WASR-10 Review: CAI’s Romanian Rifle

by coldboremiracle

December 14, 2022

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Few firearms are more recognizable than the Kalashnikov family; in this article will be looking at a descendant of that family, the WASR 10. It is a Romanian-made AK-47 imported by Century Arms for the American market. Scroll down for our entire WASR-10 review.

WASR-10 Specs

  • Caliber 7.62×39
  • Trigger RAK-1 Enhanced
  • Barrel Length 16.25″
  • Muzzle Threaded 14x1LH
  • Sights Fixed front/Adjustable rear
  • Overall length 34.25″
  • Weight 7.5 lb

WASR-10: Some Background

The formidable AK-47 design is the blueprint for the WASR 10; Century Arms manufactures them from Romanian parts kits. The post-Warsaw Pact production of rifles in Romania created a vast number of highly sought-after imports that are still coming into the US distribution circuit.

Much like its Kalashnikov cousin, the WASR 10 uses an extremely simple and robust construction. The receiver is made from stamped steel, folded neatly into the proper shape, and fitted with the barrel and trunnion. The bolt carrier and piston assembly ride on two rails fit into the receiver, with a captured operating spring assembly fit into the rear of the bolt carrier and secured into a blind slot at the rear of the receiver. The gas tube is secured between the gas block and the trunnion with a cam pin.

The barrel is chambered in the 7.62×39 Soviet cartridge, the hitherto low cost and proliferate supply of this ammunition is also an attractive aspect of the rifle.

The WASR-10 is a Century Arms assembled AKM built with Romanian parts.

Wooden furniture is used in both the foregrip area and buttstock, though the pistol grip is a polymer blend. To be honest, the whole thing gives the feeling of an infantry weapon in post cold war Soviet states, which makes a lot of sense…

The finish is almost non-existent, particularly on the wood, and you can tell that the original manufacture of these guns wasn’t exactly focused on luxurious looks. I’ve seen a great many of these types of rifles, and there is quite a variation in the grading of quality, at least from an aesthetic perspective.

All that aside, these rifles and their extended family are famous for being incredibly reliable, like a lead pump that knows no defeat. All over the world, they can be found in terrible conditions and disrepair yet still functioning.

The availability, low cost, and that incredibly seasoned service record make these rifles very popular and favorable to American gun owners.

WASR-10 Features

1 Iconic

Perhaps the most recognized and popular service rifle in the world.

2 Century Arms RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger

Improved function over original trigger assembly

3 Reliable

The gas operated system is robust and very durable

4 Threaded Barrel

For adding accessories such as muzzle brakes and suppressors

5 AKM Optic Mount

Like most AK variants, you can use for mounting optical sights

WASR-10 Variations:

The WASR 10 comes in two colors, black and wood color, or Krylon of your choice.

Getting a WASR 10 is like ordering a Ukrainian mail-order bride – you get whatever shows up. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it (and what kind of luck you have). Some come with a better finish than others or better color. But really there isn’t much in the way of variety.

CAI WASR-10 Review – Our Take

For all the pitiful parlance I’ve mentioned regarding the WASR 10 so far, this is the part I love the most about gun reviews. The WASR 10 is exactly what I expected it to be, a lightweight, fast-moving mag siphon.

And just like every other similar AK variant I have shot, this one is an absolute blast to shoot. Low recoil, easily aimed, and way too easy to use up all your ammunition.

The 16.5-inch barrel makes the overall length of the gun quite short and easy to maneuver. The iron sights are straight out of Moscow with no frills, just the traditional adjustable ramp sight hilariously incremented out to a thousand meters. That said, while I have always found it relatively easy to get hits on target with these sights, I really wish I had an optics mount to try using a small scope on the rifle.

Reloads are not as simple as AR-type rifles; perhaps the only flaw in Mikhail’s design was the lack of a lock-back mag catch. This requires you to remove the magazine and insert the new one, followed by drawing back the bolt to chamber the first round of the new magazine. It’s not a huge deal to me, and if you look on Instagram you can see a whole bunch of tier-zero dudes running the drill faster than I can spill my coffee.

