Category Archives: AK Smithing / BIY

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

Will A Bulgy ARM9 Grip Fit An IMI Galil? The Notch Is Definitely Different

A recurring question I get is if a Bulgarian ARM-9 grip can be used on an IMI Galil rifle. Not easily is my answer and I took a bunch of photos so you can decide for yourself. You would need to add black epoxy to the inside back of the ARM in order to Dremel or mill it open further to duplicate the swing of the Galil’s lever – at least that’s how it looks to me because I don’t own an IMI Galil to experiment with.

So, here are some photos so you can see what I mean:

Note the difference in the shape of the ARM-9 grip’s notch on the left vs. the IMI Galil’s notch on the right
Here are the notches even closer.
Here’s the ARM sitting on top of the Galil for another perspective.
Here’s where you can see that the ARM-9’s original wall design is hollow behind the notch. It’s not an impossible change – if you were to abrasive blast the inside of the ARM grip and then use wax stripper, you could then fill that back in with black epoxy. It wouldn’t be an exact color match by any means.

Summary

So there you have it. They are different and definitely not a simple swap with out doing some epoxy work and then maybe a top coat of some finish if you want the colors to match. I hope this helps you out as you think through your options.


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What Is The Best Optic For A Yugo M76 Rifle?

I did a series of posts back in the Fall of 2019 about a custom Yugo M76 that I had Two Rivers Arms build for me that I then added my own optic to [click here for the series]. A fellow recently contacted me about what optic he ought to get for his rifle, I replied and it also occurred to me that more explanation would make for a good blog post.

What is a Yugo M76?

It is a smei-automatic 10-round Designated Marksman’s Rifle (DMR) designed and built by Zastava for the Yugoslav military chambered in 8mm Mauser (7.92x57mm with an IS or JS designator at the end of the size). The 8mm Mauser round is in the same ballpark class as the American .30-06 round to give you a rough equivalent.

Let me revisit the “DMR” designation – because that is what the M76 is. The M76 was designed for a designated marksman in a squad to have much further reach than the rest of the team would have. It was not a surgical weapon and instead stressed reliability and good enough accuracy with an effective range of about 800 meters with 1.5-2 minutes of angle (MOA).

This photo is from Wikipedia and it lets you see the ZRAK optic on the M76. By the way, Wikipedia does have a nice summary write up on the M76.

What does that tell us?

That short intro starts hinting at the type of scope you might want to consider. It’s firing a relatively powerful cartridge but isn’t the most precise rifle on the planet. I can also tell you that while there is recoil, it’s not bad at all.

Choice #1 – Mounting Styles

The very first thing to consider is what type of mount you wish to use. The M76 inherits the robust side-mount rail but with some unique dimensions. The rifle was originally paired with an offset 4x ZRAK scope that slid onto that rail and clamped into place. This offset design isn’t for all folks but it definitely works for people familiar with it.

Here you can see the optic side mount rail. It sits securely in a groove in the milled receiver and is riveted in place.

The second route is to get a mount that clamps on the above rail but then centers the optic over the centerline of the bore. Call me an old school American but that is definitely my preference.

You can get mounts this way that directly hold the optic directly with the scope rings being built directly into the mount or you can get mounts that have a Picatinny rail on top that you can then secure whatever optic you want. This is my preference just so you know because it gives me more flexibility down the road.

RS Regulate mounts are the way to go!!

The best side mounts I have found that enable a ton of flexibility and adjustment are the RS Regulate brand mounts designed by Scot Hoskinson. He offers a number of different options so you need to stop by his site and take a look.

This is the RS Regulate AK-303M lower paired with the AKR upper rail.

Note, RS Regulate mounts are being counterfeited in China. I’d recommend only buying direct or from a reputable dealer below:

What optic to use?

On one hand, you could stick with the communist block styling . You can hunt around and buy 4x ZRAK optics still. There are also a lot of different offset mount optics that you can look into that are side mounted for example 8x and variable power. Just confirm the clamp on a particular model has enough adjustment to fasten onto the M76’s rail.

As of my writing this, there aren’t any ZRAK scopes on eBay but Apex Gun Parts does have some in fair to good condition (meaning very worn) and they are a good firm to deal with. Kalinka Optics has a variety of offset mount optics and is also reputable. If you really want an offset scope, I’d recommend Kalinka and go with something new.

With that said, you may be wondering “but what size scope?” The 8mm round definitely has some reach and you have to ask yourself what do you really plan on doing? This “what am I going to use it for” question is known as the “use case”.

