17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer Trench Mortar (17cm mMW a/A) Found in Dowagiac, MI, WWI Memorial

My wife and I were walking around downtown Dowagiac, MI, when I spotted a memorial with an odd little piece of artillery sticking out above a bush located by the intersection of South Front and Main Street.

I walked over and realized I had no idea what it was.  Given it was a WWI monument, it had that “WWI Look” and the wooden steel clad wheels – even I could figure out it was a WWI piece but what was it?  Somebody had spray painted part of it with some brass/bronze paint that was fading but it was actually in surprisingly good shape.

My first thought was that it was some kind of short barreled howitzer but didn’t turn up anything.  I then realized it might be some type of larger mortar so I searched on WWI mortar photos.  Being a visual person, I can scan a ton of photos fast and I found it pretty quick.  It was an early generation Imperial German 17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer (17 cm mMW a/A) made by Rheinmetall.

These large mortars were for destroying fortifications in trench warfare.  Interesting minenwerfer means “mine projector”.  About 2,360 of them were made between 1913 and 1918.  Only 150 were available at the start of WWI.

The minenwerfers played a critical role in destroying fortifications – notably those containing machine guns and artillery as well as clearing field obstacles such as barricades and barbed wire.

They were compact but at 525KG (about 1,157 pounds), but anything but easy to maneuver in a rush.

As far as I can tell, the Dowagiac minenwerfer is a 17cm mMW a/A with the last meaning Alter Art which means it is the early model before they increased the barrel length in a newer model known as the 17cm mMW n/A – with the last part meaning Neur Art – or the “new alteration”

The next photo caught my eye due to the Rheinmetall logo that I also have on HK G3 magazines made my Rheinmentall.

The monument is for the men who lost their lives in WWI from Dowagiac and also Cass County.  Note the quote “It is an investment not a loss when a man gives his life for his country”.

I can’t help but wonder how the German mortar wound up in Dowagiac.  I didn’t see a plaque anywhere but hope to research it more some day.  I also hope they preserve it.  Unless I missed it, the mortar is standing on its own wooden wheels and it would be a shame if it fell.

In case you are interested, here are some great resources to learn more about the 17 cm mMW a/A:

The following page has GPS coordinates and names of the decesed:

Here’s a Google Satellite View of the WWI Memorial – it where I put the red circle:

Here’s the link to the Google Maps page – click here.


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World War I: The Definitive Visual History (Hardcover)

2014 marks the centennial of the start of World War I — DK will mark the occasion with the publication of World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide, a vividly illustrated, in-depth account of the Great War.

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Houston We Have a Problem: The Onyx 1828 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench Breaks Its Retaining Clip

Well, after only moderate use my Onyx 1828 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench has a problem.  On the nose is a small retaining ring, that holds sockets in place.  It came out of its groove and bent.  At first I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to put sockets on or take them off the wrench.  The last one I had to hammer off and then saw what the problem was:

The retaining ring that holds the sockets on the nose had bent!  It was so bad that I didn’t even try to see if I could get a socket on as you can see in the above photos.

First, I checked Amazon to see if I could return it but could not – no worries – I bought it back on January 25, 2018 — about eight and a half months ago.  So, I Googled Astra Pneumatics, found their warranty page and they said to call  (800-221-9705) with the model number of the unit (The 3/8″ Onyx I have is model # 1828)  and the part that I needed from their breakdown sheet located on the main product page – so I got that too:

I circled it in red above for reference – it’s part number 1822-04 and called the 800 number.  The phone was promptly answered and the lady I spoke to was very professional.  They knew there was a problem with a previous generation of the wrench sold earlier by Amazon that they had since fixed.  She said she’d be very happy to send me a new ring for free.  “Cool – I don’t have to send it in” so I gave her my info.

Here we are two weeks later and still no ring.  I called again and this time wrote down the name of the customer service agent and she gave me a reference number, which the last agent did not.  I told her I was bummed because I needed the wrench and the sockets just fell off when I was trying to do odd position work – which was true.   The sockets were just falling off on work with any downward angle.

So, I talked to her on September 11th and we’ll see how things go.  I’m hoping the ring comes this time or I will call back and escalate matters.  I really like the wrench – it’s light, powerful and can get in tight spaces but that all doesn’t matter if it can’t retain its sockets.

So, I wanted to pass this along in case you are having a similar issue and you want to know who to contact and what to request.  I’ll update this post once I have the ring and the unit back in operation … or, worst case, I have to call a third time and escalate but I think things will get resolved this time as the customer service agent made sure (literally) that I wrote down both her name and the reference number.

We’ll see.

Update 9/29:  They sent the wrong size retaining ring!!!  The replacement unit must be for the 1/2″ model.  It’s 8:07pm and they closed at 3:30 Pacific so I left a general voicemail as Marcy’s voicemail box in customer service is not accepting messages.  I’m now getting irked. 


