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Since Russia painted their AKs, does anyone happen to know if all parts were painted before assembly or after? It wouldn't make much practical sense to paint unseen areas or mating surfaces of press-fit pins since the pressure would be more than enough to shear off any coating. Still, it's interesting to know their exact process.
 

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receiver was painted once barrel, barrel parts, trunnions and trigger guard assembly were already attached, but with furniture still off.
rest of the parts were painted individually fully or partially stripped.
 

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receiver was painted once barrel, barrel parts, trunnions and trigger guard assembly were already attached, but with furniture still off.
rest of the parts were painted individually fully or partially stripped.

I tried to get this answered on another forum but from your answer we don’t paint the interior of the receiver?
 

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let me just say this. based on my experience with russian rifles (mostly saiga and one demill), they did not go out their way to spray every nook and crevice but they also did not avoid receiver interior either. moreover before paint application they applied phosphating primer. some people say it was done by dipping others say by spray. so the areas inside that didn't get enough of a paint coat did not stay unprotected.

I do not use phosphating primer on my guns, because i choose to parkerize them first (a better heavier form of applying phosphate coating). then i spray paint over park everywhere i'm able to reach including receiver inner cavity from the top, back, front and through the magwell. this way some of the inside gets sprayed fairly well, some areas get light coat and some area get barely any. after baking the paint, i then apply a very heavy coat of penetrating oil all over the gun. trying to get every nook and crevice. this ensures that any exposed metal that paint can't get to gets saturated and protected from moisture accumulation and rust. this method also allows oil to saturated park finish in portions of the inner receiver cavity where paint couldn't reach. oiled parked is then becomes moisture repellent as well. not as good as paint over park but good enough. if you don't through your rifle in the lake this ensures sufficient protection for years to come, especially if you continue to apply oil to all captive surfaces throughout the life of the firearm.

in my opinion this process while not exact copy of the process russians used on the factory guns, nevertheless is very much in the spirit and if anything is providing a slightly more durable finish.

i hope this answers most of your questions.

below couple of pics of the guns i re-finished using this method.
that comp and cleaning rod are original factory finish and the rest of the gun is as described above.
following pic is same method with some park left unpainted on the shoulder portion of the block



 
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