Special thanks to "Anders", co-author of the Practical Survival blog http://thepracticalsurvivalist.blogspot.com/ for some of the information found on this page.
What exactly is a GP WASR-10/63? Well, the "GP" means "General Purpose" -- bayonet lug and pistol grip. During the assault rifle ban for imported rifles (1989-present), the WASR-10 was imported with a thumbhole stock, no bayonet lug, and used a single-stack, ten-round magazine. After the sunset of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994-2004), however, these imported rifles could be reconverted back into "non-sporting" rifles once in the United States. The GP WASR-10/63 is such a version which makes it, more or less, a Pm. Md. 63 minus the full-auto. The "WASR" part? That stands for "Wassenaar Arrangement, Semi-automatic Rifle." For more information on this weird name, you might want to visit http://www.wassenaar.org/introduction/index.html. Unless I'm mistaken, the "10/63" is the model designation: originally due to it holding only ten rounds (WASR-10), but since this one is converted back to military appearance, the "63" comes from it being a copy of the Pm. Md. 63, which was the designation for this configuration of Romanian AKM. For the purposes of this review, I'm going to go ahead and show you this WASR after it has been converted back into standard Pm. Md. 63 configuration, making it a closer clone of what the Romanian military would have used. Out-of-the-box WASRs will differ slightly in their furniture from this rifle, but not much else. Let's go ahead and take a look at the rifle.
To clarify a bit before we move on, as mentioned, the Pm. Md. 63 was the Romanian-made variant of the AKM(N). They changed relatively little on it compared to its Russian counterpart, save for the wooden foregrip built into the lower handguard that was introduced shortly after adoption. Honestly, that is the biggest and most evident difference between a Pm. Md. 63 and an AKM(N). As mentioned, this is a GP WASR-10/63: a civilian, Romanian AK variant. It is imported with "sporting" features in place by Century, converted back into "non-sporting" configuration by Century once Stateside, and then sold with standard AKM-pattern furniture. This particular rifle has surplus Pm. Md. 63 furniture added after purchase (I figured a Romanian rifle would benefit from true Romanian furniture). Let's go ahead and take a closer look at some of this rifle's features as it sits in Romanian military configuration.
Starting at the muzzle, we see this. Is the barrel broken? Is it supposed to be cut at this weird angle? Yes, actually, it is supposed to look like this. The AKM introduced what is known as a "slant brake" to the AK series. It indexes via the spring-loaded plunger on the front sight assembly that sits in a cut-out on the muzzle device itself. It functions by sitting to where the "cut" is at a 45 degree angle, up-and-right. How does this make it work? AKs naturally tended to recoil up-and-right, so forcing extra gases that way meant that the pressures from them would force the muzzle back down and left, helping negate a decent amount of muzzle movement when firing. Simple, but effective, just like the rest of the rifle.
The WASR has standard AKM features, as it should, like the gas block seen here. The original AK had a ported gas tube and solid gas block, but, as you can see here, the AKM/WASR has a solid gas tube and ported gas block. The bayonet lug is also visible here at the forward-bottom part of the gas block. Due to aforementioned import restrictions, the WASR did not originally come into the United States with the bayonet lug present. This was a piece of metal welded on and shaped by Century. This explains its slightly different finish appearance and quick wear.
Further back on the rifle is the handguard retainer. Pretty basic: it retains the lower handguard, but it also houses the forward sling "loop." The sling has a clip that attaches here, and this style of handguard retainer has been in use since the AKM was designed. This sling swivel location has been retained since except for on a handful of variants from China, Yugoslavia, etc.
The main defining feature of Romanian AKMs (Pm. Md. 63) is this: the wooden handguard with integral foregrip. It's angled forward, towards the muzzle. Why, though? This was done to ensure it cleared the bottom of the magazine when loading and reloading, although it still only just barely clears it. Romanian AKMs with underfolding stocks had to have their foregrip facing rearward and shortened, however, to accommodate their underfolding stocks. The foregrip we see here is what was used on fixed-stock and side-folding wire-stocked rifles.
Further down we see the defining feature of WASRs. Though built on a stamped receiver, just like the regular AKM, they lack one feature: a magazine well "dimple." As you can see here, the sides of WASR receivers are what is called "slab-sided." This is because the rifles do not feature the magazine well "dimples" present on almost any other AK. However, a steel insert performing the dimple's job is welded on either side of the magazine well to reduce magazine movement side-to-side. Many dislike the lack of dimples due to it being pretty much the only feature lacking from the WASR that would otherwise make it a near exact 1:1 AKM clone, but functionally, the dimple is not needed. This is reinforced by Albanian military AKs lacking dimples and even many early Russia Saiga sporting rifles not featuring magazine well dimples on their receivers.
On the left side of the receiver is what defines this as an AKMN variant: the optics dovetail/rail. An easy way to remember this is that these mounts were originally made to house night vision optics on the AK series. Thus, just consider the "N" in "AKMN" to stand for "night" if you're having difficulties remembering that the AKMN is the dovetailed AKM variant. The majority of Romanian military rifles did not have this dovetail present, but it is standard on all WASRs (and wisely so).
Further back is the fixed buttstock made of laminated wood. The Romanians kept the early style of sling swivel location on their rifles: far back and bottom. At the end of this page, you'll notice two holes in the wrist of the buttstock on the left-hand side. I've seen a few stocksets brought back from the Balkans with this "feature," and it turns out that some soldiers had been relocating their sling swivels to various locations on the buttstock to fit their personal preference.
This particular buttstock features a trapdoor on the buttplate (old WASRs also featured this, but new-production do not). Underneath this trap door is a hole drilled into the buttstock. Inside it sits a spring: this is so you can insert a cleaning kit capsule into the rifle, then have it pop out of the buttplate when the trap door is fully depressed. The cleaning kit capsule contains everything you need to tear the rifle down to its most basic components and a guide to disassembly can be found on the Disassembly/Reassembly page of this site.
The front sight of the WASR is pretty simple: it uses the same post-and-notch set-up as what you'd find on any other AK variant, and even the SKS. Elevation is adjusted by turning the front sight post itself, as it is threaded, and windage is adjusted by drifting the post drum in the sight assembly left or right.
The rear sight is also quite simple. It features markings from "1" to "10." These each correspond to increments of 100m, so that means it is measured out from 100m to 1,000m. You'll also notice a letter (it will be different country-to-country) at the rearmost setting. This is the battlefield zero setting, and it is equivalent to a 300m sight setting. This would keep all rounds neck-to-gut all the way out to ~350m when aiming center-mass, which is the average limit of the rifle's effective range.
A look down the sights of the WASR shows that it resembles just about every Soviet rifle's sight picture you can think of: post and notch. A very simple, but effective, sighting system. While it isn't as precise as others, it leaves a much more open sight picture which was valued by the Soviets in combat.
That about sums up the GP WASR-10/63, and, effectively, the AKM(N) and Pm. Md. 63. It is a basic, bare-bones AKMN clone, and is probably one of the best deals as far as an AK variant goes in the United States. While not as "good" as other, more expensive AK variants, the WASR is definitely not a bad rifle by any means. It will be just as reliable and dependable as any other variant, but perhaps a bit uglier (due to the infamously weak Romanian parkerization) and maybe a shade less accurate, rifle-depending. That said, I've never had any glaring issues with these particular rifles, and still use one semi-frequently, myself.