Video: Tales of the Gun – AK-47, The Kalashnikov, FULL EPISODE

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.

Why We Branched Into Himalayan Imports Khukuris

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I’ve had folks ask why we branched from AK furniture into Himalayan Imports khukuris.  The answer is simple – both AKs and HI khukuris are incredibly rugged, dependable tools that may not be the most “pretty” things made but you can bet your life on them.  In fact, I got into the HI khukuris after so many board members on www.akfiles.com said over and over that HI khukuris are absolutely the best available.  So, in the fall of 2011, I bought my first HI khukuri – a massive Super Chiruwa Ang Khola.  Then I bought another … and another … and another.  They are addictive just like AKs as well!
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What I found amazing is that the bladesmiths in Nepal (known as “kamis”) are working in the HI factory in very primitive conditions forging these blades from salvaged truck springs (5160 alloy) and using basic hand tools and anvils.  Their methods have been handed down from grandfather, to father, to son for hundreds of years making differentially hardened, field serviceable blades.  The engineering, if I dare call it that, is so amazingly cool.  They figured out what worked and what didn’t by trial and error over hundreds of years.  Each khukuri is unique and reflects the kami who makes it.  These aren’t mass produced pretty knives rolling off a conveyor belt.  Instead they are extremely functional tools with a long proven history.  If you like reading about history, there are so many fascinating references on the Internet and books available!

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At any rate, as I journeyed along, I noticed a lot of guys who owned AKs also owned an HI blade or were very interested in getting one.  Given that we’ve been working with plastics for over three years now, it seemed like a good fit.  Starting in the spring of 2013, we began planning for the custom Kydex sheaths including research into designs, materials and tooling.  Over the course of the summer we made a number of test sheaths until we hit on the current type of design and how to make it.  We also found out that a lot of folks, women included, didn’t just want a sheath – they wanted to get the blade from us as well to one-stop-shop.  Thus, we first started making sheaths for our spare blades to sell plus we got into rehandling the khukuris using the various types of micarta that are available.

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Favorite Book on Assault Rifles – “The World’s Assault Rifles” by Gary Johnston and Thomas Nelson

This book rounds out my two most used reference sources (the other being Iannamico’s “AK-47: The Grim Realer) when it comes to looking for photos on AKs plus other assault rifles.

Coming in at over eight pounds and 1200 pages, this book has a ton of photos, very clear text and is organized by country.   The book covers over 500 weapons from 51 countries with over 1,000 photos in fact and was a massive research effort.

Without a doubt, it covers a ton of material and what I like is that it is well organized.  There is a good table of contents up front and a detailed index at the end.  You can go search by country alphabetically even.  This is one of those books, where you can even just flip it open and learn something.

There are special sections on operating principles, ammunition as well as more detailed write ups on certain weapons of interest such as the German FG-42 and Sturmgewehr, the Russian AK family, and US arms such as the BAR, Lewis, M1 Carbine and M16/M4 family.

This is definitely an excellent reference book

 

How To Remove an AK Gas Tube Cover

Hi folks,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Close the jaws just enough to hold  the assembly in place.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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:


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.


 

E&l Ak74mn Platinum

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Original Russian CCCP AK47 Spring Bayonnet 13.5 inches (Ships In 2 days)

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AK 47 CCCP KNIFE 13.5 IN | BAYONET KALASHNIKOV USSR + VIDEO (2 DAY SHIPPING)

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AK-74 Circle 10 bayonet

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ORIGINAL UN-ISSUED AK RIFLE BUTTSTOCK CLEANING KIT.

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AK-47 LEATHER SLINGS - MILITARY SURPLUS ITEMS - REAL DEAL - NOT REPRODUCTIONS!!!

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AK47 Type Tactical Folding Blade Knife Survival Outdoor Hunting Camping with LED

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Ak 47 accessories

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AK Fire Control Plates Greatly Simplify Installation and Removal of the Trigger and Hammer Pins

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.

 

Where to Find RS Regulate Mounts

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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.

 

Added RS Regulate Mount and Vortex HS-T Scope to the Zastava M77

I installed the RS!Regulate AK-310 base and AKR top rail in preparation for the new beautiful Vortex HS-T 4-16x44mm scope the folks at Vortex helped me select.

The RS!Regulate system is genuinely impressive. By installing the bottom rail, you then have options about the front to back location of the AKR rail as well as left to right. If you wanted to, you could install a shim if you needed even more vertical adjustment on one end or the other to compensate for a poorly placed side mount on the rifle.

The only hangup installing the AR-310 base was a poorly formed rivet with a protruding portion of the head that the base was hanging up on. I ground that portion flush and then used Brownells’ Oxpho blue to touch it up. When steel is freshly ground, I apply the Oxpho cold bluing liquid with a Q-tip and the steel instantly turns black. I let it sit for about 30 seconds and then wipe it off and apply oil.

The AK-310 base slides on like any other ComBlock side mount but it has a very nice cam lever and an adjustable bolt on the bottom to get the cam lever nice and secure. Once I got rid of the protruding rivet, it slid right on and then I adjusted to bolt until it was nice and snug when I flipped the lever.

