Category Archives: Reviews

Part 4: Two Rivers Arms Yugo M76 Rifle – Fixing The Magazines

The M76 is a pretty wicked designated marksman’s rifle capable of firing 1.5-2 minutes of angle with the hard hitting 8mm Mauser round. It does have a pretty bad weakness however – the magazines can jam so hard you need a tool to get the follower to come up. There’s a solution and that’s what this post is about.

So, What’s The Problem?

Zastava designed the M76 with a bolt hold open (BHO) follower. In other words, the follower has a big lobe that blocks the carrier from going forward and thus locks the action open. Sounds great, right? It would have been if they had closed the gap between the follower and the magazine body and/or made the skirt of the follower longer.

What happens way too frequently is that when the carrier cycles forward, it hits the bolt hold open lobe of the follower causing the follower’s nose to dive down and jam the follower. Literally, the end result most of the time is that it is a bear to open the action and get the magazine to release — I found I needed to fashion a dowel to hit the rear of the follower to free it up. Not good.

Some guys report more headaches than others and I can’t readily tell you why. Maybe Zastava realized the problem and corrected it or maybe there’s enough variation in the gap between the magazine body and follower that it does not always happen. I have about nine M76 magazines and they all nose dived when hit by the bolt carrier practically every time.

The bolt carrier slams the follower down so hard that it can be difficult getting the magazine out of the rifle as well as releasing the follower.
A 3/8″ dowel can be hit with a hammer to pop the follower back into position. Yeah, this sucks.

Cleaning The M76 Magazines

I should point out that I bought about a dozen M76 magazines – some from Apex and some from Ivan Drago on GunBroker. They all had a ton of old cosmoline on them and a lot if was on really thick. I pulled the old paper and junk off the eight you see below and left the rest in storage.

Eight cosmoline laden M76 magazines. Some were almost full of the stuff inside. Some had old newspaper stuck on them as well.
I keep a 5-gallon bucket about half full of Ed’s Red cleaner around that I use to remove cosmoline and what not. Click here for the recipe. I let the crusty magazines sit in there for a couple of days because I had other stuff I was working on and the solution needs time to soften everything up. When I am done, I put the lid back on. It’s great for freeing up rusty parts too.
After the soaking in Ed’s Red to soften and even dissolve some of the crud, I disassembled each magazine and wiped them out. What a mess. No photos of that part but here you can see ones that are done and sitting in a box waiting for next steps.

The Solution to M76 Magazines and Nosediving

Let’s start with two things that didn’t work just so you know. My first try was to simply polish all the edges. That did not work and neither did adding Dupont Teflon dry lube.

My second try was to use sand paper to round everything over underneath the lips of the body and the outside edge of the skirt. That did not work either – even with polishing and Dupont Teflon dry lube.

So, with those two failures, I did some searching on the WWW and found that AKblue posted how he welded a small tab of 20 gauge (0.039″) sheet metal to the back of the follower to close the gap. That did work wonderfully for me and let me walk you through the steps.I went to all the big box stores in the area and nobody had 20 gauge sheet metal. I miss 20 years ago when I could go to a local steel store but they are all gone now.

1. I went to OnlineMetals and bought a 12″x12″ sheet of cold roll mild steel – nothing fancy is needed. 12×12 turned out to be way more than I needed. Shipping is what kills you so I wanted to only buy one time even if some experimenting was needed.

Nothing more exciting than a photo of a 12×12″ piece of 20 gauge sheet metal.

2. I needed to figure out some basic template so I could cut out a bunch of tabs to to then try different shapes with by sanding them down. Now I have a big belt sander – you could use a file or whatever works for you.

That high quality rendering is from an ancient CAD application called pen and paper. The back of the follower was over 0.7055″ wide – I think I just measured the back bent portion and not the sides so take this as a starting point and not an absolute.. Plus wait until you see the fancy ultra precise cutting method (that’s a joke by the way)! In terms of height, I measured about 0.525″ from the lower shelf to the bottom and then added a 0.25″ to have metal to grind down to a shape that worked so the tabs I cut were about 0.71″ wide and about 0.75-.8″ tall.
So much for precision – I used these shears to do the cutting due to the depth of the sheet, I allowed for the thickness of the cutter and clamped a straight edge to guide me from the front to the back. In this photo, the stuff is just sitting there for the photo – I did not have it laid out properly yet. I told you it was high tech, Note, I cut the sheet for the approximate 0.775 dimension.
I scribed the line for the 0.7050 dimension and cut it with my bandsaw. I wasn’t kidding when I said the dimensions were ballparks. I had two criteria I wanted to honor – the tab should not protrude from the top or sides of the follower and I wanted enough material at the bottom to do some experimenting and shaping on.
I then used a Dremel to remove burs. I did not want anything to hang up inside the magazine.
I sanded the back of the follower and sprayed both it and the tab with brake cleaner before welding just to get rid of any contaminants. This is a Harbor Freight 120 volt spot welder and it has the tongs on it for welding in AK rails hence the unique shape of the lower tong if you are familiar with them. If you don’t have a spot welder then I would drill or punch a hole in the tab and shoot a weld with a MIG, etc. I really am not sure if epoxy would hold up with this use case and am recommending true welding for reliability
I didn’t have much room to move the tongs around. I could get two heavy spot welds. This photo shows part of a third attempt but I settled on just two for the rest.
First off, the tab is way too long. I am maybe an 1/8-3/16″ at the base of that curve. You’ll also notice that I sanded the back so it would not drag on the magazine body. I polished all the parts using the little rubberized polishing bits in my Dremel.
I did apply a light coat of Super Lube grease to the back to help the parts get to know each other. After things wear in, I bet I will not need it.

