Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

1
About eight years ago, when they were still somewhat cheap, I bought a 5.56 Saiga. I'd work on converting it for a bit, only for something more shiny (or just life) to distract me, and then it would sit in the safe for way too long. About the most aggressive thing I did was install an AR magwell adapter (I wouldn't do that again), though it will still work with 5.56 AK mags. At least, the 5.56 mags that seem to work (5.56 AK mags are like playing roulette, if you can find them in the first place). I also have a triangle folding stock and rear trunnion that I have decided against installing, since I can't bring myself to start chopping away at the receiver.

This week I was staring at it again in the back of the safe. Realized all I needed was to thread the barrel , buy some furniture, and along with some left over duracoat from a previous project I would finally "finish" it.
Finished Saiga.jpg
Meh.

Image

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

3
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 am About eight years ago, when they were still somewhat cheap, I bought a 5.56 Saiga. I'd work on converting it for a bit, only for something more shiny (or just life) to distract me, and then it would sit in the safe for way too long.
Good job. This looks like a great example of building for yourself and thus getting it done without making it into a mess.

There are "new old stock" .223 Saigas out there selling for just under $2K. As my intent was to build an AK-101/AK-102, essentially an SGL-21, facing having to spend at least another $1K on metal work and parts seemed like a bit much. If it was more of a straight direct conversion, without the necessary front trunnion grinding for _proper_ 5.56 AK mag fitment and/or the bullet guide nonsense and strange goings-on with the forward handguard retainer, I might have gone through with it.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 amAbout the most aggressive thing I did was install an AR magwell adapter (I wouldn't do that again), though it will still work with 5.56 AK mags.
Did you end up goring the magwell so it could not be put back to factory condition? I've read the AR magwell conversion ruins the receiver.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 am At least, the 5.56 mags that seem to work (5.56 AK mags are like playing roulette, if you can find them in the first place).
The availability of 5.56 AK mags that actually will fit 5.56 AKs has improved a lot, but, AR magwell conversion aside, you have the added complication of the bottom rear of the Saiga front trunnion not being standard. Zastava M90 mags, Circle 11 and other Arsenal/Bulgarian 5.56 mags, several Polish 5.56 mags, and Mapul 5.56 mags--all with steel locking lugs--will fit an AK-101/2 and thus a _fully_ converted .223 Saiga.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 amI also have a triangle folding stock and rear trunnion that I have decided against installing, since I can't bring myself to start chopping away at the receiver.
That's where I hit a snag: since my goal was an AK-100-series, I was not even going to consider _not_ cutting the rear. An AK-101 is, by definition, a left side-folder, so the rear cut was just going to have to be part of the build. Also, since most .223 Saiga receivers do not have the dimples at the magwell that yours has, I was going to have to get that done as well. For too much money, Meridian will do both, I guess.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 amThis week I was staring at it again in the back of the safe. Realized all I needed was to thread the barrel , buy some furniture, and along with some left over duracoat from a previous project I would finally "finish" it.

Finished Saiga.jpg
Did you thread the barrel with a threading tool or on a lathe?

Funny how well Magpul really nailed the handguard for the AK. Purists hate them, but they function very well with the platform.

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

4
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Did you end up goring the magwell so it could not be put back to factory condition? I've read the AR magwell conversion ruins the receiver.
I did. I took as little as I could to make it work. The whole process of filing and dremeling the receiver and trunnion was a sphincter tightening experience. It turned out ok. Took it really slow and cautions. Made sure never get the front trunnion too hot. In the end I don't think it was worth it, but when I did it you couldn't find any 5.56 AK mags (affordably, anyway) and I was somewhat enamored with the idea for some reason. AK mags still work, but have a little wobble to them.
20180204_114856.jpg
20180208_180135.jpg
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am The availability of 5.56 AK mags that actually will fit 5.56 AKs has improved a lot, but, AR magwell conversion aside, you have the added complication of the bottom rear of the Saiga front trunnion not being standard. Zastava M90 mags, Circle 11 and other Arsenal/Bulgarian 5.56 mags, several Polish 5.56 mags, and Mapul 5.56 mags--all with steel locking lugs--will fit an AK-101/2 and thus a _fully_ converted .223 Saiga.
I somehow missed that Magpul makes 5.56 AK mags. I have some Circle 10s that work. Most of the mags I have are SGM Saiga mags that I had before the conversion. I just removed the bullet guide off the mags once I installed a bullet guide in the rifle. I also just order some AC Unity mags to see how they work.
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am That's where I hit a snag: since my goal was an AK-100-series, I was not even going to consider _not_ cutting the rear. An AK-101 is, by definition, a left side-folder, so the rear cut was just going to have to be part of the build. Also, since most .223 Saiga receivers do not have the dimples at the magwell that yours has, I was going to have to get that done as well. For too much money, Meridian will do both, I guess.
I was really committed to the idea of a triangle folder. One of the reasons it sat unfinished for so long. I generally feel I know my limitations and I couldn't talk myself past them. So the folder is shelfed until I either pay someone to do it, or I somehow fine the confidence and experience to do someday.
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Did you thread the barrel with a threading tool or on a lathe?.
I used a annular cutter and die to cut the threads. I don't know if I would trust a suppressor to mount concentric with the bore, but the threading looks straight with a mk1 eyeball.
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Funny how well Magpul really nailed the handguard for the AK. Purists hate them, but they function very well with the platform.
I like their handguards. I don't often shoot with gloves and their handguard have a little more area to keep finger tips from getting burns.

Soviet clones are cool but purist annoy me. If the rifle isn't dressed in wood and bakelite and looks like it was teleported from the 1970s, you have somehow sinned to Mikhail according to them.
Meh.

