23 1984 = 24 1985 = 25
    1986 = 26* 1987 = 27 1988 = 28 1989 = 29*
    1990 = 30 1991 = 31 1992 = 32 1993 = 33
    1994 = 34 1995 = 35 1996 = 36 1997 = 37
    1998 = 38 1999 = 39 2000 = Date codes dropped, year of production added after S/N. Production Series dropped to one letter, S/N moved from 4 digits to 6 digits to 9 digits with leading zeros used as placeholders.

    *= Limited or interrupted production years
    Some Late 1999 Production models may be found with a "39" S/N code and the Year 2000 after the S/N. These are pistols that were assembled from parts and frames that were made in 1999. Some Makarov pistols made for commercial export are also stamped with year of production, or non-standard S/N series at the request of the Importer. (Example, Miltex Commercial and Special Edition series and "Arsenal Brand" export models)
    Example:
    Old Style numbering system AB 21 1441 = 1984 production, 1441 unit in the "AB" series
    New Style numbering system A001441 2001 (full year given, no Dash used) or A001441 - 01 (last two digits of year used, dash between S/N and Year)
    It is possible to have a two pistols with the same unit number but a different series number under the Old Style Numbering system.
    Example:
    AB 19 1441 and KO 19 1441 are two different pistols. This is what lead to the X’ing out of non-English letters in the S/N, or in some cases a new S/N being issued to a pistol for importation to the US if the modified S/N was already of file with USA BATF, or the resulting number did not conform to guidelines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    Very nice, looks like a nice smooth and even coating. I hope you post pics of your Bulgy after it's done.
    Thanks. I sure will post pics of the Bulgy when it's ready to go concealed. Now, the Cerakote is necessary because of the way I carry the Mak. When it is summer I sweat, and it's right against my body. Both of the IJs were rusting on the contact side and despite oiling and waxing, I could not defeat the rust - it kept coming back. But since I had them Cerakoted, I have not seen one spot of rust.

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    Ah, I see from your first photos that you have a 1983 dated Bulgy. Very nice.

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    Nice carry set-up. What ammo do you use? I load mine with Hornady Critical Defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    BTW, here is a post that I copied that shows you how to find the date of manufacture of your Bulgarian Makarov:

    Bulgarian production codes
    To find the Year of Manufacture of your Bulgarian "Circle 10" Military Makarov, look at the serial number (S/N), normally found on the left side of the frame, above the grip. The first two letters are the Production series, the next two digits are the Year code, see list below. The last four digits are the unit number in that production series.
    Bulgarian "Circle 10" military proof mark
    Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code
    1970 = 10 1971 = 11 1972 = 12 1973 = 13
    1974 = 14 1975 = 15 1976 = 16* 1977 = 17*
    1978 = 18* 1979 = 19* 1980 = 20* 1981 = 21*
    1982 = 22 1983 = 23 1984 = 24 1985 = 25
    1986 = 26* 1987 = 27 1988 = 28 1989 = 29*
    1990 = 30 1991 = 31 1992 = 32 1993 = 33
    1994 = 34 1995 = 35 1996 = 36 1997 = 37
    1998 = 38 1999 = 39 2000 = Date codes dropped, year of production added after S/N. Production Series dropped to one letter, S/N moved from 4 digits to 6 digits to 9 digits with leading zeros used as placeholders.

    *= Limited or interrupted production years
    Some Late 1999 Production models may be found with a "39" S/N code and the Year 2000 after the S/N. These are pistols that were assembled from parts and frames that were made in 1999. Some Makarov pistols made for commercial export are also stamped with year of production, or non-standard S/N series at the request of the Importer. (Example, Miltex Commercial and Special Edition series and "Arsenal Brand" export models)
    Example:
    Old Style numbering system AB 21 1441 = 1984 production, 1441 unit in the "AB" series
    New Style numbering system A001441 2001 (full year given, no Dash used) or A001441 - 01 (last two digits of year used, dash between S/N and Year)
    It is possible to have a two pistols with the same unit number but a different series number under the Old Style Numbering system.
    Example:
    AB 19 1441 and KO 19 1441 are two different pistols. This is what lead to the X’ing out of non-English letters in the S/N, or in some cases a new S/N being issued to a pistol for importation to the US if the modified S/N was already of file with USA BATF, or the resulting number did not conform to guidelines.
    Thanks, I really appreciate it. What can you tell be based on these numbers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    Thanks, I really appreciate it. What can you tell be based on these numbers?

    Definitely a 1983 produced Bulgy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    Definitely a 1983 produced Bulgy.
    Ahhhh, based on the number 23. Thank you so much! This is fascinating!

    Edit: So, this was the 409th pistol produced in its series back in 1983.
    Last edited by Nikolai; 07-30-2015 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Edit
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    Ahhhh, based on the number 23. Thank you so much! This is fascinating!

