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Modification to repair FTE issues on Saigas with blocked gas ports


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#1 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:54 AM

This modification is designed to cure the FTE (Fail To Eject) issues occurring in Saiga 12 shotguns with blocked gas ports. This procedure will demonstrate how to remove the gas block and uncover the gas ports that are blocked by a poorly machined/aligned gas block.

TOOLS REQUIRED:

1/16” pin punch
8oz ball peen hammer. (Nothing larger should be required!)
Set of needle files.
Shelf bracket (10-12” approx.)
Duct tape.
Flashlight.
Scribe or utility knife blade
2” x 4” scrap lumber.
Oil. (NOT WD40)
An occasional spare set of hands.

1) ALWAYS ASSUME THE GUN IS LOADED! Remove the magazine, check the action and verify the chamber is empty. Read through all of these steps before attempting this procedure. If you don’t understand something or don’t feel comfortable doing this mod to your gun, STOP! I would also recommend taking a careful look at the gas tube, gas block, receiver and barrel before during and after this procedure. You should know what it looks like before you start so you KNOW how to get it all back together. Take notes and/or pictures with your digital camera.

2) Completely field strip the gun including removing the gas regulator and gas piston.

3) Take your flashlight and carefully look into the gas tube where the gas piston resides. You should see a hole in the gas block. Inside that hole is the top of the barrel. There SHOULD be 2, 3 or 4 holes visible in the top of the barrel. If you can only see one hole, or one hole and part of another one or two, then this procedure is what you are looking for. Continue to the next step.

Attached File  saiga_gas_port_before_mod.jpg   348.32KB   1436 downloads

NOTE 1: If you can see 2, 3 or 4 unobstructed holes then this modification is probably NOT what you need to stop FTEs in your gun. I suggest you get a paperclip and bend it in such a way as to make a tool for cleaning the gas ports in the barrel. Using a flashlight check the barrel often to see if you are dislodging residue from the gas ports. If you are lucky this is all you need to solve your FTE problems. Swab the barrel, reassemble and test fire.

NOTE 2: I had a lengthy conversation with Clyde from RAAC regarding this issue and my modification. RAAC is VERY concerned about this issue and is doing everything in their power to make it right. If you are having FTE issues with your Saiga, contact RAAC and see about getting your non-converted gun warranted. After talking with Clyde it is my understanding that 2, 3 and 4 port guns have been produced. The 2 port guns are supposed to have slightly larger diameter ports. (I will confirm/verify this in a separate post.) In any case, your guns should properly cycle all ammo. If you have only one port, or one and ‘some’ ports showing, this simple modification will get your gun working properly without having to deal with warranty repairs.

4) Remove the front hand guard and any other accessories you may have attached to the gas tube and/or gas block and barrel. (The front hand guard is held in place with a single machine screw from the bottom. (Sling mount.) The hand guard is removed by pushing it forward. (Towards the end of the barrel.)

The next step involves removing the two retaining pins that hold the gas block into the barrel. These are the only pins that need to be removed. DO NOT remove the pin that holds the barrel to the receiver (Directly below the rear sight.) The upper retaining pin (Between the gas tube and the barrel) also retains the spring-loaded locking pin for the gas pressure regulator. Be careful when removing this pin as not to loose the retainer or spring.

Attached File  barrel_pin_in_receiver_with_note.jpg   455.09KB   1361 downloads

Attached File  gas_block_with_notes.jpg   459.01KB   1530 downloads

CONT'D

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:25 AM.

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#2 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:58 AM

5) Place your 2” x 4” scrap on your work surface. Lay the gun down on top of the 2” x 4” with the ejection port side up. Using a 1/16” pin punch, begin driving out the upper gas block retaining pin. (Between the gas tube and barrel.) BEFORE removing the pin punch, shield the gas regulator locking pin with your hand. When you withdraw the punch carefully collect the gas regulator locking pin and spring.

Attached File  gas_regulator_retainer.jpg   398.5KB   430 downloads

Attached File  gas_regulator_retainer_removed_from_gas_block.jpg   426.84KB   412 downloads

6) Using a 1/16” pin punch drive out the lower gas block retaining pin. (shorter pin.)

7) Using a scribe or a utility knife blade, scribe a line around the BARREL at the back of the gas block. This will be used as a reference mark when reassembling.

CONT'D
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#3 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:02 AM

8) Add a layer or two of duct tape to the flat side of the shelf bracket.

Attached File  shelf_brackets_with_duct_tape.jpg   278.22KB   379 downloads

In the next steps you will stand the gun on it barrel on the 2” x 4” scrap placed on the floor and use the shelf bracket with duct tape to remove the gas block. Be prepared to catch the gas tube as it will be loose after tapping the gas block forward about 1/8".

