Thursday, September 16, 1999

The Complete Guide to Building an AK 47

This blog will teach you how to build an AK 47, by yourself, in your garage, with a minimal amount of tools, ak parts and knowledge - LEGALLY.  Not a full auto, pull the trigger and dump an entire mag type.  (That's not legal.) But a semi-automatic version. That fires once every time you pull the trigger.

It's completely legal to build your own "legal" firearms at home. As long as you do it YOURSELF. Meaning no one else can help you physically. And you follow the rules of making ONLY legal, semi-automatic firearms. Using your own ak parts.

(The various sections of this tutorial include simple methods that might be used if you had a minimum of tools. Other methods are more sophisticated, might have been developed after some of the older simpler methods, but may require more advanced tools. At the minimum you need a drill and some BIG hammers. But preferably a 12 ton press from Harbor Freight.

For a complete step by step tutorial I would highly suggest contacting for his excellent Word and .pdf file tutorials. And (buildyourownak on youtube) for his incredible video build tutorials.)

I built the rifle in the picture above. (And several others pictured in this blog.) With a minimal amount of tools. Over the course of a few days. It was probably one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my life. How many guys can say "I built an AK47 with my bare hands."?! Not many. But probably more if they only knew how easy it was.

Builders in the Khyber Pass on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border have been building them for decades. With nothing more than hammers, files and a little ingenuity:

The AK 47 has been the most successful assault rifle of all time. It's medium to large caliber has great stopping power and it's simple design insures that it works EVERYTIME. In EVERY environment:


The following posts detail links and information regarding building your own AK 47. I hope you'll have as much fun and satisfaction as I have building my own AK 47's from parts. But please follow your own state and local laws concerning firearms. And be safe.


Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Basic Components

Underfolder Trunnions Below in order:

Top one is Romanian

Middle one is Polish

Bottom one is Yugo

Monday, September 13, 1999

Building Instructions

922r Compliance:

In order to stay within the law your AK can not have more than 10 foreign made parts in it. Here are two easy calculators that explain regulation 922r and make it easy to figure out which parts you want to replace with US ones. Alot of the typical parts replaced are parts you'd like to replace anyway. Some common ones are the trigger group which makes up alot of parts towards your 922r compliance. And the piston. But my advice is to skip the piston replacement if you can. And replace something else that can simply be dropped in. Like a muzzle break or magazine component:

Building Instructions:

There are many different ways to build the many different AK variants. But most methods are applicable across the different types. My advice is to read as much as you can about the different build techniques. So that you can choose the ones that are right for your tool and skill set. There are basically two different types of AK's - milled and stamped. Milled is a receiver that has been cut from a solid block of metal. Stamped has a receiver made from bent sheet metal. You'll probably be starting with the latter. Further, most countries standard issue military AK47's are very very similar in construction. With the exception of Hungarian. And especially Yugoslavian. (Which isn't bad. The Yugo is arguably the strongest AK made. As it starts with an RPK trunnion. And all around beefier components.)

The main difference in your build will be stamped versus milled. And standard AK vs Yugo. And whether you use rivets or screws to attach the receiver together with the rifle. 

With a stamped build you will be starting with a replacement stamped sheet metal receiver. (Or building one from scratch - also called building from a "flat".) Or you will be welding a milled receiver back together. Or starting with a new milled replacement receiver. Then you will either be attaching your receiver with rivets (the traditional way) or with screws. I prefer rivets. But you'll have to decide that on your own:

Build an AK from two different perspectives

Project guns
Building a receiver from a flat:
AK building notes

Romanian AK info

AMD-65 build

FCG removal

How to polish the FCG

How to remove furniture

How to use a trigger guard Jig

AK receiver bending

All-thread barrel install

How to make an electronic bore cleaner

Rust bluing

Hot bluing

AK-47 parts diagram

Templates for receivers and tooling/jigs

AK barrel reference dimensions

Tap/drill reference chart

How to load a 75 rd chinese drum magazine
Adjust a side mount optics clamp

AMMS pivot pin fix

How to fix Trigger slap

How to build a bullpup

The 555th receiver flat bending jig

AK-47 bolt disassembly

Arizona Response Systems  - This collection of build instructions are incredible:

Headspacing information

CIP website

SAAMI website
How to check headspace .doc
How to check headspace video
Resetting headspace with oversize barrel pins

