Category Archives: AK Smithing / BIY

For posts about building, repairing and tuning AK Rifles and Pistols

Use an Air Riveter to Install or Remove AK Barrels

For years I used my 20 ton press to remove and install barrels on AK rifles and then somone, Gunplumber maybe, told me to try using an air riveter instead.  You know what, it surprisingly works well and now I only use my press on the removal of really stubborn barrels.

I am going to throw two terms around in this post that I need to explain.  Air hammers and air riveters are remarkably similar – a pneumatic (air powered) pistol is going down a bore and slamming into the end of the unit where a tool is attached.  Thus they are delivered from the hundreds to almost three thousand blows per minute (BPM).  What usually, but not always, differentiates the two is the degree of control you have with the trigger and an integral air regulator to adjust the BPM and how hard the blows are.   If you see a tool with virtually no controls, it is likely an air hammer.  However, as you will read here, there are air hammers that do overlap with air riveters.

With air riveters, the main thing you get is a variable flow trigger, sometimes called a “tickle trigger” and usually a built in air regulator.  This allows you to really dial in the speed and strength of the blows.    When guys gush about how well they can control a big riveter, pay close attention because they aren’t kidding.  When you are building an airplane you need precision and you sure don’t want the riveter to slip and mar the aluminum.  Traditionally with air hammers we think about driving apart exhaust pipes, cutting open barrels and what not.  With air riveters, think of airplanes,

Okay – enough background – let’s talk about how to size these things – riveters are are sized based on the stroke length of the piston and an arcane naming scheme like “2X”, “3X” and “4X”.   Each has a piston about one inch longer than the previous model and the longer the piston, the harder it hits and the bigger rivet you can drive.  Think of the piston in a car – diameter and stroke set the stage for more power.

For example Aircraft Tool Supply sells all kinds of tools for folks who build airplanes and have decent riveters – I have one of their ATS-3X units and it has held up great.  At any rate, here are their tool ratings for example:

Note how the stroke is increasing from their base 200B unit through the 4x.  When you get to the 5x and 7x, both the stroke and bore size increase.  The capacity stated is for aluminum rivets so for steel rivets go two sizes up was a rule I was once told.

Most rivets you encounter around firearms will be steel and between 5/32″ to 3/16″.  I was told not to go smaller than 3X and have no regret with doing AK trigger guards but I did wind up with two units because I wanted to more powerful unit for barrels and barrel pins.   By the way, I was told not to go too small or all the hammer blows would risk work hardening the rivets.

Historically, I have mainly used this riveter for the trigger guard and an occasional barrel pin.  For most of my heavy work such as barrel pins and  barrels, I use an Ingersoll-Rand (IR) model 117 air hammer.  Now here’s the interesting thing – most air hammers, especially cheap imports, do not have variable triggers – they tend to be on or off.  Like riveters, the IR 117 has a variable trigger and a built in regulator.  With piston stroke of 3.5″, and an 22/26″ bore it makes the 117 a tad bigger than the 4X riveter from ATS so all things being equal, the IR 117 will hit harder.

I know Harbor Freight has an air riveter now (they didn’t when I bought mine) but have zero experience with it and also not so good experiences with their air hammers not lasting.

A big requirement for this work is control – you need a variable trigger so you can get just a few blows all the way up to continuous.  A regulatory allows you to adjust how hard the unit hits.  Some past import air hammers I have used seemed to have triggers that were either wide open, or completely unpredictable.  If you have one that is this way, don’t try working on a firearm that you care about.

Both the ATS and IR units were recommended to me and I both do a great job.  Note, there are bigger riveters and air hammers out there but you will notice that the tool shank goes from the very common 0.401″ to a larger diameter such as 0.498.

At any rate, let’s get back to barrels.  Modern AK barrels are what is known as an interference fit with the barrel being pressed into the front trunnion and locked in place by a cross pin.  In general a 12 ton press will do the job reliably but it takes a while to get the jigs set up and parts ready to go.  A 4X riveter will usually do the job also but with way less set up time.   I say usually because once in a while you run into pins or barrels that just do not want to come out and that’s when a big press is the way to go.

