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My Saiga 12 from start to finish


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#1 ErikTaylor

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 03:36 PM

For whatever reason I can't edit my old thread I had with the progress, so I had to create a new one.

Well I bought one unconverted and started from there. I did all of the work and customization myself, and it has been a blast (even though the wife bitched at me... it was all worth it). I have done a lot of work here to put this thread together to hopefully help some people that are on the fence of doing their own work. All you need are some basic tools. There's a million different ways you can dress up your S12, but the services I have listed are pretty synonymous for each shotgun. If you have an questions please don't hesitate to ask. I'm not an expert, but familiar with the S12 system. This is what worked for me! I hope this helps you guys and please add to it if you see something. Enjoy fellas!

***Disclaimer*** (Borrowed from Moe Zambeak)
Make sure you follow all safe firearm handling procedures when attempting any firearm modifications! Check your local, state, and federal laws and make sure you are in compliance! I take absolutely no responsibility for anything bad that happens to you, your gun, your dog, etc, etc, etc.

A parts diagram:

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**I found this on the net, but edited the original parts list to use more common terms for the new Saiga owners**

The only upgraded part on the Saiga when I originally bought it was: Tapco T6 Stock (see pic 1/7) That was the first thing to go!

Here are the parts that are currently on it. (see 7/7 picture)

Tromix D-I-Y trigger guard
Tapco FCG
SAW grip
Ace 7.5 stock Mine is 7.5
Ace folding mechanism
Stock/receiver block
Tromix oversized charging handle
Mississippi Auto Arms quad rail
KAC vertical grip
Pheonix door breacher brake
Gas fixer plug
Twister puck
Burris Fast Fire II
Surefire M95 (Picked it up off ebay for $50)
Blackhawk 3 point sling
2 MD drums
Several russian 8 round sticks
AGP 10 round stick
3 factory 5 rounders

Places that I ordered these parts from:

Carolina Shooters Supply Awesome prices, availability, and super fast shipping.
MD Arms Place of the world's best drum magazine for Saiga Shotguns.
Ebay I bought the Fastfire II from here.


Tools needed for services

Dremel
Dremel sandpaper attachment (grinding wheel)
Dremel abrasive buffs
Dremel polishing kit
Dremel cutting disk attachment
Small file
Industrial grade sheet metal 1/8 thick (similar to this)
Piece of wood like a 2x4
Mallet hammer
Allen key set
Phillips and Flathead medium head sized screwdrivers
Dental pick (angled is preferred by me anyways)
PATIENCE!

Here are some pics showing progress along the way...

1/7 of the way complete (exactly like mine (but mine is 12g), picture was taken from surplusriflesforum):
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2/7 of the way complete after basic conversion and adding door breacher brake.
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3/7 of the way complete after adding rails, SAW grip, recoil pad, Tromix oversized charging handle, KAC foregrip, and sling
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4/7 of the way complete after adding the Fastfire II and polished the bolt carrier.
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5/7 of the way complete after adding Ace folding stock and Surefire M95
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6/7 of the way complete after adding MD arms drums
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7/7 of the way complete after refinishing it in green/black
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Even with the converted parts and upgrades it still didn't shoot the way I wanted. It would have a FTE every 30 rounds or so. It shot slug and 00 buck perfect, but was having the FTE issues with low recoil 00 buck and also the birdshot. It was pretty annoying, but wanted to get things right. So I did some research on this site, and did the following services to the weapon:

BEST THREAD FOR DOING A CONVERSION: Moe Zambeak's Conversion Thread

1) Polished the carrier- This didn't enhance the reliability of the weapon, but I just wanted to have that look. It looks pretty nice. Took about an hour or so! Here is what I did...
a) You need a dremel for starters and place on there the sandpaper attachment, and start taking off the finish on the carrier.
b Remove the sand paper attachment, and place an abrasive buff on and go over the carrier again. This will take out the inconsistencies from the sanding, and you'll begin to see the shine come through.
c) Remove the abrasive buff, and put on the buffer attachment. Then put some polishing compound on the buffer, and start applying the compound throughout the carrier and let it sit for a few minutes.
d) Remove the buffer attachment and put on a buffer disk and buff the compound off, which will yield the final product; a polished carrier.
e) If you desire (some say it's a must) apply a light coat of oil to protect the carrier from corrosion or rust (since you just took the finish off the carrier.)

