With semi-auto rifles, most people tend to fall under one of two categories: AR-15 fans, and AK-47 fans. There are some that like both, but they still tend to lean towards one or the other. I like AK-47s but I consider myself an AR-15 guy. There are some things I like better about the AK design, but I like how much you can customize an AR-15 rifle. As many have stated before, the AR-15 is like Legos for adults. You can build one from scratch or change out specific parts without much difficulty. Customizing an AR can become addicting because there are so many options. Just searching for a new pistol grip or handguard can be time-consuming with all the options out there today.
An AK-47 is somewhat customizable, but not to the extent of an AR-15. This is because the AR-15 platform has been morphed over time to be a base rifle with the intention that the buyer will place their own accessories or make their own upgrades. When you buy an AK-47, it’s ready to go out of the box. It was made to be a simple, durable, battle rifle with mediocre accuracy (sorry AK lovers, I had to take a swipe). An AR-15 is much more accurate than an AK-47. But an AK-47 will perform under harsh conditions without maintenance longer than an AR-15 any day. That’s why the AK-47 has the nickname “mud gun.”
But what about a morphed gun that is based on an AR-15 platform, chambered in 7.62X47, and accepts standard AK mags? CMMG has been doing this with the Banshee MK47 for a while. But is it a good idea?
Who is CMMG?
CMMG (Central Missouri Machineguns) was founded in 2002 and is located in Fayette, Missouri. Their goal is to create quality AR-15 rifles at an affordable price. Like Black Rain Ordnance, they are known for their different colors of finishes and customized parts. CMMG makes several lines of guns, with Banshee being one of them. Under this line, they manufacture several modes in handgun and rifle calibers. The most interesting thing to me is the MK-47—an AR-15 platform chambered in 7.62X37. It uses standard AK mags, making it a little bit of both. AK fans may not find this setup very appealing, but I like having the ability to use AK mags and ammo.
The warranty and customer service a company offers is always a factor when I’m evaluating a firearm. If they won’t back up their product, I lose respect for them right away. At the same time, if a company has a great warranty but it takes an act of congress to get them on the phone, the warranty is nearly useless.
CMMG places a piece of paper in the box with their guns stating they have a lifetime warranty on all their products. It also has their address, fax number, phone number, and email printed on the front of the paper. I have had such bad experiences with trying to contact large companies that a simple thing like this makes me like them more before I even get the gun out of the box.
Why have a mutant gun?
A mutant firearm is just what it sounds like. It’s more than one firearm blended into a single gun. The MK is more AR-15 than AK-47, but it gives off an AK vibe when you look at it. Once you get past the magazine and lower receiver, the rest is pure AR-15. It uses a gas block and tube to cycle the AR-style bolt. The grip, trigger, charging handle, and selector are also AR-15 style. One thing to point out about the Banshee MK47 is that everything is ambidextrous. The charging handle is wide enough to get a good grip with either hand. The mag release lever has been extended to each side of the lower receiver making it faster to remove.
I like training with .300 AAC Blackout because it has great knock-down power and works well at close ranges. But the ammo is not cheap. Okay, it’s more than not cheap, it is expensive. 7.62 ammo cost more than it used to, but it’s a lot cheaper than .300 blackout ammo. It also has greater knockdown power than a 5.56 NATO round. AK-47 mags are easy to find and cost about the same price as AR-15 mags. I like having the best of both worlds in one gun, and the MK-47 may just be that gun.
On the Range With the MK-47
I was a little more excited to shoot this gun than I normally get with an AR-style weapon. It came with a polymer mag, but I already knew I would want to test some metal mags. I loaded up some mags with a few different brands of ammo and headed to the range. If I’m going to own a gun that uses AK mags and shoots an AK round, I want to shoot the same cheap ammo as AKs. I took some brass PMC ammo, but the rest was Wolf and Tula. My real curiosity was how well an AR-style gun would do with dirty, steel case bullets. The initial mag was flawless. The second mag—also flawless. I fired some rapid shots to see if I could stay on target and did. So far so good. But wait, there’s more.
When I loaded the third mag and went to chamber it, the charging handle felt stuck. I pulled harder and nothing. By now I was worried something was terribly wrong. I removed the mag and removed the upper from the lower. Nothing looked wrong at this point, so I worked to get the BCG and charging handle out. It did come out after a little effort and appeared to be getting stuck over the gas tube. It also had some thick lube over everything in it, so I cleaned it up and applied some synthetic oil to it. The next two mags fired without issue and the charging handle was stiff but better than the first time. By the time I got to 300 rounds, the issue was gone. I fired 200 more rounds of Wolf ammo after this without any issues.
The finish on the Banshee MK47 is outstanding. I selected Charcoal Green for my model, and it looks great. I prefer metal magazines, and those worked great in the MK47. Most of the time, I can find something to complain about with a gun. I get a little skeptical when I read a glowing review with nothing to say but great things. Maybe I’ll find something to complain about down the road. This gun does require a break-in period before it functions without any issues, so be aware of that. After some ammo has been put through it and the packing grease has all been cleaned up, it will run like a well-oiled machine.