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Saiga Conversion?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Birdmang, Aug 5, 2009.

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  1. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    Can someone please explain to me what this is?

    Mainly the conversion part...what is being converted?

    Thanks....I am very ignorant on this topic.
     
  2. phoglund

    phoglund Member

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  3. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    Do you need to convert them to make them legal or something?

    I have read so much lately idk what is real...thats internet for ya though.
     
  4. THE DARK KNIGHT

    THE DARK KNIGHT Member

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    Basically:

    There is a federal law that makes it illegal for an AK to come into the country. So the Izhmash factory in Russia makes an AK, then modifies it by adding a plate at the bottom, which covers the original trigger/grip holes, and has a new slot for the trigger rearward and a regular rifle stock on the back of it. This makes it no longer an AK for legal purposes, so it can enjoy a boat ride across the Atlantic. Once here, the neutering can be undone.

    "Converting" is the process of removing that plate and the modified trigger and replacing it so that the grip and trigger are back to their normal AK locations. This process takes maybe 2-3 hours and costs $80-150 depending on furniture you want. It greatly improves the handling and trigger pull of your rifle.

    The legality some people speak of, is another federal law called 922r, which, simply put, means when you do all this, use USA made parts.

    Also, that site was nice but there is now a much better, more clear, and in depth video which also uses a simpler process to do the work:
    http://vimeo.com/2787027

    There's a lot more to all this but really, that video, 3 hours, and $80-150 and you turn the awful-triggered, awkward handling rifle into the finest crafted AK out there. And best of all, it's made to YOUR specs.
     
  5. PandaBearBG

    PandaBearBG Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong (which I maybe) doesn't it have to have a specific number of parts? Like if it started with 11 (not counting screws or nuts) and you added something like 12, I thought it was legal? I remember reading it somewhere from a guy who moved his trigger.
     
  6. D Boone

    D Boone Member

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    There is a parts count, http://www.dinzagarms.com/922r/922r.html , has a pretty good rundown of how it works. He can also help you if you want to change the furniture up front. The process of a conversion is pretty easy. I really enjoy doing it. The biggest drawback is if you want a bayo lug and brake it can get expensive and time consuming.
     
  7. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    . . and when you do, please consider this:

    1) it's over 11 years old
    2) it's the opinion of one man with a machine shop (of course he's gonna use his expensive machine tools - which are totally unnecessary)
    3) it's over 11 years old (laws have changed, the guns have changed, the aftermarket parts situation has greatly changed)

    It's a good one for a very general overview, but mostly it's based on the sociopolitical situation in 1999.

    There is much more up-to-date info over at the Saiga forum.
     
  8. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    So if I want a Sagia .308 and leave it the way it is then I am fine...I like how it looks when it comes!
     
  9. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Nothing wrong with 'em that way at all.

    It's just nice having the option to 'upgrade' to a better handling, nicer trigger equipped rifle if you feel the 'itch'.
     
  10. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    Alright thats great, I can just buy it and then upgrade down the line if I feel like it.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Yes but you can not run magazines that hold more than 10 rounds in its factory format.

    I would add that the conversion for the .308 is a little different than one for the the other saigas. The .308 doesn't require drilling out the axle pins of the factory FCG. Rather the FCG group is held in by wires. This makes the process a little easier and less intimidating for a first time converter.

    It really is very simple to do, and even more so on the .308. You will in time want to. Then you will wonder why the heck you waited so long to improve your rifle so much. The worst part is you will then feel the need to get other saigas, a 12 gauge, 7.62x39, a .223 and perhaps others. You will want to convert them all. Saigas are addicting, as is working on them.
     
  12. THE DARK KNIGHT

    THE DARK KNIGHT Member

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    Yes. +1 on the magazines. If you add a magazine over 10 rounds your rifle becomes a non-sporting, non-complaint rifle, illegal rifle as per 922r.
     
