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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my AK-104-like horror show frankenbuild under way, it may be time to start planning for an AK-102, which was one of the two 5.56x45 AK-100 variants made by Kalashnikov Concern. (Not a fan of 5.45x39, so an AK-105 is not on the table.)

Since we can get neither AK-102s nor AK-101s from which to build them, and Izhmash 88 kits are either $4K or unavailable, I'd like to work out the most practical way to get to an AK-102 knockoff.

Although I'm obviously not a purist, sticking closer to an AK-74M base makes sense. Like the SLR-107s, SLR-106s are listing way too high. Unfortunately, Kalashnikov USA doesn't make anything in the caliber.

General idea:
https://i.redd.it/84iin726b6i71.jpg
 

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Get a .223/5.56 Saiga and convert that into an AK-102.
 

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I have a barreled Saiga 5.56 front trunnion, op rod and bolt that I was going to do same build but with all my other projects, on the back burner for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Get a .223/5.56 Saiga and convert that into an AK-102.
I have a barreled Saiga 5.56 front trunnion, op rod and bolt that I was going to do same build but with all my other projects, on the back burner for now.
There are quite a few of those Saiga .223 bastardized fudd rifles listed on GB--even some "New old stock." They are listing way too high, though. I would need the rear of the receiver cut for the Russian 5.5mm hinged rear trunnion, and those holes for the incorrectly-positioned trigger would have to be filled.
 

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The only parts that are different from a 104, 105, and 102 are the bolt, barrel, and the size of the magwell. Whatever you did to build your 104 would be just as viable for a 102 I would imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Good point, but I should have clarified that I want something built on what is closer to an AK-74 descendant for this project, thus more similar to an AK-100-series. So I am shopping with that in mind.

My current 104-like sin against nature is more AKM than AK-74M. It has a Bulgarian-marked Polish AKM receiver cut for a 74-style Bulgarian 4.5mm side-folder rear trunnion and drilled for an AKM front trunnion. I'm using a WBP trunnion, FNH AK-103 barrel, 74nk (East German) knockoff GBC, and a WBP AKM bolt, carrier, and piston.

ETA: Speak of the Devil:
KR-104 SBR - 7.62x39mm - Short Barrel Rifle
 

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There are quite a few of those Saiga .223 bastardized fudd rifles listed on GB--even some "New old stock." They are listing way too high, though. I would need the rear of the receiver cut for the Russian 5.5mm hinged rear trunnion, and those holes for the incorrectly-positioned trigger would have to be filled.
Agree. Wish I had picked up a few when they were $300+ each back in the day. Hindsight is 20/20
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If it were me, I would either modify a 223 saiga or build one from scratch. Personally I much prefer to build from scratch.
I agree in principle, but the outlay for a .223 Saiga, the major metalwork to the receiver I would have to farm out, and all the conversion parts would be prohibitively expensive. Also, other than getting the "сайга" and "MADE IN RUSSIA" engravings on the Saiga, I don't see what is gained. The engraving clearly would forever match that of one of those sporters rather than something interesting like an SGL-21 imported by Arsenal, but the sporters do not have screeds scrawled across them by importers, which is nice.

I might have a different view if I could do the metalwork on the receiver myself. It's unfortunate since I could do all the rest. I wouldn't even know to whom to send the receiver for the work.

ETA: I guess the importer engravings are pretty large. No getting away from it altogether, of course, but some are worse than others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Putting my misgivings aside for a moment, what is going on beneath that handguard on the .223 Saiga? Is there a standard forward handguard retainer channel across the top of the barrel?
 

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I agree, modifying the receiver to take a folding stock is a huge pain to do, I only felt that starting with a Russian gun would help because everything would already be correct Russian parts. There would need to be a retainer added because there isn't one on there to start, and obviously the cutting down the barrel work. In all honestly it's not much simpler than just building one, but you start with a receiver that's already been riveted and headspaced. That's about the biggest advantage you get. I try to keep my stuff all Russian parts, that's the biggest reason I suggested it, I like to build from scratch. You know exactly the quality of attention that went into it when you do it yourself, and know that you measure twice cut once rather than some overworked factory worker hopefully used the jig the right way. You have allot more room to customize and choose what parts you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I agree, modifying the receiver to take a folding stock is a huge pain to do, I only felt that starting with a Russian gun would help because everything would already be correct Russian parts. There would need to be a retainer added because there isn't one on there to start,...
Retainer? Is that the reinforcement plate on the rear underside of the receiver to strengthen the receiver for the hinged rear trunnion? Sorry--new to this.
...and obviously the cutting down the barrel work.
But at least that could wait and be handled on an eForm 1 while other work was being done or perhaps later.
In all honestly it's not much simpler than just building one, but you start with a receiver that's already been riveted and headspaced. That's about the biggest advantage you get.
And it's a rather big advantage, now that you mention it. I would think a Russian barrel with the correct profile in .223 would not be easy to find. Forbus only shows a profile for a 5.45x39, but I would guess they are the same.
I try to keep my stuff all Russian parts, that's the biggest reason I suggested it,...
With the dearth of Russian parts these days, I wonder if reliance on Russian parts is going to be a liability in the future. Allegedly, Kalashnikov USA's parts are exact matches for them, which is another thing in that company's favor.
...I like to build from scratch. You know exactly the quality of attention that went into it when you do it yourself, and know that you measure twice cut once rather than some overworked factory worker hopefully used the jig the right way. You have allot more room to customize and choose what parts you want.
I understand the sentiment. Though I have zero experience, I have paid very careful attention to detail with my current build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A bit of what I was mentioning with regard to the extent to which Kalashnikov USA went to make their rifles accurate representations of AK-100s can be seen in the album below. It is a comparison of the PSAK-103, KR-103, and an SGL-21 (for reference). The screen captures were taken from a MAC video:
It should be noted the KR-103 in the video is pre-production and doesn't have the CL CHF barrels they have now.