When the Yugoslavs designed the M76, they needed a middle of the road simple optic that would allow the shooter to hit something man sized out to 800 meters. Four power magnification fits that bill because it gives you a wide field of view (meaning what you can see left to right and up and down in he scope – the more you see, the wider the field of view). They weren’t looking for precision by any means – just good enough to extend the reach of the shooter.

I’m 53 and while I grew up shooting a lot with iron sights, I can’t see very well at 100 yards and I sure can’t shoot precisely. Now remember, the M76 you have will likely be shooting1-4 MOA (1-4″ at about 100 yards, 2-8″ at 200 yards and so forth). It all depends on the condition of the rifle and the type of ammo you are shooting not to mention your own abilities. Spending a fortune on a giant quality surgical scope, like a 6-24x, is overkill…. unless that is what you really want.

What I would recommend is a variable power and I tend to favor 4-16x because I have the nice bright field of view at 4x and can zoom in if needed. Most of my shooting is within 200 yards so this works just fine for me on my DMR rifles.

Now you may be wondering “But I saw the photo of that giant scope you are running – what’s up with that?” Good question and let me explain.

That’s a Vortex Crossfire II 3-12×56 scope known as the “hog hunter” and my buddy shooting it during a range visit this summer.

My “use case” when I was planning for the optics was for hog hunting. I wanted a really big objective to suck in light for shooting at dusk and an illuminated recticle. I also happened to already have it left over from another project. It is quite affordable by the way.

So, the Hog Hunter seemed like a great match – 3-12x for fast shooting in close to having a 12x for distance shots. The big 56mm objective does pull in a lot of light. The lit recticle is only bright enough to make a difference at night and isn’t as bright as what you would see on a tactical scope.

Having used it for a while now, I’ll tell you that it delivers on the above with a couple of caveats that may make you stay away from it unless thye don’t bother you:

First, it is a big scope – far bigger than what you may think in terms of dimensions and weight due to the big objective. It’s almost 13.5″ long and 21.1 ounches.

Second. it is a giant objective and you will need to plan for. I had to carefully calculate the rings needed for it to clear the front handguard and I needed them to be quick release because the scope mount could not slide backwards due to the big objective hitting the rear sight block (RSB) of the rifle. I am still using the AD-RECON-SL mount and it is solid!

For a lot of folks, starting with an objective around 40mm tends to give you a nice bright image. I tend to use 44-50mm objectives scopes the most. Think of it this way – the bigger the objective, the more light it can pull in all other things being equal.

So where am I at today and what scope would I recommend?

I still am running the Hog Hunter and like it. If I had it to do over,I would get a 4-16x magnification and a 44-50mm objective. Recticle-wise, I’m fine with just about anything for what I plan to use it for but if I were to specify one, I’d get one with Mil-Rad (Mil-Dot) graduations because that is what I am familiar with.

There are also other variable zoom scopes out there as well such as 2.5-10x, 3-9x, 1-6x, 1-8x, etc. These are all options if you still have good eyes and want an even wider field of view on the low end. I run all of those combinations on rifles where I plan to be relatively close and not so much for long distance. Point being it is up to you – I wanted a higher power scope for shots starting often at 100 yards.

Vortex makes really good optics and I would move with whatever I could afford at the time. What you will notice is that as you move up their product line , the bigger price tag also comes with clearer and brighter optics *but* they all have Vortex’s no nonsense warranty.

Vortex Optics Offerings

I am going to present their various offerings that I would recommend and am able to show the scopes listed at various merchants as well so you can shop around:

Let’s start with their entry-level Crossfire II scopes:


Next, let’s look at the Diamondback and Diamondback Tactical series scopes:


The following are Strike Eagle scopes and the designs are focusing more on tactical versatility.


Even higher end are the various Viper HS scopes. I have a number of these and find them to be bright, clear and rugged:


My favorite Vortex scopes that I afford is the Viper PST Gen III series. Yeah, budget does have a role and have not been able to afford a Razor but the PSTs excellent. When I can afford a really exceptional optic, I look at the PSTs. A number of vendors still carry Gen II scopes and they work great also. I’ve had several Gen IIs and only one Gen III so far.


In Conclusion

I hope this helps give you some ideas of what optic to put on your M76 rifle. I really like Vortex Optics and am a user – I’m happy with the Hog Hunter but it is big. I think you’d be very happy with just about any of their scopes depending on what you want to do.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


What are rear stock options for SDS Lynx 12 Gauge shotguns?

A fellow messaged me the other day and asked what options he had to replace the light fixed stock on his SDS 12 gauge shotgun. I told him that he has a lot. The rear of an SDS is very similar to an AKM or AK-74.

