Matt’s Screw Build Project
– Home shop AK47 building method
About the project
one can pretty easily acquire a “parts kit”, which is a (generally) more or less complete AK, sans receiver. Several US companies make new semi-auto receivers, and there are a lot of US companies making parts so you can legally assemble your AK
About the project
If you’ve been hanging around my website much lately, you’ve probably noticed I’ve become quite interested in guns. In my quest for knowledge on the subject, I’ve run across some pretty interesting fields of pursuit in this hobby. One of which is…..homebuilt AK rifles.
This hobby is remarkably popular (well, within the community of military gun collectors anyway). The AK-47 is one of the most popular and plentiful military rifles in the world. Numerous militaries still use the AK-47 (or later incarnations and clones of it), and it has become popular in the US for both collecting and general shooting. There’s a catch though………AK’s are considered “non-sporting” and thus are banned from importation into the US. All individual parts can be imported except the functional receiver. All this means (for now) is that when AK’s come to the US, they get their receivers torched into two pieces. Actually the BATFE has decided, based on the wording of the relevant regulations, that barrels for “non-sporting” firearms cannot be imported either…..they’re still letting folks import barrels for now, to allow importers to meet existing contracts etc, but currently this is slated to end at the end of 2005.
Anyway, for now one can pretty easily acquire a “parts kit”, which is a (generally) more or less complete AK, sans receiver. Several US companies make new semi-auto receivers, and there are a lot of US companies making parts so you can legally assemble your AK (this has to do with more import regulations…….it’s illegal to assemble from imported parts a gun that would otherwise be unimportable, but if the gun has few enough of certain specified imported components, the gun is no longer considered an import and is not subject to importation restrictions when assembling). Also, there are companies making receiver “flats”…this is basically a sheet of machined metal that you bend into the shape of the AK receiver, drill/trim etc, heat-treat, and finish. This all makes it possible for the average gun geek to build their very own custom AK rifle. Sounds like a recipe for fun to me!
Having very little machining experience and not a lot of equipment, my plan was to get a completed receiver, some US parts, and a Romanian parts kit. The Romanian kits are currently some of the cheapest (THE cheapest?) parts kits on the market. Mine was $124.99, including a nice US-made trigger group. You can get basic kits for around $100.
I’ve got most of the stuff I need ordered, just need a few more miscellaneous tools/supplies now. I’ll be getting a ready-made, heat-treated, parkerized receiver, all I’ll have to do is drill it for the trunions. Yeah it would have been cool to build from a flat, but I just don’t feel like digging into such a project yet.
This gun uses a stamped receiver………the receiver is basically a sheet of metal, bent into a U-shape, with two solid metal blocks (trunions) in either end. The receiver is held to the trunions by rivets (from the factory, anyway).
There are two ways to put these stamped-receiver guns together. You can install rivets, as was originally done, or you can tap the rivet holes in the trunions and assemble the gun with machine screws. I’m going for the latter option, as it does not require you to remove the barrel from the front trunion, and it’s less permanent (in case you need to make adjustments or something).
This is basically what the build will consist of (not necessarily in order):
1. Remove the rivets, and what’s left of the original receiver
2. Drill the new receiver to match the kit’s trunions
3. Tap the rivet holes in the trunions to accept machine screws
4. Re-assemble the rifle around the new receiver
5. Install certain US-made parts in place of the original imported parts (for legal reasons, mainly)
6. Re-finish the original wood components (they look pretty rough)
7. Clean/oil the metal thoroughly, and maybe touch up the bluing a bit
8. Go shoot my new AK and have insane amounts of fun
Here’s an overview of my kit, with the main parts arranged more or less correctly: This is gonna be cool.
