Category Archives: AK & Related Rifles

Used to discuss AK-47, AK-74, and related rifles

A Chaos Rail on a FM-AK47-21 Vepr Rocks!

When the government announced they were going to ban the further import of Molot firearms, I jumped and bought one of the Fime FM-AK47-21 side folding AK-47 Veprs.

The rifle was absolutely awesome except for one regard – I really did not like the ribbed RPK handguard. Now this is the handguard on the Russian RPks and the ribs help with cooling and moving the hand away from the surface of the handguard — the design is genuinely thought out … but I do not like the feel. It’s as simple as that.

With that in mind, I started digging on options. On one hand I could make a new polymer set based on a mint RPK handguard set I picked up along the way. After a while, I changed my mind as the time and cost to create the molds didn’t make a lot of business sense as the Veprs weren’t going to be imported and demand would presumably be low and I would not recover the investment.

So, I researched other options and a firm I didn’t know much about kept popping up – Chaos, Inc. They made a well regarded handguard that looked great to me and reports on the feel and quality were very good. An important design point is that it connects like a handguard and doesn’t clamp anything on the barrel to transfer heat. That was a beef I had with the Midwest Industries rail design I tried years ago. It required the installation of a clamp on the barrel.

At any rate, I decided on the Chaos Apollo FM11L Keymod handguard. By the way, Chaos does not list on their website that this FM11L will fit the FM-AK47-21 side folder so I called them. The guy I talked to said they would take a return if it didn’t fit and I didn’t beat it up. I was pretty sure it would fit so I went ahead and ordered it.

The rail arrived about a week later and decided to install it when time permitted. The following is a quick overview of the steps required:

1] Make sure your rifle is unloaded! I can’t stress this enough.

2] Push in the dust cover retainer at the rear and remove the cover.

3] Remove the operating rod and the bolt carrier group.

4] You will need to rotate the gas tube retaining lever to remove the gas tube. Now this thing is on incredibly tight. I thought Zastava had very tight levers but they have nothing on Molot. You will either need non-marring pliers or a polymer or wood punch to swing the lever up clockwise until the gas tube assembly can lift out.

5] On the right side of the lower handguard retainer, you will see a small lever laying parallel with the barrel. It will need to be rotated 180 degrees towards the muzzle and this is another incredibly tight fit. I had to use stout needle nose pliers in order to rotate it. Once rotated, you can slide the handguard retainer forward. You may find you need to tap it a bit with a rubber mallet – I did.

6] Now, you need to remove the gas tube cover and this is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. The cover is a semi-circle and rotates out of the semi-circular shaped retainers. Clamp the forged steel end (not the tubular end or you will crush it) and firmly rotate the cover. You may find it turns easier clockwise or counter-clockwise and either way is fine. Rotate it 180 degrees either way and then you can pull it away from the tube.

7] Next up is to install the Apollo FM11 lower. This is where their engineering prowess really shows. Their rail is two parts so remove the three hex screws from each side and set the upper half to the side for the moment.

8] Now unscrew the bottom screws and slide the internal aluminum part backwards out of the way. This part will actually slide into the handguard retainer and lock the unit into place. This is why there is a slot for the retainer. Look at the fitment of the parts – they thought this out. Be sure to screw in the set screws also to lock things in place.

9] For the next part, you install the lower by putting the rear tab into the front of the receiver just the same as any AK-style handguard. Now the front requires you to get the retainer in the right place to nestle into the lower. Get the angle right and slide the internal aluminum retainer part into the handguard retainer and screw the internal part back together. The angle must be right so if you can’t get that internal insert to slide into place, move the handguard’s front up and down until it does. Then swing the handguard retainer lever back into position – it will be a tight fit so tap it into place with a rubber mallet. It would not take a ton of pressure – if it does, check fitment. Over the years I have read guys put a ton of pressure on the levers and snap them – the pressure required is firm and you should see movement as you tap the lever into place. They key is tapping and not trying to do one big “mongo smash” hit to rotate the lever. Once done, the lower should be absolutely rock solid – mine sure is.

10] I then installed the gas tube. Nothing attaches to the gas tube so you can remove or install it as needed. I then used my rubber mallet to tap the catch lever back into position.

11] I then installed the gas tube cover by lining up the holes and installing the screws.

At this point it is done. I installed a Vortex Sparc II nice and low on the rail. I like the cheekweld when I rotate the cheekpiece into position. It does NOT co-witness with the iron sights but I really didn’t care about that – I can remove the sight real fast if I ever need to.

