Average Guy Attempts to Build AKM
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    Average Guy Attempts to Build AKM

    Hi all,

    So I'm one of the new guys around here. Like the majority of the people who read these forums, but never actually sign up, I've watched hours upon hours of youtube videos of amateur AK builds only to have my initial excitement slowly fade away as I realized that as someone with very limited tools and zero machining experience, building an ak was not a feasible possibility.

    I also understand that since the barrel ban, the populating and headspacing required makes building an AK significantly more work, while also being roughly the same price as just buying a WASR would be. However, I don't care about that. I just want to say that I did it. There's a good chance it will be the only rifle I ever build and that's fine. There's also a good chance I never find anyone to help me with the build and end up selling my parts kit 2 years from now. Again, that's fine, at least I can say I tried.

    I purchased the cheapest ROMY kit I could find on AoA last week and it will arrive in a few days, hence starting my journey.
    The moral of this thread will be can an average guy actually do this. By that, I mean every person who reads these threads and wishes they could, but is secretly intimidated by the amount of knowledge everyone on here has, and knows it will turn out to be far more difficult than they had initially expected and they will likely fail.

    Well fuck it, I'm going to try anyway...
    scottyb likes this.

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    First Set of Questions:

    Background:
    I would not feel comfortable populating or headspacing without someone experienced advising and watching me through the entire process. The riveting I think I could handle on my own and I have a friend with manual riveting jaws very similar to the toth tool rivet conversion.

    1.) My question is how long would the populating and headspacing project take, assuming I had found someone with the equipment and experience to help me? Is this something that can be done in a few hours one afternoon?

    2.) As far the receiver goes, would you recommend a flat; 80% or 100% receiver?
    Assuming I have someone helping me, I would assume drilling out a few rivet holes on an 80% receiver wouldn't add much time to the build, but a non-heat treated flat seems like too much work for a first build.

    3.) What do you think about these pre-populated ROMY barrels?

    I don't actually need anything but the barrel, however the barrel is already headspaced to the original trunnion. So I would think I would simply press it out an inch or two, rivet the trunnion, and press it back to where it was with no populating needed - just a quick check with a set of no-go gauges. Granted it would be a used barrel, but I don't really care for my first build.

    The seller had 25 of these kits which don't appear to have sold, would it be worth it if I could get one for a good price?
    Basically, would this save such a significant amount of build time that people would be more willing to help me or should I just stick with a new AOA nitrate barrel?


    https://www.theakforum.net/forums/35...e-25-sets.html
    Last edited by Cincymaga; 08-12-2019 at 06:01 PM.

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    not trying to discourage you at all, but you've already taken the first step in making in harder on yourself. you got a cheap Romanian kit. these kits are hit or miss. you might luck up and get a decent one. odds are, you'll get one that has crummy machining, pin holes that aren't drilled straight, etc... the good news is... minor mistakes will show less with a kit like this. You wouldn't want to take a chance with a premium kit. With all the info that you've given us, I would definitely not try bending the flat and doing the heat treating. This is not for a beginner, in my opinion. Hey... some people are natural born heroes.... maybe you're one of them. I'm not. If you're not planning on building more than one, I would not spend the money on a receiver hole drill jig. (actually, I wouldn't buy any tools if I only planned on building one... it's just not worth it.) I would go ahead and buy a 100% receiver from Recreators. If you have someone helping you who already has the jig and the proper drill bits, it's easy to start with the 80%. Just make sure you plan on keeping it, if you go this route. The barrel population can easily be done in an afternoon. If you have parts that end up giving you a bunch of trouble, or you make a few mistakes, it can easily turn into an all day affair. If your mistakes are bad enough, it can turn into a multi-day affair. there is an excellent build tutorial broken down into several videos someone on here was nice enough to upload. I would suggest watching this. Just go slow, and ask questions if you're not sure about something. there are a lot of smart people on here who are more than willing to help. Remember... when you ask a question, a picture is worth a thousand words. Best of luck to you!
    JeepFan and Walleye like this.

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    Thanks, I had already decided not to go with a flat. I’m also not interested in selling this, so an 80% is fine, but I may still go with a 100%. I don’t mind filling out the paperwork.

    Part of the reason I went with a cheap romy kit was because I want to do it myself and I expected this may come out looking rough. I’m fine with the BFPU look as long as it functions safely.

