Originally published a year ago, re-published due to demand. -NCS
I got a number of emails asking about lubricating the AK from my preliminary review of Palmetto State Armory’s GF3 Triangle Side Folder. The Kalashnikov action doesn’t require much lube the same way the AR action does, which is more like an engine piston, but it does require lubricant in the spots where metal meets metal, namely the bolt cam and the guide rails on the receiver.
Back in Afghanistan, some of the Afghans we were partnered with were having reliability issues with their AMD-65s. The AMD is a 12.5in barreled Hungarian AK designed for Paratroopers, and you can recognize it by its distinct forward grip, single wire folding stock, and obnoxiously loud muzzle break. While its the lightest AK I’ve ever used, its also the one that I saw give the most trouble. A big part of it was the shortened gas system that cycled a bit weak, and when coupled with the rendered animal fat they used for lubricant (PKMs smelled like lamb when firing) it led to problems. So when I was scrambling to learn all thing Kalashnikov to better train these guys I stumbled onto Jim Fuller using grease on a few points of the AK as an effective lube. It worked, making their AMDs live up to the reliability expectations.
Maintenance on the Kalash is ridiculously easy, but because its an open action using a high viscosity lube like CLP can have a short life is a dirt and dust magnet. Ball joint grease works a lot better, as does White Lithium Grease, and both are staples around anything mechanical. Here’s a more detailed look at how I lube my AKs:
1. Strip the cover and recoil spring from weapon.
2. Pull the bolt and bolt carrier and remove the bolt.
3. Apply a couple of dabs of lithium grease. You do not need much.
4. Replace the bolt and rotate it a few times to completely coat the bolt cam and groove.
5. Lubricate the rail guides on both sides of the bolt carrier.
6. Slide the bolt carrier back into place. The grease on the bolt carrier will lubricate the bolt guide rails on the receiver.
7. Replace the recoil spring and work the action a few times to further lubricate the rails.
8. Dry fire to perform a functions check, replace the top cover, and wipe away any excess grease on the outside of the receiver.
And that’s it- it really is that simple. Keeping that weapon well lubed will keep it reliable, and that lithium grease will stick to the action for much longer than a liquid lubricant will, and won’t spray everywhere out of the action while firing.
Know how to maintain your gear, whatever it is. Keep that weapon in the fight!