Saiga 7.62x39 Magazine Conversion


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22HM77
February 19, 2008, 02:42 AM
I've been thinking about getting an AK-pattern rifle for some time now. I initially had my eye set on a Yugo, but people's experiences seem to vary from horrible to great with those. However, most people find the Saiga a great rifle. The only catch is, the expensive low-cap magazines. Now, this can be fixed, I've heard, by filing down the back of the magazine or the magazine catch, as well as inserting a bullet guide. My questions:

1. What part of the magazine or magazine catch is supposed to be filed?

2. Will a gunsmith install the bullet guide? How much do you think this would cost?

3. After conversion, will the gun still be legal if used with a foreign magazine? If not, what other parts can easily/cheaply be changed to U.S. parts for compliance?

4. How reliable are these converted guns generally (with FMJ, HP, SP, etc.)?

5. If you want to talk me into a Yugo again, I'm all ears.

EDIT: Also, if anyone knows a source for cheap Saiga magazines that'd be great too, even if I have to buy in bulk.

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nalioth
February 19, 2008, 03:02 AM
All you wish to know (and stuff you've not thought of) pertaining to Saigas can be found at http://forum.saiga-12.com

1. The bottom of the magazine locking tab or the top of the rifle mag catch.

2. Of course they will. It will take them 20 minutes and they'll charge you too much.

3. If you want to use a foreign mag, you'd do well to do a complete conversion and get a US made buttstock, trigger, hammer, disconnector and pistol grip on the rifle. If you only plan on using US made mags, changing the forearm is the easiest option.

4. If converted properly (which doesn't take much skill), they are just as reliable as any other Kalashnikov.

22/22mag
February 19, 2008, 03:34 AM
]My (Tromix) converted Saiga 7,62x39mm folding stock high cap AK mags.Even if you leave it stock with the 10 rd mags Saigas are well made and very good rifles.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/IMG_3020.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/Saiga.jpg

22HM77
February 19, 2008, 03:43 AM
Well I've been doing yet more research and came across something called "Master Molder" magazines, which for some reason are also called Thermold magazines. These are about the same price of a regular hi-cap AK47 mag, but are made for the Saiga 7.62x39. Anyone have experience with these? Good, bad, ugly? Ideally I'd like to keep the rifle as-is and stock up on a bunch of Thermold/MM magazines if they work reliably.

okiewita40
February 19, 2008, 10:21 AM
From everything I have read/researched the only way you can use hi cap. mags is if you do the conversion. From what I can gather the master moulder mags are plug and play for the saiga. But you would still have to meet the min. u.s. made parts with them. I would just drop in a tapco g2 fcg and a new u.s. made piston and a u.s. made stock and then there shouldn't be a problem with the mags.

SSN Vet
February 19, 2008, 11:27 AM
1. What part of the magazine or magazine catch is supposed to be filed?

The rear 'tab' on the mil. surp. mags is thicker than the sporter mags. Hold the two up side by side and it's obvious what to do. You're options to run mil. surp mags are (a.) file the 'tab' on the mag...which will make it so it will not latch tightly in a std. AK, or (b.) file the notch in the mag. catch on the rifle to accept the mil. surp mag. (which will make the rifle no longer accept your sporter mag.)

2. Will a gunsmith install the bullet guide? How much do you think this would cost?

There's a lot of gunsmiths out there and they're all individuals. Go ask one. All anyone here can do is speculate. Check out Dinzagarms. He makes and sells bullet guides and I believe will install them as well. I don't think he'd call himself a gunsmith....but he knows Saigas.

3. After conversion, will the gun still be legal if used with a foreign magazine? If not, what other parts can easily/cheaply be changed to U.S. parts for compliance?

You NEED to know and clearly understand what the 922r regs are, before you unwittingly commit a felony. In short (and to the best of my meager understanding), on an x39 Saiga, you need to replace 4 import parts with domestic parts and then make sure any added parts (flash hider, pistol grip, etc... are also domestic). Most seem to go for the G2 trigger group (3 parts) and a domestic (KVAR) stock. You can use domestic mags or mag parts (spring & follower) but many advise against using these to achieve compliance.

4. How reliable are these converted guns generally (with FMJ, HP, SP, etc.)?

IF done correctly, they're as reliable (if not more so) than any other AK. The G2 trigger group is fairly easy to install (and is a pretty nice trigger, imo). The bullet guide is a bit more involved, (especially if you fabricate one for yourself).

5. If you want to talk me into a Yugo again, I'm all ears.

Getting a good reliable AK should be a no brainer. Get what you like and be happy. The only way to know whether YOU are going to be happy with any particular rifle is to put it in your hands and shoot it.

Regarding the "for use in Saiga" mags.

