Saiga 7.62x39 Conversion
Hey everyone, some of you already know me from asking all the Saiga restoration questions, lol.
I noticed that the Saiga Forums section has a thread for every rifle caliber except 7.62x39. So I thought I would make one, just like everyone that helped me did so in a big way maybe this will help some others interested in doing a Saiga 7.62 conversion to original AK configuration.
I am going to try to do this step by step, also providing pictures so you can get a good idea of what is going on.
First here are some pictures of the Saiga right out of the box, in sporter configuration.
Untouched Saiga receiver, original configuration
The First step of the conversion is to take the dust cover, recoil spring and bolt carrier out, this is done by pushing the button that sticks thru the back of the dust cover. Push the button in and pull the dust cover off. Then push the recoil spring forward holding that button that stuck thru the cover and pull the spring out. To take the bolt carrier out make sure the hammer is in the cocked position (down) grab the bolt carrier and slide it to the rear of the receiver. Once at the end it should pop up, go ahead and pull that out also. Put those three(3) items somewhere safe and out of the way for now, you won't need them again until after you install the new Trigger or Fire Control Group.
Dust Cover release button
Removing Bolt Carrier
The next step of the conversion is to take the Handguard off, there is one(1) screw on the bottom of the receiver in the front that holds the handguard in place, unscrew it. Now the handguard is on there pretty tight, I took a small rubber mallet and TAPPED the handguard towards the front of the barrel and pulled with my hand....it slid right off.
Next you need to take the gas tube off. This can be done by pulling the gas tube lever on the right side of the rear sight block up....I had to use needle nose pliers because it was very tight....I also put electrical tape on both sides of the pliers teeth area, to prevent messing up the finish. That part is up to you. Once you pull the lever up look right about the gas tube and you will see a little lip almost, that lever turns a piece of metal, make sure the piece of metal is flat and you can pull the gas tube right out.
This picture shows the end of the gas tube where it goes into the front of the rear sight block, notice the top where it's angled, that lever when down moves a piece of metal to hold the gas tube in place. When you pull the lever up it will look exactly like this picture, then just pull the tube straight up and it will come out.
Next you have to take the buttstock off, there are two(2) screws on the top of the stock, one(1) outside the receiver, in what is called the rear Tang, and the one(1) inside the receiver, unscrew those. Then there is one(1) on the bottom of the buttstock, outside the receiver, unscrew that one also. The stock is in there tight but I just smacked my hand on the bottom of the stock where you would hold it a few times and it came right out.
Top two(2) Buttstock screws
Bottom Buttstock screw
Ok now you should have the rifle completly disassembled as much as you can. The dust cover, recoil spring, bolt carrier, bolt, handguard, gas tube and buttstock all removed. Now it's time to start disassembling the Fire Control Group.
First thing to do is take the springs that are wrapped around the hammer's pin and pull them back, letting them rest behind them hammer. I used a zip-tie so they don't come smacking my fingers and it's MUCH easier to disassemble this way.
Hammer with springs zip-tied back
The second step in this phase is to punch out the two(2) rivets by the back of the receiver. Punch them out from the right side, your going to need good quality punches for this IMO. You have to beat the hell out of them....but there's a reason for doing this instead of just grinding them down. After installing the new FCG you can use these to cover the holes because nothing goes there once the new FCG is installed, and you will have open holes in your receiver. I will go into this further later though. Save the two(2) rivets for now.
Two(2) rivets to be punched out, they are the two(2) closest to the end of the receiver and right near the bottom.
(note: this picture shows the receiver upside down, so in this picture they are the two(2) holes at the top.)
After you punch those two(2) rivets out the trigger and the mechanism will come out. ALSO the Shepards Crook which is wrapped around the mechanisms rivet, the Shepards Crook also holds the other two(2) pins in, SAVE the Shepards Crook !
The third step, NO PUNCH NEEDED, is to to take the two(2) pins in this picture out, they should now be able to be pushed right out....SAVE THEM, as they will be your new FCG's pins. They are right under the safety lever.
(note: this picture is also upside down lol, but you can see the bottom of the safety and the two(2) silver pins.)
After removing the two(2) pins the hammer, bolt hold open and the other part of the trigger and the sear are now able to be removed from the receiver....your receiver should now be totally empty, KEEP the parts. Later you will need to take apart the sear and get the disconnector spring to re-use with the new FCG.
