Category Archives: AK & Related Rifles

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

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.

By (author): Frank Iannamico

List Price: $69.95 USD
New From: $69.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $69.95 USD In Stock

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:

 


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

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight is arguably one of the best NEW and affordable dots on the market. Vortex spares no expense on their optics. The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight is no different. Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight provides a functionality and durability that is top-of-the-line. With its’ lightweight and ultra-compact design and unlimited eye-relief, the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight features an amazing 2-MOA easy acquisition dot and 11 levels of brightness. The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight will not disappoint with its’ rapid engagement of targets while out in the great outdoors. Should you be wanting to buy a top of the line red dot sight that won’t eradicate your bank account, choose the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight.

Features:

  • The super-light, ultracompact, insanely-fast-on-target Crossfire Red Dot was designed for close-range and general shooting.
  • The daylight-bright, 2-MOA dot, is easy to acquire and promotes rapid engagement of targets, yet is fine enough to more precisely engage targets at distance. 11 intensity levels of brightness let shooters cater the dot intensity to the situation at hand.
  • Skeletonized mount offers two height options (Low and Lower 1/3 Co-Witness) – lending its functionality to rifles, shotguns, and pistols.
  • Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission during low light situations. Unlimited eye relief makes for quick target acquisition.
  • A shockproof aluminum body displays extreme durability. Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Crossfire Red Dot delivers waterproof performance.

List Price: $149.00 USD
New From: $149.00 USD In Stock

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)

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

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)

6-Rivet sets,Pexto,Whitney

$22.72 (10 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Aug-19-2018 15:16:33 PDT
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2 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 7/32" AN470 5 1/2" L USA Made D6975

$13.85
End Date: Wednesday Aug-29-2018 16:34:07 PDT
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Rivet Flush Set, 1" Square Offset Head , .401 Std Shank, Appx OAL 7-5/8", Used.

$8.50
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3 Assorted Flush Rivet Sets .401 Shank 7 1/2" L USA Made D6978

$22.85
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Chicago Pneumatic Desoutter Recoilless 4X Rivet Gun with Rivet Sets CP4450-4

$159.00
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ATS 4X Rivet Gun with 10 Assorted Sets Aircraft Tool in box

$125.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Wednesday Aug-22-2018 18:29:30 PDT
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7 Assorted Rivet Sets .401 Shank 3/16" AN470 5 1/2"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6974

$23.85
End Date: Wednesday Aug-29-2018 16:34:05 PDT
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Atlas Copco Recoilless 4X Rivet Gun Aircraft Tool Set RRH-06P

$85.00
End Date: Monday Sep-17-2018 15:12:35 PDT
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4 Assorted Flush Rivet Sets .401 Shank 2 1/2"-7 1/2" L USA Made D6977

$22.85
End Date: Wednesday Aug-29-2018 16:34:11 PDT
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USATCO 4X Rivet Gun with Bucking Bars and C-Set Aircraft Tool

$125.00
End Date: Saturday Aug-25-2018 18:51:30 PDT
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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)

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

Assembling a Beryl-ish AK From a WBP Kit – Part 5 – Riveting In The Trunnions

As I mentioned in an earlier post, riveting the trunnions to the sheet metal receiver is the proven method. As such, I’ll use rivets in this build but there is a fun thing to point out – there are tons and tons of ways to do the rivets. I’ve known guys who:

  • Would fashion some type of bucking bar and hammer the rivets directly not really caring what they looked like
  • Modified hand punches by cutting then down and drilling or milling an inverted dome into the end to create their own rivet sets for use with a hammer
  • Modified the jaws of 24″ Harbor Freight bolt cutters to make rivet squishers
  • Bought pneumatic rivet squishers like they use in the aerospace industry
  • Purchased purpose built rivet tools from makers such as AK-Builder

I got into building rather late in the game in 2006. Fortunately for me, guys had worked out the building methods so I could learn from others. I also decided to buy the AK-Builder rivet jig that I still use today. It works great for setting the front and rear trunnion rivets. I do plan on trying the bolt cutter method some day and will just buy one of the pre-built jaw sets for the front trunnion rivets. I’m curious mainly for reducing the set up time.

Click here to go to the AK-Builder jig page.

