I would like to show how to convert standard rivets into European AK style rivets. This is by no means an all inclusive tutorial but some ideas that have worked for me. I hope to further refine my methods and techniques to produce an accurate cost effective alternative to store bought rivet kits.
Some factory rivet specs. These are averages. One thing I have noticed is heads vary in size on one rifle.
Romanian front and rear trunnion rivets are .250 dia. x. 073 high
Romanian front trigger guard rivets are .270 dia. x .083 high
Romanian rear trigger guard rivet is .282 dia. x .086 high
Chinese factory rivets are slightly larger at .292 dia. x .110 high.
Head forming plate
12 ton hydraulic press
Oil or grease
Here is a list of rivets and where they are used. I bought them from McMaster-Carr.
Rear Trunnion Long Swell neck 47/74 3/16” x 2” 97300A677
Front Trunnion Swell neck 74 3/16” x 3/8” 97300A663
Rear Trunnion Short Swell neck 74 5/32” x 3/8” 97300A105
Trigger Guard Front 47/74 5/32” x 3/8” 97300A105
Trigger Guard Rear 47/74 5/32” x ¼” 97300A100
Front Trunnion 47/74 Swell neck 5/32” x 3/8” 97300A105
The first thing is to make your swaging plate. I used a piece of 3/8 scrap mild steel plate.
For the small dia. rivets I drilled two #21 or 0.159 dia. holes. One I countersunk with a HF 45 degree countersink and the other I left flat. I use the countersink to put the swell neck on and form the head. The other one is used to form the head on the non swell neck rivets. Simply place the rivet in swaging plate hole and back with the head forming plate and press. Now just chuck it in the drill press and turn the head to size.
The large dia. rivets are a little more work. You need to reduce the body size and swage the head. Drill three holes a #14, #15 and #16 then relieve the back to make removal easier and countersink. The #16 is used only to form and size the head and swell neck on the 2” long rivets because they don’t reduce well.
To form the short rivets moderately hammer the rivets into each progressively smaller hole using lubricant. When it’s in the #16 put it into the press with the head forming plate and swage the head. Now shape in the drill press.
* New Information1/10/12. The long rivets need to be turned in the drill press to size the body. They don’t reduce well in the swaging plate. They start to look like fish hooks. With my drill press chuck I found I can put the head in first and tighten the chuck to reduce the tip. I didn’t think that would work but it does with a 2” rivet. This also helps when test fitting it in the trunnion. Next put the swell neck on and swage in the #16 hole. Now shape the head in the drill press.
I want to make a die based on the long rivet swaging tool that will actually shape and trim the rivet head better so I won’t have to shape it in the drill press.
*Note be careful when swaging the rivet head the bottom of the rivet doesn’t get compressed otherwise you will have to pound it back out. He, He, He.
You will have to trim the rivet’s length to suit your needs based on the head size of your swaging die.
Swaging plate and Head forming plate
Swaging the head
Before and after swaging
Reducing body diameter on the short 3/16 dia. rivet
Turning the body on the long 3/16 dia rivet.
Turning the head
Finished large rivet body diameter is .177