making the guide is actually pretty easy, I've made one yrs ago for a 7.62 gun from a piece of 3/4 inch pipe, about 1/3 of it, same size as a bullet guide,and I drilled and tapped it into place; worked fine. There used to be a tutorial somewhere, might be easiest to copy a bullet guide off a buddy's rifle. It was my understanding it did prevent you from using the saiga mags, as I thought they had a built in guide, but I could be wrong, rifle is long gone. A tutorial on the conversion may have it, but it was pretty easy.
There's no reason to remove the trunnion to add a bullet guide. The factory rivet job and the bolt turning stud are about as good as they get.
As to the legality of removing or separating the trunnion from the sheet metal I have seen two interesting ATF letters about that subject. The earlist letter was written by somebody asking about separating the trunnion by removing the rivets. He does state it is a Chinese AK and he want to modify or do some repair work on the rifle. This was back when all Chinese AK's were assembled in China but the writer fails to mention the serial number (which is on the trunnion of course), maybe purposely, to better his chances of a favorable response. Well the ATF response letter states that it is alright to remove/separate the trunnion from the sheet metal by removing the rivets for purposes of repair and/or service to rifle. The ATF response letter also fails to mention the serial number. The much more recent letter is even more interesting. The writer asks about replacing the serialized trunnion on a rifle with a different trunnion. The ATF response does not state that it is illegal, but replacing the trunnion with a different trunnion would constitute making a new rifle and a pre-ban rifle would lose it's pre-ban status. (I think all pre-ban AK's are imported) Also the serial number or trunnion can't be removed or replaced for the "purpose of altering the serial number". It is legal to make a "new" rifle. (I think the ATF thought his letter wanted to use a pre-ban trunnion on new sheet metal, but he wanted a new trunnion on an old AK sheet metal receiver) ( The first letter doesn't mention serial number so maybe the ATF missed it was a "Chinese AK". The second letter I think got the writer's idea turned around which part he was changing) The letters seem to state removing rivets is alright in an AK. The reason people get excited about separating the part that has the serial number is when HK91's were first bening converted to belt fed HK21's, ATF wouldn't allow the section of receiver with the serial number to be cut away and welded back on the receiver. The approved method is to cut three sides, bend and fold the section down and weld it down with the number showing. Now cutting the receiver material that has the number stamped in it is a bit different than removing rivets.
Of course ATF letters only apply to the people they are written, but the responses in these cases is interesting.
ATF letter are worth exactly what they are nothing, they can change their minds and have done so to many people..over the years. The old browning high powers were given the ok to move the serial #'s to have them checkered on the grip.. I think if you removed rivets on a ak trunion it may be a good idea to restamp the #'s on receiver first..but it is not needed on the saga a new bullet guide can easily be installed with a screw philips head the removal of a saga trunion would require the bolt cam rivet to be removed and replaced also.. not easy.. B2B
One could argue anything WITHOUT THE F'ING ATF DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE YOUR POINT.
"Can it be done to build a new gun" is the distinction that makes it illegal, but that's a Captain Obvious statement which we all should know better. I'm getting tired of repeating myself
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The two ATF letters I saw were addressing the issue of separating the serialized trunnion from the sheet metal for "repair and/or service" to the rifle. Not for the purpose of changing or deleting the serial number. I believe the ATF responses were mistaken in what was being asked. The first one makes no mention of the fact that the serial number is on the trunnion even though it does say a "Chinese AK rifle" and states that it is alright to separate the trunnion and sheet metal. The second one says changing the serialized trunnion would be "making a new firearm" and a pre-ban would lose it's pre-ban status. In this letter it's asking to change the trunnion but the response seems like they think it's asking about changing the sheet metal.
The answer to the question is as stated already..yes a bullet guide can be changed very easily in a saga with out pulling the trunion or any rivet work, drill out the original rivet holding the bullet guide in the trunion run a tap in the hole put the new bullet guide in and screw it down with a screw..I've seen lots of them done, mostly they use ugly Stainless steel philups head screws..in the conversion.. so the point of if it is legal or not is moot... but my personal opinion woulr be that I'd disagree that pulling a trunion for repair or for conversion to add a bullet guide would be altering or removing a serial # on a firearm.. if you have a letter from ATF staying this in Black and whiter please by all means post this so we can all see it.. Pulling a trunion in a SAGA would be a PITA as it would require the removal of the bolt cam rivet which is hardened and not easy to replace by non factory personal..and equipment. If you think stamping, electro etching, scribing (a copy of the original serial number in addition to the original factory serial # markings) to a firearm while the sheet metal receiver is riveted (attached) to the trunion is manufacturing a firearm and illegal I believe you are wrong. The atf has ruled that the receiver and trunnion is a one piece unit for the purpose of importation so the trunnion is the seriallized part and the sheet metal receiver is not in need of a stamped SN. yet according to the federal 922R LAW the trunnion is a separate and countable part of the AK rifle so who is right?? In the case of the browning high power the SN was re-stamped in the new spot before the front strap was checkered.. B2B
This is how I did mine on my 762x39...I pulled the barrel, but that was only because it made my whole project easier.
There is NO need to pull the trunnion.
I used a bullet guide out of a FUBAR romy trunnion.
I had to grind and fit alittle
then I had to drill the hole using a 5/32 bit. I used tweezers to set the rivet in place, and a bucking plate in where the lower HG goes to support the rivet head(not worried about deforming it)
next I used my long rivet jig and a custom pin to squish/form/set the rivet
then I used my dremel again to make the rivet "flush" and I was done...took less than ten minutes.