I tackled the rivet wit a 1/8″ bit that came with an assortment of Dremel accessories I got. It went kinda slow but did a pretty good job on the rivet. I finished it off by taking my Dremel to the face of the rivet inside the receiver …
Here’s the first batch of pics. I decided to “practice” on the trigger guard rivets, since if I make a mistake here it’s not as critical (the trigger guard will not be tapped, I just have to get the bolts through it and secure them inside the receiver with either a tapped metal plate, or nuts). I didn’t have much time to work on it, so I just got one rivet out and started on another one.
Here’s the rear half of the gun: buttstock, trigger guard, rear trunion (not really visible in this pic, it’s the block of metal that fits into the inside of the receiver and holds everything together), and part of the remnants of the old receiver. First order of business was to drill out the rivet holding the trigger guard to the rest of the assembly.
Trigger guard, removed, rivet still in
I tackled the rivet wit a 1/8″ bit that came with an assortment of Dremel accessories I got. It went kinda slow but did a pretty good job on the rivet. I finished it off by taking my Dremel to the face of the rivet inside the receiver, with a high speed cutting wheel. Then I punched the rivet out of the receiver. Works, but I’m gonna have to come up with a better method when I get to the rear trunion, as I don’t want to have to remove the barrel (hopefully when I get a slightly larger bit that more closely matches the diameter of the rivet, the rivet will come out better).
After a bit more work, the rivet could be tapped out fairly easily.
The seperated parts
Now to get those four rivets out of the front of the trigger guard..
Some more progress…..got the trigger guard and safety lever stop free yesterday, and just now got the front trunion free …
Some more progress…..got the trigger guard and safety lever stop free yesterday, and just now got the front trunion free. It still has rivets in it though, and I’m not at all confident about drilling into it with a hand-drill………I’m seriously considering a drill press at this point.
I’m freeeeeeee! Note the rivets though.
Old receiver pieces, and some parts
Here are the two main sections of the old receiver, and the rear trunion (lower left corner of pic). The trigger guard is also visible, just above that is the bit of the old receiver that was attached to the trigger guard. The safety lever stop plate is still on the trigger guard, I still need to finish drilling out these rivets to free these two parts.
The seperated buttstock, in original finish
I went ahead and started working on the wood furniture…..that’s something I can do now while I wait on the receiver and other stuff to arrive. This pic shows the original finish. My plan here is to take some sort of solvent/stripper and scrub it onto the wood with steel wool, I’ve read this takes the old finish off nicely. But I went ahead and tried sanding it a bit……..the results are below:
Other side of stock, preliminary sanding
The wood actually lightened up pretty good, but the old finish is still very much there. I will probably go with my original idea on clearing off the old finish, but sanding knocks off much of the top-layer nastiness. Whether this is quicker than trying to get it all off just with steel wool and stripper remains to be seen (I haven’t decided on a stripping solvent yet, so I can’t compare).
Lots of new stuff to report. Now for some pics and further details on these exciting new developments …
Yeah I know, it’s been over a month since the last update. I’ve felt more like working on the AK than I have working on the page. Lots of new stuff to report. Here’s basically where things are now:
1. I GOT A DRILL PRESS! Yes, picked up a new-in-box 1/2hp bench drill press on ebay for cheap. Works great for this job, and I can see me using it a lot more in the future. I’ve been wanting a drill press for a long time, the AK build was a good excuse to finally get one.
2. Both trunions are drilled and tapped! Woohoo!
3. Drilled out the rivets on the trigger guard/safety stop lever, freeing those two parts from each other. Despite my previous hacking around on this with the hand drill, the parts ended up not being too horribly marred.
4. Started cutting down the trunion screws…….I have one matching the width of the front trunion wall + 1.0mm receiver shell almost perfectly, I will cut the rest of the screws down to this length eventually. Fairly quick job, just haven’t got around to it (it won’t really need to be done until I get the new receiver in).
5. Got all three wood pieces (upper and lower handguard, and buttstock) stripped, and two coats of Tru-Oil on the upper handguard. Also just put a coat on the buttstock, and put some filler in the crack in the lower handguard.