You can see the tab. I made sure that the tab was below the lip of the follower. In other words, I did not want it protruding. I went around and polished all edges to make sure nothing would snag.
Here’s another angle – you can just barely see the tab.
Testing of the magazines was done with Realistic Snap Caps. These were great because they are just like the real 8mm Mauser rounds and I could confirm that feeding was okay.

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Bottom Line

Welding in the tab did the trick. I think it works for two big reasons – it closed up a rather large gap at the rear that allowed the follower to tilt down to begin with plus by making the skirt of the follower a bit longer, it could not tip as much either. I don’t think the exact shape of the bottom of the tab matters a great deal but you definitely must debur and polish each By adding a bit of Super Lube grease to the back, everything slid very smoothly. I am assuming it will not be needed as parts wear in and time will tell.

Also, I bought way too much 20 gauge sheet metal. You could get by with a far, far smaller sheet. I thought I would have to experiment more and it turned out to be simpler than I thought.

When I went to range feeding was great and not one problem with the follower nosediving when the carrier returned on an empty mag. Problem solved.


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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Part 3: Two Rivers Arms Yugo M76 Rifle – The Trigger

When I sent the M76 to Two Rivers Arms to build, I was still using Tapco G2 triggers in my AK builds. Since then, I have moved to ALG Defense’s AK Trigger Ultimate With Lightning Bow (AKT-UL) for anything I’ve built in the last two years. Folks, these are wicked triggers and absolutely hands down my favorite AK triggers.

The top trigger is the ALG AKT-UL. You can see the distinctive shape and the silver colored Nickel Boron finish. The bottom is the Tapco G2 I originally sent to Two Rivers to use. The AKT-UL comes with a new disconnector spring but uses the existing hammer spring. ALG does sell a heavy hammer spring separately if you want it. The extra spring is an auxiliary trigger spring for increasing the pull, which I don’t use. One small pin can be installed and filed down as needed if the safety doesn’t block the trigger sufficiently. I have not needed it so far on any of my rifles. I think the second pin is just a spare.

Not only does the AKT-UL give you three compliance parts as it includes the hammer, trigger and disconnector but the feel is amazing. Now if you know how to tune a G2 trigger, you are used to having a fairly decent AK trigger. The AKT-UL units step it up a notch for sure. ALG does have a shorter and more crisp pull for sure plus they will tell you the trigger has about a 3.5 pound pull which you can tweak a bit by bending the hammer spring.

I got out my Lyman digital trigger gauge and did 20 pulls. The average was 3 pounds 13 ounces and the nice wide trigger shoe makes it feel less.

This is a peek in the M76 receiver as it came from Two Rivers. You can see the Tapco G2 fire control group, orientation of the hammer spring and the pin retaining wire that I am not a huge fan of and replace with a plate. This layout is what you see in most AK rifles unless you get into specialized trigger systems on some of the more modern military designs. For a new person, note the orientation of both the hammer and its spring.

Installation Notes

Safety First Always – Make Sure Your Weapon Is Unloaded! Always assume a weapon is loaded until you confirm it is not. Keep ammo away from your work area and don’t test fit with live ammunition.

Second – read their instructions – they work and you have options. This is not one of those cases where the instructions suck – they are actually quite good. The come with the trigger plus ALG makes them available online – click here to read the instructions for both the Enhanced (EL) and Ultimate (UL) triggers.

I really don’t have any surprises to report. It installed the same as any other AK fire control group and I didn’t need to use any pins and I certainly didn’t want a heavier pull so I didn’t use the auxiliary trigger spring either:

1. Install the hammer with the ears to the rear and spring around the back of the hammer. If it fights you during installation and the little legs that sit on the trigger are facing down, odds are you have the spring installed right. I lubricated all pins with Super Lube Grease before installation. That stuff is my favorite grease now.

Here, the new hammer is installed. Note how the “ears” of the hammer are facing towards the back of the rifle. It’s a common mistake for people new to the AK family of weapons to think that is the part that hits the firing pin but it is not. Also, note how the spring is going around the hammer. You can’t see them but the legs of the hammer spring are facing down. I use needle nose pliers to lift them around out of the way to install the trigger and then set them on the back legs/bars of the trigger.

2. Here’s a tip you will not see in the instructions. A trick I was taught years ago is to use a slave pin that will allow you to assemble the trigger, disconnector and its spring outside of the rifle. This makes it sooooo much easier!! What you do is cut a spare fire control pin or a piece of 5mm stock (0.1969″ or 13/64″ – cheap drill bits work great) down so it fits just inside the trigger pin hole from left to right and slightly taper the ends using a file or sandpaper. Trust me, if you don’t take a few minutes to do this, it is a heck of a juggling act to get the trigger in place with the pin pushed through while keeping the disconnector and its spring in place (don’t forget the little disconnector spring!!).

Here, you can see the slave pin and how it is holding the disconnector nicely in place. I’m not sure why ALG added the window in the disconnector to see the spring but it sure is handy to confirm the spring is there. Perhaps that is why they did it.

3. The trigger is installed by lowering it into position, pushing a fire control pin through the receiver and into the trigger carefully pushing the slave pin out the other side where you can grab it. Note, you will need to wiggle the trigger around some and I just do that with my right hand as I feel the pin through with my left.

4. Next, I used one of our fire control group retaining plates to secure the pins in place instead of the retaining wire. The wire is fine and you can use it if you prefer – I simply don’t care for them. Unlike some plates on the market, our plate is approximately 1.186mm thick and completely fills the groove of the pins to keep them from walking left or right and potentially falling out of the receiver.

Top is our AK fire control group plate. Below it is the type of retaining wire you would see in a M76. AKMs are a bit different due to the differences for automatic fire.

You install the plate by inserting the nose groove into the hammer pin and then rotating the plate down so it secures the trigger pin as well. The rear hole of the plate, the only hole really,is where the selector/safety lever passes through and locks it into position.

This photo shows how the front of the plate engages the hammer pin and the middle groove secures the trigger pin.
Here. everything is installed except for the selector/safety lever so you can see the fire control group and the plate.

That’s it for the trigger. Next up was the need to fix the magazines so they would not nose dive when empty and hit by the bolt carrier. That will be my next post.


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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Part 2: Two Rivers Arms Yugo M76 Rifle – Mounting the Optic

I let the cat out of the bag a bit with my first post – I don’t like the Communist offset scopes. Yes, they are traditionally correct but I prefer a scope mounted on the centerline of the rifle with better optics including variable magnification. I had a combination in mind right from the start – the RS!Regulate mounting system and a Vortex Hog Hunter scope – why? Because I actually want to use this rifle to hunt hogs.

RS!Regulate Mount

Based on past projects, I knew that the best mounting system for my project would be the RS!Regulate system. The reason I am so adamant about this is that the design allows for a ton of flexibility in terms of front to back movement as well as left to right. Specifically, I chose the AK-303M lower rail and the AKR upper.

You basically install the AK-303M lower on the side rail. You can adjust the screw under the lever to adjust how much tension is applied when the lever is locked down.

My next step was to install the AKR top section and located it about three slots back as a starting point. In my case, that worked just fine. I then eyeballed the left to right location over the centerline of the rifle and installed the screws. Note, I do not drill and install the pins until test firing just in case I decide to move the rail around.

Here is my M76 with the two parts of the mount. You can get a good look at the side rail on the receiver as well. Don’t get ripped off by cheap counterfeit products that don’t hold up – only buy your RS!Regulate mounts either direct from them or a reputable dealer – not Amazon or eBay.

This is the AK-303M lower rail section. You can see the shiny adjustment screw right under the “-30” part of the AK-303M product stamp.
This gives you a good view of the AKR unit and how the ingenious design allows you to basically use an upward facing Picatinny rail on the AK-303M to mate with the downward facing rail on the 303M. The slots are where the screws go and you can see how they enable the left to right movement. The circular holes are where you can drill and install pins *after* you finalize the layout – I would recommend doing this after test firing or even several range visits.

Vortex Crossfire II Hog Hunter Scope

Part of my design criteria for the rifle was to use it for hog hunting. That would entail using a scope that is pretty versatile in daylight as well as dusk. To accomplish this, you need a scope with a big objective to gather as much light as possible (50mm or better), a 30mm tube and good glass to aid in the transmission of the image.

In terms of the reticle, I really did not see a need for something really fancy with tons of MRAD or MOA markings for calculating distance, drop and windage. However, I did know that I would need some form of illumination for low light.

Lastly, in all candor, I knew I was putting an optic on a rifle that would likely shoot 1.5-2″ at 100 yards. I did not need to put a super-high end optic on the rifle – just one that was good enough and reliable.

After doing some reading, the ideal scope with the above design criteria and a very affordable price turned out to be the Vortex Optics Hog Hunter (SKU: CF2-31049). The specs are pretty good:

  • Magnification 3-12x
  • Reticle: V-Brite Illuminated (MOA) – The center 0.5 MOA Red Dot is illuminated and the subtensions are in MOA
  • Objective Lens Diameter 56 mm
  • Eye Relief 3.5 inches
  • Field of View 36.7-9.2 ft/100 yds
  • Tube Size 30 mm
  • Turret Style Capped
  • Adjustment Graduation 1/4 MOA
  • Travel Per Rotation 15 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment 60 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment 60 MOA
  • Parallax Setting 10 yards to infinity
  • Length 14.3 inches
  • Weight 21.1 oz (just over 1.3 pounds)
This is the Vortex Hog Hunter 3-12x56mm scope. You can see the RS!Regulate mount on the rifle and also the UTG rings that I used for prototyping. Now you may be wondering why I am using quick release rings on a removable scope mount so let’s discuss that next.