    Edit: So, this was the 409th pistol produced in its series back in 1983.
    That's how I read it. Pretty interesting isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    Well, you might be disappointed, but I go with Silver and Brown Bear FMJ. My line of reasoning is that it's a military weapon, made specifically to shoot the 9x18 ball. What I mean is the pistol was designed to shoot this submachine gun bullet. Now, the 9x18 has been compared to a .380 +P, and I think that penetration is important with this particular round. Now, I don't dispute the validity of Hornady Critical Defense. I carry Corbons in my Bulldog.
    Not disappointed at all, I carry CD in the summertime and hardball in the winter. Sometimes I stagger the magazines. But yeah, I could do well with just plain hardball year round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    Yes it is. Can the serial numbers on the IJ series be read in a similar way?
    I'm not familiar with the commercial Maks at all, sorry. Maybe others here can help.

  27. #26
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    Nice. I expect it was a police gun. Carried a lot and shot, (and cleaned,) little. What ever type of grease the Bulgarians use seems to break down into a combination of half dried Elmer's glue and burnt meatloaf. Still, once you get it off there is usually a pleasant surprise under it. Regards, ABTOMAT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    Not disappointed at all, I carry CD in the summertime and hardball in the winter. Sometimes I stagger the magazines. But yeah, I could do well with just plain hardball year round.
    Now, as you see, the Kangaroo is not the fastest way to access a weapon. For that reason I wear shirts with snap buttons, so I can rip them open. Usually, but not always, I carry a Bulldog in a high rider belt carry, with part of my shirt tail pulled over it. I try to have two on me, at all times. Even if it means dropping down to a derringer.

    Quote Originally Posted by ABTOMAT View Post
    Nice. I expect it was a police gun. Carried a lot and shot, (and cleaned,) little. What ever type of grease the Bulgarians use seems to break down into a combination of half dried Elmer's glue and burnt meatloaf. Still, once you get it off there is usually a pleasant surprise under it. Regards, ABTOMAT
    Well, I sure fired it unlubed, without a hiccup. I couldn't get away with firing my M9 unlubed.
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    Nice PM and cerakote job, if you haven't already you should look into Renaissance Wax, alot of museums use it for preservation purposes and it's great on firearms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gogochino View Post
    Nice PM and cerakote job, if you haven't already you should look into Renaissance Wax, alot of museums use it for preservation purposes and it's great on firearms.
    Thanks, it is a pretty good little PM, isn't it? Well, it sure surprised me. Another thing is those ugly grips - I think I'll keep them because they really feel good in my hand. As I took aim and squeezed the trigger on that first round, I expected to miss. But I could barely see the hole and it was dead center. I was totally surprised that I kept getting them in there. Now, I was trying to shoot good, but I could have tried harder. Mainly I wanted to see if there were problems. I will look into Renaissance wax for some of my other firearms that may never be Cerakoted. The Cerakote costs me $125 per pistol, and so far I have only had it done to the Maks.
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    Thanks for the pictures, a really neat thread. Most of the IJ-70's or Russian commercial models had the years 1993 or 1994 inside their owners/instruction manual.

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    Congrats on a nice Mak! I believe my IJ was made in 94. I believe the holsters that came with them were marked with the year also. If you don't mind my asking, do your IJ's hit close to POA with the fixed sight installed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABTOMAT View Post
    Nice. I expect it was a police gun. Carried a lot and shot, (and cleaned,) little. What ever type of grease the Bulgarians use seems to break down into a combination of half dried Elmer's glue and burnt meatloaf. Still, once you get it off there is usually a pleasant surprise under it. Regards, ABTOMAT
    Following the fall of the USSR, a flood of Russian cameras and optics poured into the US. Optical quality, in general, is superb as Russia had access to rare earth elements not available to the rest of the world. The Russians copied German optics as well as improved on them. The drawback was in the mechanical department and the grease they used to lube the parts. Over time the grease hardened and those of us who bought the various lenses called it "Yak snot". I've replaced a lot of it although it's been years since I've done so.

    I've owned a couple of Bulgarian Maks and while not finished to the same high standards as the EG guns, they shot just as reliably and as accurately. I wish now that I'd kept one of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lincen View Post
    Thanks for the pictures, a really neat thread. Most of the IJ-70's or Russian commercial models had the years 1993 or 1994 inside their owners/instruction manual.
    I'll get more pics up this week. I saw some minor differences between the Russkies and the Bulgy. The biggest difference was in the firing pins. I got my IJs back in 93. For $165 per gun, brand spanking new in the box with holster, two mags - the whole nine yards.

    Quote Originally Posted by GyMac View Post
    Congrats on a nice Mak! I believe my IJ was made in 94. I believe the holsters that came with them were marked with the year also. If you don't mind my asking, do your IJ's hit close to POA with the fixed sight installed?
    Well, I will be straight forward; I shot better with the Bulgarian. I have never shot that well with the IJs, or even my 92A1. And I know I could have tightened up that group if I had waited longer in between shots. I can tell you right off the bat that the pistol grip had a lot to do with it. The Mak had far less whack to the recoil with these ugly grips that the Bulgy has. The sights had nothing to do with it. It was the pistol grip.

