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Garys4598

My 'Americanized' Saiga 5.45x39mm "Harpoon" Rifle

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After literally waiting years for the completion of my Saiga IZ-240 Rifle conversion build . . . last week the completed rifle was finally delivered to my doorstep. She's got dual charging handles; I wanted her to essentially be ambidextrous.

 

After putting on her all the accessories I had long ago acquired . . . I decided to name my lil' Russian beauty "harpoon". After installing the Larue forend thumb rests to go with the Magpul AFG grip. . . the overall presentation of the rifle's forend immediately brought to my mind a harpoon. So that's the name I've christened her.

 

I'm very pleased with how the FDE paint scheme turned out, although it's nothing unique. I'm not sure whether I will keep the EOTech on her. . . I'm thinking about trying an Aimpoint H-1 2MOA red dot.

 

So what do you think?

 

I took a couple of digital photographs of her this afternoon, while she's still clean. Tomorrow I'll be taking her out to the firing range to baptize her appropriately. wink.png

 

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~Gary

Edited by Gary
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Very nice Gary. Great pics to boot. Shoot the piss outta her!

 

Thanks! And you're damned-skippy that I'll be shooting the piss out of her! greedy.gif

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Outstanding package and poster-worthy look.

(Great pictures as well).

 

Congratulations!

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That thing looks sick. So does that skull you incorperate into your photos. You have talent with a camera Sir, and great taste in gun design.

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Give us a range report too brother! Id love to see how she groups. Good choice again Gary!

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Thanks gentlemen, for the kind words.

 

Took her out this morning and put approximately 250 rounds through her, without experiencing a single hiccup. THAT made my day.

 

Threw its spent casings habitually between 1:00 and 2:00, and about 15+ feet away. Experienced zero key-holing. . . and she grouped pretty darn well.

Edited by Gary

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An observation from yesterday's shooting session:

 

I configured my IZ-240 rifle's forend furniture with the Magpul AFG grip to allow me to try the below pictured extended left arm shooting stance (I don't recall what its called). Upon firing three magazines with the rifle in the below stance, I was mildly surprised by just how steady a POA I could achieve with the red dot optic. . . although holding that stance for longer than 45 seconds proved taxing (guess I need to work out more laugh.png).

 

Anyway, what I wanted to share with you all was that half-way through that portion of my shooting session, my left thumb momentarily slipped over to the right and made contact with the rifle's gas tube. I wasn't wearing shooting gloves so. . . "yikes!" I almost burnt my thumb on the gas tube. I immediately looked at my thumb and saw that a quarter of it was covered in black by the carbon gases escaping from the gas tube's forend ports (which the Saiga shotguns don't have). Lesson Learned: When shooting rapid fire with an AK rifle using the AFG extended arm shooting stance, either wear a glove or be sure to keep your thumb solidly planted on the rail's thumb rest. wink.png

 

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~Gary

Edited by Gary

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One of the aspects of my 'Harpoon' Rifle that I find less than desireable, is its trigger. The second gunsmith that completed the rifle's conversion installed a TAPCO G2 single hook trigger. I had shipped to the gunsmith with the rifle a JARD AK-47 Trigger Upgrade Kit for installation. . . but reportedly after some trial and error, the gunsmith could not get it to fit inside of the receiver adequately, due to the rifle's BHO (that little bit of extra metal thickness, when the BHO lever is installed on the hammer's receiver cross pin). Seemed like an easy fix to me; simply remove a little metal material form the JARD's hammer to accommodate the thickness of the BHO. . . and we even contacted JARD Inc. and spoke to one of their service technicians and he agreed with our assessment on what to do. . . but the gunsmith just wasn't having any of it (go figure? "Par for the course" regarding this particular conversion's track record).

 

After shooting the rifle last weekend, I found that I really do not like the amount of trigger creep inherent with the TAPCO trigger. (The problem for me is, I am spoiled: all my other firearms have outstanding triggers; light, crisp trigger breaks with little creep. . . it's what I am used to and what I expect). I thought about removing some material on the TAPCO's hook; shortening the distance to when the hammer is released, but after doing some internet searches on the topic I found that such is absolutely NOT the thing to do; the trigger will likely become unsafe.

