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:
- 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.
- Close the jaws just enough to hold the assembly in place.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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