History Of The WASR-10
History of The WASR 10 Rifle
In the early sixties the Romanian State Arms Factories (RomArm) started to build their own "version" of the Russian AKM Assault Rifle. An AKM is essentially a modernized version of the AK-47 (hence AKM). The original AK-47 which was developed in Russia by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the years after the second world war. The biggest difference between the AK-47 and the later AKM is the stamped receiver. Original AK-47's had a milled receiver which is heavier, harder to produce and therefore more expensive to manufacture.
Romania came out with two AKM versions; the PM model 1963 and model 1965. Both models are chambered for the original 7.62X39 AK-47 caliber and have a corrosion resistant chrome plated barrel, gas piston and gas cylinder. Both versions were capable of single fire and automatic fire at a rate of 600 rounds per minute. The main difference between the md. 63 and the md. 65 as the under folding folding stock of the latter, versus the laminated wood stock of the md.63.
Figure 1: a PM md. 63 (wooden stock)
Early on in the sixties RomArm started manufacturing a civilian, export oriented version of the md. 63. This version was created to be semi automatic (one shot per trigger pull). The other major difference from its uncle, the md. 63 was that it was designed to accept only special 10 round single stack magazines, as opposed to the widely available standard AK double stack 30 round magazines that the md. 63 uses. This rifle was called the 10/63 (10 round version of the PM md. 63)
Figure 3: 10/63 with 10 round single stack magazine.
The WASR is a version of the 10/63 which is made compliant with the Wassenaar Arrangement, which places certain export controls on conventional arms.
WASR's imported during the AWB:
In 1994 the United States adopted the "Federal Assault Weapons Ban". This ban, which was part of a broader attempt to reduce violent crime, prohibited the import or manufacture of "Assault Weapons" for civilian use for the period of 10 years. The ban, which expired in 2004, designated a rifle as an "Assault Weapon" if it had:
- Semi Automatic Rifles able to accept detachable magazines
and two or more of the following "Evil Features":
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip
- Bayonet mount
- Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
- Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device which enables the launching or firing of rifle grenades)
The ban also banned magazines that held more than 10 rounds.
Origin of the WASR name???
Some modest research on the origins of the name bring up various AK forums where the following explanation is offered: WASR stands for "Wassenaar Arrangement Semiautomatic Rifle", as in a rifle that is compliant with the 1996 "Wassenaar Arrangement" which is a treaty that urges (it's non binding :-) participating country to be ethical about selling conventional weapons and components of conventional weapons systems. Supposedly the WASR is a version that is especially made or rebuild to adhere to specific standards that qualify it as a "Sporting Rifle" instead of an evil assault weapon under the treaty.
HOWEVER, after having suffered through the various chapters of the arrangement I could not find ANY specific requirements or classifications similar to the very specific classifications that are found in the now defunct US Assault Weapon Ban. The whole arrangement is worded very loose and generic, and seems more of an "introduction into ethical arms proliferation" than a set of specific technical requirements stating what is acceptable to export. Therefore I don't know if I buy the theory.
Is there anyone out there that can point me to the specific article of the treaty that the WASR seeks to comply with? And also what exactly was modified from the original 10/63 to comply with the treaty (and I don't mean 992r)? All WASR's I have seen were build long before 1996 when the Wassenaar Arrangement was enacted so what is the difference between a 10/63 and a WASR?.
Article still under construction