6. And finally, I got a couple of bayonets.
Now for some pics and further details on these exciting new developments. First, the bayonets. I found a guy on ebay in the UK selling reproduction AK-47 bayonets. They didn’t look particularly like any specific bayonet I’m aware of, but they were very nice looking and appeared to have the necessary AK muzzle fittings, which was my main concern. I bid and won one, but he inadvertently sent me two. =O But since I’m gonna be building more AK’s, and because I was so impressed with the design and quality of the bayonets, when I notified him of the mistake I offerred to just pay for the second one too and keep them both, instead of sending it back. He let me keep it for a reduced price and didn’t charge me for the S&H on the second one, cool! So now I have two bayonets. And here they are……………
World’s coolest letter opener?
Only one problem with these babies…..they don’t fit my AK. The muzzle ring is slightly smaller than the slant muzzle brake on my AK. Without the brake, the bayonets would probably fit fine. I’m told “genuine” AK-47 bayonets are designed to fit snugly over a muzzle with attachments like slant brakes, and fit loosely over a clean muzzle. Apparently whoever designed my bayonets got the muzzle ring diameter a little small. Otherwise it looks like it should fit fine. I may get a stepper bit and try to bore the ring out a bit so that it fits over the brake.
On to the furniture. I’m pleasantly surprised at how well this part is coming along, I was a bit worried when I initially started stripping the original finish off the wood. As I mentioned in the last update, I’d started sanding the stock but I was planning on using antique furniture refinisher solvent to pull the finish out of the wood. This didn’t work out very well……..the solvent did loosen up and remove the finish, but it took a LOT of scrubbing. The results weren’t really any better than what I got with just a lot of sanding, and actually required more work. So I just went back to heavy sanding. I’ve decided to not use any chemicals on future kits, just sand everything.
Pic: lower handguard, right side
The lower handguard was my “test article” for the solvent……..I scrubbed the entire piece heavily with steel wool while keeping it soaked in solvent. I then sanded it a bunch. I also used my Dremel with a sanding drum to remove some of the partial layers of glue and wood grain visible (the furniture is laminated), as they otherwise made for unsightly large dark areas. If I were staining the furniture this would probably be fine, but as it is I’m just applying an oil finish and then will probably apply a clearcoat for protection and appearance.
The buttstock got some solvent, but mostly just sanding. I also used the Dremel on this piece to remove dark areas, as on the lower handguard.
The upper handguard was sanded only, no solvent whatsoever. It seems to be of a different wood type (perhaps not laminated?) than the other pieces, and looks great. After applying the first coat of oil and letting it dry, I scrubbed it lightly with light steel wool and applied another coat. I’m gonna wait and see what the rest of the furniture is going to look like before applying more oil…….I want to keep the wood pretty light in color if I can.
Upper HG, sanded, before applying oil finish
Two coats of finish
The big news is getting the trunions tapped. I shouldn’t have tried drilling them out with a hand drill at first, as I just ended up making it more difficult to drill with the drill press. The hand drill “walked” when trying to drill the rivets out, effectively making an off-center pilot hole. This caused me trouble later on when I drilled them out with the drill press. Still, I actually didn’t cut into the trunion much, and pretty much obliterated the old rivets for the most part. The important thing is that after tapping the holes, the screws tightened down nicely with no signs of stripping out the threads in the trunion.
To tap the trunion holes, I mounted the tap in the drill press. I then popped open the top cover (normally used to adjust the belt for different speeds), and hand-cranked the pulley that’s mounted to the shaft that the chuck is on. I read on a forum somewhere about someone using the drill press to hold the tap, and I really felt better with this method as opposed to mounting it in a conventional tap handle and trying to keep the tap vertical by hand. Mounting the tap in the press ensures it stays vertical to the trunion.