I really, really like the fit and feel of this rail. My side folder can lock folded. I did not need to change anything to support the folder.

Here is the end result:

I hope this helps you out!


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Videos: Two Good Documentaries on The History of the Israeli Uzi

As part of my research into the iconic Israeli Uzi, I found these two videos that do a very nice job providing background on the political climate driving the need for the Uzi.  These videos also then provide insight into the design and operation of the weapon.  By the way, these days I have signed up for Youtube Red so I can download videos and watch them even when I do not have an Internet connection.

 

 


If you want to learn more about the Uzi, the following book by David Gaboury is exceptional.  I highly recommend it:

The UZI Submachine Gun Examined


By (author): David Gaboury

Although universally recognized, the history of this iconic weapon has gone largely undocumented — until now. Originally designed for the Israeli military by Uziel Gal, the UZI submachine gun has a colorful history that has reached around the globe. Using approximately 1,000 photos, this book examines the history and technical details of all the UZI variations, both military and civilian, from its initial design to the current models. Also included are original factory documents, model-by-model features, part variations, accessories and manuals.
List Price: $49.95 USD
New From: $43.89 USD In Stock

The Best Book on the Israeli Uzi SMG and its Many Variants

I recently wrapped up building a semi-auto Israeli Uzi in 9mm.  At the start, I researched about this iconic submachine gun and guys kept mentioning that I should get the book “The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined” by David Gaboury.  I ordered a copy from Amazon and must say I was very impressed.

Mr. Gaboury does an exceptional job giving the reader the historical context of what was going on in Israel with its fight for independence, the plethora of firearms they were using and then search for a new submachine gun.  Of course, this culminated in the creation and evolution of the Uzi design by Uzi Gal.

From there he covers the evolution of the weapon with the Mini Uzi, the Uzi Carbine, Uzi Pistol/Micro Uzi, Ruger MP9 and the Uzi Pro.  The book was published in 2017 and its coverage is very current.

One thing I did not know was how widespread the adoption of the Uzi was and Mr. Gaboury provides coverage of its use in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, China and other countries.

He then covers a number of other topics in the book that I’ll skip for the sake of brevity.  For me, the last section of the book was very, very helpful where he provides significant detail on the weapon including:

  • Operation, Disassembly and Specifications
  • Parts Identification
  • Magazines
  • Accessories

Being new to Uzis, his coverage of the firing cycle, fire control group and how it all comes together in the grip frame (what some call the “grip stick”) was worth the price of the book all by itself.  For me, it was really the history and this last section the detailing of the operation and assembly that were hugely worthwhile.  I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the iconic Uzi.

 

The UZI Submachine Gun Examined


Although universally recognized, the history of this iconic weapon has gone largely undocumented — until now. Originally designed for the Israeli military by Uziel Gal, the UZI submachine gun has a colorful history that has reached around the globe. Using approximately 1,000 photos, this book examines the history and technical details of all the UZI variations, both military and civilian, from its initial design to the current models. Also included are original factory documents, model-by-model features, part variations, accessories and manuals.
List Price: $49.95 USD
New From: $43.89 USD In Stock

Zastava PAP M70 and Military M70 Buttstocks and Recoil Pads No Longer Match

Hello everyone,

We make a recoil pad for the military Yugo M70, M72 and M76 rifles [click here for the listing]. The original was rubber over a steel pad and was often very beat up when guys bought kits or rifles made from kits.  So, I hunted down pristine original recoil pads and made molds to cast rubber replacements.

Here are the approximate measures for the stock this pad fits on:

  • Screwhole centers are about 3.25″ apart
  • From top inside lip of butt of the stock to bottom inside lip is: 4.20″
  • Top to bottom of the butt outside or overall height is 4.48″
  • Left to right inside lip edge of the butt at the widest point s 1.29″
  • Outside edge left to right at the widest point is 1.63″
  • The lip that the recoil pad sits on all the way around is about 0.17″

Starting in mid-2017 we started getting word from our customers that our military-sized pads were not fitting the new commercial PAP M70 rifles being imported into the US.  It would appear that Zastava has changed the buttstock — presumably to cut cost.  It is smaller and the telltale for consumers is that it has a solid steel stamped butt plate.  The following photo is of an original Yugo M70 military-style recoil pad next to the new commercial PAP steel butt plate:

This next photo just shows an edge view – the white box is just propping them up:

Bottom line is that the stocks are different and our recoil pad will not fit the PAP M70.  I’m hoping to get the word out to reduce confusion.

