Category Archives: Poland

Photos of Rick’s Polish AKM-Beryl Transitional Rifle

Rick sent me these cool photos of his new build and I had to share them. He also gave me some details as well.

The rifle has a “Polish FB Radom barrel, trunion, and optic rail. Childers polish cg1 receiver. To stay with the polish theme, I found an unissued polish soviet era laminate stock. I was originally going to use a bakelite grip. But, since this is a hard use rifle. I wanted something more robust. But correct for the polish theme. Your grip delivered and then some. So here are some pictures of my polish AKM-Beryl transitional rifle. At least I call it that for lack of a better term. “

Yes sir Rick – that is definitely one slick build!


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What To Do When Your AK’s Barrel Is Too Big For Your Front Trunnion?

A few years ago, I bought a 1969 Polish Radom Circle 11 AKM kit from Arms of America. It has laminate furniture, matching parts and they populated a new Polish Chrome Hammer Forged (CHF) barrel with the front, gas and rear sight blocks. Furthermore, it was headspaced. I double checked that before I pushed out the barrel pin and then the barrel – that’s where things got interesting.

Pressing Out The Barrel

I have a 30 ton H-style hydraulic press with a 20 ton air-over-hydraulic bottle. The thing is a brute and have used it many, many times over the years on gun and car projects. There are a few things you learn over the years – 20 tons is 40,000 pounds and is a serious amount of pressure – steel parts can bend, break or even shatter under those loads. You learn to go slow, watch carefully feel the pump and listen. I also learned long ago to use the air to move the ram quickly but always do the real work by hand for those very reasons – I’ve bent the crap out of stuff in years past because you can’t tell what is going on.

I wear a full face shield when working with a press. I’m not joking when I say things can go bad fast when there is a lot of pressure. When you push out a barrel, you just don’t expect a ton of pressure from a new kit – at least I don’t. I’ve had some real hairy barrel pins and barrels in years past when dealing with surplus… but not on a new kit with a populated barrel … not until now.

Pressing Out the Barrel

As you can guess, the barrel did not press out easily. I had to apply a boatload pressure – way more than average. So much that I put a 3/4″ piece of plywood between me and the trunnion/barrel assembly. I was also checking and double-checking that my barrel press tool squarely on just the barrel and not a part of the trunnion – guys I was nervous.

I reached the point where I knew I was squarely on the barrel and something had to give. I was whacking on the press trying to shock the barrel out and I kept upping the pressure – pump, whack, pump, whack… Finally the barrel came free like a gun shot. Guys- do you remember the old Romy kits where the pins and barrels sometimes felt like you were taking your life into your own hands? That’s what this felt like.

I actually inspected the front trunnion very carefully looking for cracks. I then inspected the chamber end of the barrel – nice and smooth – remarkably smooth. No signs of galling. Ditto on the inside of the trunnion. I suspect that someone was using some kind of press system that included a barrel support and slammed that new barrel in using a level of force I couldn’t do without damaging parts. I noted to myself that reassembly was probably going to be just as colorful.

Building The Kit

Nothing new about building the kit – I had fun. In the below photo, the front trunnion and rivets are just sitting there. I was mocking things up and they are not actually set. I installed the trigger guard taking care to orient the selector stop properly and using a rubber band to keep the assembly together as I used my press and an AK-Builder trigger guard rivet jig to do the job.

The rubber band keeps the receiver down on the trigger guard jig so the rivet, selector stop and trigger guard all stay in place while you move around. The AK-Builder jig really does a nice job.
Here, everything is drilled and seems good to go.

So let’s get back to the main point of this blog post and why you are probably reading this – what do you do when the interference fit is too tight and the barrel will not go into the trunnion all the way.

Life Got Colorful Trying to Press The Barrel Back In

Yeah, that tight fit came back to haunt me. I tried polishing the trunnion and applying non-seize. Usually this works for me but when I went to press the barrel back in, it would not go. I saw the barrel begin to deflect in the press and immediately stopped. Let me explain what I mean by deflect – a material will bend so much and spring back into place. When I saw the barrel begin to deflect, I immediately stopped – it was taking way too much pressure and I was risking bending the barrel permanently. It was time to press the barrel back out and rethink the situation.

Here’s my barrel and my receiver. I double-checked the barrel to make sure I did not bend it – I got lucky. I always get worried if I see the barrel start to deflect/bend — they don’t always return to true.

So, what this confirmed for me was the someone slammed this thing together – hard. An AK barrel is press fit into the trunnion. To do this, the barrel is a tad bigger than the hole made for it in the trunnion by about 0.0010-.0026″ (0 .025-0.065mm) according to Robert Forbus who is a true machinist and has shared a ton with the AK community – click here for his page). At the tighter end (around 0.002″) it is getting hard, if not outright impossible, for someone to press the barrel into the front trunnion without the proper specialized barrel press equipment that supports the barrel. I have a big press but nothing to properly support the barrel in these high-pressure situations. It would likely warp like a wet noodle if I just kept adding pressure.