Pic: Trunion/barrel assembly in the drill press
The trunion is basically a big block of steel that the barrel is pressed into. According to one builder’s website, the trunion walls next to the barrel are about 0.10″ thick, and there’s a gap of about 0.09″ between the inside of this wall and the outer surface of the barrel at the chamber. Unfortunately I managed to exceed this on three of the four holes and drilled into the barrel slightly. Basically it’s just a “nick” in the outer wall of the barrel, I don’t believe it has caused any dangerous weakening of the chamber area. It occurred to me later that since I was cutting down the screws anyway, I didn’t need to go nearly as far as I did anyway, just as long as I got through the trunion wall and sufficiently cleared out the old rivets. Lesson learned, and another good excuse to build another AK.
It is possible to punch out the barrel retaining pin, and press/hammer out the barrel before doing all this, then pressing the barrel and retaining pin back in later, but then you run the risk of throwing off headspace, which can be QUITE dangerous. Since I’m not experienced in this stuff, and have no way to accurately check headspace after reinstalling the barrel, I opted to leave it in.
One more pic……my way cool drill press
That’s all for now. Hopefully by the next update I will have the receiver. It’s probably gonna be sometime after the end of the year before it gets here, the place that makes them is back-ordered pretty badly. But it’s now the 23rd, so maybe in a couple weeks I’ll have it! After that I will have everything I need to complete this project (though I need to purchase some clear coat for the furniture, but no big deal there). The last hurdle will be accurately transferring the trunion hole pattern to the new receiver and drilling it out. This is pretty critical, as the receiver needs to be parallel to the barrel to ensure that the next round approaches the chamber squarely, and the bolt head seats flat against the chambered round (plus it would just look funky if the barrel was like, drooping or something, in relation to the rest of the gun, even if it was just off by a bit).
The furniture is finished. What I didn’t realize is that Tru-Oil is not *just* oil, but contains some kind of finishing coat …
I haven’t actually done anything on the AK today, but I’m bored so I thought I’d update this page…….
The furniture is finished. What I didn’t realize is that Tru-Oil is not *just* oil, but contains some kind of finishing coat and some other stuff apparently. It makes a very nice, solid, glossy finish. So, I won’t be applying any clear coat.
I initially put three coats of Tru-Oil on everything (buffing lightly with fine steel wool between coats), but I guess I didn’t quite dust the surface cleaned off sufficiently , as there were some little spots in the finish on the lower handguard (not very bad), and the buttstock (pretty bad). Also noticed some very light runs in the lower handguard, but you almost have to look at it in the light to spot them, so I think I’ll just not worry about it. I buffed the buttstock with steel wool then sanded it a bit with very fine sandpaper (same stuff I used for final sanding before applying the finish). I then applied another coat of Tru-Oil *very* lightly. The result looks pretty nice…..not quite as glossy as the thick final coats I have on the other pieces, but pretty smooth and uniform. I’m not sure which look I like better, so I’m keeping the buttstock the way it is and the other two pieces glossy. Actually there isn’t really a huge difference in the finishes.
Got the trunion screws trimmed down, just waiting for the receiver now. If I don’t hear from my FFL by next week I’ll probably give the manufacturer a call and see where things are at. Actually I may get impatient and just call them tomorrow……………..
In other news, the bayonets are TOTALLY off. Either whoever designed them just took a wild guess at the dimensions for the lug attachment mechanism and muzzle ring diameter and placement, or the mount pattern is actually for a different gun. It has been suggested to me that the bayonet mount pattern may match a Mauser pattern.
Basically I’ve done everything I can until the receiver arrives. After that things should go pretty quickly…..will just have to accurately transfer the trunion mount holes pattern to the receiver, drill the trunion holes in the receiver, and put it all together. I should be able to knock this out in a solid evening of work.
Oh, and I just ordered three more AK kits.
The receiver arrived!!! I’ve currently got two front trunion holes drilled in the receiver. The first one was off rather badly, so it’s pretty egg-shaped now to fit. :/ But the second one was dead-on….
