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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is a spec sheet available for your optic mounts with length, material, and other data?
  2. The AK mount I purchased is too short for my rifle.
  3. Is barrel heat transmitting up through my UltiMAK mount and into the optic a valid concern?
  4. Which kinds of Picatinny accessories (rings or bases, “rail grabbers”, “rail squeezers”) are compatible with UltiMAK mount rails?
  5. Why won’t certain aftermarket lower handguards fit with your AK optic mounts?
  6. How come your M6 mounts won’t fit Universal (or Plainfield, Iver Johnson, etc.) commercially made Carbines from the 1960s and ‘70s?
  7. Do you make a mount for my Saiga AK?
  8. Which mount fits my Palmetto State Armory AKM?

Q: Is a spec sheet available for your optic mounts with length, material, and other data?

A: Indeed, there is. Click the buttons below to view or download a PDF file that lists the length, slot count, weight, and materials of every mount in our store.

Q: The AK mount I purchased is too short for my rifle.

A: If you ordered the mount that was recommended for your particular AK, then the mount is most likely the correct length. As the instructions sent in your package explain, the UltiMAK AK mounts are slightly shorter than the original gas piston tubes that they replace – and this is an intentional design feature. The following video explains this design choice in greater detail and provides a visual demonstration as well:

Q: Is barrel heat transmitting up through my UltiMAK mount and into the optic a valid concern?

A: Under any kind of realistic use, no — our mounts do not get hot enough to cause problems for an optic. This is a question that comes up occasionally about our gas tube AK mounts, because the mount itself does get warm after repeat fire during a shooting session. However, unless you are emptying piles of pre-loaded magazines as fast as possible, this is nothing to worry about. We have verified this fact through extensive trials, and our customers have used our mounts for over two decades with virtually no reports of optics malfunctioning because of overheating.

We’ve fired thousands and thousands of rounds in “torture tests” in a variety of weather conditions, often employing fully loaded 75-round drums, and have never encountered a problem with an optic overheating on one of our mounts. It would theoretically be possible to damage such a mounted optic by overheating it through extreme practices, but we cannot imagine any real-life situation in which such a thing would happen. For one thing, most people could not carry enough ammunition — you’d have to be firing from an ammo supply truck, with another person or two loading magazines for you. So unless you’re planning on using your AK as a squad automatic, with prolonged automatic fire as you empty magazines in rapid succession, you have no reason to worry about your optic getting too hot on an UltiMAK mount.

Q: Which kinds of Picatinny accessories (rings or bases, "rail grabbers", "rail squeezers") are compatible with UltiMAK mount rails?

A: Almost anything that fits a standard Picatinny rail will fit our mounts, with only a few exceptions:

LaRue throw-lever products will not fit our mounts because they require Picatinny rails with a higher vertical riser under the dovetail. EOTech products with proprietary quick release levers also will not fit our mounts due to the same reason — however — many EOTech products don’t feature this proprietary lever and therefore will fit our mounts. The A.R.M.S. throw-lever EOTech models will work, as will the standard, non-QD models.

So here’s the issue. We at UltiMAK are producing the lowest possible rail mounts, so that a proper cheek weld can be obtained with the factory stock, and that in many cases it is possible to co-witness the factory iron sights with a low-mountable dot sight. In order to accomplish this historical feat of engineering prowess, it was necessary to eliminate, or nearly eliminate in some cases, the vertical riser underneath the Picatinny dovetail. While much of the gun world is going to taller and taller sights and higher rails, UltiMAK took the classic firearms and made them compatible with modern optics!

Most of our mounts have the mount body under the dovetail falling away at a downward-sloping 45 degree angle. Therefore any rail mount which requires vertical space directly under the dovetail is going to interfere. It is impossible to know every device that might have a problem, but we can confidently say that the vast majority of “rail squeezers” are compatible with our mounts. Also, it is a certainty that, as of this writing, all Aimpoint products are compatible, as are the Primary Arms MicroDot products, and similar products from Bushnell, Sig Sauer, Trijicon, and many others. In short, while it is possible to find something that won’t fit one of our mounts, there is no shortage of compatible options whatsoever.

Q: Why won't certain aftermarket lower handguards fit with your AK optic mounts?

A: We designed our AK optic mounts to fit with virtually all original (military) AKM handguards – in wood (aside from Chinese wood), Bakelite, polymer, or polymer and steel – which were standard at the time of the design process. If the designer of a new aftermarket handguard did not specifically make sure that his design was UltiMAK compatible, or did not use the original AKM pattern internal dimensions, it might not fit without alteration.

Magpul AK lower handguards are UltiMAK compatible. Our own ACR2 Modular railed AK lowers are UltiMAK compatible by design, as are any of the handguards sold on our website. We cannot vouch for any other. If you have an original military (inside) pattern lower, and it’s not Chinese wood, then you’re almost certainly good to go. There are however some very well-made AK military lookalikes which are not compatible because the internal dimensions do not follow the originals. If your aftermarket handguard is not from Magpul, you may need to do some simple routing, chiseling or Dremeling to make room between the barrel and the inside of the handguard (easily done).

As an aside: we created one of the first truly serious accessories ever in the U.S. for the AK platform. Magpul for this example has chosen to consider the untold thousands, and growing number, of UltiMAK AK optic mount users by designing their AK handguards with the UltiMAK system in mind. Kudos to Magpul for discerning the market and responding to it.

Q: How come your M6 mounts won't fit Universal (or Plainfield, Iver Johnson, etc.) commercially made Carbines from the 1960s and ‘70s?

