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First time conversion

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Ok been on the forum for a while, and have had my saiga for almost two years. Finally doing my conversion! I know lots of people have posted about theirselves doing the conversion but I just wanted to post mine up as well and maybe get any extra words of advice or things y'all would do different.

Ok when I got the shotgun it had a tapco stock on it it would FTE every third or fourth round shooting on the number 2 setting with Walmart number 6's. Shooting on setting number 1 with high brass 00 it FTE about every fifth or sixth round. So with that being said I'm sending my bolt and carrier to have polished and re-profiled. I'm also going to put in a SRT when I do the conversion. I've also looked at my gas ports they seem to be clear and are three of them. I have been thinking about getting a different puck and gas plug. Looking at MD v plug and goguns twister pucks. If anyone has anything better I'd love to hear about it. I'll post pictures of the shotgun torn down as soon as I can upload from camera. Also thinking about cerakote or during a duracote in FDE to the whole set up.

post-28159-0-90162600-1364947447_thumb.jpg

Edited by FIreBug-FBG

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I've also looked at my gas ports they seem to be clear and are three of them.

 

Have you taken the gas block off or have you come to this conclusion by inspecting it while it's on? I ask because I made the mistake of assuming the holes were drilled properly but it wasn't until I physically removed it did I realize the holes were not the right size nor were two of them completely drilled.

 

Getting the ports properly drilled is an important step. Making the wrong judgement could negate everything you do from here on out...

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It's rather easy. Start by reading this thread. I used a brass punch in place of the shelf bracket. I recommend doing the same.

 

Keep in mind it's not brute force that's needed but more importantly use repetitive impacts. It's also helpful to have someone around to hold the firearm while you're working. Getting the gas block to move the first 1/4" is the hardest. Also I can not stress enough the importance of making scribe lines. You'll see what I mean when you try to reinstall.

 

Good luck! You don't need it. It's so simple I taught my neighbor to do it and he's the type that doesn't own any hand tools.

 

Edited: The thread I linked was a tutorial for the gas block "D" modification. I am not suggesting you do that. It's the information about removing and installing the gas block that is important.

Edited by HighPlainsDrifter

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Definitely pull the block, check the ports, reprofile and polish internals. Then shoot it and see what you got before you spend unnecessary money.

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Definitely pull the block, check the ports, reprofile and polish internals. Then shoot it and see what you got before you spend unnecessary money.

 

I agree, I wouldn't send anything in to get polished until you get the gas ports right and just polish off the paint on the rails, hammer and bolt carrier yourself. You'll end up spending about $150 to send it off for a shiny polish job and likely wait 1-3 months for your parts back...

 

What size drill bit fits tightest into your ports?

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Ok ports are good had a little bit of carbon build up in them but was able to remove with a bent paper clip.

 

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink...

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You can also put the cart before the horse...

 

It is my opinion that you should eliminate all friction (reprofile hammer, bolt, carrier, etc) after converting BEFORE ever drilling the ports. It is easy to remove the gas block and address the ports once you have eliminated all other problems and test fired. This way, you know what you are dealing with and can tune the ports to be ideal for your particular gun. Others prefer to drill ports right off the bat... Since when are the spec's of the Saiga system standardized to the point of "one size fits all?"

 

Do what you are comfortable with. It's your gun. Enjoy it! big_smile.gif

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I've maintained and am adamant still that pulling the block and making sure the ports are of adequate size should be the first thing you do. This is about as objective as you can get with these guns. There is a well established baseline for port size documented by numerous experts on here depending on whether you have a 3 or 4 port gun. Would have saved me much time and money if I would have done that first.

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Ok ports are good had a little bit of carbon build up in them but was able to remove with a bent paper clip.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink...

Ha! I'm waiting on some new punches to get here and I will be pulling it all apart completely for inspection. Punches I have are a little big and made for heavy equipment!

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I believe both are very effective methods when executed properly. It's a different mindset is all. A can of coke can be opened by simply pulling the tab or by power drilling 3 or 4 holes in the can. Both leave you with an open can and an excellent product to enjoy.

 

If I were cranking out conversions as a business, I would probably drill first. Since I am finessing my own S12 and like the idea of fine tuning to "just right", I chose a more delicate approach. My S12 eats anything I feed it with a drum. I have never once pulled the gas block. It is not always necessary to enlarge the gunk inlets that spray nastiness up into the action of the gun. Then again, I was blessed with a good gun out of the box. Note: Some other guns will require drilling.

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I believe both are very effective methods when executed properly. It's a different mindset is all. A can of coke can be opened by simply pulling the tab or by power drilling 3 or 4 holes in the can. Both leave you with an open can and an excellent product to enjoy.