Your receiver should now look like this
Once the Fire Control Group(FCG) is all removed, and your receiver is totally empty, you can start removing the trigger guard and plate on the bottom of the receiver. Now this part is up to you, you can either re-use the trigger guard or replace it with a new one. This time I chose to replace mine, if you want to re-use it that's fine too. What you will do next is grind down the two(2) rivets on the bottom of the receiver, one(1) in back of the magazine release and one(1) right at the end of the receiver (this is one of the ones that holds the trigger guard in place.) Grind those down totally flat with the plate.
rivet closest to end of receiver, holding back of trigger guard down
rivet behind magazine release
Once those two(2) rivets are filed or dremeled down the next step is to drill the spot weld. The spot weld is on the front tab of the trigger guard. I was able to just drill right through it because how it's placed there is a hole in the receiver under the plate, so I didn't damage the receiver in any way, make sure you can do the same before just drilling it out.
BEFORE you punch the two(2) rivets out read this: What I did is I punched the rivet closest to the magazine release out, but I left the one near the end of the receiver. The reason I left the one near the end of the receiver is because that is a usless hole, you don't need it for anything. So instead of having to fill it with a cap or bolt file or dremel it flush with the receiver. When you paint the bottom of the receiver you won't even be able to tell there's a hole there, that rivet fills the hole, it's up to you that's what I chose to do though.
Once you drill the spot weld and push the rivets down a little you will be able to remove the plate, you will notice the bottom of the receiver is not painted....now is the time to paint it, before you go any further and install the new FCG.
This is how the bottom of the receiver should look, notice the left side of the receiver you can barely see the rivet that I dremeled down flush with the receiver.
For paint I decided to use Dupli-color Low Gloss Black, it's an engine enamel and can withstand 500 degrees. IMO it wasn't worth using Duracoat or anything too involved because the trigger guard and pistol grip will cover most of the bottom receiver area, also the Dupli-color is very close to the actual Saiga finish IMO.
Sorry for the absense I got a little ingolfed in this project and another...starting to get AK :drunk: LOL.
This next section of the conversion is for installing an Arsenal rear trunnion to use with a Arsenal polymer folding stock or a Russian/Bulgarian Triangle folding stock, I chose the triangle folder :brows: because I love the look.
This first picture is shows how much the LEFT side of the receiver needs to be dremeled down.
You can see from the back of the receiver to where the left side ends, the left side is angled in from the top (so the bottom is futher in then the top.)
hey there saigist i like your tutorial so far very imformative and good pictures, also i like your trick of leaving the rear most rivet in and grinding it flat, much easier than welding the hole closed. can't wait to see your pictures of the new rear trunnion and side folder, did you figure out a good way to rivet it in? are you replacing the whole trigger gaurd and mag lever with a regular military one?
Originally Posted by jreifsch80
Thanks for the compliment...I wanted to do this with as many pictures as possible for guys like me... :help2: <----they even made me my own personal smiley LOL !!
For the riveting I have been debating, I think I am going to use the method that you told me for now, with the bolt and nut. Starting July 22nd the hydraulic press goes on sale @ Harbor Fake lol so I may pick that up for future riveting. Can the hydraulic press do just about every rivet BTW ?? What about the short rivets, that don't go all the way thru the receiver ? What do you use to do your rivets also, since I am going to be doing builds after this I would like to get something that can do every rivet possible ya know.
Well there was a mix up in my order for parts, I intended to use a basic military trigger guard w/mag lever BUT they sent me some hoopla BS instead...it's just a trigger guard that is angled instead on rounded :grumble:....not what I wanted or ordered.
I'll take of pic of it held in place so you can see what it looks like, I'm still debating wether or not to send it back and get the standard military one...let me know what you think of it.
thank you for doing this, this has been very helpfull so far!
Hi! I am new here myself,but I just wanted to say you have a really great thing going on here. This is like being in class and learning something worth a damn for a change. Anyway I am saving this link,cus I want to see a whole lot more.
Kick ass and take names!
Good info here, guys. Wish I had read all this before I started some of my Saiga projects. I got them done fine, with the help of youtube videos, etc., but the more knowledge on the front end, the better off you are.