First, An Overview of Operation
Before you build or change anything on an AK, it is important to have a basic understanding of how this family of weapons works. The following is a good overview animation
The following are things you really need to consider very carefully. They aren't all encompassing but are things the author has found important (and this list will grow with suggestions):
First and foremost, you are working with a firearm and, in most cases, used parts. Assume nothing is right. The most important safety is you using your head, learning how something should be done, asking questions if need be, and then taking the time and care to build or change the weapon the right way. Shortcuts aren't so short if you, or somebody else, gets hurt or killed.
1.Assume nothing is right on the base weapon or parts you will assemble and check everything.
2.Only assemble using methods that have been proven to work safely. Rivets are the only assembly method on sheet metal rifles that has withstood the test of time and millions of rifles that have seen combat. Note screws and welding have been used for semi-auto builds and have held up thus far for hobbyists.
3.Never substitute inferior materials to save money. For example, do not use: aluminum rivets of any type where steel should be used, do not use u-drive rivets, do not dream of gluing parts in place, etc.
4.Always clean the breach and bore thoroughly before headspacing and firing.
5.Make sure the firing pin is free and clean. If it is stuck out, life will suck.
6.Use action proving rounds (dummies) and not live ammo to action test a weapon.
7.Use real headspace gauges to verify that headspace is right. Paper, tape and other methods are no guarantees and headspace isn't something to trifle with.
8.Matching numbers do *not* guarantee headspace. Always, always, always check for proper go and no/go headspace before firing a weapon.
9.Function test your rife before ever loading the first round. Take the dust cover off and watch what happens: a) Rack the weapon and squeeze the trigger. The hammer should hit the firing pin. b) Now, squeeze the trigger, while holding it back rack the weapon. The disconnector should grab the hammer and not let it follow the bolt carrier back. Now let go of the trigger and the front hook should grab the hammer. Last, squeeze the trigger and the hammer hit the firing pin as normal. Repeat the above 10 times and make sure the hammer is always caught by the disconnector and the front hook(s).
10.Make sure the bore is clean before you fire it!!!!
11.If the bolt doesn't close, don't force it! Look for what is stopping it.
12.The first time you shoot, put the weapon in a stand and pull the trigger with a cord from behind a barrier. Don't just stand there full of hope and pull the trigger.
13.Check the first 5-10 rounds for any damage. For example, Did it bulge at the base due to bad headspace?
14.After each of the first 5-10 rounds, disassemble and inspect the bolt, carrier, breach, rivets, receiver, etc. Make sure the bore is clear before you fire the next round just in case!!
15.Brake cleaner can kill you if you use it as a cleaner when working with a GMAW/TIG/MIG type of welder. The vapors decompose into one heck of a dangerous poisonous gas. Use acetone or other welder safe solvents instead.
Again, use your head. Ask questions. Don' assume. We want you to be safe, learn and have a good time.
How-Tos, Tooling, & Tips for Building
This thread is intended to host links, diagrams and tips relating to the building of AK series rifles and pistols. Please do not post questions in it - that is what the gunsmithing forum itself is for.
One important tip, when you see useful stuff, save it. Use Acrobat, Surfulater, create a Windows XPS file, or just print it out. For those of you who saw all the broken links in the first version of this resource list, you know that websites come and go.
From Soup to Nuts, Building an AK Receiver
Good guide on how to build a receiver from a flat.
Screwing Together an AK
For folks wanting to do a screw build vs. rivets, this is a very good starting place.
AK Pistol Build Pictorial
Good write up on how to make an AK Pistol.
How to do a M70 Virgin Barrel
This is a very good guide with plenty of pictures.
How to Rebuild a Milled M70 with Weld Plates
Very cool. He shows how to repair a chopped milled M70 by using new side plate inserts.
How to do a Virgin Krink M92 Build
John did a good write up - scroll down to post #9 where he starts. Very well done.
Pookie is a legend in the AK world. He has tons of info about how to make AK tools, adapt designs, etc.
Excellent Pictorial of an AMD-65 Build
This fellow took a ton of pictures and time to detail how to build an AMD. Builders of any type of AK can learn from what he did.
Kit Prep: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild1/
Bend Flat with DPH Jig: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild2/
Fitting Parts in Receiver: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild3/
Spot Welding the Rails: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild5/
Heat Treating: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild6/
Press in Barrel & Headspace: http://www.quarterbore.com/images/amdbuild7/
Romanian AK Guide
This is a great resource!
How to remove furniture including the gas tube cover: http://www.novarata.net/Linx310/furnitureremoval.htm
How to polish the FCG: http://www.novarata.net/Linx310/fcg.htm
FCG Removal: http://www.novarata.net/Linx310/fcgremoval.htm
Build Your Own AK From Two Points of View
Nice overview of approaches from my-rifle and tapeo.
Andre's Guns - AK Receiver Bending
Good write up on his approach to bending a flat.
All Thread Barrel Install Method
Reviews how to use a length of allthread rod to install a barrel. Note, you must freeze the barrel and heat the trunnion to have a chance. This method hasn't worked reliably for me. There's another design that is much heavier that I will scout around for.