 

So I've decided to attempt installation of the JARD Upgrade Trigger myself. I figure if I cannot get it to work correctly, I can always go back and reinstall the TAPCO FCG. IMO this shit really isn't rocket science, and I've tinkered with all my other firearms enough to know whether once the FCG is installed, it will function safely and per design.

 

I'll let you all know how this turns out. wink.png

 

I'll likely take a photo or two, of the two triggers side-by-side to show you.

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Edited by Gary

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The dual cocking handle is rather cool. I have never seen that before but I think it is a good idea. Reciprocation of the action isn't an issue?

 

Reciprocation of the bolt assembly with the fixed left-side charging handle (for me, a right-handed shooter) is completely a non-issue. I don't notice or feel anything differently with that left side handle sticking out there while the rifle cycles.

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Edited by Gary

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The dual cocking handle is rather cool. I have never seen that before but I think it is a good idea. Reciprocation of the action isn't an issue?

 

Reciprocation of the bolt assembly with the fixed left-side charging handle (for me, a right-handed shooter) is completely a non-issue. I don't notice or feel anything differently with that left side handle sticking out there while the rifle cycles.

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Nice rifle there Gary, I dont care for all the colors but that is me.

Glad you had a good range shack down, that extended arm shooting does look taxing.

I shoot correct handed and never even see the charging handle that is in my face.

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I spent this Saturday morning out in my garage at my work bench, removing the TAPCO G2 FCG from my rifle and installing the 'JARD AK-47 Trigger Upgrade Kit.' I'm pleased to report that the JARD FCG went in without much of a hitch (I did remove a little material from the right side of the JARD hammer's cross pin sleeve, to accommodate for the extra thickness of the rifle's BHO). I did struggle a bit with getting the BHO's retention spring to seat down and "stay in place" while inserting the trigger's cross axis pin. Likely, par for the course when installing FCGs with a BHOs.

 

Below is a photo of two JARD AK FCGs. The one at left was the original one I purchased a little over three years ago when I first shipped my Saiga IZ-240 Rifle off to be converted. The FCG at right, is a newer JARD configuration received from JARD Inc. when issues arose three months ago with the installation of the first trigger upgrade kit (the trigger return spring "pocket" under the front bottom portion of the trigger had not been milled by the manufacturer. . . an oversight at the JARD factory). JARD shipped a complete new upgrade kit at no charge. Anyway, as you can see, there is a significant difference between the two JARD designs.

 

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Below is a photo of the newer JARD hammer adjacent to the TAPCO G2 hammer:

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While I had my rifle's FCG disassembled, I took the opportunity to round-off and contour the exterior edges of my rifle's BHO; those surface edges of the BHO that one's trigger finger routinely rides-up against. After re-contouring, I simply applied Birchwood Casey 'Super Blue' to the surface to blacken it.

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The below two photos are of the JARD FCG installed in the rifle. After dicker'n around with it for approximately half an hour; examining how the trigger's over-travel screw and disconnect screw could be finely tweaked and adjusted, per the kit's instructions I removed the screws, applied blue loctite, and reinserted the screws back into location with the appropriate adjustments.

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I will be taking the rifle out to the firing range tomorrow morning to determine whether this JARD FCG is all that I hoped it would be. I can say that the trigger's pull creep (until the hammer is released), has been greatly shortened from the TAPCO G2 single hook FCG. That in itself puts a huge grin on my face.

 

I'll report how she does tomorrow, after my range session.

 

~Gary

Edited by Gary

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This is one of the most thought out builds I have seen in a while. Looks like you new exactly what you wanted. Congrats on a very nice set up. I'm jealous.

