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Discussion Starter #1
Well I got a hold of a brand spanking new Saiga .223 today, still packed in the "Inhibited Paper" (which I promptly "annihilated" as per the Service Manual). It is an amazing rifle, I have already put about 100 rounds through it, 10 shots at a time. I've got big plans for this rifle, a conversion to an AK-74ish rifle in plum etc...

Some interesting notes, first of all it is not dimpled, nor does it have the extra "Y" stamp...Oh well... Secondly, ALL of the holes necessary in the receiver for the conversion are present which I am relieved about. Third, the FSB is staked and not pinned to the barrel :neutral: Similarly, the gas block is only pinned with one pin, the rear pin, and it is about twice as long as it should be and looks like crap :sad: Finally, and probably the most exciting thing is the cuts for the lower hand guard are already in the barrel! That in and of it's self is going to save me a lot of time and frustration I am sure.

I can't wait to start on this rifle, I hope to place an order with KVAR and Dinzag very soon to get the ball rolling!
 

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I'm afraid we're going to have to ask for pictures sir! You have a very unusual Saiga and we'd like to see it in detail.

Please show us the staked FSB and the front handguard retainer cuts.

thanks
Thirtyal
 

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Any changes in the barrel trunnion markings? I keep hoping at some point they will send over Saigas with the arsenal mark on the trunnion.
 

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decodeddiesel said:
Similarly, the gas block is only pinned with one pin, the rear pin, and it is about twice as long as it should be and looks like crap
This is common on Saigas. It has something to do with holding the handguard on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thirtycal said:
I'm afraid we're going to have to ask for pictures sir! You have a very unusual Saiga and we'd like to see it in detail.

Please show us the staked FSB and the front handguard retainer cuts.

thanks
Thirtyal
Will do, I'll try to get some pics up here soon!
 

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Brother, Check the Trunnion if is cut, Look at your post in the Saiga forum
I answer some of the questions you ask about the Bulgarian FSB
I don't know you post here too.

Must Probably the barrel is a thin barrel and yes the
Bulgarian FSB can be press on it no problemos
if the barrel is thin, about popin the FSB look at your post
on the Saiga forum.



Any way if you going to press a New FSB on it
you will have to notch the barrel for pins
or Silver solder the FSB in place. Let me know
what way you going and if you have any questions
if I can help I will do so as I have been there,
But I went on a different way instead of installing
a new FSB I did a FSGB one piece but the
thin barrel of the .223 is same diameter of the
barrel of the 7.62x39 and a Bulgarian FSB can be
install no problems on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
vjor said:
Brother, Check the Trunnion if is cut, Look at your post in the Saiga forum
I answer some of the questions you ask about the Bulgarian FSB
I don't know you post here too.

Must Probably the barrel is a thin barrel and yes the
Bulgarian FSB can be press on it no problemos
if the barrel is thin, about popin the FSB look at your post
on the Saiga forum.



Any way if you going to press a New FSB on it
you will have to notch the barrel for pins
or Silver solder the FSB in place. Let me know
what way you going and if you have any questions
if I can help I will do so as I have been there,
But I went on a different way instead of installing
a new FSB I did a FSGB one piece but the
thin barrel of the .223 is same diameter of the
barrel of the 7.62x39 and a Bulgarian FSB can be
install no problems on it.
Awesome, thanks vjor!
 

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Yup is a thin barrel, see brother these Saigas like this one
are really exelent when you do one piece Gas block and front sight
block on them as is not notches on the barrel to be fill up.

But is never say never, you can do anything you want with the gun
I guess if you want the traditional look with a FSB to install
a 24 mm brake on it will need a little more work
as I say before you may need a new GB if you going to
install a regular hand guard retainer, and notch the barrel
for the pins on the FSB for the Bulgarian.

One thing is that the cuts on the side for the barrel
for the retainer are on it already, you may have to do the top
notch (cut) for the retainer lever but thats all. If you going
that way.

Brother the easy way is this, leave the GB on use a dinzag
non gunsmith retainer for the hand guard, clean the barrel
and the inside of the FSB, put some flux on barrel
and inside the FSB after you clean the paint of both barrel and
FSB, press it back and silver solder, like that the FSB will dont move
at all.


Now the traditional way is to press the GB and FSB off
( they may get wasted and have to get a new GB)
install your retainer ( regular AK retainer for the hand guard)
press your new GB back and install only one pin as it will hold
and dont move if you dont want to notch for the second pin
and fake a second pin on the GB.

Now on the FSB if you going to notch for pins
the measure are center to center .652 of the notches
for the pins and the notches are about .0106 wide
the first pin is about 1.475 from the end of the barrel
to center of the notch.

You can notch the barrel first but dont go all the way crazy
as you can press the FSB and finish the notches using the
holes on the FSB as a guide as you may want to drill true it
to make the holes right on the money for the pins
if you need new pins Dinzag sale the drill bits and pins
in one package that will be right on the money if
you want to go that way.

Now the other way and easy way is to silver solder
the FSB and fake the pins or fill the holes
of the pins with silver solder too and done
but dont look that good, well really all depends
on how you work the stuff, by the way
get high temp silver solder if you going that way.