The rear piece that holds the stock in is called a “trunnion” they are what provide the real strength in the sheet metal receiver. The stock is held in place by the two screws you see. Be sure to use a blade screw driver bit that completely fills the slot. You can see that whomever installed the screws at the factor did not do this and slightly deformed both slots by using an undersized screwdriver or blade bit.
You may need to use a wood dowel, or whatever you have handy, to tap the stock out. I like using a hardwood dowel because it doesn’t bend or scratch things all up.
I used a Rifle Dynamics adapter that lets you convert from the AK-rear to an AR/M4 buffer tube. Both the Rifle Dynamics adapter and the one sold by PSA are very well made.

With the rear stock removed, you can use any AKM/AK-74 traditional wood or polymer stock that you want or adapter to use an AR-style stock. Read up online before you buy because there are tons and tons of options and combinations for you.

I hope this helps you out and here are a few examples for your consideration:


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Simplify The Installation of AK Triggers With Our Slave Pin

The typical semi-auto AK trigger has four parts – the trigger body, disconnector, disconnector spring and pin. Installing it can be a challenge because you need to properly align the disconnector while sliding the pin through from one side of the receiver to another. For me, with big hands, this task takes more effort than I want.

This is your typical semi-automatic AK trigger group. On the left is the trigger body, top right is the disconnector, under the disconnector is its spring and at the bottom right is the trigger pin. The challenge is getting this all assembled inside of the AK receiver as the pin needs to pass from one side of the receiver, through one side of the trigger, through the disconnector to capture it, out the other side of the trigger and finally out the other side of the receiver. Trying to get it all to align inside of the trigger takes some patience.

The Solution – Use A Slave Pin

There is an easier approach. We can slide a properly sized dowel pin to serve as a “slave pin” during assembly to secure and properly align the disconnector and trigger outside of the receiver. This simplifies life tremendously. The unit is assembled outside where you can see what is going on, is lowered into the receiver and then the actual trigger pin is pushed through and it displaces the slave pin – the slave just exits the other side of the receiver.

This is the slave pin. Note how one side is beveled more than the other. That is the side that is inserted first. The bevel helps move things around during insertion and then the 5mm body provides the actual alignment for the trigger pin.
This is the assembled trigger group with the slave pin holding it all together.
Normally this would be in the receiver but I want you to see what is going on. As the trigger pin is inserted, it pushes the slave pin out of the way and it exits via the opposite receiver hole.
This photo shows how when the trigger pin is fully inserted, the slave simply drops out.
This is an ALG semi-auto trigger and you can see how slave pin is exiting the receiver as the trigger pin is installed.
So there’s the end result. A slave pin makes a world of difference. Note, that is one if our fire control group plates retaining the trigger and hammer pins.

Click here to order one of our AK Trigger Slave Pins

Click here if you are interested in one of our Fire Control Group Retainer Plates

In Conclusion

If you’re like me and want an easier way to install AK triggers, these new slave pins are the way to go!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Introducing 1/2″ and 3/4″ Pull Rings For Our Quick Takedown Pins

When I originally designed our Quick Takedown Pins for the Yugo M85/M92 and then also the Bulgy/Tula Krinks, PSA AK-V and Vepr 12 shotgun, I used my hand size as a gauge for making a pull ring big enough. Guys have asked me repeatedly over the years for smaller pins but I could never find them made well enough that I felt good about carrying them — until now!

This is my AK-V with its quick takedown pin with the standard size 1″ ring installed.

This last time when I placed an order with the machine shop that makes my pins, I asked if they could do custom heavy duty 1/2″ and 3/4″ pull rings from stainless steel with a black oxide finish and they said they could! It cost a fair penny because I needed to order a boatload of each but here they are as an accessory if you want to purchase them … please purchase some 🙂

Here are the three rings side by side. The pins all come with the 1″ standard ring installed.

The 1″ and 3/4″ rings are very beefy. We had to go to smaller gauge wire to do the 1/2″ rings but they should work just fine – it’s really the pin itself that does all the work.

Click here to go to the page with all of the pins and rings if you would like to place an order.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Palmetto Sells A Very Solid 36″ Tactical Rifle Case At A Very Affordable Price

For a number of years now, Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has sold a solid 36″ tactical rifle carrying case that you don’t hear about! I’ve owned a number of them over the years. When I bought my AK-E and needed a case, the PSA unit immediately sprang to mind. Yes, I really did buy the AK-E and this case. Nobody paid me to write this so I’m telling you my honest opinion.

