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  • zembonez

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    Feb 22, 2008
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    Anybody building anything from a kit? I'm even half tempted to buy a black powder kit just for the fun of the build even though the end result is a black powder firearm.

    What else is available in kit form?
    Texas SOT
     

    WyattT

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    Mar 3, 2008
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    AR's appear to be pretty easy to build yourself. never done it though.

    i guess you could consider and AK a kit gun as well, it you bought a surplus kit.
     

    SIG_Fiend

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    Feb 21, 2008
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    Machinisttx, just curious but, did you buy a "kit" for your AR builds or just source all the parts yourself? I've been wanting to build an AR for awhile, though I still have a few months before I can afford to build what I want (I'm really wanting to do an AR10). If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. :)
     

    idleprocess

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    Feb 29, 2008
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    AR lowers are fairly trivial to build without special tools. Just buy the lower receiver (the serialized part), a lower parts kit (includes a few dozen parts and everything you need for the lower such as FCG, safety selector, mag release, bolt catch, pivot/takedown pins/retainers, pistol grip, and buffer retainer), and stock/buffer of your choice and you too can assemble a lower on your kitchen table in about an hour (just don't lose the retainer pins!).

    AR uppers are more difficult, but some say that you can do it with a few improvised tools. I'd rather leave that task to the professionals given my lack of a proper workbench, vise, go/no-go gauges, etc...

    I understand that AK building usually implies the use of an "80%" receiver flat requiring the builder to bend the receiver into the final shape and install pins, trunnions, rivets, etc.
     

    machinisttx

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    Machinisttx, just curious but, did you buy a "kit" for your AR builds or just source all the parts yourself? I've been wanting to build an AR for awhile, though I still have a few months before I can afford to build what I want (I'm really wanting to do an AR10). If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. :)

    I bought a DS4 kit from J&T Distributing, which had a pre-assembled upper included. That was the first and only AR I've built, and it took me less than an hour and a half. I worked pretty slow and read how to's on several different forums to check and doublecheck that I was doing it right.


    As far as AK building goes, there are several ways to go.

    1. You can start with an unbent receiver flat, which requires a hydraulic press and a welder to turn into a 100% receiver.
    2. You can start with a bent receiver blank, which will require LOTS of work, preferably done on a milling machine. Also requires a welder.
    3. Buy a 100% receiver from various sources.

    For the rest of teh build, you can get by with not much other than a big hammer and a bench vise....but that's a real PITA.
     

    SIG_Fiend

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    AK's are cheap enough, I don't see why someone would build there own unless using the best parts available maybe. I overpaid for my Century Arms wasr, though I've seen them as cheap as ~$300 new from some retailers. ;)
     

    machinisttx

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    I've got a lot less money in my(still incomplete) AK pistol than what a brand new factory built one costs....and probably $50 less than factory built in my rifle.

    My AMD-65 SBR will cost me several hundred less to build than buy, as will my M92 Krink.
     

    SteveW

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    I am in the middle of building 2 HK G3's from de-milled guns, sold as 'kits'. Between sourcing the correct US made parts and receiver and then building up the gun, it's a fair amount of work, but I have to say that I enjoy knowing 'this much' about my guns. Some pics.. Click on the pic for full size..





    Prior to these HK's, some FALs (daughter posing with one)



    I also enjoy rebuilding Mausers. This was a Vz-24 that I bought for $69 and stripped and rebuilt in 308. Not really a kit though.. I built this for my brother, who is left eye dominant but right handed. So, a right hand action in a left hand stock, if you see what I mean.. He was pleased with it.





    S.
     

    LHB1

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    Mar 4, 2008
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    Anybody building anything from a kit? I'm even half tempted to buy a black powder kit just for the fun of the build even though the end result is a black powder firearm.

    I would like to but my taste for quality far exceeds my talent for building. I can't build mechanical things to the quality I would want to own and use.
     

    ducksps

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    Those HK builds are nice

    I keep thinking of trying to do a HK93 build to prove I can. I love mine and love fiddling with things HK and roller locked. Great job and thanks for posting those photos.

    I've done an AR which was straightforward with the proper tools. Without proper tools it would likley cause too much stress.

    Chris
     

    SteveW

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    Thanks for the kind words. The HKs are more challenging to build because of the 'weld it up' aspect. You gotta do it right first time. Apart from the welding, you really don't need any special tools to build them except a bench vice, drill press and a bunch of punches. I purchased the receivers without trunnions so I could re-use the originals that were attached to the barrels. Had I not done that, I would have needed a floor standing press to push the barrel into the trunnion, set the initial headspace and then drill/ream the hole for the barrel pin.

    The real problem is finding someone who is skilled enough to do the TIG welding. Most of the regular welding shops won't touch it because it's a firearm. Most of the Gunsmiths who will do it are waaaay backed up.

    I am still working on both guns. Let me give you a small example of the troubleshooting that you go through with kit builds.. The 'phosphate green' gun with the walnut furniture will fire but not extract/eject. The action recocks the trigger group but doesn't come far enough back to eject and instead the recoil spring just rams the just fired hot brass back into the chamber where it sticks..

    The cause of this ? The trigger group !

    The US made hammer (a 922 compliance part) hasn't enough clearance between it and the sear roller pivot to fully lower as the bolt carrier passes overhead. The back surface of the hammer wedges against the sear roller pivot pin. The hammer stops the bolt carrier from moving back far enough to eject the brass.

    As part of making the trigger group 'ATF happy' the kit builder has to chop out of the trigger group all of the places that full auto things might attach. Part of doing that is to relocate the spring and spring pivot that hold the sear in place against the hammer. Drill that hole just a little out of place and this is what you get ! The solution is to reshape the back of hammer so it doesn't bind anymore.. I will find out this weekend how that worked.

    The HK black gun just worked. It took 10 rounds to loosen it up but it now fires/extracts/ejects and feeds, but a little slowly. I suspect the bolt carrier is scraping on the cocking tube and will use some emery cloth to loosen the fit up a bit. I also need to buy some oversized rollers as the bolt gap has dropped down to less than 10 thou.

    I am now working on the wood furniture for the black gun. Its from a CETME (HK didn't make much wood) so there is some fitting work involved. Will post a pic if you are interested once it's done.

    Building kits is an exercise in troubleshooting. Some love the challenge. Others will get frustrated with it and it gets slung to the back of the gun safe. I do it because I enjoy the final result. I guess that each HK has cost me about $500 in parts. My time is a different matter. It's free !

    Refinishing the gun is a whole other story..

    S.
     
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