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Astro 1828 ONYX 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench 450ft/lb (Automotive)

The Astro Pneumatic Tool 1828 ONYX 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench – 450ft/lb allows for the shortest profile possible when paired with 3/8″ impact sockets. This makes it ideal for use in restricted spaces such as engine, transmission, and suspension work. It is constructed with 3 forward and 3 reverse settings, a full length of less than 3-7/8″, and is incredibly light weight at 3lbs Specifications: Free Speed: 10,500 R.P.M, Hammer Design: Twin Hammer, Max torque: 450 ft-lb, Working torque: 400 ft-lb, Drive Size: 3/8″, Avg. Air Consumption: 5.6 CFM, Noise Level: 85 dB, Overall Length: 3.85″, Net Weight: 2.98 lbs, Air Inlet: 1/4″, Sug. Air Pressure: 90 Psi, Exhaust System: Handle Exhaust.

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THE LYNX 12 – POST 3 OF 3: Adding the Customizations

This is the third post in a three part series about customizing a Lynx 12 Shotgun.  In the first post, I wrote about my “out of the box” observations and in the second post, I disassembled the Lynx and also recorded observations.  In this final post, I’ll add in my planned customizations and explain my rationale for each.

Installing the Rifle Dynamics AK to M4 Adapter

I like M4 stocks and did some digging around.  In the past, I have used Ace/Double Star and other modular adapters.  The problem with them is that unless you cut the tang off the rear trunnion, you have a rather long receiver block sticking out of your rifle and I wanted to avoid that.

I do a lot of surfing and a new style of adapter had caught my eye made by Rifle Dynamics.  They have an AK to M4 stock adapter that rides over the tang vs. behind it.  This design gets rid of the receiver block sticking out or the need to alter the rifle.  The adapter got good reviews so I added one to my growing order of stuff from Carolina Shooters.

The unit comes with clear instructions but do read the little yellow supplement they include.  After getting feedback about the angle the unit positions the buffer tube at, they added two small Delrin washers that need to be installed also.

Installation took about 10 minutes – in large part because I was snapping photos but also because I didn’t want to rush and make a mistake.

So the big L-Bracket just goes under the tang and is screwed into place.  I put Blue Loc-Tite on both screws to prevent them from loosening up.  Based on past experiences with stocks that loosened up using modular mounts, be sure to use some form of thread locker.  I did not tighten the screws down yet because I wasn’t sure if I would need to wiggle the tube adapter into place or not.

So with the L-Bracket in place, I then attached the Tube Adapter.  The Delrin washers go between the Tube Adapter and the L-Bracket.  I applied Blue Loc-Tite to these screws also.

I then tightened down all the screws and that was it.

Adding a C&H Mercury Buffer to the M4 Buffer Tube

Based on past experience with other similar firearms, I knew the Lynx would be front heavy plus I knew 12 gauge shotguns in general have a fair amount of recoil.  Both of these could be addressed by installing a C&H Mercury Recoil Suppressor.  I use the model 100785 as I know it will slide down the buffer tube of an M4 given the suppressor measures 7/8″ x 5″.  You wouldn’t use this in a normal AR because the buffer tube would have the buffer and spring inside.  However, in our case, an AK does not use the buffer tube so that means we can do whatever we want.  I ordered by unit from MPC Sports, where I have bought them in the past.

I’ve used these a number of times over the years in shotguns and rifles to add weight to the rear and to reduce the recoil.  This last part is interesting.  Basically you have a 7/8″ diameter heavy tube that is 5″ long that is hollow.  Inside it is partially filled with liquid mercury and then very tightly sealed — there is no way it is coming out.

What happens is that when the firearm is fired and the rearward motion starts, the mercury liquid sloshes in the tube.   The tube goes back and the mercury partially stays in place until it is hit by the front of the tube.  This helps to split the recoil impulse into two parts – the initial impulse and then when the mercury hits.

If you can’t afford a mercury buffer you could always fill the rear 5-6″ with bird shot and then cap it with a thick layer of epoxy.

The Mil-Spec six position buffer tube is a straight forward unit made by Expo Arms and I bought it from Primary Arms.  You will still need to get the castle nut and end plate of your choice.  Primary Arms, Brownells and Palmetto are all good places to check.  I really do not recall where I got the castle nut and end plate I used on this project – they were in a parts bin.

Installation is very simple because all you need to do is epoxy it into the buffer tube.  I would recommend scuffing the tube with a bit of sand paper so the epoxy can stick well and then spray down the supressor and the inside of the buffer tube with brake cleaner.

Not all epoxies are up to the task.  I’d recommend Brownell’s Acra-Glas liquid epoxy for this (not their gel version).  I use 10cc syringes to meter out 4 parts resin to 1 part hardener.  I mixed up and used 4 batches so 16 cc of resin and 4 cc of hardener.  Make sure you stir it completely.  The stuff has a long pot like so really mix it well.

I secured the buffer tube in my vise and made sure it was vertical.  Next, I poured a bit down in the tube first – just enough to put a thin layer at the bottom and inserted the suppressor into the tube and poured in the remaining epoxy.  It will need to sit and cure for 2-4 hours before you can handle it.  I keep an eye on the remnants in the mixing cup to see when it is hard enough to handle as the temperature will affect how long it takes.  Note – it needs to cure 24 hours to reach full strength and you’d want that before firing the weapon and subjecting the epoxy to stress.

At any rate, after pouring, wipe off any epoxy you may get on the tube.  Brake cleaner on a rag will help until it cures.  After that, it would likely require sanding to remove so be sure it is clean before you walk away.

So with that done and curing I moved on to the grip.

