Which is easier to build: FAL or AK?


July 3, 2006, 05:41 PM
So me and my buddy are going to try our hands at kit building this winter. Luckily he is very mechanically inclined(me, much less so). We have access to a mill, a lathe, welders and a press. Assuming FAL receivers will be more available later in the year, which should we cut are figurative teeth on? The AKs will be rivet builds by the way.

Also any opinions on the available "how-to" books/DVDs/videos would be greatly appreciated.


If you enjoyed reading about "Which is easier to build: FAL or AK?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
July 3, 2006, 06:06 PM
you would have to be a hotshot with a metal lathe to make an FAL reciever.
AK is a pretty easy build and I think this site is the best I've ever seen for build intructions:

July 3, 2006, 06:12 PM
Probably the FAL, or maybe not... ;) . I say this only because there is no threading trunnions or riveting on the FAL. If you've got a machinist type guy and either of you can read at a 7th grade level, you'll be fine with either. Personally, I'd start with the AK's now while kits are $88 each and when the FAL receivers hit the market, you'll be ready for something different. FWIW, if you go the AK route and plan to fold your own receivers from flats, I've got the TAPCO variety for $12 each.

July 3, 2006, 06:26 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys. Who has kits for eighty-eight bucks? I was going to order some Romy-G kits from Copes distributing. I was also thinking about Centerfire. Any feed back on the quality of either's kits? Would it be worth it to pay extra for hand-picked kits? Thanks again.


July 3, 2006, 06:29 PM

I wouldn't bother with handpick myself, if you're going the Romo route. Show piece AK's don't float my boat, so I can live with VG for $88. You can always refinish it later if that's your thing.

July 3, 2006, 10:05 PM
I have built both.
I would say the FAL is easier.
The AK isn't hard but I had access to a lot of homemade specialized tools for seating the rivets.

July 4, 2006, 04:30 AM
I built my FAL years ago and it wasn't a huge ordeal except for the locking shoulder, which thankfully my buddy had a bin full of. I'm putting together the tools/parts for a couple of AK builds now.

My press was backordered for several months and finally arrived a few weeks ago. I got my excellent condition Romanian parts kits from DPH Arms, and they came with the G2 FCG for $125. The bores are minty, and they'll likely not need refinishing.

Receivers from Global Trades are backordered 6 weeks last I checked. Since I don't have a spot welder or the desire to buy one, I'm getting their (I think) type 3 receivers which already have the rails and trigger guard installed. I plan to do rivet builds (have parts for 2 builds). Some guys over on ak-47.net sell rivet jigs, but they're more than I care to pay for so I'll be manufacturing the rivet crusher from bolt cutters. I foresee this as being the most difficult part, because it's a lot of freehand work with a dremel.

Headspacing is easy, because if you keep the same barrel/trunion/barrel pin together, the headspace won't change. The rear trunnion takes a lot of time and patience with a drill press and cutting oil.

I've seen several good build guides on gunsnet.net forums and a few other places. They're bookmarked on my other computer, I'll try to remember to post links when I get home.

I'll be posting a complete guide with pics and maybe videos as my build progresses, but since I haven't placed my receiver order yet it's still some months off.

July 4, 2006, 12:11 PM
One of the advantages of the AK's sheetmetal receiver over the FAL's is you can get AK receiver flats mailed right to you and finish them into legal firearms yourself. With the tools you have available, that shouldn't be difficult. If you need to form them, you'll need a sheet metal brake and you can make your own jigs. Or you can get them pre-formed and you'll have to spot weld the rails on. You'll have to heat treat them too.

Lots of info on building AKs here: www.gunsnet.net

If you enjoyed reading about "Which is easier to build: FAL or AK?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!