9) Stand the gun on the 2” x 4” scrap place on the floor. VERY IMPORTANT! Insure the barrel thread protector is installed and/or otherwise protect the end of the barrel. (A mouse pad works well.)

10) Insert the shelf bracket with duct tape between the gas tube and barrel with the duct tape protecting the surface in the back of the gas block. The flat side of the shelf bracket should face the gas block.

Attached File  shelf_bracket_on_gas_block_view2.jpg   520.05KB   376 downloads

CONT'D

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:46 AM.

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#4 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:05 AM

11) Ensuring the gun is stable, apply downward pressure to the end of the shelf bracket that would normally connect to the wall while gently tapping the shelf bracket with the hammer on the other side of the gas block. The gas block should begin to move without too much effort. STOP once the gas block has moved about 1/16” and look into the gas tube with your flashlight again. You should now be able to see the additional gas ports that were previously covered. (Keep this in mind when you are reshaping the hole in the gas block in a later step.) Continue to tap the gas block until it has moved about 1/4". Remove the gas tube. You should now be able to see the line you scribed on the barrel.

Attached File  gas_block_moved_on_barrel.jpg   336.28KB   486 downloads

12) Set the gun upright on its stock. If you look carefully at the front of the gas block on the barrel you will notice the barrel is tapered and there is now a small gap all around the barrel between the barrel and the gas block. Let a small amount of oil seep into this gap for a minute or two to aid in removal of the gas block and to prevent galling the barrel.

Turn the gun around and place it barrel down again. Using another scrap of wood to protect the gas block, gently tap (where the gas tube was connected.) the gas block down off the barrel. The gas block only has to move about 2” before it is completely free. (It may be necessary to alternate tapping the other side of the gas block (Where the hand guard mounts.) Remove the barrel thread protector if so equipped, and remove the gas block from the gun. Take a moment to examine the barrel. Notice the groove cut into the barrel ahead of the gas ports. The upper pin in the gas block lives in this groove. Upon reassembly, this groove must EXACTLY align with the corresponding holes in the gas block, otherwise is will be impossible to reinsert the pin.

Attached File  DSC06511small.jpg   370.48KB   481 downloads

CONT'D

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:32 AM.

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#5 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:08 AM

Attached File  gas_block_hole_detail.jpg   585.15KB   394 downloads

13) Using a set of needle or jewelers files enlarge the FRONT side of the hole in the gas block . (The hole between the barrel and gas tube.) You goal is to make this hole D-shaped. With the flat side of the ‘D’ towards the front of the gun.

Attached File  needle_files.jpg   1.01MB   345 downloads

I started with a triangular file to form the front corners.

Attached File  file_step_1.jpg   372.78KB   441 downloads

CONT'D
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#6 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:11 AM

The gas block metal is not too hard and is easy to file. Be patient and take your time. I alternated between holding the gas block and moving the file, and holding the file and moving the gas block. After the corners were formed, I switched to a flat file. I do not recommend using a rotary tool or Dremel.

Attached File  file_technique_1.jpg   373.04KB   366 downloads

Attached File  file_technique_2.jpg   286.64KB   333 downloads

When you are done, the hole in the gas block should look something like this. Make sure both the gas tube and barrel bores are free from any rough edges. IMPORTANT! Ensure you remove any/all metal shaving and any other contaminants from the gas block before attempting reassembly.

CONT'D
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#7 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:16 AM

Attached File  gas_block_filed_view_2.jpg   351.4KB   468 downloads

Attached File  gas_block_filed_view_1.jpg   291.94KB   408 downloads

In the next steps you are going to reinstall the gas block onto the barrel. It is VERY helpful to have a spare set of hands to get everything lined up. Take your time when the gas block is getting ‘close’ to avoid having to do these steps repeatedly.

14) Now that famous line… ”Assembly is the reverse of removal.” Coat the inside of the gas block with oil where it goes around the barrel. Also coat the barrel where the gas block resides.

15) Set the gun upright on its stock. Place the gas block on the barrel. IMPORTANT! Make sure you put the gas block on correctly with the front sight up and the gas tube connector down. Rotate the gas block to line up the front sight on the top center of the gun.

Before hammering the gas block back into position think about what you are doing. Hopefully your spare set of hands is holding the gun upright. I recommend they do this by holding the receiver in their hands. This allows them to also keep the gun from rotating as you hammer/rotate the gas block back down into position. Grasp the gas block in your free hand while you tap (hammering gently) the gas block down the barrel with the other hand. To get the gas block properly aligned you may/will need to rotate it on the barrel. Experiment early on and you will find that with a very small tap (Little or no movement down the barrel) while apply rotating pressure on the gas block you can correct the orientation of the gas block left or right.