    Edit: With the IJs, I would have had a lot of misses at 75 feet. With the 92A1 I would have got them all on there, but they would have been all over the place.
    Last edited by Nikolai; 08-01-2015 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Edit
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    ..."I can tell you right off the bat that the pistol grip had a lot to do with it. The Mak had far less whack to the recoil with these ugly grips that the Bulgy has. The sights had nothing to do with it. It was the pistol grip."...

    Nikolai, thanks for sharing this interesting thread with pictures, nicely done. As the conversation turns to recoil, I know when you mention grip, you're talking about the stocks and they do make a difference. But in a couple of your pics, I noticed the muzzle flip seems excessive for a Mak. I thought you may be interested in this vid. I think the guy does a good job of showing support hand participation. Myself, I've found the wrist lock key to sight recovery and quick two shot groups. YMMV.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJrA7wMXuuQ

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    Now, the biggest difference I noticed with shooting with a locked supporting arm is the change in the shot group. It is narrow and more linear. That's from the same distance as the 1st set of pics taken on Thursday - 75 feet.

    Edit: Apologies - I think I posted one of the pics twice, unintentional.

    Last edited by Nikolai; 08-03-2015 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Edit: Apologies
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    So, as I clean the Bulgarian, I must ask why is its firing pin different from the IJ-70's? It has a notch in it. What's the purpose of the notch?



    Compare it to the IJ-70's firing pin, without the notch.

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    Those are good center mass hits, which is the military objective. For self-defense, and to have some fun, draw a Valentine heart on your cardboard and concentrate on it through your front sight. All this testing of your guns and techniques amounts to practice, which will probably give us amateur shooters the most improvement. BTW, kudos to your wife for the pictures, again nicely done. Very enjoyable.

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    Also, I have a fundamental question also pertaining to the firing pin. When it is flush with, or not sticking out from the breech, how does the face of the hammer come into contact with it?



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    Are you able to rack the slide with the IJ-70 while it's in the safe mode? I'm wondering if the Bulgarian (and other military Maks) have that notch to prevent the slide from moving while on safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makaccurateone View Post
    Are you able to rack the slide with the IJ-70 while it's in the safe mode? I'm wondering if the Bulgarian (and other military Maks) have that notch to prevent the slide from moving while on safe.
    No, it's locked up solid as a rock when on safe. I have swapped out firing pins between the IJ and the Bulgie, and there seems to be no difference in performance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinbanner View Post
    Those are good center mass hits, which is the military objective. For self-defense, and to have some fun, draw a Valentine heart on your cardboard and concentrate on it through your front sight. All this testing of your guns and techniques amounts to practice, which will probably give us amateur shooters the most improvement. BTW, kudos to your wife for the pictures, again nicely done. Very enjoyable.
    Yeh, I noticed that with the locked supporting arm that the hits were centered, way more so than with the supporting arm slightly bent. It was a hectic weekend at work and I really enjoyed getting outside and putting a few rounds through the Bulgarian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    Also, I have a fundamental question also pertaining to the firing pin. When it is flush with, or not sticking out from the breech, how does the face of the hammer come into contact with it?
    It doesn't because you have it pointed down on an empty chamber. Point it up, and the pin will slide back to where the hammer could hit it. Since the Makarov has a free-floating firing pin, the primer of a round in the chamber forces the firing pin back to where the hammer will strike it, even when pointed down.

  44. #43
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Pistol_Makarov_Cutout_Arsenal_02.jpg 
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ID:	921480 By a decree of prince Dondukov the plant "Artillerie Arsenal" was established at Rousse by 1878. The factory should supply the wants of the new created Bulgarian army. Until 1884 the production was managed by Russian officers. On February 28th 1884 Simeon Nikolov Vankov was appointed as the first Bulgarian director of the manufactory. As ordered in the decree number 10 from Prince Ferdinand, the plant dislocated to Sofia in 1891.
    In 1924 by the decree of tzar Boris the III and by law adopted by the 21. Regular National Assembly the factory moved to Kazanlak. The name of the firm changed to State Military Factory.
    On April 1st 1947 the factory became a self-supported economic unit per decree of the Council of Ministers. By decree of the Council of Ministers of December 30th 1948 the Military Plants in the country merged into a special state holding "Metalchim" and the State Military Factory-Kazanlak passed from the Defense Ministry to Ministry of Industry and Crafts under the name "Factory-10". (Therefrom themarks, a 10 inscribed in two concentrical circles.) Оn 12.06.1989 the company was registered as Arsenal State-Owned Company, and on 20.12.1991 it was transformed into a Sole Owner Joint Stock Company.
    Since December 5th 2000 the factory has become a limited liability company "Arsenal Ltd.".

    FROM Makarov.com

  45. #44
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    Get rid of that raggedy old Beretta and stick with Maks. Nah, really, the Beretta is a fine pistol. What cal. is your Bulldog in?

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    Where did you get that hat?

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