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2) Ground down the bottom of the carrier rail- Got rid of the angles on the bottom of the carrier. Also polished it to a mirror shine. Took about 35-40 minutes or so.
a) Take the sandpaper attachment again and round out the edges on the bottom of the carrier.
b Repeat polishing process (b,c,d, and e in #1)

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3) Ground the hammer and polished it- Took about an hour or so.
a) Take the sandpaper attachment again and round out all the edges (angles) in the hammer.
b Repeat polishing process (b,c,d, and e in #1)

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4) Enlarged the gas port holes in the barrel- I found when I took my gas block off all the holes were different sizes and some were not done at the correct angle. So I took a 3/32 drill bit (5/64 is correct for a 4 port gun, but it was not cycling Winchester bulk pack. My goal was to get the gun to cycle that because if it did it will shoot anything, and it does. So after 5/64 did not work I used .093 which is the correct diameter for a 3 port gun.) and drilled them at the correct angle. I have the gas fixers plug so it helps regulate the gas that goes into my gun and allowed me to adjust to make the amount of gas correct. Took about 2 hours of work with this. The gas block was a bitch to get off. I took pics for you to see:
a) Take off your handguards, rails, or whatever you have.
b Take off gas plug.
c) Take out the gas puck.
d) If you have a big brake you are going to need to take it off.
e) Punch out the gas block pins.
f) Then you need to tap off the gas block. There are a few ways to do this.
i) Press it off (if you're lucky enough to have access to this equipment, please do share.)
ii) If you're like 99% of people you are going to have to tap it off. What you need to do (through my experience) is go to Home Depot and get an industrial grade piece of sheet metal (1/8 thick to fit between gas tube and barrel). Then you are going to want to also get a 2x4 or similar piece of wood. When you get home place the wood on the floor and place the muzzle on the piece of wood. Then you are going to want to place the sheet metal between the gas block and barrel. In one hand you are holding the sheet metal (opposite of the side you're tapping) and with the other hand with a mallet you are going to tap the block off. Now some say that you can easily tap it off, but again with my experience I had to take some healthy hacks at the sheet metal for the block to finaly come off.
g) Examine the gas block holes and then with a 3/32 bit drill the holes and make sure you drill the angle towards you (the receiver), not straight up and down, nor towards the muzzle. The latter 2 will create problems for you rather than help with cycling the weapon.
h) Once the drilling is complete, now you need to make sure there aren't any burrs in the barrel.
i) Take a flashlight and examine the inside and outside of the barrel at the ports to make sure there aren't any burrs. If there isn't, you are good to go. But if there is...
ii) Take a file and make sure you file off the burrs inside the barrel and also the outside of the barrel if there is any. This will alleviate future problems.
i) After that is done reassemble in reverse order until the handguards are back on and good to go.

JeffD's gas block removal thread

Before... (Notice all are different)

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After... (all are the same)

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5) Enlarged the port hole in the gas block- If you look at the first pic from #4, you'll see that the hole barely makes it around the top gas port hole (muzzle side) so I enlarged the port hole in the gas block to allow all the gas to get into the gun. Took about 35 minutes.
a) This part you can do while you are enlarging the gas ports in the barrel. This is why I said if you have a large brake you are going to need to take it off so you can slide the gas block off the barrel. If you haven't done so already, this is the time to take your brake off.
b Examine the barrel and the area specifically around the gas ports (you can see the "ring" around the gas ports in the barrel made from the gas block). If you are lucky and the gas block hole does give enough area for the ports to clear the gas block then everything is fine and nothing else needs to be done. But if not...

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c) Take a file, or dremel (as I used) and clear material in gas block hole until you can see enough has been taken away for all the gas to get into the gas system.

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d) Reassmeble according to instructions in #4.