    If it was a rare expensive kit, I would just pay a professional to build it.

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    Any advise regarding a SA trigger group? I would like the least expensive set that will function safely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincymaga View Post
    Any advise regarding a SA trigger group? I would like the least expensive set that will function safely.
    I don't have any advice on that. However, lots of people talk about using Tapco trigger parts.

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    Side note: I just remembered buying a used romy barrel would make it harder to make this 922r compliant.

    Are the buttstock, grip and front handgards 3 considered separate parts? If so, would a us barrel, muzzle nut and SA trigger group get me there assuming I went with a cheap US furniture set?

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    I’ll chime in... I just built my first kit, an AK63D Hungarian underfolder. I watched all the videos, read the forums, and thankfully bought these books (look up Guy Montag build your own AK volumes 1&2) which walk you through the assembly process. It’s not hard per say, but without the right tools you’ll really struggle. I bought the AK builder tools (~$450), go/no-go gauges ($80), as well as a HF 20 ton press. Also bought a nice Ryobi drill press off CL for $50 and another $50-60 worth of drills, end mill, and reamers. There are a LOT of specialty tools you’ll end up needing. Luckily I already had clamps, caliper, a vise, etc. and am very handy with mechanical things.

    I bougt the kit off of one of the major kit sellers, along with a US made barrel, US piston, US trigger group (RAK), US made brake, and US 80% receiver from Childers (very impressed) making me 922r compliant +1. The worst part for me was getting the head spacing right, as even when greased the barrel is hard to fine tune by 0.001-0.002” in the front trunion. After an hour of getting close, I got it and confirmed with my gauges. Everything after that went smooth, and it was pretty fun to build. I dropped it off with an AK gunsmith last week to ensure there are no issues and will then hit the range to try it out and roughen up the surfaces and hit it with a coat of DuraCoat via airbrush.

    There were two other areas I had trouble with... my 10mm selector botch is close to a trunion rivet, and the front brake pin isn’t quite as “springy” as I’d like it.

    I already ordered another kit (Romy) and plan to build a few more. Once done, I will sell the press and tools and expect to be able to recover a good chunk of that $$ invested, thus bringing my costs down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rtzx9r View Post
    I’ll chime in... I just built my first kit, an AK63D Hungarian underfolder. I watched all the videos, read the forums, and thankfully bought these books (look up Guy Montag build your own AK volumes 1&2) which walk you through the assembly process. It’s not hard per say, but without the right tools you’ll really struggle. I bought the AK builder tools (~$450), go/no-go gauges ($80), as well as a HF 20 ton press. Also bought a nice Ryobi drill press off CL for $50 and another $50-60 worth of drills, end mill, and reamers. There are a LOT of specialty tools you’ll end up needing. Luckily I already had clamps, caliper, a vise, etc. and am very handy with mechanical things.

    I bougt the kit off of one of the major kit sellers, along with a US made barrel, US piston, US trigger group (RAK), US made brake, and US 80% receiver from Childers (very impressed) making me 922r compliant +1. The worst part for me was getting the head spacing right, as even when greased the barrel is hard to fine tune by 0.001-0.002” in the front trunion. After an hour of getting close, I got it and confirmed with my gauges. Everything after that went smooth, and it was pretty fun to build. I dropped it off with an AK gunsmith last week to ensure there are no issues and will then hit the range to try it out and roughen up the surfaces and hit it with a coat of DuraCoat via airbrush.

    There were two other areas I had trouble with... my 10mm selector botch is close to a trunion rivet, and the front brake pin isn’t quite as “springy” as I’d like it.

    I already ordered another kit (Romy) and plan to build a few more. Once done, I will sell the press and tools and expect to be able to recover a good chunk of that $$ invested, thus bringing my costs down.
    ^ where you located? Can I come over and build one lol - if your close maybe I might be interested in the tools
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rtzx9r View Post
    I’ll chime in... I just built my first kit, an AK63D Hungarian underfolder. I watched all the videos, read the forums, and thankfully bought these books (look up Guy Montag build your own AK volumes 1&2) which walk you through the assembly process. It’s not hard per say, but without the right tools you’ll really struggle. I bought the AK builder tools (~$450), go/no-go gauges ($80), as well as a HF 20 ton press. Also bought a nice Ryobi drill press off CL for $50 and another $50-60 worth of drills, end mill, and reamers. There are a LOT of specialty tools you’ll end up needing. Luckily I already had clamps, caliper, a vise, etc. and am very handy with mechanical things.

