Jef’s Zastava M92 PAP with our dark olive drab handguards and a quick release pin to remove the receiver’s dust cover.
To me, the AK family of rifles are some of the easiest designs on the planet to field strip … but I have done it hundreds of times. For a newcomer, how to take the rifle apart can be daunting. I took a few minutes and assembled some of my favorite videos and online resources / manuals to help clarify matters:
AK manuals that are online:
- Grainy but you’ll get the point: http://guns-nn.ru/manuals/manual_ak47servicemanual_en.pdf
Now Brownell’s did some videos on Youtube also but they split them into separate parts:
Part 1 – Disassembly:
Part 4 – Reassembly
We will have a future post about cleaning and maintenance so keep an eye out for it.
In case you missed the original Tales of the Gun episode on the AK-47 when it aired in 2010, here it is. This is a very well done episode that goes into the history of the design and how it served in battle. Fans of the Kalashnikov will definitely want to watch this.
By the way, what I like about this particular Youtube video is that the quality is pretty good and it is the whole episode vs. being chopped up.
This is a very interesting video that covers some of the history of the AK-47. I found the portions showing testing and manufacturing very interesting.
It’s cool having a blog because I can elaborate on questions that people have asked me. A recurring one is how to remove the upper handguard cover, also known as the “gas tube” cover on AK rifles. Every military AK I have seen uses two half circle metal retainers to hold the half moon shaped gas tube cover. Sometimes they cover comes off super easy and other times you need mechanical assistance. Here is the basic process – hold the gas tube with one hand, grab the cover with the other, turn the cover 180 degrees so it is facing the opposite way and then pull it out of the retainers.
Now, sometimes the wood or plastic has really stuck/doesn’t want to budge. Do the following:
- Place the forged end of the gas tube in a vise with either soft jaws to pieces of leather to protect the forging. Absolutely do not put the circular end into the vise or you will crush it.
- Close the jaws just enough to hold the assembly in place.
- Either firmly by hand or with a strap wrench, rotate the cover 180 degrees so it is face the opposite direction. Note – you can turn it either way as these are just semi-circles and you may find it turns easier to the left or to the right.
- If you are applying force and are getting nervous that it still will not turn, you have some issue with one surface sticking to the other. You have two approaches you can try: 1) use a heat gun and warm up the metal retainers from their ends. Sometimes the varnish, BLO, urethane or partially melted plastic is sticking and heat can soften it after which it turns much easier. 2) Just brute force it and if it snaps then replace it. I have never had to resort to this.
- The new cover goes on the reverse. If you are using a wood cover, or our polymer cover, don’t forget to install the retaining clip first to limit cover movement. Some plastic gas tube covers do not use this but our gas tube covers do just to be clear.
Here are some videos that others have recorded to help further just in case:
The method I just outlined is very similar to what this fellow does:
Here are two more for additional perspectives:
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A lot of guys, myself included, have run into retaining wires for the trigger and hammer pins in an AK and had a heck of a time removing or installing them depending on the design. I can’t tell you how many I have had challenges with over the years for one reason or another. I decimated the stock Zastava wire in my M77 the other day but I can explain that one – I now rather despise the wires and just pull them out with pliers with no plan of reusing them. Thus, I bent the heck out of the wire just yanking it out.
There is a solution to the retaining wire problem – or at least, my problem with retaining wires. About two years ago, I stopped using wires altogether and moved to the use of “plates” which are pieces of spring steel or sheet metal that simply go nose first onto the hammer, you then rotate the plate down and it engages the trigger pin and then finally the hole portion winds up aligned with the safety/selector lever hole. What this does is the plate locks up the two pins and then the selector lever locks the plate in place. They are incredibly simple to install and remove if you are doing work with the fire control group.
In terms of plates, there are basically two styles you will find. One originated with RSA and I have used these for a few years now. I only have had one problem – during installation one part of the hammer pin portion snapped right off. I called RSA and they promptly replace the plate. Kudos to them for good customer service.
A relatively newer style is from Tapco but I haven’t used it yet myself though I do have one on order for my Vepr 12 to try out. It does the same thing but has a small tab. I have big fingers and am wondering if this will make installation and removal any easier and let me point out that the RSA is a breeze to install and remove.
I’ve had a number of guys ask me about where they can buy RS Regulate mounts. They have a dealer list: http://www.rsregulate.com/dealers.php. They also are looking for dealers as well in case some of you guys may be interested.
I’m still very impressed and actually just ordered a second one for my Vepr IV. Now that I have a blog, there will be more details in the near future as I am still debating what optic to put on The Vepr IV. I have a Primary Arms 1-4 and a Leupold Rifleman just sitting here that I may put to use. I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.