Rivet Selection

The AKMs are assembled using soft steel rivets that deform under pressure. No heat is needed. The sizes can vary depending on the type of build you are doing. The easiest way to get the rivets of the right type, size and length is to buy them from AK-Builder.com. They take all the guess work out of it and it makes for an easy way to go plus they give you a discount if you bought their jig. Hint: Buy two packages for a given build. For an AKM, you have 13 rivets and you can readily sort out what goes where:

  • The shortest rivet goes to the rear for the trigger guard strap. This makes sense because you are just riveting two pieces of sheet metal together.
  • You will then notice 10 rivets of the same size but two will be different – they will be what are called “swell neck” rivets and are intended for the rear lower front trunnion rivet positions that are countersunk. Four of the rivets that are flat under the dome will be used for the front trigger guard and four will be used for the foreward two positions on each side of the front trunnion.
  • The last two are the longest and thickest – they go to the rear trunnion.

The following photo shows the two types of rivets you will use on the front trunnion. The top is the swell neck rivet that is used for the rear two countersunk holes on the front trunnon. The bottom one is a normal rivet and is what is used for the four front rivets to secure the selector stop and front trigger guard strap to the receiver as well as for front-most four (two on each side) rivets:

This next photo shows one of the swell neck rivets next to the counter sunk hole it will go in. They require a couple of extra steps to install in terms of crushing the receiver material into the recessed area first before setting the rivet and I’ll explain your options to do that later:

Last comment, you can buy rivets in bulk if you want to. McMaster has some and firms like Hanson Rivet have a huge variety. You basically need to know the dome type and diameter. You get rivets longer than you need and trim them using the formula that the rivet must stick out 1.5 x diameter to form properly. If it is too long you will have problems also. So, you measure the depth you need and then add that to the overall length.

AK-Builder now also sells their rivets in bulk if you are interested – click here.

If you were building from a receiver flat or a tube without a center support, you could consider that as a rivet too but you need to buy that separate as it usually comes with the center support tube it passes through as a set.

This post will be mainly me giving you an overview of what to do and tips based on my experience. AK-Builder has a nice set of instructions you can review by clicking here.

Setting the Front Rivets

In a previous post, I explained how I start with the trigger guard. Next up then is to install the front trunnion rivets.

The AK-Builder rivet jig basically uses an arm to transfer downward force from the press to the rivet to squish it. The domed part of the rivet is held by a small cup and two pieces of thick high density rubber help you stabilize the receiver assembly during the operation. In the next photo you can see the parts plus that I have a 5/32″ drill to help keep everything aligned during squishing.

Now for some tips:

  1. Make sure the arm is as short as you can make it. The longer it is, the more likely it will bend. Note AK-Builder sells replacement arms and I am on #3.
  2. Make sure the little set screw anvil is out far enough to squish the rivet down far enough. These will deform over time and replacements are available from AK-Builder – there are replacement parts for everything from them except for the main body which is built like a tank anyways.
  3. Use the little blue rubber blocks to adequately support the reciever. You want the arm to push down straight. The domed rivet to be sitting squarely in the above cup and to be pushing straight down on the rivet. The little blocks can help support stuff so you can focus on alignment.
  4. When you are positioning the trunnion, make sure the arm isn’t going to press on part of the trunnion.
  5. If you have an air-over hydraulic press, only use the air to run the ram down to the jig. You will not hear a difference before stuff bends. By hand, it is nice and slow and you have time to hear, feel and adjust. I turned an arm into a deformed banana right after I got my air-over-hydraulic jack/bottle. They are a great time saver but know when to switch to the hand pump for the fine work.
  6. It does not take a ton of force to squish a rivet. If your rivet is not squishing make sure the arm is not sitting on part of the trunnion, that the set screw is down far enough and that the bottle’s release valve isn’t partly open.
  7. The last two rivets I do are the countersunk rear lower rivets on the front trunnion. For the countersunk holes that use the swell neck rivet, you can either use the connical stubby press tool from AK-Builder after drilling an 1/8″ starter hole and then 5/32″ as a final step to prepare for the rivet. Important: The little tool is sitting on the base of the jig and you are pushing the receiver down on it. I’m not a fan of this because I can’t see what is going on. Your second option is to do what I do – drill the 5/32″ hole, use a 1/4″ ball bearing and a C-Clamp (on the same side reaching in through the mag well) to push the receiver material into the countersink. This really adds strength and I would recommend you take the time to do this. After you have squished the material in, drill with the 5/32″ bit again to clean up any material blocking the hole.
  8. Last tip – when you are doing the counter sunk holes, do not use the long rear punch – that is just for the rear. The reason for this is that the rear trunnion is solid and you can safely do that. However, with the front trunnion – the counter sunk rivet holes are not connected by solid steel and, instead, the mag well is there. You need to pick a method wherein the trunnion is supported or you risk either bending or breaking the rear “ear” of the trunnion.