JeffD's gas block removal thread

6) Rounded out the extractor port at the end of the barrel- This really helped with FTE's by saving energy in the action. The theory is this sharp area digs into the rim of the shell and robs energy from the extraction process which could yeild FTE's. Took about 20 minutes.
a) I got this from a thread from MD Arms (in his business section). What you're going to need to do is take a small file and take gentle strokes and very shallowly round off the sharp angle that is located where the extractor slides over the chamber. If you look at my pic you'll see the area that I'm speaking of (it's in yellow. DO NOT MESS WITH THE PARTS IN RED). Take gentle strokes from starting inside the chamber and round up. Feel with your finger until it is more round, and not sharp.

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7) Ground down the bolt, and polished it- This makes inserting a loaded magazine easier and also helps smooth out the action and cycling during firing. Took about 30 minutes or so.
a) Take the sandpaper bit and grind part of the bottom of the bolt when the bolt/carrier is in battery. I took a bit of the bulge away from the head of the bolt and made it more flat.
b Repeat polishing process.

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8)THE INSTRUCTIONS ( of section 8 ) BELOW ARE TO BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK.... CUTTING/GRINDING/POLISHING AWAY TOO MUCH MATERIAL, AND FAILURE TO LEAVE THE ORIGINAL GEOMETRY OF THESE PARTS CAN CAUSE CATASTROPHIC FAILURE TO YOUR FIREARM!!!!

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO REMOVE? WHAT NOT TO REMOVE? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS SAFE AND WHAT IS NOT? IF NOT... DO NOT MAKE THIS PARTICULAR MODIFICATION TO YOUR SAIGA SHOTGUN!!!!


Round the corners/polished the bolt guide in the carrier, and also the bolt head- I did this in a way to make that last 1/4 inch that every says their carrier hangs up if they ride the carrier, and eliminate it. This has helped tremendously and allowed the action to be smoother.Took about 30 minutes or so.
a) Take a dremel and round the corners highlighted and try your best to take the angles out of the equation. Also smooth out and polish the carrier bolt channel and make that as smooth as possible. **IMPORTANT! Very minimal material removal. We are not trying to remove a bunch of material in this process. We want the inconsistencies taken out to create as little of friction as possible.**
b Repeat the polishing process for all the parts that you ground/smoothed out.

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9) Added the Ace Folding stock- It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish to get the stock on, but I'm happy with it. It's really solid. No rattle in the stock whatsoever.
a) Take off your old stock
b Take a dremel and put the metal cutting disc on it and cut off the tang flush to the reciever.

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*If you don't cut the tang back to flush with the receiver the receiver block can't sit flush against the back of the receiver. This will give an gap between the receiver and receiver block. It will also give downward angle to the stock.*

c) Clean out metal shavings inside the receiver

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d) If you have the plastic plugs from the conversion in the sides of the reciever (where the sporter FCG used to be), remove them.
e) Place your stock block into the receiver, and make sure it's flush. If its not, repeat step b until the tang is cut back flush with the receiver. Secure the block into the receiver with the screws provided. It would also be a good idea to put loctite on the screws to prevent rattling loose during firing.
f) Take your folding mechanism and screw it into the block. A dab of loctite will help with making sure the screws don't come loose during firing.
g) Attach the new stock to the folding mechanism. Again put loctite on the screws to prevent them from coming loose during firing.

10) Aftercare- I put grease on the metal parts that were going to contact and cause friction in the act of cycling during a firing of a round (hammer, bottom of carrier, bolt stem, bolt guide, and carrier channel) and hand cycled it for a good 10 minutes to smooth out all those parts that were going to be in contact and try to make them as one with the new surfaces. Then I cleaned the parts off and maintained the rest of the gun like anyone normally would.

So I did #'s 1-10 during the week after the FTE's I had that weekend. The action is 100% smoother and doesn't hang up anywhere while charging the weapon. You can ride the carrier and it still is smooth as hell.

Also I've had some requests on how I wrapped my stock in paracord. The picture I did up tries to explain how I wrapped it. I started in position "1" until I got to position "4" Then tie it off and take a lighter and burn the knot to prevent coming loose.