I don’t own a machine shop but I am a redneck with a shop. I needed to open up the barrel channel in the trunnion and opted to use an OEM brand brake hone. Why? Because I’ve used these small bore hones in the past for other things and was pretty sure it would work for this too.

I also need to point out that I have no way to accurately measure the barrel or the trunnion so I figured I would remove a bit and try to install the barrel, remove a bit and try, over and over until it went in. The next picture shows my OEM hone (and the Lisle is virtually identical):

This is an OEM Tool brand brake hone and the Lisle unit looks virtually identical.

Take a look at the above picture – by tightening the knurled nut at the base of the spring, you can apply more and more pressure to the 220-grit stones at the end of the arms. (The Lisle tool’s stones are 240 grit purely FYI – not a big difference.) I just used the basic pressure and did not increase it. Life lesson for me years ago – it’s easier to take more material off than it is to put it back on.

I applied cutting oil to the trunnion liberally and then slid the hone in and out with my drill on slow speed. I would do this for a bit, clean stuff, and then tested how far the barrel goes into the trunnion by hand and then keep removing more. This is not the time or place to get impatient.

By the way, OEM makes fine 400 grit stones that you can swap into place and use to polish the interior further if you . I got the job done with the 220 grit stones and silver Permatex anti-seize compound. If I ad the 400 grit stones handy at the time, I would have done so but I did not. Also, be sure to clean out the grit/dust before you try to reinsert your barrel.

My one action photo and it was blurry! You get the idea. Keep it lubed with the cutting oil and keep moving the unit in and out so you are polishing the whole barrel channel.

This is a down and dirty “git ‘er done” approach and will make machinists cringe. I go slow and test — I would push the barrel in, test and the press it back out if need be. [Click here to see how to make a barrel backout tool].

*IF* you see a bur or squished rivet protruding in the trunnion, then carefully grind that down with a Dremel and polish with the hone. Don’t try to do it all with the hone or you will be removing material elsewhere that you may need – the arms are spring loaded and independent so they will go where ever they can. This is a pro and con.

After a couple of tries, the barrel went all the way in with the press. To be safe, I confirmed the head space using real Manson brand 7.62×39 gages (use real gages folks and treat them well – don’t go cheap). The barrel headspaced just fine so I pressed in the pin and finished the rifle up.

Bottom line, a brake hone can help you carefully remove steel from the front trunnion and get a tight fitting barrel to go in. It worked wonders on this 1969 cold warrior that is now ready to go to the range.

The 1969 Polish AKM rebuilt and ready for the range!
The rifle is wearing one of our Polish Tantal/AKM grips as a 922r compliance part – we make them by hand here in Michigan from a glass fiber reinforced polymer.

Click here to learn more and order one of our Polish Tantal/AKM grips.


One of our fire control group retaining plates. that fits all AKMs and rifles that use standard AKM fire control groups.

It also has an ALG fire control group – they are awesome triggers – and one of our fire control group retaining plates. Click here for our fire control group retaining plates.


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October 2018 Tour of the Polish Fabryka Broni “ŁUCZNIK” Radom Arsenal Production Facility

This amazing video has four parts. First is a private tour of the FB “Łucznik” Radom factory and you will note the extensive automation, cleanliness and attention to detail. The second part is a media group touring the facility and the third is a montage of military groups shooting Beryls and different weapons.

You get to see a variety of weapons including the Mod.96 Beryl, Mod.96 Mini-Beryl, PM-06 and PM-98 submachine guns, the MSBS GROT and more.

Here’s the Video


Please note that all images are extracts from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s),


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Polish Armed Forces – How Strong Are They?

Being interested in AK weapons also leads me to an interest in the militaries that used them.  AKs are in military use in 106 countries and the USSR licensed production to 30 countries including East Germany, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Poland, and Yugoslavia just to name a few.  Interestingly enough, there have been some licensing issues but that is a topic for another day.

One of the high quality producers of small arms is Poland.  In my opinion, their AKs and other small arms are very well made.  When I started to research about their Beryl series, I was surprised to find out that Poland has been very pragmatic with their weapons and are leveraging designs from Eastern and Western countries.

A Polish soldier with a kbs wz. 1996C Beryl.
Polish soldiers with kbs wz. 1996A Beryls.  I’m pretty sure these are A-series rifles because with the B, they introduced a fixed front grip that is integral with the lower handguard.
Another soldier with a kbs wz.1996C series Beryl. 
The Poles use the Russian Hind-D gunship and plans to modernize them.  This is one of my favorite helicopters so I had to include the photo.

A young man assembled the below video about the Armed Fores of the Republic of Poland as part of his Facts Without Borders broadcast series and found it very interesting.  He has assembled some excellent footage and commentary about the Polish military including aspects you may not have considered.  You ought to consider subscribing to his channel on Youtube also.

Here’s the video


Please note that all photos were extracted from the photo and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


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Very cool Military Motivational Video – The Devil Inside You

I like military tribute videos.  This video has a catchy song and the real neat thing is that it is in high-definition (HD) video.  It has footage of men and women from a lot of different militaries and branches including:  Austria, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden – probably more that I didn’t catch.

