Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tactical AK Build

So here’s another project I’ve been working on – actually did the riveting on the receiver before I started on the Romanian build with the Tapco furniture. My last (of 3) Romy builds will be with wooden furniture. I’m still debating whether I’m going to try and refinish the original stocks or get new from Ironwood designs. I’ve had very mixed results on my refinishing to date (read as one piece out of five has come out usable so far). Parts on this one are similar to the last build:

The Parts: Romanian “G” kit. MAKO buttstock, upper handguard, lower handguard, and Tapco SAW grip. Tapco three piece trigger group. AK builder rivets. NoDak Spud lower receiver. Power Custom shepherd hook replacement. Tapco U.S. made slant break.

The Tools: AK-builder barrel press tool. AK-builder trigger guard jig. AK-builder riveting jig. 12-ton arbor press. Rigid freestanding drill press. Makita hand drill. Cobalt drill bits. Various clamps, hammers, vises and punches.

As you can see this one in many ways is similar to the previous build, but this one has tactical rails built in. Does the AK make a reasonable tactical rifle? Don’t see why not, though I know the subject is hotly debated. For close in work it’s accurate enough and its plenty durable enough. As with the previous one, this one still needs to be refinished as well. This kit is all matching, but unfortunately the matching top cover was damaged at some point and no longer fits – period. Can’t seem to find an AK it does fit on. I borrowed one from another build, but will replace the one for this rifle and return that cover to its matching kit.

This one went together fairly well, but this was the one I’d alluded to in the last article where I’d had trouble with the AK-builder long rivets – more from my lack of experience than anything else. I’ve gotten them to where they’re tolerable (they’re on the other side). Otherwise this build went together without a hitch. I had to do a little work on the magazine catch as it was initially a bit tight, but now it accepts all magazines without any issue. The only major problem I encountered was, ironically enough, installing the furniture.

The SAW grip is a newer version than my last one as it is set up to use the normal pistol grip connector – of course, it uses a roughly 7/16” hex head bolt to attach the pistol grip. If anyone from Tapco is reading this – KNOCK IT OFF! Just use a regular frikkin’ screw assembly on these things – PLEASE! You don’t seem to have that problem on your pistol grips.

The MAKO furniture looks great once it’s installed. . . it’s just getting it installed that’s the problem. The buttstock has floating connection points that are a real pain to get to stay in place. Once you tighten it down, it’s great, but getting it started is a bit tough. The top handguard installs readily onto the gas tube, but unfortunately the lower handguard is a nightmare given form to install. The connection points on both ends are overly tight. I really shouldn’t have to pull out the punches and the four pound sledge to get a plastic receiver component on.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the way this one came out with the exception of the two long rivet heads. Like the other rifle, I need to get this out to the range and try it out. Initial functional tests seem just fine, but I want to be sure it doesn’t need any reworking before I get it refinished.

Until next time!!!

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