Installing the Ronin’s Grips AK-12 Grip

The Lynx comes with a basic pistol grip but I wanted to use one of my AK-12 grips.  These are very ergonomic and feel really good to me.  I wear an XL-size glove and both the size and angle work for me.

I replaced the small 5mm bolt with one of our 6mm alloy bolts and also used a 6mm grip nut that I had in my parts bin to secure the grip in place.

In the same manner as other AKs, the grip nut sits in the square hole behind the trigger guard and then the grip sits on the other side and the bolt pulls them together with the receiver sandwiched in the middle.

Adding a Chaos Saiga 12 Apollo 12 Extended Rail

The Lynx can use Saiga handguards so you have a lot of options.  I like the look and feel of Chaos rails.  I had one on my Vepr and decided to go with the Apollo 12 Extended M-LOK Rail for the Lynx.

Installation is pretty easy.  You will need to remove the original sights though.  A small punch can be used to drift out the rear sight and either a small wrench or pliers can be used to unscrew and remove the front sight.  I’d recommend having a Zip Loc bag or something to store these parts in just in case.

Unscrew the four screws on the sides to split the rail system into its two halves.  The bottom slides into position.  Use their screw to secure the front.  Use Blue Loc-Tite on it too.   In the rear by the receiver is a set screw.  Back it out, apply Blue Loc-tite and then screw it down.  It will push on the barrel lock the handguard into position so it will not wobble.

With the base secure you can install the top half when ready.  Notice how I said that.  What I found is that the bolt carrier must be installed and the dust cover installed before you install the top half.  So, I went ahead lubricated the shotgun and closed it up before I installed the top rail.  This also brings to light that the screws will need to be removed to gain access to inside the shotgun for cleaning.  Time will tell how well that works out.  If it drives me nuts, I’ll cut the rail off flush with the gas tube seat.  Right now though, I sure like how it positions my red dot.

Lubricating the Lynx

As mentioned above, I had to install the bolt carrier assembly and dust cover to then finalize the rail.  I am doing something different with the Lynx.  A month back I started using Super Lube synthetic grease on my Uzi and it worked great.  With the Lynx having the heavy parkerization on everything, I used Superlube to grease the rails and all sliding surfaces.  I used a precision oiler with Mobil 1 5w-30 full synthetic on all of the rotating parts.  Boy did this combination make things operate smoothly!

Installing the M4 Mil-Spec Buffer Tube

By now, the buffer tube with the mercury suppressor was cured enough to be safely installed.   Basically, it is installed the same as on an AR but it is much heavier.  Thread the castle nut all the way to the end of threads, install the end plate and then screw the tube into the Rifle Dynamics stock adapter.  Note need to buy the end plate and the castle nut – they typically do not come with a buffer tube.

When you are almost out of space to screw the buffer tube because of the end plate riding in the groove, stop, push the end plate into the adapter and tighten the castle nut down using your favorite tool.

In the next photo you can see that I am using a end plate with sling loops plus you can see that I staked the castle nut.  Because of the recoil of the 12 gauge, I created a small divot with a center punch – this is known as “staking”.  It will mechanically lock the castle nut in place.   I could have put Blue Loc-tite on the castle nut but I went old school.

I then used a cotton swab and some Brownells Oxpho-Blue to cold blue the bare metal to a black color and then wiped it down with WD-40.

Installing the Magpul ACS Stock with Limbsaver Pad

I like the Midway ACS stocks.  They are comfortable, have a locking lever to keep them from wobbling and have storage compartments you can either really use for storage or fill with epoxy and bird shot to further adjust the weight and balance of a rifle.

As luck would have it, I don’t have a photo of the stock before installation but will tell you that the one challenge is to lift the locking pin.  Magpul gives you a dummy cartridge to help with this but I made a tool to hook the pin and lift easy as can be.

Now one thing that is nice with hard recoiling firearms is a decent recoil pad.  I’ve long been a fan of Limbsaver pads and they make a model specific for the Magpul ACS, ACS-L, CTR, MOE, STR and UBR.  It’s nice and thick and provides a lot of cushion especially compared to the original pad it replaces.

I purchased the Magpul ACS for Mil-Spec buffer tubes from Primary Arms and the recoil pad off Amazon.

Installing the JMac RRD-4C 12 Brake

If you want to tame recoil, a good brake is essential.  Justin McMillion and his company JMAC Customs make some great brakes so reaching out to him for a brake made perfect sense.  He recommended their RRD-4C “12” brake.

The first thing I noticed was it’s size – it’s huge and badassed looking.  Installation is a breeze.  Unscrew the thread protector from the Lynx to expose its threads.  Screw on the jam nut as far as you can and then thread on the brake as far as you can.  Back it off enough that the brake is flat and the chambers are venting up as shown below.  Then tighten the jam nut up against the back of the brake to lock it in place.

Installing the Crossfire Red Dot and American Defense Quick Release Lever

My go to red dot these days is the excellent Vortex Crossfire unit.  It’s small and only has a 2 MOA dot.  It comes configured for an AR but you can remove the tall base and use the supplied shorter one for a lower mount.  Recently, I started using American Defense bases  because they have a solid quick release lever so you can remove the red dot quickly.  The base required is the AD-T1-L STD.

You just unscrew the four little screws on the bottom  of the optic, apply Blue Loctite on the screws and attach it to the new base.  Not hard at all!  The results are totally worth it.