The receiver arrived!!! I’ve currently got two front trunion holes drilled in the receiver. The first one was off rather badly, so it’s pretty egg-shaped now to fit. :/ But the second one was dead-on. I went with a drill bit slightly larger than the one I used for drilling the trunions themselves, so the hole in the receiver is actually barely big enough for the bolt to go through. But it lines up beautifully! Now if I can just repeat these results on the other four……….
To transfer the hole pattern, I ended up placing a thin piece of paper (printer paper, actually) over the trunion, lining up two of its edgs with the front of the trunion, and the top of the trunion at the begging of the small channel that the top lip of the recevier slides into. I then punched through the paper at the trunion holes with a pencil, then swirled the pencil around to shape and size the hole in the paper according to the trunion hole. Then I placed the paper over the receiver (lining up the top and front edges), and ran the pencil over the receiver where the holes in the paper were. Since the receiver is parkerized, this provided a nice solid mark for drilling. I’ll try to get some pics of this stuff later.
Overall I’d have to say I’m fairly impressed with the Global Trades/Armory USA receiver. They drilled and cut everything except the trunion holes. I mounted the trigger guard into the pre-drilled holes. With the front trunion slammed up against the rails as far as it will go, not only does the front of the trunion come flush almost perfectly with the front edge of the receiver, magazines lock up nicely with not too much play. I really only have two issues with this receiver. First, the back was bent in a bit at the top corners. It isn’t too terribly bad, it goes away once the rear trunion is set in place (though it does make placing the rear trunion a bit of a pain). Secondly, it looks like the center support may have been ever so slightly too small, and when they rivitted it in, the sides of the receiver were drawn together just a bit. The effect is barely noticeable visually, but it’s there. The bolt carrier binds a bit as it nears this center area, so I will have to grind down the rails a bit. Tis a shame, because I’m guessing it would have been a near-perfect fit if the receiver sides weren’t pulled in like they are. OTOH, perhaps this minor imperfection is normal and I’m just way too demanding.
Since I don’t have much skills in the way of gun metal refinishing, I went ahead and opted for Global Trades’ parkerized finish on the receiver. I’m pleased with the finish, it pretty well matches the original Romanian finish on the rest of the parts. I guess the Romanian manufacturers parkerize their AK’s?
Anyway, I couldn’t resist throwing the parts together for some “test fitting”. After spending 20 minutes or so snapping pics, handling the gun, and grinning like a little kid with a new toy, I came to several conclusions:
1. I really like the feel of the AK, much more cool than conventional rifles. I’m sure for long distance precision shooting, a conventional rifle would be preferable, but for general all-around handling, the AK design is awesome. It’s fun just to pick up and shoulder.
2. This thing is handy. This is due partly to its small size and light weight, but also to the general design of the rifle (see previous point). I can see one reason it’s so well suited to so many different situations, it would be handy to just carry around and then quickly shoulder when needed. Also, you can hang onto it with one hand (your trigger hand) by the pistol grip, with the buttstock up against the inside of your elbow and the gun pointed more or less upwards (for safety, and portability), then lower it and let the front of the rifle drop into your other hand and be quickly at the ready.
3. The buttstock is actually not as short as I thought it would be. It does feel a bit short when I shoulder the rifle, but it’s quite usable. I probably won’t add any kind of extension (like a recoil pad) to it, at least not for now. I will lose about an inch or so, however, once I fit the buttstock and get it to fully seat into the receiver.
4. The foregrip stays. It’s cool.
I went ahead and installed the hammer, trigger, and associated parts. I was surprised at how simple this mechanism is. Several times throughout the build I’ve occasionally glanced at my box of parts and thought “is that all there is? Am I missing something?” I also like the fact that the safety mechanism consists of a single part. Seriously, look at this parts list:
3. Disconnector spring
5. Hammer spring
6. Safety selector
7. Trigger bushing (this isn’t even necessary to the design…it’s part of the US-made Tapco G2 trigger group I got with the kit, makes assembly/disassembly easier)
8. Mount pin and retaining clip for the trigger/disconnector assembly
9. Mount pin and retaining clip for the hammer
That is EVERYTHING needed to make the trigger and hammer work. Well, plus the receiver itself, obviously.