Note – you will only see replacement parts for your jig if you bought it direct from AK-Builder and are logged in. I bought mine ages ago and Lonnie had to look up my order and manually turn on the part of the website for me to order parts so just FYI.

The following photo shows me reaching in with the arm and squishing a rivet – the goal height is to squish the rivet body low enough that you can press the barrel back in and it not hit a rivet:

If all goes well, your rivets will look like the following or even better:

I am happy with rivets where the dome is firmly against the receiver. If I mess up, I will drill out the rivet and do it again. Note – The center support rivet was done by Childers and I cleaned that up a bit with my rear rivet set up of the AK-Builder jig.

Setting The Rear Rivets

Next up is to squish the rear rivets. This requires more careful positioning and also support. I have messed up a fair number of rear rivets over the years due to one of those things being wrong. The first thing to do is to remove the arm and install the rear trunnion rivet “bridge”. You will still use the little cup to cradle the rivet head and the rubber strips to help with positioning.

In this next photo you can see the jig set up for the rear rivet. In hindsight, I should not have taken this example photo yet because you first need to use the countersink tool at the bottom to press the receiver material into all four holes and then chase the holes with the drill press to clear any receiver material out of the way before you can install the rivet.

Here is an important tip, after you press the receiver material in, have cleaned up the holes and are getting ready to do a rivet, do some careful alignment and work holding. The piece of metal with a U-shaped cut out goes between the large screw body in the middle and the receiver. Bring that main screw down by hand because you next use the alignment tool – a punch with a hole in the middle to make sure the rivet forming tool (the one with a recessed dome in it) will come down square on the tool. Once it is aligned, use a wrench to bring the main body of the jig firmly down on that metal with the U-shaped slot and make sure nothing moves. Double-check it again with the alignment tool and ensure the rivet head is still squarely in the cup. In my experience you need to use a wrench to bring the body down – it requires more than being hand tight but not so much that you are deforming stuff. The words to think of are “securely aligned”.

Now, use the punch / rivet set with the inverted dome to form the rivet head as you apply pressure from the press. When the tool gets even with the surface of the receiver, stop. If you keep going you will mar the receiver and leave some portion of a telltale dent around the receiver.

Done!

ī

And with that, you should be done and ready to reinstall the barrel.


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.


 


See larger image

Additional Images:

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.

By (author): Frank Iannamico

List Price: $69.95 USD
New From: $69.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $69.95 USD In Stock

Assembling a Beryl-ish AK From a WBP Kit – Part 4 – Drilling the Front and Rear Trunnion Rivet Holes

In the previous post I removed the front trunnion from the barrel assembly and was then ready to install the front and rear trunnion into the receiver that I had already riveted the trigger guard on. This post will focus on drilling the rivet holes needed for the front and rear trunnions.

Front Trunnion Rivet Hole Drilling

The AK-Builder Trunnion Rivet Hole Drilling Fixture makes locating of holes much easier than the methods I used when I first started. I mainly used the Post-It method where you would rub a Post-It note over the holes and then stick the note on the trunnion as a rough guide as to where to center punch and start drilling. Some guys also make little locator tooks out of spring steel but I never tried one of those.

This jig is awesome. There is one very, very important thing you must do when using this jig – make sure you drill press table, column and the jig itself are secure. If the work can shift while you are sliding the receiver on or off, you are hosed and will drill a hole ut of position. I can’t stress this enough.

The jig is on an X-Y table on my drill press. An X-Y table gives you crank knobs like you have on a milling machine and allows for precise drilling. I use it all the time for drilling grips and other items. Basically you secure your item and then use the X-Y table and a spotting bit or whatever to get you right where you need to be. I wrote a post a while back about the table if you are interested. An X-Y table is not mandatory but boy does it help if you do a ton of drilling.  Note, when you buy the table it will not come with any kind of fixture/clamp set. You will need to buy one that matches the size of the T Slots of the table you get.