Caution about eBay:  Watch out for cheap counterfeit products on eBay.  I would recommend buying the optic and mount from a reputable dealer to make sure you are getting the real deal.  The cheap knock offs just do not hold up.

Streamlight TLR-2 HL G

I installed a small 5 slot Magpul M-Lok aluminum rail section on the bottom front of the handguard to hold a Streamlight TLR-2 HL G 800 lumen light and green laser.  I have found they hold up remarkably well.  In this age of cheap Chinese products, I would recommend buying a light that will work when you need it most.

To mount it, follow the directions with the light to install the key for the Picatinny rail.  It comes with several and then it just screws onto the mount with the thumbscrew,

Caution about eBay:  Watch out for cheap counterfeit products on eBay.  I would recommend buying the Streamlight from a reputable dealer to make sure you are getting the real deal.  The cheap knock offs just do not hold up.

The End Result

I am very happy with how it turned out.  The balance is great and the red dot is located just right – when I bring the shotgun up – the dot is right where I need it.  I definitely need to take it to the range and like how it turned out.  By the way, the magazine you see is the new SDS 10 round unit.

I hope you enjoyed these blog posts.  There will be more to come 🙂

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon to buy something.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



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Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight – 2 MOA Dot (Sports)

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  • Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission during low light situations. Unlimited eye relief makes for quick target acquisition.
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The Lynx 12 – Post 2 of 3: Disassembly and Observations

In the first post, I documented my favorable first impressions of the SDS Lynx 12 shotgun.  After posting, at least 10 gentlemen have come forward stating how much they like their Lynx 12 shotguns and nobody reported any problems.  In this post, I’ll write about taking the shotgun apart in order to install my planned customizations, which will be in the next post.

Call me old school, but the first thing I did was to read the manual 🙂  The next thing was to hose down the hole shotgun and wipe it down to remove all the odd smelling rust preservative.  I really didn’t care for the tacky feel to be there while working on it.  Once removed, I sprayed on Rem Oil to prevent rust while I was working on it.  Rem Oil is nice and thin and doesn’t have too much of a smell.  It’s my go to for situations like this.  If you do remove the preservative, just be sure to apply whatever oil or rust inhibitor you prefer.

Removing the Dust Cover and Recoil Spring

The dust cover comes off by pushing the release latch (the little button that sticks up) on the recoil spring and pushing the whole assembly forward while lifting the dust cover up and off the receiver.

You’ll notice I have the Lynx sitting in my Tipton vise.  I’ve had it for years and it really makes working on long arms way easier.

With the dust cover off, you can get a good look at the recoil spring  assembly.  Some guys will call this the operating spring or the return spring but basically it absorbs the energy of the bolt carrier assembly coming back after firing and then when the spring has enough energy, it pushes the bolt carrier assembly forward to then cock the trigger and strip a round off the magazine and go back into battery.

Compared to a regular AKM, you will notice the release latch and the rubber buffer assembly at the rear.  I find the use of a buffer interesting.  Normally the spring should absorb the energy and my bet is that the designers put it there in case the user either adjusts the gas regulator such that the system is over-gassed and the carrier comes back with more force than the spring alone can handle or they put it there just in case of a round that generates more pressure than what the spring can handle but the gas regulator doesn’t exactly have the right setting — imagine needing a gas setting of “3.5”. At the third position there is too much gas but at 4 there is too little.  I have little doubt it is a good idea.  I’d recommend to keep a spare buffer on hand and inspect the one in the shotgun regularly.  It ought to last a long time under most conditions but the buffers are dirt cheap.

To remove it, push forward on the rear part that normally protrudes from the dust cover.  It should slide forward in the slot that holds it on the trunnion until it is free and you can then lift up and pull back to remove the assembly from the bolt carrier and shotgun overall.

You will also note that the designers made the recoil spring assembly two parts – the rear is a tube like an RPK or older milled AKs with one spring.  There is then an additional cover that rides on that rear tube and normally closes the otherwise enlarged ejection port in the dust cover.  In front of that is then a floating spring.

Removing the Bolt Carrier Assembly and Looking Inside the Receiver

First, remove the bolt carrier assembly.  It slides to the rear of the receiver and can then be lifted up out of the receiver.  Note – it must be fully to the rear or the receiver’s guide rails will retain it.

It’s interesting how the bolt carrier is short.  In the gas tube, which is pinned in place, is a disc, that some call the “gas puck” or just “puck” which is the gas piston.  Unlike an AKM, the gas tube is held in place by the gas tube seat (it reminds me of a rear sight block in a way) that would need it’s retaining pin to be punched out to be removed.  When you tilt the shotgun forward and back, you can hear the puck moving back and forth in the gas tube.  I didn’t take the gas tube assembly apart but it looks straight forward enough.

The carrier is holding a really massive bolt.  It operates very much like any AK – the bolt head has a cam that travels through a slot in the carrier that in turn rotates it into or out of battery.

By moving the bolt head to the rear, the cam can be rotates out of the slot and the bolt head then removed from the carrier.

Look at the size of the extractor!

Interestingly, the firing pin has a spring pushing it backward compared to the floating firing pins you normally find in an AK rifle.  In this photo you can see the tail of the firing pin pushed out the back of the bolt body by the spring.