Image

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

6
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Did you end up goring the magwell so it could not be put back to factory condition? I've read the AR magwell conversion ruins the receiver.
I did. I took as little as I could to make it work. The whole process of filing and dremeling the receiver and trunnion was a sphincter tightening experience. It turned out ok. Took it really slow and cautions. Made sure never get the front trunnion too hot. In the end I don't think it was worth it, but when I did it you couldn't find any 5.56 AK mags (affordably, anyway) and I was somewhat enamored with the idea for some reason. AK mags still work, but have a little wobble to them.

20180204_114856.jpg
20180208_180135.jpg
Interesting. I did not know you could do that conversion and have AK mags still work.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am The availability of 5.56 AK mags that actually will fit 5.56 AKs has improved a lot, but, AR magwell conversion aside, you have the added complication of the bottom rear of the Saiga front trunnion not being standard. Zastava M90 mags, Circle 11 and other Arsenal/Bulgarian 5.56 mags, several Polish 5.56 mags, and Mapul 5.56 mags--all with steel locking lugs--will fit an AK-101/2 and thus a _fully_ converted .223 Saiga.
I somehow missed that Magpul makes 5.56 AK mags. I have some Circle 10s that work. Most of the mags I have are SGM Saiga mags that I had before the conversion. I just removed the bullet guide off the mags once I installed a bullet guide in the rifle. I also just order some AC Unity mags to see how they work.
If you have the good Circle 10s, you are OK. They aren't what they used to be. A got a box of 10 of those Magpul polymer mags. They are great for running drills.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am That's where I hit a snag: since my goal was an AK-100-series, I was not even going to consider _not_ cutting the rear. An AK-101 is, by definition, a left side-folder, so the rear cut was just going to have to be part of the build. Also, since most .223 Saiga receivers do not have the dimples at the magwell that yours has, I was going to have to get that done as well. For too much money, Meridian will do both, I guess.
I was really committed to the idea of a triangle folder. One of the reasons it sat unfinished for so long. I generally feel I know my limitations and I couldn't talk myself past them. So the folder is shelfed until I either pay someone to do it, or I somehow fine the confidence and experience to do someday.
With a really good template, I probably could do the rear cuts, but the stakes are so high with what is basically an irreplaceable receiver. I would be more willing to try it on a flat or a blank, though.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Did you thread the barrel with a threading tool or on a lathe?.
I used an annular cutter and die to cut the threads. I don't know if I would trust a suppressor to mount concentric with the bore, but the threading looks straight with a mk1 eyeball.
I have the annular cutter and guide from Carolina Shooters Supply but had my last barrel done on a lathe. I'm planning on using the cutter to thread the barrel on the PSL-54C.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Funny how well Magpul really nailed the handguard for the AK. Purists hate them, but they function very well with the platform.
I like their handguards. I don't often shoot with gloves and their handguard have a little more area to keep finger tips from getting burns.
The Magpul is longer but is still just a handguard instead of a rail, which is nice if you don't want a rail.
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:01 am Soviet clones are cool but purist annoy me. If the rifle isn't dressed in wood and bakelite and looks like it was teleported from the 1970s, you have somehow sinned to Mikhail according to them.
Even making an AK-100-series clone is a dubious endeavor. The only things to be gained by using a .223 Saiga as a donor for an AK-101 are the .223 barrel, front trunnion, and Russian steel bragging rights. "Saiga" stamps are not even correct, so they only serve to identify the receiver as legitimately Russian. A builder can actually buy a Childers Polish AK-74 receiver more similar to that of an AK-101, and Childers will do all the cutting.

The most accurate representation of an AK-101 is the not-yet-released KR-101, which is entirely American made. Having basically permanently borrowed the AK-100-series TDP from Kalashnikov Concern, it is dead-on, down to the rivet head shapes. Such has been the case with the "KR-103" and "KR-104" with regard to the AK-103 and AK104 respectively, but even those all have KUSA stamps and no Cyrillic engraving. It would be so much cheaper to buy any one of those than to build from a Saiga.

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

7
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am Interesting. I did not know you could do that conversion and have AK mags still work.
Granted, I have not shot this gun a lot, since it has usually sat disassembled most of the time. The few times I have shot it, it haven't had problems. Maybe I've just been lucky so far. I haven't tried putting pressure on the mag while shooting, which may be were the wobble becomes an issue.
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am The Magpul is longer but is still just a handguard instead of a rail, which is nice if you don't want a rail.
I may eventually drop a rail on this gun. Any of them I find interesting at the moment is little out of my price point. I built two pricy ARs recently and it's pretty much zapped my gun budget for a while.
DispositionMatrix wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:18 am The most accurate representation of an AK-101 is the not-yet-released KR-101, which is entirely American made. Having basically permanently borrowed the AK-100-series TDP from Kalashnikov Concern, it is dead-on, down to the rivet head shapes. Such has been the case with the "KR-103" and "KR-104" with regard to the AK-103 and AK104 respectively, but even those all have KUSA stamps and no Cyrillic engraving. It would be so much cheaper to buy any one of those than to build from a Saiga.
I'm really interested in a KR-102, whenever they actually come out.
Meh.

Image

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

8
Marrok wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:09 pmI'm really interested in a KR-102, whenever they actually come out.
Maybe never, though the existence of the KR-104 _would suggest_ they'll make a KR-102. KUSA, being sticklers for accurately knocking off AK-100s, only sell the KR-104 in the true-to-form 12.3" configuration. My guess is sales are tiny in contrast to those of the KR-103, given the added NFA complication.

Re: Eight Year Old Saiga Conversion Finally Complete.

9
That’s a helavuh beefy bullet feed ramp and magwell-shim design. I’m genuinely surprised any original AK magazine design can still fit in and work with that magwell now.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron