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Yung.gunr
July 15, 2012, 08:40 PM
I was finally able to do the conversion of my .223 Saiga to a more AK style last Saturday. I thought I would share how it went and my impressions of the process.

Overall I think it was pretty simple and straightforward. I got all my parts from Carolina Shooter's Supply and it was pretty easy to order from them. I even found a promo code so I was able to get 5% off of my order.

I ordered their kit #13 with the folding and collapsing stock. I also included their upgraded trigger guard that includes the pistol grip nut. I upgraded to a Mission First Tactical pistol grip with changeable front and back straps because it was so cheap. I ordered the bullet guide so that I could use Galil .223 magazines. Lastly, I ordered a 30 round Galil magazine made by Tapco.

The process to do the conversion is pretty straightforward. After watching a few videos on YouTube I was able to strip the stock fire control group in just a couple minutes. The rivets came out pretty easy with a hand drill. The front two rivets on the trigger guard plate came off easy drilling from the top of the receiver. The back rivet holding on the plate was a little more difficult because the drill bit wanted to walk around. This was because I had to feed it through a hole for the stock mounting. After grinding it off from the bottom side and some more drilling and hammering I finally got it off. I feel that was really the most difficult/frustrating step in the whole process. Luckily, mine was already drilled for the correct placement of the trigger. I have heard that some receivers are not and you have to drill/cut them yourself.

An overnight break was needed to allow the paint to dry on the bottom of the receiver where the trigger plate was.

I came back to it the next morning and used my Dad's drill press to drill the hole in the front trunion. This was the second most worrisome part of the process for me. After putting the receiver in a vise it took just a couple seconds for the drill press to go right through.

Next came the step that I was the most worried about, tapping the hole for the bullet guide. A lot of WD-40 and slow and steady and I got it tapped easy enough. I bolted the bullet guide in and hand cycled a magazine full through the rifle to check for any issues. After that I took it back out and applied some locktite and re-installed.

Back at home it was time to install the new trigger guard, FCG, pistol grip and stock. I am glad I went with the CSS stuff because their trigger guard is just a screw in affair from the inside of the receiver. I watched a couple videos where they had to mess with rivets and re-using their old trigger guard, that didn't seem very fun. I also like how strong their trigger guard is. It seems like a billet aluminum piece instead of the thin, cheap sheet metal from the factory. The FCG was easy enough to install with watching the CSS YouTube video.

The stock did take some sanding with a cheapo Harbor Freight Dremel style tool. It was hitting the back screw head holding in trigger guard. Next came installation of the pistol grip. This took a bit of work because I had to take off quite a bit of material in order to get the hole to line up with the mounting hole in the trigger guard. I attribute this to it being designed to use the original sheet metal trigger guard.

I think that everything looks great and I am planning to take it out to the range tomorrow to put a couple magazines through it. I am very happy with it so far, especially with the stock. I love that you can fire it with the stock folded, doubt I ever will, but it is a good option to have. The stock also makes the rifle a lot more comfortable for me. With the factory stock it seemed too small for me. The trigger pull is a lot better now as well. I didn't think it was too bad before, but now with the new stuff it makes the old pull feel like garbage.

Let me know what you think.

I also plan on getting a quad rail and some kind of optics. Not sure what I want to get, kinda leaning toward a reflex style. But not ruling out a red dot or even a magnified scope. I was planning on staying below $200 of the optics. Not sure on the price of the quad rail. I was going to use the side mount that comes on the Saiga, but with my stock being a left side folder that won't work.

Suggestions on quad rail and optics are welcome as well as anything else (even criticisms) on my first attempt at modifications.

seanc
July 15, 2012, 11:08 PM
I'm thinking of getting one of these for mine:
http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=1029

The last time at the range, my son and I just about melted the hand guard. I kind of like the extended grip the Saiga hand guard gives you, but after about 120+ rounds, it was too hot to handle and was starting to scorch and melt. We weren't shooting rapid fire (just a little, now and then). This thing will replace the Saiga plastic hand guard and give you a quad rail too.

Yung.gunr
July 16, 2012, 10:33 PM
Took it to the range today. It ran great. Much better accuracy then before. Not sure if that is because the stock fits better or because the trigger is a ton better.