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I took it to the range after all the work I did and had 0 FTE's with Winchester birdshot. In fact some loads were able to be shot on a lesser gas setting! This occured with slow shots, and as fast as I could pull the trigger. I've put about 1000 rounds through it now since the work and I haven't had 1 single FTE or FTF. The gun is 100% better than it was when I first got it! It is 100% reliable (just keep it clean). I couldn't be happier with it at this point, and is now my favorite weapon. This is offically a head turner now!

Again hopefully this helps you guys! Take care!

Edited by -Indy-, 12 June 2012 - 09:23 PM.

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Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#2 Heath_h49008

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 03:43 PM

AWESOME THREAD!!!!

Thanks. Seriously, the pics are great and show what is required for several possible issues.

Heath

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"Μολὼν λαβέ"... that's Greek for "When you kick in my door, I'll say I lost them", right?

#3 glock22c

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 05:15 PM

Wow! Love the para-cord wrapped stock. I want to do that exact thing to my MAA aluminum stock. Any suggestions or tut's to pull that off properly? Great pics. Looks awesome. :super:

#4 ErikTaylor

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 05:26 PM

I'll have more info when I get home. Thanks for the replies!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#5 ErikTaylor

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 11:26 PM

I added more info and provided steps for the things I did to the certain parts. Enjoy.
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#6 bigmegina

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 12:05 AM

tag

#7 Tram

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 01:16 AM

Awesome thread.. :)

#8 TR Young

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:44 AM

Well done, Erik. Good info and good pics. How a "How-To" thread should look. :up:

Please help keep this great site up and running!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO BECOME A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER!


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#9 ErikTaylor

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 12:08 PM

Wow! Love the para-cord wrapped stock. I want to do that exact thing to my MAA aluminum stock. Any suggestions or tut's to pull that off properly? Great pics. Looks awesome. :super:


Here you go Glock. This is how I did mine. The picture I did up tries to explain how I wrapped it. I started in position "1" until I got to position "4" Then tie it off and take a lighter and burn the knot to prevent coming loose.

Posted Image
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

Posted Image

#10 Heath_h49008

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 01:43 PM

Maybe we should try to get this "sticky-ed" on the S12 forum.
"Μολὼν λαβέ"... that's Greek for "When you kick in my door, I'll say I lost them", right?

#11 Tram

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 03:17 PM

Well, I had the gun apart this AM and thought I'd give some of these mods a shot.. :)

My gun is feeding much, much better! :)

Thanks Erik!

#12 Classy Kalashnikov

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 05:59 PM

Absolutely fantastic write up, great pictures of the steps, especially the polishing and such. What paint did you use?
Authority is populace deceit

#13 ErikTaylor

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:47 PM

Thank you for all the comments guys! I hope this gets stickied. It would be awesome.

Tram- I'm glad I was able to help!
Klassy- Krylon camo for now. I wanted to make sure I liked the color scheme before I duracoated it. I think I'm digging the color scheme.
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#14 raidersfan_5544

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 09:58 PM

Very nice write up Sir. :super:

#15 ErikTaylor

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:43 PM

Thank you! Hopefully some people will get some help from it!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#16 shalamov

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:46 PM

Question about step 8... Umh... I was taught that the “corner” on the bolt that You just cut is essential to proper un-locking timing of the chamber and that one should always look at any wear/tapping there (sometime caused by improper installation of recoil buffer) and replace the bolt carrier in case that corner is worn… Based on that "teaching" I would be carefull/scared shooting magnum loads from that gun...

Edited by shalamov, 16 June 2010 - 10:47 PM.

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#17 ErikTaylor

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:51 PM

I am aware of that of exactly what you're saying and you're correct from what I've understood. I didn't cut anything, just rounded off some edging to make it function better (very minimal material removal). I just shot 3" magnum loads this weekend actually and it shot beautiful. Thanks for the heads up.
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

Posted Image

#18 nolite310

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 09:23 PM

+1 on this being a "how to" of "how to" threads. I've been looking around the net for some time for a DIY reliability mod work over. You seem to do great work, and i look forward to following your post once i get my S12 in.
I no longer fear the zombies now that i have my s-12. Its being labeled a domestic terrorist that scares me now.

#19 ErikTaylor

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 09:31 PM

+1 on this being a "how to" of "how to" threads. I've been looking around the net for some time for a DIY reliability mod work over. You seem to do great work, and i look forward to following your post once i get my S12 in.


I'm glad it's going to help you. Everything I've learned I learned from the guys here. If you have any questions give us a shout!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#20 Plastik

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 11:07 PM

Awesome thread Erik. By far the best, recent tutorial I've seen.

#21 ErikTaylor

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:15 AM

Thank you sir!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#22 evel knievel

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:16 AM

Awesome thread Erik. By far the best, recent tutorial I've seen.

wow great job erik- i suggest take some welding classes and bam your in buisness-with all this skill it would be a shame if you dident start your own buisness-
mods-polishing-painting -welding-you gotta start somewere you could be the next tromix -aim high yo aim high

#23 Plastik

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 02:45 PM


Awesome thread Erik. By far the best, recent tutorial I've seen.

wow great job erik- i suggest take some welding classes and bam your in buisness-with all this skill it would be a shame if you dident start your own buisness-
mods-polishing-painting -welding-you gotta start somewere you could be the next tromix -aim high yo aim high


Completely Agreed!

#24 Judgemax

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:54 PM

THANKS!!

Off topic? But you seem like you'd know.

Where can I find a Magazine release pin?

Great post.

#25 mlyoung83

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 10:21 PM

Wow, very nice gun!! I just picked my s12 up today after talking with another member on here, but I had absolutely no idea you could mod a Saiga this much. I am curious though, did that SAW grip bolt right up? Definately gonna be doing some dremel work tomorrow.

#26 ErikTaylor

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 04:17 PM

Wow, very nice gun!! I just picked my s12 up today after talking with another member on here, but I had absolutely no idea you could mod a Saiga this much. I am curious though, did that SAW grip bolt right up? Definately gonna be doing some dremel work tomorrow.


For the most part it does. Since there is a stop (there's a limit on the amount that you can screw the grip screw in) in the Tromix D-I-Y trigger guard I had to cut about 1/4 inch off the grip screw in order to get the grip a good tight fit against the receiver! A standard ak grip screw nut doesnt have a stop in it. That was my personal experience, however you may not need to do that in your case.

Thanks for the kind words guys!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#27 Arsenal-Junkie

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:16 AM

as you know, awesome write up.

a buddy on the forum here helped me with opening up my ports and adding a 4th one to make my very unrelaible s12 blast any round. you did exactly as i was shown and it works incredible!

this thread definitly needs a sticky.

thanks for the good helpful guys on the forum :super:

heres a pic i took when i was doing my gas ports, helps show the angle you want

Attached Files


Edited by Arsenal-Junkie, 05 July 2010 - 11:18 AM.

I <3My AK-47

#28 ErikTaylor

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 10:49 PM

That looks great arsenal. I'm glad to see more people take it upon themselves to work on their guns. It makes it so much more rewarding when people stare in awe as you blast away!
Your wife is just like a new gun...sooner or later you are going to want to shoot them both.

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#29 deputydog95

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:47 PM

Great stuff Erik. I live in Dunedin. Any chance you could give me a tutorial on some of this stuff in person? I'm a little nervous about taking this gun apart :)

#30 stoplossed

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 04:39 PM

I had the same FTE problem. It kept stovepiping everything I used. From winchester bulk crap to 3" buckshot. Nothing worked. I went through every single procedure that was mentioned above. Polished everything. Even drilled another gas port. Same result followed. FTE!!!! I had exhausted all efforts the road was near the end. I had one last theory. Harmonics, maybe. I took my UTG railsystem off and fired it. BINGO!!!! It fires everything that I have put through it so far. It spits them out as fast as I pull the trigger. I happened to notice that you had a rail system on there and you had the FTE problem. Althought you dont have the UTG one but still it may have been a contributing factor nonetheless. "No Im not making this story up" I hate to part ways with the rails but its just my 2 cents. Maybe if anyone gives a shit enough to read this it may be helpfull and prevent the anguish.




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