Category Archives: AK & Related Rifles

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the finished product on my Galadius:

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


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

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

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Custom Built Yugo M72B1 Carbine By Two Rivers Arms

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

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

Here’s a run down of the parts:

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

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


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Precision Armament Severe Duty Compensator:

Magpul Zhukov-S Stock:

Falcon Arms Springs:


See larger image

Additional Images:

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: $240.00 USD In Stock

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

The set includes the following punches:

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

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

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

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News: Vepr rifles now on the banned list – June 20, 2017

Well, this sucks – Molot, the maker of Vepr rifles and shotguns has been added to the treasury’s list of people and organizations US businesses can’t engage in commerce with.

Here’s the website source:

MOLOT-ORUZHIE, OOO (a.k.a. OBSHCHESTVO S OGRANICHENNOI OTVETSTVENNOSTYU ‘MOLOT-ORUZHIE’; f.k.a. OBSHCHESTVO S OGRANICHENNOI OTVETSTVENNOSTYU PROIZVODSTVENNO INSTRUMENT KACHESTVO), 135 ul. Lenina, Vyatskie Polyany, Kirov Obl. 612960, Russia; Registration ID 1094307000633 (Russia); Tax ID No. 4307012765 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 60615883 (Russia) [UKRAINE-EO13661] (Linked To: KALASHNIKOV CONCERN).

Notice the part I set in bold black – linked to Kalashnikov Concern.  It may be because Molot was bankrupt and the speculation was that only Kalashnikov Concern was in a position to buy them.

FIME has not commented yet – they are the importer and their website is at:

So, we’ll see what happens next but do expect supplies of Vepr rifles to be limited/run out on the primary market and prices to rise.

How to get what you want from epoxy – for me it is long life, shock resistance and strength


Folks, I work a lot with epoxy and reply on it as a structural adhesive to both fill gaps and bond parts together.  I’ve done everything from fixing car parts, wood furniture, tools, rifle bedding, scope mount bedding, custom knife handles and much more with epoxy.  It is incredibly versatile but you need to do some planning to really get what you want out of it predictably.

In case you didn’t know it, “epoxy” is a general term for a wide range of cured polyepoxide resins glues with different physical characteristics such as how long they cure, strength, temperature resistance and so forth (click here if you want to learn more about the chemistry).   There are a ton of options out there as quality manufacturers experiment with different resin and hardener formulations.  In short, not all epoxies are the same and for people concerned with the quality of what they are building, they need to think things through.  For quite some time I’ve wanted to write down a series of tips for folks to get strong reliable results so here they are:

Buy a quality brand epoxy to begin with

What I have found over the years is that not all epoxies are created equal so spend the money and buy quality epoxy.  There can be a huge difference in how well the epoxy will last over time and/or how strong it really is.  Do not buy the bargain basement junk.  In general, if the maker lists all the physical properties then it is a well thought out and executed formula.  I have three epoxies that I use the most in order are Brownell’s AcraGlas liquid (not the gel), Locite E-120HP, JB KwikWeld and ITW Devcon Plastic Steel.  Once in a while if I need a fast cure epoxy, I will get a retail blister pack of some five minute epoxy and I’ll explain more in a moment.

Strongly consider what your application is

Epoxy comes in many formulations.  They can vary the chemistry of the resin, the hardener and the filler to behave differently.  Consider the following example characteristics:

  • Liquid, Gel/Paste or Putty/Bar — The liquid can seep into pores and fibers plus it can be spread but it can run into places you do not want.  Gels and pastes tend to stay put better but do not seep in as well.  The really thick puttys and bars are great for filling space or creating an impromptu clamp or to seal a hole but they definite don’t sink in much.
  • Temperature – you need to think both about the temperature when you are mixing and applying the epoxy as some will not set up at all if too cold.  You also need to think about the heat when in operation because many epoxies soften and lose their bond the hotter they get.   For example, you may apply epoxy to an exhaust manifold but it will blow off when it gets hot.
  • Pot life – this is how long you can still apply it before it starts to thicken.  Some folks will refer to this as working time.  You need to mix the two parts together, apply the epoxy, position and clamp the work before you run out of time.  Keep this in mind.
  • Cure time – this is how long until the epoxy reaches full strength
  • Color – you can get epoxies in different colors
  • Ratio / mixing – some are by volume or by weight.  The easy consumer stuff is usually 1:1 by volume but when you get into the more sophisticated epoxies the volumes vary or a digital scale is needed
  • Heat resistance – some epoxies resist heat better than others before they soften and “let go”
  • Shock resistance – some formulations hold up better than others before they start the break apart and “sugar”.  Sugaring refers to the powdery look epoxy gets as it breaks apart.  Brownell’s AcraGlas, Loctite E-120HP, JB KwikWeld and ITW Devcon Plastic Steel have all held up very well for me under shocks.  My go-to epoxy for most work is Acra-Glas liquid because it holds up so very well.
  • Others – there are other factors that may matter to you but the important thing is to think through your application

Go with as long of a curing time as you can for maximum strength

What many people do not know is that the faster an epoxy cures, the weaker it is.  Conversely, the longer the formulation takes to cure, the stronger it is.  All things being equal, a 24 hour curing epoxy will be stronger than 90-second, 5-minute, 30-minute and so forth epoxies.  Now there is a time and a place where speed is needed and also situations where strength is paramount.  When I make khukuri hands and other things where strength is critical, I always use a 24 hour epoxy.