If you look at the next photo, you will see a red mandrel sized for AKM-type trunnions. You will slide the trunnion on to that all the way and turn the knob in the back to expand the mandrel and secure everything in place.

So you basically install the trunnion, locate the hole with your press, slide the receiver on and then run the drill down and make a hole in the same place. It’s that easy and that reliable as long as everything is secure. Again, that is the key part here.

I should point out that I prefer to use a center 135 degree cobalt drill bits and cutting oil when I do drill the holes.

Once I have all of the front rivet holes drilled, I move on to the back trunnion.

Rear Trunnion Installation

The rear trunnion is held in place by the other side of the fixture and the tab fits int the part of the rear trunnion where the operating spring guide would normally sit.

Again, make sure everything is secure or your hole locations will be messed up.

With that, it is now time to proceed to riveting in the next post.

 


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Grizzly G8750 Compound Slide Table (Tools & Home Improvement)

6-Inch x 18 1/2-Inch compound slide table features 12-Inch of longitudinal travel and 7-1/2-Inch of traverse travel adjustable gibes dovetailed ways dependable acme screw venire scales and 8/8-Inch t-slots. 5-Inch overall height. weighs 68 lbs.

Features:

  • 6-Inch x 18 1/2-Inch compound slide table features 12-Inch of longitudinal travel
  • 5-Inch overall height
  • Weighs 68 lbs

List Price: $159.95 USD
New From: $199.94 USD In Stock

Assembling a Beryl-ish AK From a WBP Kit – Part 3 – Kit Inspection and Removing the Front Trunnion

The next step after installing the trigger guard assembly was to rivet the front and rear trunnion in place. The modern Kalashnikov design uses a stamped sheet metal receiver with steel inserts at the ends known as “trunnions”. The sheet metal receiver is really holding the components in alignment vs. providing the strength necessary for the chambering and the rear butt stock.

Historically these were forged and many makers like to point out that these parts still are. For example, the Polish maker WBP likes to point out they use forged trunnions. Some makers are using cast trunnions and the quality can differ. When done right, cast parts can be plenty strong … emphasis on when done right.

The following photo is of the WBP front trunnion.

The following photo is of the unique rear trunnion that is designed for the optic rail to lock on to the post you see:

Rivets and Countersinks

The trunnions are held in place by steel rivets. The front rivets are about 5/32″ and the rear is about 3/16″. You’ll want to measure your holes or confirm with your maker what to use. I use AK-builder rivets mostly now and am happy with them. Note that there are many, many different types of rivets in terms of materials used, width, and length. AK-builder makes it easy – if you are going to build an AKM kit then get one or two packets of AKM rivets – he has removed the guess work by putting one of each in the bag. A tip I’d give you is to always have one or two spare bags just in case you lose a rivet or need to redo one.

Before I go further, rivets are the most proven method of assembly for high-strength reliable applications involving automatic fire and military use. For low volume semi-auto use you can also do weld builds. Screw builds are an option but they do risk coming loose and AK guys will honestly give you a hard time when they see the screw heads – I know this first hand 🙂 My recommendation is to go the proven way and use rivets.

On the WBP kit, the front trunnion that holds the barrel is a fairly generic AKM-type forged trunnion. This means it slides into the front of the receiver and the top of the receiver walls form a lip that slide into the recessed grooves in the trunnion. There are two front rivets on each side and a third lower rivet on each rear side that is countersunk.

Now countersunk rivets are actually pretty cool but not everyone understands why. When you look at the trunnion, the rear two rivets also have countersinks. When you install the rear rivets, you actually press receiver material into the countersink before you drill your final holes and install the countersunk rivets. This serves to lock the trunnion into place and would reduce the odds of the trunnion shooting loose over time under heavy military use.

The following photo shows a regular front trunnion rivet with a flat area under the domed part (the bottom rivvet) and a countersunk front trunnion rivet that is tapered under the dome at the top of the photo:

Headspace the Kit Before Proceeeding

Back in the old days we had to remove the parts off the demilled kits and that was a chore. Now with these businesses creating ready-to-build kits, you may just have to press off the front trunnion. I’m really constrained my time so I buy the receiver pre-made by Childer’s and the kits with completed headspaced barrel assemblies.

As the old saying goes, “trust but verify”. In theory a kit that claims to be headspaced better be. Before I did anything else, I got out my Manson Reamer GO and NO-GO gauges, put the barrel assembly in my wood vise and tested the headspace. It passed with flying colors closing on GO, meaning it was not too-tight and not closing on NO-GO, which would have indicated the chamer was cut too long.

