Wednesday, July 8, 2009

RPK Build Part 1

While I’m waiting for parts for my Tabuk project, I decided to start some of the prep work on an RPK kit. I’ve been searching far and wide for a decent kit – decent in this case meaning something that has a barrel, with real rifling, that I don’t have to worry about the cartridge sliding through when I perform a bullet test. I finally found the perfect kit, but there was one catch. The kit itself had a bad barrel, and by bad barrel I mean that it once might have had rifling, and was probably closer to firing an 8mm round than 7.62x39. Fortunately the kit came with a spare barrel – so I set about the process of removing the parts from the bad barrel and putting them on the good one. Simple, right? Yeah. . . not so much. . .

I start with the kit front half as shown above. It was a simple matter to remove and disassemble the gas tube and lower stock assembly. The picture below shows why all of this was necessary. I wasn’t kidding about the fact that this barrel was probably closer to 8mm at this point!!!

As I’d done some disassembly on other barrels, I didn’t think this one would be much of a problem. The front sight tore down in minutes, but the gas port gave me a devil of a time. I ended up drilling out one of the pins because it simply would not move. Then actually getting enough purchase on the gas port itself was a challenge in of itself. I ended up having to use one of my precision vises just to get purchase on it so I could remove it from the barrel. The rear sight block was a snap by comparison. Once that was off I had a lovely collection of RPK parts (shown below).

At this point, I started putting the pieces onto the new barrel. The new barrel wasn’t a virgin barrel, so it already had alignment marks. I’m unsure why this particular barrel was ever stripped. Two views below show that it passes the bullet test with flying colors. The bore is mirror bright with very strong lands and grooves. I expect this rifle to shoot well once it’s together.

First I reinstalled the rear sight block, then the handguard retainer, and next the gas block as shown in the sequence below. I since installed the front sight, but don’t have pictures yet.

The one snag I’ve run into is that the pins for the gas block and front sight are much finer than on a standard AK. As such, I’ve only gotten one reinstalled at this point. I had to drill out one to simply get the gas block removed, and one other simply wouldn’t feed. I don’t have the appropriate size of drill bit to help clear out the holes, so this project is on hold pending getting the bit and a few new pins.

I also still need to order a receiver for this build a couple of compliance parts. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m sticking with the existing furniture or replacing it with an Ironwood set. The furniture is very nice, but an Ironwood set would also help with my U.S. parts count. I have a spare RPK style rear trunnion as well, which should make the build a bit easier. I still have to demill the kit itself, and there are a LOT of rivets on a Yugo!

Until next time!!!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Do you have a source on barrels and parts? I'm looking to do one up on a spare receiver.