Author Topic: Worth it to build an AK?  (Read 10401 times)

Offline strangetanks

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 202
  • Karma: 6
  • New TSP Forum member
Worth it to build an AK?
« on: December 31, 2014, 05:56:21 AM »
So I have to admit I have very little experience with firearms.  But I would like to change that.

I'm seriously contemplating building an AK, most likely from a chopped up parts kit.  Part of it is the expense, hard to justify spending loads of money on something that in all reality won't get used hardly at all.  Second is by building something you become super intimately familiar with how it works and why.  Lastly, I just plain like to tinker.

I am a pretty advanced shop guy, I have a milling machine, metal lathe, mig and tig machines, press and all that stuff.  I don't plan on buying any bending jigs or anything as I can probably make all that.

My real question is first of all, I don't want to blow my face off the first time I use the thing, no clue how common a failure like that is on a home built firearm.  And, I've looked into the prices of parts and such and am not sure if either I'm looking in the wrong places but it seems like I'm potentially doing a lot of work and saving very little money.

I couldn't find any threads on the subject, but advice or links would be appreciated.

Offline Mortblanc

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 378
  • Karma: 18
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 08:01:14 AM »
First, there are whole forums out there dealing with AK builds.

  http://ak-builder.com/

Second, Although some folks prefer to build their own it is not really a cost saving effort when one can buy an AK for a bit over $500 new from several suppliers.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/36_756/Century+International+Arms+Inc./

Third, Not using one hardly at all is a choice, not a reality. 

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 08:04:43 AM »
I have looked into this myself.   Look on youtube.   Some decent videos on how to do this, tips and tricks, etc etc.  Since you got the metal working skills, I bet you would do just fine.  There was a thread floating around here a year or two ago that someone built one out of a shovel.  The beauty of the AK is that it does have loose tolerances.   If you spec it out, and are careful, I bet you can do it without worrying about it blowing up :).   A quick note, I've read that once you do get the flat bent and start assembly, the best way is to weld it together (rather than rivet or screw).

Now as to whether you save any money, I dunno.

The hidden "gotcha" with these kits (from Poland or Hungry let's say) is getting 922r compliant.  You will have to do the research on this for yourself.   Most of those parts kits are everything but the barrel and the receiver.   But once you introduce any U.S. manufactured parts into the build, you have to be 922r compliant.   You  will have to  swap out some of the parts from your "kit" with other U.S. parts.   So, if you live in the U.S. (assuming you do :) ) then by default you have introduced a U.S. made part when you bend your flat into a receiver.   From that point, you won't be able to use all the kit parts.   Some of the items (the stock, forearm, piston, etc) MUST be U.S. made parts, forcing you to purchase duplicate (likely new) parts.   So, there goes some of the saving money.

At least, this is how I understand it.   If I'm wrong, I hope someone can correct me here.   I've read a lot about it though.

Offline Mortblanc

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 378
  • Karma: 18
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 08:10:45 AM »
R22 compliance on an AK is not a problem and the parts required are usually an American upgrade. 

Ready built guns are already made compliant so they can be sold, which is another advantage of buying "ready made".

With the machine tools you have you might want to buy an AK for use and study, then order an 80% receiver to finish out and apply a parts kit to after you have become familiar with the AK.

If the one you build is better than the ready made unit you can always sell the ready made gun, or scrap it for parts on a second build.

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 08:21:43 AM »
R22 compliance on an AK is not a problem and the parts required are usually an American upgrade. 

Ready built guns are already made compliant so they can be sold, which is another advantage of buying "ready made".

With the machine tools you have you might want to buy an AK for use and study, then order an 80% receiver to finish out and apply a parts kit to after you have become familiar with the AK.

If the one you build is better than the ready made unit you can always sell the ready made gun, or scrap it for parts on a second build.

Yes and no.    Most built guns  (at least the budget AK's from Century Arms) are complaint because they are imported and contain all foreign parts.   But, he specifically mentions using a chopped build kit, which is all foreign parts (except the missing receiver and barrel).   Even if you get a foreign barrel, you are manufacturing the receiver yourself (domestic part).   Once that is in the mix, the chopped kit doesn't do you much good, since you have to get at least 5 more domestic parts on the rifle to be legal.   Right?
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 08:43:32 AM by Mountain State Prepper »

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2014, 08:43:05 AM »

I like Brian over at ITS Tactical.   They go into 922r compliance here (minute 10:45) 
Quote
In most cases replacing 6 parts on an AK will get it done

http://www.itstactical.com/warcom/firearms/learn-how-to-build-your-own-ak-with-the-rifle-dynamics-ak-builder-class/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htDK7TKfPcA

And here is the ATF site

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/firearms-technology.html

Again, it is important that you understand this for yourself, an  not take my word or anyone else's word for it.  If I were building from a chopped foreign kit I would make the following part changes to domestic...  I'm listing seven here, just in case you do get a barrel with your kit, you have that option of using it.

