Kalashnikov BB gun – a rare collectable you probably missed!

by B.B. Pelletier

Many of you like vintage airguns, and you like reading about them here. Today, I thought I would share a rare collectable that was being sold as recently as 2001. The Kalashnikov BB gun!


Just as real as it looks. The Kalashnikov BB gun was made on a genuine firearm frame.

It was made from a REAL AK-74!
Like the Makarov BB pistol I covered on August 8 (Just like a REAL gun!), the Kalashnikov BB gun was also made from a firearm. It’s made of steel and feels very heavy and solid in your hands. The AK feeling is so pervasive that you feel as if you’re holding an assault rifle instead of a BB gun. Mind you, I’m talking about a real steel BB gun, not a 6mm airsoft gun.

It’s made by the same company that makes the firearm
It should be real – it was made by Izhmash, the same folks who make Kalashnikov firearms, as well as the Makarov pistols. That may have lead to the early demise of the gun in the U.S. The Makarov pistol was already on the list of airguns made from firearms that our government would no longer allow for sale in this country. They claimed that it is fairly easy to convert a Makarov air pistol into a firearm. Coming on the heels of that ruling, the Kalashnikov didn’t stand a chance.

They were called Junkers!
No kidding! A Junker (pronounced “Yunker” in Russian) is the lowest rank of commissioned officer, or perhaps they are not yet commissioned. On that point I’m not clear, but I do know that Junker is one heck of a bad name for anything sold in America! (It’s kind of like when Chevy tried to sell their Nova in South America, where “no va” means “no go” in Spanish.) These guns were to be priced at $365, which is a lot of money for a BB gun but not bad for the super-rare collectable it turned out to be.


The CO2 cartridge and spring-loaded BB magazine are housed in this firing mechanism, along with the firing valve. It tucks neatly out of sight in a banana magazine shell.

Powered by CO2
Like the Makarov, the heart of the gun was a CO2 all-in-one firing mechanism and magazine hidden inside the banana magazine. The rest of the gun was a housing and trigger/hammer for this mechanism. One CO2 cartridge and 20 steel BBs were held in place by this mechanism. Velocity was mid-range – about 250 to 350 f.p.s. – because the barrel was short and no attempt was made to maximize power. The gun sold on the coolness factor alone.

It disassembled like the real deal
Because it was made from a firearm, this BB gun came apart just like any other Kalashnikov. Soldiers and Marines who served during the Vietnam War should have no difficulty popping one apart in under 20 seconds with a little practice. Once you got it apart, you could appreciate why the gun was banned from importation. There wasn’t a lot of difference between the BB gun and the firearm, except that on the BB gun most of the parts served no functional purpose.


It strips for cleaning in seconds. Of course, because it’s a BB gun, there’s nothing to clean!

And, the moral of the story is…
Not all collectables were around before you came into airgunning.
Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Pyramyd Air was going to sell these BB guns before the ban was imposed, so all of you would have been insiders! Perhaps, the AK is not your cup of tea, but who says the next rare airgun won’t be? I missed out on this one, too, but this story inspires me to keep on looking! How about you?

29 thoughts on “Kalashnikov BB gun – a rare collectable you probably missed!

  1. Hi B.B. I barely remember there being a Crosman (I think) air rifle that looked like a bolt action model 70 Winchester or similar. Do you have any info on that? Thanks.


  2. BB,
    Another interesting gun.

    Iv’e not ordered my benajmin 392 yet because I’m having alot of trouble finding lead balls in .22cal anywhere here in the USA.

    I seem to remember reading that there was a suitable shotgun shot size that will fit a .22 is that why noone sells em’? do you know the size and a well manufactured brand?

    PS
    The ultra high adjustable mounts for the talon were back ordered there, but should come this week. looking forward to the switch, thanx.
    :)_


  3. Turtle,

    Pyramyd Air usually stocks .22 lead balls. They come from H&N (Germany) and Lobo (Argentina). I don’t know what the problem is, but I would wait to get them. Shotgun shot is too imperfect for great accuracy.

    Apparently the largest lead birdshot available today is BB (0.180″). The smallest buckshot is number 4 (0.24″). There is a gap in between that only steel shot fills.

    B.B.



  4. Thank you for that link! I never would have thought the Germans would allow anything that looks like an assault rifle to be sold in their country, but this shows how wrong I am!

