Making Bolt Hold Open Magazines
Last Updated :: 3/25/2011 7:50:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By stargazer111:
Here lately there has been lot's of discussion about where to purchase Yugo type BHO magazines. A lot of folks like the BHO feature they can give to any AK rifle. Well there's nothing special about the Yugo BHO magazines other than the follower comes all the way to the top and has a back portion that catches the bolt. Yes, one version of the original Yugoslavian AK's did have a bolt hold open mechanism that used that side lip cut-out to activate the mechanism and engage the bolt stop. But that was on the milled version of their AK's, the stamped versions now use notched selectors to manually hold the bolt back.

The Yugo magazines use the follower to catch the bolt on the back portion. The Chinese AK magazine followers are shaped just like the Yugo ones on the back, they have a high back to them and if they came to the top would catch the bolt as well as the Yugo version. So if you have any magazines with Chinese followers you can use those followers in any AK magazine to make it BHO. There are (2) stop bumps located on the inside top of each AK type magazine. These need to be removed via dremel grinding wheel or a file would do it but much less slower. Grind or file these bumps off and now the Chinese followers will come to the top and catch the bolt after the last round is fired.

Don't have any Chinese followers? Well, there is a place that sells copies of Chinese followers, Falcon Arms. They cost $3.50 each and after removal of the stop bumps these followers will make any AK magazine a BHO type of magazine. Plus you get an extra USA part. Below are pictures of where the bumps are located on the magazine and what the magazines will look like after removal of the bumps and installation of the followers.
Comparison of followers

Remove the bumps

After bump removal and installation of follower

So now after my magazine stops the bolt if I remove it will the bolt slam home? Yes it will, unless you notch your selector/safety lever to make a manual Bolt Hold Back lever. This is not a bastard modification, the Zastava Arms plant uses this feature on some of their Factory produced versions of the AK rifle. There are different ways this is done depending on which flavor of AK you have but I will show the Yugo version and a version I use on my SAR/WASR type of AK. Below there will also be a link to a BHO demonstration video that shows it in use. After a few times of doing it, it becomes second nature to use the right thumb to pull back the charging handle while the right hand fingers slide the safety lever up to engage the notch.

Yugo selector

Yugo selector in use

SAR/WASR type of selector

SAR/WASR selector in use

Video demonstration of use of BHO selector
Be forewarned my accent is a heavy, just came in from the Texas/Louisiana woods or as my wife puts it, I am not as stupid as I sound accent.

That's all there is to it, no other magic in the expensive Yugoslavian magazines. Why spend $15-25 on a magazine when a $10 magazine and a $3.50 follower does the same thing. Or convert the magazines you already own to the BHO feature and save even more. Use this time to clean your magazines out as well, remember use no lube inside, just clean them well. If you do not have a Dremel grinding tool, the money you save by doing it yourself will pay for the tool!