Quick note on the lens caps. They are from Vortex but I am not super excited by that front one. They seem very well made but it is definitely a stretch to get the rubber over that huge front bell. I’m going to stick with them for now.

Figuring Out The Rings

In most cases, you want to mount the scope as close to the center of the bore as you can. This reduces the angle from the center of the scope to the center of the bore.

This is overly simplistic in that it ignores ballistics but it is trying to illustrate that all things being equal, a lower mounted scope will be closer to the centerline of the bore after the zero point and require less adjustment/correction than a higher mounted scope.

So here’s the tough part – any AK-type rifle has a big rear sight block (RSB) that is pinned to the barrel that not only holds the rear leaf sight but also holds the rear of the gas tube in position and the front of the dust cover is inserted into a slot — in short, it has to be here. Thus, any optic must clear the RSB somehow.

The RSB is pinned to the barrel and holds both the rear sight and secures the rear of the gas tube. Problematically, it extends above both the dust cover and the gas tube.

So this means we have two options – either the optic must slide into position and clear the RSB while doing so -or- we vertically lower the scope into position. To slide the scope in either means you go with tall enough rings and/or a small enough front objective that the front of the scope can clear.

The vertical option means we can use both a bigger objective and lower rings but begs the question – what do we do if we need to open the rifle up in the field? That is why I opt for quick release rings. Now, let me point out the photos show interim UTG rings that will not be on the rifle long term. I had them in storage from way back when and used them and some other models to do some “what if” scenarios.

The problem with this model of ring from UTG is that they use a round screw that goes through the Picatinny rail channel – they should be using square stock to securely and consistently secure the ring to the rail. While I do not expect a ton of recoil from the M76, I would rather the rings sit securely in the rail and not move around or place uneven stresses on the rails.

In the next few weeks, the UTG rings will be replaced by an American Defense AD-Recon-SL-30-STD one piece mount. American Defense makes top notch gear. The UTG rings definitely helped me prototype the layout and identify that I needed rings that measured from the base of the ring to the center line at least 0.915″. The AD-Recon-SL will hold to scope just a tad higher at 1.110″ and I am okay with that almost 0.195″ difference. It’s real tight right now as you can see:

Voodoo Cheek Pad

The one thing I quickly found out was that I needed a cheek piece to give me a better weld. I have used Voodoo Tactical cheekpieces a number of times in the past so I used one hear to give me about a 1/2″ lift to better line up behind the scope.

You can access that top soft cavity and add or remove material to give you whatever height and “feel” that you want.
I’m going to do some tailoring of the straps in the near future. While I am using the hook & loop (velcro) straps came with the Voodoo pad right now, I’ve been using this cool industrial hook & loop tape that is double sided with the hook on one side and the loop on the other that ought to really clean this up.

The Result

Right now, I’m happy. I need to get the ADM mount in and get to the range but everything is very promising so far.

Okay, in the next post, I’ll tell you about the ALG trigger.


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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Part 1: Two Rivers Arms Yugo M76 Rifle – Out of the Box

In 1975, Zastava Arms was approached by the Yugoslavian military with a need for a designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) that was semi-automatic and fired a full power round. Rather than license the Dragunov design, Zastava took a similar path that the Romanians did with the PSL – they took the base Kalashnikov design and scaled it up to handle a full size rifle round that they already had. In the case of Zastava, they chambered the rifle in 7.92×57 (8mm Mauser round). This put the effective range for human sized targets out at about 800 meters (875 yards).

The M76 is an interesting beast. When you pick one up, the first things you notice are that it is both heavy and long. Zatastava opted for a stiff, albeit heavy, milled receiver and a heavy barrel profile. The published statistics for the rifle put the weight at 4.6kg (10.14 pounds) – definitely not light. The barrel is 550mm (21.65 inches) long and the overall length is 1,135mm (44.69 inches).

All Things Yugo

This is where I enter the pictured. In 2006, I saw a photo in Shotgun News of an 8mm AK and thought it was a mistake! Over the years, I both learned more about the extended family of firearms based on the Kalashnikov design, the more I came to really like the Yugoslavian branch of the AK tree. I also very much wanted to own a Yugo M76 but a combination of budget (or lack there of) and reports of quality control problems by commercial US builders held me back.

A few things all came together to get me to finally move on having an M76. First, I got to know Two Rivers Arms over the years both by selling grips to them as well as their building some M72B1s for me. I knew they would do exceptional work. Second, TortOrt released their 80% Yugo M76 receivers and Tim at Two Rivers told me he could work with one of them. Third, I was able to source a complete kit with no furniture but a Green Mountain barrel from Apex and bought a complete Yugo M76 kit from Ivan Drago on GunBroker that did not have the barrel or the optic.

I need to mention something here – I just am not a huge fan of the offset scopes that the Soviets and Communist Bloc (ComBloc) countries came up with. I prefer something low, centered and … modern (gasp). When I talked to Tim at Two Rivers about my plans to not go with the traditional ZRAK 4x optic he was surprised. I already knew I wanted to use one of RS!Regulate’s mounting systems because they are simply the best most adjustable mounts out there. My first thought was to replace the factory optic rail on the receiver with more on an AKM style but we found out that the RS!Regulate AK-303M would have enough adjustment that we could use the factory rail. So, I ordered in the AK-303M lower rail and the AKR upper – RS!Regulate mounts are two piece so you can really dial in what you want.