    It’s nice to know these are still around, like the Makarovs.

    B.B.








  5. R Carter,

    I did email you and the message bounced back as undeliverable. The explaination said the address didn’t exist. I cut and pasted it from your comment, so I think I got it right.

    As for the Kalashnikov, I’m not interested, but I would think someone who reads this blog might be. Why not post it as a comment to tomorrow’s blog?

    B.B.



  6. There’re plenty of stores in Russia that sell this gun, as well as Yunker -2, for about $250.00. The only question is whether it can pass through customs, when mailed…
    btw, “yunker” means cadet in old Russian.


  7. Gunny,

    Thanks for that update. The guy who told me what Junker meant was searching for a word. When I suggested “Third Lieutenant,” he jumped on it. I guess cadet is a much better translation (besides being correct).

    As far as U.S. Customs goes, that’s a risk!

    B.B.


  8. BB
    Do you mean the Yunker is rare in the US or the real Kalashnikov. Because I can go to my local gun store in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and get one for $350-400 if I had the license.

    TK


  9. I have a Yunker 3 for sale. Im in the UK (where no license is required) and the rifle comes with leather sling, original box, paperwork, cleaning kit, ball bearings, CO2 canisters, and is like new. Ive not had it out much, so its in excellent conditioning. Looking for approx 150.00 pounds for it. Ill also ship internationally. Contact me at stixmans@hotmail.com for info. Nigerians need not apply.


  10. Sold my Yunker 3, for $750. The importer I bought from sold his last few for $1099. Rare means less than 75 in the US. Thanks for the help.

    Rob Carter




  11. I just got a Yunker-2 and a Baikal Makarov BB gun, both for a fraction of the cost in the few stores that still sells them here in Europe. I haven’t tested them yet but I stripped the Makarov and checked the bore and the mechanisms and everything seems to be in order, the rifling wasn’t ruined either as I initially expected from a 2nd hand gun. After what I’ve read about them being rare collectibles nowadays I must say I’m very happy that I made this deal. Both guns are very sturdily built and feel very stable and genuine to hold. The Yunker had a plastic muzzle break which I’m intending to switch to an all-metal one, but other than that It’s all perfect. The only thing that is disappointing is the lack of a rifled barrel in the Yunker, but on the other hand the fun factor is the greatest reason to own it.


  12. OK here is the story….
    Izhmash was exporting several versions of the Junker (yunker) into the states. There was an importer in Denver CO that imported the 1, 2, and 3. The 1 was basically a air pistol that was made into a week interpretation of an AK. The BB’s actually went down the fake cleaning rod, instead of down the barrel.
    The 2 was a full size AK-74 with a folding stock. It was a converted AK that was functioning as a BB gun. All the markings were authentic to the original Military AK. The BBs went down a sleeve inside of the barrel. There was a gasket that was placed on the beginning of the barrel and the clip held the BBs and the CO2. When the trigger was pulled it would release a charge of CO2 and a BB from the clip and it would travel down the barrel. It was semi auto and functioned adequately. The gasket was a week system so the Junker 1 & 2 only had about 250fps. The charging handle worked but with no purpose.
    The 3 was exactly the same except the barrel was shorter. 11 inch instead of 16.
    The 1 had a red painted flash suppressor but the 2, and 3 did not. They came out of the box looking exactly like the original AK-74 and AK-103. Everything was actual military equipment. In fact you could dismantle the 2, or 3 and use the parts on your AK-74 or AK-103.
    The reason they are now banned by the ATF is the importer of the Izhmash Saigas in Denver, (R&K International) when ordering a shipment of Saigas also ordered a shipment of Junkers. He added the Junkers on the list of firearms he was importing. Why he did this is still a mystery to us. But he did. The ATF said they had nothing to do with BB guns and just signed off on the rest of the list. The Junkers were included none the less…
    Now… When they arrived Lary Russle (the importer in Denver) was planning on selling them to distributors and paying for the next order.
    Now at the same time EAA was planning on importing Izhmash rifles also. They (EAA) told Lary that he was not going to be able to import anymore rifles from Izhmash. And the BB guns he was importing were illegal. (talking about the Junkers) Larry got spooked and for some reason ended up calling up the ATF and asking them if they could look at each of the rifles and tell him what they thought as to legality.
    Well what do you think the ATF is going to do?… They are going to say illegal to anything they can. Which they said that the Junkers, (all three of them) were, in their opinion, easily converted to firearms and therefore are banned from importation.
    Now on a side note… The big SNAFU came when EAA placed and order with Izhmash and then took out a press release that said they were the sole importers of all Izhmash products. Something to the fact that if you buy from any of the other importers they would not sell to you in the future and they were the only ones that would be allowed to import Izhmash rifles. Lary, and the rest of the importers, called up Igor (Izhmashs guy) and asked WTF? Izhmash went high and to the right about the whole thing. Called up EAA and said WTF?
    Well when all was said and done. Izhmash said they would no longer sell to the US and that was that.
    This is why the SAIGA line just died. And why you can not get anymore Izhmash stuff here in the states.
    Sooooooo… That is the story. Sorry it is a bit long winded. haha.
    If you were one of the lucky ones that were able to pick up the Junkers… Well you have a lil piece of gold there. They are now selling for as much as $1500.00 ea. The 2, and 3 that is. The 1 still ain’t worth sheat. haha.
    I was able to get a couple of each and have left them in the box and think I will put them up for sale in a few years. Ether way they are some really awesome items.
    Hope that helps bud.
    Talk to you later
    RAY
    USMCStingray1 at aol dot com