In the next photo, you can see the bolt assembly and the two gauges.

It closed on GO:

It did not close on NO-GO

Confirm the Block Alignment

The next quality control check I would recommend is to verify that the barrel “blocks” all align. In other words that the front sight block, gas block and rear sight block all line up properly. Look down the rear trunnion and make sure they all line up properly. If they do not, you have two options. First, if you bought an assembled barrel, I would contact the vendor and arrange either a return or an exchange. They messed up is the bottom line. The second option is to straighten the problem block(s) yourself by driving out the pins from each, correcting the problem and either drilling new holes or using oversize pins. The reason you would go with oversize is if the newly drilled holes would result in a loose fit.

Not only do I want straight blocks for aesthetics but also because I “sight” down the ears of the front trunnion and center the rear sign block (RSB) between the ears when I re-install the barrel – in my case with my IR air hammer.

Press Out the Barrel Pin and the Barrel From The Front Trunnion

So the next step was to knock out the partially installed barrel pin. I used a hammer, one of my gunsmith punches and a block. Note in the next photo how I am ensuring the who barrel assembly has good support before I hammer.

I have also done the above with the trunnion in a vise with brass jaws to prevent marring and used an air hammer with a drift punch in it. I didn’t bother with the air hammer because whomever installed the pin after headspacing the barrel had not inserted it fully. My bet, and I was right, was that it would not take much force to knock the pin out.

You have at least three options to remove the trunnion and all will work. All of the above will work and it really comes down to what tools you have and what you are comfortable with.

Option One: Press the barrel off the trunnion

To press the barrel off, I would recommend you have at least a 12 ton press. Many guys use Harbor Freight presses and buy them when they go on sale. Basically you either buy a barrel removal jig from some like AK-Builder or you can simply make one from a 1/2″ bolt, a 1/2″ brass nut and a steel backing nut. [Click here for the blog post where I explain how to make a barrel back out tool.

All you need to do is to dangle the barrel downwards and support the front sides of the trunnion with steel blocks. Insert the barrel back out tool, and then apply pressure which will drive the barrel out of the supported trunnion. Be sure to flip the rear sight leaf out of the way.

Ensure there is a cushion under the barrel just in case it drops out and you aren’t holding it. I put a box underneat with old shipping materials for example. Also, make sure that the barrel back out tool is sitting only on the barrel and not resting on something else in the trunnion or you may mess something up accidentally.

One thing to bear in mind – this should not take tons and tons of pressure. Guys have cracked their front trunnions by thinking the answer was to apply more and more force. If the barrel doesn’t start moving, make sure the back out tool is not resting on a part of the trunnion by mistake. If it still will not move, then hit the side of the press with a mallet so the shock causes the barrel to break free. Note – this also applies to barrel pins but the pins do take more force to start on old kits. This will be a topic for another day.

Option Two: Use an Air Hammer or Air Riveter to Drive Out the Barrel

This is the actual method I used for this rifle. Being a new barrel, I did not expect a big fight to get the barrel and trunnion to separate. I wrote this up in more detail in another post – click here to read it.

Option 3: Use a Big Hammer

This is very similar to the previous option but a big “fricken” hammer (BFH) is used to hit the barrel back out tool which then drives out the barrel. I don’t care much for this option.

Now, of the three, using an air-hammer or air-riveter is my preferred method. I have talked to guys that have used other methods such as making contraptions out of all-thread rods to press out and install barrels and various types of gear pullers. I suppose you are only limited by your imagination.

So at this point we have confirmed the head space and removed the front trunnion. We’re ready for the next step which is to install the trunnions in the new receiver. That will be our next blog post.

 


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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
Used from: $65.23 USD In Stock

Assembling a Beryl-ish AK From a WBP Kit – Part 2 – The Trigger Guard

The first thing I like to do when building is to install the trigger guard assembly. In this particular case I had paid extra for an extended paddle mag from a

Arms of America (AoA) and I would not do it again to be completely honest. I’m very familiar and comfortable with the standard AK controls and not only did I find the extended magazine release awkward but it would not fit into my ak-builder jig so I wound up having to trim it off anyways.

