Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tabuk Sniper Rifle Build Log – Part 3

Remember last time how I said “the more you learn, the more you find out you don’t know.” That particular mantra continues through to this installment of the build log as well. Upon further review the East German RPK sights I tracked down aren’t correct for the Tabuk. The Tabuk uses a Yugoslavian style RPK sight which is delineated out to 1000 meters (10 on the scale) and uses a completely different font for its numbers than the East German ones. Fortunately I believe I have a line on some correct sights as I’d really hate to go through all of this effort and pooch the sights. . .

To start visualizing what this beast is going to look like once I get it together, I’ve created my first parts cloth using some of the major components (annotated photo below). As you can see, the majority of the components come straight from the Yugoslavian M70, but as with any project, the devil is in the details and there is a fair amount of customization required to make the Tabuk look right.

One of the major components that is different between the Yugoslavian M70 series and the Tabuk DMR is the front gas block. The Iraqis also made a carbine that was essentially a direct copy of the fixed stock version of the M70. As with its Yugoslavian cousin, the Tabuk carbine included an integral grenade launcher. However, a grenade launcher is of limited utility on a marksman’s rifle, so it was eliminated on the Tabuk DMR creating a unique front gas block. The differences between the unmodified M70 gas block (with the grenade launching cutoff and sights removed) and the Tabuk DMR version are clear. This is a custom part built up from the original M70 part by “pupwag” on The AK Forum.

Another unique component is the scope rail (shown below). Unlike most AK derivatives, the scope rail on the Tabuk DMR is spot welded to the receiver, so you’ll need a custom one without any rivet holes if you want to do it right. Again, I want to thank “pupwag” for the scope rail . . . now I just need to borrow a spot welder . . .

With all of the custom parts required to build the Tabuk DMR, it’s sometime easy to forget that there are indeed many stock parts used in its construction. One of the harder to find parts is one that you’d initially think should be easy to find – a Dragunov style cheek rest (shown below). I ultimately had to import mine from a site in the UK that specializes in ex-Soviet and Russian militaria (rusmilitary.com). It’s not a great photo, but the key is the unique clamp system that is distinctive to the cheek rest which is very apparent only every actual Tabuk DMR photo I’ve seen.

I’m still waiting on my first stock set and confirmation on availability of a second set. My second barrel should be arriving soon, and once it does I’m going to take them to a local gunsmith for shortening and re-threading. I’ll also be sending off the first batch of parts for engraving – I plan on doing several side by side comparisons of before and after the engraving process to highlight the unique markings on the Tabuk DMR in a future progress report.

Until next time!!!

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