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**TUTORIAL** Your Saiga: from start to finish!

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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:



**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 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)



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):



2/7 of the way complete after basic conversion and adding door breacher brake.



3/7 of the way complete after adding rails, SAW grip, recoil pad, Tromix oversized charging handle, KAC foregrip, and sling



4/7 of the way complete after adding the Fastfire II and polished the bolt carrier.



5/7 of the way complete after adding Ace folding stock and Surefire M95



6/7 of the way complete after adding MD arms drums



7/7 of the way complete after refinishing it in green/black



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.)




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)




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)




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)




After... (all are the same)




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...




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.




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.




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.




8) 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.






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.






*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




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.




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!

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Good detail on both teh polishing section AND on the gas port mods. You say just enlarging the gas ports helps? I plan on doing an SBS, do you think I can I get enough port size to cycle a 12" barrel?

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Thank you very much. It could possibly help, however we'd need to know more about your gun first. What kind of problems are you having?


As far as the SBS question I'm not familiar with how that works. I rather tell you I don't know rather than give you bad information. There are plenty of guys who could help you with that. Tony Rumore with Tromix or Micheal with Lone Star Arms would be of better help to you than I would in that department.

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There's plenty of port-to-barrel info in my sticky in the NFA section.


Overall your post looks like a pretty good reference, with big props to my blood brother Moe Zambique.

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Great thread!


Some fantastic information for polishing and improving the reliability. Some great pics, which always helps!


Also, thanks for the shout out and link to my conversion thread!


Thanks to Bob too! :beer:

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