Category Archives: Uzi Builds

How to build legal semi-automatic Uzi pistols and rifles.

Brownells Has All Kinds of Metal Finishes And Surface Preparation Supplies

Folks, if you are looking for supplies to finish your firearm, Brownells is a great source. I’ve done business with them for years and they have provided me great technical support as well as customer service. If you are considering a spray on finish like Alumahyde (their own product), Cerakote, Duracoat, or Gunkote plus other finishes like cold bluing, hot bluing, color case hardening or parkerizingBrownells has a ton of options for you.

Both of these rifles were finished using Duracoat’s spray on finish. You really needed to blast the surface, make sure it was very clean and then allow the finish to cure for a week for it to be durable.
Baking on Molyresin over manganese park. That’s a M92 with a long barrel in the front and a M72B1 in the rear from back in the days when I had free time 🙂

These days, I do a base surface preparation of manganese parkerization and then Norell’s Molyresin on top. The park creates an ideal surface for any sprayed on finish like Alumahyde, GunKote or Molyresin to stick.

The following are some great examples of products they carry:


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Tips on Finding Decent Gunsmithing Tools on eBay

One of the challenges when starting out working on guns is building your tool collection.  It’s hard to find cost effective tools so you wind up making do with stuff, creating tools ad hoc, etc.  Interestingly enough, this is where eBay just might help.  While I’m not happy with their anti-gun position, there are a lot of tools that pop up there – ranging from low-end Chinese stuff all the way to some beautiful vintage tools.

So, I want to show some example searches with 20 live feeds from each section:

Gunsmith and Gunsmithing Tools

The trick is in the searching.  For example, here are the top 20 matches for gunsmith tools or gunsmithing tools and you will probably see a mix:

Of course there are brands I will steer away from such as NCStar and others that I will look closer at such as Brownells, Lyman, Tipton, Weaver, etc.  I also read the ratings of the seller.  If a seller has a good rating and more than 30 sales, that’s a good sign.  Less than that and you are taking a gamble.

Vintage Gunsmith Tools

“Vintage” seems to be a popular term for “used”.  You tend to find a lot of unique stuff that was made by a gunsmith to fit a special need as well as high-quality tools that were made with care vs. mass produced.  Be careful though.  I’ll zoom into the photos as much as I can plus look at the seller’s description and the rating of the seller to try and decide if the tools are in good shape or beat to death.

Used Gunsmith Tools

“Used” is still a popular term and is worth checking also.  Bear in mind the cautions I gave under vintage.

Brownells Gunsmith Tools

Brownells has been around a long time — they were founded in 1939 and have always been known for their quality tools, parts and supplies to gunsmiths.  Because they have been around for so long, you tend to see a fair amount of Brownells stuff hit eBay by name so that is worth searching.  Still look at the photos closely and the seller’s rating to play it safe.  By the way, if you have never read their Gunsmith Kinks books – be sure to pick them up.

Antique Tools

What is “antique” really is up to the seller.  You’ll see stuff that ranges from a few years to over 50 years old.

I hope this helps you out!  There is a ton of stuff out there if you experiment with the search terms some.


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Using Super Lube Grease on a McKay Semi-Auto Uzi

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I have switched to using Super Lube Multi-Purpose Grease on my firearms.  One of my test platforms was a semi-auto Uzi I built using a McKay receiver and McKay closed bolt group.

To legally build a semi-auto Uzi, you need to run a closed bolt system vs. the original open bolt.  Now the open bolt design was the picture of simplicity albeit with a pretty big bolt.  The closed bolt system uses a striker, and while a little more complex, it has a lot of moving surfaces that are parkerized.  This means they are relatively rough and need to wear in plus they need serious lubrication during this period.

My experience with my Uzi was that oil alone didn’t cut it.  Once I moved to using a 1″ chip brush and applying a light layer of Super Lube all over the bolt, striker and insides of the receiver and top cover, the reliability sky rocketed.  At this point, it has worn in fairly well and the action cycles very easily.

My recommendation to anyone building a semi-auto Uzi is to use Super Lube Multi-Purpose grease both during break in and for ongoing lubrication of the bolt and striker system.  I use regular oil on the fire control group.

I hope this helps you out.  It made a world of difference with my Uzi.


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How to Adjust an Uzi Top Cover and Fix a Bolt Blocking Latch Problem – Uzi Would Not Fire

I built an Uzi a few months back and had trouble with it firing. A challenge a person has in the firearms industry is finding time to enjoy shooting! At any rate, I took it out the first time and had really light primer strikes with the firing pin – I’m talking you could barely see there was contact. So with the Uzi refusing to go bang, I had to do some digging.