Practice First

Let me give you one piece of honest advice – if you go this route, practice before you beat the snot out of your parts.  Air riveters and hammers want to move around on you and you need to know how to control them.

Removing the Barrel Pin

Now you may wonder why I went the pneumatic route vs. sticking with my press.  The answer is real simple –  when I am taking stuff apart, I don’t want to take a ton of time.  I can use the 117 to pop out the barrel pin with either a drift pin or a tapered pin in seconds with very little set up.   I usually just put the trunnion and barrel assembly on  bench block with a hole for the pin to enter as I drive it out from the other side – I drive from the operating side (right when viewed from the top) towards the non-operating side (the left side).

If you are using a tapered pin driver, get the pin started and stop before the tool will hurt the trunnion.  You can drive it out the rest of the way fairly easily with a drift punch and a big hammer.  If you have drift punches for your air tool, just pick one slightly smaller than the hole and drive the pin out.

These days I keep parts in a magnetic tray to avoid losing them and that’s where I stick the barrel pin.  If you ever lose or damage the pin, get a 7mm drill bit and cut off the shank to create the length you need.  I used to keep 7mm drill rod somewhere – I’m not really sure where it is now.

Backing Out the Barrel

Driving the barrel off the trunnion is pretty easy but you do need to make a tool that fits in the trunnion and has a brass “head” to drive the barrel out without damaging the chamber end – DO NOT USE STEEL – it needs to be a softer metal and brass does a good job.

My backout tool is a  6″ long 1/2″ bolt with a brass nut on the end with a ground down steel backing nut behind it:

Why 6″ long?  Because that is what I had in my box.  Shorter would be more controllable. I actually have a long 12″ unit I use if I need to back a barrel out of a trunnion that is in the receiver.

Here’s a photo of the ground down steel backing nut and the brass nut that sits on the chamber end and applies the actual blows to drive it out.

You definitely need the steel backing but or the brass will deform and come off the threads.  You can also see how the brass extends in front of the bolt – I always check to make sure I have about an 1/8th inch or so of brass before I use it.  This is basically a shorter version of my barrel back out tool (click here for the post about that from way back when).

Now to deliver the blows on the business end of my IR 117 is a 7″ brass peening  tool that ATS sells directly.  I bought a 3″ unit but it will not fit in the wire retainer of my 117.  They also have a 5″ model that I bet would work fine.

So, I mount the trunnion in my wood jawed vise to not tear it up, insert the backout tool and then use the 117 to apply the blows.   I will hold the bolt with one hand and use the 117 with the other.  Do NOT put your hand where the bolt and peening hammer come together or you will pinch the hell out of it.  I did that once years ago and it taught me a lesson complete with a blood blister as a reminder.

So I do a bit and check – I do not try to do it all at once.  By looking int he barrel pin hole, you should see it slowly backing out.  In general, the last bit of removing the barrel I do with a  big ball pein hammer to make sure the barrel assembly either is pulled out the last bit by me or land in some form of box or cushion vs. the hard floor.

That’s it!   The barrel is out.

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.

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 🙂

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 the 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!

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)

5 PC 0.401 JIFFY SHORT SHANK RIVET SETS FOR RIVET GUNS AIRCRAFT TOOLS

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Aircraft rivet sets

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

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Chicago Pneumatic Desoutter Recoilless 3X Rivet Gun Aircraft Tool Set CP4450-3

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Stubby .401 Shank 3/16 Offset Rivet Set STJ520-R156-3/16

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AT-1509A 8 5/32" BH RIVET SET

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Rivet sets by Wm Johnson, Newark, N.J. USA

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Lot of 10 Aircraft tools Rivet Squeeze Riveter Sets 3/16" Shank nice variety

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If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   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


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

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.
List Price: $69.99 USD
New From: $61.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $313.25 USD In Stock

The Romanian PSL Rifle – Feeling Nostalgic for the 7.62x54R DMR

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Ian McCollum’s Forgotten Weapons videos.  On May 28th, 2018, he released “Romania Doesn’t Make the Dragunov:  The PSL”.  Being a fan of the PSL, I had to watch it:

As usual, Ian did a great job.  The PSL, or in Romanian, the Puşcă Semiautomată cu Lunetă model 1974 was Romania’s designated marksman rifle (DMR) in 7.62x54R and came about after they had a disagreement with the USSR and would not longer get access to the Dragunov design.

