Posted: 10/6/2005 2:39:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/6/2005 4:23:38 AM EDT by Atreides]
A BAN IS COMING AT THE END OF THE YEAR THAT WILL STOP THE SALES OF FOREIGN MADE AK BARRELS AS PART OF "REPLACEMENT PARTS KITS".
So, if you want to build your own AK, now's the time to go and get yourself a kit. The Guru's here have suggested starting out with a Romanian kit. They are between $80-$120.00 right now.
You can get them from these places for starters:
So you don't bite off more than you can chew, you need to have these tools MINIMAL if you want to build an AK from a flat:
Variable speed DREMEL tool or pneumatic cutoff tool. (with cutting wheels and polishing barrels)
Steering wheel puller
Tape measure and/or Caliper
Oxy/Acetyline or MAP gas torch
Needle Nose and regular Pliers
Metal File kit
Drill bit set
Medium size vice grip "C" clamp
Body work "Dolly" or bucking bar.
and access to a metal brake or AK receiver jig.
Keep in mind that these are your bare minimum tools you need to build from a flat. A receiver jig alone will set you back a buck fifty ($150.00) So...if you're thinking that building a single AK is cheaper than just going out and buying one? Think again. Of course it's a different story if you're planning to build 20 of these suckers. Then the investment in tools may just break even. I don't mean to rain on anyones parade here...I just wanted to help some of you from jumping in head first in a project that is way over your head. I see alot of my fellow newbies going out and buying kits BEFORE they realize what work is involved in building an AK. Just for instance take a look at this:
Romanian AK47 Kit= $99.00
Receiver Flat (average cost) = $22.00
US Fire Control Group = $80.00
US Pistol Grip= $12.00
US Stock set+ $80.00
Rivet Kit /Screw Kit =$9.00
Receiver Bending Jig = $150.00
That's $452.00 in parts alone. You will still need to have the receiver coated with some sort of finish. Well, there are quite a few good quality AK's out there to be had for $450.00 or less.
So why do it? Well, you have to enjoy Gunsmithing, and working with your hands. The experience alone is worth the money invested for those of us who really enjoy creating something out of nothing. Another thing to consider is, when building your own AK YOU can take extra care in insuring that the end product is a well made, high quality AK. After all, it IS a custom made gun, why not put in the extra time needed to "Customize" it? This may mean using higher quality materials, or perhaps replacing poor quality factory springs with high quality ones. In any case, the whole point is to build a rifle that fits you and you can be proud of.
Building an AK is NOT like slapping a few AR15 parts together. It takes time. and patience. It also takes a fair amount of working knowledge BEFORE you start your build. I wouldn't suggest this project to anyone who isn't already mechanically inclined.
Sure, you could get your kit proffesionally assembled by a qualified Smith, but then cost comes into the picture once again. It's great that you can get a Romy Kit for $80.00, but if you send the kit away to be assembled, be prepared to pay anywhere between $200.00 - $375.00 and that's just for a basic build! Don't get me wrong, I am NOT implying that the work isn't worth the money the Smiths ask for. Take into consideration the investment the gunsmith must have made in the right equiptment to be able to put your AK together.
As with most things mechanical, having the right tools to complete an AK build makes all the difference in the world wether you have an easy high quality build, or stuggle and end up with a not so great looking job. Using screws instead of rivets to assemble your AK is an option, and will save you from having to invest in alot of tools. The general consenus on screw builds here is, most people don't like them. But in my opinion building your first AK using screws isn't such a bad idea since in keeps the initial costs down, besides, you can always remove the screws later and replace them with rivets if you want. Welding is another option that I haven't seen alot here, but is just fine for building a usable weapon. I have seen some AK's using a combination of welds/screw or welds/rivets (the welding done mostly on the front trunion's top 2 holes. Using a welder and or screws also allows you to keep your barrel in the trunion saving you the time/money to pull the barrel/trunion apart and reassemble. It really isn't hard to do, but it does involve using steeringwheel/bearing pullers and or a Press or Barrel press jig.
I didn't make this post to discourage anyone from building their own AK. On the contrary: I made it to help my fellow Newbies get a clearer idea of what is needed to get the job done, and hopefully prepare accordingly. At least you can start to call around your local machine shops/gunsmiths for possibly subbing out the stuff you can't do on your own with what you have.
There are a lot of things you can do in the meanwhile as you wait for your parts, such as cleaning up the edges of your receiver and polishing up your Fire Control Groups contact surfaces. Getting a "trigger job" done on your AK is not hard to do at all. You could polish your bolt carrier to a mirror shine too while you're at it. All this stuff ads up and definately adds to the "Custom" flavor pf your new AK. If you plan on keeping the wood furniature on your gun, you can start to sand and prep it for refinishing, at which time you can easily remove all of the minor surface defects as well.
