1)Part of my severance package will be spent on the tools needed to assemble AKs. The reason I said I wanted definitive answers is because there are a whole buncha opinions on the net.
I was an aircraft sheet metal mechanic for 10 years...so power and hand tools don't scare me. I can shoot and buck with the best of them.
I want the best tools I can buy...and I'm going to be building at least 10 if not more. I have access to a heat treat oven so that part is covered.
What are the best tools to buy? I would rather press the rails down instead of hammering them down.
Long story short...what's the best.
2) Does anyone have a GOOD AK build video? Not the AGI one.
3) Also I have one question that may be elementary...but I don't know it. Do you have to remove the trunnion from the barrel? I have a friend that just left the trunnion on the barrel and built his using screws. I am not going that route! So I guess what I'm asking is how is the AK head spaced? I know with the FAL it's the locking shoulder. It seems to me that if a person built 30 AKs without checking the head space...a few of them might go BOOM.
Thanks in advance for your answers. D.
One thing is for sure, get Plinker's riveting jig. It's the shiz-nit.
should have everything you need, save for a 12- or 20-ton press.
2.) i think curtis (at AK-builder) has a video; if not, check out the ak-47 library at gunco.net. TONS of info there, and full-photo build tutorials.
3.) in order to rivet, yes the barrel needs to be removed. there's a pin that holds the barrel in the trunnion, and headspace will revert back to original as soon as you replace the barrel. it's a long explanation, but suffice it to say that i have yet to get a kit (regardless of number-match status) that didn't headspace fine when built.
thanks for your service. i'm at offutt afb right now.
Good advice...thanks. I was in FOL 3 and blew two disks in my lower back...bad enough for the AF to show me the door. I got a job that tripled my salary though so it really did work out for the best. Thanks for your much more frigid service!
DeHamma...does Plinker have a web site?
Plinker sells his jigs (when he finally gets around to making them) through Curtis at AK-BUILDER.COM.
Place an order with Curtis when he allows for more Plinker orders (they're on hold right now) and wait.... and wait... and wait...
You can put the time to good use figuring out exactly how you plan to strip your kits apart and refinish the wood. Lots 'o good reading on the gunco site. Should keep you busy for a good long while. :-)
You've got to figure out what flats you are going to use, where you are going to get the right rivets and what parts you are going to replace to meet the US parts count requirements. All of that will take time while you wait for your riveting jigs to come in. There is not really one *best* solution for any of those questions - it all depends on what you want to accomplish. (There *are* some wrong answers, though...)
I have bent a couple of flats using Curtis' bending jig. They came out very nice - grease your flats well to inhibit the scratching that will occur, though.
Curtis' barrel pressing rig is great. My first couple of kit disassemblies I was concerned because I had read so any horror stories of folks having a hard time getting the barrel pins out (esp with the Romy kits). Mine came out very easily - using a press and his rig.
I have not found a great video. Armory USA has a decent one - but it presumes you are building on one of their receivers, not starting from a flat. Still has good info on some critical dimensions, though.
If you plan to build with rivets, you are going to have to pull the barrel from the trunnion. There's no way to get at the back side of the rivets with the barrel in place.
You should not need to be concerned about headspacing *if* you purchase kits with all numbers matching - unfortunately, those are getting harder to find & more expensive. I've heard some folks have had headspace issues - but that has only been with non-matching kits as far as I've been able to determine. I've only built with matching kits, have always checked the headspace when done and it's always been OK.
Enjoy the journey!
(I have no relationship with Curtis other than being a very satisfied customer.)
I've done both & prefer to avoid the hassle that comes with flats. It takes MUCH more time and effort to build on a flat. It's not worth it anymore to me. YMMV
Gunco has tons of good info as was mentioned.
In additon to the Plinker jig, get the Plinker "long rivet" jig and buy a Xebec Barrel press kit!!!
If you can swing it, buy a tig welder!
Also, an airbrush with compressor for your Norrel's semi gloss black MolyResin.
Shooter's Solutions sells a great parkerzing kit. Zinc for paint prep or HD Manganese for final finish.