Looking down in the receiver was a very typical looking fire control group.  Note, it has been tweaked slightly to work in a Saiga or Lynx so if you want to replace the fire control group you will need to either buy one made for the the Saiga or Lynx or you will need to make some modifications.

Normally I replace the fire control group (FCG) with a US made set but the Lynx’s trigger is surprisingly decent.  Not great, but decent.  It was gritty from the parkerizing and lack of use but I figured grease and time could cure that.  I may well swap it out in the future but time will tell.

The Pistol Grip

Now I did run into one surprise that I did not expect – see the grip nut below?  I figured it would be a regular AKM nut meaning threaded for a 6mm diameter x 1.0mm pitch screw.  It’s not.  I did not expect this but the grip screw is actually smaller than an AK’s.  The screw is actually 5mm diameter x 106mm long.  I did not bother finding out the pitch by the way because it would not be staying!  Instead, I focused on the hole in the receiver – it was the same size as a normal AKM grip nut.  Whew – Problem solved.  I would replace it with a beefier AKM nut and one of our high-strength alloy grip screws (I’ll detail that in the next post).

To remove the grip, there is a blade screw head on the base.  Simply unscrew it and remove the grip and the grip nut.

Removing the Buttstock

The plastic buttstock is held in place by two machine screws on the top of the rear trunnion.  The rear trunnion is an AK-74 forked style with the front portion open.  The stock with its lightning cuts on the side harks to the 74 also other than having a recoil pad thicker than what you would find on a 74.

Given how front heavy the shotgun felt, I was not surprised to find out that the buttstock was actually hollow.  The Chinese installed threaded inserts for strength.  I think that is commendable actually.  The fit of the buttstock to the receiver is both well done and very tight.  This is what will bear the recoil – the screws are just there to hold it together.

Because of the tight fit, I secured the rifle in my vise after removing the selector lever.  I then used a wood dowel and hammer to tap on the lip of the stock to push it backwards out of the receiver.  It really didn’t take much force to get it out.  For those of you who have tried to get an old varnished AK-47 stock out of a receiver, you know exactly what I mean and the Lynx requires just a small fraction of that.

The Forearm

The sporting looking forearm is held in place by a 5mm diameter x 11mm long screw.  Unscrew it and push the handguard forward past the gas tube and then pull it off the barrel.  Mine was a tight fit so I did need to pull it off the barrel and not just lift.  I did use a small piece of wood and a hammer to get it started out of the receiver.

Done

At this point, I had the shotgun all the way apart other than the muzzle cap.  I left that on to protect the threads while I worked.  The next blog post will detail the customizations and a few surprises that happened along the way.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon to buy something.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

 


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The Lynx 12 – Post 1 of 3: Unboxing and First Impressions

For some reason, I never really got into the Saigas when they were the hot conversion ticket. I guess it was because I was mainly working on rifles and had a Vepr 12. At any rate, when I heard from Paul Popov that SDS was importing a Saiga-12 clone known as the Lynx 12 from China where it was made in the same factory that made the Type 56 AKs.  Even better, it did not need the conversion and the street price was about $499, I contacted Scott Igert, my friend who owns Modern Antique Firearms in Benton Harbor, MI, to order me one.

In short order the shotgun arrived and then promptly sat idle as I was busy with a ton of other projects. Scott nudged me along to take a look as he was curious about the Lynx 12 also as were clients of his. That prompted me to get my act in gear and take a close look at the shotgun by taking it apart to install a bunch of modifications I had planned.

The first step was to give it a careful external exam. The Lynx had a nice heavy uniform dark parkerized finish – probably a manganese “park” given the color.  There was some type of preservative on it that had the most interesting smell.  I have no way to describe it other that to say it did not smell like the typical cosmoline-ish anti-corrosion coatings I was used to.  Note, parkerization does not prevent rust but what it does do is create a textured surface that oil, preservatives or even weapons finishes can “grab” hold of an stay in place.  For example, when I build an AK, I have found that abrasive blasting, followed by manganese parkerization and then Norrell’s Molyresin is a remarkably durable finishing process.  By the way, I have a post on how to do make and apply your own manganese parkerization.

The rivets were pretty good – in a few cases the domes were flatter than others, which is me nit picking, but they all were sitting nice and snug against the sheet metal.  Rivets are pretty amazing and result in strong attachments of the forged trunnions to the sheet metal as long as they are formed properly and the Lynx’s rivets are solid.

I found it interesting that the front trunnion sits on top of the sheet metal receiver.  The fitment was pretty good.

There were reports of early models having sharp edges but I did not see any.  All edges and the parkerized finish were well done.

I did notice that the rear stock screw as a bit chewed up by whomever installed the rear stock.  Normally you see this when someone uses a screw driver blade that is too small.  Not too bad and since I planned on replacing the rear stock, I really wasn’t worried about it.

The selector lever was noticeably loose.  On most AK rifles, it takes a bit of effort to move the lever between the safe and fire positions.  The lever on the Lynx moves very easily.  I’ll bend the lever slightly or use a center punch to increase the depth of the detent.  Again, not a big worry.

Because the shotgun is brand new and the fire control group and the inside of the receiver are all parkerized, the action was pretty rough.  This was to be expected – the parts need to wear in.  I knew from experience that cleaning and better lubrication would help.

The muzzle cover was easy to remove and threaded nicely.  It is threaded to use Saiga chokes and brakes.