One reason I wrote this post is that there are a ton of junk cases for sale on Amazon and eBay. I plan to write up some of the other good brands like Savior, Voodoo, 5.11, US Peacekeeper and what have you when I get some time. By the way, some Amazon reviews of cases are useless – “Looks good when I got it out of box” and they give it five stars when the POS obviously will not hold up but that buyer lacks the experience to know better.

Do you want to separate the cheap bags from the good ones real quick? Look at the material, the stitching (at least double stitched around the zipper and even better in high stress areas such as box stitches), the main carry handle straps should go around the bottom vs. ending on the sides. Guys, these rifles weigh a ton when you are carrying loaded mags with them. I’ve watched cheap cases fall apart.

One other comment – these bags really need a robust zipper. My preference are YKK zippers but whatever PSA uses is pretty good. I’ve only had one break out of the 4-6 that I have owned over the years. If you ever see a case with a zipper that looks like it came off light-weight clothing or a spring coat, don’t buy it. It’ll probably fail pretty quick with real world loads (not airsoft).

With my Magpul ACS stock collapsed, my AK-E is almost 36-1/4″ long and it fits nice and secure at a slight angle – you will not get anything longer in this case unless maybe if you force it but anyone looking for 36-1/4 or shorter will be happy.

There are tons of pockets and straps for tailoring the bag to your needs. I’m using a RS Regulate optic mount and a Vortex Crossfire red dot and everything is nice and protected by the ample padding.

Click here to go to the PSA website if you’d like to order one or read more.

In the following photos, the Secret Squirrel morale patch is something I added. The give you a velcro attachment point to do whatever you want with it.

30 round AK and AR magazines will fit in the provided pouches. You can get two mags each in the end pouches and four in the middle. Yes, a Chinese style 75 round drum will fit in the middle no problem.
You’re pushing some weight at this point and that is why you need good stitching and carry straps that go around the whole bag. Note how the mag pouches have both velcro as well as clips if you need to securely close the flaps. The bungee cords are for increasing the tension on the mags in the pouches.
There are MOLLE loops on both ends plus a small zippered poclet.
There is another compartment with even more storage areas directly behind the magazines. It will unzip and lie flat but it does not detach – not that I think it needs to. I’m just pointing open it is wide open in this photo.
My AK-E is packed in there. This is the only way it will fit and the ACS stock is firmly in one corner and the muzzle in the other. 36-1/4″ is as big as I think you can fit in here. That main compartment is 36″ long and about 10″ tall. It’s kind of hard to tell the exact height will the flexible padding – it’s somewhere around 10-11″ though.
The stitching and the zippers look good. FYI, if you ever see a case with a zipper that looks like it came off light-weight clothing or a spring coat, don’t buy it. It’ll probably fail pretty quick. I’ve seen some real crap import cases with ridiculously fragile zippers and light stitching.
The case has a flap to join the two carry handles together plus a full set of backpack straps. Everything looks solid – I’ve never had a problem with a strap but also need to point out I just sling it over my right shoulder and don’t use both straps — don’t think I ever will for that matter.

So the PSA cases are solid. They routinely go on sale and if you see one, I’d recommend snagging it for your AK or AR.

I hope this helps you out!


PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA:

PSA Had Both Yugo M70B1 and M70AB2 Parts Kits – But Are Sold Out Now

11/28/2020 – This is an old post. Please note that both kits are sold out at PSA. I would be highly surprised if they get more in but who knows.

Hi folks, I’m a fan of Yugo AKs and have been for some time. I wanted to do a quick post to let you know that both fixed stock (M70B1) and underfolder (M70AB2) kits have hit the market at a good price. You will need to build/buy a receiver, barrel and 922r parts to complete them.

Here’s a photo from PSA of one of the M70B1 kits. Click on the image to go to the order page.
This is a photo of one of the PSA M70AB2 underfolder kits.

If you are interested in building a Yugo AK, you might want to consider snagging one of these. I suspect they will sell pretty quick.


As a reminder, PSA has their own line of AK rifles and accessories in case you want to check them out.

4/24/2020 Update: I received my M70B1 and it was in pretty good shape and the numbers matched. In other words – it’s not all rusted together. All the parts are in one bag and the wood is dinged up but it’s buildable. I hope to get some photos later — let me put it this way, I’m debating whether to buy a second or not.

PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA:


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

PSA AK-E Part 5: The End Result

This is the final post of the series. Here are the previous AKE posts listed so you can view them if you so wish:

In this final post, I want to share a series of photos of the end result:

By the way, the sling you see is from S2 Delta. I have a number of their slings now and they are nicely done.

Conclusion

This is it for now. Hopefully when the Corona Virus stuff calms down I’ll be able to take it to the range. I’m betting it’s going to run real nice based on how it feels.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.