RGA-86 Initial Impressions

The RGA-86 has arrived and it is magnificent.  I will eventually get some pics of the crate but for now it’s banished from the house as it reeks of the preservative paper the launcher was wrapped in.  The launcher itself was also coated with some variety of preservative coating similar to cosmoline but smellier.  The easiest solution was to take it out in the driveway with a spray bottle of alcohol and give it a good rinsing and then let it dry in the sun.  During the rinsing there was a good amount of purple stuff that came to off the painted steel parts however the paint was left mostly intact.

My initial impression was that it wasn’t as large as I expected, it’s a big piece for sure, but put it side by side with an RV-85 and it seems relatively compact.  Although I have seen some discussion of parts similarity between the RGA-86 and the AK-47 as best as I can tell the only shared parts are the pistol grips and portions from the folding stock mechanism.  Apart from that it’s a wholly unique design that is best described as utilitarian.  

The front half of the launcher, including the barrel, is one large anodized aluminum piece.  The rotary magazine is also made predominantly of aluminum however the individual flare tubes appear to be pressed into the drum assembly.  At the rear of the drum is a blued steel sheet metal assembly which is hinged on the right side for loading.  Take caution when this hinged section is open as it’s easy to bend which will prevent it from closing correctly.  The rear portion of the RGA-86 is a little more crude being made of painted sheet steel with fit and finish similar to a lower tier AK-47.  The vestigial stock seems almost like an add on.  Although the painted portions took on a somewhat purplish hue after my rinse with alcohol they returned to a more black color after being re-oiled.

I haven’t yet had an opportunity to test fire the launcher however it seems easy enough to operate.  Best results seem to come from winding the drum a full 2 2/3 rotations to ensure sufficient spring force.  Although nobody with mistake the RGA-86 for a sniper rifle it is worth noting that the rotating mass of the drum with each shot seems like it will be detrimental to accuracy.  Sights are within the carry handle and the rear can be flipped between 5 and 50 meters. 

Auctions on Gunbroker continue to be completing in the $1,600 range (most recently 781408470) which isn’t too much higher than the reported dealer cost of $1,500.  From my casual observation of both dealers selling and auctions starting above this level there isn’t much movement.  It will be interesting to see if we start to see the higher priced auctions getting set a bit more in line with the market.  My opinion is that if you are interested in one then jump at these prices while there are still a lot on the market.