Use the Proper Ratios

Be sure to carefully follow the mixing ratios.  For volume ratio work, I use 10cc or larger syringes without the needles on them to meter liquid resin and hardener.  For example, I like AcraGlas and it is 4 parts resin to 1 part hardener.  I keep two syringes separated that I re-use over and over.  With the syringe in the holding cup labeled “resin”, I use it to draw 4 cubic centimeters (CCs) of resin out and squirt it into a mixing cup.  With the hardener syringe, I meter out 1 CC of hardener into the cup.  Now you can vary that.  If you need a smaller about, meter out 2 CC of resin and 1/2CC of hardener.  The syringes really help.  If you are doing larger volumes then either use bigger syringes or disposable cups that have measurements printed on the side.  Also note how I pour from the bulk container into the smaller intermediary containers that are easy to work with plus I avoid contamination, dropping a big bottle, etc.

The Loctite E-120HP comes in a specialized dispenser tube that uses a gun and tip to do all the mixing.  It’s cool as can be for volume work where additional coloring or fillers are not needed.

For the Devcon Plastic Steel, I use my digital scale.

Here’s one thing not to do:  Some guys have heard that if they add more hardener it will cure faster.  This may be true but the resulting cured epoxy will be weaker.  Do not deviate from the manufacturer’s recommendations if you want the physical properties they report.

Mix thoroughly

Folks, I can’t stress this enough.   Mix the heck out of the two parts and combine them thoroughly.  If you are doing larger volumes, consider doing what is known as a double pour.  Pour the two parts into a first container, mix them thoroughly and then pour the combination into the middle of a second container and mix.  What a double pour does is avoid having unmixed materials that have stuck to the walls of the container come out when you are applying the epoxy.  Keep your pot life / working time in mind.

Most of the time I am using a generic 5oz plastic cup and plastic knife to do the mixing.  I buy them by the hundreds for Ronin’s Grips and they are cheap regardless.  Do not use styrofoam.

Prepare the surface

Whatever you want to bond epoxy to had better be clean and free of oils, greases, waxes, release agents and so forth.  Second, the more abraded the surface the better.  If you abrasive blast a surface not only can you double the surface area being bonded together but the irregular surface creates many opportunities for the epoxy to get “under” material to create a better grip.  If you can’t blast then at least sand the surface with 80-100 grit sand paper.

So here are two rules to bear in mind when it comes to the surface:

  1. Clean, clean, clean and wear gloves to not contaminate the surface with oil from your skin
  2. Shiny is bad.  A polished smooth surface will not give you anywhere near the bonding strength that a blasted or abraded surface will.  I blast everything that I can – metals, micarta, plastic and even wood.  It makes a world of difference – seriously.

The following is a bakelite handle from an electric griddle of my parents’.  The unit works great and has sentimental value so I cleaned it, blasted it, cut a quick cross hatch pattern to give even more grip and then cleaned it again.  It set up like a rock and we used it all Memorial Day morning to cook hundreds and hundreds of pancakes with no problem.\

Heating Epoxy

Heat can help you two ways.  First, by warming epoxy it tends to flow better.  If you need to to soak into wood or other surfaces, consider using a heat gun to blow/chase the epoxy into the wood.  Do not burn the epoxy – just warm it up.  Second, in general, warming epoxy up tends to make it cure faster.  Now there are limits and you need to either experiment or talk to the vendor before doing anything too radical.  I will often use a halogen light or other heat source to warm the surface up to 80-100F.  In chemistry, there is a formula known as the Arrhenius Equation that notes that for each additional 10 degrees Celsius added, a reaction rate doubles (click here for more info on the equation).  My experience is that you want the heat to penetrate and warm all of the epoxy and not just the surface and you also do not want to burn the epoxy.  In general, I do not exceed 100F but that is just me.  I found something that works good enough and have just stayed there.

Also pay attention to the minimum temperature requirements for curing.  Some epoxies will not do anything at all at freezing.  Some take forever to cure at 50F.  It just depends.  When in doubt, use a lamp or something to gently heat the part.

Coloring Epoxy

What many folks do not know is that you can actually color epoxy.  I have found two approaches that work.  First, use powdered tempera paint.  You can stir in a bit of black powder to get black epoxy.  Now I did this starting out and have since moved to using epoxy dyes so I am added less powder to the mix because I want to save the volume for glass fillers which we will talk about next.


