Saiga fore-end


November 27, 2008, 02:22 PM
I got a new Saiga .223 a few months ago, and I have a question about the plastic fore-end.

I noticed that a lot of heat was getting through it after a while, and wondered if it would hurt anything to drill some ventilation holes in the fore-end. I don't think it would hurt, but I wanted to ask for outside opinions before I do it. How big? How many?

BTW, I like the rifle. It took a while to get used to its trigger, but now I'm happy with it. I even gave it a name -- Tin-o-saurus Rex, Son of Punch-Press.

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November 27, 2008, 02:42 PM
Check out the stickied picture threads over at the Saiga 12 ( forums.

November 27, 2008, 03:10 PM
As stated above, lots of guys have done this, and it does look very cool.
I haven't drilled any vent holes, but I tapered the front end of both of mine on a grinding wheel.There is some steel reinforcement inside the plastic, so expect a few sparks. It looks more streamlined, and allows more air circulation, exposing most of the gas block.
If you remove the foregrip from the rifle, you'll notice it's actually much more solid than it feels while on the rifle, and has some thicker,reinforced areas that look like a lot of extra care should be taken if drilling to avoid screwing the whole thing up.There are a couple guys at saiga12 that will do the job very well for around $40 plus shipping ( last I read).

November 28, 2008, 09:41 AM
Thanks, guys. I went to the Saiga12 forum and found pics of a couple of guns that had ventilated fore-ends, and they looked like the stock parts that had been slotted or pierced.
I can do this myself; I'll just avoid cutting the reinforcing ribs. If I ruin it, I can get a new one for $50, so it doesn't make much sense to send it away for the work. I don't care what it looks like; when I want to look at a pretty gun, I can get out my Henry.
Anyway, here are the pics I found. The drilled version looks easy.

November 28, 2008, 12:21 PM
You can do that and you can stickk a piece of metal flashing in it as a heat shield.

November 28, 2008, 01:10 PM
I went the route of streamlining the front. It allows air into the forearm. Easy to do.

November 28, 2008, 03:54 PM
Did you use a band saw of a belt sander?

Gilberts guns also has a US made version with rails.

November 28, 2008, 03:54 PM
Nearly froze working in the unheated workshop, but I've got five holes on each side and one right under the gas block on the bottom.

The holes are 3/8" dia. Should do okay, you can see daylight between the barrel and gas tube. I could have drilled more or bigger ones; the piece is pretty strong.

I wish my damn camera would let me focus it myself, that first pic is fuzzy, but you get the idea.

November 29, 2008, 11:52 AM
Did you use a band saw of a belt sander?

For mine I used a combination of tools. First, I used a small strong magnet to locate the boundary of the metal lining inside of the polymer. I then used a bandsaw to very roughly cut off material leaving a good bit. Doing a precise cut on both sides at once would require that the fore-end be completely square to the saw table, a difficult thing due its shape. Cutting a bit away from the desired profile allowed me to tweak this later by using a Rockler 36 grid grinding disk on a 1700 rpm motor to take it very nearly down to the desired profile (which I had drawn on with a grease pencil on both sides). I then used a Dremel with Flexshaft and a 1/2" 50 grit sanding drum to fine tune the profile evening up the two sides. as well as to round the the edges of the fresh contour a bit. I then sanded the edge 220 grit hrough 800 and then lightly buffed with tripoli and plastic bufffing compound.

The shark-nose profile allows some of the gas block to show gving it a bit more of an AK look, and, allows air to enter from the front for cooling.

The key to the whole job is to always remove just a bit less than you need to, getting closer and closer to the desired profile as you refine your removal techniques from the more blunt instrument of the bandsaw down to the comparative scalpel of the Dremel and sandpaper. As my dad use to tell me, it's a heck of a lot easier to take off than to put back on.

November 29, 2008, 11:59 AM
Very nice. Yeah, Saigas heat up thanks to that heavy barrel. It makes them a better gun, but it retains heat like crazy.

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