16) Using a scrap of wood to protect the front of the gas block, gently hammer the gas block back into position. STOP before you get too far to reinstall the gas tube, about 1/8” above the line you scribed on the barrel.

17) Reinstall the gas tube.

18) Continue to tap the gas block back into position. The final 1/8” of travel for the gas block is the most tedious and critical. Take your time. Make very small movements/adjustments.

MAKE SURE:

A. The gas block connector is completely inside the gas tube.

B. Do NOT pass the line you scribed in the barrel.

The goal is to perfectly align the upper pin holes in the gas block with the grove in the barrel. The gas tube does not need to be a tight fit. You may need to turn the gun over a few times and tap the gas block back a bit and try again. You are home free when the upper pin holes of the gas block are in perfect alignment with the groove in the barrel. The mark you scribed in the barrel should be as it was when you made it.

CONT'D

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:49 AM.

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#8 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:18 AM

With the flashlight, look in the gas tube at your gas ports. This is what you should now see.

Attached File  saiga_gas_port_after_mod.jpg   384.95KB   796 downloads

19) Reinstall the upper gas block pin. Lay the gun on your work surface with the ejection port facing up. Check the gas block pin (Long one) to make sure you did not mushroom the end of the pin when you removed it. If necessary use a flat file to clean up the pin before reinserting. Put a drop of oil in the gas block hole and just tap the pin back enough to get it to stay in the gas block without holding it. Reinsert the spring into gas regulator locking pin bore. Reinsert the gas regulator locking pin with the notch facing the barrel. Now for the tricky part. You must push in the spring loaded gas regulator locking pin inwards while taping the gas block pin into the gas block. The gas block pin will pass through the notch in the gas regulator locking pin. If done correctly, the spring loaded pin will move freely. Using a 1/16” pin punch tap in the upper gas block retaining pin until it is flush with the gas block on both sides. It should go in without too much force. If it is very difficult to reinstall, chances are that you do not have the gas block holes perfectly aligned with the slot in the barrel. Remove the pin and correct if necessary.

20) Reinstall the lower gas block pin. Lay the gun on your work surface with the ejection port facing up. Check the gas block pin (Short one) to make sure you did not mushroom the end of the pin when you removed it. If necessary use a flat file to clean up the pin before reinserting. Put a drop of oil in the gas block hole. Using a 1/16” pin punch tap in the lower gas block retaining pin until it is flush with the gas block on both sides.

21) Reinstall the front hand guard.

22) Reinstall the remaining components and check for proper operation of the gun. ENJOY!
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#9 c3006

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:45 AM

Great job laying out that Mod !!! I was wondering about the gas reg plug covering the holes or are you leaving it out a thread. c

#10 GhostSatn

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:55 AM

great allways wonder how to do this thanks

#11 Bounce12

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:52 AM

Great instructions!

Thanks.

Even "I" can do this.

If I'd have had this BEFORE I sent my S-12 back to RAAM, I wouldn't have sent it back. I'd have just done the mod myself.

If the one they send me back has issues, I won't hesitate to do this myself.

Thanks again - great effort.
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#12 BobAsh

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:26 AM

This is a great tutorial and should be stickied.

Nice photography!
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#13 saigafan01201

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:28 AM

Fantastic instructions, JeffD. Great Job! :up:

#14 sunnybean

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:35 AM

Thanks from the FNG. Easy to follow, excellent photos, helpful hints...well done.
'TonyRumore', on 16 Nov 2011 - 9:42 PM, said:
...and you have to be a complete dorkwad or mall ninja to run around hunting with a mag fed gun, pulling the fucking mag out every shot and dicking around loading a shell and jamming it back in the gun when you can just stuff one in the tube. Even with multiple mags, it's a serious pain in the ass and takes two hands. That's a major drawback when hunting since you need to keep one hand on the gun and the other on your beer............

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#15 shotgunner

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 12:05 PM

Good Job

#16 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:21 PM

Great job laying out that Mod !!! I was wondering about the gas reg plug covering the holes or are you leaving it out a thread. c


Thanks to all for the props! Just trying to help. :victory:

No change to the normal operation of the gas regulator. "All the way in, then out to the first click..." If you have any quesions, use this forum's search feature. There are many topics about normal/proper operation of the gas regulator.
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#17 Azrial

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:28 PM

Nice tutorial! :up:

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#18 NECESSARY EVIL

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:14 PM

Very nice ! Thanks for the info .