The dust cover has an additional retainer spring and pin that you do not see on most AKMs to hold the dust cover in place.  Notice the attention to detail that the retaining button is shaped to allow the dust cover to clear it better.

A nicely done optics side rail is already installed and begging to be used.

It’s a good thing that is there because I really think you will want to run a red dot either via a scope mount or on a front rail.  The Lynx’s sights are to the front and rear of the gas tube.  The rear has a dovetail and can be drifted with a pin punch to the left or right.  The front sight is threaded and can be adjusted up or down.  They definitely are functional but I don’t care for them at all to be perfectly honest.

The gas regulator is pretty slick and how has four settings for you to choose from.  The SDS website describes the settings thusly:

…smallest dot = basically no gas, no rounds will usually cycle when the regulator is on this position. Next smallest dot = “00” buckshot, high velocity rounds and slugs. Next to largest dot = all things in between your results and field testing will be required to see what your individual shotgun will run in this setting. Largest dot = birdshot and other lower powered ammunition.

You’ll notice it has an AK-74 looking buttstock but it is actually hollow and very light.  It’s nicely formed and installed but the net result is that the shotgun is light overall but very front-heavy.  I planned to replace the buttstock, grip and forearm from the start and I will describe what was one and why in future posts in this series.

It uses Saiga magazines also.  One five round mag comes with the shotgun and SDS now sells 10 round magazines also that you can readily find.  It’s actually harder to find spare five round SDS-brand magazines right now than the 10 round units.

By the way, if you are interested about how it shoots, I haven’t had a chance to take it out yet.  In researching the shotgun and how durable it was, I talked to Paul Popov and he has 350 rounds through his with no signs of trouble.  I also talked to Justin McMillion at JMAC Customs and they have put through about 500 rounds also with no problems showing up.  Here is a great overview video from Justin and his wife Ashley:

To sum it all up, I was pretty impressed with my initial just out of the box assessment.  I’m certainly not done though as I bought the Lynx specifically to customize and blog about.  The custom Lynx 12 blog series will have two more posts – one about disassembly and then one with the customizations I made.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon to buy something.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

 

 

 

 


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Cool Video of The Parts Break Down and Operation of a Type 2 Milled AK

I posted a Forgotten Weapons video a few months back  where Ian does a great overview of the Type 2 Avtomát Kaláshnikova (AK).  Џон Ивошевић shared with me this cool computer animation of the parts and operation of a Type 2.

This is incredibly detailed – if you are into AK rifles, this is worth watching:

I’m amazed and hope you find it cool as well.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 


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AK-47: The Grim Reaper (Hardcover)

It’s back…but this time with more pages, more information and more photographs. The most definitive study on Kalashnikov pattern rifles to date boasts over 1,100 printed pages covering the AK rifle, as well as its variants manufactured in over 19 countries.

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Videos: M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer Instructions and Firing

My post about the old M1A1 in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary got me to thinking.  The Internet is an amazing place and I wondered what videos I could find that might feature the old howitzer.

Right off the bat, I found the following fascinating old WWII-era USMC training film on the M1A1:

A collector actually owns one and this next video gives a bit of history and shows the howitzer firing:

The next is historic combat footage of an M1A1 being fired in Saipan:

And last is historic footage of a pack howitzer being unloaded by a crew and assembled at Fort Hale, CO.

These videos pretty much satisfied my curiosity.  After all these years, I finally know a bit more about the old howitzer and got to see it operate.


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Eyewitness to World War II: Unforgettable Stories and Photographs From History’s Greatest Conflict (Hardcover)

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Assembling A Beryl-ish AK From A WBP Kit – Part 8 – Installing the Furniture, Muzzle Brake, Red Dot Optic and Test Firing

So here we are at the end.  All that was left was to install the buttstock, handguards, muzzle brake, optic and test fire the rifle.

Beryl Furniture

The Poles evolved the Beryl furniture over the years so I went with a particular handguard from Robert RTG that I liked, buttstock from Arms of America and one of our grips.

The lower handguard is what you would find on a kbs wz. 1996A Beryl.  The upper is one I had in a box and pretty flimsy.  I ordered a genuine Polish upper that I will install after I refinish the rifle.

The upper and lower go on the same as any AKM.  I really like the lower – that lip you see makes for a very natural handstop.

Now the buttstock definitely caught my eye.  The Poles went through some different models.  The first model I see with this collapsing stock is the kbs wz. 1996C Beryl.  What I like is that it connects to the receiver the same as any other AK stock so I can change if I ever want to.  On the con  side, it rattles.  I prefer telescoping stocks that are solid.  It’s not the end of the world and I’ll live with it to have the unique buttstock.

The grip is our second generation Beryl model.  The earlier model Beryls I saw had an AKM-ish looking grip.  The first model I have seen with this type of grip is the kbs wz. 1996C Beryl.

Click here if you would like to order one.

The Muzzle Brake

The Beryls were originally chambered in 5.56 NATO and have a unique brake.  This rifle is in 7.62×39 so I had to take a departure and go with another brake.  Justin McMillion of JMAC Customs makes some very cool effective brakes and ordered his RRD-4C “slim” brake.  It looks and functions great.

Note – the Arms of America kit does not come with a cleaning rod so I ordered a Polish AKM rod from them and that is what you see in the photos.