In a classic example of pragmatism, the designers at Regia Autonoma pentru Productia de Tehnica Militara, also know as  the RATMIL Cugir arsenal, upscaled the Kalashnikov rifle design to handle the larger round.  The receiver design is based on the RPK light machine gun with reinforcing plates at the rear and a bulged front trunnion.   To make use of the relatively old 7.62x54R cartridge, it used a 24.4″ long barrel whereas a typical AKM has a barrel that is about 16.3″ long.

In short, while some people refer to it as a Dragunov, it really isn’t the same design at all.  The Dragunov’s design is unique and more complex.  The PSL is essentially an AK-47 on steroids and it does a pretty good job for what it was intended for – being a DMR and providing supporting fire at longer distance targets vs. a sniper rifle.  A DMR has good enough accuracy to – say about 2-3″ MOA or better whereas a sniper, or precision rifle, will tend to be sub-MOA.

Paired with the rifle is a LPS 4×6 TIP2 ((Lunetă Puṣcă Semiautomată Tip 2, or “Scope, Semi-Automatic Rifle, Type 2”) scope that attaches via the receiver side plate.

Really, the PSL design was a success for the Romanians.  It was relatively inexpensive, rugged and did the job.  They actually wound up exporting it to a number of countries for military use including:  Afghanistang, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia, Iraq (after Hussein), Moldova, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia.

Here it is seen in the hands of an Afghan Army soldier:

In the following photo an Ethiopian solider is firing a PSL:

Of course, another market existed for these semi-auto rifles also – the United States.  It was imported under a variety of names including:  PSL-54C, Romak III, FPK and SSG-97.  They were all the same rifle more or less and might show modifications for importation such as removal of the bayonet lug or no third FCG pin provision in the receiver.  The PSLs in the US could have been assembled either at RATMIL or later after Romania joined NATO, the ARMS arsenal.  Note, there are also PSLs floating around built from kits on US receivers also with quality running the whole gamut from poor to excellent.

At any rate, part of the reason I wrote this is that I felt nostalgic.  I bought a Century Arms assembled PSL Sporter from Centerfire Systems in 2010.  Here it is next to a Yugo M70B1 for comparison and it has a Konus optic on a BP-02 SVD/PSL low center mount that is in line with the bore that I purchased from Kalinka Optics:

Contrary to rumor, the skeleton stock as the original design and not something they did for the US market.  The skeleton thumbhole profile was developed to reduce weight, withstand recoil and be relatively comfortable – hiding under the steel butt plate was a spring to dampen recoil.

I couldn’t leave the rifle along because I really wanted an SVD so I had to pick up a Rhineland Arms  unfinished walnut SVD conversion stock set – all it needed was the finish.  I used one of the Minwax cherry stains (I don’t recall which now I’m afraid) and the multiple coats of boiled linseed oil (BLO) on top.

One thing I did need to do was to carefully remove the gas tube cover retainers on both ends.  I carefull ground them off with my Dremel and then refinished the gas tube as you can see in the next photo.

I then drilled and tapped the receiver to hold a small piece of picatinny rail and took care not to harm the serial number and what not.   I figured the rail could be readily removed for inspection if ever needed.

So here was the end result including a Versapod bipod with claw feet:

 

I definitely am nostalgic about the rifle.  In one of those twists of fate, I had to sell it before I ever got to shoot it.  If I ever fell into a good deal on one, I would get it.


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** Note, images that have a grey wood background, are of the Rhineland stock, the finished custom rifle or are in the shop are mine.  The other images are in the public domain and are from Wikipedia’s entry on the PSL.


See larger image

Additional Images:

AK-47: The Grim Reaper


By (author): Frank Iannamico

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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How to Remove Old Cosmoline and Grease or Even Free Up Rusty Parts The Easy Way

We’ve all had parts come in with really dried out preservative on it such as grease or cosmoline.  I bought some 100 year old khukuri blades that were coated in dried out grease and realized this was a great time to take some photos.  There’s a way to get all this crud off very easily – most will practically wipe off!