I’m off work today (and tomorrow!) so I should be able to finish the gun by tomorrow, maybe even tonight. Hopefully I can shoot it next week some time.
Just a few pics this time. Here’s the receiver, with the trigger guard installed and the rear trunion in place (sorta). I didn’t get any pics of the receiver in its original form, too impatient I guess.
And here’s a sneak preview of the gun loosely thrown together for “test fitting”.
Note the buttstock is only partially installed, it will need some sanding/fitting to go in properly.
Yeah, expect the next update pretty quick.
OK……….it’s done…..and fired! I planned on updating before now, but again, I felt more like working on the AK than working on the page, heh.
OK……….it’s done…..and fired! I planned on updating before now, but again, I felt more like working on the AK than working on the page, heh. Then I was lazy and decided maybe I’d just wait til the test firing. So here we are….but first, let’s pick up where we left off.
As promised, here’s a pic showing how I transferred the hole pattern from the trunion to the receiver:
I placed this piece of paper over the fron trunion, being careful to align its front and top edges with the front and top edges of the trunion. Then I punched holes in the paper over the trunion holes. I then placed the paper on the receiver, again aligning the front and top edges (as seen in this pic), and ran the pencil lightly around in the holes. It didn’t work out perfectly but for most of the holes it was pretty close (2 or 3 were almost PERFECT). The important thing is both trunions are very secure, no play at all. The gun is solid.
Here’s what you end up with:
The receiver, with trunions installed
After drilling out the receiver, I fit and sanded the buttstock and lower handguard. Took a lot of sanding on the buttstock, lower handguard didn’t need much.
I also hit the edges of the top rails (top of receiver) with the Dremel, then polished them. This was all that was needed to eliminate the binding of the bolt carrier around the middle of the receiver. At this point I was thinking things would be pretty easy………..just got to assemble the fire control group. Well, as simple and user-friendly as the AK design is, installing the hammer and trigger is rather troublesome. You have to keep pressure on the hammer against its spring to keep the hammer lined up with the holes in the receiver. Then the hammer has to be installed, with its rearward hooks placed UNDER the hammer spring (installing the trigger first doesn’t seem very practical, because with it in there’s not really enough room to get the hammer installed….you can’t just drop it in, because of the rails). Simple and effective design, but a bit troublesome to install (seems to me, anyway). Then the axis pins for the hammer and trigger have to be retained somehow. I never could get the retaining wire from this kit or the wire from another kit to work, I ended up using the small clips that came with my screw/bit/tap/parts package. Still a little finnicky to work with, but not too bad.
But then another problem presented itself……….the bolt would NOT cycle. It binded a lot near the limit of its rearward travel, and when coming back, it got hung up at the hammer. I couldn’t even force it past the hammer, at least not with any reasonable effort. After consulting with the good folks at sksboards.com, I got the Dremel out again (what would I do without that thing? LOL!) and ground the face of the hammer where it contacts the bottom of the bolt carrier. After lots of grinding and polishing, the bolt carrier was able to pass over it without much resistance. Pic:
This pic shows approximately where I had to grind the hammer
There’s still a fair amount of resistance between the bolt carrier and hammer, but that’s ok…..as long as the bolt carrier cycles, it’s fine. You don’t want to take TOO much off, as the bolt carrier has to push the hammer down far enough for the hammer to slip under the trigger hook(s).
The binding near the rearward extent of the carrier’s travel turned out to be the safety lever……..the shaft of the lever, inside the receiver, is U-shaped, the bolt carrier is supposed to pass through this U-shaped area. It wasn’t quite clearing, so I had to grind it down some. OK, bolt seems to cycle ok now………….ooops, now it’s hanging when brought all the way back………..