Vortex Crossfire Optic

To round things out, I went with a Vortex Crossfire red dot.  I had a few reasons for doing this:

  • Vortex optics are solid
  • The red dot is only 2 MOA whereas some are 4 and can obscure a small target
  • It can sit right down on the rail and be closer to the bore than some red dots

I removed the riser, used some blue medium Loc-Tite on the screws to hold low-rise plate in place and installed it on the rifle.

I used a laser boresighter to sight in the Crossfire plus I lubricated everything and took it to the range with by buddy Niko.

Range Results

The rifle ran superbly.  I did find that I need to tune the mag catch a bit to work with steel magazines.  It works just fine with the WBP polymer mags you see in the photos and they have a noticeably thinner tab than my steel mags.

A fellow asked me how well the RRD-4C brake works and this video is of Niko shooting at targets – you can see how little the 7.62×39 Golden Tiger ammo is recoiling.

As it stands right this minute, I think this is both my most accurate AK and reliability has been exceptional.  So, I still need to parkerize it and finish it but that needs to wait as I have a few other projects I want to line up and do them all at once.

Here’s how the rifle looks right now:

 


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Assembling A Beryl-ish AK From A WBP Kit – Part 7 – Installing the Fire Control Group and the Optics Rail

With the 7.62×39 Polish Beryl inspired rifle otherwise complete, it was time to install the fire control group, optics rail and the furniture.  This post will focus on these elements.

The Fire Control Group (FCG)

For some time now I have heard how good the ALG triggers are.  I have grown very accustomed to Tapco G2 triggers over the years and know how to tune them but reports were coming in about their not being in accordance with Russian design specifications so this prompted me to try the ALG AK Trigger with Lightning Bow (AKT-EL).

The trigger comes with a spring booster if you want a heavier pull but I wanted the lighter pull.  Wow – this trigger blew me away.  It installed the same as any other AK trigger.

I would recommend something to them and to you though – make a quick slave pin or capture pin that you can use to assemble the trigger assembly outside of the rifle, lower it in and then press it out of the way when you install the actual pin.  In my opinion, ALG should supply one with their trigger but you can make one from an old trigger pin, an old drill shank, whatever.

I didn’t even polish the FCG and just inserted it as-is.  Seriously, I will never go back to Tapco.  These ALGs are wickedly good.

I do not like the original shepherd hook wire for securing the FCG pins and instead used an RSA plate.  These have always worked for me.

In the next photos you can see the giant over-sized selector lever.  It drives me nuts and will either get ground down or replace by a standard AKM lever.  It’s totally up to you but I will not buy the extended mag release and selector lever again – they just are not my preference.

Our New Second Generation Polish Beryl Grip

At this point I installed one of our new Polish Beryl grips as well. They Beryl uses the typical grip nut that uses a 6mm diameter 1.0mm pitch grip screw.

Click here if you want to order one of our grips.

The Optics Rail

The Beryl was the first AK-platform that I know of that had an integral optics rail that ran from the rear sight block (RSB) to the rear trunnion.  It did not need the traditional AKM side mount optics rail.

Now the WBP kit I bought had a Weaver rail and they have since moved to the Picatinny standard – just FYI.  I believe my rail is known as the POPC III.

 

I really did not know what to expect when I ordered the kit and was blown away by how the Poles did this.  The rail is solid steel and built like a tank.  It attaches to the RSB via two small grooves that are machined into the back just below the rear sight leaf.

It then locks onto a cylindrical protrusion on the rear trunnion.

This did take some minor fitting.  I sanded off a bit from the front edge of the rail and rounded the cylinder just a tiny bit to help the above pictured hole slide into place.  I went slow and test fit over and over.  This thing locks up incredibly solid – literally zero play.

All that is left now is the furniture and the test firing.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Ingersoll-Rand 117K 2,000 Blows-Per-Minute Standard Duty Pnuematic Hammer with 5 Chisel Set (Tools & Home Improvement)

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Assembling A Beryl-ish AK From A WBP Kit – Part 6 – Reinstalling the Barrel and Pin with IR Air Hammer

At this point we are getting into the home stretch. Once the barrelled kits dried up, virgin barrels required a fair amount of work to install the blocks. Personally, I never really enjoyed doing the blocks so now that completed barrel assemblies are available again, I’ll happily leave that work to someone else.

One quick comment on the WBP kit – I really like the crest on the rear sight block (RSB).  I didn’t expect it and it is so cool.

There are many methods to install a barrel – I have used two – my 20 ton press with an AK-Builder barrel jig and my IR air hammer.  Of the two, I mainly use the air hammer now and that is what I will document in this post.  Note, the AK-builder jig works just fine – I have found the IR 117 air hammer to be faster as I don’t have to do as much set up work.

You don’t have to use the same IR as me but I would recommend you get either a bigger air hammer like mine or at least a 4x air riveter.  An integral regulator in the gun helps with control.

Three Critical Tips Before You Begin

#1 – If you are new to air hammers, practice before you work on your rifle.  They jump around and you need to get a feel for how how control them.

#2 – Mr air hammer is not your friend.  Wear eye protection and do not get skin anywhere near punches, etc.  They can pinch the hell out of your skin.  I’ve had my fair share of blood blisters and cuts from not paying attention or being in a rush over the years.