This is the two piece RS!Regulate mount. The lower piece starts a fourth of the way down where you see a second Picatinny rail. That lower pieces is the AK-303M section. The upper piece is the “AKR” model and can be moved front to back and left to right on the lower allowing you to really dial things in. Pins are provided to lock the position in once everything is worked out.

By the way, on the RS!Regulate parts, either buy them direct or from a reputable vendor – not eBay or Amazon. There are cheap Chinese knockoffs/counterfeits that are for sale and not only is the quality poor but you are taking money from the small business who put in the hard work and money to make these.

Eventually, all of the parts arrive, I packed them in boxes and sent them to Tim at Two Rivers. Then the waiting part happened. With top notch builders, they are backlogged with work. In my case, I asked them to put the project on hold at one point, so all said and done, it was just shy of two years before schedules aligned and the rifle was completed. When Tim called to tell me he was wrapping it up after test firing it, I was pretty excited to say the least.

Out of the Box Impressions

Tim sent the rifle to my friend and FFL, Scott Igert of Modern Antique Firearms and as soon as it arrived, I went over to get it. Scott and I pulled it out of the box. Wow , was it big and cool. The diameter of the barrel was actually surprisingly big.

When I got home, I measured it. The rifle was just under 44-3/4″ long from the tip of the compensator to the top of the recoil pad on the buttstock.

Weight of the rifle without a magazine was 9.86 pounds. It was 10.42 pounds with an empty magazine. I instantly liked the heft as I like heavy rifles and the balance was pretty good. Granted there is a mile of heavy steel in front of the receiver but it was pretty decent.

Here are some photos of the base rifle. You may notice the trigger is silver – I did install an ALG Ultimate trigger (my hands down favorite AK trigger now) before I took these shots and will write up some of the modifications in following posts.

Look at that barrel and giant ejection port!
Here’s a good view of the M76 buttstock with the unique relief in the front. Note, you can interchange Yugo M70 and M72 fixed stocks with the M76 if you are ever so inclined. Then you have that giant unique grip. I wear XL-sized gloves and it is a handful.
It uses the same recoil pad as the M70 and M72 series rifles. Because of the weight and the gas action, I am not expecting a bad recoil.
There is just under 17″ of the 21.65″ barrel sticking out from the end of the wood (not the retainer) you see in the photo. The muzzle brake is integration with the front sight block (FSB) and not removable. The barrel is 0.845″ thick immediately in front of the handguard retainer.
The M76 has a gas regulator and is the silver dial you see above. It has three settings.
Unlike AK rifles, the M76’s muzzle brake is integral with the front sight block – it is not removable. It’s also interesting to note the threading for the attachment of a suppressor. Note the bayonet lug.
Let’s look at the other side now.
The side dovetail scope rail is unique and the RS!Regulate can accommodate it.
It uses a solid recoil rod assembly like the milled AKs and some RPKs use vs. the toggle wire assembly you see in AKMs. The increased rigidity of the recoil rod probably helps handle the heavier load plus aid in consistency of the bolt returning into battery. A number of us used to build AKMs with the milled rods to try and improve accuracy.
The M76 uses a 10 round box magazine.
There is one Achille’s Heel with the M76 (meaning the one weakness) is that the followers have a tendency to jam down hard when the bolt hold open (BHO) follower is hit from behind by the bolt. — that’s pretty ironic really. What happens way too often (in my opinion), is that the bolt hits the BHO causing a cantilever motion and because of an overly large gap, the front of the follower nose dives down into the mag body and it is not easy to get it back up but there is a fix. Note the very small tab just barely visible between the rear of the bolt body and the follower – I welded that in to limit the gap that allowed the nose dive to happen. I’ll write that up in a later post.
Nice shot of the Zastava logo and serialization info above the lightening cut.

I will be writing up my journey in upcoming posts and hope to take this rifle to the range in the near future. Definitely a big shout out to the gang at Two Rivers Arms for another wicked build! Thanks guys!


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.


Yugoslavia army JNA scope ON-M76A ZRAK for M76 from 1984

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Zastava USA Confirms They Will Import the M91 and M93 Rifles

I am definitely a long-time fan of Zastava rifles. I’ve owned a number of their Kalashnikov variants over the years including the M70B1, M72B1, M76, M77 and M92. When Zastava announced prior to the 2019 SHOT show that they were forming Zastava USA to handle importation instead of Century Arms, I was cautiously optimistic that we would see at least the introduction of the M91 rifle to the US market.

Zastava USA has a website and they have a PDF catalog with some great looking firearms. What caught my eye were a number of tactical models including some I didn’t expect – the M07, M12, M91 and M93 rifles.

Here are some screen captures from their catalog so you can see what I am referring to:

In mid-March, I emailed them to ask about importation plans and they did confirm that both the M91 and M93 are planned for importation in “early summer” of 2019 but the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) has not been set yet.

They did not mention the other models to be clear so I must conclude they are not planning to import them at this time.