  13. All of you sound like you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Stop acting like its a dead and rare gun.
    It’s still produced by Izmash and Umarex and other licensed companies.

    Its ONLY a rare gun in the States because they preferred banning a AK BB gun rather than the real deal.

    You all are overvaluing it. The guns are NOT MADE FROM EX OR OLD REAL AKs. I have been to the factory in Germany and they are nothing more than newly tooled and machined steel. Same is in Russia. The guns are MASS PRODUCED and BASED on AK105 or AK74M plastic version. Nothing more than look-alike copies.

    I know a lot of people who own it because they got it when it come out. It is not powerful or accurate gun. Very weak power unless you upgrade it w/upgrade kit (only dents paper up to 5 meters no more if not upgraded).

    I didn’t buy it because it definetley not worth it no matter what even if it looks cool.

    Little secret: production price is € 70-100. re-sale price is €300-350, in the states even more.

    The gun is still mass produced. It is sold in almost all gun shops or mail order in Europe. Every single gun store or catalog I know has it.

    Its just not a rare or good gun and is WAAAAAAAAAY overvalued.


  14. Its an AK74M (AK103) with a stamped single pull receiver.
    From what I can see (I own one) a large amount of the parts ARE AK.
    As to the power, I have upgraded mine and from a C02 capsule I can get a max 680 fps. I have also adapted it to use HPA and with 850psi can get 770 fps max using 5.4 grain zinc plated BBs. You can also use Gamo lead BBs and .177 diablo pellets (load one at a time)
    This is a unique airgun as you have an AK74M that from the outside looks exactly like the firearm, and you can upgrade the power.
    I wont be parting with mine as they are not easily obtained now
    there is a Yunker 4 available that has the mag fixed to the breech.
    Even this is very hard to obtain now.


  15. @Anonymous: I don't know if your still subscribed to this thread but if you are do you have any details of how/where you obtained the upgrades as I'd like to do the same?


  16. quark,

    Very few airgunners look back at these comments that were made years ago. I would suggest you ask your question on the current blog where most airgunners are actively asking and answering each others questions.

    You can get to the current blog by going to the most current article that B.B. has written (he writes a new article every day, Monday-Friday), scroll down to the bottom of that article and click on "comments" and you will join the current discussion. Here's a link you will need to copy and paste:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/

    Look forward to seeing you there!

    kevin


  17. I had one of the very first of these to come into the UK, it arrived in a Cloth bag! I must admit the Bag it self was rather interesting covered in Russian writing and stamps, Customs had a field day with it.
    The Yunkers was very rough and ready typical Russian built.
    It came with a very large bag containing Tin BB's a Couple of replacement bb carriers, and numerous spare parts. The BB smoothbore barrel, which was stuck to the underneath of the main barrel, was bent in the middle where it was attached.
    As an airgun pretty much useless, as a collectors item well?
    Seeing the asking price for these now I suspect a lot of people don’t know what to expect from them, and will be somewhat disappointed as and when they get one.
    As they say each to their own you love them or hate them.
    Personally I could not wait to get rid of it, ghastly thing, bought something else much better.



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