The magazines themselves are another great part of the design. Seated properly in the rifle, they feel almost like a solid piece of the receiver; you can hold the gun by the mag and shake it violently with no concern for failures of any kind. The WASR 10 now comes with polymer magazines, nothing wrong with that, but I do prefer the old steel stamped ones that I used to be able to buy for $7.00 each back in the 90s.

Close-up of the WASR-10.

Either way, you probably ought to get a bunch of ammo if you purchase one of these rifles, as they are just too fun to shoot. For the most part, I run the lacquered steel case ammo through my rifle; some say it’s not optimal, but…you do you.

The 122-grain FMJ and the 122 hollow point ammunition I fired through the gun functioned flawlessly, and the accuracy of both loads was very comparable. The platform isn’t known for its accuracy, so I wasn’t surprised to see groups averaging in the 2-3 MOA. I am quite confident I could shoot it much better with a good scope adequately mounted, but I would be surprised if it shot much better than 2 MOA. I also shot some American Eagle 124-grain FMJ ammunition with great results.

After another afternoon of shooting, I was just as happy as ever with this rifle. It is comfortable and a joy to shoot; its lightweight and easy handling make it a walk in the park. You can definitely feel the Soviet roots from this rifle. This is not a Gucci AR.

The WASR-10: CAI's Romanian AKM ran like a champ on every kind of ammo we fed it.

But it still feels like a fantastic shooting tool, despite not having many of the newer style controls we have become so used to. Some nostalgia perhaps influences my feelings for the gun; the slow cyclic motion of the bolt feels like something from an old ’80s action film.

Happily, I happened to have a thread adaptor from 14X1 LH to a standard ⅝-24 which allows the use of muzzle devices with a more common thread pitch. That made it possible to install my Yankee Hill Machine R9 suppressor and a Lantac Dragon muzzle brake. Both worked great on the rifle using that adaptor.

Without an adjustable gas system, the AK family can be slightly finicky with suppressors, but this configuration worked out pretty well.

WASR-10 Pros and Cons

  • Reliability – Unbeatable reliability with zero malfunctions.
  • Compatibility – Aftermarket accessories fit without issue.
  • Fun – I mean, c’mon, it’s an AK.
  • Maneuverable – Lightweight and easily manipulated.
  • Inaccurate – Not a particularly accurate platform.
  • No bolt lock-back – This in my view is a design failure.
  • Wood finish- Roll the dice, see what you get.
  • Controls- Could use some modernization.

Report Card

Shootability

The gun feels like an old friend, everything familiar and where you expect it to be. Controls could be improved but you’d need a time machine.

B
Reliability

No malfunctions experienced, its a lead pump.

A
Ergonomics

The rifle is very comfortable to hold and shoot, well balanced and fit.

B+
Accuracy

One of the very few down sides, I like sub MOA rifles. But if 2-3 MOA is good enough for your purposes then send it.

C
Value

Gone are the times of buying rifles like this for $300 at a gun show, but it’s still a good gun to have, even at today’s prices.

B

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by coldboremiracle

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 15 Reviews

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Is this the best AK out there? No. Is it worth the money? Yes indeed.

Gun Deals

Searching the internet to find your favorite firearm can be a big task. However, we put together a list to make things simple. Check out the links below to figure out where you can find your own WASR (without traveling all the way to Bucharest).

Best Ammo for Your Firearm

Apart from the American Eagle ammunition I fired during this WASR-10 review, there are some good Tula options. They make several different loads for the rifle. Their 122gr FMJ worked very well for me. For hunting or self-defense, I’d use the Tula 122 hollow point ammunition. Quite a few jackrabbits around here have fallen to it.