These all raise the front step of the mag so that it acts like a bullet guide and tips the cartridge up as it is swept from the magazine into the chamber. Some take foreign mil. surp. metal mags, do a weld build up on the front step and then machine it into the desired profile. They may or may not put a domestic spring and follower in, and whether or not they count as domestic or not appears to be a gray area. Even if the ATF does count them as 3 domestic parts, slapping one into the sporter Saiga violates 922R unless you swap your fourth part. Last time I checked extensively (last summer), any "for use in Saiga" mags were selling for ~$40/ea. While mil. surp. mags can be had for ~$12/ea.

nalioth
February 19, 2008, 11:34 AM
Well I've been doing yet more research and came across something called "Master Molder" magazines, which for some reason are also called Thermold magazines. These are about the same price of a regular hi-cap AK47 mag, but are made for the Saiga 7.62x39. Anyone have experience with these? Good, bad, ugly? Ideally I'd like to keep the rifle as-is and stock up on a bunch of Thermold/MM magazines if they work reliably. Again (plays the harp), http://forum.saiga-12.com has much info on the master molder mags. They are known to be very high quality.


P.S. There is no such thing as a 30 round "high capacity" magazine for a Kalashnikov. Nor is a 40 or 75 or 100 round magazine considered "high capacity" for this platform.

Those are all standard capacity, as they were issued by the various militaries at one time or other.

rangerruck
February 19, 2008, 11:37 AM
if you can use a drill, you can install a bullet guide, if you get a new mag american made, that is 4 parts, I believe; body, follower, spring, floorplate.
then you just need 1 more part, correct? say , a piston? Also Surefire makes a good hi cap mag, but they are about 35 to 45 bucks.
it looks like that mag is called a master molder mag...
http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?showtopic=20639
in reading this link, it appears you just need 1 more part, if you get the american made mags.

SSN Vet
February 19, 2008, 11:57 AM
if you can use a drill, you can install a bullet guide

drilling the hole isn't the tricky part.....

tapping that hard cast trunnion without breaking the skinny little #6-32 tap is another story. And if you break that uber-hard steal tap....your going to have lot's of 'fun' trying to drill it back out.

if I was doing it again from scratch, I'd have gone straight to a #8 tap!

maybe it's just me, but I've done four metal working projects in my life that required me to drill and tap a hole and I've broken a tap three times. :o

nalioth
February 19, 2008, 12:54 PM
if you get a new mag american made, that is 4 parts, I believe; body, follower, spring, floorplate. Only 3 countable parts.

Follower, floorplate and body. If an all US made magazine is used, one more part is needed and the easiest (as I said above) is the handguard. You could also replace the gas piston if you're mechanically inclined.

And if you break that uber-hard steal tap....your going to have lot's of 'fun' trying to drill it back out.
They're 'uber-hard' but also uber-brittle. I fubarred my tapping operation, and used a hammer and punch on the broken off tap. It shattered and fell through the hole.

I then went old-school and hand riveted the bullet guide in place:

http://www.novarata.net/abrams/saiga556/1024/saiga556_658.JPG

SSN Vet
February 20, 2008, 11:42 AM
Naolith,

That looks like a .223, am I correct?

Care to share the "ancient Chinese secret" for doing the rivot by hand?

Looks like you inserted it from the bottom and "beat it" from the top.

Just curious how you could insert it from the bottom, as that area is closed off on my x39.

I'm obviously missing something. :confused:

nalioth
February 20, 2008, 12:25 PM
That looks like a .223, am I correct? Yep

Care to share the "ancient Chinese secret" for doing the rivot by hand?

Looks like you inserted it from the bottom and "beat it" from the top.

Just curious how you could insert it from the bottom, as that area is closed off on my x39. Take off your handguard. There should be plenty of room in there to stick a bucking bar. Just make sure you have the bucking bar tight against the bottom of the trunnion. I used a small piece of steel an a steel wedge so that it was solid steel between the trunnion bottom and the receiver. It also helps to have the bottom of the rifle against an anvil, so you limit the possibility of bowing out the receiver bottom while you're hammering the rivet.

silverlance
February 20, 2008, 12:27 PM
lol that bullet guide looks all beat to hell

but if it works that's beautiful.

I really wanted to convert my SAIGA to 922R comp with 30 ak mags.. but afte ra lot of thinking... nah. itd cost way too much, and to be honest i dont need to do it... i just want to.

so, maybe later.

saxtmich
February 20, 2008, 12:33 PM
I simply shaved down the rear tab on the magazine and applied a small amount of epoxy to the front of the magazine to help feed the ammunition properly - works great. I have fired well over 400 rounds with 0 problems.

nalioth
February 20, 2008, 03:29 PM
lol that bullet guide looks all beat to hell

but if it works that's beautiful. Runs like a Kalashnikov.

dscottw88
February 20, 2008, 05:09 PM
go to dinzagarms.com and look up his bullet guides. On his bullet guide pages he has little pdf files that say something like "magazine choices" and "bullet guide install instructions." just open those up and you'll find some answers.

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