I got into Uzis because of all the movies and TV shows in the 1980s. I decided to finally make one during the Winter of 2017/2018 and chronicled my efforts. The first time to the range resulted in a lot of good natured ribbing from my brother-in-laws as we could not get it to fire. We could hear the striker hitting real hard but no bang. Luckily I had other guns for us to shoot so I put the Uzi back in the bag and took it home where it then sat for a couple of months.

I did some digging and process of elimination and got it down to a few possibilities that in some cases I had already addressed. The following is my journey and what I did to sort matters out.

Lubrication

The Uzi closed bolt system is a huge chunk of metal and moving parts. When brand new, these parts still have their porous surface finishes on them, rough spots from machining and what not. You need to make sure everything is lubricated. Remember the old saying of it slides, use grease. If it rotates, use oil. I used Tetra gun grease on all sliding parts. I definitely wanted the big bolt body to slide easily. I also did put a light coat of Mobil 1 Full Synthetic 10W30 on the firing pin but really nothing rotates in there. In the trigger group, I used the oil also on all pivot points.

For me, I heard the need for this when I assembled the carbine for the first time. There was a very dry slow-moving sound and grating feel when I first ran the action during assembly. After lubrication it made a world of difference. I could feel and hear the striker hitting far harder. The important point is to lube your weapon. This definitely helped but it did not solve my problem in this case but I could tell it would definitely impact the operation of an Uzi.

Note: When I wrote this I was using Tetra Grease but I am now using Super Lube and it works fantastic on my Uzi. Click here for the write up.

Top Cover Bent

To be honest, I thought for sure this was going to be my problem after a fellow at McKay suggested I check it. I always thought the cover seated hard and I could not release the latch without a tool. As soon as the fellow suggested it I put one and one together – I bet it warped when the third party welded on the Picatinny rail section.

So, I did some digging on the web to figure out what to do. It turns out that you should be able to insert a 0.005″ feeler gauge between the bolt and the cover at the ejection port. Guess what? It wouldn’t go in – the first rib was tight and the far rib was impassable.

Before I go further – one quick comment on feeler gauges. Not all are equal. I have a few in my toolbox but the one I use the most is is this ABN unit shown aboe. It is accurate enough and it has a ton of gauges.   I point this out because not all of these gauge sets are complete. For example, several of my gauge sets jump as the manufacturer just included the blades needed for their equipment. I’d recommend getting a set with a lot of SAE and metric blades so you have flexibility. For the Uzi dust cover, you need the 0.005 and 0.015 gauges.

Next was to take some plywood stock I had lying around and make a jig. Basically you want two pieces of wood (any wood to avoid marring) that are the same height. The top cover will be suspended between them so you can adjust the cover either up or down.

I then made two little punches. One is made by gluing and brad nailing two pieces of 1/2″ plywood together so I could hit both ribs of the top cover at once. I also made a punch out of a single piece of plywood to adjust just one rib. I then got out one BFH (big frickin’ hammer) to whack with.

If there’s one thing I have learned – don’t go crazy hitting stuff. I put the jig right on the floor for good support and then the dust cover on it. Note that on the front part, I pushed the wood block back until it was supporting a thicker part and not just the thin neck.

So, I gave it a tap – not a very hard one with the thick piece on both ribs and took it over to test. It sure went on the receiver easier. Wow – it overshot the mark. I could now very easily insert the 0.015″ feeler gauge too. My understanding is that you don’t want it that loose or you risk the bolt jumping the sear and resulting in an uncontrolled mag dump. No joke – I don’t need that in my life ever.

I took the cover off the Uzi and flipped it with top now facing up and I tapped down even lighter. It really is surprising how easy the dust cover bends. I thought given the thickness of the sheet metal and the two ribs it would be much stronger but no.

I then took it back and installed it on the Uzi. It was starting to fit better. I definitely noticed that the ribs were different in terms of their gap so I switched to the smaller 1/2″ plywood punch and focused on one rib at a time. Tap and test, tap and test. If I went too far one way, I would flip the cover and tap it the other way.

After about 15 minutes I had it dialed in. The 0.005″ gauge would slide in and the 0.015 gauge met just a bit of resistance.

In working the action you could both feel and see the improvement. As always, there was a nice firm thud of the striker. Problem solved? No – it wasn’t. Argh. It was a definite improvement in operation but did not solve the problem.