Or if you can get a hold of a welder, TIG if you can
just a little tack on the bottom of the FSB to barrel
and you done. The FSB will never Move left or right
if you hit it again anything. But have to be done right
for the gun to look good. The tack is made
were the FSB ends and if done right you cant even see it.


Good luck brother.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, great post vjor, thanks for the info! Yeah I am definitively going to press off my FSB and gas block and replace them with Bulgy ones.

One thing though I am not seeing the pin and drill bit kits on Dinzag's site... Anywhere else to look for the pins?
 

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No brother, you have to e-mail him and ask him.
Tell him on the e-mail what you need and how many pins
and the drill bits for the holes and he will put a package together
for you.

Usually he dont sale that stuff as is not many people
that really go for broke when becomes doing
there own gunsmith, but he does a lot of stuff
that is not on his web site as not to many people
go for stuff like you going to do.

Like made special parts or alter parts as your design or needs,
ream out GB and FSB , make sleeves, barrel extensions
and a lot of stuff as he has a little machine shop were he
does some black voodoo at customer request.
 

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Wow! Real factory punch welds on the FSB and GB.

Holy crap I wonder how you are planning on getting those off? You're going to need to deal with that somehow. I am fairly certain that you will not simply be able press those off without drilling out the punch welds.

Damn that's the first Saiga I've ever seen with that feature. I heard a rumor that the new batch of imported Saigas would have that feature. This is not particuarly a good thing for people who want to do Saiga conversions. It will make the job of removing the old ones and pinning the new ones more difficult.

I wonder if you will consider not pinning the new GB and FSB, and instead perhaps trying to duplicate the punch welds? I think you could just drill holes in the new FSB and GB, press them on, and then puddle-weld the holes with a MIG. I don't think that would hurt the barrel but I don't know. I know of no one who has done this.

As for the lower handguard retainer slots. That's cool, but it's missing the top notch. No biggie though, you can do that cut with a ball-end mill.

That's a very freaky Saiga. Good luck on the conversion.

-Thirtycal
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quick Q, I am about to place my KVAR order and I am not sure which gas block to get. The one I am looking at is the AK-334. It is a 90 degree block, but says it is for 7.62x39. Is this the right block?
 

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DecodedDeisel:

Since you're the only person who has a Saiga with the punchwelds, I wonder if you'd be generous enough to take some close-up photos of the welds using the 'macro' mode on your digital camera. You'll need some good lighting also. Since some of us try to simulate these punchwelds when we do conversions, it would be nice to know exactly what they look like.

thanks-
Thirtycal
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Can do, I will try to get some shots using our macro table at work today. Do you know the answer to the gas block Q? I know for your build it is correct, but I am not sure it's correct for a .223 AK.
 

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decodeddiesel said:
Can do, I will try to get some shots using our macro table at work today. Do you know the answer to the gas block Q? I know for your build it is correct, but I am not sure it's correct for a .223 AK.
THanks for the macro shots.

And unfortunately no I don't know the answer about the .223 GB. I can make a guess, but I could be wrong. My guess would be that the barrel journal size for the gasblock is the same regardless of the chambering - so I believe the same 90 degree KVar gasblock that I used on my 7.62 conversion would be the same one you'd use on a .223. KVar should know, might want to call them.

-Thirtycal
 

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Stottman said:
Those dimples will actually be all the way into the barrel. If you drill them out, you will have to be careful.
Exactly. I'm not sure I'd want to take on that task. Drilling those out will almost certainly require drilling into the barrel a small amount (hopefully no more than 1mm). As long as you don't drill in too deep then I don't think there will be any problems.

One thing I am not clear on is whether or not this is actually a welding process. I have heard these called 'punch welds' but I don't know for sure that welding is involved. I have trouble believing that these dimples on the GB and FSB are just some sort of mechanical staking. It would make much more sense to me if these were holes through will an automated spot welder was used to apply a puddle weld (this technique is used in a variety of automated assembly lines). Compared to drilling/pinning, this would be a much cheaper means to attach the GB and FSB in a factory environment, and I have every reason to believe that Izhmash would attempt to apply manufacturing cost reductions just like everyone else.

Hopefully the macro photos will help clear this up.

If it does appear to be a puddle weld, then if I were going to convert one of these rifles, I would consider doing the same thing on the new GB and FSB - drilling and puddle welding. I wouldn't drill/pin them. I don't know if the heat of the welder would be an issue for the tempering, but I doubt it - those barrells are work-hardended in the forging process and should be tolerant of a reasonable amount of focused heat from a welder. I don't know for sure though; I'm not a metalurgist.

-Thirtycal
 

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As the Saiga 7.62x39 and the .223 thin barrel have same OD
the only that changes is the caliber on the barrel, .591 OD
of barrel at gas block.

The Bulgarian AK74 at Gas block is about .594

European AKM pattern at gas blocks is .594

The saiga .223 heavy barrel at gas block is about .628
.630

How I know, cause I have few of them.

I usually used to get the AK-620 cause you not need the bayonet
lug at the gas block, and price used to be real cheap
as the spike get hold in place by the lug on the FSB

Brother before you go dishing 50 bucks on a GB why don't wait
be patient and look around the gun forums
for a 90 degrees AK74 GB as I have got them
cheap that way.
 
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