I thought I knew what I was getting into when I went out and got my 1st kit, but thanks to a handful of Veterans here I soon discovered I didn't. I also found out that the advice I was given was the BEST and was only given to me to help me save time and money. I really appreciate the help I get here a lot.
Building an AK isn't about racing the clock for me. I approach it as a hobby, something to do the best way I know how. Shooting them is fun, but building them is a Blast to me!
This is great info everyone, and these sites contain the most available parts kits you are going to find. This maybe just me, but building from a bent blank seems to be alot more straight forward than building from a flat. Check out Marshhawks website, he has some very nice bent blanks that can be finished with a dremel and a hand drill, although a cheap drill press is better. My first pistol build on an AMD-65 was less than $170 to finish, and my last rifle build on a Romanian kit was less than $250 due to the required US parts. It can be done for far less than retail, especially off a bent blank and using screws for assembly. All in all this is great info though!
I might make a couple suggestions
US Fire Control Group = $30 G2 trigger group works great
no need for a US stock set unless you want it like that so the $80 is up to you
instead of a Receiver Flat for $20 and then a receiver bending jig for $150 just get a 100% for$70 saves some money unless you plan on doing lots and lots if you do it that way you don't need MAPP gass
built a AMD-63 for about $275 every part included
but I did use others tools for the most part and got it refinished by a friend
I also buy rivets in bulk but thats only if you plan on building alot
Thanks for the input Exile.
I was just using the list I made up as an example. Of course there are cheaper ways to go around building a AK.
As for building on a 100% reciever, that's the route I went, but I saw a post here the other day of a guy wanting to use a flat so he wouldn't need to register his gun. Again, that's why I mentioned the flat/
How many would you have to build for you to consider it worth the price of buying the tools? I mean I would really love to get into building, but with the barrel ban that is going into effect soon, I probably won't be able to buy kits at a spaced out time frame so I can afford them. I mean, I would love to say "This is my AK and I BUILT IT". But with the ban on the way, would it be worth it?
I prefer 100% receivers with rivets, like Mr Kalashnikov designed it.
This is also the most expensive way to do it.
Let's assume that the builder has or can beg, borrow, steal typical hand tools, IE Dremmel, vise, C-clamps, ETC.
The approximet cost for the specialized tools needed for an "easy to do riveted", factory correct, clone AK build are as follows:
12 Ton Press-$135
IN/OUT Barrel/Barrel Pin Press-$85
Short Rivet jig-$125
Long Rivet jig-$55
Trigger guard rivet jig-$55
Total for Tools=$540 and I know I've forgotten something.
100% Receiver: $55-$70
If you build 1 the cost is about $604+Kit+compliance parts+refinish(maybe) Thats AR15 $$$$.
Build 10 and it's only about $118+++ Each.
Example: 10 Rifles bought.
Rifle #1 $118 Tools&REC +Romy Kit $100, +about $58 for compliance parts(FCG,muzzle break,piston),
+$0 Refinish (Battle Field pick-up look).
Total for build #1=$276
Good posts guys.
Tools are investments, they always are. The tools needed to shape and build flats aren't just suited for that sort of work: you can use them for ALOT of other stuff as well. That said, if you aren't the do it yourself fixxer upper type, you're better off getting 100% receivers OR buying whole guns.
Excellent post..tagged for reference.
One thing I've noticed about tools, is that they *always* come in handy again. Unless you’re going to buy esoterical tools made specifically for building AK's (plinkers jig, etc) you will be using them again throughout the years.
I'd be willing to bet that you could find other things to use the Plinkers jig on to.
I'm lucky enough to use others tooling and words of wisdom but I do have all the hand tools. Just no plinker jig or triggerguard jig getting a good deal on a press just taking a little time cause i got to pick it up and its a 30ton press about 3.5 hours away but will have it in a month or 2 for about $50 to nothing.
If you don't have any tools then its not worth it
If you have allot of the tools then it probably not worth it
If you have all the tools needed then stop reading and start building
It's going to cost more to build you own because this hobby takes your money faster than drugs
I thought ok I’ll buy a Romy have someone bend a flat with me teach me how to build one and with in 2 days and $200 bucks I’ll have my first AK and probably the only one I’ll own
I don't even take my AR out anymore haven't even bought ammo for it instead bought 2k of wolf
and every kind of kit i can find. Right now I’m waiting on global trades receivers to come in and someone to come out with an RPK rec. so if you think your going to save a little money you never will you'll spend more and AKs will hunt your dreams
but it does pass no wait it doesn't