I learned the following trick years ago after a friend was worried I would blow myself up using gas, brake cleaner, etc.  In hindsight I must admit it was risky but I rationalized it because I needed to get the parts clean – this is not only effective but also way safer.

Take a 5 gallon pail with a sealable lid on it.  In the photos you see a basic Ace Hardware plastic bucket with it’s lid that has a waterproof gasket.

I first learned about this years ago for firearms and it is a cleaner known as Ed’s Red and I’ve used it ever since.  The formula was developed and shared by a gentleman named “Ed Harris” and it works great for dissolving grease, cosmoline and even penetrating rusty parts.

The basic formula is:

  • 1 part Dexron III or better
  • 1 part deodorized kerosene
  • 1 part mineral spirits
  • 1 part acetone

I use it over and over, which is why I recommended the lid.  I’ve been using this bucket for probably 3-5 years now.  If it gets really gross or seems to stop working then I will change it but it’s fine so far.

So, I set the blades in the ATF and liberally coated the sides and let it sit.  I periodically would reverse the blades so they could be immersed.  If they were smaller parts, I’d drop them in there and let them sit for a few days.

What I wold so each time when I turned them was to rub the blades down and try and get the softened/dissolved grease off.  A lot of it would wipe right off with no scrubbing.

So here they are a couple of days later simply wiped down.  I left a thin film of ATF on them to reduce the odds of rust but all the old dried grease is gone.

When I am done, I put the lid back on and move the pail out of the way.  I do keep wet parts out of the cleaner as I don’t want to contaminate it with water but other than that, I’ve soaked all kinds of greasy, oily, rusty, dirty parts in this.  The crud settles to the bottom of the pail over time.  I’ve learned that if I stir it up there is a lot of debris.  If it gets too bad, it will be time for a new batch.

I mentioned it in passing but this is also great for penetrating rusty parts so you can take them apart.  I can’t begin to guess what all I have soaked in this bucket over the years but it sure includes gun parts, blades, rusty car parts, etc.  It’s a huge time saver and I hope it helps you out as well.

P.S.  If you want to read more on Ed’s formula, click here for his original article that is in the public domain.


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Yes, 922r Does Apply to Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs)

Please note that I am not an attorney and this does not constitute legal advice.

The topic of 922r compliance and parts counts came up the other day as whether it applies to Short Barreled Rifles (SBR). In reading the conflicting ATF documentation, the last guidance given in technical branch letters from 2009 and 2010, the ATF does say it applies.  I put it this was as you should look at the trend over time which does seem to point towards 922r being applicable.

I am a very conservative guy and always try to stay on the safe side of legal issues so I would recommend ensuring your SBR is compliant with the 922r parts count requirements.  If you do this then you do not need to worry about it and I am sure there are folks who would disagree with me.

Here is the 2009 letter:

Here is the three page 2010 letter:

Again, please let me stress that I am not an attorney.  If you have any questions on this, I would recommend doing your own research and/or retaining legal counsel.

 


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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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Note, the Crossfire CR-RD1 red dot optic replaced the Sparc II shown in the photo.  I am using a Crossfire CF-RD1 on another rifle and really like it.


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Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight – 2 MOA Dot


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.

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.
List Price: $149.00 USD
New From: $144.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of 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.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   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 AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $16.85 USD In Stock
Used from: $15.79 USD In Stock

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.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   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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Additional Images:

The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $16.85 USD In Stock
Used from: $15.79 USD In Stock

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.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   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.


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: The 1-4×24 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Brite reticle uses the V-Plex format with battery-powered electronics to illuminate the center dot for hunters/shooters during extra-low light conditions., With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you’ll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing., Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the user., Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting in., A single piece tube constructed from aircraft grade aluminum ensures strength and shockproof performance. O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, the Crossfire II delivers waterproof and fogproof performance.

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: $199.00 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.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   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:

The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $16.85 USD In Stock
Used from: $15.79 USD In Stock

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.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed. Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.