I know a lot of us would like to see the M91 come to the US and I’m hoping they price it in an affordable manner. I would really like to see how it performs next to my M76 (8mm Mauser) and M77 (7.62×51) rifles. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

7/11/19 Update: First batch sold out. Click here to read more.

6/4/19 Update: Zastava says there will be a “very limited number” and, in my opinion, they will be expensive. Click here to read more.


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.


My Cool New Kalashnikov Coffee Cup

Guys, I must confess that I have a coffee addiction 🙂 As most of you know, I am into AK rifles as well. As part of that interest, I have read every biography I could find of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to try and better understand what led to the creation of the AK-47 and the eventual family of Kalashnikov designs.

Recently I was searching on Amazon and surprisingly found a coffee cup with a great photo of a young Kalashnikov that was tastefully done and, of courcase, had to order it. I had to wait a few weeks as it shipped from Germany.

When it arrived, I was surprised that the graphic was a different color than what the Amazon ad depicted. I thought about returning it but I do like the cup. The following shows you the cup that arrived – it is pretty cool and the color has grown on me.

My wife’s reaction was “Why did you buy another coffee cup?” To which I answered “But honey, this is Kalashnikov” at which she just turned around while shaking her head 🙂

In case you are looking for a conversation piece, check out this cup. Here’s the listing on Amazon.

7/3/2019 Update: It’s holding up just fine. It does make for a cool conversation piece when people use it. “Who is this guy?” is usually how it starts 🙂


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.


New SDS 10 Round Magazines At The Range – They Worked Great

As you may have read, my first range session with my new SDS Lynx shotgun didn’t go very well when I used new untested 10 round SDS brand magazines.  I posted my findings and David Fillers of SDS immediately reached out to me to address the issue.

David told me they did have a few quality control problems early on and that he wanted to replace my four magazines.  Note, David said they have sold over 3,000 magazines with just a few problems  and given that I haven’t heard or read about others having problems, it must have just been bad luck for me.  At any rate, I was impressed that he reached out so quick and a few days later the replacement magazines arrived.

To make sure I didn’t have further problems, they had opened each package and tested the followers, which I appreciated.   Let me tell you, the difference was night and day.  The replacement magazine followers were much looser as they approached the top of the mag and felt great from the start.  Exactly what I would normally expect.  Of course, this then begged the question of how would they perform?

About a week after that, I finally got a chance to take the Lynx and the new magazines to the range.  I could tell the Lynx was still wearing in.  Whenever you have a weapon with parkerizing, it is to be expected.  We put about 25 rounds of 2-3/4″ Remington 00 buckshot through it the first time and then I put about 70 more through on this trip.  I’d say somewhere between cumulative round 40-50 (meaning from the fist session and this one), the SDS really started to smoothen out.

How could I tell?  It was cycling faster and it was kicking rounds out very aggressively so I turned the gas port down from wide open to the third widest setting.  I bet I can turn that down again for these higher-power rounds in the near future.

Those 12 gauge rounds are stout.  It’s been years since I shot more than 25 in one session so I was feeling it.  You’ll also notice that my JMAC brake loosened up.  I had hand tightened the jam nut and forgot to secure it with a wrench.  I fixed that problem as soon as I got home.

At any rate, the new SDS 10 round magazines worked great especially once the action started smoothing out.  I tried them all the way full with 10 rounds as well as starting with only five rounds.  I also fired both buck shot and some Brenke slugs.  Thus, I’m happy to report that the SDS magazines appear to be good to go.

There is a good lesson here for all of us – including me – definitely test your gear before you need to rely on it.  Thankfully this was just me getting embarrassed by my buddies at the range razzing me vs. a critical situation.

Now, I next need to point out that I took the CSSpecs magazines with me also and all they did was jam so I need to contact those folks and work on them next.


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 T-Shirt Out Line Logo Gun Rifle Size S,M,L,XL.2XL,3XL,4XL,5XL 100% cotton

$13.95
End Date: Thursday Sep-12-2019 9:29:54 PDT
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Nobody Needs An AK47 Whiny Little Funny T Shirt Guns Gun Rights Rifle Hunter Tee

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KALASHNIKOV T-shirt AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Russia T-Shirt Shirt S-5XL

$8.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-8-2019 9:57:42 PDT
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
End Date: Tuesday Aug-20-2019 11:20:21 PDT
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AK47 Soviet USSR Russian Poker Hand Printed Men's Tee Shirt 968

$9.95
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 17:32:05 PDT
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
End Date: Tuesday Aug-20-2019 11:20:21 PDT
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
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F--- Gun Control Funny T Shirt Gun Rights 2nd Amendment AK47 Hunting Tee

$6.99
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KALASHNIKOV AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Short Sleeve T-Shirt AK47 Greatest Hits

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Black Guns Matter - Pro Gun Black Shirt AR-15, AK47, 2nd Amendment,T-shirt, 1776

$11.99
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AK47 Gun Black Graphic Tee Shirt Men's Size XL

$1.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Aug-20-2019 11:40:04 PDT
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Bold White AK-47 - 2nd Amendment Bear Arms Guns Mens T-shirt

$10.33
End Date: Monday Sep-9-2019 12:45:51 PDT
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NORINCO T-Shirt BLACK - SIZE M - 3XL ak47, sks 7.62 x 39 GUNS

