16-Year-Old Building Guns


March 7, 2011, 07:23 PM
Hey all. Some of you may have read my review on the new InterArms Ak47 on atlantic. I'm a 16 year old sophomore with a love of guns, and considerably more shooting experience than other kids my age, who think they know jack about guns because they play Call Of Duty.

Anyway, I've been in deep thought lately, and hell even lost sleep, over building my own guns. I already got my parents OK. I've done quite a bit of research to see what I'm getting myself into... Now this would be something I'd do in my little free time but something I would definetly rather do than play xbox! This hobby would probably be a Sunday thing (gf, grades... you older guys know).

I've researched a bit and figured out that Aks, my favorite platform, are way harder to build. I was thinking about this reciever


and a romy G kit.

This may be a lengthy thread but I do need some help... all of the guides ive read seem to be directed towards older dudes with experience building K's. I am aware of the ffl crap, already went through that, but:

1. is the above reciever a 100% reciever, DOES IT HAVE THE RAILS on it already?

2. Will the reciever be ready for me to begin work on it, no drilling/welding?

I'm also havign some issues with tools. No source will tell me what I need. are the tools neccessary common things I have around home? I have lots of hardware/tools, however I have no 10, 12, or 20 ton press. IS it really neccessary?

As for the barrel, on the romy g kits, is it really neccessary to remove them also? I just want something I can put together.

I know its alot but bear with me

I'm also considering makign ar ar, which is quite easier. looking at cheap del-ton kits, im not looking for extreme sharpshooter .1moa rifles. I want a measure of enemy gun that will work.

hopefully I can get a bit of help, I'm looking forward to anyone that can help me. hopefully i explained it well enough. I dont want/have time or tools to bend my own flats. I want a 100% reciever that i can start buiding on. also, *** is headspacing

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March 7, 2011, 07:33 PM
Well, there are lots of guides to this on line beyond anything we have here at THR. I'd suggest AFfiles.com or other AK specific sites.

Having said that, if you have a kit, you will need to pull the barrel in order to install the rivets. (Unless you're going to do a screw build...don't do that.)

You can do it all without a press. I built my first AK with a hammer in my garage and it still works fine. A press makes some things a whole lot easier. A press is also pretty inexpensive from Harbor Freight and very useful for other things, so it might be worth while to pick one up.

There are other tools you will need. You need a way of squashing rivets inside the front trunion. That's not something you can do easily even with a press. The best way is to buy a cheap but large set of bolt cutters and grind the jaws so they fit into the receiver and squash as you need them to. That's another Harbor Freight item.

If you buy a 100% finished receiver (I prefer NODAKSPUD) you will not have to weld in rails or do the heat-treating. As far as drilling goes, you will probably be better off to get one that isn't drilled for the trunion and rear-block rivets as those vary from kit to kit and having to modify the receiver holes might get you a less than perfect product.

Again, read the on-line building walkthroughs at the AK sites carefully before you proceed.


And, yes...most folks can put an AR together in an hour or so on the kitchen table. Most pretty handy folks, with all the right tools, can put an AK together from a kit in a long afternoon -- especially if they've done one or two before and know exactly what they're doing. :)

March 7, 2011, 07:46 PM
Good luck with that build... I too am young, almost 17, and have a love for guns. My grandpa was a gunsmith, and since I never had my father around when I was a kid, my grandpa was my father-figure, and since I lived with him I grew up around guns.

I might suggest you even try a VZ58 build, they are fairly cheap and can be a challenge. I am considering doing a build, as soon as I find the money. I have already put together an AR-15, but that was as easy as pie.

Good luck.

March 7, 2011, 07:53 PM
thanks -

as for the trunnion, is it relatively simple, drilling and all? how do you secure it?

March 7, 2011, 07:59 PM
also, whats wrong with a screw kit? I REALLLLY dont wanna take that barrel out

March 7, 2011, 08:14 PM
If you're going to build a rifle, do it right. Rivets are better than screws, and that's how an AK should be put together. Removing the barrel is really a pretty simple process.

