Monday, August 31, 2009

Return of the Tabuk Log!

It’s ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on the Tabuk project. The reason for the delay has been a combination of waiting for replacement parts (the new barrel), waiting for that barrel to be corrected, replacing some dead, deceased, and defunct cobalt drill bits, and then waiting for some spare time to actually work on the project seriously.

Actually disassembling the old barrel was a little trickier than I’d anticipated, and I had to pull out one of my precision vises to actually get enough purchase on the rear sight block to get it off of the barrel. Once I had all of the pieces free, I cleaned up any nicks or marks from handling. Once I’d gotten the barrel back from Tornado Technologies I slowly began the process of getting it back together. I’ve taken it very slow to ensure I didn’t have a repeat of last time (and we all know how painful that was!).

Overall the barrel went together pretty well. I had a little trouble cutting the gas port, but once I switched to a new sharp bit I was able to get it cut without too much difficulty. Putting the barrel back in was a slow affair with numerous stops and starts to check the position of the barrel relative to the bolt assembly.

Once the barrel was in, the rest of the process went has gone pretty much like a normal AK build. I had to do a little work on the magazine catch, but now it accepts an array of magazines without issue (I put a 40 in it because I had it lying around. The 5-round Chinese work very well, though. Tabuk hunting anyone???). Honestly, one of the trickiest parts was riveting the pistol grip mount to the receiver. The normal AK builder jigs just aren’t quite set up to do this as easily as I’d like, so it took a little bit of careful work to get all of those rivets into place and secure. As you can see from the pictures below, the final product is coming out beautifully:

An astute observer will note a few things that need to be done yet. The rear sight is a standard M70 sight I included purely for the purpose of aligning the barrel assembly. I haven’t installed the Tabuk sight yet. You’ll also note the full trigger assembly isn’t yet installed – I’m still debating whether or not I want to install the adjustable match trigger or not. I also haven’t set the barrel pin just yet as I want to finalize checking the headspace. If anything, I’ll move the barrel out 1mm or so – don’t know if I need to, though. I also still need to cut the groove in the barrel for the lower hand guard retainer and screw in the buttpad on the stock. Once all that’s done I’ll tackle modifications to the cheek rest, as the hardware is completely different than the Dragunov.

Overall this has been an alternately frustrating and rewarding project. As the final pieces fall into place, I’m quite proud of the outcome, and I’ve learned a lot about trying to build a project from near scratch versus rebuilding a kit. Once I’ve completed assembly and done a field test, then I’ll get the entire rifle refinished. I still haven’t decided who I’m going to go with on that because I have a fair amount of research still to do.

Until next time!!!


White Wolfe said...

Looks very nice.

Fingolfen said...

Thanks! It's finally coming together - there were times I wondered if it was or not... :D

Hunter said...

Good to see that you're in the home stretch Mike!

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