Headspace reference guide:

Trunnion hole location trick:

Put masking tape over trunnion and mark it with side of pencil:

Center-punch holes

Remove tape

Drill very small pilot holes

Open your holes

Sunday, September 12, 1999

Youtube Building Videos

How an AK-47 Works

Buildyourownak on Youtube ( ) has the most complete collection of videos on building an AK. I highly recommend his DVD in the first section of this blog. They cover almost every aspect of an AK build. The DVD has hi res versions of each video. Here are the low res versions he's posted on Youtube:



  Barrel Removal


Bulgarian Rivets


Checking Headspace


Demilling Trigger Guard


Drilling Front Trunnion Holes


Drilling Out Old Rivets


Drilling Rear Trunnion Holes


Drilling Scope Rail


Fitting and Riveting Mag & Trigger Guard


Pressing Front Trunnion Rivets


Pressing in the Barrel


Pressing Rear Trunnion Rivets


Pressing Front Trunnion Rivets


Pressing Out The Barrel


Reinstalling The Barrel Pin


Removing Reciever Stubs


Riveting The Scope Rail


How to Bend a Receiver

Review of NDS-2 Receiver

Saturday, September 11, 1999

Dimensions & Plans

Bolt Rail Dimensions

Scope Rail Location

Using your drill press as a lathe for barrel work

Barrel Thread Sizes

Fire Control Group Retaining Wire Placement

Polish Underfolder Parts Diagram

Barrel Dimensions

Chamber .764" (19.25mm w/ .005 - .006" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .734" (18.5mm w/ .005 - .006" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .691"
Gas Block .634" (16mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Front Sight Base .594" (15mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)

Chamber .908" (23mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .694" (17.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .671"
Gas Block .594" (15mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Front Sight Base .575" (14.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)

Chamber .871" (22mm w/ .004 - .005" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .694" (17.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .671"
Gas Block .594" (15mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Front Sight Base .575" (14.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)

Chamber .867" (22mm w/ .001 - .002" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .694" (17.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .671"
Gas Block .594" (15mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Front Sight Base .575" (14.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)

Chamber .908" (23mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .694" (17.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .671"
Gas Block .594" (15mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Front Sight Base .517" (13mm w/ .004 - .005" press fit)

Chamber .908" (23mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Rear Sight Base .694" (17.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)
Handguard Retainer .671"
Combination Gas Block & Front Sight Base .575" (14.5mm w/ .003 - .004" press fit)

AKMS Underfolder Conversion

M70AB/2 Receiver template from Ding

AK-74 Side Folder Conversion Plans From Pookie

Weapons Manuals & Books


Steve's Pages


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Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Black Oxide Finish

Black Oxide solution is a two part process. One you mix the contents of a bottle of BO with about 3 gallons of distilled water. (It says do not reuse. But I mean the bucket. You can reuse black oxide as many times as you want.):

Two you cover it with a sealant. That comes in four cans:

You leave the ak parts in the solution for 5 minutes or so. Then wash with water. Then apply the sealant. Then wait for the parts to dry. I left them overnight. IT'S THAT EASY!

For Prep I went overboard (as usual) I sandblasted with alum oxide at 100 psi, wire wheeled using an air die grinder, emory cloth wet sanded, then buffing wheel on bench grinder using black and red rubbing compound. Once I started this process I never touched the ak 47 parts. I used rubber gloves or clean cloth gloves.

After that (I actually did it twice - as I f'ed up and tried to wash the kits in the dishwasher. Turned into flash rust city! That was a bad day. Stay away from the dishwasher unless the parts are already blued. Mine had been stripped from the polishing etc. And completely turned to rust in about 15 minutes.) I started with brake cleaner. Then I used Fabuloso (I think it's Purple Power in other parts of the US.) with hot water from the sink. Immediately drying the ak47 parts with a clean towel afterwards:

I then had Chief ShippingBull (my nephew that does all my shipping and helps me out. LOL!) apply a heat gun to the ak parts. You can get better black by heating the parts or the solution to 120 degrees. You can see how much I stripped the parts in this pic too:

I got these great plastic trays just the right size for a completed AK kit. From:

I made wire hangers out of wire hangers. Wink I also used one of the plastic trays (I bought seperate ones for each operation) to clean parts with brake cleaner. The sandblast media and dirt just kept falling out:

Here's another pic of how polished I started with. I was hoping the black oxide would show off the "hand polished" metal. Like a hot blu would. Make it look like an old firearm that had been carried for years:

You then carefully pour the BO solution into one of your trays (Prior to this I plugged both barrels with wood dowels to keep the BO out. Not sure it would hurt it. But just wanted to make sure.):

Then slide your parts in. And start a 5 minute timer. Although you can go as long and as many times as you like. You really have to be careful here. You need to lift the parts up off the bottom and swirl them around or the solution around them. If you let them just sit on the bottom or on a piece of wire it will not blue as dark there:

After that you take the parts out. And give them a thorough bath. I put them in my cleaning tray and soaked them with water from a hose. I then brought them back in and laid them out in the sealant tray. And smothered them with the sealant using a brush. I left the main part of the kit hanging on the hangers. You can reuse the sealant that flows to the bottom of the tray:

The first kit went off without a hitch. But the second kit ended up with bare areas on the bottom side of the kit. Like bare metal flakes where the BO was not taking. I suspect it was from some of the sealant splashing over from the other tray. Or it could have been oil that seeped out and laid on top of the BO solution:

We fixed this by rubbing each bare part with a rubber gloved hand. The solution won't hurt your hands in rubber gloves. Not sure what it would do to bare skin. But it does not seem to be that caustic. AFter rubbing the areas off. The BO started to take. It made it completely black. (This pic is just a few moments into them fully blacking over. It will scare the crap out of you. Like you messed it up. But have faith. It will all black over):

In the end we removed the kit, washed it with water, heated it up again, and redipped it.

Here are the parts finished. We missed a few tiny flecks on the second kit that had the oil(?) problems. Once cleaned it can be redipped in the BO and would cover fine I'm sure:

(EDIT - At first glance the surface came out looking very painted. Very flat and powdery. I didn't like it. And thought it would look better on an AR than an old school WWII or 60's era AK. But then I polished it LIGHTLY with 0000 steel wool and buffed it with a bare cloth polishing wheel on my air die grinder...)

Like I said above. When it first came out I wasn't to happy with the finish. But then I dried off all the sealant (the next day) and started polishing it very LIGHTLY with 0000 steel wool. Then going over that with a clean cloth polishing wheel on my air die grinder (50 psi). About a 3 inch one so I could get into all the surfaces. It took off the powdery surface that was making it look so flat and painted. And turned this nice translucent brown/grey color.

Cold blu is more on the blue/grey side. But black oxide with the more brown tinge (and I'm talking very slight differences here - I'll post comparison pics later) looks very well suited for a WWII or pre 1960's military arm. I slightly prefer the blue of cold blu. But it just depends on the wood your contrasting it against. A dark walnut brown wood would look great with this. Which is kind of what I have on the Yugo.

The killer app in black oxide (over cold blu) is that you can dip your entire kit at once. Rather than having to wipe each part of it with a small swatch of cloth. Like you do with cold blu. You also have to be careful with flat surfaces with cold blu. Like on the side of a receiver. You have to wipe it cleanly and real flat all along a flat surface. To avoid streaks. With black oxide there is none of that worry. As the entire part or rifle is dipped into the solution.

You do need to take great care that there isn't any oil residue sitting on top of the solution. It might be worth running a cheese cloth over the top to try to soak up any oil sitting on top of the solution. I did miss a couple tiny spots where oil kept the black oxide from the surface of the metal. That can be fixed while in the solution by rubbing it clean. But oil buildup on the surface is an issue to watch for.

Black oxide is a VERY nice finish. It could not have been easier or more even if you tried. The other advantage is there is no caustic chemicals to deal with. No real heat. And you can do it right in your own back yard or kitchen if you wanted to. And for $80 bucks you'll have a solution you can use over and over again. You just pour it back into the plastic bucket it comes with. And you can black oxide as many parts as you like.

I also scratch tested the ak47 parts right out of the mix. With a screw. And it wouldn't scratch with light to normal pressure. And aging with steel wool for areas you want to look worn (like on a bfpu) takes quite a bit of rubbing to even it to start thinning.

For home builders that want a good tough new finish. I recommend this highly. Easy. Cheap. Tough. Hard to mess up. You can't beat it for a new finish on ak parts without using heat or caustic chemicals.