  • receiver (i am bending this myself)
  • barrel (typically not included in the kit)
  • magazines (easy enough to get new US made polymer mags)
  • gas piston (fairly cheap aftermarket)
  • buttstock (fairly cheap aftermarket)
  • pistol grip (fairly cheap aftermarket)
  • forearem (fairly cheap aftermarket)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 08:49:12 AM by Mountain State Prepper »

Offline strangetanks

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 202
  • Karma: 6
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2014, 09:25:40 AM »
I've heard about the 922r thing.  It's pretty confusing if someone were to ask me where the parts came from and I purchased them it would be an easy matter to produce receipts.  And how the heck to they enforce that?

On the other hand, if I made a receiver, and the wood parts how would I go about proving that I made them?

I also understand that if I assembled an ak from a home made receiver I really couldn't go about selling it to anyone else, which I wouldn't even attempt.

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2014, 10:28:29 AM »
I've heard about the 922r thing.  It's pretty confusing if someone were to ask me where the parts came from and I purchased them it would be an easy matter to produce receipts.  And how the heck to they enforce that?

On the other hand, if I made a receiver, and the wood parts how would I go about proving that I made them?

I also understand that if I assembled an ak from a home made receiver I really couldn't go about selling it to anyone else, which I wouldn't even attempt.

I don't know how they enforce or check it, or even if anyone ever would.  If you manufacture the other parts yourself, I assume you could take pictures along the way and that could be proof enough you did it.   As for selling it, if you ever decide to, you'd have to check.   As I understand it, when you sell it, you'd have to serialize it (ie "strangetanks-001") and keep a record of it.   I admit I don't understand this part as much as I need.   But I'm fairly sure so long as you are not building it initially with the intent to sell it, selling it down the line is not illegal.   Do your own research here, because you may need to have a FFL, I am not 100% sure.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 717
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2015, 06:29:57 AM »
Well,you won't save money,you will probably learn of all the bureaucracy involved in building your own.
You can make an AK from an old shovel....how hard can it be?

http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/179192-DIY-Shovel-AK-photo-tsunami-warning!

Offline r_w

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1270
  • Karma: 35
  • On my way
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2015, 06:43:37 AM »
First, you won't save any money.  Not doing a one-off build of an AK or AR.  When you start ordering parts by the pallet, then you might start saving money.

Second, it isn't really about saving money on a gun.  The value is in the learning.  You are paying the cost of parts to get an education in firearms assembly.  Getting a working gun at the end is just gravy. 

Offline David in MN

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2780
  • Karma: 213
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2015, 07:19:47 AM »
I've only parted together ARs but I always think the resulting Frankengun (Troy rails, Magpul BUIS, BRAVO charging handle) gets the owner something unique and definitely not "off the shelf". I don't think building an AR saves money per se but you get exactly the rifle you want with all the features you want. None of us need silly muzzle brakes...

I don't know if an AK works the same. A quick search on the usual websites it looks like there's a lot of options if you have a goal in mind. You might not save money building a classic wood stock AK but if you wanted an all plastic wondergun that made other shooters stop and ask "what the heck is that?" it could be fun. I don't know the laws at all.

I'll follow the thread. Building a slicked out AK is beginning to sound more fun.

Offline strangetanks

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 202
  • Karma: 6
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2015, 09:36:44 AM »
I will definitely keep you guys updated.  Probably not going to get to it for a while, I'm busy working on a new air rifle and a gazillion other projects.  Would like to get it done in time for spring weather though.  I'm going to start looking to put together all the parts I need over some time.  I'm thinking gunbroker.com might be the place to pick everything up.

Any opinions on that?

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2015, 09:38:01 AM »
None of us need silly muzzle brakes...

Hey, wait a minute.  None of us "need" them, but they aren't silly.  ;)

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2015, 09:39:30 AM »
I'm thinking gunbroker.com might be the place to pick everything up.

Any opinions on that?

Gunbroker.com is awesome.  No reason not to check them out for deals and buy when you find.

Offline David in MN

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2780
  • Karma: 213
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2015, 10:32:08 AM »
Hey, wait a minute.  None of us "need" them, but they aren't silly.  ;)

The AK 47 "loudener"

http://snakehoundmachine.com/store/home/29-ak-loudener.html
 Looks like fun.

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2015, 10:52:21 AM »
I will definitely keep you guys updated.  Probably not going to get to it for a while, I'm busy working on a new air rifle and a gazillion other projects.  Would like to get it done in time for spring weather though.  I'm going to start looking to put together all the parts I need over some time.  I'm thinking gunbroker.com might be the place to pick everything up.

Any opinions on that?

I've never bought from gunbroker, but I did get my first AR built one piece at a time.  It didn't really save me money, but i spread the costs out over the year and ended up with what I wanted and I didn't break the bank all at once.   I was in no hurry.  Take your time, watch youtube.   By the time you are ready to do it you'll have researched it enough you'll breeze through it :).

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Worth it to build an AK?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2015, 11:40:19 AM »
The AK 47 "loudener"

http://snakehoundmachine.com/store/home/29-ak-loudener.html
 Looks like fun.

They don't have to be louder, but whatever floats a boat.  ;)