FWIW, those receivers at Atlantic do have the rails installed, and would not require any welding. You would have to drill the holes for your front and rear trunnion rivets, but that's pretty simple.

Putting together an AR is just assembly, not building. There's nothing in that process that wouldn't be done on a detailed stripping of the rifle for cleaning or inspection. Building an AK actually involves some more permanent work, and as a result is more satisfying and requires a greater investment of time and tools. TANSTAAFL.

March 7, 2011, 08:24 PM
A screw kit will always look like a screw kit. Kind of like the "country cousin" version of a well-made gun.

Back in the day, a Romy G kit was $80 and it often came with a flat to bend into a receiver. Guys came up with all kinds of odd and hack things to do with them 'cause they were almost disposable. (If I'd spent over $100 on my G kit I'd have never tried to build it on my garage floor with a hammer!)

Guys used to build a Romy G gun in an afternoon and then tie it to the bumper of their truck and drag it down a dirt road so it looked like a battlefield pick-up war trophy. Or just beat (literally) on them to see just what it would take to finally kill one. Or do all kinds of oddball builds like chopping the barrel and gas system to create the the shortest possible pistol build and if it ended up non-functional and useless ... oh well! Or try and build one stuck together with JB weld ... etc.

Screw kits kind of came out of that. Sort of, "Hey, what's a cheap, down & dirty way to slap together an AK that runs?" But the kits aren't disposable anymore and my humble opinion is that it is a shame to do a halfway job.

They are not guaranteed to work (the threading can be tricky and breaking off a tap just made your problems a whole lot worse), and when you're done you have a gun that no one's going to mistake for a high-quality build.

If you really -- really -- don't care what it looks like, sure a screw build can work fine. But is that what you want to spend your money to do? Or do you want to build it right and have a gun that is as correct as you could make it?

Pulling the barrel is no big deal. Again, I pulled and reinstalled my first one with a big hammer. With a press, it's just silly how easy it is.

This is all my humble opinion and you'll have to do what you think is right, but I think you're worried about something that's not such a big deal.

March 7, 2011, 08:27 PM
Oh... and does the kit you're looking at have an intact barrel? Better check for sure as kits imported in the last few years have the barrels cut.

If it's a new American made barrel you'll have to press it in anyway, adjust for headspace, and drill for the barrel pin. (That's getting a little more complicated.)

March 7, 2011, 10:35 PM
Yes it has the barrel already in the trunnion
Now... Its not possible to rivet the gun without removing barrel? J.w

March 8, 2011, 12:57 AM
Nothing wrong with being a 16 year old with ignorant friends. I was in the same place in highschool. . . a farmboy who had got his first gun at age 7 (a .22 of course) and his first hunting rifle at 14. (Remington 700 mountain rifle in 7x57 mauser) All my friends at school were "Movie" and "novel" experts, and all they could talk about where AKs and M14s. . .

One of my friends even rented a full auto ak 47, and put enough ammo through it fast enough to ruin the barrel. While his idiot father watched. . . .

Anyhow, I'd actually urge you to go the same route, but in a Saiga. They're a bit more expensive, but you're getting all new parts, and for a first serious build it would be pretty easy. Further, the Saiga conversion can be done with a pair of needle nose pliers, an electric drill, and little more.

I'd recommend checking out the conversion threads over on saiga12.com and determine which saiga to get (I have a 12 and a .308. I can't recommend the .308 enough or as much as 1stmarine. :) and how you want it to end up looking.

March 8, 2011, 03:04 AM
Im 18 and just finished my first AK build. I did a screw build (Yes I know, and I don't care) and it was surprisingly easy. Don't worry, anyone can do it if they put in the time.

March 8, 2011, 06:26 AM
Ak builds can be done with a hammer, but a press and jigs go a long way in making it a less frustrating experience. Also, having someone around who has done it before goes a long way. If you can find a "build party," the knowledge gained there is invaluable. Or if you can find someone who has the tools, time and knowledge. I have done over 20 builds, first done at a build party. The knowledge gained there was invaluable. I still have a couple builds sitting in a corner that need to be "rebuilt" (barrel not lined up perfectly when pressed back into the trunion). Have even helped a few others do builds when I get referrals. And the Nodakspud receivers are the way to go.

