Dimples & Wobble
The Deal With the Dimples
The most common complaint about the WASR-10 is that it suffers from "magazine wobble" because it lacks "dimples" above the magazine well.
The "dimples" you've heard about with regards to the WASR-10 are the oval indentations stamped right above the magazine well on most modern AKM receivers. This picture of the Romanian SAR AKM rifle clearly shows the dimples. The next picture shows a WASR-10 which clearly has no dimples.
Figure 1: Romanian SAR AKM clearly showing the stamped oval dimples
Figure 2: WASR-10 AKM. Notice anything missing?!
Why Dimples? Why!?
As you'd expect from a Communist design, the ovals were not added for their aesthetic qualities. They are added compensate for the fact that the receiver is stamped out of thin sheet metal by pushing against the seated mag from both sides to guide the magazine and to lessen lateral movement. Or, to put it more technically, prevent magazine wobble:-). Please note that since AKM's are the poster children of loose manufacturing, all models "suffer" some degree of mag wobble.
The WASR-10 was originally built to take a 10 round single stack magazine. This skinny magazine was so far away from both sides of the gun that it was probably not feasible to add dimples to support it on both sides (they would have had to punch some very deep dimples to have had any effect). The original single stack magazine only held 10 rounds and was therefore not very long, so the need for guidance and lateral support was probably lower for that reason, as well.
When the WASR-10 was imported, the importer (Century Arms) drilled out the magazine well to allow it to accept standard AK magazines. To compensate for the lack of dimples and therefore lateral support, they welded in two steel plates on both sides. Popular myth holds that this process was done by drunk arthritic monkeys in a room with no lights. We checked this rumor by calling the AMAA (Arthritic Monkey Alcoholics Anonymous) and it turns out NOT to be true. Actually the Monkeys were very offended.
Whoever did the work to enlarge the magazine well and to weld in the plates was not really big on craftsmanship. Or on cleaning up the copious amounts of metal shavings they left behind for that matter. The nonchalance with which the magazine well was widened combined with the lack of dimples, which function as guides and supports, causes the magazine wobble in WASR-10's often to be more severe than in a regular AKM.
Figure 3: This technical drawing :-) shows the role of the AKM dimples vs. the WASR-10's welded plates
Unless it's really bad, the wobble does not appear to affect reliability, so for most people "fixing it" is not necessary. I have left mine alone. If it's particularly bad (affecting feeding!) or annoying, there are things you can do about it. Since you have a WASR-10 and not an AR, I figure you don't want to bring it to a gunsmith.
Here are some solutions that other budget minded WASR-10 owners came up with:
1.) Epoxy or Spot Weld additional tactical steel plates (ahem, computer slot covers from your old desktop PC) or better fitting steel plates on both sides of the receiver. Then file down as needed.
2.) Use J-B Weld cold welding compound to raise the existing plates. Don't use the quick curing type; its temperature resistance is too low. Let it cure. Then file it back down as needed.
3.) Get some synthetic magazines. They are supposed to fit tighter and make the wobble less apparent. Also note that full magazines wobble less then empty ones.
4.) Get Over it. Focus on how little you paid for the AK and think of the poor children in Africa and how small your worries are in comparison to theirs. Don't allow your mind to trail off and wonder what those children paid for their AK's and if they suffer from magazine wobble or not.
Figure 3: Purpose of the Dimples