 

If I were cranking out conversions as a business, I would probably drill first. Since I am finessing my own S12 and like the idea of fine tuning to "just right", I chose a more delicate approach. My S12 eats anything I feed it with a drum. I have never once pulled the gas block. It is not always necessary to enlarge the gunk inlets that spray nastiness up into the action of the gun. Then again, I was blessed with a good gun out of the box. Note: Some other guns will require drilling.

 

I respectfully disagree...

 

Your can of coke analogy simply doesn't hold water. To ring true your can would have to come from the factory without a tab since this is what I've experienced from Izhmash sending out S-12's with improperly sized/drilled ports. What do you do if you get a can of coke without a tab? I am simply going to create the hole. By the time you are done polishing off the red from the can I'll have it opened, consumed, and recycled. While your approach will leave you thirsty with nothing but a shiny can.

 

We can debate back and forth what to do first; open the ports or polish the internals. Polishing/profiling the internals will always improve a properly gassed saga-12. If you are one of the unfortunate to get one that's improperly gassed then polishing/profiling will do nothing to fix the crux of the problem. You simply can't fix an under gassed gun by reducing friction. You have to go to the source of the problem.

Edited by HighPlainsDrifter
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I did everything I could before touching the gas block. Polishing/profiling/parts and it worked, my gun now runs the cheap stuff perfectly I did everything but pull the gas block.

 

Looking back had I just increased the gas from the start that may have worked also...but in my case that would have been an unnecessary step.

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I respectfully disagree...

 

Your can of coke analogy simply doesn't hold water. To ring true your can would have to come from the factory without a tab since this is what I've experienced from Izhmash sending out S-12's with improperly sized/drilled ports. What do you do if you get a can of coke without a tab? I am simply going to create the hole. By the time you are done polishing off the red from the can I'll have it opened, consumed, and recycled. While your approach will leave you thirsty with nothing but a shiny can.

 

We can debate back and forth what to do first; open the ports or polish the internals. Polishing/profiling the ports will always improve a properly gassed saga-12. If you are one of the unfortunate to get one that's improperly gassed then polishing/profiling will do nothing to fix the crux of the problem. You simply can't fix an under gassed gun by reducing friction. You have to go to the source of the problem.

Doesn't hold water... LOL. I agree that the coke can thing was out there. Maybe I shouldn't post while on cold medicine...

 

I know we will not agree on this entirely. I simply mean to say that smaller ports run cleaner. The smaller you can get away with, the less mess to clean up after shooting. With some guns, it's necessary to drill out ports. Many, especially the 4 port guns from 2011 and 2012, do not seem to HAVE to be drilled as often as their owners may think. Does this ruin the guns? Not except in extreme cases. Is it a quicker way to a functioning gun? Usually.

 

These are just two very different methods that achieve nearly the same result. And for the record, my method is all about the preofiles of parts. Polish level is nearly negligible to cycling. Ok, I'm done. Back to my NyQuil juice box!

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Here's a recent story I can share...

 

I have been real excited to be a new S-12 owner, it's been a long haul just getting here. I ordered a build back in the summer of 2011 from a reputable builder. When Newtown occurred last December the order still hadn't been filled. During that time I didn't know if an AWB would pass or not so I panicked as well and ended up purchasing two Legion's in sporter configuration. Why two? The first one was a mistake. I was confused and didn't know the difference between a BHO and the LRBHO. I was hell bent on owning one with the LRBHO.

 

By happenstance my neighbor stopped in during this time and I started talking Saiga 12. Here he became so interested that he bought "the mistake", an Iz-412nm. I ended up with the Iz-447 which is Legion's Saiganov setup but more importantly it has the magwell and LRBHO.

 

Bare with me this is coming to an end...

 

It's been real interesting these last few months with the both of us going through the conversion process for the first time. We have learned a few things along the way. Most importantly was how poorly drilled the gas ports are. Mine was imported in '11 and had a 4-port system. They were small holes of which two had not been completely drilled. Out of the box this firearm had consistent FTF's I opened them up with to 5/64.

 

My neighbors was imported in '12 and had 3-ports. After helping press the gas block off I had a "no shit" moment. The holes in his were the SAME size mine initially were. We are talking tiny but yet his only had 3 of them! Out of the box his firearm had consistent FTF's. It ran so poorly that it would not cycle 3 1/2 dram. He opened them up to 3/32.

 

The lesson we both learned was neither Saiga 12 was properly gassed. Now you know I am not a professional gunsmith nor do I ever want to come off as a "know it all". But I am glad I didn't spend time polishing or trying to profile the internals. The problem didn't lie in the receiver, it all occurred in the gas system.

 

With that said I believe profiling the internals will improve the reliability of the system even more. I also believe that profiling should be done with care which is why I can't wait until Pauly starts taking orders. I don't know how to really mess up enlarging ports in the gas block. On the other hand I will personally leave a deep profile to the professionals.