As you can see in this next photo, the paddle hits the front of the ak-builder jig and will not allow the trigger assembly to sit properly. Sure, I could have taken the trigger guard assembly apart and done the frame first but that defeated the purpose of it already being assembled so I simply sanded down the magazine release paddle using the rivet jig as a gauge. Once it fit in, I was good to go. I just did a little bit of cleanup sanding to make everything level and smooth. It was still a little bit bigger than normal but that was fine by me.

One thing you’ll notice in this next photo is that I have the selector stop plate and rivets already in place in The Jig. It is way easier to get them set and then put the receiver down on top of everything then to try and put the rivets in one at a time with the receiver ID place. Be very careful to orient the selector plate with the stop on the correct side. Years ago I did one backwards and it taught me a lesson.

In the above photo you’ll notice a small square plate just above the trigger guard jig and the block with the u-shaped cut out just to the right of the jig and just touching the receiver. Those are what you will use to squish down the rivets.

I use a big H frame hydraulic press to do a lot of my rivet work. I have also used rivet sets and bucking bars for this as well. But for this step I did use the press and my ak-builder jig .Of course, I did not take a photo of this step and I don’t know why 🙂

If you buy a hydraulic press to build AK rifles, I would recommend at least getting a 12 ton unit. I have a 20 ton unit and it works great.

In the below photo you can see two of the four forward rivet sticking up. The square plate goes on that and then you use the bar to apply the pressure from the ram of the press. Keep checking things carefully. It doesn’t take a great deal of pressure to squish the rivets down and you’re looking for them to be flat.

When you get done, the trigger guard will be secured against the receiver, the inside rivets will be flat and the outside rivets will have nice round domes. I am jumping ahead of bit but with the below photo but you can see some of the squished rivets slightly.

And here are the domes that were protected by the dimples cut in the jig.

So that is it for the trigger guard. Next up are the trunnions.

 


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Craftsman 9-38074 Hammer Set, 5-Piece (Tools & Home Improvement)

A great set of multi-purpose hammers for all jobs. Includes dual Plastic Tip Hammer with 12 ounce steel core head and 12-1/2-Inch hickory handle. Feature one hard and one soft tip to prevent damage to striking surface.

Features:

  • Ball peen and tack hammer
  • Hickory handle
  • 5 piece
  • 8.5 pounds
  • Dual Plastic Tip Hammer with 12 ounce steel core head

List Price: 0
New From: $89.86 USD In Stock

Assembling a Beryl-ish AK From a WBP Kit – Part 1

It’s been a couple of years since I last had time to build an AK and definitely felt the need to catch up. Contrary to what some may think, the majority of guys who like building guns aren’t trying to bypass laws – they genuinely enjoy it. Think of it as being similar to building a model but this one can go “bang” 🙂

I think I got bit by the AK builder bug in 2006 after reading an article in Shotgun News by Steven Matthews about building AKs. The rest, as they say, is history. At the time, you could buy a kit for $50 if you shopped around then after the barrel ban went into effect, the prices just went up and up. Now, with the advent of US and foreign barrels plus businesses that are selling kits with headspaced barrel assemblies, prices are relatively affordable. They are still far higher than years ago, but you can build your own entry level AK for about $500 and then the prices just go up and up.

At this point I have to answer the question “Why do it when you can buy a complete AK rifle for the same amount or less?” In short, you get to control as much of the quality as you want is the answer. Like anything, someone can always figure out how to make an AK cheaper but that doesn’t mean better. Frankly, some of the US-made AKs are total pieces of shit if you will pardon my French and complete honesty. The internet abounds with stories of busted US made parts and hack assembly jobs. Really, the only AKs I would recommend are going to come from custom or semi-custom shops like Two Rivers Arms, Jim Fuller’s Rifle Dynamics, Jim Roberts, Krebs and so forth.

Certainly there are good foreign made AKs but even they can have quality control moments. Zastava can make excellent AKs if they choose to is one example. Russian Molots are my all time favorite but they are banned from further import though there seems to be a ton of them still for sale and prices haven’t gone up much. Bulgarian AKs can be good and that is one reason K-Var can charge what they do. One country with a long AK history that not all American’s know about is Poland. It would be cool if they start selling more models into the US- market but at least Arms of America is bringing in a wide variety of kits right now.