    I bougt the kit off of one of the major kit sellers, along with a US made barrel, US piston, US trigger group (RAK), US made brake, and US 80% receiver from Childers (very impressed) making me 922r compliant +1. The worst part for me was getting the head spacing right, as even when greased the barrel is hard to fine tune by 0.001-0.002” in the front trunion. After an hour of getting close, I got it and confirmed with my gauges. Everything after that went smooth, and it was pretty fun to build. I dropped it off with an AK gunsmith last week to ensure there are no issues and will then hit the range to try it out and roughen up the surfaces and hit it with a coat of DuraCoat via airbrush.

    There were two other areas I had trouble with... my 10mm selector botch is close to a trunion rivet, and the front brake pin isn’t quite as “springy” as I’d like it.

    I already ordered another kit (Romy) and plan to build a few more. Once done, I will sell the press and tools and expect to be able to recover a good chunk of that $$ invested, thus bringing my costs down.
    ^ where you located? Can I come over and build one lol - if your close maybe I might be interested in the tools
    Ha ha, truthfully that’s my plan as well. If I love the build process and want to try it 100% by myself, I might consider spending the $500+ on tools. But for my first build, I’m going to go through the process of acquiring everything I need gun parts wise like a rivet set or two*, US barrel, tapco SA trigger, US furniture and muzzle nut for 922r compliance. Then I plan on attempting to degrease and demill everything myself. I have a set of punches and a dremel tool. I’m hoping it’s fairly well demilled. I may need a press if the barrel pin is still in. We’ll see. But yea, at that point I need to start making friends. I’d be willing to drive about 3 hours or so to find a build buddy. I’d want someone to walk me through it even if I had all the tools. I’m not particularly handy, a very average guy when it comes to this stuff.
    Last edited by Cincymaga; 08-13-2019 at 12:17 AM.

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    Sorry guys I am in FL. The price of entry is high, but once you get over that each next build is cheaper than the last. Now it’s easy to justify building a handful more and filling up a safe. It’s tech ically money in the bank, and doing it before 2020 elections roll around as who knows what could happen after.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rtzx9r View Post
    Sorry guys I am in FL. The price of entry is high, but once you get over that each next build is cheaper than the last. Now it’s easy to justify building a handful more and filling up a safe. It’s tech ically money in the bank, and doing it before 2020 elections roll around as who knows what could happen after.
    That’s actually something I’ve thought about before, AK’s only seem to appreciate in value. It seems we are a long way away from quality US made ak’s and parts kits are only going to get harder to find and could be banned from importation entirely in 2020 if some dem wins. Thanks, you’ve just justified me spending more money. Lol
    Rtzx9r likes this.

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    Apologies, you’ve given me new investment options to consider. I mean, it’s always good to diversify your portfolio.

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    With the current cost of kits, tools, barrels and receivers., the notion that there is a growth investment potential in home assembled AK's is very risky.

    Of course a regulation or import restriction change could alter the price of assembled AK's sometime in the future.

    I would not look at the build process as an investment in anything except pride of building your own firearm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincymaga View Post
    Ha ha, truthfully that’s my plan as well. If I love the build process and want to try it 100% by myself, I might consider spending the $500+ on tools. But for my first build, I’m going to go through the process of acquiring everything I need gun parts wise like a rivet set or two*, US barrel, tapco SA trigger, US furniture and muzzle nut for 922r compliance. Then I plan on attempting to degrease and demill everything myself. I have a set of punches and a dremel tool. I’m hoping it’s fairly well demilled. I may need a press if the barrel pin is still in. We’ll see. But yea, at that point I need to start making friends. I’d be willing to drive about 3 hours or so to find a build buddy. I’d want someone to walk me through it even if I had all the tools. I’m not particularly handy, a very average guy when it comes to this stuff.
    Can you look at a framed doorway and tell if it’s fairly square, level and plum? Have you ever heard steel scream from galling pain?
    scottyb likes this.
    Big thanks to Moses1986, 10Gauge, Pookie, NFA ARMS, Duck Durbin and everyone that served this country.

 

 
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