  13. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Maybe, maybe not...depending on political climate and state laws. I unconverted mine a couple years ago, glad I did.
     
  14. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    I don't need a magazine that holds more than ten...so I will be fine with it how it comes.
     
  15. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    that is it, that is the whole idea for the conversion; adding a high cap eurotrash or some other country magazine, adds either 3 or 4 more foreign parts, which your lovely govt., says is a no no. So then you would have to add the equivalent of U.S. made parts, to keep things in balance, see?
    I know, a magazine is not a permanent fixture, but that is how they look at it, and I think the count a magazine in these parts; 1- floorplate, 2- body, 3- spring, 4- follower.

    so you then add U.S. parts; say a new stock, pistol grip, forearm, piston, and trigger group. actually I think a trigger group counts for 3 parts right there.
    It's just that if you do the trigger group, you might as well go ahead and add a pistol grip, and a new buttstock.
     
  16. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    The term "high cap magazine" is a legalism. It has no basis in reality.

    Let's quit dancing to the anti's agenda.
     
  17. seanie!

    seanie! Member

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    A brief aside:
    I'm not 100% following you. It means high capacity. The 17 round magazine in my 24/7 has a high capacity compared to the 8 round magazine in my buddy's 1911. That's as real as reality gets.

    Back on track:

    The conversion is up to you. My .223 isn't converted because I'm simply not an AK guy. I like Monte Carlo style stocks and not pistol grips. Seeing as how in your last few posts you've been bouncing back and forth between possibly re-chambering a Garand in .308, you don't seem all that into them either. The best thing about Saigas is that they're easy to convert, and you don't have to do it right away. Get a feel for the gun. Shoot the gun. If you don't like how it handles, you can do the conversion and practically have a brand new gun. An AK feels like an AK. A Saiga feels like a front heavy hunting rifle. I like the way mine handles, the aesthetics, and am not exactly fond of the AK look, so I've left it be. There are quite a few people in this world who don't seem to grasp the concept that you(believe it or not) don't need a pistol grip, 30 round magazine, or 90 round drum to fire a rifle.
     
  18. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Was your 24/7 designed with an 8 round magazine? If so, then yes, an aftermarket 17 rounder would be considered "high cap" for it.

    These 30 round snail drums for 1911 pistols are "high cap magazines" because they hold more rounds then the firearm was originally designed for.

    Calling a 30 round AK mag a "high cap" is a misnomer, as the weapon was designed and issued with 30 rounders since it's inception.

    Now this is a "high cap magazine" for an AK:

    [​IMG]


    You have designed capacity - which is any magazine capacity the inventor specified and manufactured for their firearm. Back before the national AWB put "high cap mag" into our lexicon, we just called these "[name of gun] magazines". Sometimes "double stack mag" was used to differentiate from the single column magazines.

    You have legislated capacity - which is what NYS, NJ, CA and a few other states still have. This is when the state decides they know better than the designer and legislates a magazine capacity (for the children, of course). These are commonly referred to as "low cap" [which seesaws some to use the opposite term "high cap"] or "ban mags".


    You can't compare one gun's designed capacity with another ones when you're passing out the "high cap mag" label.

    Every time we erroneously use the term "high cap mag", we are vindicating the antigunners position: "Hey Marge, check this out. These fellas admit their magazines hold too many bullets" (yes, antis read THR)
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  19. nulfisin

    nulfisin Member

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    How much would a reasonable gunsmith charge

    I have 4 small kids and, therefore, not a lot of time. I do have the tools and, I'm confident, the technical expertise for this task. However, the wifey no like it it if I disappear for a Saturday afternoon to build an AK-47. She's pretty open-minded on all things guns, but this would be pushing it.

    So, the question: if I buy the parts, what should I expect a fair gunsmith to charge for the conversion? Thanks.:D
     
  20. malix

    malix Member

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    I said pretty much the same thing before i bought my first Saiga... Now i have 3, and I have converted all of them. :D

    So true.
     
  21. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Member

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    Basic parts are around $125 max (with shipping) less with a bare bones basic stock and not doing any welding holes or a decent refinish job. I'm not sure how much a local would charge but I would make sure they know what they are doing. There are many well know Saiga smiths out there that have dug out of their backlog . A basic conversion from one of them will cost somewhere around $350 including parts. They will weld up the pin holes and put a good finish on it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  22. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    your right; milsurp is much more a correct term here.
    and for the conversion, watch the vimeo a few times, get some ideas for your tools, bench, vise, dremel, etc. and do it. that is an excellent video, and you can do it
    in an hour, 2 at the most.
     
  23. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Not exactly. For the 308 in question I am not aware of "hi cap euro trash" mags. Sure fires and FBMGs are both US made. Stick them in another wise stock saiga and you are violating the law. The issue is not that you are adding more foreign parts at all. The whole rifle, including the OME mag is of course foreign, right? The issue is whether the rifle is in sporting format. More than ten rounds in the mag makes it (legally speaking of course) non sporting. Adding certain other "evil" features could make it non sporting even with the ten rounders. This is where 922r comes into play.

    Now you must have no more than 10 foreign parts on this non sporting weapon for it to be legal. The stock saiga as 14 countable parts. Adding US parts is not really the name of the game. I can add many countable US parts such as a muzzle brake and a pistol grip, ect and not be any closer to compliance. Subtracting foreign parts (and of course replacing them with US parts) is what is important.

    The good news is it is very simple to make the rifle compliant.

    Remove and replace the FCG with a US FCG (like dinzags modified G2). This has subtracted three parts. Leaving you with 11 foreign parts.

    Replace the OME stock with a US made one. You have removed another countable foreign part. You are now at ten.

    Unless you used a skeleton stock you will need a PG. The rifle didn't come with one. Thus if you add a foreign one you are adding a part and back to 11. If you use a domestically manufactured one then you have not added a countable foreign part but you have not removed any either so you are still at ten. This is also the case for muzzle devices.

    Another major source of countable parts is the magazine. It is 3 parts. Typically it is not advisable to count on the mag for compliance IMO because foreign mags are so much cheaper and more readily available. That is not the case with the 308 however nor the S12.

    Lastly I would be looking to convert my saigas, particularly the .308 even if I never intended to put a mag that held more than ten rounds in it. There are many other benefits. The trigger alone is reason enough for me. Improved balance and ergos are two other big reasons to do it. IMO a converted riffle just looks better too. The process is something that to me is fun as well.

    You can knock out the basics of a simple conversion in less than an hour if you know what you are doing, painting the bottom of the reciever takes some time to prep it and of course let it dry.

    My first conversion took me a few hours as I went nice and slow with it all and constantly referred to my instructions, I also didn't have all the best tools for that one.

    A .308 doesn't require the drilling out the axle pins or drilling and tapping the trunion for a bullet guide though and thus should take notably less time. You also could split it up over a few days. Most gun smiths want way more than what I would pay for simple conversions. A few hundred dollars is what I see most often. These are basic jobs too not the level of tromix by any stretch.

    You can do it yourself and it doesn't take that much time either.
     
  24. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    I think I'd prolly leave mine as-is too.
     
  25. nulfisin

    nulfisin Member

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    Not too bad at all

    No, it's not doable for most mortals in an hour. But there's very little drilling and very little technical skill involved. Frankly, trying to wiggle the new trigger in took the most time -- and I've performed that operation plenty of times on fancier guns. Go figure.

    Be forewarned: use the right tool to grind the two pins you need to grind and then punch. Go to WalMart if you need to and pop for the right piece of equipment.

    Finally, you CAN buy 30-round mags for this gun. They cost from $30-$40, which is slightly overpriced but not outrageous. They aren't "standard" AK mags, but who cares.;)
     
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