 

And what has happened with that build I ordered back in 2011. It showed up after 19 months of waiting...

Edited by HighPlainsDrifter
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kids! stop fighting.

 

either way works as long as you are systematic.

 

My .02 is that gas ports are easier than a major reprofile and require far less tools or sophistication, so I advocate basic friction reduction then gas ports, with a minimum starting point of 4@ .078 and increasing in increments until reliablilty is attained.

 

If on the other hand you know you are going to have a major bolt reprofile eventually, I think it makes sense to start with that since your port size should be tuned to the eventual friction.

 

In either case, you should get wire of measurable size and probe your ports to establish that there are the appropriate number and minimum size before beating yourself up. No sense wasting time testing and tuning if you know you don't have enough working flow to start with. IMO every 3 port gun with small ports should get another tiny port or two rather than go up in size.

 

Don't waste ammo testing a gun with 2.5 ports, or breaking in any gun. You can cycle that spring by hand and achieve the same thing.

 

Also- the block removal thread is good, but I think the D mod is often overkill and harmfull. Ports are either obstructed or clear. Only remove enough metal to clear the ports. No more. Most have found that using a slightly larger drill bit and flaring the hole is a better method than the D. Before removing your block, make sure to scribe the block and barrel so that you can return to the correct alignment when you re-install. Also, don't hammer on the gas plug to re-install. You will bugger up the threads if you do.

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Thanks for the help so far guys! I should have some new punches in on Monday or Tuesday. I'm going to tear everything down on it to clean and prep for dura coating so I'm going to tune everything I can. I want this to be the smoothest running saiga I can make it. Been told by to many shotgunners how horrible the saiga is and I want to blow them all away next time I see a few of them with how well the gun runs.

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Well, don't show it off until after you have had a chance to verify performance.

 

Then make a challenge about who can shoot 30 lined up clays the fastest. Win your bet and make your point.

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My .02 is that gas ports are easier than a major reprofile and require far less tools or sophistication, so I advocate basic friction reduction then gas ports, with a minimum starting point of 4@ .078 and increasing in increments until reliablilty is attained.

 

You've recently been keeping a low profile. It's good to see your back!

 

Can you clarify this statement? I am left unsure of your intent.

Edited by HighPlainsDrifter

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I am in the home stretch for school this semester and have to put in a lot of hours the next few weeks...

 

I was saying that the normal baseline for ports is 4 @ 0.078" or 3 at 0.093" if your ports seem to be smaller than that or obstructed, you may as well get them there before wasting time and ammo doing a bunch of tuning and checking. If you have slicked up the rails, etc. and have ports of this size and it still doesn't run baseline ammo, then increase the ports a bit and re- test. Repeat as needed, but I wouldn't ever want ports over .093" if I could help it.

 

IMO if you have only 3 ports, I would rather add 1 or 2 ports than drill them up to .093" but 3 @ .093" does work for many.

 

Testing should be done with 3 dram ammo and whichever magazine provides the most drag to the system. (drums if you got 'em.) The gun should cycle 100/100 when held limply. Then when you hold it right, or when you are panicking in an emergency, you know it will work with whatever however whenever.

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I have 4 @ .093" but I also plan on cutting the barrel 3.125".... I haven't seen any abnormal or faster wear through about 400 rounds since I've opened them. A LITTLE bit dirtier but not bad at all. I can also fire from the hip without failure now.

 

 

GunFun, congrats on finishing school. That's an accomplishment anyone should be proud of.

 

 

ETA: I am also using the auto plug and have done minor polishing/profiling if that helps the OP at all.

Edited by dubya

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Finally got the right size punches. Got the top pin out but the bottom one is being very stubborn! Already bent the new 3/32 punch into a banana. Tried using the end of some saw files that I had but turned them into fish hooks also. Any ideas on getting it loose? I'm going to put some penetrating oil on it and see if it loosens it up. But as for right now I'm stuck.

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Sounds like the same process, I broke a few punches with the lower pin myself. I ended up using one of the broken punches as a starter punch and took a steel mallet and muscled my way through it. Once you get it moving you can break out the pin punch to finish it off.

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start with a nail punch. the coned shape of a nail punch will make it more resilient to bending v. a 1/16 punch. Order a Starett 1/16 punch from Brownells, they hold up pretty well.

 

Also, with a pin that is a PITA to get out will also be a PITA to get back in. Keep the pins in the freezer while working on the ports/block. Freezing the pins will dimensionally make them smaller and easier to get back in.

 

I just did 3 gas jobs last week and learned lessons the hard way.

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Thanks for the tip! I have a good set of grace punches, there made more for mechanical work I guess there very long. I am ordering a set of Staretts right now.

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