$10.00
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AK47 - AR15 T-SHIRT Rifle Tee ~ GUNS ~ 2nd Amendment

$13.79
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 18:19:56 PDT
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
End Date: Tuesday Aug-20-2019 11:20:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $10.33
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
End Date: Tuesday Aug-20-2019 11:20:21 PDT
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AK-47 T-SHIRT -MOLON LABE COME AND TAKE IT THEM MILITARY SECOND 2ND AMENDMENT LE

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STREETWISE HIGH CALIBER 2.0 T-shirt AK-47 ASSault Rifle Tee Men White NWT

$27.21
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Tuning SDS 10 Round Magazines for Saiga and Lynx Shotguns

Well, Scott, Brooks and I went shooting a few weeks back. I was really excited to take my new SDS Lynx out and I had bought four brand news SDS 10 round magazines that I took out of the wrapper and threw in my range bag. That turned out to be a mistake. The photo above is of Scott trying to clear yet another jam from the Lynx with one of the 10 round magazines inserted – they had feed failures constantly.

One of the things I was told years ago was to test everything before you rely on it. Now granted I was just going to the quarry to shoot with my friends but I really should have tested those magazines. Of the four, only one kind of worked. The followers were all hanging up about an inch from the top. The five round SDS magazine that came with the shotgun ran great but five founds at a time is not the most exciting thing. It was frustrating and disappointing at the same time.

The Lynx and the mags went back in the gun case and I felt pretty stupid for not checking the mags before going. On the other hand, they were brand new and should have worked. I was more than a bit miffed also – clearly there was a manufacturing issue, Followers should spring to the top of a magazine like a rocket – not get stuck part way down. A person should not need to buy magazines and then tune them inside – getting them to fit an AK-style weapon, sure that happens all the time, but not needing to redo the internals.

In the following photos notice how the followers are not all the way to the top compared to the small 5 round magazines.

At that point I made a decision – the SDS magazines really did look well made and rather than send them back, I decided to tune them and document what I did to share with others.

The Lynx shotgun uses Saiga magazines so this design is common and writing up what to do might very well help others out. So with my mind made up, it was just a matter of finding the time to do it.

A couple of weeks went buy before I could dig in but finally the time came. I’m going to try and show you what I found and explain what you need to do to correct it. You’re going to need a Dremel (or similar rotary tool), rubberized polishing bits, felt/wool polishing bits, and a plastic polish – I use Plastix a lot but even toothpaste would work. Yes, toothpaste is a very fine grit polish – you can even use it to polish plastic headlights.

Disassembling a SDS Magazines

The SDS magazine comes apart just like any AK magazine – you push the button on the bottom with a screw driver and slide the floor plate off of the magazine body. Now take a look at it. It can only push off one. All of the magazine Parts in the SDS can only go one way.

So push the button down and shove the floor plate in the direction of the opening. You may need to use a small Mallet or something hard to give it a little bit of a whack to get it started.

Now once you get that floor plate off the rest is going to want to spring out so use your thumb to keep it from flying across the room or in your face.

Fixing The Problem Area

The problem area in the magazines seem to be in the upper inch to inch and a half. You’ll see a mold seam that needs to be erased using the Dremel tool with the rubberized abrasive tips as well as it being tight in general all the way around.

So the first thing I did was to use a small rubberized abrasive tip to erase the mold seemed entirely that runs around the inner area of the magazine. In the next two photos you’ll see a shiny protruding lip inside the magazine that is just above the follower — that is the mold seam I am speaking of. It’s important to note that the follower is binding even before getting to that seam.

I used a small rubberized fine abrasive tip in my Dremel to literally erase the mold seam flush with the rest of the mold body.

At this point I blew out the magazine body with compressed air and the overall fit of the follower to the magazine body was just too tight. It and the body needed to be thinned a bit – not a bunch, just a bit.

In terms of the trimming, I would definitely recommend that you use the abrasive tip to remove just a little and test over and over. I can’t stress this enough – don’t try to do it all at once. As the saying goes, it’s easier to take more material off than to try and put it back on.

I wound up switching to a bigger rubber abrasive wheel when I did the follower and as far as I could reach in with the bit on the Dremel. The bit is still fine, I would not recommend using anything very aggressive. I used this bit on the follower and the inside of the magazine body. You just need to take a little bit of material off. I went all the way around the magazine body and the follower in that top area. You’ll see just below the scene there is a little elevated area inside the magazine that guides a follower up into position that is too tight.

Now I found I needed to do a second step to really smooth things out. The abrasive bit leaves a rough surface and the next thing I did was to use a felt bob/bit with felt on the end in my Dremel along with Plastix polish to finely polish all the surfaces. I tried skipping this step with a couple of the magazines and the end result was so much better that I went back and polished the surfaces I worked on in all of the magazines.

The polishing with the Plastix really made a big difference and I would recommend you do it as well. You could tell the parts were smoother. Definitely wipe everything down and do not leave the grit in the magazine.

Next, I sprayed the Dupont Teflon dry film lubricant in the magazine body and on the follower. I would not recommend using oil or anything that leaves a residue that dirt will stick to. Instead you want something that is going to leave a dry film behind. This really fixed everything once and for all.