Album:
PSAK-103, KR-103 Comparison

KUSA pretty much nailed the following details, matching what the SGL-21 has:
  • Notched takedown button
  • Top cover contours
  • Rivets--height, shape, position
  • Mag release lever stamping and shape
  • Gas tube release lever
  • Bolt carrier side contour
  • Bolt carrier overall shape
  • Bolt (74-style, claw extractor)
  • Receiver dimple
  • Rear sight leaf button texturing
  • FSB shape
  • Muzzle device profile

All of those things differ on the PSAK-103, which is essentially an AKM made to look like an AK-103.

The PSAK-103 has a nicer finish than the KR-103, and the finish more closely resembles that of the SGL-21.

In the video you can also see the inconsistent ejection pattern of the PSAK-103. I have seen this in other videos, where it also was clear the reviewer didn't even notice it.
 

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The saiga handguards attach differently than on a regular AK, so there's no retainer that latches the lower handguard. You would have to press off the barrel components, place that on, and I'm not sure about whether the top is cut for it. I know the slots on the sides of the barrel are still there.
The barrels for 7.62, .223, and 5.45 are all the same. They started that with the 100 series.
Kalashnikov USA had an arrangement with Kalashnikov concern to get blueprints for building the ak103 before the government told them they can't work with them anymore, so everything on their rifle should be correct dimensionally. The only differences would be the finish, and maybe some differences from using different equipment to produce the parts. I've never owned one of their rifles, but they look good to go to me. I don't know how to feel about the psa aks since they started out with cast trunnions. They used forged now, but only because they had so many failures. Because of that, I don't know if I would trust them not to have cut corners elsewhere on the gun.
As far as Russian parts, I know they are getting much harder to get now, especially with the current politics, but I'm working on getting kits brought into the country myself, and should have some more information on that in the next couple months. There won't be any more complete guns brought into the country from Russia for the foreseeable future. We banned their guns from being imported to us and they banned their guns from being exported to us so that leaves very few options for getting the parts in now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The saiga handguards attach differently than on a regular AK, so there's no retainer that latches the lower handguard. You would have to press off the barrel components, place that on, and I'm not sure about whether the top is cut for it. I know the slots on the sides of the barrel are still there.
I have found additional info in which purchasers claimed that channel was not cut across the top of the barrel. So that would have to be milled.
The barrels for 7.62, .223, and 5.45 are all the same. They started that with the 100 series.
That's good to know.

On that same topic but pertaining specifically to Saiga, it appears some early Saiga .223 models had a heavier barrel requiring a different gas block. That _could_make buying a crapshoot since there's no way to depend on a seller accurately measuring journals.

I read elsewhere that the trunnion has an unusual shape at the bottom and has to be milled to enable modern AK-style 5.56 mags, like the ZPAP M90 uses, to fit. The differences are still something I don't understand.

The more I learn about Saigas the more it seems building from scratch would be smarter and less expensive. Like my current build, it would have virtually no resale value, though, without that Saiga name. But a dinner napkin rundown of what I would need in parts comes in at less than what I would have to spend on a Saiga donor rifle, which still would require metalwork and parts.

From, say, Childers, I could get a receiver or blank with all the correct cutouts, the dimples, and correct AK-102 engraving for a reasonable sum. AK-Builder at least carries barrels though they are out of them. Looks like others carry them as well. Still have to decide whether to Form 1 for a correct 12.25" barrel or just go with 16.1" initially. Then I guess the worst of it is sourcing the correct trunnion, bolt, carrier, and GBC. Looks like some of those parts are available from Soviet Stocks, or at least overpriced ones. A Bulgarian 5.5mm rear trunnion probably would suffice in place of a Russian one.
 
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