Steam trays (buffet pans) make a great park tank. I got mine on ebay for $3 each.
i agree with almost all of what greentimber said
i wont build from flats ever again
and the long rivet jig makes thangs alot easyer
however ive used both the plinker rivet jig
and my own made from bolt cutters and mine get better results in 1/10 the time
if what you say is true your a handy guy most any tool you can buy to build an ak you can build for almost nothan
The only problem with ak-builder.com is they are slooooooooooooooooooooooow.
I ordered the trigger guard setup from him 4 weeks ago and still nothing.
Treelander- this is what I would get:
BFH-3 or 4 lb, for knocking out those da-n barrel pins.
Plinkers rivit jig is a good tool, but I would get a 36" long handle bolt cutter and mod the jaws for pressing the rivits. works just as good and much faster, and a lot cheaper. Gunco has articles on these.
A 12 or 20 ton press is nice for popping the barrel out of the trunnion, and for pressing sights and gas blocks and such off the barrel.
1/4" or 3/16" allthread rod for pulling the barrel back in to the trunnion. Gunco has howto's on this.
The best brand of hardened punches you can buy. no cheapo chinese or indian made crap.
a triggerguard rivit jig.
If you want to bend your own receivers, you'll need a receiver jig for that. Make sure that the jig you buy comes with the top rail bending jig also.
a cheap HF tig welder
a 5-6 hp air compressor and assortment of air tools
airbrush, for painting your guns
As to your question about headspace, that's set by the depth of the barrel in the trunnion, and held in place by the barrel pin. If headspace is off, the barrel needs to be pulled, the pin groove in the barrel welded up, the barrel turned in the lathe, then reinstall the barrel in trunnion and slowly squeeze the barrel in, while checking HS, when HS is correct, redrill the barrel pin hole, then reinstall the barrel pin. This is best done by a professional AK smith.
Because I am going to take the AK building plunge.
I also found some good info with detailed pics HERE. No one mentioned it yet.
Great great high quality info here guys. I truly appreciare it. Dan.
Do I need the "AK Pressbrake by JTG Firearms"?
AK-BUILDER is where you want to go....He has the tools and a flat bender where NO HAMMERING is needed.......Curtis is a great guy to deal with.
And IF....IF you can find a Plinker riveter get one......
As for a press....The HF brnad has done real good for me...There are better but HF works..
go with a 12ton and PB blaster for soaking the barrels pins will do just fine..
Does anyone have any idea when/if the Plinker jigs will be available again??? Is there a way to contact Plinker directly? (I think it was Pookie who had a set of drawings for download-- been thinking about just getting a machine shop to build me one from the drawings. Probably cost more, but I'll have the jig before I'm too old to use the damn thing, and I've got a lot of kits, so I want to do the best job I can on them.)
Ok here are my tools of Construction/Destruction
I pretty much use the same tools as listed above.
I used my friends plinker jig and really wwanted one..so I email him...and waited..and waited..no reply, no sorry in backed up so therefore I built my own
They are cheap(material wise) but do require quite a bit of work.
I saw the long rivot jig so I once again made my own for around $25 ($15 for nuts and bolts, had to get 5, $6 for metal and $4 for 5' piece of drill stock)
The trigger guard came from AKbuilders.com. My buddy had it as a extra, but gave it to me for pressing some barrels out and using my jig (he rented his out and its doing it turns on the east coast) to finish his Yugo AK.
I had to buy my 12 tonpress from Harbor freight for $133 and belive me its worth every penny.
I could have bought alot of things, but now im learning how to machine parts etc I will build my own.
Botton line just build you a plinker jig or a Freefall jig actually the design came form a guy at Gunco.net. Nothing like building a AK with the tools you built.
here are some good links: XO is my friend who helped me build my first AK.
My builds, not bad considering I just started building AK's in December.
I hopefully will get my Yugo RPK kit in the next few weeks.
and hopefully by the end of April $$permitting I will get receivers for the RPK and my other M70 and another Romy kit for my new DCI economy receiver.