The Uzi Bolt Blocking Latch

The web is a wonderful thing. I continued to surf around and read more about peoples’ experiences with Uzis not firing. Finally I read one that caught my eye – the striker has a particular orientation that must be followed to clear the bolt blocking latch. Wow. I knew I didn’t know about that when I installed it because the light strikes definitely indicated the striker wasn’t reaching the primer and this would explain a lot.

Okay, #31 in the above diagram is the bolt blocking latch and #30 is the spring. The bolt blocking latch’s purpose is to reduce (not eliminate) the chance of an out of battery firing. It does this by blocking the striker’s base. In normal operation, it is depressed and the notch in the base clears the latch as it travels forward to touch off the primer. Now there are three key things here and I’ll tell you what I messed up.

  1. The spring must be installed correctly.
  2. The latch must move freely
  3. The striker must be rotated such that the notch is in the right place- you can install it 180 degrees opposite.

So, your’s truly bombed the last one. I did not realize there was an orientation issue. The model B striker’s base is a half circle. The notch must be at the bottom to clear the latch. In this next photo, you can see I have it installed backward:

The following photo shows the installed Uzi bolt blocking latch. See how the bottom part sticks out? That is what will need to clear the notch when it is depressed during normal operation.

Note, I was working on a full size Uzi with a McKay semi-auto receiver and bolt group. Your bolt group may look a bit different.

When installed correctly, the striker sits in its seat and the seat sits in the striker guide like so:

You can see in the above photo how my latch was chewing on the improperly installed striker. As a visual reference for the correct orientation, see how the striker’s base is facing the part of the guide that has a depression in it. When installed, it will look like this:

You can see an immediate difference because when you depress the latch, the striker can fully travel forward and sticks out of the bolt face ever so slightly. That’s what we want!

Verdict – problem solved and fun was had at the range yesterday. The Uzi is still wearing in and smoothing out. We put about 100 rounds of 124 grain S&B FMJ through it.

The carbine was accurate and a lot of fun. I am going to find a bit bigger optic for it – probably the Vortex Crossfire like I am running on my POF-5.

Regardless, I hope this helps you out!


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How to Remove Old Cosmoline and Grease or Even Free Up Rusty Parts The Easy Way

We’ve all had parts come in with really dried out preservative on it such as grease or cosmoline.  I bought some 100 year old khukuri blades that were coated in dried out grease and realized this was a great time to take some photos.  There’s a way to get all this crud off very easily – most will practically wipe off!

I learned the following trick years ago after a friend was worried I would blow myself up using gas, brake cleaner, etc.  In hindsight I must admit it was risky but I rationalized it because I needed to get the parts clean – this is not only effective but also way safer.

Take a 5 gallon pail with a sealable lid on it.  In the photos you see a basic Ace Hardware plastic bucket with it’s lid that has a waterproof gasket.

I first learned about this years ago for firearms and it is a cleaner known as Ed’s Red and I’ve used it ever since.  The formula was developed and shared by a gentleman named “Ed Harris” and it works great for dissolving grease, cosmoline and even penetrating rusty parts.

The basic formula is:

  • 1 part Dexron III or better
  • 1 part deodorized kerosene
  • 1 part mineral spirits
  • 1 part acetone

I use it over and over, which is why I recommended the lid.  I’ve been using this bucket for probably 3-5 years now.  If it gets really gross or seems to stop working then I will change it but it’s fine so far.

So, I set the blades in the ATF and liberally coated the sides and let it sit.  I periodically would reverse the blades so they could be immersed.  If they were smaller parts, I’d drop them in there and let them sit for a few days.

What I wold so each time when I turned them was to rub the blades down and try and get the softened/dissolved grease off.  A lot of it would wipe right off with no scrubbing.

So here they are a couple of days later simply wiped down.  I left a thin film of ATF on them to reduce the odds of rust but all the old dried grease is gone.

When I am done, I put the lid back on and move the pail out of the way.  I do keep wet parts out of the cleaner as I don’t want to contaminate it with water but other than that, I’ve soaked all kinds of greasy, oily, rusty, dirty parts in this.  The crud settles to the bottom of the pail over time.  I’ve learned that if I stir it up there is a lot of debris.  If it gets too bad, it will be time for a new batch.

I mentioned it in passing but this is also great for penetrating rusty parts so you can take them apart.  I can’t begin to guess what all I have soaked in this bucket over the years but it sure includes gun parts, blades, rusty car parts, etc.  It’s a huge time saver and I hope it helps you out as well.

P.S.  If you want to read more on Ed’s formula, click here for his original article that is in the public domain.


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