#19 DrWho

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:15 PM

nice..
i am still sending mine back to RAA.
i only see 2 holes. not 3
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#20 broken scope

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:19 PM

I need to add gas ports ,How hard is the barrel to drill and did you mess the finish up any. Thanks

#21 capt

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:30 PM

I have a 20ga with two holes, and one is partially blocked.
I'm thinking about trying this, think it will help?
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#22 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:35 PM

I need to add gas ports ,How hard is the barrel to drill and did you mess the finish up any. Thanks


This mod can be done without harming the finish of the gun. Be careful. Protect the gun where necessary with masking tape, etc. if you feel the need.

Why do you NEED to add gas ports?

Even if you only have a two port gun it should cycle ALL ammo types according to RAAC.

Are the ports unobstructed and clean? If your gun has not yet been converted, check with RAAC about getting it repaired/replaced by them. If you want to repair your own gun, I would consider enlarging your existing gas ports SLIGHTLY before attempting to drill another hole in the barrel. Drilling a hole into the barrel may be difficult to perform for the average Joe sucessfully with hand tools. (Have you ever tried drilling a hole into a cylinder... On a precise angle... In an exact location... Into tuff steel?)

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:39 PM.

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#23 G O B

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:42 PM

Excellent post. Well done!

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#24 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:42 PM

I have a 20ga with two holes, and one is partially blocked.
I'm thinking about trying this, think it will help?


Increasing gas flow WILL assist with the operation of the gun. Are you having FTE issues? Have you tried both gas settings? Is the gun broken in or still new with a limited number of shots?

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 07:43 PM.

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#25 capt

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:23 PM

I've shot probably 100 rounds of low brass shells. 2 or 3 FTE per mag.

I shot 10 rounds of 2 3/4 buck last night and it functioned perfectly on both 1 and 2 (granted only 1 mag per setting, but thats a first)

I've got a box of 3" fiocchi 4shot, 7/8oz 1500 vel, I'm going to try tomorrow after work.

Just seems like its going to really expensive to get this thing running correctly.

I've started polishing the bolt and hammer. Haven't taken much off the bolt, but it has smoothed out the action some.

But this mod seems like an easy way to make sure the gas system isn't helping to cause the problem.

What do you think?
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#26 JeffD

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:42 PM

I've shot probably 100 rounds of low brass shells. 2 or 3 FTE per mag.

I shot 10 rounds of 2 3/4 buck last night and it functioned perfectly on both 1 and 2 (granted only 1 mag per setting, but thats a first)

I've got a box of 3" fiocchi 4shot, 7/8oz 1500 vel, I'm going to try tomorrow after work.

Just seems like its going to really expensive to get this thing running correctly.

I've started polishing the bolt and hammer. Haven't taken much off the bolt, but it has smoothed out the action some.

But this mod seems like an easy way to make sure the gas system isn't helping to cause the problem.

What do you think?


Remove the gas regulator and take a CLOSE look at your gas ports with a good flashlight. Use a paperclip to clean out the ports you can see. If you can only see one port clearly, then this mod will make a big difference in the way your gun functions.

Edited by JeffD, 06 January 2009 - 08:43 PM.

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#27 fenrir

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 01:49 AM

Wow, thanx for that effort. I just took delivery of my S12 last night and was a bit concerned as my s/n falls in the Vodka special™ (thanx tony) range. I can see one gas port fine and the other is tight to the gas block. If I get a lot of FTE's it's nice to know I have a fix.
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#28 DTrom

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:52 PM

Thanks Jeff. I would like to give a special thanks to jeff. I know him personally and he is a stand up guy. He is the one who actually got me into the saiga 12 and sold me the one I now own. Sorry jeff, but hey, you have more. HaHa. Seriously, jeff Is very knowledgable when it comes to gunsmithing and is an asset to all of us on this site. Thanks for your hardwork and attention to detail. I'll see you this weekend at the range yo.


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#29 Juggernaut

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 11:02 PM

This is a great tutorial and should be stickied.

Nice photography!

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#30 JesseJames

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 11:35 PM

Just FYI,

I would advise against doing this modification to the 2 port Vodka specials and just send them back to RAAC. I did it to mine and it didn't help at all. The two ports, even when un-blocked just aren't enough to cycle the lighter loads.

I spoke with Clyde at RAAC (great guy BTW) and he informed me that he'll accept any of the unmodified Vodka's for return and ship you a properly ported weapon when they become available. Things get difficult though if you've already converted or modified your gun as you will then need to send it to one of his contracted warranty shops for them to drill some more ports.

I don't know about the other 2-hole specials but mine where drilled so far forward that I'm still concerned about the rifle even if a few more ports are going to be added. I'd almost like the existing ports welded up and the proper ones added in the correct location. Hell, will the Gas regulator even do anything if you have to file into the gas plug area to expose your ports?

Edited by JesseJames, 11 January 2009 - 11:38 PM.





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