You can modify the physical strength of epoxy by adding a substrate or fillers.  For example, fiberglass is matted glass fiber that bonded together with epoxy made for that purpose.  Folks working with carbon fibers are using epoxy for bonding that together.  I add 1/32″ milled glass fibers to my epoxies to get more strength.  If I want more of a paste, I add more glass fiber and if I want it to be more of a liquid, I use less.  The exact volume of glass fiber depends on what you are trying to do.  Some vendors will give you recommendations and others will not.

Clamping / Work holding

In general, you want to apply the epoxy and then clamp everything together really well and then let it sit.   You may choose to use traditional clamps, vacuum, etc.  Bear in mind two things:

1.  Be careful that you secure the material and that it can’t shift while curing.  I can’t tell you how many times I have checked stuff and found out it moved and had to change my approach.  Figure this out before you apply the glue in case you need to make something, change your approach, etc.  Check it regularly to make sure it hasn’t shifted regardless.  Every time I think something can’t move – it does.

2.  The epoxy will run out of what you are working on.  Decide how you are going to deal with it.  Wax paper can protect your tools and table.  You can scrape the epoxy off after it has partially cured.  You can wipe things down with acetone when partially cured.  Just think it through otherwise you are going to glue stuff together really well that you do not want bonded – trust me.  It is a real headache so plan for seepage/dripping and how you will deal with it.


This is something I have gotten better at over the years – wait the recommended amount of time.  If they say 24 hours then wait 24 hours.  If you have questions about using the part sooner then ask the manufacturer.  For example, you might be able to assemble something after 10 hours but not actually put it under strain for 24 hours.  Factor in the temperature.  The colder it is then the longer it will take.  Remember what I said about the heat from lamps above.


Yeah, I had to add this.  Follow all guidance from the vendors.  The resins aren’t too bad but some of the hardeners are nasty.  Wear rubber gloves, use eye protection, work in a well ventilated area and wear a real good dust mask when sanding.  I use N99 masks now for everything.

I hope you found this general epoxy guidance helpful!

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Here are links to some of the stuff I use:

AcraGlas at Brownells.  As a reminder, I prefer and recommend the liquid, not the gel:–prod1033.aspx

Loctite E-120HP [note that most sellers on Amazon charge a fortune for this so dig around at industrial supply houses such as McMaster, Zoro, MSC, etc.  Also, remember that you need the tube of glue, gun and disposable tips.  When the glue hardens in the tip, it protects the cartridge and you then replace the tip for your next work session but it does mean you need multiple tips.  I use this glue mostly for big projects like bonding together larger pieces of wood, etc.]

ITW Devcon Plastic Steel

JB KwikWeld – note that this is a thicker grey liquid.  I use it if I am in a rush and need an epoxy.  I’ve used it to bed rifles and repair stuff mainly.  I have not used it on knife handles.  Also, due to its grey color, you can go darker towards black but not lighter.

Now I have used a ton of their sticks to create clamps, fill voids, etc.  I typically have 2-4 sticks sitting in my supplies because when I need them, I need them.

Epoxy Dyes – there are a bunch on Amazon but I don’t know them.  In general, I use So-Strong dyes from SmoothOn when I need small amounts.  My black dye is bought by the pound in bulk containers.

10cc Syringes

Digital Scale – it will get filthy so buy something cheap but with good reviews.

Clamps – there are so many ways to clamp stuff together.  I use everything from woodworking vises to spring clips to C-clamps to the big heavy duty Irwin clamps that can do up to 600 pounds of pressure with one hand.

Wax paper

Plastic Cups – I’d recommend checking around.  You need to balance cost and quality.  Some cups are absurdly thin and you can’t use them for mixing.  I get mine from GFS and you can tell they have made them cheaper and cheaper over the years.  5oz is still good but 9 and 16oz cups aren’t so red hot any longer.

Plastic Knives – again, check around.  I get mine from GFS in a big box and they work just fine.

Heat gun – I have burned out a ton of them.  This DeWalt D26950 is the first one to last longer than a year.  I’d guess I’ve been using it for almost three now.

Dust Mask – I used Moldex 2310 N99 face masks now exclusively.  They hold up fairly well and aren’t hard to breath with.

Nitrile Gloves – the best deal I have found is from Harbor Freight for their 5mil gloves.  When they go on sale or you get a coupon for $5.99/box of 100 gloves, go get them.  They are thin and don’t hold up to tough use but to keep your hands clean and balancing off strength and cost, they are a pretty good deal.  Even at $7.99/box without shipping they are a pretty good deal.


Video: Building AK47 (AKM) with Definitive Arms by AK Operators Union, Local 47-74


Back in 2015, Rob Ski went to Definitive Arms to build an AK.  In this video, they really get into the details of building an AK and anyone regardless of experience level is bound to learn something.  You can watch in this 36:13 video as Rob builds his AK under the expert tutelage of the guys at Definitive Arms.

There are some great tips in here for riveting, getting the barrel blocks on square, etc.  Definitely worth your time.  After watching all these build videos, I really wish I had the time to build another.

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