Should I build an AK from an 80% Receiver???


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wcoats
March 21, 2010, 01:53 AM
I started thinking about what I should take on as an interesting project. I read a how to on how to finish an 80% Receiver for an AK (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cncguns.com/images/P3270442.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.cncguns.com/projects/22silencer.html&h=480&w=640&sz=66&tbnid=AU19bgsdJ19RYM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dk%2Bbaffles&hl=en&usg=__E8pY4nNKcXN_P5uXi9kFvarh6t0=&ei=EXKhS9vZBMSztgeVjtnyBw&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=9&ct=image&ved=0CCAQ9QEwCA). It doesn't look to hard to do, but am looking for feedback from people who have done it, or know something about it.

I am thinking about getting the 80% receiver from Marsh Hawk Arms, ( http://marshhawkarms.com/page2.html ), but they are sold out. Does anyone know where I can get a similar receiver that is in stock?

Also, I was doing some looking for AK kits, but not having that much luck. I know that they stopped being able to import kits with barrels in 2005, but I figure someone has to have some in stock for a reasonable price. I have found some kits, but they cost about as much as buying an AK that's already put together.

Thanks for any advice!

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OrangePwrx9
March 21, 2010, 02:00 AM
Have you looked into building an AK from a Saiga? Much simpler than what you're proposing, I think....though maybe not the challenge you're looking for. Saigas and upgrade parts are easy to find.

Checkout the forums at saiga-12.com for more info.
Bob

THE DARK KNIGHT
March 21, 2010, 02:07 AM
I have never built an AK from the ground up, but I do know one thing from doing a bunch of work on them and looking at all kinds of guides and various websites. Building an AK is not like "building" an AR. You are actually building a gun and that will need rivets, and welding, alignment of various parts, you will need to headspace it and heat treat the receiver to harden it and it looks like on that thing you'll need to cut out the magazine well, pistol grip nut hole, etc. It's definitely something you can do in your garage with the right tools and stuff, but definitely not something as easy as assembling an AR.

Sorry that is a huge pet peeve of mine I know you never even said the word AR. It's just that I was at the range last week and someone told me "oh yeah building an AK cant be hard, I built an AR"

But yeah if you are up to the challenge go for it, just make sure you have the right equipment and the right way to build it because if not you might build a gun that literally blows up in your face so yeah.

Quentin
March 21, 2010, 02:21 AM
TDK, to be fair - finishing an AR 80% lower receiver isn't exactly child's play but I agree with you that doing the same with an AK receiver requires skill and proper tools. You're dead on pointing out the challenges and I don't know that I'd care to attempt such a project with what I have in the garage.

wlewisiii
March 21, 2010, 02:37 AM
Heh. Kid, think about it - there's a reason ATF doesn't worry about 80% recievers. Go for it if you want to but don't be surprised when it bites your ass.

William

wcoats
March 21, 2010, 02:42 AM
yeah, i had thought about converting a saiga, but thought it would be interesting to build something from the ground up. I know that the mag well and place for the trigger have to be cut out, but i have access to a mill, so that won't be hard, and the holes should be easy on a drill press. But I however don't have access to a heat treating oven, does the receiver need to be heat treated?

Also I know that I would need to use rivets, and buy a head spacing gage, but what has to be welded, as I don't have the ability to weld :(

Thanks for any info!

THE DARK KNIGHT
March 21, 2010, 02:47 AM
TDK, to be fair - finishing an AR 80% lower receiver isn't exactly child's play but I agree with you that doing the same with an AK receiver requires skill and proper tools. You're dead on pointing out the challenges and I don't know that I'd care to attempt such a project with what I have in the garage.

Yeah, I know that is a little bit of work too. What really gets me though is people buy an upper, a lower, and a parts kit, assemble it on the kitchen table in a few minutes and walk around "hurrr durr hurrr i built this AR derpa derp"

wcoats
March 21, 2010, 02:48 AM
Converting a saiga is very tempting, because it would be a brand new fire arm, made with new parts, and I've heard very good things about the the quality of saigas. But that isn't as challenging, and I kinda feel like a more challenging project would be more rewarding, lol.

I've also thought about building from an 80% AR lover, but it looks like an AR lower is more complicated to mill, and I would want to wait till I save up more money for a good upper If I do an AR

Ian
March 21, 2010, 02:48 AM
I have built several AKs, both from 80% flats and 100% receivers. First off, it's not cost effective right now, because the kits are just too expensive. It was cost effective a couple years ago when you could get cherry kits for under a hundred dollars (and especially cost effective to build in batches with friends, to divvy up the tooling costs). It is totally worth doing if you're interested in it as a learning experience and fun project, as opposed to a money-saving scheme.

None of the steps involved are particularly difficult, they just require a decent set of shop tools. A drill press, spot welder, torch (for heat treating), bending jig (if you use a precut flat), rivet tool, small press, and some type of refinishing setup (I used Ducacoat). My first one looks pretty ugly...the finish is uneven, and a bunch of the rivet heads are eccentric (though they all hold securely). Took some filing to get the bolt carrier to travel freely in the top rails. Even so, it's as accurate and reliable as any stock AK I've shot. Subsequent builds looked much better.

wcoats
March 21, 2010, 01:54 PM
I know it wasn't going to save any money, but thought it would be a cool project, but I guess I can't take on this project, because I don't have the ability to spot weld or heat treat. Just out of curiosity what needs to be welded? I'll have to think up another project that I can do. Any recommendations for a fun project? I'm starting to think I might just go the easy rout and convert a saiga.

DMK
March 21, 2010, 02:18 PM
Peruse these forums. Look back through the threads and see what problems folks had and how they solved them. There are some pretty ingenious methods for folks with limited resources.

All the parts you need should turn up now and then in the classifieds sections of these forums. Just have patience.

You need to be doing it for the journey, not the destination.

http://www.theakforum.net/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=7&sid=094bd89e4998940e5dbde9e7b9df8486

http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=4&f=51

http://www.akfiles.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=4

DMK
March 21, 2010, 02:22 PM
I don't have the ability to spot weld or heat treat. Just out of curiosity what needs to be welded?The rails for the carrier. You could probably get someone else to do just that part for you.

Ian
March 21, 2010, 02:34 PM
The lower guide rails need to be spot welded to the inside of the receiver.

If you are really interested, there's no reason to let the tools stop you. I did my heat treating with a simple propane torch, the kind you can buy at any hardware store for copper pipe work. The spot welder was a Harbor Freight unit that cost something like $200. Both processes are surprising simple.

Quentin
March 21, 2010, 05:40 PM
I actually have a Sun Devil 80% AR lower that I bought real cheap from a guy who thought he could finish it. Now I'm thinking about it and checking in to the legalities.

For the time being though I "built" up a S&W stripped lower and bought an ArmaLite midlength upper. :neener:

My AK? The WASR 10/63 I bought about 4 years ago.

wcoats
March 21, 2010, 10:38 PM
Any recommendations on where to get an AK parts kit? Atlantic firearms has them for $299, but I'm sure there has to be somewhere that has them for at least a little cheaper then that?

Ian
March 21, 2010, 11:47 PM
I would recommend Apex Gun Parts. Specifically, this kit (https://www.apexgunparts.com/product_info.php/cPath/51/products_id/541). Don't let the Century hype fool you, Romanian kits make very nice guns. This particular kit includes the original intact barrel and matching bolt/barrel/trunnion, which means you don't have do any headspacing or drilling of gas ports or fitting of gas blocks or front sight blocks. At $250, they're actually a pretty good deal today - and Apex is an excellent company to work with (I've gotten a couple different things from them and always been very satisfied).

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