Please note that at this time, I do not have plans to make a commercial PAP-sized recoil pad as there has not been sufficient demand thus far.

A quick and easy way to snug up a loose flip-up lens cap so it stays on

I like flip-up scope caps and, in general, I have had very good luck with Butler Creek.  Recently, I bought a scope cap for my Hawke air rifle scope’s front objective and the thing wasn’t tight enough to stay on when I would flip it up.  There’s a very simple way to fix a loose cap that I want to share.

This isn’t a magical fix – you do want a cap to be real close to the size you need.  In my case the cap was just a hair too big.  For the “fix”, remove the objective and smear a bit of black silicone RTV glue (Black Goop works too) around the inside of the cap and let the glue fully cure with the cap off the scopeDO NOT STICK IT ON THE SCOPE WHILE WET!  You are using the glue to add mass and fill the space – you do not want to glue your scope on.  I let my dry overnight and the problem is always fixed.

Here is the lens cap and I used black Goop on this one and let it dry & cure all the way before I reinstalled it.  It’s nice and snug now.

Here’s the finished product on my Galadius:

I hope this helps you out.  I prefer black just for looks but you could use any color of rubbery cement you have – just keep it inside the cap out of sight.  What I use more than anything is Permatex Black RTV just because I keep in stock for repairs.

 


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The Custom Yugo M72 Carbine and Vepr FM-AK47-21 Meet

Okay, I had them both out to shoot photos so I had to take some side by side photos.  In case you want to read the blog posts about each rifle, click here for the Yugo M72 Carbine or here for the Vepr FM-AK47-21.


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Custom Built Yugo M72B1 Carbine By Two Rivers Arms

I have always liked Yugo AK rifles.  One of my favorites is the M72B1 RPK.  It’s a big rifle and really overkill for me with the long barrel and bipod.  For quite some time I wanted to either build or buy a carbine length RPK.  I was talking to Tim at Two Rivers Arms one day and he said he could absolutely make one and custom fabricate a side rail to boot.  That was just what I wanted so I sent him my parts and then waited my turn in the build line as those guys are so busy.  After a few months Tim called and said it was ready and he shipped it to my FFL, Scott Igert at Modern Antique Firearms in the Fall of 2015.

Seriously, this rifle shoots like a dream but I didn’t get a chance to take some decent photos until now.  The most telling difference is that this is a 16″ cut down Green Mountain barrel vs. the normal 21.3″.  It has a 1:9.5″ twist and not chrome lined – I’m going to keep it clean and will not be burning through tons of mag dumps so I wasn’t really worried about the chrome.

Here’s a run down of the parts:

  • Yugo M72B1 kit from Apex with a new Green Mountain barrel [cut down]
  • Nodak Spud NDS-9 receiver
  • Magpul Zhukov-S Folding Buttstock with 3/4″ riser
  • Ronin’s Grips M72 handguard set 
  • Ronin’s Grips ARM-9 Grip
  • Tapco G2 FCG
  • Falcon Arms replacement spring set
  • RSA FCG retainer plate (I hate the shepherd hooks)
  • Real Yugo BHO Magazine and you’ll also see it with a Romanian 75 round back-loading drum.
  • RS!Regulate scope mount system – 303 Base and Picatinny rail top
  • Low profile UTG rings
  • Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x scope (it’s awesome on this rifle)
  • Severe-Duty M11 Compensator – takes recoil almost to zero and makes your hair move 🙂

The result is the following rifle that shoots about 1/2″ at 50 yards using Golden Tiger FMJ ammo.

 


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Precision Armament Severe Duty Compensator:  http://precisionarmament.com/product/m4-72-ak-47-compensator/

Magpul Zhukov-S Stock:  https://www.magpul.com/products/zhukov-s-stock-yugo

Falcon Arms Springs:  http://www.falconarms.com/ak47/ak-spring-kit.html

 


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Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4×24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope – V-Brite Illuminated Reticle (MOA)


Features: VIP unconditional Lifetime Warranty, 30 mm diameter, Increases light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces

With long eye relief, a fast-focus eyepiece, fully multi-coated lenses and resettable MOA turrets, there’s no compromising on the CrossFire II. Clear, tough and bright, this riflescope hands other value-priced riflescopes their hat. The hard anodized single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube is Nitrogen Purged and o-ring sealed for waterproof/fogproof performance.
List Price: $249.00 USD
New From: $240.00 USD In Stock

