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Different materials for receivers

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ar15 receivers come in many different materials. Eveything from carbon fiber to nickel and titanium and so forth and it only fire a .223 round. Have any receivers been made for the ak platform that are not steel? I did several searches and found nothing on the subject.

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ar15 receivers come in many different materials. Eveything from carbon fiber to nickel and titanium and so forth and it only fire a .223 round. Have any receivers been made for the ak platform that are not steel? I did several searches and found nothing on the subject.

 

I am really interested in this idea as well. I know aluminum is not as strong as steel but it would be far lighter, and if an AR made of aluminum can handle the 308 or 458 socom I would think it could handle an AK variant round. I know the action is pretty violent but it would be great to see. Anyone ever read anything about other materials for AK's?

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The idea of aluminum milled receivers has been tossed around. There are several problems:

 

- Differential heat expansion of the aluminum receiver could cause headspace problems as the area around the locking lugs expands at a greater rate than the steel in the bolt can expand - the gun would have to be really hot for this to be an issue.

- Aluminum locking lugs are likely not strong enough to withstand the required pressures of the AK two-lug system

- Aluminum ejector would likely peen or distort in short order, leading to ejection problems.

- The bolt carrier may quickly wear away an aluminum rail. This isn't like the AR receiver where the bolt carrier is supported almost on every side. The AK carrier is really only supported by the two lateral rail slots, and there is typically a lot of free play there as well that could allow the harder carrier material to "bite" the aluminum and wear it away over time..

 

There just really aren't many advantages of a milled aluminum receiver over a standard stamped receiver, or even a milled steel receiver. The drawbacks are potentially dangerous.

 

Some more modern stamped receivers are very strong - Izhmash in particular claims that their modern receivers are of a high-carbon alloy that is stronger than stamped receivers of the past. I would love to find a manufacturer's quote for you at the moment but I can't.

 

The most likely alternative receiver design I could think of would be a milled aluminum or composite (carbon fiber?) receiver with steel inserts for rail and ejector, and some sort of "psuedo trunnion" that acts as a locking lug insert with significant structural strength. I'm not an engineer, so that's all I've got.

 

Face the facts though.. The majority of modern AK designs are not based around a milled receiver because the stamped receiver achieves the same goals with less cost, lighter weight, and in some cases high reliability - e.g. milled receiver locking lug fatigue has been a problem with past AK designs.

Edited by mancat

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Mancat, thanks for the insight and good points to think about. I just like the whole idea of seeing what other materials could be used. The carbon fiber/steel rail combo would be very interesting!

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