One of the most popular questions concerning AK-47s is the difference between milled and stamped receivers. Quite often, people hear those terms being bandied about, but they may not fully understand what they mean. Quite often, the country of origin for the AK-47 may also indicate whether the weapon you currently have is either milled or stamped, however some countries have manufactured both types.
Here, we will demonstrate what each one is, how they are different and which one is stronger and more durable.
The first AK-47s that were created had milled receivers. A milled receiver is one that is manufactured from a solid block of steel which gave them durability and sturdiness, but also made them quite heavy as well. Perhaps the easiest way to identify a milled receiver is that it features a long, rectangular-type cutout which spans nearly 5” and located above and in front of the magazine. The cutout was designed to reduce the overall weight of the rifle itself.
You’ll find that the trigger guard is riveted and stamped on the bottom side of the receiver which may look similar to a stamped receiver. The magazine front latch slot and well are located in the receiver and the pistol grip nut is riveted just behind the trigger guard. Another indication of the weapon being a milled receiver is that you’ll see a few sharp edges located above the trigger and the magazine were “milled” away.
A stamped receiver is one that is relatively simple for you to build on your own. Unlike a milled receiver which is crafted from a heavy block of steel, stamped receivers are made from thin metal that is flat and bent into a box-like shape. It is also riveted and located between the front and rear trunnions are a center spacer.
Other differences include the many different rivet heads found externally on the sides of the stamped receiver as well as small and shallow indentations that are roughly 1” in length and found on each side of the stamped receiver as well. These are easily discernible from the large, rectangular cutout found on the milled receivers.
The trigger guards for the stamped and milled do look similar, however, the grip screw nut is a separate piece on the stamped receiver that fits on the inside through a square hole located behind the trigger guard. In addition, the pistol grips are interchangeable as well.
Although heavier and made from thicker pieces of steel, a milled receiver is not necessarily stronger than a stamped one. This is because the difference in impact it would take to damage one, but not the other is rather small and would probably wreck the weapon regardless. However, according to manuals that were crafted during the time of the Soviet Union, stamped receivers generally last longer in terms of number of rounds that are fired.
There are certain marked differences between the milled and stamped receiver with the durability factor leaning towards the stamped version. However, taking good care of your AK-47 will mean that you will get the most out of the weapon itself whether it is milled or stamped.