So that brings me full circle. Why do I want to build vs. buy? Because I like building them and I can make an AK do just about anything I want it to at this point. I’ve done rivet, screw and weld builds. I’ve built Romanian, Hungarian, Polish and Yugoslavian AKs and RPKs. I’ve done traditional looking builds and over-the-top “tacticool mall ninja this thing is way too heavy” builds. Seriously, I kind of went nuts with a Hungarian AMD-65 about 10 years ago and put on a quad rail with a red dot, laser, light vertical fore grip and bipod. The thing was so heavy that it literally taught me that just because you can add something on does not mean you should – it takes time and energy to bring something that heavy up into position and also to stop it once on target.

I’m not saying I know everything. I’m just saying I know my way around the AK platform well enough to build what I want. The hardest thing for me is finding the time between my day job, family and Ronin’s Grips. So, an interesting opportunity presented itself because I had Polish Beryl furniture, Childers Guns sells Polish receivers and Arms of America (AoA) had a cool kit for sale. It was a WBP 7.62×39 kit with a Polish chrome-lined Cold Hammer Forged (CHF) barrel that is arguably, and it will start arguments, one of the best AKM-style barrels you can buy right now. The kit included a solid-steel Bery-style optics rail that goes over the dust cover and for about $670. This appealed to me because I already owned the Beryl handguards, was getting ready to release our version of the modern Beryl grip and, separately, AofA was selling a collapsing Beryl stock that is a unique looking beast for sure.

So, I got the wheels in motion and ordered the kit stock plus some translucent WBP mags from AoA, a RRD-4C brake from JMac customs, an ALG trigger and a Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. I ordered a completed 100% receiver from Childers Guns and had it sent to my FFL and good friend, Scott Igert, of Modern Antique Firearms.

Once it all arrived, it was time to start.

 


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.


 

Craftsman 9-38074 Hammer Set, 5-Piece (Tools & Home Improvement)

A great set of multi-purpose hammers for all jobs. Includes dual Plastic Tip Hammer with 12 ounce steel core head and 12-1/2-Inch hickory handle. Feature one hard and one soft tip to prevent damage to striking surface.

Features:

  • Ball peen and tack hammer
  • Hickory handle
  • 5 piece
  • 8.5 pounds
  • Dual Plastic Tip Hammer with 12 ounce steel core head

List Price: 0
New From: $89.86 USD In Stock

M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer on an M8 Carriage in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary

One of the things I wanted to do for a long time is start taking photos of war memorials and the hardware that is often there. In the Battle Creek, MI, Memorial cemetery is this M1A1 75mm pack howitzer with an M8 carriage.

My dad always told me was a pack howitzer and I never really ask him what that meant other than him telling me it was mobile. In Reading, it is interesting because it was to be carried by 7 mules if necessary as well as dropped out of airplanes via 9 parachute loads or whatever the case may be. In short, it would break down into component parts and could be packed somewhere. At 1,436 pounds, it weighed a fair amount when assembled.

As you can see in the next photo of the howitzer’s breach area, it is an M1A1 made by General Electric in 1943. 2,592 pack howitzers were made that year. I find it interesting that they designated that it could be used with the M2 and M3 vehicle mounts as well as in the pack configuration.

The M1A1 had a modified breach block and breach ring.

M8 Carriage

The M8 carriage configuration gave it pneumatic rubber tires as opposed to the original wood spoke with metal rim wheels.

There are welds all over the unit to demil it

The above photo is of the Hannifin Manufacturing plaque on the carriage. You can see the welds they did – they went to great lengths to make it inert.

Here are some photos of the muzzle end – the rifling is still there.

Here are a few more photos:

I was pleased to see it was still in fairly good shape. The howitzer is up on metal blocks so the tires aren’t bearing the load. The flag, Old Glory monument and the howitzer make for a nice combination to reflect.


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The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater (Paperback)

The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

— ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

~From the author of ‘The Things Our Fathers Saw’ World War II eyewitness history series~
How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw.

— ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, ‘That’s a Jap plane, Jesus!’ It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor

At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. 

— ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public.

— ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

— ‘I hope you’ll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you’ll never have to do it.’ ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer

This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

— ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the white from an Australian bed sheet. When I came out of the barracks and saw those beautiful colors for the first time, I felt like crying!’~Joe Minder, U.S. Army POW, Japan,1945

As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

Featuring over a dozen custom maps and never-before published veteran portraits. Extended notes and website.


By (author): Mr. Matthew A. Rozell

List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $15.42 USD In Stock
Used from: $15.42 USD In Stock