The AKR looks like a reverse picatinny rail on the bottom and interlocks with the rail top of the AK-310. I had to move the AKR all the way to the front to compensate for the M77’s rear mounted rail. The AKR is held to the AK-310 by 4 screws in grooves. The beauty of this is that you can really dial in the centering of the scope. I was able to get the AKR exactly centered over the M77. Now, once you have it located, they give you two staking pins to drill and install to permanently locate AKR. I have held off doing that I may need to move it around some but went ahead and applied blue Loc-tite on the screws.

With the rail centered and ready to go, I turned my attention to the HS-T scope from Vortex. This is one heck of a nice scope. I opted for the MilDot reticle and a 44mm objective to ensure I cleared the rear sight leaf. In hindsight, I could have gone with a 50mm objective as there was plenty of clearance.  I own a Vortex Sparc II red dot and liked it.  This is my first actual Vortex rifle scope and I am very impressed.

I used 30mm medium rings to mount the Vortex. They are extremely beefy tactical rings from UTG. You may laugh but I have had very good luck with their rings. The only shortcoming this time is that they were so long (from front to back) that I ate up some precious real estate for sliding the scope forward. It all worked out in the end but for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could get the eye relief right but I did.

There was some give and take as I moved the scope rings and the AKR around. The photo above shows the AKR sitting in the last groove.  I wound up actually having it overhang by one by the time it was all set.

So, the scope lines up beautifully with the 1″ cheek riser on my Ace skeleton stock. I have heard that the Vortex scopes have good optics but that is an understatement – you have to look through one to realize how good it is – very bright and clear. Couple that with arguably one of the best no questions asked warranties in the industry and now you know why I bought it. I did a ton of research before doing so as well.

Now, the Yugo M77 is complete. It has our traditional front handguard set plus our custom Bulgy ARM-9 grip that I really like.

Only one more thing to do now … find the time to take this hammer shooting with multiple brands and loads of good ammo to stretch its legs.

In the very near future, I will swap out the medium rings for a low offset AR mount so I can get the scope closer to the center of the bore plus move the scope just a bit more forward and that will be a post for another day.

One final comment, Ace Riflestocks emailed me the other day and their modular Zastava adapter is back in stock.  If you are looking for one, I would recommend checking them out as well as Desert Fox.


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.


Converted a Base Zastava M77 .308 DMR

I purchased a base Zastava M77 rifle from Bud’s Guns and had the rifle sent to my good friend and FFL, Scott Igert over at http://www.migunexchange.com. To be imported, the rifle was pretty neutered with a thumbhole stock and a tacked on muzzle nut.  We then went to work – the result has our M70 traditional handguard set (the same handguard style is used on the M70 series, M76 and M77 rifles), one of our Bulgy ARM-9 custom grips (my favorite grip hands down right now), Tapco G2 FCG, US Phantom brake, a Desert Fox PK1025 adapter, and an Ace skeleton stock with a 1″ pad.

 

  

The original muzzle nut was tack welded on. I removed it with a Dremel and touched up with Oxypho Blue from Brownells.

The original gas tube cover did not use a handguard retainer spring/clip. My gas tube covers really need them to stabilize so I dug around in my parts bin and used one.

The Phantom brake is one I had handy and rather than bother with the detent pin, I used a crush washer.

The FCG retaining wire self destructed as I pulled it out (I hate those things) and replaced it with a plate.

The fixed stock was secured via a long wood screw that went though the integral Yugo grip nut. I was impressed that they did this without harming the 6mm threads in the nut. I just used one of our full length screws and away I went.

Our next post will show the RS Regulate mount and Vortex scope we bought for the rifle.


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.


SKS Stock-Yugo Military-Metal Included- NO HG-Blade Bayonet Type- See Notes

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(2) Pack of Yugoslavian 4-Cell Mag Pouches, Used Very Good Yugo Military Surplus

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Best AK Reference Book – AK-47: The Grim Reaper 2nd Edition

Folks ask me what is the best reference book to learn more about AK rifles and the variations that are made all over the world. The Grim Reaper Second Edition book by Frank Iannamico is, hands down, my number one recommendation and I say that based on owning somewhere over a dozen books on the AK rifle.

The first version of the book was very good and with the second he improved the guidance and increased the number of photos.  In it, he provides:

  • Development of assault rifles
  • Production facilities in the USSR/Russia
  • The Russian AK-47 – Production, Type 1, Type 2, AKM and AKS
  • The Russian AK-74 – including the base AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74N, AK-74M, AKS-74U
  • The AK-100 series and AN-4
  • Related Russian AK designs including the RPK
  • AKs produced in Warsaw Pact and other countires – the coverage by country is something I find very valuable
  • AKs in America
  • Accessories including magazines, bayonets, optics and more 

This is definitely a book you will want to add to your library.  I literally keep it on the right side of my desk for quick access when I need to look something up.  Here it is plus a couple of other books that I like as well:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


When Strength and Quality Matter Most