How to Make an Electronic Bore Cleaner
This is a pretty interesting piece.
How to Use a Trigger Guard Jig
Shows how to use a jig such as the one AK-Builder sells.
Good info on parkerizing and much more.
Valmet's Thread on Rust Bluing
This is the best thread I have ever read on rust bluing.
Home Hot Bluing
Lots of info on hot bluing here.
AK-47 Parts Breakdown
Has pictures of the parts found in an AKM.
Templates for Receivers and Tooling/Jigs
Someone collected this info together. Includes plans for rivet jig:
How to Adjust an Side Mount Optics Clamp
Tantal wrote up how to adjust the clamp on a combloc side mount.
LightLoad's AMMS Pivot Pin Fix
Lightload wrote up how to use a rivet to replace the underfolder pivot pin on the Hungarian AMMS.
AK Barrel Component Reference Dimensions
Very good reference info on dimensions such as gas tube length, etc. by country.
Tapping Drill Reference Chart
Includes metric sizes.
How to Load a 75 Round Chinese Drum Magazine
How to Fix Trigger Slap and Doubling
This is a great illustrated write up on how to modify the disconnector to stop slap and doubling.
Nalioth has collected a bunch of info on his site
KY-AK's Custom Bullpup
He discusses some good approaches to making a bullpup including how he did the trigger linkage.
The 555th Receiver Flat Bending Jig
Very good write up and you can download the plans for this jig to bend AK receiver flats. Lots of pictures.
Grasshopper's Poor Man's Flat Bending Jig
This is incredibly basic, cost under $60 and seems to work - probably best with small quantities of flats to bend.
AK-47 Detailed Disassembly/Assembly
Arizona Response Systems (ARS) - Notes on AK Rifles
Mark knows his stuff and shares many of his insights here.
•AK Build Notes: http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/no...genotesak.shtml
•Information on AK tools: http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/no...otestools.shtml
•Metal and wood finishing: http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/no...tesfinish.shtml
•Tips from Ronin:
◦Make sure your chamber and bolt face are clean. If there is junk in the chamber that keeps the gauge from inserting correctly then you may get wrong readings.
◦Recognize that there are CIP (an international body) gauges, military and SAAMI spec gauges. They are not the same.
◦"There are two different standards for measuring headspace: Military and SAAMI specifications. Military specifications are more lenient in tolerances than the SAAMI specifications. Military firearms are purposely designed to have very lenient specifications so a variance in ammo supplies and adverse weather conditions would not cause the weapon to malfunction. Also military brass is thicker and can tolerate more stretching than a commercial case and because of this they can tolerate excessive headspace better than commercial ammunition, greatly reducing the chance for cases rupturing."
•Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP) info
•Actual CIP website
•Great write up on how to check in a downloadable Microsoft Word DOC file plus a very good discussion headspacing
•Video on How to Check Headspace
•How Headspace is Measured
Setting Headspace with Oversize Barrel Pins
YouTube Building Videos
How an AK-47 Works
This is a basic computer animation that is well done. If you are building your first AK and want to understand how it operates, this will help - especially with how the FCG is oriented and how it works when the bolt carrier moves back and when the trigger is pulled.
Some Excerpts from AGI's How to Build an AKM/AKS
For very well done tips on building an AK, check out the user BuildYourOwnAK on Youtube.
He has good videos and tips. I got a number of new ideas from him while assembling the lists for this page.
The below are a mix of BuildYourOwnAK's videos and others.
How to Bend a Receiver
Review of NDS-2 Receiver
Removing Receiver Stubs
Demilling the Trigger Guard
Removing Old Rivets from Front Trunnion
Pressing out Barrel Pin
Includes how to use a drill to remove the sight leaf. This is a slick trick I do too.
Locating the Trigger Guard and Mag Catch
Drilling Front Trunnion Holes
Pressing Front Trunnion Rivets In
Pressing the Barrel Back In
Checking the Headspace on your AK-47
Drilling Rear Trunnion Holes
Pressing Rear Trunnion Rivets w/AK-Builder Jig
How to Install the AK Fire Control Group (FCG)
This is very well done! Watch what he does with the trigger spring! I have fought that spring so many times and will now try to do what
Drilling a Scope Rail
Good tips on locating and drilling the rail.
How to Rivet a Scope Rail
How to do Rivets That Look Bulgarian
Now, AK-Builder also has videos on Youtube
He's a great guy to deal with and makes some of the best tools out there. Other than tools that I have made myself, all my tools are from him.
AK-47 Barrel Pin & Barrel Removal
You can hear the bang when it let's go!
Lower Bolt Rail Guide Spot Welding
How to Replace a Gas Piston
Review of Stamped AK Receivers
Very interesting - he shows six different types of receivers and rifles.
How to Bend an AK Receiver
Skilled with an AK
Not a build video, but interesting. Watch this Russian soldier reassemble a stripped AK.
How to Disassemble an AK Bolt
Video but no talking of a guy taking a bolt apart.
How to Install the firing pin
The fellow who just took it apart then puts it back together.
Much of this information is courtesy of ronin from the ak files.
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