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Took the rifle out to the range this morning and put approximately 330 rounds through her with the new JARD FCG. Overall. . . I am greatly impressed with the JARD over the TAPCO G2 (then again, the JARD costs a cool C-note so one should expect better trigger performance). The JARD reduces/shortens the trigger creep by half. My perception of the trigger's break was somewhere between 3.5 to 4 pounds. The JARD also allows for almost complete elimination of trigger over-travel if one chooses to adjust the trigger to that degree.

 

Unlike my first shooting session last weekend with the TAPCO G2 FCG, today I did experience 3 FTFs out of 330 rounds fired. Upon inspection of these three FTFs' primers, it appeared to me that the firing pin hits were similar to all the spent casings I collected, so I am not sure whether it was the Russian Military Surplus 5.45 ammo or the FCG that was responsible. Without further shooting sessions, I hazard to guess that the JARD hammer is not quite hitting the firing pin as hard as the TAPCO G2 does, but I could be wrong. Next time I need to take my digital camera with me to take a few photos of the results.

 

BOTTOM LINE: Would I strongly recommend the 'JARD AK-47 Trigger Upgrade Kit' to everyone? To be honest, "no." Although the instructions that come with the JARD kit do not state (words to the effect), "Should be installed by a professional gunsmith," the WARNING paragraph within the instructions does state, "If you do not have a thorough understanding of the AK47 trigger system and the purpose and function of all the parts, do not attempt to install this system. Have it installed by an experienced gunsmith." Installation of the JARD upgrade trigger requires adjustments for the trigger disconnect, trigger over-travel, the safety engagement, etc. If you want a trigger that is truly a no-fuss "drop in" product for your AK, go with the TAPCO G2.

 

For me, a large part of my personal firearm hobby's enjoyment is derived from tinkering and discovering how these tools work, and how they can be improved. After my firing session today I absolutely love the JARD trigger; I wouldn't swap it out for anything. But that's me. . . your experience may be different, and since I have not fired two thousand rounds with this JARD FCG installed, I genuinely do not yet know how it will function after it has been worn in well. So for me, the jury is still out (but I feel confident this puppy is good for the long haul).

 

~Gary

Edited by Gary
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for a apples to apples comparison have you tried a red star arms FCG to compare it to the JARD?

No Sir. But had my personal assessment of the JARD been less than what it is, I was strongly considering giving the Red Star Arms FCG a try.

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Unlike my first shooting session last weekend with the TAPCO G2 FCG, today I did experience 3 FTFs out of 330 rounds fired. Upon inspection of these three FTFs' primers, it appeared to me that the firing pin hits were similar to all the spent casings I collected, so I am not sure whether it was the Russian Military Surplus 5.45 ammo or the FCG that was responsible. Without further shooting sessions, I hazard to guess that the JARD hammer is not quite hitting the firing pin as hard as the TAPCO G2 does, but I could be wrong. Next time I need to take my digital camera with me to take a few photos of the results.

 

I spoke with one of the technicians at JARD Inc. this morning regarding the three FTF's I experienced and the possibility of light firing pin strikes by the hammer. Turns out there is an easy fix (don't know why it didn't cross my mind first): Simply remove the hammer from the rifle, and bend the hammer spring's legs so that it hits a little harder, then reinstall (like, "duh!" right?). I've also inquired with JARD whether installing a Wolff XP extra-power hammer spring would be okay.

 

~Gary

Edited by Gary

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Nice work Gary. Im thinking of picking up a Red Star Arms trigger for my Vepr in 5.45. I will look into this also.Thanks for the show n tell brother.

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Nice work Gary. Im thinking of picking up a Red Star Arms trigger for my Vepr in 5.45. I will look into this also.Thanks for the show n tell brother.

 

Thanks brother. FWIW, I'm heavily considering replacing the FCG within the new 5.56 Galil AR that I have inbound next week; it currently has a TAPCO G2 double hook. But, I need to take the Galil out to the firing line first and put a couple of magazines through her, before cementing that decision. Nonetheless, what could be better than having two rifles with the exact same sweet triggers?

 

greedy.gif

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