I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

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Jeffro
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Jeffro » Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:58 pm

I'll second Darrell on a VEPR. I've got an early thumbhole stocked rifle in .308 that is a very well made example of the type. But, like he said, they are hard to find and can be pricey. I've also owned a preban Polytech Legend (had to sell) with a milled receiver that was very good, too. I've had a couple Norincos that were good, too. But, it helps out the Chicoms if you buy one new.

Another option is Century's Yugo M70. It's on a heavier receiver, the crack monkeys at Century seem to be consistently good on these, and it is well built. However, it doesn't have a chrome lined barrel and the handguards are proprietary - standard furniture kits won't fit it because they are a bit longer. When I got mine, there were rumors that there were no more kits available, and what was out there was it. This may still be the case, because I just looked at the Classic Arms site where I got mine, and all they have in the Yugo line are M72s. The M72 is a heavy and long barreled (with built in bipod) replica of an RPK. $529.95 list - w/o shipping. I've dealt with these people in the past, and they may or may not be the cheapest, but they are among the best.

Another thing I'll toss in is how to determine if the build is worth a crap - if you cannot snap the receiver cover back on without five minutes of fiddling around, then the parts were probably stamped from worn machinery. Every bargain basement example my mitts have handled had this tendency. Also look for canted front sights. Some of the less expensive models (WASR10) were originally imported with thumbhole stocks and use inline ten round mags, until they were converted to pistol grip configuration and had the magazine well hogged out. They lack the dimples in the side of the receiver that help locate the larger mags, so the wider mags tend to wobble quite a bit. Apparently this doesn't seem to affect feeding - but it is something you should know.

At any rate, AKs are fun, and the contrast between them and the AR platform is pretty kewl to actually see and appreciate.
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.

Shane

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clyde621
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by clyde621 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:46 am

Mekender: Century is located just out side Charlotte. If you go to their site they offer a location that you can buy from them with just a little fee.
http://www.classicarms.us/
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mekender
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:00 am

clyde621 wrote:Mekender: Century is located just out side Charlotte. If you go to their site they offer a location that you can buy from them with just a little fee.
http://www.classicarms.us/
classic arms doesnt sell directly, they have an FFL in charlotte that does their transfers for them. My FFL will do em for half of what he charges. But thanks, i hadnt thought of classicarms... only problem is that i have to pay tax
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Whirlibird
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Whirlibird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:38 am

Lancaster, Vepr's, Arsenal (Bulgarian), not necessarily in that order.
All make quality products and are generally worth the extra cash outlay.

However, I have had surprising luck with the Romanian WASR's, both in single stack and conventional magazine form. Some garbage too.

If I were going to do another AK, (might just have to) I'd consider the 7.62x39 cartridge pretty much exclusively. Of the three choices, (inc. 5.45 and 5.56) it's the most useful and unlike the 5.45, there's US commercial ammo made readily available.

Building one, I'd have to go with a NODAKSPUD receiver http://www.nodakspud.com/ and most likely a Yugo M-70 kit of some sort. For the price, they're hard to beat.
However if I could get a decent Romanian Kit and didn't want the front pistol grip, there's a whole mess of front handguards available in various styles and colors.
The Bulgarian Kits are the more desireable, from the builders I've spoken to but I haven't messed with them yet.

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mekender
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:58 am

ok so for building one, i am fairly competent with my hands, why should i not choose this option?

and how complex is it?

i know that AR's arent that hard, but an AK is a whole different beast
“I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.” - Norman Thomas, a six time candidate for president for the Socialist Party, 1944

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Whirlibird
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Whirlibird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:48 am

http://www.ak-47.us/build/index.php

http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting200 ... /index.asp

Probably the best pictorial available
http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/n ... kbuild.htm

http://ak-builder.com/index.php

Not associated with any of these, but Mark at ARS is a phenominal "black rifle" smith.

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mekender
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by mekender » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:21 am

ok see that looks like a whole lot of mess that i dont have the money to buy the tools for...

least with an AR i can do it with $30 worth of tools... no fuss, no grinding no bs...
“I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.” - Norman Thomas, a six time candidate for president for the Socialist Party, 1944

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Catbird
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Catbird » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:41 am

mekender wrote:ok see that looks like a whole lot of mess that i dont have the money to buy the tools for...
The advantage of building an AK is that you're really building it. You aren't just assembling parts, you're fabricating a new, unserialed, off the books firearm. Some folks like the idea of that.

I looked into this a year or so ago. I get the impression that the non-gunsmiths who go this route are the ones who already have the tools, (especially a hydraulic press and tack welder), and who have the skills to make the dies. These guys often go in with some friends to make several receivers and split the cost.

I hear there is a bolt-together method for assembling AKs, but it's generally not recommended.
"If at first you don't succeed, that's one data point." XKCD

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Jeffro
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Jeffro » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:55 pm

NPR has built several, two of which are pictured in the Gratuitous Gun pic thread.
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.

Shane

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Netpackrat
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Re: I want an AK... help!!! too many choices

Post by Netpackrat » Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:44 am

See, this is why we shouldn't have a "newbie" forum. I generally don't follow it, because the topics are almost never interesting to me. So I didn't notice this thread until it had already run its course, when I could have actually contributed something useful.

Anyway, as you have already figured out, because of the tooling requirement, it's not generally worthwhile to build your own AK unless you are going to do several. And whether or not to build your own receivers is a whole 'nother ball of wax, which I have skipped so far by buying 100%, factory built receivers that have to be shipped through an FFL. Making your own receivers has the advantage of being cheaper if you are making a bunch of rifles, plus "they" theoretically won't know you have it (unless of course, you brag about it on teh intarwebz). I buy the pre-made ones because the end result is better than if I had tried to make my own. A first quality AK receiver from NDS, Armory, or Ewbanks is going to be dimensionally correct, and it will be uniformly heat treated throughout, rather than just spot hardened with a torch at the wear points as most home-brew receivers are. This results in a more rigid, better functioning rifle.

Even buying the 100% receiver, building an AK can be a challenge. First you have to remove the old receiver pieces from the parts you want to save, which means precise work with a Dremel tool, punch, and hammer. Then you need to locate all of the parts correctly on the new receiver, drill new holes, and drive rivets into those holes. There is a method of using screws, and it can work okay if done properly, but there are aspects of a screw build that can make it just as difficult as a rivet build. Driving solid rivets is not the end of the world, and there are lots of different ways you can go. Most builders use various squeezers and/or jigs for a hydraulic press, which you can make yourself. Removing and re-installing the barrel can also be a chore, but there are tools for doing this that won't cost a bundle.

I'm somewhat unique among home builders, because I'm a professional A&P Mechanic, and have done a fair amount of aircraft sheet metal work. Since I have lots of specialized aircraft tools for driving solid rivets, I use those wherever possible, so my riveting methods wouldn't necessarily be useful to you. The only specialized AK riveting jig that I have is for riveting the trigger guard to the receiver using my hydraulic press, which is still a chore even using the jig.

Not trying to scare you off, but unless you already bring some metalworking experience to the table, or have a local builder who is tooled up and willing to help you, you are probably better off buying one of the many AK clones on the market. You can get a basic WASR, or pay a bit more for better quality, but they all work about the same.
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