#3 – DO NOT hammer right on your muzzle.  The crown, or end of the barrel where the bullet exits, is the last thing to touch the bullet.  If you somehow deform the crown you will negatively impact accuracy and you also risk your threads.  Use protection 🙂  I’ll detail that below – I use an old cut down muzzle brake as a protective cap.

Installing the Barrel

To install a barrel, I first install an old slant brake that I ground flat to protect the threads.  I have not used a muzzle nut because they do not seem to offer much protection to the front of the muzzle – they are mainly designed to protect the threads.  With the ground down slant brake, there is a plenty of material in front of the muzzle to protect it.  

You can see how it has mushroomed over time but that’s fine.  I’ve used it a ton and if I ever have a problem, I’ll chuck it and make another.

My best guess is that it came out of a Romanian G kit years ago.  I have a bunch of oddball parts like this that got replaced by US parts for the sake of 922r compliance.  You can use any slant brake you want – just grind the slant off so you have a flat surface to hammer on.

I thread the converted brake / muzzle protector all the way back on the barrel to engage all the threads possible and back it right against the front sight block (FSB).  The idea is that you want the threads to take the impact and not the muzzle.

To start the installation, I push the barrel assembly into the trunnion and tap it with a big ball pein hammer.  I keep sighting down the rear sight block (RSB) making sure it is true.  At the point, you can use a rubber mallet or other non-marring mallet to tap the RSB and angle the barrel slightly one way or the other to course correct.  It is really, really important to get the alignment right at the start.  You will not be able to adjust it once you get very far in.  If it turns out you have alignment problem later, I would recommend driving the barrel assembly out and starting over.

To do the actual driving, I use the IR 117 with the brass peening hammer attachment.  I put the brass hammer face right on the converted slant brake and drive it in.  I keep checking the barrel pin hole to make sure I stop just short of the final location and that it is aligned.  If the surfaces are not aligned, I would drive the barrel back out and start over.  In this next photo, you can see I stopped just short of where I need to be.

Now this particular kit was a headspaced Polish WBP kit and I had checked headspace before I removed the barrel.  If I needed to set the headspace, I would start checking it somewhere around here.

At this point, I drive the barrel in the rest of the way by tapping the end with a big ballpein hammer – or any BFH will do 🙂  It really doesn’t take a ton of energy.  You want to tap and test over and over.  Don’t get impatient and try and drive it in all at once or you risk overshooting where you want to be.  If you do overshoot, it’s going to take some time and you need to make that longer barrel backout tool and either use your press or your air tool (I’d use my IR 117) and push it back out just enough to then fine tune the location.

Do not use headspace gauges as barrel stops.  You may know this but just in case you don’t – gauges are precision instruments and you only install them to test the headspace and *not* as a way to stop travel.  I’ve heard of guys doing that and, for a change, I wasn’t one of them 🙂

Assuming you checked and confirmed the headspace before you began, where to stop is easy.  Once the channel is clear and you have one nice continous path from one side of the trunnion to the other it is time to reinstall the pin.

Installing the barrel pin

With I do is start the pin with a big ball pein hammer and then drive it in the rest of the way with an old rivet set that I use just for this purpose.  Years ago I bought a ton of used 0.401 shank rivet sets and rivet tools off eBay for a very reasonable price.  I use one that covers the pin nicely and drive it right in and let me tell you, it goes in fast.  You can stop short and drive it in the test of the way by hand if you want.  I tend to just drive it right into place with the air tool.

By the way, I’ve accumulated a number of rivet tools and bucking bars over the years.  Here’s a quicksnap shot of my toolbox:

That’s it – done.  I hope this helps you out!  In the next post we will go over the unique Beryl optics rail and installing the furniture.

By the way, here are used rivet tools currently on eBay.  Be sure the shank size matches your air hammer or air riveter (all of mine are 0.401″ for example)

Ati Rivet Squeezer Set 33pc At108a

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Rivet Flush Set, 1" Square Offset Head , .401 Std Shank, Appx OAL 7-5/8", Used.

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AIRCRAFT TOOLS * RIVET SET * ASSORTMENT * 1 LOT (16) * .401 SHANK

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6 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 3/32" AN470 5 1/2"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6965

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6 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 3/32" AN470 3 1/4"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6966

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2 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 7/32" AN470 5 1/2" L USA Made D6975

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6 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 1/8" AN470 3 1/2"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6970

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Chicago Pneumatic Desoutter Recoilless 4X Rivet Gun with Rivet Sets CP4450-4

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US Industrial 4X Rivet Gun with 15 Assorted Sets Aircraft Tool

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4 Assorted Flush Rivet Sets .401 Shank 2 1/2"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6977

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Ingersoll-Rand 117K 2,000 Blows-Per-Minute Standard Duty Pnuematic Hammer with 5 Chisel Set (Tools & Home Improvement)

An economical air hammer with a longerpiston stroke, this tool is designed forexhaust work, bolt cutting, and front-endwork. The trigger control and a built-in powerregulator give you full control of the speed and power. Longer stroke piston. Alloyed steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life. Up to 2, 000 blows per minute.

Features: 

  • Longer Stroke Piston
  • Alloy steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life
  • Up to 2,000 blows per minute
  • 5 piece chisel kit

List Price: $69.99 USD
New From: $69.99 USD In Stock
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