March 8, 2011, 07:10 AM
Now... Its not possible to rivet the gun without removing barrel?

No. The front trunnion has to be riveted into the receiver while the barrel is out as the section of the barrel that gets pressed into the trunnion completely covers the rivet locations once it is installed, so they can't be "set."

It helps to completely understand how rivets work: You have a head on one side and a soft shaft that protrudes through the hole in the two pieces you want to join. With those pieces firmly held together you peen or "upset" the metal of the shaft that protrudes past the joined parts, forming sort of another head on the back side. The strength of the joint comes from the tension you create between the visible head on the outside and the riveted head on the back side as you hammer or mash them together. Once the barrel is installed, you can't get to the back side to form that second head or squeeze the rivet tight.

March 8, 2011, 04:42 PM
Yeah. I cant find a good guide and i dont get how the riveting works

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 8, 2011, 05:05 PM
Aren't there some kind of restrictions on age when it comes to something like this?

I am apparently lacking some understanding of what constitutes LEGAL vs. ILLEGAL.

March 8, 2011, 05:14 PM
No where can a find a guide on how to rivet with no press
I may do a screw build

March 8, 2011, 05:54 PM
No where can a find a guide on how to rivet with no pressYou generally don't use a press to set the rivets. In fact, you CAN'T use a press to set some of the rivets.

Here's an awesome sticky thread from AKfiles that covers more info than you could need to know: http://www.akfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61255

I may do a screw buildThe good thing is that you can generally tear it back down and redo it later when you get more experience.

March 8, 2011, 05:57 PM
Aren't there some kind of restrictions on age when it comes to something like this?If he is legal to own a gun, he's legal to build one.

There aren't special qualifications or restrictions on who can build a Title I firearm. As long as you are not a "prohibited person" you're good to go.

I don't know the OP's location, but I have to assume he's following any state laws in addition to the federal ones.

March 8, 2011, 08:04 PM
Comsiderimg getting the ak rivet tool. Would this be any help? If someone would provide a list on this thread on all neccessary tools id appreciate it

March 9, 2011, 05:17 AM
as described above, a rivet masher, which is basically a modified bolt cutter (think lock cutter), a drill press, cutting oil/lube, drill bits, dremmel with cutting wheel, trigger guard rivet jig, a press, barrel press kit (should include the the piece to push out and then back in the front trunion pin.) These are the essentials. A grinding wheel or angle grinder helps. Bandaids, gloves, safety glasses are useful as well. Ak-builder.com has most of the above. Will also need the 922 compliance parts, rivet sets. extra long pins for the trigger and springs, along with e clips to fit (7/32 I think, but don't quote me) are helpfull as well.

March 9, 2011, 10:42 AM
I, for one, commend you for getting away from the tv screen and puter screen and carrying on our tradition. You are the youth our country needs. Good on you young man..:)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 9, 2011, 10:45 AM
If he is legal to own a gun, he's legal to build one.

There aren't special qualifications or restrictions on who can build a Title I firearm. As long as you are not a "prohibited person" you're good to go.

I don't know the OP's location, but I have to assume he's following any state laws in addition to the federal ones.


There is apparently a FEDERAL LAW restricting the ownership of a rifle limited to 18 years old.
Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.

March 9, 2011, 11:07 AM
As you know a reciever (the actual registered part of a rifle) must be purchased by a person at least 18 years old (ie. his parents). He doesn't need to own it in order to build it. With his parents permission he can even use it without supervision.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 9, 2011, 12:20 PM
You're right. Thank you for sharing that!

March 9, 2011, 02:37 PM
restricting the ownership Yup... restricting purchase from a dealer -- not ownership.

As you quoted as well, no-one under 21 can purchase a handgun from a dealer, either -- but they certainly can own them -- and can purchase them from a private citizen as long as their state laws allow.

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