Finally got a Russian Vepr 7.62x39mm Side Folder – The FM-AK47-21

Well, the when I heard the Treasury Department blocked further importation of Veprs, I jumped and bought the FM-AK47-21 that FIME imported.  I’ve owned a number of Molot Veprs over the years so I knew I would be getting a quality rifle.  I’d not bought one earlier because I didn’t see the need to rush – then the Treasury blocked them and that caused me to pull the trigger.  So, I rushed and ordered one from Classic Firearms and had it delivered to my FFL, Scott Igert of Modern Antique Firearms.  Here’s what showed up:

It’s one solid rifle.  As usual, Molot did a great job – fitment is excellent, heavy 1.5mm RPK receiver, heavy barrel, RPK recoil spring guide rod, pretty good trigger and cool folding stock.  Things I don’t like – the folder hinge is going to make installing an optic rail interesting, the grip is way too small for my hands (Gee, I know a guy who makes grips that will fit).  I’m also not a huge fan of the ribbed RPK handguard.  I get that it would help with insulation on a full-auto RPK but I find the ribs annoying.  I may make a polymer version of the Russian wood originals – it’s something I’ll need to think about.

It shipped with a tiny 5 round magazine but at least it is a double stack.  I’ll replace it with normal AK mags.  I bought a bunch of rock solid Romanian steel mags years ago and that’s my go-to magazine for reliability and looks.  I used a Romy for the photos in this post.

So, I decided to go ahead and make some changes right up front.  I wanted a good muzzle brake so I reached out to Justin McMillion at JMac Customs.  We talked about my desire for a good brake and he recommended his RRD-4C which comes with the required 14mm x 1mm left hand thread.  He shipped fast and the quality of the machining and finish are excellent.  I like the way the porting is done.  With the top opened up, the gasses will vent up pushing the barrel down.

To install it, I pushed the spring loaded detent to release the muzzle nut and then turned it clock wise for removal – AKs are reverse threaded so you do the opposite to remove or install them.  I then threaded the RRD-4C on and was done in just a few minutes.

 

Next, I cast, drilled and finished a black Molot Generation II grip for the rifle.  I thought about using a Bulgarian ARM-9 but decided a Russian designed grip made more sense on a Russian gun – or at least it made sense to me.  I may yet go to the ARM-9 but the Molot Gen II feels pretty good.  To install it, I then removed the dust cover (you will need to hold the grip nut in place later), took out the recoil spring assembly, unscrewed the original grip and removed it.  I then held the grip nut in place with one hand and installed the Molot Gen II using one of my heavy duty grip screws (they have a bigger head and are an alloy hardened to 12.9) to secure the grip.

So here is the rifle at this point.  I’ll decide about the optics later.  I may well go with a RS!Regulate mount and Vortex Strike Eagle but that is a project for a later date.


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Review: TEKTON Gunsmithing 18-Piece Punch Set #66564 is Pretty Nice

I have a lot of fun experimenting with stuff.  I tend to need punches fairly regularly and what I had was a mishmash of sizes and models from Craftsman, Astro, Harbor Freight and who knows what else.  I was working the other day and had stuff laying everywhere and thought to myself that there must be a more organized approach plus some of my punches were looking pretty abused (I’ve bent the crap out of some of the real small ones trying to start pins) so I started digging on Amazon.  Interestingly enough, TEKTON makes an 18-piece gunsmith punch set that gets very good reviews on Amazon – 4.6 stars with 181 reviews is pretty remarkable.  So, I ordered it and was pleasantly surprised at what arrived – it was very well done.

 

The set was well packed and includes a walnut bench block that is laser etched with what punch is to go in what hole.  Now for a slob like me, that is a God-send.

The punches have a nice heft, feel good, are well finished and have worked fine so far.  TEKTON claims they are high carbon heat treated steel and seem to be holding up just fine.

The set includes the following punches:

  • (7) pin punches: 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 5/32, 3/16, 7/32, 1/4 inch
  • (8) roll pin punches: 1/16, 5/64, 3/32, 1/8, 5/32, 3/16, 7/32, 1/4 inch
  • (2) solid punches: 1/16, 3/32 inch
  • (1) center punch: 5/16 inch

I have it sitting to the side of my bench and now I can move the whole set right to where I need it vs. digging for whatever punch I need.

So if you are shopping for punches with a stand, take a look at this set.  It is a great deal when you look at the cost relative to the quality you get.


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