I then reassembled the magazines. As mentioned the parts can only go one way. I never took the spring off the bottom plate so I didn’t have to worry about its orientation.

I went ahead and did one final spray of Teflon around the follower and let it run down in. While it is still a liquid, the lubrication will not be very good. You need to let it dry. In my case, it shot up like a rocket. Job done.

End Result

The magazines all seem to work fine now. I think the problem was a combination of the mold seam and that inside area being just a tad too tight. I hope this post helps you out. Small side note to SDS – you really ought to fix this.

10/15/18: First thing this morning SDS reached out to me and is sending replacement magazines. I will test them and report back. They have sold over 3,000 magazines with just a few problems so I might just literally have a bad batch.


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.

Amazon links are at the bottom of the post.


Saiga-12 Shotgun T-Doll (Tactical Doll), Girls' Frontline Patch

$8.99
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:38:39 PDT
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Saiga Shotgun Picatinny Rail

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End Date: Saturday Aug-24-2019 7:04:34 PDT
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ATI Saiga Talon Shotgun Rear Pistol Grip Scorpion RPG, A5102354

$49.89
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ATI Saiga Talon Shotgun Pistol Grip w/Scorpion DG

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ATI Saiga Talon Shotgun Rear Pistol Grip Scorpion RPG

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Awesome Shirts and Hoodies for AK Fans

Folks, I’ve been involved with AKs since about 2006 – not a long time but long enough to watch the AK, or Avtomát Kaláshnikova, rise from a firearms embraced kind of at the fringe by preppers and guys who realized that it was extremely reliable and fun to shoot.

Today, the AK and its many, many variants (AK-47s, AK-74s,  Veprs, Saigas, PSLs, M70ss, PAPs, SLRs, Galils, AMD-65s, etc.) are really in the mainstream.  There are tons of rifles, ammo and accessories available.

What I also think is interesting and very cool is the rise of AK clothing (T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies mainly) where you can show off your favorite firearm — or at least one of your favorites 🙂  These used to be limited-run hard to find stuff years ago.  Now, thanks to eBay, there are tons and tons of options in terms of designs, sizes and colors plus you can see how well the vendor is doing in terms of sales volume and ratings.

There are T-Shirts

I had to order one with the 7.62×39 spam can!  Note, some of the images don’t show but when you click on the link you can see the item and some of them are hilarious!

AK-47 T-Shirt Out Line Logo Gun Rifle Size S,M,L,XL.2XL,3XL,4XL,5XL 100% cotton

$13.95
End Date: Thursday Sep-12-2019 9:29:54 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV T-shirt AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Russia T-Shirt Shirt S-5XL

$8.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-8-2019 9:57:42 PDT
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AK-47 T-Shirt Long Sleeve out Line Size S,M,L,XL,2XL,3XL 100% cotton

$14.99
End Date: Monday Aug-26-2019 12:57:11 PDT
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STREETWISE HIGH CALIBER 2.0 T-shirt AK-47 ASSault Rifle Tee Men White NWT

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AK47 Soviet USSR Russian Poker Hand Printed Men's Tee Shirt 968

$9.95
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 17:32:05 PDT
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AK-47 T-SHIRT -MOLON LABE COME AND TAKE IT THEM MILITARY SECOND 2ND AMENDMENT LE

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Ice Cube AK-47 Custom Mens Fashion T-Shirt Tee S-3XL New-Black

$14.99
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AK-47 and Bullet American Flag - 2nd Amendment USA Mens T-shirt

$10.33
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AK-47 Kalashnikov BLACK T-SHIRT RUSSIAN RIFLE MILITARY AK47 AR15 AK 47 AR-15

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KALASHNIKOV AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Short Sleeve T-Shirt AK47 Greatest Hits

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Sweatshirts and Hoodies

KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
End Date: Sunday Sep-8-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$26.00
End Date: Sunday Sep-8-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - BLACK

$34.99
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

$16.79
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:04:55 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

$22.57
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:05:06 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Tuesday Aug-27-2019 8:44:09 PDT
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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

$28.99
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:05:06 PDT
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Sweatshirt -Statue of Liberty AR15 AK47 'MERICA

$29.99
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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

$28.99
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:05:06 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.99
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Tuesday Aug-27-2019 8:44:09 PDT
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Sweatshirt -Statue of Liberty AR15 AK47 'MERICA

$29.99
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

$24.81
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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - SPORT GREY w/ BLACK

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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - WHITE

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AK 47 Semi Automatic Rifle Gun Stencil Outline Firearms Own My Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Sunday Aug-25-2019 19:31:07 PDT
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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - BLACK

$39.99
End Date: Saturday Sep-7-2019 12:21:43 PDT
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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

$27.99
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:04:55 PDT
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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

$29.99
End Date: Thursday Aug-29-2019 14:04:55 PDT
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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

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AK-47 Rifle Sweatshirt 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweater

$27.99
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Needless to say, I’ve bought a few and hope you find some cool garb to express yourself as well!

P.S.  If you want to limit your risk a bit, buy from vendors with more sales (I like over 30) and positive reviews.  Anyone can get one or two great reviews from friends and family so be cautious.


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.


 

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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