A: Our M6-series optic mounts are designed to fit GI blueprint carbines, which means they will not fit a Universal (or Plainfield, etc.), carbine unless it was an early production model made with surplus military parts. The commercially made parts (such as the barrels) have different dimensions than the GI ones, and thus would not be able to accommodate the same optic mount.

A potential mount design for non-GI spec commercial carbines runs into several problems: firstly, there was a major lack of consistency in the parts used by the various manufacturers over the decades. Because of this, a functioning mount would need to have a higher rail height to accommodate several possible profiles, and we prefer to design mounts with as low of a rail height as possible. Another issue is that every single stock on these commercial carbines would need to be modified in order for a mount to fit.

Further information about when and why manufacturers changed production: Universal began production in 1961, and kept at it through 1986 (the other commercial brands existed in roughly the same general timeframe). Some of the earliest ones produced were 100% compatible with GI carbines because they were assembled entirely from GI surplus parts, but that soon began to change.

The website M1 Carbines Incorporated explains this in detail:

“More than 426,000 carbines were manufactured by Universal Firearms over a 25 year period from 1961 through 1986. This was 10 years longer and more than three times the quantity manufactured by any other commercial carbine manufacturer. In the beginning the first Universal Firearms carbines were 100% compatible with surplus GI carbine parts, their carbines included many of these parts. As with every other commercial carbine manufacturer, as surplus GI carbine parts became scarce, Universal Firearms began using commercially manufactured substitutes. Unlike other commercial carbine manufacturers, some of the commercially manufactured parts used by Universal Firearms were eventually compatible with the Universal Firearms carbines only and not interchangeable with their surplus GI counterparts.

In 1967 beginning with serial number 100,000 Universal Firearms implemented a major design change to the carbines they produced. The design had been patented by Universal and the majority of parts were no longer compatible with their GI counterparts. The design change was significant enough that the carbine it produced was no longer an “M1 Carbine”. What makes a carbine an M1 Carbine is the use of the design and parts of the original U.S. M1 Carbine, as set forth by U.S. Army Ordnance in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Universal Carbine retained the overall outward appearance and ammunition of the U.S. M1 Carbine, but the internal design and parts were a hybrid replica of the M1 Carbine.”

Thus, if you happen to own a Universal carbine, you could take it to a local expert and have him determine whether your carbine has a GI barrel or one of the commercially produced barrels. Remember, none of the commercially produced barrels are compatible with our optic mounts, and most Universals have commercial barrels.

Q: Do you make a mount for my Saiga AK?

A: The UltiMAK M1-B is the correct optic mount for a Saiga based on the AKM pattern, of any cosmetic configuration, chambered in 5.45, 5.56 or 7.62 x 39mm (but not for the 308 Win, which has a completely unique barrel profile).

However, if you have the factory Sporter handguard (no upper handguard, with a long lower, and no forend cap) that handguard will interfere with the optic mount. You have several options in dealing with this:

1. Use an UltiMAK ACR2 modular AK lower, which is compatible with the optic mount by design. It comes with its own attachment system, so you don’t need any other hardware to make it work on your Saiga. Any of the three ACR2 lengths, as ordered for stamped receivers, will work on your Saiga. The ACR2 lowers can be viewed here.

2. Obtain one of the “bolt-on AK lower handguard retainers for Saigas” (use that as your internet search phrase). We prefer the clamshell designs, but any of them will work. That will allow you to use a standard AK lower handguard. Not all lower handguards are UltiMAK compatible, but the handguards we sell are.

3. Use the Zhukov lower handguard from Magpul. It too is UltiMAK compatible, and comes with its own attachment system.

4. Cut down the original handguard from the top, by about a half inch over a length of about four inches. This will be immediately obvious once you have the optic mount in hand.

So as you see, you have several good options there. If you have one of the Arsenal SGL model Saigas though, it is currently in standard AK configuration and you’re already good to go.

Q: Which mount fits my Palmetto State Armory AKM?

A: The UltiMAK M1-B is the correct optic mount for your PSA AK (GF3, 4, 5).

However, we have noticed a recurring issue with the PSAKs:

Although they have the correct barrel diameter (and thus do not need our standard SH-1 shim set), either the gas chamber is higher over the bore compared to other ComBloc AKs, or the carrier is slightly different. Regardless, this unique variance sometimes causes the piston to bind as the UltiMAK clamp screws are tightened; no matter how carefully the mount is positioned side-to-side for alignment with the gas chamber.

There are two reliable solutions, both of which involve making a shim that fits between the “pedestals” (or “feet”) of the mount and the top of the barrel. We’ve had several PSAK owners use these methods to solve the problem.

The first method is as follows: use scissors to cut several long rectangles out of an aluminum soda can. They must be sized to fit underneath the entire surface of both of the “pedestals” under the mount. Three or four layers will be required to raise the mount up off of the barrel enough that the piston no longer binds. Side-to-side positioning of the mount is also important, so with the screws only partially tightened, such that you can barely move the mount side-to-side with some force, try to find the “sweet spot” which allows the piston to traverse from the tube into the gas chamber without undue force.

Your hand-made shims must be only on top of the barrel, under the mount, and not under the barrel as shown in our SH-1 photos. The shim(s) on top of the barrel under the mount should be sized and positioned as shown for the top shim in the photo here:

SH-1 installed on Romanian SAR-2 rifle

The second method, as an alternative to a soda can, is to obtain brass shim stock, which can usually be found at most hardware stores, auto parts stores, hobby supply stores, or machinist’s supply shops. Most commonly it comes in a package of assorted thicknesses. 0.015” to 0.020” (fifteen to twenty thousandths of an inch) should be about right. In that case you should be able to find a single shim of the right thickness, rather than having to stack several layers of aluminum. The brass shim stock is good to have around anyway because it has a plethora of other uses.

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