You’ll also get a chance to see quite a collection of ships, helicopters, uniforms, small arms, bases and what not – all in high def.  Very cool.  Here are some examples of the many cool videos they assembled:

Seriously, this is a cool video and a chance for a lot of folks to see other men and women serving their countries.  At 1:41, I got a kick out of the Russian operator wearing an “Infidel Strong” morale patch.

Here’s the 2017 video:


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WBP Rogów Videos How They Demil a Circle 11 Underfolder AK — Pretty cool but sad too

Wytwornia Broni Jacek Popinski (WBP) is a privately owned firearm manufacturer located in Rogów, Poland.  Some folks assume it is the old government Radom armory with a different name but it is not.

In the US, we know about WBP because of the efforts of Arms of America (AoA) to import high quality Polish AK kits and, recently, firearms.  I ordered my first kit from AoA a tad over a year ago and ordered a number of other things from them including a demilled Radom kit that I want to build this Winter.

In usual form, I was surfing around and found this video that WBP had posted showing them demilling a Circle 11 underfolder.  Part of me is always sad to see one of these fine guns being cut up just to enable importation into the US but another part of me is also happy because at least this way we get to enjoy them.

This is a brief video and I was pretty intrigued towards the end watching how they remove the blocks from the barrel and drilled out the rivets.  Having demilled a lot of kits in the past, I’ve always found the rivets to be tedious.

Here’s the brief video that’s just under 10 minutes and I hope you enjoy it:

 


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Please note that all images were extracted from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


Very Cool AK Assembly Video From WBP Rogów – Tons of Tooling Shown

This past Spring I built a Polish Beryl inspired rifle from a WBP kit imported by Arms of America and was very impressed by the quality.  I was surfing around on Youtube and ran into this really cool video posted by WBP Rogow showing how they build an AK.  I found all the specialized tooling fascinating and was also a bit surprised by the amount of hand fitting – they are putting some craftsmanship into those rifles.

So, I would highly recommend you watch this video if you are considering buying one of the imported Polish WBP rifles or pistols, one of their kits or you are just interested in how AKs are built in general.

By the way, Arms of America is a great firm to deal with.  I built the following AK from a WBP barreled kit from them with a cold hammer forged Polish barrel.  The reliability and accuracy are excellent.

 


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Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


Assembling A Beryl-ish AK From A WBP Kit – Part 8 – Installing the Furniture, Muzzle Brake, Red Dot Optic and Test Firing

So here we are at the end. All that was left was to install the buttstock, handguards, muzzle brake, optic and test fire the rifle.

Beryl Furniture

The Poles evolved the Beryl furniture over the years so I went with a particular handguard from Robert RTG that I liked, buttstock from Arms of America and one of our grips.

The lower handguard is what you would find on a kbs wz. 1996A Beryl. The upper is one I had in a box and pretty flimsy. I ordered a genuine Polish upper that I will install after I refinish the rifle.

The upper and lower go on the same as any AKM. I really like the lower – that lip you see makes for a very natural handstop.

Now the buttstock definitely caught my eye. The Poles went through some different models. The first model I see with this collapsing stock is the kbs wz. 1996C Beryl. What I like is that it connects to the receiver the same as any other AK stock so I can change if I ever want to. On the con side, it rattles. I prefer telescoping stocks that are solid. It’s not the end of the world and I’ll live with it to have the unique buttstock.

The grip is our second generation Beryl model. The earlier model Beryls I saw had an AKM-ish looking grip. The first model I have seen with this type of grip is the kbs wz. 1996C Beryl.

Click here if you would like to order one.

The Muzzle Brake

The Beryls were originally chambered in 5.56 NATO and have a unique brake. This rifle is in 7.62×39 so I had to take a departure and go with another brake. Justin McMillion of JMAC Customs makes some very cool effective brakes and ordered his RRD-4C “slim” brake. It looks and functions great.

Note – the Arms of America kit does not come with a cleaning rod so I ordered a Polish AKM rod from them and that is what you see in the photos.

Vortex Crossfire Optic

To round things out, I went with a Vortex Crossfire red dot. I had a few reasons for doing this:

  • Vortex optics are solid
  • The red dot is only 2 MOA whereas some are 4 and can obscure a small target
  • It can sit right down on the rail and be closer to the bore than some red dots

I removed the riser, used some blue medium Loc-Tite on the screws to hold low-rise plate in place and installed it on the rifle.

I used a laser boresighter to sight in the Crossfire plus I lubricated everything and took it to the range with by buddy Niko.

Range Results

The rifle ran superbly. I did find that I need to tune the mag catch a bit to work with steel magazines. It works just fine with the WBP polymer mags you see in the photos and they have a noticeably thinner tab than my steel mags.

A fellow asked me how well the RRD-4C brake works and this video is of Niko shooting at targets – you can see how little the 7.62×39 Golden Tiger ammo is recoiling.

As it stands right this minute, I think this is both my most accurate AK and reliability has been exceptional. So, I still need to parkerize it and finish it but that needs to wait as I have a few other projects I want to line up and do them all at once.

Here’s how the rifle looks right now:


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