A couple of other options include:

123gr Wolf PolyPerformance

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals Varies
Palmetto State Armory $0.21/round
FEDERAL Federal American Eagle, 7.62x39mm, FMJ, 124 Grain

124gr American Eagle

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals Varies
Palmetto State Armory $1.15

Upgrades and Accessories

Below are a few suggestions for things you might find helpful (or enjoyable) when you’re shooting your WASR-10.

ALG Defense Enhanced AK Trigger with Lighting BowCheck price
The first half of
  • Proper eye protection is critical and should always be worn
  • Ballistic rated, not just sunglasses
Compare top eyepro
The second half of
  • Ear protection is also critical. Protect your hearing!
  • Many styles (some stackable) are available
Compare best earpro
Appropriate cleaning kit
  • For cleaning, care, and maintenance
  • Not all kits are created equal
Compare top kits
Bulti polymer mags with reinforced steel lugCheck price
WOLVERINE! Pattern Camo Sling

Everything COMBLOC goes better with Red Dawn movie Russian camo.

 

 

Check price
Vickers AK Sling

The classic Blue Force Gear AK47 sling from LAV.

Check price
Haley Strategic D3CRX Chest Rig

You need a way to haul your mags. Haley Strategic is a source for very good stuff.

Check price
Aimpoint CompM5b
  • Quickly adjust the reticle in accordance with projectile ballistics and distance to target
  • Wind compensation adjustment in 3 levels
  • Compatible with the Aimpoint 3X & 6XMag-1 magnifiers
Check price
Surefire M600U Scout Light
  • Virtually indestructible ultra-high-output LED
  • Rugged and reliable; built for conflict
  • Mil-Spec Hard Anodized finish, and O-ring sealed to keep out the elements.
On Amazon
Leather AK Chest Rig
  • The most bespoke of possible load-bearing gear
  • Not the most practical but boy it looks GOOD
  • Available for a variety of loadouts
Check price
Dark Angel D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit
  • You should always have medical gear when shooting (any gun)
  • External Tourniquet for easy access
  • Pull handle for rapid deployment
  • Vacuumed sealed insert to keep your contents protected
  • Kit content scalability
Check price

Keep something in mind when choosing your accessories, upgrades, and furniture: apart from the basic necessities (e.g. a sling, a light, and possibly an optic), you should always budget time, resources, and money for training. All the “Gucci kit” in the world won’t help if you cannot run the gun effectively.

Loose Rounds

A “Romy G” rifle on display at the National Military Museum in Bucharest.
Romanian-AK-WASR-10-review

“After the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, many of these rifles went on to become the rifle of the Romanian Civil Patriotic Guard, or “Garda” Which is Romanian for guard. The guard is basically the Romanian version of our Army National guard in the United States and was mandatory for young men and women. It was staffed by about 700,000 citizens.

 

In order to issue the rifles to the guard troops, they were modified to make them semi automatic by cutting the tail off of the disconnector and removing the auto sear. The back end of the buttstock had a black stripe painted vertically along the edge and the rear sight block got a large orange letter “G” stamped on the left side to signify that it was a semi automatic guard rifle.”

 

Hat tip to user “Tapeo1” on the AK Forum. From an excellent post by user “shadeone”. 

How to Care for Your Firearm

Whether you’re new to the AK platform or you just want to brush up on your fundamentals, check out this video by our own Graham Baates about breaking the Kalash down.

Important Links and Manuals

Need more info on this firearm? Don’t worry. There’s plenty out there. We recommend you get started with the following resources:

The WASR-10 feels like a conscript infantryman's gun - which isn't a bad thing at all.
The WASR-10 feels like a conscript infantryman’s gun – which isn’t a bad thing at all. We give it a thumbs-up for basic shooting work…maybe not for precision though!

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About coldboremiracle

coldboremiracle is a self-taught "Freelance Sharpshooter" based in the Rocky Mountains. A true gun nut at heart, but has a passion for precision shooting particularly as it applies to hunting. When not at home or work, he is more than likely behind a riflescope in the high country evaluating the wind for the next shot.

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