The bolt carrier/bolt assembly is installed by lowering it through the top of the receiver near the rear trunion. The top edges of the receiver are narrower here, so there’s enough space for the assembly to drop in between the top edges of the receiver. It seems this area was just a bit too wide on my receiver, and/or started too far forward. The only way around this that I can see is to restrict the bolt carrier’s movement so that once installed, it doesn’t go all the way back. Some more research indicated this actually is a problem on some AK’s. The typical fix is to install a recoil buffer. This is a piece of plastic that goes in front of the rear trunion, to avoid the violent metal-to-metal contact you get when the bolt carrier comes flying back after a shot. Of course it also keeps the bolt carrier from coming all the way back, which is what is needed to fix the popping-out-of-the-rails problem. I got a 1/4″ buffer from Black Jack Buffers, which fixed the problem.
Check out the following pic. The area in the red circle is the part of the safety selector shaft that I had to grind down. The areas in blue are the corners of the top edges of the receiver, where they start to narrow for the bolt carrier drop-in area that I suspect are a bit too far forward.
FINALLY, everything was ready.
The Big Day!
It was WINDY, but the temperature wasn’t too bad, and there were just enough clouds about to keep the glare down. Me and Matt P loaded up our stuff and headed to the shooting area behind his house. I had 3 magazines loaded, plus an empty that I loaded with just 2 rounds once we got there (just in case something went wrong, I didn’t want to have 29 live rounds sitting right under the chamber of the rifle…….2 rounds would allow me to fire the gun and verify that it cycled and fed properly).
I pulled back the charging handle and let it go, first round chambered ok. Pull trigger……..BANG. Pull it again….BANG. YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! SUCCESS!
Wow, I didn’t expect the huge, dramatic muzzle flash this thing spits out! Check out this pic of Matt P firing the gun:
It’s quite noticeable even from the shooter’s viewpoint. It’s pretty awesome firing this thing from the mid position (not quite hip firing, but lower than the shoulder) traditionally used for mass destruction and indiscriminate spraying of lead, with all the noise and recoil and a huge flame coming out of the muzzle on every round. I’m not sure if it recoils worse than the SKS……..they weigh about the same I believe, so probably not, but it just seems more violent. It also has a different, louder report. Definitely a distinctive sound.
I had 159 rounds to shoot off. Fortunately, Trent came out with his dad’s SKS and a couple of other guns, and brought some 7.62×39 with him. I think we ended up putting a little over 200 rounds through the AK, total. I had exactly ONE failure with the gun…….the hammer didn’t cock once. And I’m not even sure it was a problem with the gun….I was bump-firing and accidently let my hand get in the way of the charging handle as it slammed back during firing (yeah, ouch). I suspect this might have kept the bolt carrier from coming back far enough to cock the hammer. The trunion screws did loosen a bit, which I expected since I didn’t put any thread locking compound on them yet. Unfortunately one of the front trunion holes stripped out, I guess it had backed out a lot before I noticed it and thus was under a lot of stress. I don’t think I can get by with slopping a bunch of thread locking compound on it, I’ll probably have to re-drill and tap it for a larger screw. But it’s one of the rearmost screws, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to fix.
I also noticed the screws holding the trigger guard in place backed out a bit, and a couple of them stripped out (I was afraid of that, with the shallow threads due to the holes being slightly oversized). So I guess I will go with my original idea of installing metal plates on either side of the trigger guard inside the receiver. The plates will be drilled and tapped for the trigger guard screws.
Oh yeah, this thing bump-fires awesome. I haven’t polished the trigger or hammer yet so I didn’t think it would bump all that well, but the trigger seems to break sooner than the SKS’s trigger, which apparently helps quite a bit.
More pics from the session:
Our little arsenal
And finally, a “glamor shot” of the AK in its completed form.
Next things to do……….disassemble the gun and check everything out real good (and clean it, heh), fix the stripped out trunion hole, put some thread locking compound on the trunion screws, polish the trigger hooks and the hammer, and fabricate some plates to place inside the receiver to thread the trigger guard screws into.
Yeah, this gun rocks.